The Retrospectors

By The Retrospectors

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 Aug 8, 2021

Description

What happened on this day in history? Curious moments curated each weekday by Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina and Arion McNicoll. It's history, but not as you know it.



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Episode Date
On This Day: America's Transgender Celebrity
10:04

Christine Jorgensen began gender reassignment surgery in Copenhagen on 24th September 1951. The New York Daily News later heralded the event with a headline splash - “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty!” - thereby creating America's first transgender celebrity.


Writing to friends, she said: “As you can see by the enclosed photos, taken just before the operation, I have changed a great deal. But it is the other changes that are so much more important. Remember the shy, miserable person who left America? Well, that person is no more and, as you can see, I’m in marvellous spirits.”


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how surprisingly tolerant her parents and much of the media were; how she was strong-armed into showbiz but used the notoriety to campaign for trans rights; and reveal that - amongst her many memoirs - she also penned a Scandinavian cookbook...


Further Reading:

• ‘Christine Jorgensen – Queer Icon’ (Queer Icons, 2020): https://queericons.home.blog/2020/02/27/christine-jorgensen/

• ‘The Hour Magazine with Gary Collins: guest Christine Jorgensen’ (1980s): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDlGUeF1Bg0

• ‘Dec. 1, 1952: Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty’ (WIRED, 2010): https://www.wired.com/2010/12/1201first-sex-change-surgery/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 24, 2021
On This Day: See Facts? Ceefax!
10:25

The BBC’s teletext information service, Ceefax, launched on 23rd September, 1974 - providing the British public with a way to look up headlines, football results and TV listings, some twenty years before the launch of Internet Explorer.


Countless National Lottery winners discovered their victories via the analogue service, which was discontinued in 2012. To this day, devotees still share ancient samples of it by uploading old VHS tapes to the web.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why teletext never caught on in France; revisit the 1,445-episode ‘soap opera’ ITV Oracle ran on its rival service; and play a Teletext-style Bamboozle quiz of their very own… 


Further Reading:

• ‘The Editors: Goodbye Ceefax’ (BBC, 2012): https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2012/10/goodbye_ceefax.html

• ‘Minitel: The Old New Thing’ (WIRED, 2001): https://www.wired.com/2001/04/minitel-the-old-new-thing/

• ‘Pages from Ceefax - Three and a half hours of outdated news, sport and weather’ (No Data Available, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU8P5G-GM_g


We had EVEN MORE to say about this internet 0.1, including the underwhelming Ceefax competition prizes on offer in the 1970s, the impact the BBC's teletext service had on the development of the TV remote control, and how to research cinema listings for the St George’s Centre Harrow in 1995. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!


*top two tiers only


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 23, 2021
On This Day: The All-Female Jury
10:18

Witchcraft and infanticide were the charges levelled against young maidservant Judith Catchpole at the General Provincial Court in Patuxent County, Maryland on September 22nd, 1656. Since the case hinged on whether she had been pregnant, an all-female jury was assembled - the first in colonial America.


Seven married women and four single women physically examined her - and found her not guilty of the crimes. Which were pretty obviously B.S.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly uncover the first and only instance of men being excluded from a jury in England; consider the views of the New York judge in the 1920s, who warned of fainting fits and emotional outbursts if women were permitted as potential jurors; and ask whether men or women are more likely to be swayed by sexy witnesses...


Further Reading:

• ‘Judith Catchpole Trial: 1656’ (Encyclopedia.com): https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/law-magazines/judith-catchpole-trial-1656

• ‘OUR JURY SYSTEM AGAIN UNDER FIRE; One Judge Calls Verdicts of "Twelve Good Men And True"’ (New York Times, 1927):

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1927/07/24/95455867.html

• ‘What is JURY OF MATRONS?’ (The Audiopedia, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr6wc4ZRXHs&t=30s


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 22, 2021
On This Day: ‘The Cod War’ Heats Up
10:12

‘The Fish Feud!’ - as the tabloids originally termed the standoff between Britain and Iceland over fishing rights - had escalated into a fully-fledged ‘Cod War’ by 21st September, 1958, when the destroyer H.M.S. Diana requested medical assistance for a Marine suffering appendicitis.


The dispute arose when Iceland had unilaterally extended its fishing zone from 4 to 12 nautical miles. For centuries prior to this, boundaries were calculated via the ‘canon shot rule’ - i.e. the distance a canon could be fired from the shore.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why Iceland was having a jingoistic moment; reveal how the Soviets intervened to disrupt Britain’s defense strategy; and explain how the humble battered sausage came to the rescue for the UK’s chip shops…


Further Reading:

• ‘Iceland v Britain: the cod wars begin’ (The Guardian, 1958): 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/from-the-archive-blog/2018/sep/07/first-cod-war-iceland-britain-fish-1958

• ‘How Iceland Beat the British in the Four Cod Wars’ (Atlas Obscura, 2018): https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-were-cod-wars

• ‘Storyville: Cod Wars’ (BBC, 2002): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsOytZMRXo0


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 21, 2021
On This Day: Fonzie Jumps The Shark
10:19

Henry Winkler, an accomplished water-skier, had asked the producers of ‘Happy Days’ if he could showcase his skills on the sitcom. On 20th September, 1977 his wish came true - in a shark-jumping sequence so absurd it would forever be linked with the irreversible artistic decline of long-running TV series.


To ‘Jump the Shark’ was a phrase coined some eight years later by college roommates Sean Connolly and Jon Hein, and has since inspired other pop culture idioms including ‘growing the beard’ (a TV show that gets better with age) and ‘nuking the fridge’ (a ‘jump the shark’ for movie franchises, named after Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull).


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal Winkler’s star power as the top turn on Happy Days, and explain why Robin Williams’ appearance in the show *wasn’t* a dream. Do they say ‘eeeeeeeeeeey’ a lot? Exactamundo!


Further Reading:

• Fonzie ‘Jumps the Shark’ (Happy Days, 1977): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk_y_r5cXZs

• ‘’Jumping the Shark’, ‘Fridging the Girlfriend’ and 8 Other Pop Culture Idioms Explained’ (Funk's House of Geekery, 2016):

https://houseofgeekery.com/2016/07/11/jumping-the-shark-fridging-the-girlfriend-and-8-other-pop-culture-idioms-explained/

• ‘Jumping the Shark: 10 Great TV Shows That Took a Turn for the Worse’ (Rolling Stone, 2014): https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-lists/jumping-the-shark-10-great-tv-shows-that-took-a-turn-for-the-worse-156728/dexter-35323/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.




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Sep 20, 2021
On This Day: The Bermuda Triangle Theory
10:18

Why were multiple ships and planes lost in the section of the Atlantic between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda? Journalist Edward van Winkle-Jones first floated the idea of ‘the Bermuda Triangle’ - although he didn’t call it that - in an article for the Miami Herald on 17th September, 1950.


The speculation that ensued inspired a lively industry in conspiracies, myths and tall tales that remains to this day, but the association with that area being dangerous dates back almost 500 years - when no less a figure than Christopher Columbus reported seeing a giant flame crashing into the sea there.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly ask whether the area’s proximity to the USA has prolonged its notoriety; consider the role of aliens in its maritime history (yes. ALIENS); and discover whether the Bermuda Triangle is actually any more treacherous than any other stretch of deep water… 


Further Reading:

• ‘Sea's Puzzles Still Baffle Men In Pushbutton Age’ (Miami Herald, 1950): https://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/BermudaTriangle/evwjones.html

• ‘Where is the Bermuda Triangle, what is it, why do planes go missing there and what are the conspiracy theories?’ (The Sun, 2018): https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2021520/bermuda-triangle-ships-planes-conspiracy-theories/

• ‘Bermuda Triangle: what happened to Flight 19?’ (BBC, 2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfsQBeXWktU


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Sep 17, 2021
On This Day: The First Student Newspaper
10:27

The Cornell Daily Sun - the oldest continuously independent college daily newspaper in the United States - published its first issue on 16th September, 1880. It featured some campus sports reports, some horrible amateur poetry, and even some jokes.


It wasn’t until seven years later that a British University caught up with its own equivalent: The Student, at Edinburgh University; although it did have celebrity founder Robert Louis Stevenson up its sleeve.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the difference between UK and US student journalism; speak to the Sun’s current Editor about how she can possibly do her degree at the same time as running a daily paper; and discover what an Autophone was...


Further Reading:

• ‘About The Sun’ (The Cornell Daily Sun):

https://cornellsun.com/about/

• ‘About The Student’ (Edinburgh Student Newspaper): https://studentnewspaper.org/about

• ‘The Cornell Daily Sun: A Documentary: Part 4 (Oliver Bundy, 2007): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIucgSBrWKk


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 16, 2021
On This Day: Rebirth of the MINI
10:04

BMW unveiled its redesigned MINI for the first time on 15th September, 1997; the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Its predecessor had been in production for 41 years.


Reborn as a ‘city’ car, rather than a micro compact, and with Union flags painted on its roof, this was the moment the iconic brand became seen as cheeky, sporty and British - but not, actually, especially small. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the MINI has its roots in the Suez Crisis; ask why the similar VW Beetle reboot was discontinued in 2019; and reveal how many people can officially squeeze into a ‘new’ Mini...


Further Reading:

• ‘ROVER SHOWS NEW MINI; LAUNCH IS 2000’ (Automotive News Europe, 1997): https://europe.autonews.com/article/19970915/ANE/709150811/rover-shows-new-mini-launch-is-2000

• How the BBC covered the launch (1997): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is-9aI7utFQ&t=112s

• ‘The history of the Mini in pictures’ (Daily Telegraph, 2013): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/10457166/The-history-of-the-Mini-in-pictures.html?frame=2737732


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 15, 2021
On This Day: Oh Say, Can You See?
9:47

‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is now well-known as the USA’s national anthem - but when Francis Scott Key wrote the words on 14th September, 1814, it was merely the latest in a series of patriotic poems he’d penned; this one concerning the British assault on the coastal fortification of Fort McHenry.


It was only when - bizarrely - it was set to the tune of an old English drinking song, ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’, that it began to gain traction - and another 119 years before it became the nation’s official ‘choon.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly learn what a ‘contrafactum’ is; explore why the US national anthem is so notoriously tricky to sing; and question what meaning ‘the land of the free’ held for Baltimore’s enslaved Africans… 


Further Reading:

• ‘Francis Scott Key - National Anthem, War of 1812 & Facts’ (Biography, 2021): https://www.biography.com/writer/francis-scott-key

• ‘To Anacreon In Heaven’ (Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine):

https://www.nps.gov/fomc/learn/historyculture/to-anacreon-in-heaven.htm

• ‘Top 10 American National Anthem Performance Fails’ (Watch Mojo, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XffxvV1PAEI


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 14, 2021
On This Day: I’mma Let You Finish
10:19

Kanye West was ejected from Radio City Music Hall at the MTV VMAs on 13th September, 2009, after drunkenly interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video.


Distraught that the country star’s ‘You Belong To Me’ video has beaten Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ to the trophy, he memorably proclaimed: “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!”


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly examine whether this viral moment was ultimately harmful or beneficial to both stars’ careers; highlight how the fracas accelerated Twitter’s adoption by the mainstream media; and ask whether - after all these years - Kanye was right… 


Further Reading:

• ‘How the Taylor Swift-Kanye West VMAs scandal became a perfect American morality tale’ (Vox, 2019):

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/8/26/20828559/taylor-swift-kanye-west-2009-mtv-vmas-explained

• ‘2009 VMAs Oral History: What You Didn't See When Kanye West Rushed the Stage on Taylor Swift’ (Billboard, 2009):

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/television/8523549/2009-mtv-vmas-oral-history

• Artisan News Service reports on the event in 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z8gCZ7zpsQ


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 13, 2021
On This Day: The 19th Century Drunk Driver
10:19

London cab driver George Smith became the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building on 10th September, 1897. He was fined 20 shillings (around £130 in today's money) - but was not banned from the road.


The vehicle he was driving only had a top speed of 12 mph, but, unfortunately for him, the building he crashed into was the home of celebrated actor Sir Henry Irving - which might be why he was the first person charged with a law that had technically been on the books since 1872.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal the role of shame in declining drink-driving convictions; explain what the ‘Drunkometer’ was; and question whether Smith should be forgiven for his ‘Cheeky Thursday’... 


Further Reading:

• ‘First Drunk Driving Arrest’ (HISTORY, 2020): https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-drunk-driving-arrest

• Fifty Years Of Anti-Drink Driving Ads (Sky News, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW2dWqTkDBM

• ‘14 of the most ridiculous and hilarious excuses heard in court for drink and drug driving’ (Somerset Live, 2019): https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/14-most-ridiculous-hilarious-excuses-3406709


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 10, 2021
On This Day: Laughter, Uncanned
9:45

'The Hank McCune Show' - an otherwise unremarkable footnote in American TV history - became the first single-camera sitcom to deploy a pre-recorded laugh track (aka ‘canned laughter’) on 9th September, 1950.


The giggles and applause came courtesy of Charlie Douglass, who made a career of capturing audience reaction in his ‘laff box’, and then expertly sprinkling it across other shows, including Bewitched, The Munsters and The Flintstones. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly look back at Red Skelton’s ‘pantomimes’, the origin of much of Douglass’ recorded laughter; explain why live studio audiences are sometimes even more enthusiastic clappers than pre-recorded ones; and reveal how the Bolshoi Ballet STILL employ professional audience reactionaries…


Further Reading: 

• ‘The invention of laughter: Charley Douglass and the laff box’ (The Verge, 2013): https://www.theverge.com/2013/12/13/5207136/Charley-Douglass-laff-box-laugh-track

• ‘How we fell in and out of love with the Laff Box, the laugh track machine that changed sitcoms forever’ (ABC, 2020): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-16/history-of-the-laugh-track-laff-box-charles-douglass/12117866

• ‘How Do Laugh Tracks Work?’ (How Stuff Works, 2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suD4KbgTl4


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 09, 2021
On This Day: Apple’s $100m U2 Fail
10:16

When U2’s new album, Songs Of Innocence, was rumoured to be bundled in with the iPhone 6 on 8th September, 2014, the band’s official spokespeople denied any involvement with Apple's product launch.


But the following day, U2 did indeed turn up at Tim Cook’s keynote - with an initiative to ‘gift’ the album, for free, to over half a billion iTunes users. Within days, the scheme backfired, and Apple had to create a bespoke website for users to remove it from their collections.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider why users felt so violated when being given free music; explore the backlash within the music industry to the deal; and enjoy Bono’s milk-based almost-apology…

 

Further Reading:


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 08, 2021
On This Day: The Umbrella Assassin
9:14

Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov was shot by a poisoned pellet whilst walking on Waterloo Bridge on 7th September, 1978. Four days later, he was dead.


He thought the bullet - believed to be filled with ricin - had emanated from the umbrella of a Soviet secret agent, and the British press labelled his assassination the ‘Poison Brolly Riddle’.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how Markov was initially disbelieved by doctors; reveal the mysterious involvement of a pig in the Porton Down investigation; and ask whether poisoning is really as efficient a method of murder as it seems...


Further Reading:


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 07, 2021
On This Day: The Self Service Revolution
10:10

Clarence Saunders opened the world’s first self-service supermarket, ‘Piggly Wiggly’, in Memphis, Tennessee on 6th September, 1916.


Calculating that the revenues gained through impulse purchases would outweigh those lost from shoplifting, Saunders’ concept forever changed the world of shopping for groceries - but his business acumen did not last.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly review Saunders’ promotional hustles; weigh up the items in a shopping basket of the era; and reveal how ‘Piggly Wiggly’ (almost certainly) gained its distinctive name...


Further Reading:

• ‘The Untold Truth Of Piggly Wiggly’ (Mashed, 2021):

https://www.mashed.com/426197/the-untold-truth-of-piggly-wiggly/

• ‘America's First Supermarket at 100: How It Changed the World’ (Time, 2016): https://time.com/4480303/supermarkets-history/

• ‘Piggly Wiggly, the first true grocery store - Life in America’ (Recollection Road, 2021): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVvgAd_5vpo


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 06, 2021
On This Day: Becoming Frederick Douglass
10:04

Posing as a sailor, with a borrowed ‘Protection Pass’ in his pocket, Frederick Douglass boarded a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia on 3rd September, 1838 - and escaped the slavery into which he had been born. 


To formalise the process, he had to dodge slave-catchers, change his name and pay for his freedom. He then became an abolitionist, orator and public intellectual - and one of the most photographed men of the 19th century.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how Douglass’s story continues to challenge many of our preconceptions about slavery; explain how he used writing and public appearances to combat racism; and reveal how Douglass’ story has a surprising connection to, of all places, Northamptonshire...


Further Reading:

• ‘Frederick Douglass’ Incredible Legacy, Told by Laurence Fishburne’ (History at Home, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsFNYW6EJi4

• ‘Frederick Douglass - Quotes, Narrative & Book’ (Biography, 2021): https://www.biography.com/activist/frederick-douglass

• ‘Douglass in England - Frederick Douglass in Britain and Ireland’: http://frederickdouglassinbritain.com/journey/FDEngland/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 03, 2021
On This Day: Queen of the Cuban Sea
9:35

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was 64 years old when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage for protection on 2nd September, 2013.


Nyad completed the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West in approximately 53 hours. It was her fifth attempt to swim through the jellyfish-and shark-infested waters of the Straits of Florida.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Nyad used music and recall to keep her focus; review the conspiracy theories that question if she managed the feat; and consider whether the ‘English Channel Rules’ that govern the sport are in need of an update…


Further Reading:

• ‘Diana Nyad Arrives in Key West After 111-Mile Swim From Cuba’ (FlordaKeysTV, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcvjiw582G0

• The Diana Nyad Cheating Conspiracy Theory (Business Insider, 2013): https://www.businessinsider.com/diana-nyad-cheating-conspiracy-theory-2013-9?r=US&IR=T

• ‘It’s about having a steel-trap mind’ (The Guardian, 2016): https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jul/10/endurance-swimmer-diana-nyad-its-about-steel-trap-mind


Enjoy this episode? There is a bonus FOUR MINUTES cut for time from today’s show, exclusively available to our top two tiers of Patrons. Visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors for bonus material this and every week!


What could marathon podcaster Olly Mann and marathon swimmer Diana Nyad possibly have in common? To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!


(*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 02, 2021
On This Day: Nokia’s Beloved Brick
9:49

The Nokia 3310 - featuring Snake II, pop-on/off covers, and a discreetly concealed antenna - was launched on 1st September, 2000 at a boardsports event in Dusseldorf, Germany.


Popularly nicknamed ‘the brick’, the handset went on to shift 126 million units— more than 20 times as many as the first-generation iPhone.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion marvel at a time when only 50% of people in the US had a phone in their pockets; rack their brains to recall OTHER games that were bundled on the handset alongside Snake II; and wonder if the nostalgia for this phone says more about the gadget itself, or the era it represents…


Further Reading:

• ‘The Indestructible Phone’ (LGR, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xNVmmJ0nZY

• Nokia’s press release for the launch (2000). Which doesn’t mention the phone at all: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2000/08/16/1845367/0/en/Don-t-be-bored-Be-totally-board.html

• ‘The Nokia 3310 just turned 20 years old – here's what made it special’ (TechRadar, 2020): https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/the-nokia-3310-just-turned-20-years-old-heres-what-made-it-special


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Sep 01, 2021
On This Day: I Say, Boy, It’s Foghorn Leghorn
10:06

A giant chicken with the mannerisms of a wise-crackin’ Southern gentleman, Foghorn Leghorn first appeared in the Looney Tunes short ‘Walky Talky Hawky’ on 31st August, 1946.


Directed by Robert McKimson and voiced by Mel Blanc, the character - who was inspired in part by popular radio character ‘Senator Claghorn’ from The Fred Allen Show - proved an instant audience favourite.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider whether Foghorn’s Antebellum expressions put him on the soon-to-be-’cancelled’ list; explain the origin of Warner’s other animated franchise, ‘Merrie Melodies’; and marvel at Blanc’s bed-bound professionalism…


Further Reading:

• ‘Walky Talky Hawky’ (Warner Bros, 1946): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi2hQVyf3po&list=PLsvpo7-bdIolr4mWXRgoxRlbJPMV5d7ie

• ‘The Censored Eleven - Banned Cartoons’ (The Museum Of UnCut Funk): https://museumofuncutfunk.com/2011/10/05/the-censored-eleven/

• ‘How Bugs Bunny Saved Mel Blanc From A Coma In 1961’ (doyouremember, 2021): https://doyouremember.com/141804/bugs-bunny-saved-mel-blanc-coma


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 31, 2021
On This Day: The Birth of Ladybird Books
9:37

The British Museum Library registered the legal deposit of the first ever 'Ladybird Series' titles, from publishers Wills & Hepworth (later 'Ladybird') on 27th August, 1914. 


The books - 'Hans Andrersen's Fairy Tales' and 'Tiny Tots Travels' - didn't look at all like the classic Ladybird books we think of today - but were the beginning of a publishing legacy that changed children’s books forever.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how the classic Ladybird look - fashioned from one massive sheet of paper - was a response to World War Two; review how the publisher dealt with accusations of sexism and colour-blindness in the '70s; and explain the M.O.D.’s connection to one of the most valuable Ladybirds ever published…


Thanks to Ladybird collector and historian Helen Day for helping us dig up this date from the archives! Discover more about Helen and her passion for Ladybird on her excellent website:

https://ladybirdflyawayhome.com/so-whats-the-story-the-kitchen-table/


Further Reading:

• ‘Ladybird Books at 100: The series that inspired millions of children to read’ (Daily Mirror, 2015): https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ladybird-books-100-series-inspired-5335319

• ‘Ladybird Books: The strange things we learned’ (BBC, 2015): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-30709937

• ‘The Ladybird Books Story’ (Little Car, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ED7o4mG0lM


To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!

(*top two tiers only)


See you on TUESDAY (there's a bank holiday here in the UK) The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 27, 2021
On This Day: Colin The Caterpillar - A Cultural Odyssey
10:10


Equally beloved at office boardrooms and toddler birthday parties, Colin the Caterpillar - a £7 swiss roll cake with white and milk chocolate and buttercream - was launched at an unsuspecting public by Marks and Spencer on 26th August, 1990.


At the product development stage, he was going to be a fish - even though fishcake is a TOTALLY different foodstuff. Luckily, the Colin we know and love made it to M&S shelves, where he has since sold more than 15 million units, and spawned dozens of high street imitators. (And an infringement claim against Aldi.)


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how Colin’s popularity coincided with the trend for ‘illusion cakes’; dig up the horrifying sweet/savoury pile-up that is Jane Asher’s ‘Mary Mary’ cake; and consider Colin’s enduring place in British popular culture...


Further Reading:

• ‘Colin the Caterpillar: A brief history’ (New Statesman, 2018): https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/food-drink/2018/12/colin-caterpillar-brief-history

• ‘This is the original M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake back in 1990’ (Good Housekeeping, 2020): https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/food/a33631942/original-colin-the-caterpillar-cake-1990/

• ‘Colin v Cuthbert The Caterpillar: Can M&S Sue Aldi For Copyright Over A Cake?’ (Good Morning Britain, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZrjPL8p874


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 26, 2021
On This Day: The Beatles’ Giggling Guru
9:33

John, Paul, George and Ringo travelled to a transcendental meditation workshop in Bangor, Wales on 25th August, 1967 - at the invitation of ‘giggling guru’, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


The event changed everything for The Fab Four - influencing their music, their philosophy, and ultimately contributing to the end of the band.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explore whether the experience encouraged them to give up LSD; reveal how Ringo, frankly, never really seemed to be in to it; and uncover the Maharishi’s later plans for a Yogic amusement park...


Further Reading:

• The Beatles in Bangor – silent news footage (1967): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuyE3bSnfVo&t=6s

• ‘Lennon was right. The Giggling Guru was a shameless old fraud’ (Daily Mail, 2008): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-512747/Lennon-right-The-Giggling-Guru-shameless-old-fraud.html#:~:text=The%20Giggling%20Guru%20was%20a%20shameless%20old%20fraud,teach%20them%20to%20defy%20gravity%20by%20%22yogic%20flying%22.

• Doug Henning’s theme park plans: https://doughenningproject.com/tag/theme-park/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 25, 2021
On This Day: The End of The Pirate Monk
10:13

Bandit, Admiral, wizard, pirate... ‘Eustace The Monk’ did it all - and was decapitated for his troubles, at the Battle of Sandwich on 24th August, 1217.


Previously a licensed criminal for the court of King John, he became an enemy of England by switching sides and battling on behalf of the French - an extraordinary end to a remarkable career which took in black magic, robbery, and farting in a Benedictine monastery. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider why Eustace’s story has yet to receive the Hollywood treatment; explain how to deploy lime effectively; and swot up on their Middle English verse… 


Further Reading:


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 24, 2021
On This Day: Bogie and Bacall Burn Up The Screen
9:53

Howard Hawks’ film noir ‘The Big Sleep’ finally hit cinemas on 23rd August, 1946, after extra crowd-pleasing repartee had been inserted, featuring real life couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.


But more flirtation meant less exposition - making the plot of the detective story notoriously difficult to follow, even to the extent that the filmmakers had to call author Raymond Chandler to ask him who had killed one of the characters. 


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly explain why the Hays censorship code compounded an already confusing script; reveal William Faulkner’s left-field approach to WFH; and consider why - on the silver screen, anyway - women appeared to fall at Bogart’s feet…


Further Reading:

• ‘The Big Sleep: Proof That Plot Doesn’t Matter’ (Den of Geek, 2019): https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/the-big-sleep-proof-that-plot-doesn-t-matter/

• ‘Homosexuality and the Production Code –The Big Sleep’ (Sophie Hagberg, 2014): https://sophiehagbergscrn131.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/homosexuality-and-the-production-code-the-big-sleep-1946/

• ‘They’re Together Again!’ (Official Trailer, 1946): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-K49CUaeto


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 23, 2021
On This Day: One Direction - The Movie
10:06

‘This Is Us’ premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 20th August, 2013. 10,000 ‘Directioners’, some of whom had slept rough for three nights, were there to catch a glimpse of their favourite boyband.


The documentary, directed by ‘Supersize Me’s Morgan Spurlock, went on to take $18m in its Labor Day opening weekend in the US - but failed to scale the heights of Justin Beiber’s effort, ‘Never Say Never’.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion unpick the secret of the boys’ success; explain why X Factor winner Matt Cardle was mysteriously disappeared from the movie; and reveal an unexpected connection between 1D and Osama Bin Laden... 


Further Reading:

• One Direction "This Is US" London Premiere Part 1 (Poveelive, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ_Kd4JC0ck

• ‘This Is Us’ on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2515086/

• ‘Morgan Spurlock, Director Of ‘This Is Us,’ Explains Why He Cut One Direction’s Girlfriends Out Of Documentary’ (HuffPo, 2013):

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-is-us-girlfriends-cut-morgan-spurlock_n_3839053


We had EVEN MORE to say about Spurlock and 1D. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!


(*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 20, 2021
On This Day: The Surprising Start of Vietnamese Nail Bars
9:41

Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and ‘Marnie’, was already known for her activism - primarily rescuing big cats - when, on 19th August, 1975 she visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in Sacramento, California


Her nail art dazzled many of the women she met - so she set about helping them retrain as Hollywood manicurists, disrupting an industry which had previously been seen as a Beverly Hills luxury. Today, over half of nail technicians in the USA are of Vietnemese descent.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider if Hedren’s template for celebrity ambassadorship has ever been bettered; uncover the story of Ted Ngoy, the Cambodian ‘Donut King’; and discover who turned up to a charity event sporting the most expensive manicure of all time...


Further Reading:

• ‘How Tippi Hedren made Vietnamese refugees into nail salon magnates’ (BBC, 2015): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32544343

• 'Nailed It: A Documentary On How Vietnamese Workers Took Over U.S. Nail Salons’ (NPR, 2019):

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/19/724452398/how-vietnamese-americans-took-over-the-nails-business-a-documentary?t=1628758439044

• ‘Kelly Osbourne wears $250k nail varnish by Azature to the Emmys’ (HELLO!, 2012):

https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/201209259431/kelly-osbourne-wears-worlds-most-expensive-manicure/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 19, 2021
On This Day: The First TV Weather Report
10:09

A weather map was first broadcast on TV on 18th August, 1926 - but there were no fancy graphics, no on-screen forecaster, and only one intended recipient: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, DC.


In the UK, the Met Office had been producing weather forecasts since 1861, but the BBC didn’t bring a ‘weatherman’ to British screens until 1954.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain Charles Darwin’s connection to weather-forecasting; review the first weather forecast on NBC’s Today programme, and reveal exactly how much time the Brits spend discussing the weather… 


Further Reading:

• ‘Weather forecast facts: the first forecast in Britain, the birth of the Met Office and the first TV weatherman’ (HistoryExtra, 2018): https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/facts-history-weather-forecast-weatherman-tv/

• ‘BBC Television Weather at 60 - A Celebration’ (BBC, 2014): https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/research/television-weather

• ‘TODAY's First Weather Forecast: Jan. 14, 1952’ (NBC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiAyWYCcAI0


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 18, 2021
On This Day: The Dingo Baby-Snatcher
10:27

When two month-old Azaria Chamberlain was taken from her tent by a dingo on the night of August 17th, 1980, the majority of the Australian public believed that her mother, Lindy Chamerlain, had done the deed herself.


Prosecuting authorities charged her with murder. She was imprisoned, but in 2012, a coroner found Azaria's death was "the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo".


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly ask why the Australian public were so inclined to disbelieve Lindy’s version of events; revisit the injustices perpetrated against the Chamberlains; and consider how on Earth the phrase ‘A Dingo’s Got My Baby!’ became a comedy meme...  


Content Warning: Includes detailed description of true crime and harm against children


Further Reading:

• ‘Horrifying story of Lindy Chamberlain - jailed for murder after her baby daughter was 'eaten by a dingo' on camping trip’ (The Sun, 2020): https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/13418625/lindy-chamberlain-jailed-murder-baby-dingo/

• ‘The Messed Up True Story Of "A Dingo Got My Baby"’ (Grunge, 2020): https://www.grunge.com/291293/the-messed-up-true-story-of-a-dingo-got-my-baby/

• 'Lindy Chamberlain Reflects On The Horror Of Losing Baby Azaria' (The Project, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2PV4kD5-dg


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 17, 2021
On This Day: On Tour with the Siamese Twins
9:42

Conjoined teenagers Chang and Eng Bunker began their world tour in Boston, Massachusetts on 16th August, 1829.

‘Discovered’ by Scotsman Robert Hunter in Siam (now Thailand), the boys inspired the term ‘Siamese Twins’, despite being ethnically Chinese.


Chang was a heavy drinker, and Eng was a teetotaller - yet they shared a liver. They had faced discrimination in the US, yet became slave-owning plantation owners in North Carolina. Then they married sisters - Sarah and Adelaide Yates.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal the sexual side of the brothers’ relationship; explain how the ambiguity of their ethnicity enabled them to climb up through Southern society; and consider the merits of their ‘death cast’, now on display in a Philadelphia museum...


Further Reading:

• ‘The Death of Chang and Eng, Conjoined Twins Until the Last’ (Atlas Obscura, 2013):

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/morbid-monday-the-demise-of-chang-and-eng

• ‘How the original Siamese twins had 21 children by 2 sisters (Mail Online, 2014): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2825888/How-original-Siamese-twins-21-children-two-sisters-sharing-one-reinforced-bed.html

• ‘World Famous Conjoined Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker’ (Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWXoPrGAQMk


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 16, 2021
On This Day: The Fake King of Albania
9:54

German circus performer Otto Witte went to his death-bed claiming he had been crowned King of Albania on 13th August, 1913 for a five-day reign which culminated with him being chased out of the country as an imposter.


Generally believed to have been a fantasist who invented the story, Witte was humoured by the German authorities in his life-time, and his tombstone in Hamburg bears the inscription, ‘former King of Albania’.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion explore the phenomenon of the German ‘originale’; uncover the legend of ‘Sausage Hans’ and ‘the slag monkey’; and reveal who inspired the story of Baron Munchausen… 


Further Reading:

• ‘The Man Who Was King’ (TIME, 1958): http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,868723,00.html

• ‘The legend of Otto Witte, the impostor King of Albania’ (The Balkanista, 2018): http://thebalkanista.com/2018/10/04/the-legend-of-otto-witte-the-impostor-king-of-albania/

• An enterprising man acts out the works of the Cologne 'originales' on German Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6lsche_Originale


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Aug 13, 2021
On This Day: Ponzi Gets Busted
9:23

The ‘Get Rich Quick’ scheme pioneered by scamster Charles Ponzi came to an end with his arrest on 12th August, 1920 - but ‘Ponzi schemes’ remain a popular form of swindling to this day. 


After promising his victims he could double their money in 90 days, Ponzi was charged with 86 counts of mail-fraud - yet he may not have even initially realized his scheme was illegal.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider whether Cryptocurrency is the modern-day Ponzi scheme; explain the difference between a Ponzi scheme and a Pyramid scheme; and reveal the ingenious way Ponzi told his Mum he was in prison… 


If you enjoyed this episode, there are FOUR BONUS MINUTES of material, cut for time from today’s episode, about Ponzi’s subsequent adventures in Florida and Brazil. Subscribe to our top two tiers on Patreon to receive access to this, and bonus material each and every week, plus an ad-free feed of the podcast:

Patreon.com/Retrospectors


Further Reading:

• ‘Pyramid Schemes and Ponzi Schemes Explained in One Minute’ (One Minute Economics, 2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QkZcdCDJJg

• ‘How Charles Ponzi's Scheme Made Him A Millionaire Overnight’ (All Thats Interesting, 2020): ​​https://allthatsinteresting.com/charles-ponzi

• ‘The History of Ponzi Schemes Goes Deeper Than You Think’ (Time, 2020): https://time.com/5877434/first-ponzi-scheme/


We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 12, 2021
On This Day: The 'Long Count' Begins
10:28

The 7,885 year-long calendar used by the Mayan people measure long stretches of time, ‘The Long Count’, began on 11th August, 3114 B.C.


The combination of a Haabʼ and a Tzolkʼin date identifies a day in a combination which does not occur again for 18,980 days (52 Haabʼ cycles of 365 days equals 73 Tzolkʼin cycles of 260 days, approximately 52 years), a period known as the Calendar Round. ARE YOU KEEPING UP.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discover the rules of ‘Mayan Space Jam’; explain why people thought the world might end in 2012; and call into question the whole diary system on which their beloved podcast depends…


Further Reading:

• ‘Maya Cosmology & the Real 2012’ (Mary Lou Ridinger, TEDxSanMigueldeAllende, 2013 ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN6E5AFEb9M

• ‘Danger on the Court: The Deadly Ancient Mesoamerican Ball Game’ (Ancient Origins, 2020): https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history/ulama-mesoamerican-ball-game-deadly-sport-ancient-americas-003156

• ‘9 Interesting Facts About The Mayans’ (yocover, 2021):

https://yocover.com/facts-about-the-mayans/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 11, 2021
On This Day: The Slap Heard Around The World
9:53

Whilst visiting traumatised U.S. soldiers in an evacuation hospital on 10th August, 1943, General George S. Patton encountered a man he believed to be a coward. So he slapped him in the face with his gloves, and waved a pistol in his face.


On Eisenhower’s insistence, Patton apologised to the soldier, but never exhibited genuine remorse for his actions. He wrote in his diary, ‘It is rather a commentary on justice when an Army commander has to soft-soap a skulker to placate the timidity of those above’.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion question the motives of ‘Old Blood and Guts’; reveal Patton’s attitude to Jews after the Holocaust; and play a round of ‘Patton Quote Bingo’… 


Further Reading:

• ‘I Won't Have Cowards in My Army’ (‘Patton’, 1970): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrtS2_TfbeY

• General Patton’s speech in Boston, Massachusetts (Critical Past, 1945):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9DpKDwCJcM

• ‘10 Things You May Not Know About George Patton’ (HISTORY, 2014):

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-george-patton


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.


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Aug 10, 2021
On This Day: Britain's First Nudist Beach
10:05

Black Rock - a 200-yard strip of pebbly beach in Brighton - was first set aside for naked bathers on 9th August, 1979. It came after a campaign by the Central Council For British Naturism, who had previously petitioned 140 local authorities.


When Conservative councillor Eileen Jakes responded positively to the call, she was accused of pandering to weirdos and perverts. Fellow councillor John Blackman said the beach would facilitate a "flagrant exhibition of mammary glands".


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion consider whether the concerns about the beach concealed latent homophobia; compare their experiences of shedding their own clothes in public; and reveal which nations are most prone to getting naked...


Content warning: sexual references, crude comedy.


Further Reading:

• ‘Britain’s First Nudist Beach’ on BBC World Service ‘Witness History’ (2011):

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p00j84cs

• ‘Gay Nude Beach in Brighton, England UK’ (Pink Planet, 2011): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4vlklRT-oI

• ‘Naked as nature - if not weather - intended’ (The Guardian, 2 April 1980): 

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2012/apr/02/archive-1980-naturist-brighton-beach?INTCMP=SRCH


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 09, 2021
On This Day: The Shocking Debut of the Electric Chair
10:07

Axe murderer William Kemler became the first person to be put to death by electric chair at Auburn Prison, New York on 6th August, 1890. It did not go smoothly.


The first charge failed, and the second was abandoned only after two minutes. Despite the gruesome spectacle, Ohio soon became the second state to authorise death by electrocution.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion reveal the origins of the word ‘electrocution’, examine the underhand business practices of Thomas Edison; and review the most popular ‘final meal’ choices on Death Row...


Content Warning: description of prolonged execution; botched hangings; suicidal thoughts; animal electrocution.


Further Reading:

• ‘Death and Money: The History of the Electric Chair’ (thoughtco, 2019):

https://www.thoughtco.com/death-money-and-the-history-of-the-electric-chair-1991890

• ‘On This Day: The first execution by electric chair’ (HISTORY, 2010): https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-execution-by-electric-chair

• ‘How Does The Electric Chair Work?’ (The Infographics Show, 2018): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsPm3VfNoiE


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Aug 06, 2021
On This Day: Houdini’s Last Escape
9:54

Harry Houdini survived 91 minutes in an underwater coffin at the Shelton Hotel, New York on 5th August, 1926. 


The stunt had been arranged to counter the claims of Hindu mystic Rahman Bey, who said spiritualism was the only way to survive being buried alive.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly review the spat between Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle; reveal the ‘code’ Houdini had promised his wife Beth he’d use if contacting her from beyond the grave; and consider whether vengeful psychic fraudsters were responsible for his death…


Further Reading:

• ‘How Houdini Stayed in an Underwater Coffin for 90 Minutes’ (Mental Floss, 2016): https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/83075/how-houdini-stayed-underwater-coffin-90-minutes

• ‘The Hotel Shelton pool in color’ (Wild About Houdini, 2015): https://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2015/07/the-hotel-shelton-pool-in-color.html

• ‘5 Things You May Not Have Known About Houdini’ (Top5s, 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiZj4xZTL-Y


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 05, 2021
On This Day: Dom Perignon Tastes The Stars
10:25

Benedictine monk Dom Perignon is said to have discovered champagne on 4th August, 1693. 200 million bottles are now produced and sold every year.


The sparkliness was originally considered a defect - because carbonated wine caused the fragile bottles of the era to burst. Until stronger glass was developed in the mid-19th century, mass-produced champagne was impossible to manufacture, so it gained a reputation as a high society tipple.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly examine the boredom of wine-tastings; explain how to make fake champagne; and reveal how the bombing of French vineyards, ironically, helped to save the industry...


Further Reading:

• ‘How Dom Perignon Became The King Of Champagne’ (Alux, 2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaUB8bFV0lM

• ‘Dom Pérignon 'Drinks the Stars' (WIRED, 2009): https://www.wired.com/2009/08/dayintech-0804/

• ‘6 things you can carbonate with your SodaStream’ (CNet, 2016):

https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/things-you-can-carbonate-with-your-sodastream/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 04, 2021
On This Day: The Fake Critic
9:14

Eyebrows were raised when Dave Manning - a previously unknown film critic - was suddenly receiving star billing on Hollywood movie posters. He turned out to be fictional. This climaxed with a lawsuit, settled by Sony on 3rd August, 2005.


Manning had been created by Columbia Pictures executive Matthew Kramer, who’d co-opted the name David Manning from a friend in his hometown of Ridgefield, Connecticut. The public were entitled to a $5 refund if they’d attended a movie as a result of the fraudulent posters.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal what the ‘real’ Dave Manning REALLY thought of ‘The Animal’; explain how press junkets seduce otherwise unimpeachable journalists who just want a free sandwich; and sharpen their editing scissors for some selective quotation...


Further Reading:

• ‘Remembering David Manning, Sony's Fake Film Critic’ (Mental Floss, 2021): https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/645297/david-manning-sony-fake-film-critic

• ‘Inquiry into fake film critic’ (BBC News, 2005): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1374866.stm

• How To Design A Movie Poster’ (IGN, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhs2MEPCmjw


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 03, 2021
On This Day: Who Killed William II?
10:23

William II, son of William The Conqueror, took a hunting trip to the New Forest on 2nd August, 1100 - and was shot dead by an arrow, which punctured his lung. 

But, whodunnit? Chroniclers laid the blame at the door of Walter Tirel, who quickly fled to France. But could it have really been fratricide, orchestrated by William’s younger brother Henry?

In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion weigh up the suspects; review William’s ‘addiction to sodomy’, and unearth other undignified Royal deaths from history...


Further Reading:

• ‘Horrible Histories’ do William’s death (BBC, 2011): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DalHBbf7f8

• William’s biography at Historic UK: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/William-Rufus/

• The Death of William II (Reading Museum, 2017): https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/blog/death-william-ii


We had EVEN MORE to say about William II and his somewhat aggressive tendencies. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!

(*top two tiers only)


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Aug 02, 2021
On This Day: When Noel Gallagher Met Tony Blair
10:04

The ‘Cool Britannia’ party - held at 10 Downing Street on 30th July, 1997 - quickly became one of the most iconic events of the New Labour era. Celebrities including Helen Mirren, Eddie Izzard and Lenny Henry were invited to Britain’s seat of power to sup champagne with Tony Blair, the youngest Prime Minister since 1812.


The defining image of the night was a photo of Blair chuckling away with rockstar Noel Gallagher. The Oasis singer defended his attendance (“because I’m from Burnage, and me mam would kill me if I turned down the chance to go to Downing Street. Wouldn’t yours?”), but later claimed to have snorted coke off the Queen’s lavatory whilst there.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion reveal the surprising origins of the phrase ‘Cool Britannia’ (spoiler: the Tories did it first); ask whether popstar-politician collabs are ALWAYS ultimately disastrous; and consider whether the lukewarm reaction to David Cameron’s subsequent showbiz party might yet be considered a success for the Conservatives...


Further Reading:

• Footage from the party (Associated Press, 1997): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDa__W1_gcg

• ‘Cool Britannia: where did it all go wrong?’ (New Statesman, 2017): https://www.newstatesman.com/1997/2017/05/cool-britannia-where-did-it-all-go-wrong

• ‘David Cameron revisits Cool Britannia (with Michael McIntyre and Cilla Black)’, (The Guardian, 2014): https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/30/david-cameron-a-listers-cool-britannia-party


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Jul 30, 2021
On This Day: The First Boy Scouts
9:52

Robert Paden-Powell took twenty boys to Brownsea Island, Poole on 29th July, 1907, to embark on a ten-day camp. The trip was, essentially, a laboratory for his subsequent books - and, therefore, the global Boy Scout movement. 


Each day started with cocoa and exercises, and ended with campfire yarns. In between, there was a lot of knot-tying, parading and praying. By the time of the Second World War, 3.3 million British children were enrolled as Boy Scouts.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explore the link between the Boer war and B-P’s ‘Scouting Book for Boys’; unearth the racist and homophobic elements of the global Scout movement; and explain why Indonesia has more Scouts than anywhere else...


Further Reading:

• ‘Brownsea Island: The First Camp’, from The Scouting Pages:

https://thescoutingpages.org.uk/the-first-camp/

• ‘Boy Scouts of America reaches $850BILLION settlement with 60,000 child sex abuse victims’ (Mail Online, 2021): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9748029/Boy-Scouts-America-reaches-pivotal-agreement-victims.html

• ‘Who Was Baden-Powell? & How B-P Changed the World!’ (Scouter Stan, YouTube 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY9pv8iF4wg


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 29, 2021
On This Day: Fingerprints Go Legit
9:35

William James Herschel, a British colonial magistrate in India, first used fingerprints as a means of identification on 28th July, 1858 - not to catch a criminal, but to implement two-step verification on a contract.


In Britain, the technology was first used to solve the theft of some billiard balls in 1902. These days, it’s been largely usurped by DNA, but remains a staple of the policing repertoire.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider whether ears might be better criminal identifiers than fingers; reveal the history of the mugshot; and explain why koalas are our secret hand doubles... 


Further Reading:

• ‘Press Down Firmly, You're in Our Files Now’ (WIRED, 2011): https://www.wired.com/2011/07/0728india-fingerprint-identification/

• ‘The Blackburn child killer and rapist who changed criminal forensics forever’ (LancsLive, 2019): https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/blackburn-child-killer-rapist-who-17118836

• The Bertillon System of Criminal Identification in use by the Police in the 1910s (Kinolibrary Archive Film collections): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Myc8LZSME


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 28, 2021
On This Day: Raleigh’s Tobacco Adventures
9:29

Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco back to Britain from Virginia on 27th July 1586 - and, in so doing, triggered a craze for smoking, which at the time was considered a tonic for halitosis, and even a cure for cancer.


Despite Queen Elizabeth I being an advocate for the new drug, it didn’t take long for the anti-tobacco movement to kick into gear - with King James I writing a treatise against smoking by 1604.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion revisit the phenomenon of ‘Dry Drunkenness’; explain why Eton’s schoolboys were prescribed tobacco with their breakfast; and reveal what happened to Raleigh’s head after he was executed…


Further Reading:

• Bob Newhart’s Walter Raleigh sketch (1962):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XDxAzVEbN4

• ‘“This vile custome”: a history of tobacco's medical interpretations’ (Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh): https://www.rcpe.ac.uk/heritage/vile-custome-history-tobaccos-medical-interpretations

• ‘Discovery of velvet bag may solve gory mystery of Walter Raleigh’s missing head’ (The Guardian, 2018): https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/oct/28/walter-raleigh-bag-severed-head-gory-mystery


We had EVEN MORE to say about Sir Walter Raleigh and his tobacco fixation. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors! (*top two tiers only)

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 27, 2021
On This Day: Let’s Build A Language
9:29

Linguist L. L. Zamenhof published ‘Dr. Esperanto's International Language’ on 26th July, 1887 - and in so doing launched Esperanto, the most popular ‘constructed language’ on Earth. Thanks to apps like Duolingo, there are still around 2 million esperantists today.


It was once even proposed as the official language of the incipient League of Nations - but shortly afterwards, many esperantists, including Zemenhoff’s own children, were murdered in the Holocaust. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly learn about Amikejo, the 3.5 sq km territory between the Netherlands, Germany and France where Esperanto nearly became the official language; revisit the 1966 horror film ‘Incubus’, starring William Shatner; and consider whether Duolingo has killed off the language conference hook-up scene...


Further Reading:

• ‘L.L. Zamenhof and the Shadow People’(The New Republic, 2009):

https://newrepublic.com/article/72110/ll-zamenhof-and-the-shadow-people

• Tim Morley’s Ted X talk on why primary school children should learn Esperanto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gSAkUOElsg

• ‘The bizarre story of a long-lost horror film made entirely in Esperanto, starring William Shatner’ (Quartz, 2017): https://qz.com/1035897/the-bizarre-story-of-a-long-lost-horror-film-made-entirely-in-esperanto-starring-william-shatner/


Por bonifiko materialo kaj subteni la montr, vizito Patreon.com/Retrospectors Ni ..os est malantaŭo morgaŭ! 

Sekvi nin kie ajn vi trovas, ke viaj podkastoj: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

La Retrospectors estas Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, kun Matt Monteto.

Temo Muziko: Pasi La Pizojn. Parolisto: Bob Ravelli. Grafika desegnado: Terry Saunders. Redakti Produktiston: Emma Corsham. Kopirajto: Rekonsider Aŭdio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 26, 2021
On This Day: Radio 1 hits the road
9:43

Concerned that it was too London-centric, the BBC commissioned a series of pop-up outside broadcasts for its youth music station Radio 1, kicking off modestly in Newquay on 23rd July, 1973. The events exploded in popularity, and spawned an annual tour of bucket-and-spade Britain, becoming the iconic ‘Radio 1 Roadshow’.


Despite the concerts pulling in massive crowds - and radio audiences of around 15 million - the events struggled to attract credible music artists, who didn’t want to be seen rubbing shoulders with popsters like the Wombles and the Bay City Rollers.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how Steve Wright came to ‘give away’ his son in a late-night escapade, reveal ‘the shorts rule’ imposed on the network’s presenters, and applaud the entrepreneurship of ‘Smiley Miley’, the roadie who wangled the rights to sell the merch… 


Further Reading:

Peter Powell hosts the Radio 1 Roadshow, 1982: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El-fuGW9DfQ

• A compilation of archive Radio 1 footage from the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w9txp

• ‘The Happy Sound’ - a history of the Roadshow at Radio Rewind: https://www.radiorewind.co.uk/radio1/roadshow.htm


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Jul 23, 2021
On This Day: The World’s First Motor Race
10:04

Billed as a concours for ‘horseless carriages’, the Paris–Rouen competition which took place on 22nd July, 1894, is now widely considered the world’s first motor race. 


Only 21 vehicles qualified. Some of them had solid iron tyres. One was an eight passenger wagonette that weighed four tonnes. The car that came in first - a 20 horsepower steam tractor - was ruled ineligible.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the wisdom of interrupting proceedings for a 90 minute luncheon, ask whether horsepower has become an unhelpful measurement of speed in the 21st century, and explain how the UK’s Locomotive Act of 1865 killed England’s chances of competing...


Further Reading:

Vintage cars repeat the Paris-Rouen route in 1966 (Associated Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q94gZfHQ9JQ

• An account of the race from Goodwood’s historic motorsport pages (2019): https://www.goodwood.com/grr/race/historic/2019/6/the-1894-paris-rouen-trial-the-race-that-wasnt-a-race/

• Race-winner Albert Lemaître and his ‘crime of passion’:

https://peoplepill.com/people/albert-lemaitre-2


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 22, 2021
On This Day: The Outing of Milli Vanilli
10:23

German pop duo Milli Vanilli sold 33 million singles, including three US number ones, but harboured a shameful secret: their vocals were sung by someone else. At a promotional gig in Connecticut on 21st July, 1989, their backing track crashed - and speculation began to mount.


“I knew right then and there, it was the beginning of the end for Milli Vanilli,” ‘singer’ Rob Pilatus admitted to the Los Angeles Times in November 1990. “When my voice got stuck in the computer and it just kept repeating and repeating, I panicked. I just ran off the stage.″


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal how impresario Frank Farian created the band from his Boney M template; ask whether the young men fronting the project took a disproportionate amount of the flack from the public; and consider if ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ might just be the most popular pop song ever to have a spoken word intro… 


Further Reading:

• The moment the record skipped (VH1 Behind The Music): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiB3GTW-j2o

• ‘30 Years Ago, Milli Vanilli Returned Their Best New Artist Grammy; Should They Get the Award Back Now?’ (Variety, 2020): https://variety.com/2020/music/news/milli-vanilli-grammy-scandal-fab-morvan-1234865697/

• Frank Farian turns 75 (DW, 2016): https://www.dw.com/en/boney-m-producer-frank-farian-turns-75/a-19406061


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 21, 2021
On This Day: Napoleon’s Surname Decree
9:41

France's Jewish population mostly had no family surnames - until 20th July, 1808, when Napoleon issued a decree insisting they adopted one. They were not permitted to choose place names, and allusions to the Old Testament were forbidden.


Rumours persist that some families were charged higher fees to adopt prettier names, but in a Europe rife with antisemitism, Napoleon’s creations of Jewish consistoires (regulatory bodies) is still seen by some as a relatively tolerant policy.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion reveal the genesis of their names, explain how compound names like Rosenberg and Goldberg came about, and reveal the world’s names most in danger of extinction.


Further Reading:

• The Imperial Decree, at Napoloeon.org: 

https://www.napoleon.org/en/history-of-the-two-empires/articles/imperial-decree-of-20-july-1808-concerning-jews-with-no-fixed-first-or-family-names/

• ‘What's in a Surname: The History of Surnames and How They Help in Family History Research’, (MyHeritage, 2019):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sxmdkud0P8

• Alec Berg’s surname inspires this epiosde of Curb Your Enthusiasm:

https://www.hbo.com/curb-your-enthusiasm/season-08/1-the-divorce/synopsis


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 20, 2021
On This Day: Marathon Begat Snickers
9:38

The world’s biggest-selling chocolate bar underwent a name-change in Britain on 19th July, 1990. Until then - concerned that Brits might refer to their candy as ‘knickers’ - Snickers had been known as ‘Marathon’ in the UK. 


31 years later, the decision still smarts for some sections of the confectionary-buying public - but, thanks to the ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign, its popularity has increased, regardless.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion dig around in the manosphere, untangle the Mars / Milky Way / Three Musketeers transatlantic naming nightmare; and reveal Frank Mars’ penchant for women named Ethel… 


Further Reading:

https://www.mashed.com/203394/the-untold-truth-of-snickers/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 19, 2021
On This Day: The Death Of Kissing
10:00

Kissing was a big deal in the Middle Ages: for signing contracts, for greeting colleagues, and for showing deference to the King - a tradition that ended on 16th July, 1439, when Henry VI issued a decree imploring his citizens to stop kissing his ring.


Some 400 years before the modern concepts of hygiene and germs had been scientifically established, the 18 year-old monarch clearly had an instinct that clamping down on kissing might stop the spread of the bubonic plague - a deadly disease that had been rampant for 100 years.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca explain why one village soaked their supplies in vinegar; reveal how to write a letter to the King (with appropriate levels of flattery); and consider the merits of banning bearded men from handling milk… 


Further Reading:

• BBC profile of Henry VI: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/henry_vi_king.shtml

• ‘Here ye, here ye: No more smoochies!’ (History Daily, 2020): https://historydaily.org/kissing-ban-england-response-black-plague-1439

• ‘What Made The Black Death So Deadly?’ (The Infographics Show, 2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5q-PIN3KSE


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 16, 2021
On This Day: The Red Planet Gets Closer
10:03

The first images of Mars found their way back to Earth from NASA’s Mariner 4 mission on 15th July, 1965 - and were simultaneously revelatory and disappointing.


Delivered as binary code, rendered in black and white, and revealing only 1% of the planet, the photos were coloured in by hand and showed no evidence of life. But they played a significant part in the scientific understanding of the Red Planet for years to come.


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca compare the computing power of the 1960s with ‘lame’ Victorian telescopes; reveal the surprisingly recent date that the first ever colour image of Mars was committed to camera; and explain how a mis-translation from Italian lead H.G. Wells to think there may be Martian waterways...


Further Reading:

• Mariner 4 at NASA.gov: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mariner-4

• ‘Men Encounter Mars’ (NASA documentary, 1965): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKVzepl-2zY

• ‘First Mission To Mars: Mariner 4’s Special Place in History’ (Cosmos, 2017): https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/first-mission-to-mars-mariner-4-s-special-place-in-history/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/RetrospectorsThe Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 15, 2021
On This Day: The Spock Generation
9:44

Dr Benjamin Spock’s ‘Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care’ was first published on 14th July, 1946. It was then translated into 40 languages, selling over 50 million copies - second only to the Bible in the USA.


Spock’s thesis is perhaps best summarised in its seminal opening sentence: ‘Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do’. This intuitive approach was a shock to the world of parental guidance: just 18 years prior, psychologist John B Watson had recommended that children should be treated as adults. 


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly revisit the radically different 1916 tome ‘The Mother and Her Baby’; explain how Spock’s trusting instincts were a mainstay of his career; and consider whether Gene Rodenberry’s preference for strong-sounding names REALLY explains how ‘Spock’ became a character on Star Trek...


Further Reading:

• TV interview with Dr Spock (1982): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9fSG01h_0w

• ‘The Pied Piper Of Permissivism’ (The Guardian, 1962): https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/23/dr-benjamin-spock-baby-and-child-care-1962

• ‘Dr Spock’s Timeless Lessons in Parenting’ (The Conversation, 2019):

https://theconversation.com/dr-spocks-timeless-lessons-in-parenting-122377


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 14, 2021
On This Day: Queen Vic’s New Gaff
9:46

Queen Victoria moved from her birthplace, Kensington Palace, and decreed Buckingham Palace her official residence on 13th July, 1837. She was 18, newly-crowned - and until then had shared a bedroom with her mother.


Built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, the Palace had never previously permanently housed anyone, and was reportedly drafty, dirty, and staffed by ‘slovenly’ servants. But, you know, she made do.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly examine the escapades of ‘the boy Jones’ - a teenage stalker of the young Victoria; pore through the pages of the young monarch’s diaries; and reveal which celebrities claim to have got down and dirty in the Queen's official residence…


Further Reading:

• Profile of Queen Victoria from Historic Royal Palaces: https://www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace/history-and-stories/queen-victoria/#gs.59mhsd

• Buckingham Palace page at the Royal Collection Trust: 

https://www.rct.uk/visit/buckingham-palace/who-built-buckingham-palace#/

• ‘Victoria’s Palace’ documentary (ITV, 2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUn63ZIELxU


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 13, 2021
On This Day: The Anti-Disco Army
9:43

‘Disco Demolition Night’, the brainchild of 24 year-old shock jock Steve Dahl, caused mass hysteria at Comiskey Park, Chicago on 12th July, 1979 - causing a pitch invasion that lead to 39 arrests.


Intended as a promotional event for a Tigers vs White Sox doubleheader, attendees were lured with discounted admission if they turned up to the game armed with disco records to be blown up with powerful explosives; an intermission entertainment that has since been contextualised as a racist, homophobic book-burning.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion examine why Chicago was caught in a rock/disco divide; revisit the club classics of 1979; and question the wisdom of sex on third base…


Further Reading:

• Broadcast footage from the night - from The Museum of Classic Chicago Television: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqDkBM9vxw8

• ‘Disco Demolition: the night they tried to crush black music’ (The Guardian, 2019):

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jul/19/disco-demolition-the-night-they-tried-to-crush-black-music

• ‘July 12, 1979: 'The Night Disco Died' — Or Didn't’ (NPR, 2016): https://www.npr.org/2016/07/16/485873750/july-12-1979-the-night-disco-died-or-didnt


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 12, 2021
On This Day: The Sun Sets on 'Eldorado'
9:50

One of the BBC’s biggest-ever flops, soap opera ‘Eldorado’, broadcast its final episode on 9th July, 1993 - just one year after it had begun, at a reported cost of £10 million.


Focussing on the glamorous lives of British expats - fusing the elements of ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Neighbours’ - it had seemed destined to be a sure-fire hit. So, a large permanent set for the fictional town of Los Barcos was built from scratch in the Costa Del Sol. These days it is used for paint-balling.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion unearth Rupert Murdoch’s alleged attempts to sabotage the soap; consider whether it was actually rather more successful an enterprise than it was given credit for at the time; and reveal which cancelled TV shows they’d resurrect, if only they could...


Further Reading:

• The final scene and closing credits of ‘Eldorado’ (BBC, 1993): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TfR15KgC6w

• ‘Sun, sea and subtitles - how Eldorado became TV's biggest flop’ (The Guardian, 2018): https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/jul/09/eldorado-bbc-one-soap-opera

• Los Barcos - the Unofficial Eldorado Website: http://www.losbarcos.org.uk/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021. 



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Jul 09, 2021
On This Day: The Miracle in the Ashes
10:03

‘Our Lady of Kazan’, a painting of the Virgin and Child, was discovered in the ashes of a fire in the Russian town of Kazan on 8th July, 1579. The icon quickly became associated with miracles after two blind men were said to have their sight restored by standing in front of it.


The original was stolen in 1904, but the copies still represent one of Russia’s most important pieces of religious art - credited by some with thwarting Napoleon’s invasion of 1812.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly interrogate the reportage that continues to promote the ‘miracles’ performed by the painting; reveal Hermann Goering’s role in the fascinating 20th century history of the work; and recall a religious image of squirting milk that, once seen, cannot be unseen...


Further Reading:

• ‘Roman Catholic Saints’ profiles Our Lady of Kazan (2011): https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-kazan.html

• ‘The Miracle Behind One of St Petersburg’s Most Famous Landmarks’ (Russian National Tourist Office): https://www.visitrussia.org.uk/blog/the-miracle-behind-one-of-st-petersburgs-most-famous-landmarks/

• The Associated Press records the day the icon was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church by the Pope (2004): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIVLYmmHrOE


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 08, 2021
On This Day: Seven Wonders - Rebooted
9:15

‘The Seven Wonders of the World’ *sounds* impressive, but could they do with an update? That was the mission of the mysterious Swiss-based ‘New 7 Wonders Foundation’ when they announced the NEW seven wonders of the world in a ceremony in Lisbon on 7th July, 2007.


The finalists - including Petra, the Colosseum, and Chichen Itza - were decided by a public vote, but caused controversy nonetheless, as Australia claimed to be snubbed, and Brazil mounted a lavish campaign to get its people to participate. 


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca ask how ‘wonder’ should be quantified in the 21st century; compare notes on trips to ancient monuments; and pitch the Burj Khalifa against the Taj Mahal…


Further Reading:


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 07, 2021
On This Day: The Best Thing Since Wrapped Bread
9:34

Sliced bread had never been automated before Otto Rohwedder unveiled his “power-driven, multi-bladed bread slicer” at Chillicothe Baking Company on July 6, 1928 - after an astonishing SIXTEEN years of self-funded development.


The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune ran a front-page story in response - warning that consumers might find sliced bread “startling,” but that “the typical housewife could expect a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows.”


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly trace the origins of this seismic event to the creation of the pop-up toaster in 1921; consider what it means to be ‘an itinerant jeweller’; and reveal the results of a survey of 30,000 housewives on optimum slice-width…


Further Reading:

• ‘Sliced Bread: Where did it come from?’ on HowStuffWorks’ YouTube channel: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q7oMc-L57c

• ‘The best thing since sliced bread’ (Jim Glynne, The Madera Tribune, 2018):

http://www.maderatribune.com/single-post/2018/07/07/the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread

• Chillicothe, Missouri - ‘The Home of Sliced Bread’:

http://www.homeofslicedbread.com/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 05, 2021
On This Day: Birth Of The Bikini
9:47

Swimwear never made more of a splash than when designer Louis Réard unveiled his daring new two-piece at the Piscine Molitor in Paris on July 5th, 1946. Showgirl Micheline Bernardini modelled the new attire, named after US nuclear testing site Bikini Atoll. Really.


Eleven years later, Modern Girl magazine still considered it ‘inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency’ would ever be seen wearing a bikini. Yet, by the sixties, it had become commonplace on beaches around the world.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider the role rival designer Jacques Heim played in inspiring the garment; reveal the countries where it remains illegal to wear a bikini (sometimes); and unearth Sarah Brightman’s surprising role in Bombalurina’s 1990 cover version of ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’...


Further Reading:

• 15 Hilarious First Reactions to the Invention of the Bikini (BestLife, 2019):

https://bestlifeonline.com/bikini-invention-reactions/

• Fred Cole’s scorn for bikinis (‘Fashion: In The Swim’, TIME, 1950):

http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,813465,00.html

• That Bombalurina video, featuring the future Mrs Barlow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LagoycfdCA


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 04, 2021
On This Day: Zeppelin Takes Flight
9:46

Airships had flown since the 1850s, but the first rigid airship to comfortably carry passengers - the Zeppelin - had its maiden voyage at Lake Constance on 2nd July, 1900.


The passion project of German aristocrat Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the ‘golden age’ craft were freezing cold on-board, and precarious: the majority of them eventually crashed. Nonetheless, his pluckiness captured the German imagination, raising millions of Reichsmarks, and inspiring Hitler to co-opt the machines for political and military means.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion consider how Zeppelin’s connections to Daimler saved his start-up; explain why the Hindenburg (fatefully) ended up being filled with hydrogen, rather than helium; and reveal the plans of a Bedfordshire-based business to bring blimps back to Britain’s skies...


Further Reading

• ‘A History of German Airship Aviation’ at Google Arts & Culture:

https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/the-dream-of-flight-a-history-of-german-airship-aviation-zeppelin-museum-friedrichshafen/cQJywRaJSvazIw?hl=en

• ‘The Hindenburg Disaster in 1937’ from PennLive (2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b94SPaP7mU

• The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10 - from their official website: 

https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/our-aircraft/airlander-10/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 02, 2021
On This Day: The Walkman Effect
10:10

Sony’s revolutionary cassette player, the Walkman, debuted in the USA on 1st July, 1979, costing $150. It went on to shift a staggering 450m units.


Boasting a classy aluminium chassis, audio splitter, and novelty ‘Hotline’ button for dance parties, the device took off after an advertising campaign featuring sexy models and an elderly Japanese monk.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal the genesis of the Walkman’s brand name; consider whether it deserved an even HIGHER place in TIME’s list of the Top 50 Most Influential Gadgets, and ask if, in 2021, we are living in the shadow of ‘The Walkman Effect’...


Further Reading:


To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors! (*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jul 01, 2021
On This Day: It’s Raining Frogs!
9:26

When marine amphibians fall from the sky, people tend to notice. So it was on 30th June, 1892 - when it reportedly rained FROGS in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley.


Multiple accounts of animal rain - now thought to be caused by tornadoes sweeping up creatures as they traverse local water sources - can be found as far back as ancient Roman literature, and throughout the medieval era.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the Biblical resonance of froggy-drops, discover the “Miss ‘Rain of Fish’” competition in Latin America, and work out why it’s said to be ‘raining cats and dogs’, when it literally never is...


Further Reading:

  • ‘Nine Times Animals Rained Down From The Sky’, from World List’s YouTube channel (2018): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWNSc49jDf8
  • ‘It's raining birds and frogs: Animal phenomena are surprisingly common but why do they happen?’ (Independent, 2011): https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/it-s-raining-birds-and-frogs-animal-phenomena-are-surprisingly-common-but-why-do-they-happen-2177017.html
  • More on ‘Miss Lluvia De Peces’ (All That’s Interesting, 2019): https://allthatsinteresting.com/fish-rain-lluvia-de-peces

For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 30, 2021
On This Day: Eminem vs His Mom
9:48

Marshall Mathers III, aka Eminem, was sued for defamation by his own mother, Debbie, on 29th June, 2000. The suit was primarily in response to a lyric, “My Mom does more dope than I do”, from his hit song ‘My Name Is’.


However, the case never made it to court. Eminem settled for $25,000 - almost of all of which went to Debbie’s lawyer, who then commented that the cash was not enough to compensate for having to deal with his client...


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider Eminem’s use of the Slim Shady ‘character’ in his lyrics, explain how tough it is to prove a defamation lawsuit against a piece of art; and revisit the work of Australian drag artiste ‘Pauline Pantsdown’.


Further Reading:


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 29, 2021
On This Day: Before There Was ‘Crufts’
9:50

The first modern dog show took place in Newcastle on 28th June, 1859. Essentially a sideshow to the annual exhibition of cattle, it featured just 23 pointers and 27 setters. The owners of the champion breeds won a gun.


Allegations of inbreeding and nepotism plagued the contest from the very beginning; controversies which eventually sparked the invention of The Kennel Club in 1873.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion consider the competition’s historical connections to pigeon-fancying and eugenics; unearth Charles Dickens’ sceptical opinion of the 1862 ‘Monster Dog Show’ in Islington; and explain how Charles Cruft maneuvered himself up from dog-food salesman to create the premier event in canine display…


Further Reading:

  • Early 20th century dog shows at Vintage News Daily:

https://vintagenewsdaily.com/22-lovely-photos-that-capture-vintage-dog-shows-in-the-early-20th-century/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSbO7vWuDpc


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 28, 2021
On This Day: Introducing… The Fork
10:01

The fork had only recently received Royal approval in Britain when it was gifted to the Governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop, on 25th June, 1633.


It took centuries for Americans to feel comfortable with this new way of eating, but in Italy it was already gaining ground, as Englishman Thomas Coryat observed in 1611, noting: "the Italian cannot by any means endure to have his dish touched with the fingers, seeing all men's fingers are not alike cleane. Herupon I myselft thought good to imitate the Italian fashion by this forked cutting of meate."


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider how the Victorians conspired to make cutlery culturally exclusionary; review the American method of ‘cut and switch’; and wonder whether the early Fork Sceptics were right to question the wisdom of putting metal in their mouths... 


