Category:
Television

Flush Ratings

In 1974, the Lafayette waterworks in Louisiana revealed an apparent correlation between drops in water pressure and television viewing habits. In particular, the water pressure would drop immediately after popular shows and movies had aired... presumably from viewers waiting until the end of the shows to relieve themselves:

The record drop in water pressure to date, a plunge of 26 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure, came at the end of the TV showing of the movie "Airport." The movie "Patton" chalked up 22 and "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" checked in with a respectable 19.

So, the idea was floated that flush ratings might serve as a surrogate for the Nielsen ratings.

I had always thought that the idea of popular TV shows having an impact on sewage systems was an urban legend. However, while Snopes dismisses the idea that any shows such as the Superbowl have ever broken a city's sewage system, they allow the lesser claim that massive simultaneous flushing can put an observable strain on a city's waterworks, noting: "toilet use during breaks in large-audience programs can certainly be much higher than average."

Related post: Flush Polling

North Adams Transcript - July 5, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 09, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Bathrooms, Television, 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #490

Our televised brainwashing will turn honest citizens into criminals.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 07, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Crime, Propaganda, Thought Control and Brainwashing, Television, 1950s

Muffin the Mule

Non-talking puppets with uninterrupted narration by a weird lady: pure kiddie gold!

Or, as the urban legend has it: "There! That oughta hold the little bastards!"



The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 30, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Puppets and Automatons, Television, United Kingdom, Twentieth Century

S&H Green Stamps Motorboat Redemption

Folks of a certain age recall "trading stamps," tokens with a certain value given out to shoppers when they made a purchase.

This site has a nice summary of the phenomenon, with lots of pictures of pages from the redemption catalog.

Here's an ad from 1968 which reveals you could get a Chrysler motorboat with Green Stamps.

Source.



I got curious about how many books of stamps that might take. So I did some very rough calculations, fudging the different years, etc.

This site reveals that a similar boat cost about $1500.00 when new in 1969.

In the catalog at the previous link, an Admiral Color TV demands 150 books.

Here's the likely price in dollars of such an item, as seen below.



So the boat cost six times a TV, and might, I'm guessing, demand 900 books of stamps. However, I also read that each filled book was worth $1.20, so that would require 1,250 books!

That's a lot of weekly shopping trips to your local IGA, since you got only a handful of stamps with each purchase. I wonder how many people ever took advantage of the offer.





Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 28, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Boats, Business, Loyalty Programs, Shopper Incentives, Coupons and Other Discounts, Television, 1960s, 1970s

Subjective Color

July 25, 1967: During its broadcast of the TV series Combat!, ABC aired a commercial for a soft-drink called Squirt. The commercial appeared in color. What made this unusual is that it appeared in color even on black-and-white TV sets.



The commercial used a technology developed by the Color-Tel Corp., and patented by James Butterfield, that used pulses of light to trick the brain into thinking that it was seeing color. Butterfield described this as "subjective color".

The company had informed the media before the broadcast, but most people didn't know it was going to happen, and so they thought they were going nuts when they suddenly saw flashes of color on their black-and-white sets.

Detroit Free Press - Sep 14, 1967



The technology had some limitations. It could only be used for still images. Also, the colors were muted and flickered a lot. But the really big problem was that the technology emerged just as color TVs were becoming popular. So it was a clever gimmick that no longer had much practical purpose.

More info: Chronicles from the Analog Age Blog

Also worth noting: the idea of being able to see color images on a black-and-white set was the premise of a famous April Fool's Day hoax that occurred in 1962 in Sweden.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 20, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Television, 1960s

Henry Gibson Anti-Littering Ads

Anyone of a certain age recalls Henry Gibson and his "naive" poems on LAUGH-IN. Apparently, some ad agency thought he'd be perfect for their anti-littering campaign.





Source.

And they were even collected in a book, by the Glass Container Manufacturers Institute.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 25, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: PSA’s, Television, Poetry, 1960s

What a Country!

This is a show that could bring the nation together again.



Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 16, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Education, Stereotypes and Cliches, Television, Foreign Customs, 1980s

The Animan

It's now 2020. Where are our bipedal TVs?

With its two legs the Animan TV follows you from room to room, dances to commercials, and even leans into the curves during chase scenes. Equipped with its top-mounted security camera, it patrols the house and sounds an alarm if it detects a prowler.




Source: Popular Science - June 1988

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 08, 2020 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Television, AI, Robots and Other Automatons, 1980s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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