Weird Universe Archive

November 2020

November 6, 2020

All Things Fall

Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 06, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Technology, Special Effects

November 5, 2020

Graduated Alone

May 1949: Eva Mae Bradbury was the only member of her graduating class at the public school in Ada, Kansas. The school nevertheless put on a full commencement program for her, attended by 150 people (which was about the entire population of Ada).

Decatur Herald and Review - May 21, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 05, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: School, 1940s

The Spare Tire Cover as Advertising Medium

The earliest surviving instances of this mode of advertising seem to be really rare. If any WU-vie can find more examples, that would be great!

Of course, nowadays you can have custom-designed spare tire covers at the drop of a hat!


Second Honeymoon (20th Century Fox, 1937). Spare Tire Cover. Throughout the thirties the studios would offer in their pressbooks what were spare tire covers that would advertise their upcoming feature. This silkscreen cover for the Tyrone Power and Loretta Young romance has elastic bands in back which allow it slip right over the tire that was always visible on the back of the automobiles of that time. Probably the theater owner, ushers, or cab companies would be paid to use these. Very interesting novelty that are often seen in pressbooks but few have survived.




Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 05, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Advertising, 1930s, Cars

November 4, 2020

Court refuses one-cent suit

October 1939: The Supreme Court refused to hear the case of C. Leon De Aryan, thereby ending his legal campaign to recover the one cent of sales tax he believed he had been incorrectly charged.

Actually, it was worse than that. The actual amount of the excess charge in question was closer to one-half a cent. De Aryan had bought 15 cents worth of cardboard, and had been charged one cent of sales tax on this purchase. He noted that the tax was three percent. Therefore, he should only have been charged approximately one-half cent of tax, but the retailer rounded up.

I'm guessing De Aryan spent a lot more than one cent in court costs.

San Pedro News-Pilot - Oct 9, 1939

This recalls the 1979 case of Frank Makara who felt he had been overcharged $1.95 at the gas station and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court — which then refused to hear it, as it did with De Aryan's case.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 04, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Lawsuits, 1930s

November 3, 2020

Rodney Fertel’s Gorilla Campaign

1969: Rodney Fertel ran for mayor of New Orleans on what he called the "primate platform". He promised that, if elected, he would "Get a gorilla for the zoo." This was his primary campaign issue. He campaigned by standing on street corners, sometimes dressed in a safari outfit, sometimes in a gorilla suit, handing out miniature plastic gorillas to passers-by.

Rodney Fertel with a baby gorilla

Fertel lost the election, receiving only 310 votes, but he kept his promise by donating a pair of West African gorillas the following year to New Orleans' Audubon Zoo, at his own expense.

Incidentally, Rodney was the former husband of Ruth Fertel, who founded Ruth's Chris Steak House. Fertel's son has written a book about his parents titled The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 03, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Politics, Strange Candidates, 1960s

The Eskimo HIghkick

High-kick competitions were once part of Kivgiq, the Messenger Feast. As each man entered the qargi he tried to kick an inflated animal bladder or ball suspended from the ceiling. An Iñupiaq story tells of a young woman who owned two balls; the larger was the sun, and the smaller the moon. The sun ball fell (or in one version was dropped by Raven) and burst open, bringing light to the world. The circular designs seen on this ball represent the sun and commemorate this ancient story.

Source of quote (with more pictures).

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 03, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Regionalism, Sports

November 2, 2020

250 Times I Saw a Play

Keith Odo Newman, whom the Guardian has described as "a homosexual Austrian psychoanalyst," authored 250 Times I Saw A Play, which was published in 1944. As the title suggests, it describes his experience of watching a play 250 times. The play was Flare Path by Terence Rattigan.

The backstory here is that Newman was Rattigan's doctor. According to

When World War II broke out, Rattigan, who was seeing a bizarrely charismatic psychiatrist named Dr. Keith Newman, decided, with the encouragement of his doctor, to enlist with the RAF. Despite the fact that he wasn’t at all mechanically inclined and was a social snob, Rattigan flourished in the egalitarian RAF, mastering the technical requirements and becoming an air gunner wireless operator (like Dusty Miller in Flare Path). It was while he was serving active duty that he wrote Flare Path and its creation seemed to dissolve the writer’s block under which Rattigan was suffering.