Further Reading:

• ‘Nearly 400 years later, the fork remains at the center of American dining controversy’, Quartz (2018): 

https://qz.com/1313214/nearly-400-years-later-the-fork-remains-at-the-center-of-american-dining-controversy/

•‘The Rise of the Fork’, Slate (2012): http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/design/2012/06/the_history_of_the_fork_when_we_started_using_forks_and_how_their_design_changed_over_time_.html?via=gdpr-consent

•‘The History of the Fork’ by History of the Plate on YouTube (2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HCnFChptvI


We had EVEN MORE to say about forks and cutlery in general. No really. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!(*top two tiers only)

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 25, 2021
On This Day: The Town That Danced To Death
10:01

‘Dancing Mania’ - in which people spontaneously danced to exhaustion, some until they broke their ribs and subsequently died, took hold of Aachen, Germany on 24th June, 1374.


We still don’t really know why. Had the victims ingested ergot, a mould from rye bread that can inspire hallucinations? Was it a hysterical mass response to a stressful and traumatic environment? Or a kind of pre-smartphone flashmob? 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the likely causes and cures for this curious episode, learn about the equally extraordinary phenomenon of Tarantism, and play ‘guess the Saintly disease’... 


Further Reading:

• ‘A Strange Case of Dancing Mania Struck Germany Six Centuries Ago’, Smithsonian Magazine (2016)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/strange-case-dancing-mania-struck-germany-six-centuries-ago-today-180959549/

• ‘A forgotten plague: making sense of dancing mania’, The Lancet (2009):

https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(09)60386-X/fulltext

• ‘Tarantism: A Rhythm For Your Soul’ 

(Giuliano Capani, 2008) on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6fB4oInT7A


To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors! (*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 24, 2021
On This Day: Batman Begins
9:43

Over $750m of merchandise had already been sold on the basis of the trailer alone, when Tim Burton’s Batman was released in the USA on 23rd June, 1989. Ten days later, it became the fastest-film ever to earn $100m.


The first ‘adult’ Batman movie had been pitched as early as 1979, but, after various possible permutations - one of which would have cast Bill Murray as Batman and Eddie Murphy as Robin - it came to the big screen with Michael Keaton in the titular role ten years later.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion marvel at a world in which comic book nerds were an untapped resource; visit the British stately homes that stood in for Wayne Manor; and ask why no-one ever just shoots Batman in the face…


Further Reading:

• The original 1989 trailer for Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F07Mf1kxUKY

• ‘The Battle To Make Tim Burton’s Batman’, The Hollywood Reporter (2019):https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-features/batman-michael-keaton-vetoed-michelle-pfeiffer-role-1989-film-1220139/

• ‘Nike designed a pretty terrible pair of boots for Tim Burton's 1989 'Batman' movie’, Business Insider (2016):

 https://www.businessinsider.com/nike-batman-boots-2016-3?r=US&IR=T


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 23, 2021
On This Day: McEnroe’s Wimbledon Meltdown
10:29

John McEnroe was once the world’s No.1 tennis player, winning seven major Grand Slams. But he’ll always be remembered for his extraordinary rant against umpire Edward James at Wimbledon on 22nd June, 1981.


During his match with Tom Gullikson, James ruled that the New Yorker’s serve went out. McEnroe's reaction - "You can't be serious man, you cannot be serious!... You guys are the absolute pits of the world!" - staggered the genteel world of tennis.


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca discover that McEnroe had already established a bad-boy reputation with the UK press, who'd labelled him ‘superbrat’ in 1977; marvel at the reaction of the BBC commentators to the unfolding drama; and consider whether the general public would still actually remember who McEnroe was, if this had never happened...


Further Reading:

• The rant unfolding (1981), from the ESPN Archives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ransFQVzf6c

• The Washington Post, pre-rant, record McEnroe’s depiction in Britain as ‘superbrat’ (1979): https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1979/06/24/british-aim-fire-at-the-superbrat/7115ab3c-154a-4f5a-b99e-2632fbd2bc5f/

• John McEnroe on ‘Desert Island Discs’: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08xxfz3


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 22, 2021
On This Day: Let’s Triangulate Britain
9:19

The Ordnance Survey - a government-funded agency created to aid the military in the event of invasion from France - took receipt of a theodolite on 21st June 1791, and so began the epic task of accurately mapping Britain. 


It took them twenty years to do the county of Kent. And another twenty years to do the South Coast. If you wanted a fragment of one of their hand-drawn maps on your wall, it would set you back two weeks’ wages.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca pore through their OS Map collection to discover which county has the most commercial greenhouses, the exact location of ‘Britain’s highest pub’, and reveal the OFFICIAL answer to the much-pondered question, ‘Where is the centre of Britain?’... 


Further Reading:

• ‘The Quirky History of Ordnance Survey And The UK’S Maps’, from Much Better Adventures magazine (2020): 

https://www.muchbetteradventures.com/magazine/ordnance-survey/

• ‘A Short History of the Ordnance Survey’ from The Charles Close Society: https://www.charlesclosesociety.org/files/HistoryOSGB.pdf

• ‘Attacking Scotland: Five centuries of maps by our enemies’ A lecture by Chris Fleet, Maps Curator of the the National Library of Scotland (2021): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGLxGLaJG_s&t=5s


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 21, 2021
On this Day: The Town Disney Built
9:48

Designed by Imagineers, and located on the outskirts of Walt Disney World, the town of Celebration, Florida welcomed its first residents on 18th June, 1996.


Over 5,000 families had applied to be amongst the first ever homeowners to reside, full-time, in the grounds of a theme park. Conceptually, the town was a mash-up of the wistful nostalgia that inspired the designs of Disneyland’s original Main St, USA and Disney’s ‘utopian city of tomorrow’ vision (which, eventually, manifested as EPCOT).


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion consider the restrictions of living in a New Urbanist community; ask why the town remains over 90% white; and wonder whether anyone really needs singing bins…


Further Reading:

• Disney fan-site ‘Inside The Magic’ on Walt’s ‘Florida Project’: https://insidethemagic.net/2021/01/walts-disney-florida-project-lp1/

• Insider takes a tour of modern-day Celebration (2020): https://www.insider.com/what-it-is-like-to-live-in-celebration-florida-2020-1

• ‘Celebration: the creepy real life town Disney built in Florida’ (news.com.au, 2019):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCko6cVniEw


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021



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Jun 18, 2021
On This Day: The Arrival of Lady Liberty
10:20

Still the tallest statue in the USA, the Statue of Liberty arrived from France - in no less than 214 crates - in New York City on 17th June, 1885.


Costing just $10m in today’s money, the Lady went on to symbolise the immigrant journey - even though the designers and engineers behind it had no such intention. And it wasn’t supposed to be green, either - that’s because it’s oxidized.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion consider whether NYC bagged themselves a bargain, reveal the origins of the ‘ticker tape parade’, and wonder if they could ever do something so epic for their Mums...


Further Reading:

• The Statue of Liberty: Building an Icon (The B1M, 2017): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QM0tipFQ9c

• History on ‘How The Statue of Liberty Became An Icon’:

https://www.history.com/news/statue-of-liberty-icon-building

• Reuters fact-check: why Lady Liberty is NOT an enslaved black woman (2020): 

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-statue-liberty-design-idUSKBN24B2L1


We had EVEN MORE to say about Lady Liberty's arrival in the USA. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!(*top two tiers only)

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 17, 2021
On This Day: Welcome To The Monster Raving Loony Party
10:03

Over beers at The Golden Lion in Ashburton, Devon, ‘Screaming’ Lord Sutch founded his anti-establishment political party The Monster Raving Loony Party on 16th June, 1982.


It wasn’t the first time the former rock n’roller had stood on a political platform - he had previously contested Harold Wilson's seat in 1966, achieving 585 votes. But his eccentric new party - with their satirical policies, velvet hats and oversized badges - soon became a fixture of British general elections.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly examine whether the MRLP’s biggest weapon was visual or lyrical; consider the realities of trudging around the country canvassing for a political party that will inevitably never win; and reveal just how many of the party's former ‘joke’ policies subsequently entered mainstream political thinking...


Content warning: suicide, brief description of dead body.


Further Reading:

• The Official Page of the Monster Raving Loony Party: https://www.loonyparty.com/

• Screaming Lord Sutch: An Obituary (The Guardian, 1999): 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/jun/19/guardianobituaries.nigelfountain

• Screaming Lord Sutch sings ‘Jack The Ripper’ (1964): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2ZsWENob1s



For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/RetrospectorsThe Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.


In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.



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Jun 16, 2021
On This Day: Blackadder Begins
10:00

Rowan Atkinson headed up the cast and writing team, yet the first series of ‘The Black Adder’ drew a decidedly mixed reaction from audiences and critics when it debuted on BBC TV on 15th June, 1983.


Set in 1484, and filmed in castles across England, the series led some wags to quip that it ‘looks a million dollars, but cost a million quid’. It was only later, when Ben Elton joined Richard Curtis to write subsequent series, that its iconic comedy characters truly took shape.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion consider the role of Oxbridge privilege in the genesis of the series, ask whether it was ever really an ‘alternative comedy’, and quote some funny lines at each other - because this is a discussion about Blackadder, after all...


Further Reading:

• The show’s profile on the BBC Comedy site (2014): https://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theblackadder/

• ‘Blackadder at 35: why the writers completely reinvented him after one series’ (The i, 2018):

https://inews.co.uk/culture/television/blackadder-reinvented-after-one-series-164228

• CLIP: ‘The Blackadder is Born’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na4v8CeKnxM


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 15, 2021
On This Day: The Vatican’s Naughty Library
10:12

Circulated in some form since the 16th century, the ‘Index of Forbidden Books’ was quietly discontinued by Pope Paul VI on 14th June, 1966.


In its 400-year+ history, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum had censored hundreds of authors including the German astrologer Keppler, the philosopher Kant, and Protestant theologians Martin Luther and John Calvin. But Darwin wasn’t included - because all books about atheism were automatically considered heretical.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly explain the processes behind the scenes; revisit some choice exchanges between Catholic scholars; and reveal the books they’d ban forever - if only they could...


Further Reading:

• ‘Roman Catholics: The Issue of Imprimatur’ (TIME, 1966): http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,836269,00.html

• Wikipedia’s list of Authors and Works in the Index: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_and_works_on_the_Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum

• ‘Vatican: Forbidden Works’ from Journeyman Pictures:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_S81oSR2AA


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 14, 2021
On This Day: Chuck Berry v the I.R.S.
10:15

It was the THIRD time behind bars for legendary rock n’ roller Chuck Berry when he was found to have dodged $110,000 in income tax on 11th June, 1979.


He insisted on being paid cash-in-hand for his sometimes shambolic personal appearances, and his propensity for stashing it was so well-known that in Australia the authorities introduced limits on the amount of cash that could be transited across their border, specifically in response to him once stuffing $50,000 in his guitar case.


In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly dig deeper into some of Chuck Berry’s former convictions; take a disturbing peek into his home video library; and reveal the true origins of the ‘duck walk’...


Content Warning: detail of underage, exploitative and non-consensual sexual acts


Further Reading:

• The New York Post on Berry’s scandalous sex life (2017):

https://nypost.com/2017/03/21/the-dark-past-of-chuck-berrys-scandal-filled-sex-life/

• Inc. on why Berry’s ‘musical genius was also his financial undoing’ (2017):

https://www.inc.com/jay-jay-french/how-chuck-berrys-musical-genius-was-also-his-financial-undoing.html

• Chuck Berry’s duck walk - a compilation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwZcLpYPKoI


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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Jun 11, 2021
On This Day: The Very First 'Boat Race'
10:17

The Oxford v Cambridge Men’s Boat Race has been an annual tradition since 1856 - but the first one was the result of a light-hearted bet between two friends called Charles on 10th June, 1829.


When Wordsworth (Christ Church College, Oxford) and Merivale (St. John’s, Cambridge) challenged each other to race up the Thames in Henley, they never could have known their schoolboy jape would attract 20,000 spectators, nor that it would go on to become one of the major sporting events in the British calendar. 


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion consider if rowing is still an elitist sport; whether Oxbridge colleges should now ditch the pretence that they never admit postgraduate students specifically to participate in the race; and reveal Hugh Laurie’s consolation prize for losing for Cambridge in 1980…


Further Reading: 

• ‘Origins of the Boat Race’ at the Boat Race’s official website:

https://theboatrace.org/origins

• 111 years after the original race, Oxford and Cambridge compete in Henley again (British Pathé, 1940):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQSsei8KxCw

• ‘Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Boat Race’ from Sky History: https://www.history.co.uk/article/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-boat-race


If you enjoy this episode, there's more of Olly, Arion and Rebecca chatting about the boat race over on our Patreon page, patreon.com/Retrospectors.

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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Jun 10, 2021
On This Day: The Man With The Idolatrous Maypole
9:57

Orgies, drinking songs, and - perhaps most damagingly of all - Paganism were rumoured tools of the colonist Thomas Morton when he established Merrymount, New England. It wasn't long before he was deported back to Britain by the Puritans on 9th June, 1628.


It was his sympathy for the locals which had really done for him. But the headline-grabbing moment was his erection of a Westcountry-stye maypole, around which locals and settlers had danced and drank, and generally cavorted in ways that colonists aren’t usually disposed to do.


In this episode Rebecca, Arion and Olly consider why Morton’s story is so rarely taught in schools; interrogate Encyclopedia Britannica’s description of him as ‘picturesque’; and ask just how different Massachusetts really was from 17th century Devon...


Further Reading:

• Bob Neufeld reads Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The May-Pole of Merry Mount’ (1836):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZzS5xIZ4rI

• ‘The Maypole That Infuriated the Puritans’, from The New England Historical Society: https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/maypole-infuriated-puritans/

• ‘The two men who almost derailed New England’s first colonies’ at The Conversation (2016): https://theconversation.com/the-two-men-who-almost-derailed-new-englands-first-colonies-68213


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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Jun 09, 2021
On This Day: The Hawaiian Pizza - A Legacy
9:28

Sam Panopoulos, creator of the Hawaiian pizza, died on 8th June, 2017 at the age of 83. Originally Greek, he moved to Ontario, Canada at the age of 20 and opened a restaurant where he experimented with toppings far beyond the typical ‘60s triumvirate of mushroom/bacon/pepperoni.


