Let’s Censor Hollywood


The Production Code Administration – which policed standards of decency on all US cinema releases for twenty years – was established on 13th June, 1934, following a patch of unconvincing Hollywood self-censorship. ‘Excessive or lustful kissing’ and ‘sex perversion’ were no longer allowed – but nor was ‘depictions of safe-cracking’, ‘childbirth,’ and ‘dynamiting’. In this …

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The Band of Gold Mystery


Freda Payne’s banger ‘Band Of Gold’ sounds like a Motown record, but actually isn’t. Although written by Berry Gordy’s hit-making trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, it was released on their breakaway label, Invictus, on 25th April, 1970. Ever since, fans have speculated as to the meaning of its lyrics and the nature of the crumbled relationship within. “That …

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Inventing the Sweatshirt


Russell Athletic, the company that created the sweatshirt, began life as The Russell Manufacturing Company on 3rd March, 1902 in Alexander City, Alabama. Its founder was entrepreneurial polymath Benjamin Russell, and they specialized in women’s undershirts. It wasn’t until decades later – when Russell’s son returned from college with a concept for college-based sportswear – …

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Dord: The Ghost Word


Webster’s New International Dictionary (Second Edition) was the largest book to be mass produced, but – as was revealed on 28th February, 1939 – it contained an embarrassing error: on page 771, between the entries for Dorcopsis (a type of small kangaroo) and doré (golden in colour), was the word ‘dord’. Which doesn’t exist.  The …

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