Weird Universe Archive

December 2023

December 31, 2023

The Unhappy Mr. Happy Newyear

Happy Newyear was a carpenter who lived in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Technically his first name was 'Emil', but everyone, including his parents, had been calling him Happy since he was a child .

The media found out about his unusual name sometime in the early 1940s, and from that point on Newyear would be hounded by reporters every New Year.

Minneapolis Star - Dec 31, 1943



Brantford Expositor - Jan 4, 1947



At first he reluctantly played along with it all. In 1947, he and his wife even participated in a New Year's show in Toronto. But as the years went by, it's evident he had had enough. By the 1960s, when reporters were still seeking him out each year, he would simply close the door in their face.





Sioux City Journal - Jan 2, 1960



I think 'Happy' or 'Hap' must be a fairly common nickname among people whose last name is Newyear. A quick search of cemetery records found two Newyears with the nickname 'Hap': Francis "Hap" Newyear and Harold "Hap" Newyear.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 31, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Odd Names, New Year

Anthropomorphic Fels-Naptha Ads

Fels-Naptha Soap really went big on the living clothing and living soap box concept.







Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 31, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Domestic, Hygiene, Advertising, Twentieth Century

December 30, 2023

The science of shaking Christmas presents

Researchers at the University of Michigan have been studying people shaking boxes in order to shed light on "epistemic action understanding." Or rather, "Can one person tell, just by observing another person’s movements, what they are trying to learn?"

In other words, as you watch someone shake a box, can you figure out what information they're trying to gather about the contents of the box (i.e. the shape or quantity of things in it)?

More info: "Seeing and understanding epistemic actions"

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Science, Experiments, Psychology, Christmas

Atlantis in Hi-Fi

Why a stinker of a B-movie would have its soundtrack issued under a different title is a mystery best left to the ages. But it means you can enjoy some exotica tracks without watching the film. The embedded player is at the bottom of the post.









Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Movies, Music, Space-age Bachelor Pad & Exotic, Vinyl Albums and Other Media Recordings, 1950s

December 29, 2023

The Cockney Alphabet

The "Cockney alphabet" is usually attributed to the comedians Clapham and Dwyer. From wikipedia:

As part of their act in 1929, they originated the Cockney Alphabet, a humorous alphabet that replaces the letters of the alphabet with supposed "Cockney" phonetics, such as "A for ‘Orses" (Hay for Horses) and ending with "Z for Effect" (Said for Effect). They recorded the routine, as "A Surrealist Alphabet", in 1936.

But some believe that the alphabet predates Clapham and Dwyer, and that the duo just happened to popularize a version of it. And there are multiple variations of the alphabet in circulation. The version below comes from Walrus Talk (1954) by Douglas Woodruff.



The Sydney Morning Herald has a guide that decodes most of the phrases in the above version of the alphabet. Though a few of them remain totally cryptic to me.

A - Hay for Horses
B - Beef or Mutton
C - Seaforth Highlanders
D - Deferential
E - Eve or Adam
F - Effervescence
G - Chief of Police
H - Age before beauty
I - Ivor Novello
J - Jaffa oranges
K - Cafe for coffee??
L - Hell for leather
M - Emphasis
N - ???
O - O for the wings of a dove
P - Pee for a penny
Q - Queue for a picture
R - Half a mo'
S - ???
T - Tea for two
U - UFA films??
V - Viva La France
W - I'll double you for a shilling
X - Eggs for breakfast
Y - Wife or sweetheart
Z - See you

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 29, 2023 - Comments (7)
Category: Puns and Other Wordplay

The Vincent Price Art Collection at Sears



Read the whole story here.

Sears had commissioned famous actor and art collector, Vincent Price, to assemble a collection of art and gallery paintings that would be merchandised through its stores, making fine art more accessible to all Sears’ customers. They gave Price carte blanche to travel the world to put the collection together. After that first opening in Denver, the program was broadened with exhibits of art in ten additional Sears stores and after the first 1,500 pieces of art has been sold, it was expanded nationwide to all Sears stores. The program ended in 1971, but more than 50,000 original artworks had been sold during its time.




Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 29, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Celebrities, Hollywood, Retailing, 1960s

December 28, 2023

Doris Munday, the woman who controlled the weather

When she was in her forties, Doris Munday realized that she had the power to control the weather. All she had to do was look at a location on a map, visualize what kind of weather it needed, and then concentrate hard. The weather would obey her command.

Shepherds Bush Gazette - Oct 7, 1971



This power came with a cost. Controlling the weather would leave her feeling fatigued, and it also seemed to cause her bad luck. After she had sent rain somewhere, her washing machine might blow up, or someone would run into her car.

She also felt that she didn't get enough credit for her powers. She complained, "Everyone always says when the rain falls, 'Oh well, it is a coincidence isn't it', and I don't even get a thank you for my time and trouble."

Hounslow Middlesex Chronicle - Jan 26, 1973



Daily Mail - Jan 24, 1973



And on occasion she made mistakes. She once wanted to send rain to South Africa, but accidentally sent it to Rhodesia instead.

Hamilton Spectator - Jan 22, 1973



She confessed that she didn't know why her powers worked, they just did. She speculated, "I think I have stumbled on some kind of electrical force which is rarely known."

The Guardian - Dec 23, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 28, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Paranormal, Weather

December 27, 2023

Ziegfeld Coin Test

Life - Dec 13, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 27, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, ShowBiz, 1940s

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