Weird Universe Archive

February 2023

February 18, 2023

Short People

Randy Newman's strange hit song from 1977 consisted, at least in part, of "a prejudiced attack on short people" (as Wikipedia puts it).

Two stations in Boston refused to play the song because of a flood of calls and letters from listeners who thought it was insensitive. The 5-foot-7 station manager of both stations explained that children might begin to see themselves as "creepy little folks." . . .

Then there are those fans who, understanding their favorite artist's genius, have interpreted the song as being a satire on short-sighted people — spiritual midgets, you might say.




Lexington Herald - Jan 15, 1978

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 18, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Little People, Music, 1970s

Win a Pony!

Maybe this 1950s contest was the inspiration for the famous episode of THE SIMPSONS where Bart won an elephant.

A survey of newspaper records indicate the contest ran multiple times from 1952 to 1955. I wonder how many ponies were actually accepted and delivered?

But Roy and Dale could never cause any trouble, could they?







Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 18, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Television, Children, Cereal, Wild West and US Frontier

February 17, 2023

Miss America Gets a Permanent Wave

Norma Smallwood's victory in the 1926 Miss America contest was widely credited to her long, straight hair, which was widely admired. So it made news when she decided to get a permanent wave. It also made an unusual photo.

Standing with her, below, was Charles Nessler, inventor of the permanent wave machine. (More info about him here.)

I haven't been able to find any photos showing what she looked like after getting the permanent wave. In fact, in all the later photos her hair still seems very straight. Perhaps she didn't like the result.

source: Library of Congress



Pittsburgh Press - Oct 17, 1926



Minneapolis Journal - Oct 3, 1926

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 17, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: 1920s, Hair and Hairstyling

The Riddle of Today

The other ten tracks are here, but this is the best.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 17, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Music, 1960s

February 16, 2023

Using gnats to predict the weather

[Harry Boon] says that he can always tell what the weather outlook is going to be by watching the gnats and the birds. When the swallows fly low to catch the gnats, it means a heavy atmosphere and that rain is on the way. When the swallows fly high for the gnats, according to Harry, then the sun will shine all day. . .

Birds, insects, and reptiles provide a host of minor prophets, most of them with a gloomy message to proclaim. The noisy quacking of ducks and geese, the croaking of frogs, the loud singing of the missel-thrush, and the crawling of the toad across the road at dusk are one and all harbingers of rain.

The spider is the most interesting barometer. She prepares for wind by shortening the main filaments of her web. When these are unusually long, fine weather may be expected to last for 10 or 12 days. Very rarely is the web left alone for more than 24 hours. Complete cessation of work is said to be a sign of wet, but if activities are resumed during the rain it is an indication that the shower will not last long and will be followed by a spell of settled weather.

Nottingham Evening Post - July 23, 1956
click to enlarge

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 16, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Insects and Spiders, Weather

The Foreshadowed Death of Gloria Dickson

In 1943, actress Gloria Dickson had a sizable part in THE CRIME DOCTOR'S STRANGEST CASE.

The scene to focus on starts below at 44:23. Gloria is married to a man who's very careless with matches, even starting fires in bed. She remarks that she's been "almost cremated."

Two years later, Dickson would die in a domestic fire in her bedroom, apparently started by a stray match.

Newspaper clip source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) 11 Apr 1945, Wed Page 3



Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 16, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Domestic, Fate, Predetermination and Inevitability, Hollywood, Predictions, 1940s

February 15, 2023

To wives who leave their husbands at home…

Remember his "household helplessness."

See the recent post "How to live without a woman" for another example from the 1930s of male household helplessness (aka strategic incompetence).

Marysville Advocate - Aug 6, 1936

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 15, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Gender, Men, 1930s

February 14, 2023

Curing insane women by beauty treatments

I doubt this actually cured anyone, but as the article notes, it was certainly an improvement on the old way of treating mental illness.

None of the experts who have worked out these remarkable experiments in mental hygiene is particularly interested in the mere appearance of his patients. It is worth no money to the State of Illinois or to the County of Essex to make its insane wards look pretty. Were that the only object the beauty parlors would not be there. That they are there, and that other insane hospitals propose to install equivalents, is proof of the fact that the beauty parlor and what it stands for have definite value in aiding the cure of insanity. . .

Rouge, powder, lipsticks, eyebrow pencils and all the other implements of artificial beauty are provided, so that the women can make up to their heart's content, regardless of the somewhat weird results sometimes obtained... It is a part of the system to let the "customer" direct her own beautification as much as is possible.





Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph - July 14, 1929
Click to Enlarge

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 14, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, 1920s, Mental Health and Insanity

The Rigsby Electric Machinegun

Ahead of its time.






Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 14, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, 1930s, Weapons

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