Category Archives: Articles

Weekly Wrap Volume 144

trees

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The United States v. Paramount and How Movie Theater Concessions Got 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 […]

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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

nova

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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Weekly Wrap 143

alien-DJ

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. A Real Life Ghost Story Are you scared of the dark? Do you sleep with the light on? Do you hear noises in other parts of the house when you know you’re alone? You’re about to read a ghostly tale with […]

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Who Is “Little Debbie”?

Chocolate-Cupcake

Michael C. asks: Was there ever a real Little Debbie or is she a fake mascot like so many other brand people? Who is Little Debbie? The simple answer is that she’s the straw-hat-wearing, blue-eyed little girl on the front of the box of delicious confectioneries like Oatmeal Creme Pies, Honey Buns and whatever Star Crunches are. However, that’s not […]

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The True Story of the Ides of March

caesar

In William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar,” Caesar mocks the soothsayer’s earlier prediction to “Beware the Ides of March.” Later, Caesar says, “The Ides of March have come” to point out the supposed dreaded day did not bring disaster. The soothsayer responds with a prophetic point, “Ay, Caesar; but not gone.” Shortly thereafter, Caesar is stabbed many times over by conspirators […]

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Avenging His Dog: The Story of Famed Congressman “Good Time Charlie” Wilson’s First Foray Into Politics

Charlie_Wilson_with_Afghan_man

As well-known for leading a flamboyant, playboy lifestyle as being the mastermind responsible for funneling $5 billion dollars (about $12 billion today) to Afghan rebels (when they were on our side) in their fight against the Soviet Union, Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson was a larger than life character who serves as a stark reminder of how different the political landscape […]

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