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another world, another time, in the age of wonder... [Feb. 12th, 2010|03:11 pm]
Weird History

In 1960, the Takara toy company (which later went on to create Transformers, among other things) had one of their first big hits with Dakko-chan, a black vinyl "golliwog" doll with winking eyes that clipped onto a child's arm. The doll was first called "tree climbing winky", and then "[untranslatable racial slur referencing the all-black costumes of traditional Japanese stage-hands]-chan" before settling on "Dakko-chan", where "Dakko" means "snuggle" in Japanese, and is also a pun on the English word "dark".

What surprises me isn't the fact that this toy was so popular, or even the fact that Dakko-chan became Takara's mascot for the next 28 years until public outcry motivated them to add a tail and call it a monkey. What surprises me in particular is this article in LIFE magazine about the fad, where they quote a couple of Japanese artists who just seem so proud that Japanese children are "embracing negro culture" by buying these dolls. Things were perceived a little differently in 1960...

Here's the image that originally appeared with the article:

Here's a Japanese blog article on the fad, and here's the Japanese Wikipedia entry on Dakko-chan.
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(no subject) [Jan. 31st, 2010|10:05 pm]
Weird History

STORY HERE: Woodstock concert's undercover lovers, Nick and Bobbi Ercoline, 40 years after summer of love

IN 1969

IN 2009
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"Women do not do any of the creative work." [Jan. 24th, 2010|07:19 pm]
Weird History


Miss Mary T. Ford

Dear Miss Ford,

Your letter of recent date has been received in the Inking and Painting Department for reply.

Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.

The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink and filling in the tracings on the reverse side with paint according to the directions.

In order to apply for a position as “Inker” or “Painter” it is necessary that one appear at the Studio, bringing samples of pen and ink and water color work. It would not be advisable to come to Hollywood with the above specifically in view, as there are really very few openings in comparison with the number of girls who apply.

Yours very truly,

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Hi! [Jan. 19th, 2010|07:40 pm]
Weird History

Hello, all!

Absolutely fascinated with various eras, particularly Victorian times and the Black Death that hit London in the 1600s. I was wondering if anyone had any interesting articles/information concerning the plague, I was once told a story where a ship docked filled with bodies who had been taken by it and have been trying to find more about it. Gruesome stuff!!!

Anyway! I come bearing and interesting flickr site too;


This guy has been collecting woodcuts, drawings and photographs of incredibly unusual scenes involving to name a few; death, witchcraft and sex ranging from various periods. I reccomend a look if you feel like being shocked and amazed.

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Representation of a male saint breast-feeding [Nov. 21st, 2009|11:19 am]
Weird History

A question: I remember vaguely a painting of a _male_ saint breast-feeding. I cannot trace now this painting. Any help would be appreciated.
(cross-posted from Amonseuldesir).

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Saint Denis, the decapitated guy you'll bump into all over Paris [Nov. 5th, 2009|03:48 pm]
Weird History

If, in your Paris wanderings, you've spent some time at Notre Dame admiring all the statues of saints and kings adorning the front of the cathedral, you may have found yourself wondering, "Who's that decapitated guy holding his head in his hands?" The headless man in question is Saint Denis, a martyr with a strange and incredible story. Saint Denis was the first bishop of Paris, back in the third century when Paris was still very much a Roman city. The prodigious number of conversions Denis performed got him on the bad side of the local pagan priests. So the Roman rulers of Paris had Denis arrested and brought him to the highest hill in Paris, now known as Montmartre, where he was executed by — you guessed it — beheading. Now, here comes the good part: It's said that immediately after Denis was killed, he picked up his head and walked six kilometers... Read more...
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Paris' Hôtel de Ville — a great place for an execution! [Nov. 3rd, 2009|11:17 pm]
Weird History

L'Hôtel de Ville is Paris' beautiful city hall, situated on the North bank of the Seine right in the center of town. You'd never guess that just in front of its doorstep lies a site where hundreds, possibly thousands of bloody executions took place, spanning over five centuries. The big open square in front is now called la Place de L'Hôtel de Ville, but its original name was the Place de Grève, and for centuries this was the spot in Paris where most public executions took place. Convicted criminals met their fate in various gruesome... Read more
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Cool Stuff in Paris: An unfinished statue of the Virgin Mary, buried for eight centuries [Nov. 3rd, 2009|04:59 pm]
Weird History

I'm not a religious dude, but I love churches; particularly very old and very European ones. Whenever I'm wandering in a part of Paris that's not super familiar to me, I always try to stop in every church I see. I'd never been in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés until recently, but I'm very glad I decided to stop in one afternoon while in the neighborhood to take pictures of the hotel where Oscar Wilde died. The abbey is gorgeous on the inside, but the one thing that really struck me is this 13-century statue of the Virgin Mary that's all the way in back. The statue is in pieces and visibly unfinished, reassembled from three fragments of rock discovered in an archeological dig in 1999. (Read more...)
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Oscar Wilde's death at L'Hôtel [Oct. 28th, 2009|04:53 pm]
Weird History

I just added a couple long-overdue photos to my article about the Parisian Hotel where Oscar Wilde died. You can see his plaque as well as a weird metal ram's head they've added recently above the door.

I also just found out where Henri IV was assassinated, right down the street from me, so I'll have pictures and an article up for that soon!
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nyc subway 1987 [Oct. 28th, 2009|10:25 pm]
Weird History

weird to see it so filthy!!

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