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Another fun fact about Vlad Tepes.

 

His troops would be rewarded if they returned from a battle with wounds on the front side of the body.

Those who had wounds in the back would be executed for fleeing from the enemy...

 

 

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In ancient times, if you fled from battle, you were just about certain to be killed anyway. 

casualties were generally very low until one side's formation collapsed. Then they were routed...   

 

Decimating. This comes from a rather brutal punishment in the Roman army; if a unit was sufficiently dishonoured(broke and fled from battle, maybe), they were divided into groups of 10, everyone in each group drew lots, and the loser was executed by the other 9. 

 

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images.jpg.ee8b5d1967d55202afd66a5d1383f2ac.jpg This'z the Scooby Doo gang, a voluntary association of four people in their late teens who have named said association after their pet dog. The function of this association is to travel around having adventures and solving mysteries. Presumably, one or more of them is rich, or backed by a PAC or something, as none of these people seems to have a day job, at least not for long. The group consisted of:


Fred, blond, upright, handsome, and All American Boy, who excels at constructing traps.
Daphne, redheaded fashion plate, who excels at getting captured, kidnapped, or otherwise accidentally throwing a spanner in the works.
Shaggy, perennial goofy hippie guy who speaks in early '70s parlance, and has an appetite that would scare a forest fire.
Velma, bookish, frumpy, but cheerful, and probably the smartest person in the room.
And Scooby Doo, their pet Great Dane, who speaks and understands English, albeit with a speech impediment, and is a great scaredy cat.
The green and turquoise hippie van in which they travel is almost as much of a character as each of them, and has appeared in most iterations of the show, often in places where you'd wonder how the hell they GOT it there, such as Hawaii or Tibet.

The first iteration of the show, Scooby Doo! Where Are You?, is noteworthy in that every episode had the exact same moral: all supernatural happenings are perfectly scientifically explainable and are almost always due to some miscreant trying to scare people in order to achieve financial gain of some sort. I found this ironic in a universe where a talking dog seems to be no big deal.

The show premiered on Saturday morning in the fall of 1969, with the episode "That's Snow Ghost!" I was there, and watched it. It seemed to be about a flying yeti, who is later revealed to be a miscreant in a mask and suit, who "flew" with the aid of invisible plastic skis. It set the stage for YEARS of episodes to come.

The show was wildly successful, and inspired MANY similar shows about gangs of teenagers who had adventures and solved mysteries, with and without the aid of various talking animals. Often, the teenagers would be members of a  rock band, who solved crimes as a side thing. In at least one show, Jabberjaw, they were members of a band AND had a talking shark sidekick. Who talked like Curly from the Three Stooges, and didn't seem to have any trouble breathing or navigating on land. And, as the title indicates, hardly ever stopped talking.

yWw2b-1495203614-1539-blog-dobie_scoobydoo.jpg.6eebec722920370a6af0663fc9ffce13.jpg This is the cast of The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, a sitcom that ran from 1959 - 1963.

From left to right, we have Dobie Gillis, a clean cut young man who wants to do the right thing, but is often confused by female behavior.
Next we have Thalia Menninger, a gorgeous debutante type who is stunning, but rather shallow. Dobie's love interest.
Next we have Maynard G. Krebs, a beatnik and pal of Dobie, who is goofy and utterly terrified of "work."
And lastly, we have Zelda Gilroy, a rather frumpish young woman (at least compared to Thalia) who carries a torch for Dobie, and is the brightest person in the group... to her occasional frustration.

Does this remind you of something?

Like I said, I first watched Scooby Doo in the late sixties and early seventies, but never saw Dobie Gillis until the eighties, when the cable explosion of new networks brought back ancient reruns of shows that hadn't seen the light of day in years. And I noticed the similarities... but only recently did the creators of Scooby Doo admit that they'd sorta kinda based their characters and the early dynamics on Dobie Gillis, throwing a talking dog in there to sorta shake things up.
 

Scooby Doo ran continuously on Saturday mornings for ten years... a nearly unheard of thing for children's cartoons at the time, which seldom lasted longer than one season. But by 1979, the concept and dynamic was starting to look as dated as the Mystery Machine's paint job. Scooby Doo was teetering on the edge of cancellation... when an ABC exec asked a cartoon writer* what HE'D do to punch up the show and get another season out of it. The writer created a puppy character who was as violent and confrontational as Scooby was cowardly and cringing.

Scrappy-doo.png.b0afdcd352c15de87356be2e95ecf785.png Scrappy Doo was born. The network promptly toned him down, to the point where he only wanted to charge into a fight when he was badly outmatched, a fact to which he remained oblivious, and it was up to Shaggy and Scooby, usually, to save him before he got pulverized. 

