In 1941 Disney animators went on strike in an attempt to unionise. Walt Disney fought back with speeches, fists, firings, and Dumbo.
In simultaneous play, a chess master competes against multiple opponents at the same time. In 1951, International Master Robert Wade began such an exhibition match with 30 teenage schoolboys from Moscow. He would not win one game.
The best dictionary entry in history appeared in some editions of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: “Zymurgist (noun). Brewer. The last word in dictionaries.”
In ancient art from Europe to India a particular artistic motif frequently appears: a male or female figure grabbing two wild creatures, one in each hand. These are the Master and Mistress of Animals.
The Darb-e Imam shrine in Iran contains an early and exciting example of non-periodic tiling that was only mathematically appreciated five hundred years later.
How long would it take to study the whole Talmud, one page a day? Seven and a half years… and it’s best to begin tomorrow.
Courier chess, played from the 12th century CE on, had kings, queens, bishops, knights, rooks, and pawns… but it also had henchmen, fools, and couriers.
Before they made the Superman we all know, Siegel and Shuster self-published a zine featuring a bald villain also named Superman.
Is Christmas Day the twelfth day of Christmas or the first? And why does it cost US$170,298.03?
A Christmas Eve parlour game played in Victorian England involved grabbing burning raisins with your hands and eating them while they were still alight.
From 1903 to 1905 a unique comic strip was published in the New York Herald: you would read the first half, then flip the page upside down to read the second half.
“We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, […] optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional […] and it must be 3 ¼ seconds long.”
Papyrus is expensive. Scripture is repetitive. The earliest Christian texts used a clever set of abbreviations to save space and time.
The most common time signatures in music are 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond famously recorded Take Five in 5/4 time, but another jazz icon named Don Ellis took time signature experiments to a new level.
Clip shows are an easy way to make a new episode cheaply from existing footage. One series made a clip show out of their second ever episode.