Boing Boing 

Photo collection features old-timey Happy Mutants


Scroll through this set of black and white photos and you will find that our Great-Grandparents' generation was perfectly capable of letting their freak flags fly when they wanted. It starts off slow, with a stained mattress. But before long there's bear wrestling, toddlers smoking, comic misuse of med-school skeletons, and, well, this guy right here.

Wonder Woman, Amazon Baby Sitter!


1957 was the highwater mark for entertainment about superheroes who raised young dinosaurs like their own children.

Read the complete story at Grantbridge Street

Eva Braun and the Furries

Ben Cosgrove at LIFE Magazine writes, "Recently released photographs -- all of them rare, some of them unseen for decades -- from Eva Braun's personal photo albums provide a window into an era and a culture that feels light years away, and creepily, even intimately familiar."

The one where she's doing Urdhva Dhanurasana nazi yoga by the lake near Hitler's mountaintop hideaway freaks me out. And the one where she's in blackface as Al Jolson. And then there's this one with a dude in a bear suit, 1935.

Here's the complete photo gallery (in Flash, alas).

(Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images, courtesy LIFE)

Victorian-era human anatomical "CAT scans," 1872

Our friends at Bibliodyssey spotted this wonderful collection of anatomical drawings from the University of Leipzig in the late 19th century, reminiscent of high resolution medical imaging of today.

Should The Leather Man, 19th-c. proto-hobo of New York, be exhumed?

From The New Haven Register:

The Leather Man lived the simplest of lives in the mid- to late 1800s, walking the countryside in a set pattern through parts of Connecticut and New York, sleeping in caves, saying very little, living off the land and, later, eating through the kindness of strangers. He became a folk hero, as much for the mystery of his past as for the uniqueness of his lifestyle and personality.
122 years after his death, the Leather Man is at the center of a controversy: historians want to dig his remains up from a cemetery in Ossining, N.Y., because of the site's "dangerous proximity" to a busy road, and because they want to perform forensic tests, due to his historical significance.

A local middle school history teacher, Don Johnson, wants them to He "uses the life of the Leather Man to teach students about prejudice, bullying, harassment, stereotyping and recycling." There's even a Facebook page for those who want to leave his grave undisturbed.

(via BB Submitterator, thanks Jack)

The Legend of Zelda: the 80s teen movie

Truly, words can not justify what you are about to witness, but I'll give it a whack anyway: A brilliant mashup trailer of 80s teen movie moments all smoothly tied together into a video game character love story. You're going to nostalgia so hard, you have no idea.

The details make it. And it's weighted down with them. Enjoy!

[Video link] Thanks for making me cry tears of joy, Dannel!

Anti-pest device charges unwelcome visitors a dime to ring doorbell

dime doorbell deters salespeople.jpg
Here's another anti-pest doorbell like the one I posted about in 2006. The bell will not ring unless a dime is inserted into the slot.

(Thanks Felipe Li!)

Create Your Own Giant 7 Foot Tall Walking Flashing Monster Robot


"It acts just like a creature from outer space." (Via Mostly Forbidden Zone)

The Donkey Show: Tijuana ephemera


Opening tonight at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA) at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA: The Donkey Show, which "explores the border's intersection of myth and reality through a blend of over 200 rare tourist photographs, vintage nightlife ephemera, and pop songs born of American myths of Tijuana." The exhibition is guest-curated by cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian Jim Heimann and author and music critic Josh Kun.

For those of you in the Los Angeles area, the show's opening tonight. On Wednesday, Jan 26, the co-curators will be hosting a conversation about the show from 7-8 pm at nearby Track 16 Gallery, with a party featuring Nortec Collective artist DJ Clorofila from 8-10. Should be great fun.

How American farmers avoided data charges in the telegraph days

At the New York Farmers Museum blog, a fun post on how rural folks attempted to reduce data charges in 1906 with "telegraph ciphers," shorthand codes to replace longer, commonly typed words and phrases. These, my children, are the LOLs and WTFs of our farming ancestors. (via Submitterator, thanks Paul Coleman)

President Lyndon B. Johnson orders trousers, uses the word "bunghole"

[Video Link]

Proud moments in internet history: today's episode of "Put This On," a haberdashtastic podcast by Jesse Thorn and friends about dressing like an adult, in which a former United States president is heard using the word "bunghole."