Scrappy split the fanbase pretty good -- the kids liked him, but older sorts like me, who'd started with the show as kids and were now in our late teens and early twenties... HATED Scrappy Doo. Scrappy persisted as a main character until 1988, by which time the franchise was down to occasional TV movies, anyway. The show would later undergo a renaissance and rediscovery with new and further iterations, including A Pup Named Scooby Doo (a prequel series in which the characters are children) and others, in which they actually encounter real supernatural mysteries (not the least of which was their recent appearance on the CW's Supernatural show.)

Other trivia: Both Shaggy and Scooby were originally envisioned as big eaters, and gleeful constructors of massive sandwiches, a thing they often did on the show. However, when voice actor Casey Kasem, who voiced Shaggy, became a vegetarian, he insisted that from then on, identifiable meat products could NOT be seen in Shaggy's sandwiches, and at least once, Shaggy identifies on the show as a vegetarian. This would later come apart when Shaggy and Scooby appeared in a commercial for Subway Sandwiches, and Kasem quit the show in protest. Fortunately, by then, actor Matthew Lillard had been doing the voice long enough that he was able to step in with little notice (Lillard being the actor who played Shaggy in the live action movies, and who seems to have made kind of a career out of it ever since).

Being as few people could tell you who Dobie Gillis is, these days, but that the Scooby Gang has stayed in the public eye for nearly fifty years now, I think it's safe to say that they're a part of American culture. Except Scrappy, who still draws hatred and venom in ways that not even modern American politicians seem able to do.

*The writer was Mark Evanier, known for producing scripts for a variety of sitcoms and for writing and producing loads of Saturday morning stuff, notably the Garfield cartoons. He'd produced a number of Scooby scripts, and at one point wrote the comic book tie in series for Gold Key Comics. He has a story on his blog in which he admits to inventing Scrappy Doo and details how it went. He emphasizes that he only did it to save the show, and only on the orders of the network execs, who, after all, were the guys who signed his checks. I still wonder how he's avoided assassination this long.

 

1 hour ago, Gadgetman! said:

In ancient times, if you fled from battle, you were just about certain to be killed anyway. 

casualties were generally very low until one side's formation collapsed. Then they were routed...   

 

Decimating. This comes from a rather brutal punishment in the Roman army; if a unit was sufficiently dishonoured(broke and fled from battle, maybe), they were divided into groups of 10, everyone in each group drew lots, and the loser was executed by the other 9. 

 


The fun part? The ninety percent of the unit that was NOT chosen to die was responsible for killing the ten percent that WAS... or they ALL got executed.

Fleeing from battle wasn't certain death, though. Particularly in ancient times, they didn't wanna KILL you, they wanted to ENSLAVE you; most Greek and Roman slaves were either born slaves... or were soldiers that had lost a battle to their new owners.

 

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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29 minutes ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

This'z the Scooby Doo gang, a voluntary association of four people in their late teens who have named said association after their pet dog.

 

Did they ever refer to themselves by that name?  I thought they called themselves Mystery Inc.

I don't recall hearing the phrase "Scooby Gang" until it was used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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2 hours ago, alchemist said:

 

Did they ever refer to themselves by that name?  I thought they called themselves Mystery Inc.

I don't recall hearing the phrase "Scooby Gang" until it was used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 

They never, to my knowledge, referred to themselves as the "Scooby Gang" or "scooby collective" or "scoobies" at any point. In the later cartoons, they did refer to their association as "Mystery, Incorporated."

But you tell an American about "Mystery Incorporated," he'll assume you're talking about some pulp story or film noir. Tell him about the Scooby Gang, and he will assume you mean either the animated show's cast or the cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, probably the latter.... since not everyone was a Buffy fan, but EVERYONE was exposed to Scooby Doo at some point or another. Fifty YEARS, dude!

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34069105_1357501567727862_773064052803895296_n.jpg.24b53f429cef8ea87c48f756c9735be4.jpgThis'z the late and lamented Jim Henson, along with various characters from the movie The Dark Crystal

Not shown is our friend Wendy or her friend Brian.

Wendy Midener. She's an American artist, dollmaker, and puppeteer. She first achieved fame when she was on the design team that created and operated Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back, back around 1980 or so.

Couple years later, Jim Henson's Creature Shop is working on this movie, Dark Crystal, and they remember her from her work with Yoda, and ask if she'd like a short term, very hardworking, very well paying job. So she flies to NY to work on the movie.

The creatures in the picture above were designed largely from concept art by Brian Froud, a Brit artist that Henson was in awe of. He wound up working with Wendy pretty heavily throughout the production; she either built the critters or oversaw their production, depending on the critter in question.

After the production wrapped, Wendy and Brian ran off and got married. They remain in that condition, having purchased a 400 year old Cornish farmhouse in which to live.

