Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«25 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS


Nap Ghost

Some things in older movies, television, books and paintings carry over even to modern audiences. When a character from a 1960s sitcom uses a daisy phone, the phone may be a funny shape, but we still recognize what he's doing. Ditto for typing on a typewriter, we get it.

But some things are so specific to the time and place the media was made that their significance is lost on modern audiences. Jokes that rely on long dead celebrities, or behaviors that rely on cultural norms so outdated we forgot they even existed.

For example: many times in older films when characters are shown watching a movie in the theater, one character might say to the other "this is where we came in." Wherupon they will both leave.

That would seem like a strange thing to do if you didn't know that, for a long time, single screen theaters played their reels on a repeating cycle. Customers would buy one ticket, sit down, and hang around through each of the segments until the films cycled back to "where they came in."

The phrase "and now for our feature presentation" is also a holdover from this convention.

To draw from a more recent example, the 1998 romcom "You've Got Mail."

Nobody who grew up after AOL stopped being the ubiquitous email provider will understand the reference behind the title. The cheerful "You've got mail!" audio clip that's featured in the movie will seem like some bizarre contrivance to natives of an age where most emails are announced by a nondescript chime.

What else are we missing that consumers of prior media took for granted and thus never bothered to explain?

Doesn't have to be from the age of film. If you have examples from books or medieval tapestries or even cave paintings I'm very interested to learn.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Domus
May 7, 2007
Getting nerdier day by day

There are a hell of a lot of them in Looney Tunes. First thing that springs to mind are repeated instances of characters based on George and Lennie from “Of Mice and Men”. Sure, it’s a literary classic now and some people read it in school, but it is no longer obvious to most people what the reference is. Then there’s “The Merry-go-round Broke down”, the theme melody, which was an actual song with lyrics first.

Thuryl
Mar 14, 2007

My postillion has been struck by lightning.


Domus posted:

There are a hell of a lot of them in Looney Tunes. First thing that springs to mind are repeated instances of characters based on George and Lennie from “Of Mice and Men”. Sure, it’s a literary classic now and some people read it in school, but it is no longer obvious to most people what the reference is. Then there’s “The Merry-go-round Broke down”, the theme melody, which was an actual song with lyrics first.

Foghorn Leghorn's personality and speaking style are based directly on Senator Claghorn, a character from a 1940s radio comedy, and his popularity has long outlived that of his inspiration at this point.

Hyrax Attack!
Jan 13, 2009

We demand to be taken seriously


In Holiday Inn there is a weird animated sequence for November when a turkey moves between Thursdays. IMDB explains:

quote:

The animated Thanksgiving sequence, in which a turkey jumps back and forth on the calendar between the third and fourth Thursday in November, is a topical reference to the "Franksgiving" controversy. Thanksgiving was always on the last Thursday in November, and in 1939 the last Thursday was November 30, the fifth Thursday that month. So in 1939 and 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt' attempted to change Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November, instead of the last, in an effort to bolster holiday retail sales by starting the Christmas season earlier. This led to a joint resolution in Congress, which Roosevelt signed into law in 1941, officially designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Holiday Inn was released in 1942, the first Thanksgiving when this change was in effect.

MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

Cat Army


Somebody so strong they could rip a phone book in half.

Scudworth
Jan 1, 2005

When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons, and make super lemons.



Dinosaur Gum

I'm a big James Bond fan.
In several of the original novels, when he's in a jam and hasn't slept in a while or is generally unwell, he takes an asthma inhaler out of his first aid kit, cracks it open, and eats the paper inside. Yeah. This is never explained because it's the 1950's so of course you know what all this means, person reading this 70 years in the future. I had to look this up.

Prior to the discovery and marketing of Salbutamol in the mid 60's, the most popular asthma inhalers were tubes of spiral paper that you inhaled from to deliver powder that was held within. The powder was amphetamine. **It was speed**. Amphetamines were originally discovered and marketed as a cure for asthma, and by golly people loving LOVED them. Everybody suddenly has asthma. Benzedrine inhalers were sold without a prescription. They were selling out in stores. People could not get enough of asthma inhalers. This was one of the first marketed drugs people did for funzies. It became an actual societal problem.