For some reason, Rattigan asked Newman to personally direct the performance of the lead actor in the play, Jack Watling, and Newman proceeded to become obsessed with Watling. Which is why, I assume, Newman ended up watching the play 250 times. Rattigan's biographer, Geoffrey Wansell, offers more details:

During rehearsals, which took place at the Apollo, Newman said nothing. 'He just sat there in the stalls, silent', according to Watling. 'But just before the play opened in Oxford, where I was to stay with him in his flat at Number 36 Holywell, he took me to the Lake District for three days of what he called intensive voice training.' The psychiatrist had devised a set of vocal exercises, which he insisted he practised for hours at a time. 'It was unbelievable,' Watling recalled. 'He took over my life completely.'...
At this stage Newman had not made a homosexual pass at Watling. That came later. Newman simply frightened him beyond words. 'I couldn't do anything without asking his permission. I was heterosexual then, and I am now, but Newman pretty much gave me a nervous breakdown. I couldn't cope with him.' Why Newman had this power, or why people submitted to him, Watling is just as unable to explain now as he was then.

After completing his odd book, Newman sent the manuscript to George Bernard Shaw, who wrote back with a few of his thoughts about it. Shaw's comments weren't very complimentary, but Newman nevertheless included a facsimile of them at the front of the book. Shaw wrote:

I don't know what to say about this book. The experience on which it is founded is so extraordinary, that an honest record of it should be preserved. But it would have driven me mad; and I am not sure that the author came out of it without a slight derangement.

Sure enough, Newman was subsequently certified insane and died in a mental institution.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 02, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Theater and Stage, Books, 1940s

November 1, 2020

Landslide—the electoral college board game

Kenneth J. Gross and Sebron Koster were granted a patent in 1960 for Landslide, an electoral college board game. Players moved their pieces around the board trying to gain enough electoral college votes to start a 'landslide'. If you want to play it, the rules are below.

As far as I can tell, their game was never sold in stores. However, there have been two other board games called Landslide that did make it to market (in 1971 and 2004). Both involved acquiring electoral college votes but were otherwise different than the 1960 version.

How to play Landslide

At the start of the play of a game each player selects his political party and takes his marker and tokens to match. Each player or candidate rolls the die and the candidate who rolls high die opens the play. He is succeeded in turn by each candidate in a clockwise direction. All candidates begin their campaign from the central segment, viz. Washington, D.C.

The number appearing on the die indicates the number of segments (States) which the candidate may move his marker and the number of electoral votes he wins in the State attained. He places his marker on that State and beside it his tokens corresponding to the number of votes thereby won in that State.

On each turn a candidate may move in any direction he chooses. The choice of routes allowed to candidates enables them to exert an influence on the development of their campaigns. In passing through a junction of three States he may traverse only two of the States in the course of any one move. He may not reverse his direction of movement in the course of one move. A candidate may not land on nor pass through a State occupied by another candidate's marker. If the movement of a candidate is blocked by the markers of other candidates in such a manner that he cannot move his marker to the full extent of his throw of the die, then he loses that turn. A candidate must move if possible.

A candidate must return to Washington, D.C. at any time that his throw of the die could place him there, providing that Washington, D.C. is unoccupied.

The number of electoral votes of a State won by a candidate is indicated by his tokens placed alongside that State. The entire electoral vote of a State is won by the first candidate to obtain a majority of the electoral votes of that State. When a State is won by a candidate he removes the card of that State and all the electoral vote tokens on that State are returned to their respective candidates.

States that have not been won are indicated by the presence of the State cards still beside them. Any candidate may land on a State that has been won by another candidate irrespective of the presence or absence of electoral votes remaining unacquired.

Whenever a candidate lands on Washington, D.C., he has the right to call a “caucus' if he so desires. When a caucus is declared all candidates count, the electoral votes of the States they have won completely, as indicated by the State cards in their possession. The outstanding electoral votes relating to States not yet won are also counted. Should the candidate with the least number of electoral votes be unable to win the election even by winning all the electoral votes of the States which are not yet won completely then he is eliminated as a presidential candidate. Only one candidate may be eliminated on each caucus.

If on the calling of a caucus, the tally of electoral votes indicates that every candidate still has a chance to win the election assuming his acquisition of all outstanding electoral votes, then the candidate calling the caucus loses all his electoral votes on States not won completely; that is he removes all his electoral vote tokens from the board.

The electoral vote tokens of the eliminated presidential candidate on the States not completely won are removed from the board. The electoral votes of the States completely won by the eliminated candidate are divided among the remaining candidates according to the geographical distribution set out in the table above. In other words the candidate with the most electoral votes from the Eastern States, takes all the Eastern States from the eliminated candidate and similarly for the other geographical groups of States.

The presidential election is won by the first candidate who captures 266 or more electoral votes.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 01, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Games, Politics, Patents, 1960s

Page 6 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6 7 > 

Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
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.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •