Trailers, as the name suggests, used to screen at the end of a film

Monday, 30 January, 2017

Who knows how many film trailers I’ve posted here over the years, but never in that time have I given any thought as to why they’re called trailers. It’s all quite logical however, as once upon a time they used to follow, or be shown, at the conclusion of a feature, when they first appeared, a little over a century ago.

At first that seems like an absurd idea. Why try to a promote an upcoming release at the end of the show, when audience members are surely scrambling for the exits? As it happened though, the movie going experience of the early twentieth century was unlike that with which we’re accustomed to today:

You would pay your admission – usually just a couple of cents – and you could basically sit inside a movie house all day and watch whatever was playing, often a combination of feature-length movies, short films, and cartoons.

Doesn’t sound too bad at all. Especially on a rainy day, or the like. Pay a couple of cents, and stay all day. But I’m wondering how cinemas made money, if people stayed in their seats all day? Return custom was the answer. With trailers advertising upcoming new features, patrons were sure to come back.

I wonder if we could go back to the days of trailers being screened after a film, in return for being able to stay at the cinema all day?

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There’s a lot to learn about design, here are the first 136 items

Monday, 4 April, 2016

Shane Bzdok has compiled one hundred and thirty-six snippets of information that may well leave you far more versed in the topic of design, than you were previously.

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Places you can go to (hopefully) survive the end of world

Tuesday, 1 March, 2016

Antarctica. Iceland. Guam. Denver. Cape Town. Scotland’s Isle of Lewis. While some distance from each other, they have one thing in common… they are among places to be, or to head to, should the world end. That’s distinct from the planet ending though. In that case Mars would be the best bet, at this stage, but unfortunately that’s not saying much.

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Classical composers and their curious subtleties

Thursday, 21 January, 2016

How much do you know about the best known composers of classical music? Did you know, for instance, that Ludwig Van Beethoven only made coffee that consisted of precisely sixty coffee beans? That Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg had a frog figurine as a good luck charm? Or that Antonin Dvorak, a Czech composer, was an avid trainspotter in his later years?

There’s more where that came from right here.

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That bottle of tobassco sauce on the table, three years in the making

Friday, 18 December, 2015

Tabasco sauce, there’s an old favourite, though best enjoyed in moderation maybe. I didn’t realise the production process was so manual, or drawn out however, it seems a bottle of the spicy stuff is a good three years in the making.

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The cover song killed the original recording

Thursday, 3 September, 2015

A lot of songs end up being covered, or re-recorded, by another musician, sooner or later. I imagine it’s a compliment of sorts, from one artist to another, but that may not always be the case. Most music lovers will have little trouble picking out a cover from an original, but not all the time.

For instance did you know that the 1980 single Video Killed the Radio Star, by British band The Buggles, was a cover of a song performed by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club, in 1979? A cover of sorts anyway, as it happens Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, of The Buggles, co-wrote the song with Woolley a year or two earlier.

Well known songs by Joan Jett, Buddy Holly, and Kiss, are also among covers that many people assume to be originals.

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Never let the flame go out, on relighting an extinguished candle

Tuesday, 26 May, 2015

I have seen this party trick before… someone snuffs out a candle, and then relights it by hovering a burning match very near to, but not on, the candle’s wick. I’ve never known why that happens though. Magic, maybe?

In fact there’s no hocus pocus involved, as this ultra slow-motion video of the phenomenon goes to show, but I won’t spoil it for anyone who doesn’t yet know.

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An absence of life on Earth would mean… smaller continents

Tuesday, 28 April, 2015

If Earth were devoid of life, despite its abundance of the likes of water and oxygen, it’s possible the continents we’re familiar with may be far smaller than they are today, this largely on account of an absence of the erosion that results from the presence of plants, animals, and humans.

Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth’s mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases.

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Seen but no longer heard, Leo the MGM lion

Tuesday, 14 April, 2015

A lion named Leo has been the centrepiece of the distinctive Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo, that features at the beginning of movies produced by the US film production and distribution company, since 1957, even though the logo itself has undergone a number of alterations in the last fifty-eight years.

While Leo had a number of lion predecessors, he must be the longest serving to date, even if the roar we now hear isn’t his anymore… an electronic version was created some time ago.

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New centuries that start on Mondays, what brilliant planning…

Monday, 6 April, 2015

If you abide by the convention that the current century began in 2001, rather than 2000, and the mathematics aside, I know there are plenty of people who don’t, then conceivably centuries will only ever start on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, not any other day of the week.

This arrangement is down to the way the Gregorian calendar was drawn up in the sixteen century. Big, heartfelt, thanks to whoever decided that Monday be one of these days though.

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