So that's fun but let's get to the movie version of Casino Royal from 2006.
In the novel, the villain Le Chiffre uses an asthma inhaler during the baccarat game. This is mentioned very specifically. We (the reader in the 50's) know that he doesn't have asthma, he's doing drugs to stay on top for the game. He is a bad man doing naughty things.
In the modern movie, he has a regular steroid inhaler that is fancy and platinum that he uses because he has asthma and smokes too much. That doesn't make sense. He should be jamming handfuls of adderall or doing coke in the bathroom, that's the modern equivalent. The inhaler in the book is about drugs, not asthma.
The movie producers have been asked about this, and their excuse was they wanted a nod to the book without involving drugs. My take- he is a movie bad guy, he can do drugs. After reading their answers my assumption is the people making the movie didn't know why he was using an asthma inhaler either.

Scudworth fucked around with this message at 06:10 on Oct 4, 2019

Shut up Meg
Jan 8, 2019

You're safe here.


Drop a dime on someone. A phrase often used.


To inform on them. Back when a public payphone cost 10c for a call.


E very cool James Bond analysis!

Shut up Meg fucked around with this message at 00:33 on Oct 4, 2019

echopapa
Jun 2, 2005

El Presidente smiles upon this thread.

American railroads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries often allowed fruit vendors to sell their merchandise on the trains. Con artists soon perfected a scheme where one would buy a banana, eat it, leave the peel on the train’s floor, then wait for their confederate to slip on it and sue the railroad for injuries. Vaudeville comedians took the hint and started using banana peels as objects to slip on.

20 Blunts
Jan 21, 2017



in Blazing Saddles when Slim Pickens exclaims, "What in the wide wide world of sports!??!"

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

In Agatha Christie's the ABC Murder's the backstory for one of the characters is based around the fact that he had an embarrassing first and middle name and it was so normal to use peoples last names for everything that it was actually a secret his classmates in school uncovered.

Anne Whateley
Feb 11, 2007
i like nice words


There's so much Agatha Christie where the linchpin is like "as everyone knows, the train to Essex runs only on the half-hour!!!"

Anne Whateley fucked around with this message at 05:49 on Oct 5, 2019

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS


Nap Ghost

Scudworth posted:

I'm a big James Bond fan.
In several of the original novels, when he's in a jam and hasn't slept in a while or is generally unwell, he takes an asthma inhaler out of his first aid kit, cracks it open, and eats the paper inside. Yeah. This is never explained because it's the 1950's so of course you know what all this means, person reading this 70 years in the future. I had to look this up.

Prior to the discovery and marketing of Salbutamol in the mid 60's, the most popular asthma inhalers were tubes of spiral paper that you inhaled from to deliver powder that was held within. The powder was amphetamine. **It was speed**. Amphetamines were originally discovered and marketed as a cure for asthma, and by golly people loving LOVED them. Everybody suddenly has asthma. Benzedrine inhalers were sold without a prescription. They were selling out in stores. People could not get enough of asthma inhalers. This was one of the first marketed drugs people did for funzies. It became an actual societal problem.

So that's fun but let's get to the movie version of Casino Royal from 2006.
In the novel, the villain Le Chiffre uses an asthma inhaler during the baccarat game. This is mentioned very specifically. We (the reader in the 50's) know that he doesn't have asthma, he's doing drugs to stay on top for the game. He is a bad man doing naughty things.
In the modern movie, he has a regular steroid inhaler that is fancy and platinum that he uses because he has asthma and smokes too much. That doesn't make sense. He should be jamming handfuls of adderall or doing coke in the bathroom, that's the modern equivalent. The inhaler in the book is about drugs, not asthma.
The movie producers have been asked about this, and their excuse was they wanted a nod to the book without involving drugs. My take- he is a movie bad guy, he can do drugs. After reading their answers my assumption is the people making the movie didn't know why he was using an asthma inhaler either.

This is really cool and something of which I'd had no idea.

FilthyImp
Sep 30, 2002

Nope



The Angry Videogame Nerd does a halloween series every October that looks at a bunch of movies. When he looked at Dracula he wondered why the hell there was cardboard on a lamp during Mina's infirm scenes.



And it turns out they used these to shield patients' eyes from the brightness and still maintain visibility in rooms -- probably handy when the doctor or nurse was administering medicine or figuring out dosages.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For that you get the head...

the tail...

the whole damned thing.

