Category Archives: Entertainment

Forgotten History: The First Movie and the Scientific Question It Sought to Answer

The first films were little more than what we would consider short clips, a boxer throwing a single punch or train arriving at a station– the type of scenes that today you might only see in the form of animated gifs.  While popular perception is that movies got their start around the early twentieth century, the real seed that grew […]

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FACT OR FICTION?: A Young Bill Murray Was Arrested for Carrying 10 Pounds of Marijuana

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Among those who use recreational drugs, Bill Murray is something of an icon, having played several pot-smoking characters over the years, including the cannabis-loving sea captain Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and noted drug user Hunter S. Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam. So, was Bill Murray actually arrested for transporting Mary Jane, or was this […]

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What’s a MacGuffin in Films and Why is It Called That?

Hitchcock

Shih C. asks: Why are McGuffin’s in films called that? In the last scene of the 1941 film classic, The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart) hands over a murderer (played by Mary Astor) and a black falcon statuette to authorities. When asked what the statuette was exactly, Spade looks off in the distance and rather unsatisfactorily explains, […]

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The United States v. Paramount and How Movie Theater Concessions Got So Expensive

movie-theater

Walter K. asks: Why are movie theaters allowed to make their concessions so expensive? In 1948, the Supreme Court ended the stranglehold Hollywood studios and distributors had on the U.S. movie market. Declaring the big eight a monopoly and ordering them to divest of their ownership of movie theaters and cease other non-competitive practices, with U.S. v. Paramount Pictures, et […]

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Making Science Cool Since 1974

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader When PBS executives started planning a new science show in the early 1970s, people in the TV business were baffled. A show about…science? Were they crazy? Audiences wanted Happy Days and M*A*S*H*, not educational shows! Luckily for us, they were wrong. IN THE BEGINNING… In 1971 an American television producer […]

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Stuart Little and the Missing Masterpiece

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader It’s a good bet that after you read this article, you’ll start paying more attention to background props in movies. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE It was Christmas Eve 2009. Gergely Barki, an art historian and researcher with the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, had settled in with his daughter Lola to […]

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That Time Mozart Pirated a Forbidden Piece of Music from the Catholic Church from Memory

sistina-interno

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known for many things, few of which we care to cover on this site because you probably already know all about them. Instead, we prefer to cover things that you likely didn’t know, like that the alphabet song was based on a tune by Mozart, or covering his extremely adult themed works that included a bit […]

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What Exactly Does Landing on Free Parking Do in a Game of Monopoly? (And Other Ways You’ve Been Playing Monopoly Wrong That Make It Take Longer)

monopoly

Richard G. asks: I’ve seen so many different rules for it, but what’s actually supposed to happen when you land on free parking in Monopoly? Few board games have the ability to cause arguments like Monopoly, an unsurprising fact given the object of the game it was based on (see: Who Invented Monopoly?) was to send your opponent to the […]

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That Time a Band Made Over $20,000 on a Totally Silent Album on Spotify

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Silence is golden and in 2014 a little known American funk band called Vulfpeck took this to its logical extreme by releasing an entirely silent album on the popular music streaming service Spotify. This ultimately resulted in the band earning a not unimpressive sum of just over $20,000 from the album- their highest earning yet on the service- at which […]

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Origins of the Jedi

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No one can dispute George Lucas’ significant contributions to cinema history, including both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. His company also played a role in advancing special effects, top quality post-production audio and even digital sound systems for movie theaters. But it is nice to know that he didn’t invent everything out of whole cloth; when developing the […]

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The Hit Man

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Even if you’ve never heard of Otis Blackwell, you’ve almost certainly heard his music—he was one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century. Here’s the story of the most famous songwriter most people have never heard of. TIGHT CHRISTMAS In the mid 1950s, Otis Blackwell was a struggling […]

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Why Do Daft Punk Dress Like Robots?

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McKayla asks: Why do Daft Punk always dress like robots? Have they ever shown their faces? Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, more succinctly known as Daft Punk, are arguably two of the most famous and easily recognisable musicians on Earth, having won countless major awards including six Grammys and even managed a “Best Original Score” award for the absolutely […]

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