Great aunt Kathleen was an automaton

How to Be a Retronaut reader Jimmy Anderson sent in photos and an account of his great aunt Kathleen, who toured the world hidden in the belly of an "automaton" exhibited by a showman called Professor Popjie. In the guise of the automaton, Jimmy's great aunt performed all manner of stunts (shaving a volunteer with a straight razor, flying a twin-prop plane), and eventually turned down a marriage proposal from the good professor.

Radiana, 1925 « HOW TO BE A RETRONAUT


  1. Someday, our kids will find out that the Honda Asimo robot and similar were just sophisticated hoaxes like this. Radiana was ahead of her time, but not like people thought.

  2. Click on “Robocop c. 1924” at the bottom of that page. Look at the lettering on the right. Tell me that’s not Comic Sans. Make it stop!

  3. Producer: Watch this. A.W.E.S.O.M-O, given the current trends of the movie going public, can you come up with an idea for a movie that will break $100 million box office?
    Cartman: [as A.W.E.S.O.M.-O] Um… Okay, how about this: Adam Sandler is like in love with some girl. But it turns out that the girl is actually a golden retriever or something.
    Mitch: Oh! Perfect!
    Executive: We’ll call it “Puppy Love”.
    Mitch: Give us another movie idea, A.W.E.S.O.M.-O.
    Cartman: Um… How about this: Adam Sandler inherits like, a billion dollars, but first he has to become a boxer or something.
    Mitch: “Punch Drunk Billionaire”.

  4. At least the Turk had elaborate moving parts. That thing looks like a kid’s paper-maché art project with a couple of arm holes cut in the front.

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