Couple years after THAT, the Henson shop calls up AGAIN and wants them to come back to work on this new movie, Labyrinth. They agree to do so, but only on the condition that allowances be made for their new parenthood; they'd had a baby in the meantime, before the call.

The baby, whose name was Toby, wound up playing the baby in the movie. Why not? He was a cute baby, more or less constantly available, they wouldn't have to hire a teacher, nanny, or kid wrangler, and all laws regarding child treatment and labor were certainly rigorously observed, considering his parents were RIGHT THERE the whole time.

Toby is a grown man now, and a filmmaker. He has commented that people ask him all the time what David Bowie was like. His stock answer is "I don't really remember; I was awfully young. I think I peed on him once."

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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 Toothpaste, in it's modern state as we know it, was invented by Dr. Washington Sheffield in the mid 1870's.

Before then, there were a number of different mouthwashes and tooth powders sold by various dentists, but Sheffield was the first to formulate his own ready-made tooth cream, featuring various extracts of mints that gave it a very nice flavor. It was enormously popular.

Sheffield was a dentist and dental surgeon well-known throughout the New England area, and his tooth cream proved popular enough that Sheffield and his son founded the Sheffield Dentifrice Company in New London, CT in 1880. Initially working out of his home office, he was eventually forced to build a laboratory and manufacturing facility behind his residence. “Dr. Sheffield’s Crème Angelique Dentifrice” was patented in 1881.

 

Aside from being the first modern toothpaste, it was also unique in that Dr. Sheffield's son had brought home a novel idea from his time in Paris - packaging the toothpaste in the same sort of collapsible metal tubes that artist's paints were sold in. From 1880 to 1892, the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. purchased collapsible tubes to package the toothpaste. Beginning in 1892, the company started manufacturing its own collapsible tubes by purchasing tube manufacturing presses and fabricating its own tube-making machinery. In 1900 the dentifrice company started a new company called the New England Collapsible Tube Co. This was the fourth collapsible tube manufacturer in the United States.

 

Sheffield Pharmaceuticals still exists today, and it's primary factory is still in the original location. In addition to still producing their own toothpaste and several other items, they are one of the largest contract toothpaste manufacturers in the country, and bottle a number of other products for various companies.

 

 

Edited by Mad Jack
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16 hours ago, Mad Jack said:

 

 Toothpaste, in it's modern state as we know it, was invented by Dr. Washington Sheffield in the mid 1870's.

Before then, there were a number of different mouthwashes and tooth powders sold by various dentists, but Sheffield was the first to formulate his own ready-made tooth cream, featuring various extracts of mints that gave it a very nice flavor. It was enormously popular.

Sheffield was a dentist and dental surgeon well-known throughout the New England area, and his tooth cream proved popular enough that Sheffield and his son founded the Sheffield Dentifrice Company in New London, CT in 1880. Initially working out of his home office, he was eventually forced to build a laboratory and manufacturing facility behind his residence. “Dr. Sheffield’s Crème Angelique Dentifrice” was patented in 1881.

 

Aside from being the first modern toothpaste, it was also unique in that Dr. Sheffield's son had brought home a novel idea from his time in Paris - packaging the toothpaste in the same sort of collapsible metal tubes that artist's paints were sold in. From 1880 to 1892, the Sheffield Dentifrice Co. purchased collapsible tubes to package the toothpaste. Beginning in 1892, the company started manufacturing its own collapsible tubes by purchasing tube manufacturing presses and fabricating its own tube-making machinery. In 1900 the dentifrice company started a new company called the New England Collapsible Tube Co. This was the fourth collapsible tube manufacturer in the United States.

 

Sheffield Pharmaceuticals still exists today, and it's primary factory is still in the original location. In addition to still producing their own toothpaste and several other items, they are one of the largest contract toothpaste manufacturers in the country, and bottle a number of other products for various companies.

 

 

 

Did it have fluoride?

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Radio station WOMC in Southfield Michigan, serving the Detroit metropolitan area, had its call letters chosen to represent the service area: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

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On 6/2/2018 at 1:35 PM, Dr.Bedlam said:

 

Did it have fluoride?

 

 Fluoride was first put in toothpaste in 1914...

 

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1 hour ago, Mad Jack said:

 

 Fluoride was first put in toothpaste in 1914...

 

 

So... the first toothpaste didn't chemically protect your teeth or anything, but it made your breath smell nice, I guess. And it was certainly better than NOT brushing your teeth.

