Christmas celebrations are not all light and warm as we travel around the world.
Christmas in America is warm and fuzzy, stuffed with Santa, reindeer and helpful elves. We get little exposure to the more sinister, old-world European characters, a host of demonic bogeymen that have been adopted into the Christian tradition over time.
For this Into It I’ll try something a little different: instead covering one topic and moving on to the next, this week begins a four-part series on stock sounds and canned emotion.
Long before the luxury of recordings, stage performers created their own sounds to accompany productions. Copper sheets were struck to produce a crack of lightning. Blocks of wood, hand drums, whistles and other simple items could add believability or comedy.
Kellogg’s rushed Pop-Tarts onto the market in 1964, shortly after their competitor announcement a similar toaster snack release called Country Squares. Since then, the evolution of the Pop-Tart has been long and strange.
Pop-Tarts began simply, with a handful of flavors. Though they come wrapped in tinfoil and ready-to-eat, they’ve always been closely tied to the toaster. Pop-Tart’s first mascot was an animated toaster named Milton.
Given the infinite access we’re afforded to color, it’s hard to imagine the importance its been given throughout history and the passion that has gone into its hunt.
In the pursuit of vivid color, each region of the world tapped its own resources. In the Middle East, the semi-precious stone Lapis lazuli yielded a bright blue pigment, and in China, the deep red-orange pigment vermilion was derived from a common ore of mercury.
The violent pastime known as bull baiting entertained the wealthy and poor alike throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 19th century.
The spectacle took place in public rings, where a single bull stood tethered to a stake. With crowds gathered around and the bulls agitated, dog owners paid a fee to let their canine have a run at the bull.
Since the first simple arcade games were developed in the late sixties, the video arcade has fought a war of innovation and marketing with home gaming.
What’s called The Golden Age of arcades was sparked by the 1978 release of Space Invaders. The game was so successful, in fact, that it brought about a shortage of the 100-yen coins used in the Japanese machines.
In the following years, arcades were dominated by single player games like Pac-Man and other missions of skill, whether it was navigating the upward climb in Donkey Kong or scuttling across a busy road in Frogger.
The barber pole has come a long way to be stationed above old brick shops, to repeat and repeat its lonely spins. In fact, the barbers themselves have a strange past, their title once denoting a more taxing profession.
In the middle ages, if you required dentistry, surgery, fire cupping, or a session of leeching, you’d visit the barber-surgeon. It was hundreds of years before the roles we now know as doctors and barbers diverged completely.