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Beyond the Dark Veil – beautifully macabre collection of Victorian post-mortem photography

veil

Beyond the Dark Veil is a handsome new volume exploring a fascinating, now seemingly macabre death practice.

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Top 25 weirdest and most inappropriate children's books of all time

ice-cream

I have stacks of children's book, either because I loved them as a kid, bought them for my first two kids, or, as an illustrator, purchased them for the inspiring art.

And now, I'm restocking for our newborn son Aiden.

But once in awhile I'll stumble across something that'll just make me just scratch my head. As in, "What the f**k were they thinking?!" And since I also love to share, here are some highlights ...for you!

Many are just plain crazy, a few have double entendres that might not have been intended, many suffer because innocent words have had a change of meaning over the years, or it could be I'm just snickering because I have a dirty mind.

There also might be a smidgen of sophisticated humor in the selections that follow, but most of the guffaws and titters will fall smack dab in the juvenile category. "Titters"! Hee hee hee!

There are a lot of "funny" children's book cover floating around the internet, but often they've just been photoshopped creations (I'd love to believe that "My Big Book of Pretty Pussies" is real)

So, if I don't actually have a physical copy in my hands, it won't make the cut. As for it being "The Top 25," keep checking back, I'm sure at some point I'll be up to 100!

Top 25 weirdest and most inappropriate children's books of all time

1893 solution to bicycle-chasing dogs


From The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, August 1893.

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Model for a “Creeping Baby Doll” patented in 1871

What child wouldn't want to be surprised by this adorable wax-headed baby doll crawling out from under their bed at 2am?

Creeping Baby Doll (Via Pickover)

The greatest toy ever made


There are too many awesome things about this to count. (Via Arcane Images)

We Have No Names

Buy And Name Us.

An awesome 1917 patent for adding dialogue to silent movies

Charles F. Pidgin came up with a great idea - a coiled paper tube with words printed on it. When actors in a silent movie needed to deliver a line of dialog, they simply blew on the tube to inflate it and show the words. Too bad all movies aren't made this way.

The Non-Talking Talkie--Soundless Talking Pictures (1917) and the Beauty of Timelessly Bad Ideas

40 outrageously offensive vintage ads

Most of the vintage ads in this Collectors Weekly round-up were designed to shame women into buying a product that would make them more attractive to their mate. The Mad Man-era ad above was designed to assure Eastern Airlines passengers that they wouldn't be served by "loser" stewardesses.

Selling Shame

The Joker goes surfing

Magic Transistor is an excellent online radio station with a cool photo Tumblr, which is where I saw this picture of The Joker posing with a custom surfboard. Why isn't he laughing hysterically?

Radio Man walks, talks, and yodels

It yodels because it is a Swiss radio man. (Via Magic Transistor)

The Real Mermaids of San Marcos, Texas

Ben Marks say: "When Collectors Weekly writer and producer Hunter Oatman-Stanford was growing up in Austin, Texas, one of his favorite places to go as a kid was Aquarena Springs in nearby San Marcos. Though the attraction boasted an alligator pit, Ralph the Swimming Pig (famous, of course, for his 'swine dive'), and an aerial gondola ride, the biggest lure was the mermaid show, in which swimmers would perform dance moves and tricks, like eating or drinking underwater, while viewers watched through thick glass windows.

"Turns out, Hunter's great-aunt, Sue Cregg, had been an aquamaid, as the performers were called, in the 1960s. So, for his article on Aquarena Springs, Hunter spoke to Cregg, as well as Peggy Sparks, who got her start at the amusement park in the 1950s. Cregg and Sparks explain what it was really like to be a mermaid, from the cold temperatures they endured in the water to the balls of frozen dog food they'd prepare to feed to the fish they swam with as part of the act."

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Wegee photo of a man about to be executed wearing a hood with a Westinghouse logo on it

This execution brought to you by Westinghouse? I'd have guessed that Thomas "DC current is safer" Edison was behind it, but this fellow is in the gas chamber, not on an electric chair.

From the Getty Images description: circa 1945: An American prisoner, sentenced to death, is strapped into a chair in the gas chamber. The black hood carries a Westinghouse Electric Company logo.

See full image here

Gallery of "terrifying beauty treatments"

Anorak has a gallery of creepy "20th Century contraptions designed to make you the belle of the ball."

Strange Medicine, by Nathan Belofsky: exclusive excerpt

In Ancient Egypt, doctors applied electric eels to patients with migraines. In the medieval times dentists burned candles into patients’ mouths to kill off those pesky invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.

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Vintage plaster and chalk nude statuettes

Deanna of Kitsch-Slapped takes us on a tour of vintage plaster and chalk nude statuettes.

[Some] vintage plaster or chalkware figurines have little fabric skirts or loincloths, which may come on as modest cover-up... Surprise, these vintage pieces show the genitalia! Aren’t you just dying to flip the grass skirt made of string aside on this vintage piece by what appears to be Ferguson Studios?

Odd and inappropriate Valentine's cards of yesteryear

Here's a small sampling of artist Mitch O'Connell's fabulous Valentine's card collection gallery. (These are real cards, not something Mitch made up.)

Just in time to send to your Valentine sweetheart, a huge selection of the offbeat, odd, perplexing, inappropriate, outlandish, bizarre, sexist, eccentric and far-out funny cards, all collected in one place ...for YOU (with love)!

Subject matter includes anger issues, from punching, stabbing, shooting your loved one to running them over with your car. "A woman's place is in the home" themes with pots 'n pans, brooms and dust pans expressing how your heart beats for them. "Find the hidden penis" is a M.O'C Blog Valentine favorite with suggestively placed rulers, logs, bananas, balloons, rocket ships, and hot dogs showing how you really, REALLY feel!