The second oldest newspaper comic strip still in circulation is Gasoline Alley, which will be 100 years in continuous publication this November. It started as a weekly strip about a guy named Walt Wallet and his pals who hung out in Gasoline Alley and talked about and did stuff related to automobiles. Kind of like King Of The Hill, but with jalopies and no beer. The strip went daily a couple years later, and took a turn when Walt found a baby on his doorstep. He named the baby Skeezix (a slang term for a motherless calf at the time) and got married to make a respectable family.
604803764_download(2).jpg.252bd974c2efae4de8633ca3df6d4185.jpgWith the addition of a cute kid, Gasoline Alley really took off in the 1920s, and became a vurra popular strip, complete with merch, as seen here. It's also noteworthy for introducing many features that later became standard for "story oriented" newspaper strips, and is famous for the fact that everyone in the strip ages in REAL TIME; Skeezix, despite his appeal to the kids, eventually grew up, had a family of his own, and even grandchildren. Meanwhile, Walt's beloved wife Phyllis eventually died in the early 2000s.
Walt.jpg.5b720903b609e426cc6e1ce4dfcf5fc7.jpg525348818_download(1).jpg.b04d837126b1b961beaf0fdd87bba7d5.jpg 
download.jpg.03eec262ca621e949916dacb88fcafc0.jpg Despite the fact that GA and Dick Tracy were done by different cartoonists and had nothing to do with each other, several crossovers occurred; apparently, they all exist in the same universe.

 

I was surprised to hear the strip still existed... hell, newspapers barely exist, these days. Nevertheless, it's still being published daily... and the main characters, Walt and Skeezix, are still alive, despite the fact that this puts Walt at age 118, which would make him the oldest human alive... and his boy Skeezix would be about 95.

In that last panel we see Dick, Walt, and Dick's friend Vitamin Flintheart, who as far as I can determine, looks nothing like Walt Wallet... and while Walt was middle aged in 1942, Vitamin Flintheart was the same elderly gentleman you see in the panel above, and of course Dick Tracy hasn't changed appreciably since the late 1930s. Make of this what you will.

 

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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The oldest newspaper comic strip in a regular daily and Sunday format is formally titled Barney Google And Snuffy Smith, despite starting out as simply Barney Google in 1919.

 

270px-Barneygoomusic.jpg.6b51bd8d9fcfe5be04a9efafd0b0aa45.jpg Barney's gig was that he was a dapper little fellow and still somewhat shabby at the same time; he made his living betting on horse races. With the introduction of his own personal race horse, Spark Plug, the strip really took off; here you see the sheet music for Barney's number one eponymous hit from 1923, which was a really good year for Barney merch. But despite Barney's popularity, the side characters sort of began to crowd him out in the late 1930s, and in 1954, he disappeared entirely in favor of a new lead and a new setting: Hillbilly Land, starring moonshiner hillbilly Snuffy Smith.

zone.gif.36d78b51c07b4afbf88abc3e3359cfcc.gif ...and despite the official NAME of the strip being Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, Barney remained absent from his own strip except for the occasional cameo... which could be decades apart. In recent years, he's had a few week-long story arcs. 

I still sort of wonder if the claim to a 99 year straight run really counts, though, with the format changes...

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The eldest comic book remaining in current publication is Detective Comics, nowadays home to Batman and associated characters. 
 

250px-DetectiveComics1.jpg.8036d40004ec845d3763526973c18173.jpg The first issue came out in March of 1937, and was an anthology title, about detectives, police detectives, and suchlike. Popular regulars included Slam Bradley, a two fisted tough detective invented by Shuster and Siegel two full years before they created Superman!  Issue #20 debuted the Crimson Avenger (basically the Green Hornet with a different color scheme) and after the success of Superman, Detective Comics also was Batman's debut title as well, before he spun off into his own comic. Eventually, Batman's popularity took over Detective Comics as well, and the title is largely devoted to Batman stories these days... but the title remains the same, and has been published nearly every month since 1937.

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dicktracy.jpg.6a0a01428070b7c1c918a3fa120e4839.jpg Dick Tracy's another newspaper strip that's been around a while. The hawknosed squarechinned figure in yellow fedora and trenchcoat is iconic, nowadays.

1857988815_download(3).jpg.df0e239a0bf93e133bf8e2d08d7c13c4.jpg For some reason, in Dick's first few appearances, he wore a straw boater, which in 1931 was considered semiformal wear, although nowadays it makes you look like you're trying out for a barbershop quartet. Fortunately, upon joining the police force, Dick quickly switched to the outfit he'd become famous in.

Oh, yeah... remember Vitamin Flintheart, up there? He was introduced to the strip as a sort of aging washed up actor who refused to admit he was washed up, even to himself, and popped vitamin pills relentlessly. As a result of acting as bait in one of Tracy's investigations, his career got jumpstarted, and he continued to do quite well on stage and in Hollywood.

Artist Chester Gould based his look on John Barrymore, a famous actor of the time and grandfather of Drew Barrymore.

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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I like that cops and civilians have effectively had wrist radios for some time now. 

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