Earl Muntz was an American businessperson who made a fortune chopping unnecessary bits out of TV sets. He may have also coined the term “TV” and certainly named his daughter “Tee Vee” too.
One Sunday in 1987, two Chicago TV broadcasts were hijacked by someone with a Max Headroom mask, a voice modulator, and an odd sense of humour. He was never caught.
When Taiwanese baseball player Chin-Lung Hu hit a single in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks he fulfilled a promise made in a comedy sketch seventy-one years before.
Emerson Romero was a deaf Cuban-American silent film star who lost his job when sound came to cinema – so he invented closed captioning.
The classic horror film Nosferatu was nearly lost forever because of Bram Stoker’s widow.
The hymn Amazing Grace was set to its current tune more than fifty years after it was written. Because it was written in common metre, it can also be sung to Mack the Knife, Sympathy for the Devil, the Pokemon theme, and the Gilligan’s Island theme.
Chinese wuxia (and derivative Western) fiction describes the touch of death, a single blow that can kill an opponent. Surprisingly, this is actually possible.
What do George Spelvin, Walter Plinge, David Agnew, and Alan Smithee have in common? None of them exist.
Mickey Mouse’s first words were spoken not by Walt Disney but by Carl Stalling, who went on to compose 22 years’ worth of soundtracks for Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons.
The first film to feature a woman tied to train tracks starred one of the earliest female directors and producers, Mabel Normand. She may also have been the recipient of the first pie-in-the-face film gag.
A plot point in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home features the fictional material transparent aluminium. Around the same time, actual transparent aluminium was patented.
A hundred years ago Soviet filmmakers such as Lev Kuleshov and Sergei Eisenstein demonstrated how you could create meaning purely through film editing.
Between 2004 and 2005 the North Korean television show Common Sense ran a propaganda series titled Let’s Trim our Hair in Accordance with the Socialist Lifestyle.
An iconic image of silent film: a space ship approaches the face in the moon and crashes into its… mouth? In 1908 a competitor made a nearly identical shot-for-shot remake of Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon.
Leia and Luke crash land on Mimban, are arrested by stormtroopers, fall in with a pair of drunk aliens, escape, float on giant lily-pads, then chop off Darth Vader’s arm. This is the official 1978 novel sequel to Star Wars.
Want to be on the radio? Try saying this first: “The seething sea ceased to see, then thus sufficeth thus.”