People still say that they "have something on tape" when tape hasn't been used for video or audio in ages. Not really in the category of your question but it reminded me.

sticksy
May 26, 2004
keeping austin weird





Nap Ghost

Scudworth posted:

I'm a big James Bond fan.
In several of the original novels, when he's in a jam and hasn't slept in a while or is generally unwell, he takes an asthma inhaler out of his first aid kit, cracks it open, and eats the paper inside. Yeah. This is never explained because it's the 1950's so of course you know what all this means, person reading this 70 years in the future. I had to look this up.

Prior to the discovery and marketing of Salbutamol in the mid 60's, the most popular asthma inhalers were tubes of spiral paper that you inhaled from to deliver powder that was held within. The powder was amphetamine. **It was speed**. Amphetamines were originally discovered and marketed as a cure for asthma, and by golly people loving LOVED them. Everybody suddenly has asthma. Benzedrine inhalers were sold without a prescription. They were selling out in stores. People could not get enough of asthma inhalers. This was one of the first marketed drugs people did for funzies. It became an actual societal problem.

So that's fun but let's get to the movie version of Casino Royal from 2006.
In the novel, the villain Le Chiffre uses an asthma inhaler during the baccarat game. This is mentioned very specifically. We (the reader in the 50's) know that he doesn't have asthma, he's doing drugs to stay on top for the game. He is a bad man doing naughty things.
In the modern movie, he has a regular steroid inhaler that is fancy and platinum that he uses because he has asthma and smokes too much. That doesn't make sense. He should be jamming handfuls of adderall or doing coke in the bathroom, that's the modern equivalent. The inhaler in the book is about drugs, not asthma.
The movie producers have been asked about this, and their excuse was they wanted a nod to the book without involving drugs. My take- he is a movie bad guy, he can do drugs. After reading their answers my assumption is the people making the movie didn't know why he was using an asthma inhaler either.

I almost thought I'd have an interesting contribution to this thread then I read this and

Very cool background, now I want to dissect and figure out all behind-the-scenes stuff like this for other pop culture.

Great thread idea btw!

sticksy
May 26, 2004
keeping austin weird





Nap Ghost

BiggerBoat posted:

People still say that they "have something on tape" when tape hasn't been used for video or audio in ages. Not really in the category of your question but it reminded me.

Yeah, I had a similar conversation recently with my 5-year old twins when they were asking me to ”rewind” something streaming on Netflix and I launched into Old Man Explanation time about tapes and how we literally had rewind them, sometimes with a pencil etc. They didn't appreciate that insight now but I'm sure they will when they're older!

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS


Nap Ghost

sticksy posted:

Yeah, I had a similar conversation recently with my 5-year old twins when they were asking me to ”rewind” something streaming on Netflix and I launched into Old Man Explanation time about tapes and how we literally had rewind them, sometimes with a pencil etc. They didn't appreciate that insight now but I'm sure they will when they're older!

See also: the floppy disk “save” icon, the handset phone shaped “phone” symbol and TV icons with rabbit ear antennas.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Sort of in this vein: When my kid was pretending to take my picture, he was pantomiming using a smart phone, not holding a traditional camera to his face and pressing the shutter button.

Shut up Meg
Jan 8, 2019

You're safe here.


Applewhite posted:

See also: the floppy disk “save” icon, the handset phone shaped “phone” symbol and TV icons with rabbit ear antennas.

'Cut and paste' - why not a more accurate 'cut and insert'?

Refers to the days of pre-DTP when magazine layouts were created on a piece of card and then photographed to create printing film. If you wanted to insert a line of text, you had to literally cut the paper into two parts and then glue in the additional text.

Now, because of that, 'paste' has become synonymous with 'add/insert', when actually it derives from 'pasta'

Sankis
Mar 8, 2004

But I remember the fella who told me. Big lad. Arms as thick as oak trees, a stunning collection of scars, nice eye patch. A REAL therapist he was. Er wait. Maybe it was rapist?



In old cartoons and media there would sometimes be a scene where someone or something would pick up a pen and use it to squirt ink to comedic effect. This was something possible with many of the fountain pens of the early to mid 20th century but stopped being as much of a thing once mass produced ballpoint pens became the everyday writing instrument.

Sankis fucked around with this message at 00:51 on Oct 8, 2019

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS


Nap Ghost

Alterian posted:

Sort of in this vein: When my kid was pretending to take my picture, he was pantomiming using a smart phone, not holding a traditional camera to his face and pressing the shutter button.

