World’s Strangest

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11 Great Television Shows That Are Lost Forever

Much early television was broadcast live and never recorded. This included news and variety shows, of course, but also early dramas and comedy series. Even recorded shows have not been safe. Film recordings were disposed of, to clear storage space or make way for new equipment. Video—useful, but expensive—was frequently erased and re-used. Nobody back [...]

Lessons from America’s Greatest Prankster

Hoax master Alan Abel has been fooling reporters and hoodwinking the public for more than 50 years. Here, he reveals a few of his tricks. Most careers aren’t launched by the sight of a cow and a bull copulating in the middle of a road. But Alan Abel doesn’t have a typical gig. One day in [...]

Operation Eagle Claw: The Disastrous Rescue Attempt During the Iranian Hostage Crisis

© Mahmoudreza Kalari/Sygma/Corbis The Iranian Hostage Crisis, in which Iranian student revolutionaries held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, was an unprecedented act of state-sanctioned terrorism and a profound humiliation for the United States. In many ways “Operation Eagle Claw,” the ludicrously ambitious plan to rescue the hostages, was the nadir of the whole affair. Intended [...]

The Late Movies: Walter Cronkite’s Biggest News Stories

On this day in 1981, acclaimed broadcaster Walter Cronkite retired from anchoring the CBS Evening News. Throughout the course of his 19-year stint as “the most trusted man in America,” Cronkite brought breaking news into the homes of people across the country. Here are some of his biggest stories. JFK Assassination, 1963 Report From Vietnam, 1968 Martin Luther [...]

Happy 20th Birthday, Kazakhstan!

Kristina Postnikova / Shutterstock.com The largest country in Central Asia—it’s as big as all of Western Europe combined—turns 20 years old today, and to celebrate, here’s a list of ten random facts about everyone’s favorite Kazakh-speaking ‘Stan. 1. For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Borat, the fictional reporter invented by the English comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, [...]

The Quick 10: The Rest of Paul Harvey’s Story

Hello, Americans (and _flossy readers from everywhere else)! Two years ago today, Paul Harvey died at the age of 90, having been on the radio for over 70 years. For what it’s worth, here are ten interesting tidbits about the legend of radio. 1. He would want us to mention his name. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, [...]

The Origins of 8 Classic Board Games

Continuing our look at the history of board games, here are the histories of some more modern classic games, from backgammon to Scrabble to Hex. 1. Backgammon Other than chess – the history of which is well-covered elsewhere – the most enduring table game of the last few centuries is backgammon, also known as “tables” early in [...]

9 Things you probably don’t know about the Beatles

Today is 09/09/09, and you know what that means! The big Beatles Rock Band release. (GET IT? Number 9, number 9, number 9…) To get you in the mood, here are 9 rather obscure facts about those four lads from Liverpool that we bet you don’t know. (Nein?) 1. Before Lennon/McCartney there was McCartney/Lennon If you pick [...]

13 Bizarre Stipulations in Wills

News outlets reported this week that legendary broadcaster Walter Cronkite never amended his will to include Joanna Simon, who had been his girlfriend for the last four years of his life. Cronkite’s daughter said the newsman never planned to leave Simon, a former opera singer and older sister of Carly Simon, any sort of inheritance, [...]