Unintentionally Hilarious Vintage Valentine's Day Cards! See the top 100 Risque, Rude and Sexy examples of all time!

Mitch also has a new art book -- Mitch O'Connell, the World's Best Artist by Mitch O'Connell! Look for an exclusive preview soon on Boing Boing. It's available for pre-order on Amazon, or directly from Mitch's site.

What is this bizarre Indian "health gadget" from 1950s Bombay?

Crate-digging for old records on eBay, my brother found this bizarre health gadget identified as having been produced in Bombay in the 1950s. The seller writes:

Very rare and old Twin Transilluminator in Box from India 1950 in good condition. Its medical Instrument for sinuses and Eye therapy. Its made of steel and backlit. its electrical. on box has some description and photos about how to use this Instrument. Its rare and unique medical Instrument and must for medical instruments collectors. The size of box is 9 inch in length, and its width is 5 inch.

What the heck is the history behind this gizmo? More photos below.

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Then 'Lady Life Guards' of 1940s Brooklyn

The New York Times' City Room blog explores “Lady Life Guards,” an "oddly racy newsreel" made around 1940 about female lifeguards on a beach in Brooklyn. The video made the rounds on blogs this week after being featured on blog Sheepshead Bites. The Times' Andy Newman describes it as "a gently leering 10-minute tour de force of visual double-entendre and soul-stirring call-of-duty gee-whiz."

The film was uploaded to YouTube last week by a user who found it in the Library of Congress’s Prelinger Archive at archive.org.

(thanks, Michael Roston!)

Chicken hotdogs and garters for boys who want to be manly


Two fine pieces of vintage ephemera from Mostly Forbidden Zone: A hotdog with the head of a chicken, and one heck of a manly garter for boys.

Creepers gotta creep — for science

In 1938, researchers at Bryn Mawr College published a paper on Egocentricity in Adult Conversations. In order to accurately record the pattern and content of conversations as they happened in real life, the researchers used several methods that would be considered ... sketchy ... today. Among them: Hiding underneath female college students' dorm beds.

Great moments in pulp fiction: "Lady, That's My Skull"

Cover scan link.

John Elmslie of Toronto shares this in the Boing Boing Flickr pool and writes,

Vintage paperback. "A Harlequin Book", Toronto, 1951. So Harlequin was publishing more than romances in 1951. The original paperback book is quite faded looking. The scanner pepped it up quite well, even though I hadn't asked it to. I'll have to look into that. :)

Aelita, Queen of Mars: Soviet Science Fiction film from 1924

In vintage ad archivist Paul Malon's excellent Flickr stream, I stumbled on this beautiful Soviet film poster for a film titled "Aelita."

A quick Googling revealed that this was for the motion picture Aelita, Queen of Mars, which Wikipedia describes as "a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924 (...) based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel of the same name."

Some describe it as the USSR's first sci-fi flick. Archive.org has the entire 80-minute film available for online viewing here, though the quality isn't great. It's also on YouTube, and here's part one.

You can also buy it in higher quality on Amazon, and here's their review:

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1960 election day comics


Ethan Persoff put together a funny/scary set of Election Day Comics from 1960. Make sure the "dumb blonde" in the office doesn't take your vote today!

In the year 2000

Illustration from a 1960 Cinzano ad, shared on Flickr by photographer and vintage ad aficionado Paul Malon of Toronto. His collection is extensive and excellent.

Autumn: Spaghetti-harvest time

Some astute commenters in the Ukelele String Harvest video thread pointed out that this recent video is basically a re-creation/riff on this earlier, classic weird video, from a 1957 BBC show called "Panorama." From the Alexandra Palace Television Society, here's the whole story:

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Illustration from a vintage issue of OCD Monthly magazine


Have you been saving your milk cartons?

(Via Phil Are Go!)

Find out what fun a train can be

PhilAreGo happened upon this brochure for the Santa Fe Railway, and offered the following interpretation os the scenario depicted on the cover.

Wow! Get a load of them eyebrows! The two guys look like they're hoping to get her alone for some wicked doings, but she looks downright carnivorous herself. The standing man looks like he's dropping something into the drink of the seated man. All the while, the lady is staring at the chest of the pill-dropping man, where she knows that mere inches away, beats his juicy, delicious heart. I find it hard to have any sympathy for whatever happens to these three in the next few hours.

Phil then shows what the illustration would look like by retouching the eyebrows, making them lighter and then even heavier.

Santa Fe - Ride on the evil train

Creepy vintage novelties (photo gallery)


A couple of weekends ago I took my 15-year-old daughter to the fabulous Farmers Market in Los Angeles. It isn't a typical farmers market. It was established in 1934 at the corner of Third and Fairfax, and over the years it has grown into a charming, bustling cluster of shops and restaurants. It has a great toy store, a bunch of really good restaurants, produce stands, butchers, home made ice cream shops, nut vendors, florists, barbers, shoe shine stands, and other specialty shops. It's got a distinctly old school feel, and thankfully has not been modernized. The whole place is covered so you can walk around in the rain or the blistering sun. It's one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.

Sarina and I had a great time visiting the Shine Gallery there, a place that sells vintage memorabilia. Somehow they are able to get their hands on large quantities unused novelties, magic tricks, and other ephemera. My overall impression from visting the shop was that people in those days had a nasty sense of humor. Here are a few of the things we came across there:


These plastic cigarette cases have passive aggressive messages printed on them, such as "Take one you cheap skate," and "Leave one for me! Chiseler."

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Worst fight scene ever? More like BEST fight scene ever. (video)

[Video Link] Continuing in our Turksploitation theme, a spectacularly awful fight scene from the Turkish film "Death Warrior." Previously: worst death scene ever. (thanks, Michelle Strait, via internalbleeding)