Weird Universe Archive

August 2021

August 11, 2021

“I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant”

Smirnoff ran this ad in the 70s but reportedly pulled it after a few months when its market researchers surveyed customers and discovered that "60 per cent of them thought that the Kama Sutra was indeed an Indian restaurant."

image source: codex



But according to Delia Chiaro in The Language of Jokes, the ad lived on in popular memory, inspiring a genre of "Smirnoff jokes".

In the mid-1970s the Smirnoff vodka company began using the 'before and after' technique to sell its product. The advertising campaign consisted of escapist photographs accompanied by slogans such as I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant until I discovered Smirnoff. (The slogan originally had the additional rejoinder The effect is shattering which was eventually banned probably due to the allusion to 'getting smashed'.) The slogan turned out to be the inspiration of the graffitists of the nation as catchphrases such as the following began appearing on walls around the country:

I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository until I discovered Smirnoff.

I thought cirrhosis was a type of cloud until I discovered Smirnoff.


However it was not long before the graffitists began to abandon the formula, first by substituting the word Smirnoff with other items:

I thought Nausea was a novel by Jean-Paul Sartre until I discovered Scrumpy.

Soon, the caption began to move more radically away from the matrix, as more items were changed. In the next example there is no allusion to drink whatsoever:

I used to think I was an atheist until I discovered I was God.

Although Smirnoff jokes are now practically obsolete, the I thought A was B until I discovered C formula has now frozen into the English language as a semi-idiom. Today we can find graffiti (or indeed hear asides) such as:

I used to talk in cliches but now I avoid them like the plague

in which the original matrix is barely recognizable.

Below is another Smirnoff ad from the same series.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 11, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Advertising, 1970s, Jokes

By the Light of the Silvery Moon



Source: The Escanaba Daily Press (Escanaba, Michigan) 30 Jun 1953, Tue Page 8

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 11, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Public Humiliation, Sleep and Dreams, Public Indecency, 1950s

August 10, 2021

Car sold for 1395 bananas

1965: Bernice Wyszynski saw a brand-new Pontiac sedan advertised for "1,395 bananas". So she tried to take the dealer up on that offer. However, the dealer insisted that the car actually cost $1,395. 'Bananas', he said, was a vernacular term for dollars. Wyszynski threatened to sue him for false advertising, and eventually he relented, selling her the car in exchange for 1,395 bananas.

I can buy five bananas at the supermarket for $1. Which means that, in present-day money, Wyszynski got the car for around $280. That's a pretty good deal.

Bernice Wyszynski died in 2003, and the banana incident made it into her obituary:

Mrs. Wyszynski became known as the "Banana Lady" after she bought a new 1965 Pontiac Tempest from Stephen Pontiac Cadillac, Bristol for 1395 bananas.


Long Beach Press-Telegram - May 5, 1965



Arizona Daily Star - May 1, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 10, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Food, 1960s, Cars, Bananas

August 9, 2021

Double-Sided Cowboy Boots

From fashion label Hood by Air. Introduced in 2016. Not sure if it's still possible to buy them anywhere.



source: footwearnews.com



source: i-d.vice.com

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 09, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Shoes

Double King

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 09, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Royalty, Surrealism, Fantasy, Cartoons, Fictional Monsters

August 8, 2021

Madeleine Ravier’s Bicycle for Animals

Humans have invented mechanical devices, such as bicycles, that allow us to move faster by amplifying the power of our limbs. Madeleine Ravier of Paris argued that what works for people should also work for animals. So she invented and, in 1907, patented a "Cycles pour animaux," or 'bicycle for animals'.

Her patent is in French, but the automatic translation is fairly comprehensible. Here's part of it.

Man has understood the vital interest he had in developing the means to go fast, long and far; for this purpose, he enslaved animals to his use, he acquired science, in particular mechanical science, and he used it to employ at his pleasure, or almost, some of the different forms of energy , like heat, electricity, chemical affinity.

Quite recently (less than 50 years ago), understanding the imperfection of his own limbs, he endowed them with mobile mechanisms, he put cycles, devices formed of 2 or 3 wheels between the legs. and of a few light and simple organs, with which he has prodigiously increased the extent of his movements without the help of external energy.

He thus achieved 370 kilometers in 12 hours (cyclist Cadolle), and even 45,764 kilometers (record of cyclist Bouhours), while excellent athletes, on their limbs, did not achieve, at most, at the same time of 12 hours than the already very high distances of 113 kilometers (walker 5o Hibbird) or ikh kilometers (rowell runner)....

What man did for himself he can do it for animals, or at least for some of them; There is a way to increase the efficiency of their limbs by the intercalation, between these limbs and the field of motion, of mechanical devices receiving the reciprocating motion of the limbs, transforming it into continuous rotary motion, and ending in rotating parts; and the result obtained can be used to make animals move man faster and farther than has hitherto been done by using them.

Ravier imagined making bicycles for all kinds of animals including "mules, donkeys, elephants, camels, dromedaries, etc.". But she started with a bicycle for horses, as shown below.



I have no idea if she ever built and tested one of these horse bicycles. The language barrier makes researching this a challenge.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 08, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, Inventions, Patents, 1900s

Bailey’s Comets



The Wikipedia page.

According to Mark Arnold's book, Think Pink! The Story of DePatie-Freling Productions, producing the show was a nightmare, due to the massive amount of characters. Not only did the series do extremely poorly in the ratings, it got so costly to produce it nearly broke the studio, curtailing production for that year.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 08, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Fads, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Sports, Cartoons, 1970s

August 7, 2021

Miss Mayonnaise and Miss Salad Dressing

June 1952: Joan Corbett was named 'Miss Mayonnaise' while her twin sister, Jean, was given the title of 'Miss Salad Dressing'.

Los Angeles Times - June 11, 1952



Pasadena Independent Sun - June 8, 1952



Here's a better picture of the twins.



And here they are in a 1954 ad for Chesterfield Cigarettes.



The Burbank High School 'In Memoriam' blog has some biographical info about them:

Jean Corbett, 68, died April 29, 1999, in Kauai, Hawaii. Mrs. Corbett and her twin sister, Joan, were born in Burbank. Jean Corbett was a resident for 62 years.In the 1950's, the Corbett twins appeared in commercials, theater and films with such stars as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. They graduated from Burbank High School in 1949. They were dancers at Ken Murray's Blackouts. Jean was the cover girl for the 1955 opening of the Riveria Hotel, in Las Vegas. She is survived by her daughter, Lori Williams. Joan Corbett preceded her sister in death. A memorial service was held April 29 in Kauai. The Neptune Society, Kauai was in charge of the arrangements.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 07, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Mayonnaise, 1950s

Mystery Illustration 102

What type of publication is this dramatic illustration from? A true-crime magazine? A government report on urban violence? Publicity for a cop movie?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 07, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Photography and Photographers, 1970s, Weapons

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