Mortal Journey Blog

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Hoochie Coochie Dance (1890’s)

In 1893, the United States was introduced to a radical new form of dance. Although the public was initially shocked to see the sensual and titillating movement of the dancer, the Hoochie Coochie (or Hootchie Kootchie) belly dance caught on and became the precursor to the striptease type dances that would arrive generations later.

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The Kodak Brownie Camera (1900’s)

With the introduction of the Brownie camera, an inexpensive, quality camera for the masses, a photography boom began that has continued through present day. But the invention of photograph came long before the Brownie camera hit the streets and in fact, can be traced back as early as the year 1021.

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Send a Dime Chain Letter (1930’s)

In the spring of 1935, the United States was caught up in a chain letter frenzy. The chain letter craze clogged up postal offices nearly shutting down operations in several locations. Denver restaurant owner A. McVittle received 2,363 copies of the letter in just two days – April 26 and April 27. Public officials were enraged and vowed to catch the originator of the chain letter scheme and prosecute them in federal court.

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Red Bull and Alcohol Cocktails

Known as a Vod-Bomb, Birch, or a ‘DVR’ (double vodka red bull), the newest drinking trend amongst the college and high school aged crowd is a cocktail made by mixing vodka and a highly caffeinated energy drink, typically Red Bull. It is popular among the 18-30 generation in bars and nightclubs around the world. In 2010, an FDA study resulted in a ban placed on several manufacturers of caffeine and alcohol drinks.

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Kewpie Dolls (1910’s)

Children have played with dolls since the dawn of civilization. A fragment of an alabaster doll with movable arms was found that dated from the Babylonian period. Archeologists have found dolls in Egyptian tombs which date to as early as 2000 BC. Dolls have been found in the graves of Greek and Roman children. One of the earliest records of a doll “fad” dates to 1910 when Kewpie Dolls were all the rage.

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The origin of the Peace Sign (1960’s)

The peace sign combines a circle and a vertical line with downward sloping lines forming a sort of upside down broken cross. During the 1960’s it symbolized the spirit of love, service to humanity, and peace. Its use grew from the anti-war hippie culture and quickly merged into mainstream society as it came to appear on everyday items such as advertisements, drawings, toys, and jewelry.

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The Monopoly Board Game (1930’s)

It was 1934, the height of the Great Depression, when Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, took what he called the MONOPOLY game to the executives at Parker Brothers. They soundly rejected the game due to “52 design errors”. The game’s exciting promise of fame and fortune inspired him to produce the game on his own. People loved the game that would eventually become the highest selling board game in history, even though the “legend” of its invention would soon be proven as false.

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TV Dinners (1950’s)

After poor Thanksgiving sales left Swanson Foods with a huge surplus of turkeys, Swanson executive Gerry Thomas conceived an idea – what if they packaged the turkeys with other foods in an easy to prepare meal container, similar to what airlines in that era served passengers on domestic flights. When Swanson invented the TV dinner in 1953, they estimated production of 5,000 dinners for the first year and ramped manufacturing accordingly. By the end of the first year, Swanson had sold more than 10 million of the 98 cent turkey and dressing TV-Dinner meals.

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Drive-In Movies (1950’s)

Always on the lookout for the next great new idea, Hollingshead noted that even though the Great Depression was in full swing, people still found money to attend movies at their local theater. He pondered the means to combine his auto parts business with movies and dreamt of opening a deluxe gas station and auto repair shop that featured a restaurant and movies for the customers to watch while they customers waited for their car repairs to be completed. His invention, the drive-in movie, exploded in popularity during the height of the 1950’s car culture.

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Mood Rings (1970’s)

In 1975, jewelry designer Marvin Wernick accompanied a physician friend to an emergency and marveled when his friend applied thermotropic tape to a child’s forehead to take her temperature. Using this premise, he took a hollow glass shell and filled it with thermotropic liquid crystals. He then attached the glass shell to a ring so that when worn on the finger, the thermotropic material would change temperatures and color. Mood rings became very popular during the 1970’s and for a few years, were considered a serious piece of jewelry. The mood ring fad peaked in the late 1970’s and are now seen as an icon of the 1970’s culture.

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