Useless Information Podcast-logo

Useless Information Podcast

History Podcasts >

More Information

Location:

United States

Language:

English

Contact:

518-238-3788


Episodes

UI #109 - The Case of the Phantom Vegetable Oil

1/29/2018
More
In the late 1950's and early 1960's, Anthony "Tino" De Angelis ran a global salad oil empire. Find out how Tino grew his business so quickly, his shocking downfall, how JFK’s assassination ties into the story, and the way that one of the world's richest men today made a good chunk of change off of everyone else’s misfortune. Also learn about the original name for the game Twister, a doctor or strongly discouraged excessive exercisem a glue sniffing fad, and people that consumed lemon-scented...

Duration:00:44:57

UI #108 - The Man Who Gave Away His Birthday

12/29/2017
More
When author Robert Louis Stevenson learned that young Vermont native Annie Ide hated her Christmas birthday, he decided to deed his own birthday to her. Listen to this episode to learn how she celebrate her new birthday and what happened after she died. Also learn about when the first Christmas card was printed, a man who got a living doll for Christmas, a boy who tried to emulate Santa, and a recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrosponsor: Hallmark Cards Learn more about...

Duration:00:46:45

UI #107 - The First Transatlantic Airplane Race

11/24/2017
More
In May of 1929, Old Orchard Beach in Maine was the site for an airplane race that pitted the smaller, more nimble American Green Flash against larger, more powerful French Yellow Bird. Anticipation mounted for weeks as the two planes attempted to get off the ground. Also, learn about the world's first airline, a man who clung to the fuselage of an airplane, a man sucked into a jet engine, and an astronaut impersonator. Retrosponsor: Northwest Orient Airlines

Duration:00:49:13

UI #106 - Elixir of Death

10/9/2017
More
When the S.E. Massengill Co. introduced its Elixir Sulfanilamide to the market in September 1937, there was no law in the United States requiring pharmaceutical companies to test their medicines for toxicity. In just the short time that this elixir produced, it took the lives of more than 100 people, many of whom were young children. Also learn about the world's most popular medicine, how the next generation of children were predicted to have teeth like Bugs Bunny, a woman who won a TV...

Duration:00:33:02

UI #105 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 3 - Maybelle Trow Knox

8/31/2017
More
During desperate times some people are forced to do desperate things. The trick is to not get caught. Let's just say that Maybelle Trow Knox was not very good at that last part. Also learn the real name of Scooby Doo's best friend Shaggy, how Scooby Doo got his name, a teacher who used an electric chair to punish students, a girl too afraid to show her report card, and a boy who placed his loose tooth in his ear. Retrosponsor: Arrid deodorant.

Duration:00:44:01

UI #104 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 2 - Farmers in Revolt

7/7/2017
More
The Great Depression was an awful time for farmers in Iowa. It culminated with the near hanging of a judge in Le Mars. It just happens that the farm involved was owned by the T.M. Zink estate, the same man who left his savings for the establishment of a womanless library. Also learn about the only planet in our solar system where its day is longer that its year and three unusual stories involving marriage annulment. Retrosponsor: Spry Vegetable Shortening

Duration:00:27:53

UI #103 - Le Mars Trilogy: Part 1 - T.M. Zink's Library

6/10/2017
More
The first of a 3-part series on Le Mars, Iowa from the 1930's. Le Mars was thrust into the national spotlight by the actions of just one man: a successful lawyer named T.M. Zink, who left nearly his entire estate for the establishment of a very unusual library. Listen to this podcast to determine whether Zink was truly mad or simply playing a good practical joke on the world. Also learn about a man who pushed a heavy cart many mile off course, an artist's model fired for his Van Dyke...

Duration:00:33:52

UI #102 - Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

5/6/2017
More
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was one of the first female doctors in the United States and is the only woman to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, until the government rescinded her award. Also learn about a woman who accidentally served her husband dog food for breakfast, three children found locked in a tool box, who CBS wanted to replace Rod Serling on the Twilight Zone with plus the title that ABC wished to rename the show. Retrosponsor: Ingram's Shaving Cream

Duration:00:30:43

UI #101 - Where There's a Wilby, There's a Way

3/27/2017
More
Between 1942 and 1943 Ralph Marshall Wilby appeared to pull off what appeared to be the perfect crime. An incredible story that has many elements of an international thriller: deception, false identities, international kidnapping, and the drop dead gorgeous woman who brought his capture.

Duration:00:33:22

UI #100 - A Miracle Birth in Mexico

2/28/2017
More
On March 5, 2000, Ines Ramirez Perez went into labor but was unable to get any medical care to help with the delivery. In a panic, Ines concluded that she had no other option than to deliver the baby herself. She used an ordinary kitchen knife to perform a cesarean on herself. Find out what happened afterward and stories of other self-cesareans. Also, learn about a toy made from Zectron, a man who had the ultimate solution for a sore throat, a doctor who removed his own appendix, and...

