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The Story Behind ... | The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary-logo

The Story Behind ... | The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary

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Sliced Bread | The Greatest Thing Since Betty White (TSB102)

Today’s topic came about in 1928, and in the span of time since then, many things have been said to be the greatest thing since its invention. The more I read about it, and how easy it made people’s lives, the more I realize the idiom about how great it is isn’t too far off the mark. Because of this topic, sandwiches were made faster, toasters increased in sales and became a common wedding present, and breakfasts became easier to make on the fly. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is...


The Pink Slip | Enjoyment from Unemployment (TSB101)

Hey there! Remember me? Yup, The Story Behind is finally back after a hiatus I did not expect would be as long as it has. Here’s the short version of what happened and why it was so long, and I promise this has everything to do with today’s topic. I started editing and writing show notes for other podcasts on the side before I found out in October that I was going to be let go from my full-time job. When I found that out, it was the week I was gearing up for episode 100, so on top of...


The Story Behind: The Musical! (TSB100)

Warning: If you usually listen to this podcast at a faster speed, singing will be used and this might be a good time to slow your podcast player down. If you’ve been with me from the very beginning, you know every so often I like to thrown in a little singing now and then. I try to deny being a theater person, but I secretly am. The theater bug bites me every so often and I want to be in a show again. And not just any show. I was brought up listening to Rodgers & Hammerstein, singing...


Reese's Peanut Butter Cups | A Combination of Epic Proportions (TSB099)

I made the mistake of researching and writing this episode with my 6-year-old daughter next to me. And at 8:30 in the morning, the pictures of the familiar orange and yellow wrappers on screen proved to be the catalyst for a 20-minute session of her begging to have the subject of today’s episode for breakfast. And, really, as someone who has made her share of bad breakfast decisions, it seemed hypocritical of me to deny her. Besides, it has 5 grams of protein, so it’s basically healthy,...


Kit Kat | From Scholarly Clubs in the 1700s to a Not-So-Scholarly Lunch Hour of Taste-Testing in 2017 (TSB098)

I should probably apologize in advance for today’s topic, since last week’s episode The Story Behind Lollipops got Shirley Temple and The Chordettes stuck in the heads of a few listeners. I promise I won’t play the theme song to the candy bar I’ll be talk about in this episode, but if it gets stuck in your head anyway, you’re not alone. A poll from the University of Cincinnati proved that the Gimme a Break jingle was one of the most common earworm. And probably just by saying that...


Baby Ruth | Layers of Origin Stories, Baseball Tie-Ins and "Ruthless" Marketing (TSB097)

I thought I knew the story behind this candy bar before researching it, but it turns out, there was more layers to this story than I originally thought. You know how in Shrek, there’s the line “Ogres are like onions,” equating their personalities with that of the layers in an onion? Well, the story behind this episode’s topic is broken down into layers, as well, which is convenient since the candy bar, itself, is layered with nougat, peanuts, caramel and finally chocolate. I’m your host,...


Lollipops | Differing Origin Stories, Salvador Dali, and Ear Worms (TSB096)

From Egyptians eating honey on sticks to today’s modern-day confections, this subject of this episode is kicking off a series that will hopefully lead us into Halloween with a sweet twist. Just to warn you, there are some ear worms in this episode, so take my advice and if you happen to get a song stuck in your head, as I have since researching it, sing a Queen song. That always helps me. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Lollipops. Join The Story Behind...


Tissues | From Handkerchiefs to Kleenex (TSB095)

Every fall and spring, my husband and I buy the topic of today’s episode by the case for our allergies. And with a new baby in the house, we’ve been buying even more. We have a box in almost every room in the house. We most likely take them for granted, until we run out that is. In this episode, we’ll look at the original, non-disposable version used for centuries through the more recent invention most of us know and use today. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind...


Handcuffs | My Hands are Tied (TSB094)

From crime dramas to magic acts to "50 Shades of Grey," today’s topic is known around the world, although there are restrictions in place depending on the country about how a person is displayed with them. France, for example, prohibits the media from showing pictures of people with them until they’ve been convicted. Those being restrained with the device in Hong Kong are offered head coverings for anonymity. And in Japan, a person’s hands may be blurred in photographs if they’re wearing...