Alongside a Chinese-American chef, he kick-started an international appetite for ham and pineapple that grows to this day - the Hawaiian becoming America’s favourite delivery pizza topping in 2021.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the merits of ‘Irish pizza’ (corn beef, cabbage and potato...); reveal that the ‘super-boring’ Napolitana was itself only ‘invented’ in 1889; and attempt to establish if the Hawaiian pizza is actually popular in Hawaii… 


Further Reading:

• Sam Panopoulos’s obituary on CBC News’ ‘The National’ (2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DccNpObmrjk

• The Guardian’s obituary to Panopoulos (2017):

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/10/sam-panapoulos-inventor-of-hawaiian-pizza-dies-aged-83

• An alternative history? The menu to ‘Francine’s Pizza Jungle’ - uncovered in The Oregonian’s archives:

https://twitter.com/mrgan/status/1303461195005833216


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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Jun 08, 2021
On This Day: When 'Grease' Was The Word
10:01

Edgy, gritty and sexy, the Broadway production of ‘Grease’ opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on 7th June, 1972, beginning what would become a record-breaking eight-year run. 


Despite NOT featuring some of the most well-known hits from the movie - including ‘Grease Is The Word’, ‘You’re The One That I Want’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ - the production attracted an unusually high proportion of blue-collar audiences, keen to see working-class and ethnic immigrant subculture portrayed in a musical.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal the origin of the word ‘greasers’, explain why ‘50s nostalgia played little part in the original success of the show, and consider whether the Grease Megamix is an appropriate choice for 10 year olds to sing at a Summer Ball…


Further Reading:

• The Playbill from the original production:

https://www.playbill.com/article/playbill-archives-grease-1972-com-143094

• ‘It’s The Longest-Running Show on Broadway’ - a 1970s TV commercial for the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phxb5K7jUUw

• The original dialogue from ‘Grease’ c/o New Line Theatre:

http://www.newlinetheatre.com/grease-dialogue.html


 

For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 07, 2021
On This Day: Crazy Frog v Coldplay
10:09

‘The Annoying Thing’ is how the begenitaled amphibian animated by Erik Wernquist was first described; but by the time he released his first single ‘Axel F’ he was universally known as The Crazy Frog, and beat Coldplay’s ‘Speed of Sound’ to UK #1 on 4th June, 2005.


The tale of how this possibly could have happened is unique to the early days of the internet - a teenager messing about imitating motorbike noises emailed the sound to some friends, Wernquist stumbled across it and put it in his portfolio, and then it was adopted for sale by mobile ringtone company Jamster.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca consider the value of Crazy Frog’s musical legacy, reveal that he’s not even a frog, and applaud the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for standing up to protest, and permitting us to witness his visible scrotum… 


Further Reading:

• Crazy Frog - Axel F (2005): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k85mRPqvMbE

• ‘Find out how the world’s most annoying noise came about’ - The Sun commemorates Crazy Frog’s 20th birthday (2017): https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2974489/crazy-frog-just-turned-20-relive-his-hellish-magic-here/

• Not So Crazy Frog (Documentary, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8vVz1KoU2s


There is SEVEN MINUTES of bonus material from our discussion about Crazy Frog. We had a lot to discuss. To hear it, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors and support the show.

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 04, 2021
On This Day: The Woman Who Shot Andy Warhol
9:35

Radical playwright Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto (for the ‘Society of Cutting Up Men’) attempted to assassinate pop artist Andy Warhol at The Factory on 3rd June, 1968.


As a result, Warhol wore a corset for the rest of his life; security had to be introduced at the previously open-door environment of The Factory; and Solanas’ name went down in infamy.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca ask whether her feminist writing would carry more weight if she’d never committed this violent act; consider the ethics of wannabe-assassins becoming celebrities, and wonder whether her SCUM Manifesto reads more like Jane Austen or Germaine Greer…


Content Warning: mental health, paranoid schizophrenia, injury detail


Further Reading:

• ‘I Shot Andy Warhol’ trailer (1996): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAQRCcQlXXE

• ‘The SCUM Manifesto’ on Northeastern University’s website: 

https://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/shivers/rants/scum.html

• ‘This Is Why a Radical Playwright Shot Andy Warhol’ (Time, 2015): 

https://time.com/3901488/andy-warhol-valerie-solanas/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 03, 2021
On This Day: The World’s Most Violent Football Match
9:38

The ‘Battle of Santiago’ was the name given to the shambolic and brutal World Cup Final between Chile and Italy on 2nd June, 1962.


Featuring drop-kicks, punching and nose-breaking, the incendiary footage of the match was introduced by the BBC’s David Coleman as “the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.”


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal how referee Ken Aston took inspiration from the event to invent red and yellow cards; explain why Chile, still recovering from the Valdivia earthquake, had taken Italy’s criticism of their country so seriously; and question whether the BBC’s apparent indignation was entirely genuine...


Further Reading:

• ‘Disgusting and Disgraceful: The Battle of Santiago At World Cup 1962’, The Sportsman (2018):

https://www.thesportsman.com/articles/disgusting-and-disgraceful-the-battle-of-santiago-at-world-cup-1962

• FIFA revisits the match in 2018:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5t_RoUrvgg

• The Guardian looks back at this day in history (2014):

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/mar/04/stunning-moments-no4-battle-of-santiago


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 02, 2021
On This Day: Heimlich’s Big Manoeuvre
10:12

‘Cafe coronaries’ were a fact of life until The Journal of Emergency Medicine published details of The Heimlich Manoeuvre on June 1, 1974.


In so doing, they made a household name of thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich, and saved countless diners from choking in restaurants. 


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca examine whether Heimlich’s notoriety was truly deserved; explain how his Hollywood connections helped him spread the word of his achievements; and revisit his misguided pursuit of malariotherapy as a treatment for HIV...


Further Reading:

Henry Heimlich administers his manoeuvre on Johnny Carson and Angie Dickinson - ‘The Tonight Show’ (1979): https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1850117411675283

• Peter Heimlich’s critical blog about his father’s legacy: https://www.medfraud.info/

• Dr Henry’s Emergency Lessons For People (1980): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmHm8OOz8P8


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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Jun 01, 2021
On This Day: The Controversial Birth of Corn Flakes
10:28

John Harvey Kellogg believed his corn flakes had a future as a sexual suppressant when he filed a patent for "Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same" on 31st May, 1895.


What the Seventh Day Adventist and eugenicist hadn’t counted on was his brother Will - who combined his discovery with sugar; effectively creating the Kellogg company that still exists to this day. 


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal the origins of the word ‘Sanitarium’, explain what Dr. Kellogg got up to on honeymoon; and revisit his alarming prescription for yoghurt...


Content Warning: references to eugenics, masturbation, sexual content


Further Reading:

• ‘John Harvey Kellogg, MD: Health Reformer and Antismoking Crusader’ at the U.S. National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447485/

• NPR’s Fresh Air on ‘How The 'Battling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast’ (2017): https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/08/542145177/how-the-battling-kellogg-brothers-revolutionized-american-breakfast?t=1621942499296

• Discovery’s ‘How It’s Made’ visits a cereal factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPpMV_vcVEg


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 31, 2021
On This Day: Super Mario Bros - The First Videogame Movie
10:29

Before ‘Tomb Raider’, before ‘Mortal Kombat’, before ‘Street Fighter’, there was something even WORSE. ‘Super Mario Bros’ - which opened in the United States on 28th May, 1993 - was such a critical and commercial failure that for years afterwards Nintendo kept their franchises out of Hollywood hands.


Relocating the action to ‘Dinohattan’, the film inexplicably disregarded most of what had made the videogame such a smash-hit and replaced these elements with allusions to Blade Runner and Tim Burton’s Batman.


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca reveal Bob Hoskins’ drinking and accident-prone habits on-set, consider the relative strength of today’s spinoffs such as The Lego Movie, and analyse the secret sauce that keeps the Mario brand strong in the face of such adversity… 


Further Reading:

CinemaSins presents: ‘Everything Wrong with Super Mario Bros in 21 Minutes or Less’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYQHnPOYc5Q

• ‘The Stench of it Stays With Everybody’, The Guardian (2018): 

https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/mar/22/super-mario-bros-movie-killing-fields-chariots-fire-video-game

• ‘Plumbing a Videogame To Its Depths’ - the New York Times reviews the film in 1993: 

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/29/movies/review-film-plumbing-a-video-game-to-its-depths.html


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 28, 2021
On This Day: Fan-Dancing, Dwarfism and Microwaves at Chicago World’s Fair
10:24

Microwave cookery was first demonstrated by Ross Kilgore of Westinghouse at the Chicago World’s Fair, which opened on 27th May, 1933. But the event was deemed to be a side-show of little scientific significance, and was forgotten until microwaves were ‘discovered’ two decades later.


Incredibly also on display at the Chicago World’s Fair were incubated premature babies; people with dwarfism paraded in ‘midget’s village’; and, most attention-grabbingly of all, a provocative fan dancer called Sally Rand. Different times.


In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca compare the Fair’s SkyRide to its ‘coal mine’; question the purpose of a cigar-smoking robot; and explain why amoebic dysentery made an unwelcome souvenir for many... 


Further Reading:

• America’s Best History looks back at the ‘Century of Progress’ exhibition: 

https://americasbesthistory.com/wfchicago1933.html

• Wilding Pictures captures Technicolor footage of the Fair in 1934: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTqNPjQvOC0

• The ‘Coal Mine’ exhibit, preserved at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry:

https://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/coal-mine/

For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 27, 2021
On This Day: Athena’s ‘Man and Baby’ Photoshoot
9:49

The most iconic image of the 80s? Arguably. One of the biggest-selling posters of all time? Unquestionably. Yet ‘L’Enfant’ - captured on 26th May 1986 by photographer Spencer Rowell - was just a workaday, rapid-turnaround project for high street store Athena.


The photo, which went on to adorn over five million walls, is often credited with inventing the ‘New Man’ - but the people in the photograph were hardly financially rewarded for their subsequent stardom.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal what ‘the baby’ is up to these days; consider the extent to which the image’s cheesy reputation is tied up with British awkwardness around male sexuality; and examine just how many women model Adam Perry claims to have bedded since…


Further Reading:

• The original poster, uploaded by Eighties Kids: https://www.eightieskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/1-1.jpg

• The Independent reports on the ‘excess, addiction and tragedy’ of ‘L’Enfant’:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/curse-man-and-baby-athena-and-birth-legend-432331.html

• Spencer Rowell talks to Uncertain States in 2010:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0mUbTajhOc


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 26, 2021
On This Day: Shakespeare Unbanned
10:11

Chinese citizens were once again able to read and perform the works of William Shakespeare on 25th May, 1977. 


Chiang Ching, Chairman Mao’s wife, had instituted the ban eleven years earlier - amidst concerns that the Bard’s works could be reinterpreted to undermine the Party’s rule and ideology.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion ask why British Literature has enjoyed a reversal of fortune under President Xi; reveal how Shakespeare’s childhood home is connected to The Venetian, Las Vegas; and recall a surprising fact about One True Voice’s forgotten hit, ‘If I Had Shakespeare’s Way With Words’... 


Further Reading:

• An article on the ban from History: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/chinese-government-removes-ban-on-shakespeare

• The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust report on the Chinese building project:

https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/about-us/news-media/press-releases/shakespeares-family-homes-be-re-created-china/

• One True Voice. You have been warned:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zptNzFv4uIU


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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May 25, 2021
On This Day: The Very First Eurovision
9:20

Spectacle, camp and glamour were NOT on the agenda in Lugano, Switzerland on 24th May, 1956: the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast mostly on the radio, and featured a whistling duo as its interval act. Who had to perform twice.


Voting controversy, however, was enshrined in the institution right from the outset - as Judges were permitted to award points to their own nations, and vote in absentia.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion reveal which countries have most consistently scored the famous ‘nul points’; consider why the future of the contest seems to lie Eastwards, and revisit Israel’s entry from 1999, ‘Happy Birthday’...


Further Reading:

• Lys Assia wins the first Eurovision for Switzerland: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyqIPvOkiRk

• Facts and Figures from the 1956 contest at the official Eurovision website:

https://eurovision.tv/event/lugano-1956

• Full list of 1956 voting and points from Eurovisionworld:

https://eurovisionworld.com/eurovision/1956


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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May 24, 2021
On This Day: Greyhound Hits The Road
9:59

When Carl Wickman started America’s first bus company on 21st May, 1914, they weren’t a bus company, and they weren’t called Greyhound - they were a commuter service for miners in Hibbing, Minnesota.


But, despite their ‘dirty dog’ reputation (and the fact they’re now owned by a British conglomerate), the company is still seen as a cornerstone of American culture, and undoubtedly the most famous bus company in the world.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca consider the role of Hollywood in enshrining Greyhound’s exalted status in the popular imagination, speculate as to whether the development of highways killed the romance of inter-city travel, and reveal why, after the longest coach journey in the world, Father Christmas made Rebecca cry...


Further Reading:

• The ‘bus scene’ from It Happened One Night (1934): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvzgCo-As6A

• Mental Floss celebrate 100 years of Greyhound: 

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/54273/100-years-dirty-dog-history-greyhound

• ‘Facts and Figures’ from Greyhound’s official website:

https://news.greyhound.com/facts-figures


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 21, 2021
On This Day: The Accidental Vibrator
10:02

When Hitachi launched their ‘personal massager’ on 20th May, 1968, they had no idea (or so they claim) that they were about to, um, go down in sex toy history.


The Magic Wand was initially developed to relieve tension and relaxing sore muscles - but soon became celebrated as the most powerful vibrator the world had ever seen.