Duration:00:20:45

UI #99 - Millionaire for a Day

11/25/2016
More
Back in 1911, Wilkes-Barre, PA resident John Jay "Butch" McDevitt won the Democratic Primary for county treasurer. The only problem was that the Democratic Committee didn't want McDevitt on the ballot. Listen to this story to find out how the party got rid of him and how he capitalized on this for the rest of his life. Also, learn about three animals involved in politics and the first time that the red & blue electoral map was used on network television. Retrosponsor: Gracie Allen for...

Duration:00:40:04

UI #97 - Silent Susan

9/12/2016
More
On October 6, 1946 a young woman was arrested in Palisades Park, NJ for refusing to provide a police officer with her name. She had been cooperative in every way but refused to provide that single piece of information. Her story soon became front page news nationwide. Also learn about discontinued Monopoly game tokens, the Hear-See recording system, the introduction of the Radarange, and what was to be called the "Tape Age." Retrosponsor: The American Weekly magazine.

Duration:00:27:33

UI #96 - The Ice Cream Wars

8/3/2016
More
The everything ice cream episode! Learn about an ongoing war between ice cream vendors, which included bombings, gunfire, torching of trucks, and threats. Also, learn about a ban on using glue in ice cream, a pharmacy robbery where one of the bandits served ice cream, and a woman who set up a $20,000 ice cream trust fund. Retrosponsor: Sealtest Ice Cream

Duration:00:34:34

UI #95 - The Yonkers Anti-Shorts Law

6/30/2016
More
Back in 1935, Yonkers, NY made international news for arresting five NYC women who wore shorts and bandana halters. At one point, the Yonkers' aldermen proposed the building of a fence around the entire Tibbetts Brook Park to keep the undesirable people out. Also, learn about one man's attempt to shut down a nudist colony, two men forced to hike nude for many miles, a topless cellist, and the only company still on the Dow Jones Industrial Average that was on the original list....

Duration:00:26:30

UI #94 - The Brassiere Brigade

5/30/2016
More
In September of 1950, a young woman contacted Miami police to let them know that someone had stolen money from her, money that she had helped to steal from Southern Bell originally. This led to the discovery of a highly unusual theft ring. Also, learn about a boy that was sentenced to three years for stealing a single penny, crooks that stole the wrong box, a man who specialized in stealing cash from pay phones, and which season has the most number of days. Retrosponsor: Remington-Rand...

Duration:00:25:29

UI #93 - The Ugliest Thing the President Ever Saw

4/29/2016
More
President Lyndon Johnson was never one to hold back his words, whether they be good or bad. Listen to this episode to learn what he felt was the ugliest thing that he had ever seen. Also, learn about the original 3 Musketeers Candy Bar, a man who turned blue, a woman offended by a new red, white, & blue girdle, and aluminum swimwear. Retrosponsor: MGM Studios/The Wizard of Oz.

Duration:00:21:47

UI #92 - A Dog Day in Court

3/31/2016
More
The drowning of Brockport, NY resident Maxwell Breeze in the Erie Canal back in 1936 was the basis for one of the most unusual death penalty cases ever. Find out who was placed on trial, the decision handed down by the court, and what happened to the accused murderer in the end. Also, learn which Beatles' song is the second most covered of all time, a headless rooster named Lazarus, how a family went ape over a monkey up a tree in their backyard, and the death leap of over 1,000 sheep....

Duration:00:28:07

UI #91 - Unfit to Teach

2/28/2016
More
In the past, teachers could be fired some of the craziest reasons such as wearing turtleneck sweaters, pantsuits, not going to church, or smoking a cigarette at home. Check out this story to learn about one of the more unusual ways a teacher could be denied a teaching license. Also learn who was the first person on the cover of TV Guide, a teacher fired for being too pretty, others fired for having children, and yet another for refusing to sign a loyalty oath. Retrosponsor: Milk-Bone dog...

Duration:00:20:58

UI #90 - The Salem Trade School

1/27/2016
More
The Salem Trade School was the worst high school football team in the Boston region back in the 1920's. Any team that played against them was almost guaranteed to win. The Salem Trade team had a big secret and they somehow managed to keep it under wraps for six years. Also learn about the history of peanut butter, the origin of tighty-whiteys, reporters who hated Elvis Presley, reporters who equally hated The Beatles, and a death threat against the Bee Gees. Retrosponsor: Peter Pan Peanut...

Duration:00:20:48

UI #89 - The Singing Mouse

12/24/2015
More
The comical true story of an ordinary house mouse that could sing. Next came a one-year contract with NBC radio and an international contest to find the world's best singing mouse. Also learn about the man who invented Christmas lights, a boy who received a new leg for Christmas, another boy that traded his prized Christmas gift for a mouse, and woman who saved Christmas for a California family. Retrosponsor: Elgin watches.

Duration:00:24:40

See More