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The Toothbrush | The Nacirema Weird Habit that Took a While To Catch On (TSB093)

Usually I grab inspiration for my episodes from random instances during my week when I take a moment and wonder the history behind things we may take for granted. Well, this week, I went to the dentist and while I was in the chair, getting my teeth cleaned, I began wondering about this week’s topic. And, I’m getting a crown put in on Thursday, so there’s a possibility I’ll come up with even more dental-themed topics for the near future, just to warn you. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and...


Las Vegas | Early Settlers, Quickie Divorces and Weddings, Casinos, and the Fabulous Sign (TSB092)

If you’re listening to this the week it comes out, I’m going to break away from the usual format of the show to editorialize that this was a tough week, no? Sunday night, 59 people were killed and more than 520 people were injured when a gunman shot at a group of 22,000 concert-goers from 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is now the deadliest mass shooting in recent history. Monday morning was not only a day of somber mourning, head shaking,...


Monster Trucks | Modifying Pick-Ups, Sports Entertainment, and Sunday x 3 (TSB091)

Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in America probably remember the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons showing the subject of today’s episode. These giant beast machines were jumping over buses, crushing cars, and coming to a coliseum near you. Even if you’ve never been to a show, the iconic voice behind day of the week many events took place is sure to dig up some memories. "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!" Well, actually, this episode is set to release on a Monday "Oh, OK ......


Podcasts | Celebrate the Power of Podcasts Sept. 30 (TSB090)

Everyone has a story about how they discovered podcasts and on Saturday, Sept. 30, you can celebrate your love of podcasts on International Podcast Day. How can you celebrate? Send an email or a Tweet to your favorite podcast to let them know you enjoy their work. Find new podcasts to listen to. Tell your friends and family about podcasts they might enjoy and, more importantly, show them how to listen. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Podcasts. Special thanks to...


Procrastination | Historic Productivity, Famous Procrastinators, Carpe Diem Real Meaning (TSB089)

As I’m recording this episode, it’s a few hours before I usually publish. In fact, I wrote this episode only hours ago from scratch. Did you ever have one of those weekends when you knew you had to do something -- in my case, write Monday’s episode -- and for some reason, other things came along and distracted you? That was me. Things like wanting to relax after work on Friday instead of writing, or deciding to finally put away a load of laundry, to writing Thursday’s episode instead, to...


Pockets | One Hand in My Pick-Pocket-Full of Sunshine (TSB088)

If you haven’t looked at the title of this episode yet, let me give you a little quiz of your musical knowledge to help introduce today’s topic. What does these things have in common? The Pretenders’ brass, Perry Como’s falling star, Natasha Bedingfield’s sunshine, Alanis Morissette's hand, and P-Money’s cash? They’re all kept in the subject of this episode. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Pockets. The role of Harry Houdini was played by Brian Earl from the...


Clowns | Send Them In, But Don't Expect Everyone to Laugh (TSB087)

The following contains subject matter that may not be appropriate for younger listeners or anyone with any sort of fear of clowns. Listener discretion is advised. I was wrong when I thought my days of referencing Tim Curry were over when I finished up The Story behind Clue Series. But with the release of IT in September of 2017 came shattered box office records and a majority of my favorite podcasts talking about the new version with Bill Skarsgard in the title role. But as a kid, I...


The Pumpkin Spice Latte | History of Pumpkins, Birth of the Latte, Starbucks Seasonal Favorite (TSB086)

Here in New England where I live, the fall is probably the most loved season. The leaves change, it gets a bit cooler, and nothing sounds better than being cozy warm in a cable knit sweater. It all sounds very calm and serene, doesn’t it? But there’s an underlying current to the first few hints at fall. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know when. That beverage that’s supposed to be reminiscent of comfort food to be enjoyed by a warmth hearth. But then, the craziness takes over. All of...


Clue: The Game | Clue Series: The Inventor, Changes to the Game, Different Versions, Strategies (TSB085)

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener discretion is advised. This is the final episode of The Story Behind Clue Series. I hope you’ve all enjoyed talking about the weapons in the classic game, as well as talking about the 1985 movie. In this episode, we’re going back to the very beginning to talk about the...


Clue: The Movie | Behind the Scenes, VHS Cult Classic, Alternate Casting (TSB084)

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener discretion is advised. This is the second-to-last episode of The Story Behind Clue Series. Since we’re out of weapons to talk about, let’s shift our attention to the movie I’ve gotten tons of clips from. And I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has sent in clips...


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