This makes me sad. I’m getting old and I’m only 33.

Sankis
Mar 8, 2004

But I remember the fella who told me. Big lad. Arms as thick as oak trees, a stunning collection of scars, nice eye patch. A REAL therapist he was. Er wait. Maybe it was rapist?



Not a reference, but that reminds me of when I watched through The Americans (an 80s period spy drama). Early on in the series there's a scene where the teenage daughter dials a phone to call someone. The actress used both of her thumbs to dial the phone like people do with cell phones and not with her pointer finger like people did on landlines. I'd never have noticed this but I happened to have the amazon x-ray thing open at the time and it pointed it out.

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS


Nap Ghost

William Gibson discusses it in newer editions of Neuromancer. The famous opening line "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" has almost become a lost reference. Younger readers may picture a steady, solid blue of a flatscreen with no input rather than the ominous, turbulent gray of CRT static.

Tiggum
Oct 23, 2007


Applewhite posted:

William Gibson discusses it in newer editions of Neuromancer. The famous opening line "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" has almost become a lost reference. Younger readers may picture a steady, solid blue of a flatscreen with no input rather than the ominous, turbulent gray of CRT static.

Given that modern TVs automatically search and programme all available stations in the area, would modern kids even understand what "tuned to a dead channel" even means? Whether you cycle through the channels or enter the number for the one you want, there's no way to get to a frequency that hasn't been programmed in and no reason to ever programme in a frequency that doesn't have anything on it.

Ras Het
May 23, 2007

when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child - but now I am a man.


I think TV static is a famous enough cultural reference that anyone who's reading books will get it

Owlofcreamcheese
May 22, 2005

Corvid 19

Buglord

People sometimes now use the phrase 'balance a checkbook" like metaphorically to mean like, budgeting skills. But no, you used to have to balance your checkbook. With no simple way to check your bank account you got one statement a month saying the balance then you had to be diligent in writing down the amount of every check and doing the math out correctly to figure out how much money you had remaining.

edit: the save icon observation itself is nearing being a dead referance. It's only a couple years before you tell a kid "you kids don't even know what the save icon is! why back in my day...." and the kid admits he doesn't know what pushing a button to save at all is. In an era of cloud services and apps that just autosave continuously. There is no save icon at all in google docs.

Owlofcreamcheese fucked around with this message at 17:11 on Oct 8, 2019

Shut up Meg
Jan 8, 2019

You're safe here.


Colombo Negative Reaction 1974



Dick Van Dyke in a beard hates his wife so he sets up a fake kidnapping gone wrong and kills her.
To give himself an alibi, he takes a photo of her with a clock in the background then fakes throws it away so that the police will find it.

An instant photo from an old camera? That's not forgotten technology as even the worst instagrammer would recognise the concept of a Polaroid.

Except:
In the last scene, the denounement is all related to the finding of a negative inside that camera that proves what time is actually shown on the clock and whether Colombo accidentally reversed the image when copying the found print.


At this point, you may be confused as Polaroid cameras don't use negatives. The whole concept is that the print is produced instantly in the camera.

But, if you really know your Polaroid history, you may be aware that the earlier Polaroids used a film where you took the photo, pulled it out of the camera, waited a couple of mins and then pulled it apart into a print plus a negative:



Except...... that still doesn't help as the negative is pulled out of the body along with the print. So no smoking gun for Colombo to find.

So how does it make sense?


Polaroid 800 (1957-1962) uses the Type 40 film 1948-72. An instant roll film where the print is pulled out, but the negative remains on the roll inside the camera.

So, this last scene only makes sense if you happen to know of the existence of an old type of niche film that was actually obsolete when the episode was aired.


Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Owlofcreamcheese posted:

People sometimes now use the phrase 'balance a checkbook" like metaphorically to mean like, budgeting skills. But no, you used to have to balance your checkbook. With no simple way to check your bank account you got one statement a month saying the balance then you had to be diligent in writing down the amount of every check and doing the math out correctly to figure out how much money you had remaining.


Related, there's an old episode of Roseanne where the family didn't have the cash to pay their bills, so they sent the check for the electric company to the gas company and vice versa, on the principle that this would "buy us another month". There's also a few mentions of writing a check they can't cover with the intention of getting the cash in before it clears.