In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion discover how its innocent packaging helped boost sales when female masturbation was taboo, reveal the role sex educator Betty Dodson had in introducing it to the chattering classes, and consider how Apple would react today, if it was revealed that ‘rubbing an iPad on your bits felt good’...


Content Warning: Explicit content, references to genitalia.


Further Reading:

• ‘A Brief History of The Magic Wand’, Cosmopolitan (2017): https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a14105499/hitachi-magic-wand-history/

• Sam returns her ‘neck massager’ to The Sharper Image in Sex and the City (2002):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T4QIO4XVPc

• Magic Wand’s official website:

https://magicwandoriginal.com/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 20, 2021
On This Day: Marilyn's Birthday Surprise
10:22

When Marilyn Monroe delivered her breathy, flirtatious rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to JFK on 19th May 1962, columnist Dorothy Kilgallen remarked, 'it seemed like Marilyn was making love to the President in front of 40 million Americans.' 


In fact the two are said to have never seen each other again, and just three months later Monroe was dead from a drug overdose.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal the forgotten, steel-based second verse of the song Monroe also sang that night, consider the role The Simpsons has played in ruining this moment forever, and explain why ‘Sing A Song of Sixpence’ has a lot to answer for…


Further Reading:

• Marilyn’s iconic performance - and the giant cake presented shortly afterwards:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvoqK6aLE2E

• Biography on the story behind the song:

https://www.biography.com/news/marilyn-monroe-happy-birthday-mr-president-jfk

• Reader’s Digest investigate what happened to Marilyn’s dress:

https://www.rd.com/article/marilyn-monroe-happy-birthday-dress/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.




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May 19, 2021
On This Day: Dracula! Live on Stage!
10:06

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first introduced to the world NOT via his canonical novel, but rather in the pages of a seldom-performed - and by all accounts appalling - play-reading at London's Lyceum Theatre on 18th May, 1897.


The stage version was not intended to reach a mass audience; but was rather a clever wheeze of Stoker’s to ensure he was recognised as the creator of his iconic characters - as the script needed to be rubber-stamped by the Lord Chamberlain's office prior to performance.


In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca reveal the copyright battle Stoker’s widow nonetheless endured with the makers of ‘Romanian knock-off’ ‘Nosferatu’, consider the benefits of Stoker’s ‘found footage’ approach to authorship, and reveal how an incident in Rhode Island, of all places, may have inspired Stoker to write his play... 


Further Reading:

Some pages from Stoker’s manuscript at the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/bram-stokers-stage-adaptation-of-dracula#

• Watch ‘Nosferatu’, on Timeless Classic Movies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC6jFoYm3xs

• Stoker’s life at the Lyceum in ‘Henry Irving & Bram Stoker: A Working Relationship’ from The Irving Society:

https://www.theirvingsociety.org.uk/henry-irving-bram-stoker-a-working-relationship/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 18, 2021
On This Day: The Man Who Invented The Wild West
9:48

Gun totin’, horse ridin’ spectacular ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’ opened in Omaha, Nebraska on 17th May, 1883 - the start of a multi-decade run.

 

With a cast of hundreds, including Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, and Annie ‘Get Your Gun’ Oakley, it toured the world - and forever shaped the way cowboys and Indians were represented in popular culture. 

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal the little-known indoor version of the show, consider the role of Native Americans in the ensemble, and explain why the Cossacks in the cast weren’t so popular when they returned home to Georgia…  

 

Further reading:

Footage from Buffalo Bill's show - from the McCracken Research Library, Wyoming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3meHAqxuDI

• William F. Cody profiled at the University of Sheffield’s 

National Fairground and Circus Archive:

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca/researchandarticles/buffalobill

• ‘Ten Things You May Not Know About Annie Oakley’, from History: 

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-annie-oakley


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We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 17, 2021
On This Day: America's Last Witchtrial
9:40

Can ‘mesmeric’ mental powers harm you from afar? Well, no. But that didn’t stop Lucretia L. S. Brown accusing fellow Christian Scientist Daniel H. Spofford of ‘malicious animal magnetism’ in court; a case that concluded on 14th May, 1878.

 

No doubt bolstered by the fact it took place in Salem, Massachusetts - home of the historic American witchcraft trials, in the 1690s - the case aroused public interest with its judgements on mind control and spiritualism.  

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion consider the gender politics of witchcraft trials, examine the enduring popularity of folk magic in rural communities, and uncover the surprising rise of witchcraft in the 21st century...

 

Further reading:

‘The Other Salem Witchtrials’ - a blog-post from the Oxford University Press:

https://blog.oup.com/2013/04/the-other-salem-witch-trials/

• Brian A. Pavlac investigates the ‘original’ Salem witch trials for TED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVd8kuufBhM

• ‘The Long Lost Friend’ by John George Hohman (1820): 

https://archive.org/details/0223252.nlm.nih.gov/page/n5/mode/2up


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We'll be back on Monday! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 




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May 14, 2021
On This Day: The $8 Billion 'Kill Switch'
10:42

‘WannaCry’, the biggest cyberattack the world has seen, was stopped in its tracks on 13th May, 2017. British blogger Marcus Hutchins found the 'kill switch'. He was 22.

 

The ransomware had attacked the NHS, Renault, Telefónica, FedEx, and Boeing - causing damage estimated at up to $8 billion. 

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion revisit Hutchins’ incredible story, from childhood computer programmer to criminal hacker and, eventually, British hero; consider when exactly their own children will eclipse their technical proficiency; and discover what ‘sinkholing’ is...

 

Further reading:

‘The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet’ - a long read interview in ‘Wired’:

https://www.wired.com/story/confessions-marcus-hutchins-hacker-who-saved-the-internet/

• “I’m no hero”, Marcus Hutchins tells the Telegraph:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5dNdnG_t1U

• Follow Marcus Hutchins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MalwareTechBlog

 

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We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 13, 2021
On This Day: The Birth of Alcoholics Anonymous
9:54

When Bill Wilson met Dr Robert Smith on 12th May, 1935, they could not have known that the 12-step plan they’d devised for treating addiction would spawn the world’s largest support group. 

 

Despite their initially low success rate, they persisted to aid recovering alcoholics and their names went down in history - to the extent that A.A. members still sometimes identify each other by asking, ‘...are you a friend of Bob?’.

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion review the current trajectory of ‘mindful drinking’ amongst millennials, consider why the number ‘12’ still features prominently in listicles, and reveal the ingredients of the cocktail that got Wilson hooked on booze in the first place...

 

Further reading:

• Bill Wilson tells his story in 1965: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9oNOrTcOzM

• Take a virtual tour of Wilson’s home, ‘Stepping Stones’, in Katonah, New York: 

https://www.steppingstones.org/tours.html

• What is AA? Alcoholics Anonymous (USA)’s current website:

https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/what-is-aa

 

For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 12, 2021
On This Day: The Opening Night Of 'CATS'
10:54

At a cost of £2m, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘Cats’ premiered at the New London Theatre on 11th May, 1981 - and the world had never seen anything like it. 

 

With a cast including Brian Blessed and Elaine Paige, the original production was innovative, sexy, creepy, bizarre - and an enormous gamble for the impresarios who backed it.

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion look back at the original reviews for the show, consider whether John Napier’s award-winning costume design was actually incredibly lazy, and reveal how the show’s signature song, ‘Memory’, nearly didn’t happen at all...

 

Further reading:

• Elaine Paige performs ‘Memory’ in the original production:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm5w7gHEtJI

• Sue MacGregor interviews the cast and crew for Radio 4’s ‘The Reunion’:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008jyn

• ‘Cats’ - a timeline from London’s Evening Standard:

https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/theatre/cats-musical-history-a4439316.html


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We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.


 



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May 11, 2021
On This Day: The Lady Who Left Her Baby Outside
10:29

As Annette Sorensen drank margaritas in a New York BBQ restaurant on May 10th, 1997, she left her 14 month-old daughter outside, in a stroller. 

 

She spent two days in jail, was accused of child neglect, and was separated from her baby for four days. But Sorensen, a Danish visitor to the States, claimed she was following Scandinavian norms, and tried to sue for $20m.

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion examine whether leaving your baby outside in the street really IS a Danish custom, consider the culture clash between Copenhagen and NYC, and confess the weirdest places they’ve left their own children...

 

Further reading:

• The AP films Sorensen’s (first) court appearance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-KCeRHBzK4

• The New York Times covers the story in 1997:

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/14/nyregion/toddler-left-outside-restaurant-is-returned-to-her-mother.html

• 20 years after the case, Annette Sorensen speaks to The Guardian: 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/26/anette-sorenson-denmark-new-york-baby-left-outside


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We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

 



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May 10, 2021
On This Day: The Return Of 'The Scream'
9:48

The theft of Edvard Munch’s iconic painting ‘The Scream’ sullied the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer - but, on 7th May, 1994, the iconic work was recovered.

 

The painting, which has been stolen multiple times, was returned on this occasion thanks to the involvement of Britain’s Metropolitan Police - and the comic ineptitude of the thieves.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explore the bizarre career of professional footballer turned art thief Pal Enger; consider what Munch had in common with modern-day artists like Damien Hirst; and reveal whether Macaulay Culkin’s ‘scream’ on the poster for Home Alone was a deliberate tribute...

 

Further reading:

• When ‘The Scream’ was stolen AGAIN - in 2005 -

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/jun/13/art.arttheft

• Conservator Gry Landro talks about what happened to the painting after the robbery - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm45OPVxoCc

• The Athletic profiles Pal Enger - https://theathletic.co.uk/2445693/2021/03/16/the-footballer-turned-art-thief-who-stole-the-scream/


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We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Voiceover: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 07, 2021
On This Day: Epping Forest Opens Up
9:44

Queen Victoria thrilled the locals with a personal appearance on May 6th 1882, to dedicate Epping Forest, near London, as ‘the people’s forest’. 

 

It was a pivotal moment in the preservation of green space for public recreation - as industrialisation around the capital lead to increasing swathes of land being developed for profit.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how, at one time, as much as one-third of the landmass of Southern England was considered a ‘Royal Forest’, why breaking the rules could land you in ‘forest court’ - and reveal the modern-day criminals chasing after the park’s mushrooms...

 

Further reading:

• British Pathé commemorates the glories of Epping Forest (1943) -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0Z8KB9Y5RI 

• ‘The Day Queen Victoria Gave Epping Forest To The People’ - https://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/1452517.day-queen-victoria-gave-epping-forest-people/

• The arch that was built to commemorate the visit - https://www.eppingforestguardian.co.uk/news/18753957.queen-victoria-visited-chingford-epping-forest-dedication/


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Voiceover: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 06, 2021
On This Day: Mary Whitehouse Cleans Up TV
9:19

It was standing room only at Birmingham Town Hall on May 5, 1964 - the day legendary anti-smut campaigner Mary Whitehouse launched her ‘Clean Up TV’ campaign.

 

Claiming the BBC’s Director-General was “responsible for the moral collapse in this country”, she went on to attract 366,355 signatures to her petition opposing the “disbelief, doubt and dirt that the BBC projects into millions of homes through the television screen”.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion revisit her objections to ‘filth’ as diverse as Chuck Berry’s ‘My Ding-A-Ling’ and concentration camp footage; consider whether her M.O. influenced modern-day ‘cancel culture’; and ask if, in a world of 24-hour news, her feelings about war reporting have achieved some merit...

 

Further reading:

• Letters from Mary Whitehouse in the National Archives: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/sixties-britain/letters-mary-whitehouse/

• Mary Whitehouse’s obituary in The Guardian (2001):

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2001/nov/24/guardianobituaries.obituaries

• From the Huntley Film Archives, the night Clean Up TV launched their petition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO_DqJ85jvk


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors

 

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Voiceover: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 05, 2021
On This Day: The First Ever Grammys
9:16

Thirteen years before ever being broadcast, the Grammys took their first steps into rock n’ roll history on May 4, 1959 - when, curiously, they were held in two separate cities on the same night.

 

If you were a fan of rock n’roll, however, you’d have been sorely disappointed by the winners - ‘Tequila’ by The Champs, Perry Como’s ‘Catch A Falling Star’, and, bizarrely, David Seville & The Chipmunks’ ‘The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’.

 

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain why The Chipmunks were so acclaimed, consider whether the Grammys have a problem with race, and reveal which noughties novelty pop song was inspired by The Sugarhill Gang...

 

Further reading:

• The 1958 Grammys - the winners in full:

https://www.grammy.com/grammys/awards/1st-annual-grammy-awards-1958

• The Dark, Angry Father of ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’: https://www.vulture.com/2015/11/the-dark-angry-father-of-alvin-and-the-chipmunks.html

• The Beverly Hilton, one of the locations for the first ever Grammys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRYVAodIvw4


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Voiceover: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 04, 2021
On This Day: When 'Twister' Went Viral
9:09

Eva Gabor’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on May 3rd, 1966 introduced the party game ‘Twister’ to an appreciative nation. 


Previously considered too racy for toy distributors, who nicknamed it ‘sex in a box’, the game went on to sell an astonishing three million copies in that year alone. But it was also greeted with moral panic, following news reports that teenagers were having naked Twister parties.


In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal the original names for the iconic game, consider the toy’s induction into the US National Toy Hall of Fame - and ponder the surprising success of the Tonight Show spot, given that it was in black and white...


Further reading:

• The Tonight Show clip has been lost to history - but here’s Merv Griffin and the band having a go a few days later: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3kqLHFtlU4

• Twister’s induction into the US National Toy Hall of Fame: https://www.toyhalloffame.org/toys/twister

• Twister’s creators, Reyn Guyer and Mel Taft, on how Eva Gabor helped them hit the big time: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/feb/24/how-we-made-twister


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Voiceover: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



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May 03, 2021
Introducing... The Retrospectors
0:55
Revisiting remarkable moments from history - with considerably less respect than that suggests. new daily entertainment show from Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina, and Arion McNicoll.

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Apr 19, 2021