Housewife's LSD trip, 1956: Harvard Psychedelic Club

[Video Link]

Over at Huffington Post, author Don Lattin posts this wonderful archival video clip, and explains:

Here's some rare footage of an experimental LSD session that I came across doing research for my next book, a group biography of British writer Aldous Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard, and Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's from a television program, circa 1956, about mental health issues. The researcher, Dr. Sidney Cohen, was dosing volunteers at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles
Go read the rest of the post. I love the part where the subject is having a transcendental realization, and a lab-coated Cohen asks her if she felt like she felt like there were no "inside," if she felt like she were instead one with everything. She replies, more or less, "well I would be if you weren't here."

Then, as she descends further: "Everything is alive. This is reality. I wish you could see it. I wish I could talk in technicolor."

Don Lattin's book: "The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America"

(via @BumbleWard via David Carr)

Unusual "safety certificate" from the 1940s


Christine of Feetlips writes: "This sits on top of my vanity. I found it at a flea market a few years ago, asked the guy how much he wanted, and he breathed, 'Just take it. Don't show it to my wife.'"

Safety Certificate

Cute French-speaking kids try to make sense of gaming technology from the 1980s

[Video Link]. Not sure who produced this, but it's super cute and it's making the rounds. [via Flavorwire, also seen on MeFi, Le Monde, Cyberpresse]

(thanks, Russ Marshalek)

Elderly gentleman wants to give away reproductions of 1839 atlas (UPDATED)


UPDATE, 01-07-2011: From Jeff Jardine, the Modesto Bee writer behind this story: "Mr. Vogelzang called this morning to say they're all gone."

87-year-old Pete Vogelzang had reproductions made of a family heirloom, an 1839 edition of "Mitchell's School Atlas." He paid for them some time ago at his own expense, and has 350 copies remaining. He wants to give them to museums, schools and educators.

Sure would be neat if a Boing Boing reader at one such institution were to acquire one, then scan it so the whole world could access it online!

"I just want to see if I can move these things before I die," he says. "I don't want them to end up on the trash heap."

The atlas shows the world as it was just 36 years after the Louisiana Purchase, three years after the Battle of the Alamo, 11 years before California became a state and 22 years before the Civil War began. Most of the southern half of Africa was "Ethiopia, the Unexplored Region," and South Africa was the "Cape Colony." Austria took up most of eastern Europe.

Full story at the Modesto Bee, with more photos of the beautiful old book and the man who wants to preserve it. (Photo: Modesto Bee, Bartah You.)

(Via BB Submitterator, thanks Edie Howe)

Mars Attacks: scanned Flickr set of original, vintage cards


BB reader fergus1948 says,

My friend Keith Bates has uploaded a lovely set of scans of his original full set of Mars Attacks bubble gum cards from 1962, purchased in Liverpool UK when he was a lad. They look particularly great as a slideshow.


Memorex + AC/DC (Boing Boing Flickr Pool)


Photograph contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader Ken Fager (website) of Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Bikini models photographed by young chimpanzee in a kimono

Having fun in 1963. (Via Where is My Mind?)

Bill Murray anti-tech rant: robots, digital watches, talking cars, 1982

Raw footage from "Wired In," a never-completed series on the technological trends and innovations of the early 1980s. Here is unedited tape of Bill Murray doing takes for a promo, shot in NYC. He rants about technology.

• "People have hands... Watches should have hands."
• "Who in the hell is thinkin' up this stuff? High tech stuff."
• "I don't mind robots. I mean, R2D2 was alright. He was a fine actor."

[Video Link, and longer version here]

(Via Submitterator, thanks gorfulator)

BBC Engineering Monographs from 1950s and '60s: Once 5 Shillings, Now Free


The legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop closed down in 1998, after 40 years. 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2008, and a just-published book by academic Louis Niebur, titled Special Sound (Oxford), have helped to secure the Workshop's legacy of sonic experimentation, notably the efforts of such figures as Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram, and the creation of the theme song and sci-fi sound design for Doctor Who -- not to mention work on Quatermass serials and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

While I was finishing up a review of the Niebur book, a friend introduced me to the following. Over at the BBC website, there is a treasure trove of old technical monographs from the Radiophonic's heyday. The documents, packed with technical diagrams and detailed descriptions of BBC procedures, date back to the 1950s.

These include, for Radiophonic fans, a great one from November 1963. The monograph series deals with various aspects of the BBC's operations, but this specific one (number 51) is 21 pages long and is entirely dedicated to the Radiophonic Workshop. It cost five shillings upon release, but is available for free download these days. The above image, from Monograph 51, shows a "keying unit" that was rigged up in the studio:

Read the rest

Wax Cylinder: Occult Sonic Technology of a Bygone Age, Good as New

(Photo: Thomas Adank, courtesy Touch)

Move over, cassette-tape and 8-track reanimators. There's a far older—and arguably more beautiful—retro-tech sonic fetish object in town: the wax cylinder.

The original tech dates from the late 1870s, when serial tinkerer Thomas Edison was at the prime of his powers, having installed himself in his famed Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory.

The device has been revived by Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Michael Esposito, who have released a brand new cylinder, titled The Ghosts of Effingham, as noted on the website of the publisher Touch this past weekend. Effingham has been released by Ash International, a hub of experimental sound whose splendid motto is "R&D not A&R." Oh, and just to one-up Edison, the Effingham cylinder glows in the dark.

Read the rest

Rootkit, 1977 (Boing Boing Flickr Pool)


Photos contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader Exakta, who says, "I knew that I had to shoot a picture of this when I found it at Salvation Army in Ithaca, NY. It's from 1967 1977, so it's not meant to run on any current platform and as far as I can tell, Sony Corporation is not involved with its production or distribution."


US Navy's '70s "Schoolhouse Rock" for Syphilis: Vampire Count Spirochette

Video Link. Wired's Danger Room has the backstory on this ultra-weird cautionary video produced by the Navy in the 1970s to warn troops against the dangers of syphilis.

Kentucky Fried Chicken corporate training rap from 1987 on how to make "Chicken Littles"


This 1987 KFC corporate training flexi-disc blogged by Derek over at Glorious Noise features an embarassingly dated "hip-hop" tutorial on how to prepare Chicken Littles and shoestring fries. I believe that when the rapping gentleman refers to a "golden shower" (I think?) being part of the frying process, he means hot, bubbling liquid transfat. But with KFC, one never knows.

Also: Is it just me, or does part of the chord structure remind you of the theme song for Twin Peaks?

The Colonel and the Gang - "Costs Just a Little, Love 'Em A Lot" from the Chicken Littles Greatest Hits flexi-disc. Direct link to MP3 is here, but you gotta read this guy's story.
(via BB Submitterator, thanks, Jake B!)

Mechanical Calculating Device (Boing Boing Flickr Pool)


"Mechanical Calculating Device," a photo contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader sicsnewton, in Flagstaff Arizona.

Random Internet Guy's dorky 8mm animated home movies from the '80s are delightful

[Video Link, lots more at YouTube Channel]

BB reader Yuri Duncan shares the video above with us, and says,

It was the 80s! Armed with my 8mm, Spencer Sundell and Matt Shaver and I made our own (mostly) claymation movies. Recently re-discovered in a farmhouse in Indiana, now available in their flickerous glory. The Snake Trilogy, The Prehistoric Mouth, Journey to the End of the Universe, and Treasure of the Earth Giant are waiting for you!
(Via BB Submitterator)

Pulp sci-fi book covers, scanned daily



Via the BB Submitterator, Boing Boing reader calebkraft says, "I was given several large containers of pulp Sci-Fi publications from the 50s-70s. I've been scanning them and posting at least one a day to the pulp archive. The art is fantastic!"

No kidding. My favorite, among the ones posted so far, is above. Analog, September 1968, Vol. LXXXII, No. 1.

It looks like Analog had a decent budget for art. Their cover paintings are usually fairly detailed and high quality. I'm not really sure what is going on here, but the fantasy fan of me approves of giant marmots that play horn instruments.


Soviet proto-Photoshop ca. 1987

Via the BB Submitterator, Boing Boing reader Yenisei says,

Three years before Photoshop 1.0, Soviet computer engineers were already retouching old, damaged images using this amazing piece of technology. Rotary scanner! Magnetic tape! Trackball! "Z for zoom"! And, of course, Didier Marouani, the hippest electronic music available in the USSR at the time.
Video Link: Советский Ñ„оÑ‚ошоп - круче!

I am governor Jerry Brown / My aura smiles and never frowns

The suede denim secret police are coming for your uncool niece.

California Über Alles, performed by the Dead Kennedys at the Mabuhay Gardens in 1979. The song was written during Governor Jerry Brown's last session as governor of California, when he was the youngest Californian elected to the post.

Exit polls tonight show that he will now return, and become the oldest Californian ever elected as governor. In so doing, he defeats GOP candidate Meg Whitman.

As an aside, why do people always identify Whitman as former eBay chief, and totally overlook her past position as the head of Mr. Potato Head?

Song warning about STDs is catchy, somewhat counterproductive

Meant to be a reminder that being "nice" or "healthy looking" doesn't mean you're immune to the likes of syphilis and gonorrhea, this 1969 public service video ends up making VD look kind of appealing. Like, maybe it's a new kind of soda that will represent our generation and help us spread world peace. Or, perhaps, an option available on the new VW Beetle.

Submitterated by edinblack