Even ignoring that the concept of paying your bill by mail with a check is increasingly uncommon, checks are handled electronically now and the "error" could be resolved in minutes, and most places can cash a check as soon as they get it - no clearing margin.

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010




Basically the entirety of Videodrome.

Hobologist
May 3, 2007


Even modern photography takes some getting used to. I was watching the X-Files, and several times Mulder gets caught by the NSA or whatever, and they confiscate his film and unwind it to expose it to sunlight and erase his proof of the aliens. Nowadays, he could just take pictures with his phone, send them to everyone on his contact list, and upload them to half a dozen websites in no time at all.

tinytort
Jun 10, 2013


DARE and "very special episodes". I got reminded tonight that it's just not a thing these days for kids to get hammered with propaganda to not do drugs.

Lossy Compression
Sep 29, 2019

Hooked On A Feeling


My daughter and I watch a lot of MST3K together, and they've made a few riffs about "so-and-so now ends our broadcast day." Had to explain the whole concept of broadcast television and what going off the air meant.

duckmaster
Sep 13, 2004
Mr and Mrs Duck go and stay in a nice hotel.

One night they call room service for some condoms as things are heating up.

The guy arrives and says "do you want me to put it on your bill"

Mr Duck says "what kind of pervert do you think I am?!

QUACK QUACK


In Airplane! the co-pilot is played by NBA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nowadays you might just think its a spoof of sportsmen becoming actors (someone once told me, with apparant sincerity, that it was a spoof of OJ Simpson ) but it's actually a spoof of NFL footballer player Elroy Hirsch as the pilot in Zero Hour! which Airplane! is based on.

Barbara Billingsley plays 'Jive Lady' where she talks in 'Jive' with two black passengers. Nowadays we'd think that's some sort of gag about a middle class white woman communicating with people she wouldn't usually communicate with, but although it's close to that it's also because she played a very straight-laced mother in 'Leave it to Beaver' which aired in the 1950's and 60s, with a spin-off in the 80s. She was basically playing the same character in Airplane! - that was the joke.

When one of the passengers has another cup of coffee and his wife thinks to herself, "Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home...", this is a reference to a Yubon coffee commercial from the same time period which used the same line (implying that her husband has a cup of coffee away from home because it's Yubon and their coffee at home is undrinkable). That then becomes a running joke through the film, "Jim is never sick at home..." etc.

There are hundreds more scattered throughout the film (virtually everyone in the cabin is some sort of spoof, reference or cameo) but the best is easily the passenger in the taxi at the very beginning and very end; Striker was the taxi driver originally before running into the airport to speak to his girlfriend Elaine, and eventually having to land the plane etc. At the end we see the passenger still sitting in the taxi with the meter now showing a bill of hundreds of dollars. Quite a funny joke itself, but the passenger was Californian politician Howard Jarvis, known widely at that time for his views on fiscal responsibility and limited spending... and there he was racking up a huge taxi bill.

Funky See Funky Do
Aug 20, 2013
STILL TRYING HARD


But..but...but why didn't he just change the time on the clock?

Baronash
Feb 29, 2012

So what do you want to be called?

Funky See Funky Do posted:

But..but...but why didn't he just change the time on the clock?

He did change the time on the clock. He set it forward a couple hours as a means of faking an alibi, then turned it back after taking the picture. The reversal of the picture made it look like the time on the clock was 10am instead of 2pm, which Columbo used to get him flustered and incriminate himself.

My Lovely Horse
Aug 21, 2010




A classic: Travis' mohawk in Taxi Driver is a Vietnam war thing. Special forces would cut their hair that way just before going on serious assignments. If you were a regular grunt and you saw a guy with a mohawk, you'd steer well clear cause that guy was about to get into some serious poo poo.

It's well documented and there's even a bit on the wikipedia page. Still, you'd probably think Travis gave himself a punk haircut.

DACK FAYDEN
Feb 25, 2013

Bear Witness

Autistic Edgy Guy posted:

in Blazing Saddles when Slim Pickens exclaims, "What in the wide wide world of sports!??!"
Why point out exactly one dated reference in Blazing Saddles and have that reference not be Hedley Lamarr's name and everyone getting it wrong?

(or do people still know who Hedy Lamarr is these days?)

Sarern
Nov 4, 2008


Won't you take me to
Bomertown?
Won't you take me to
BONERTOWN?



DACK FAYDEN posted:

Why point out exactly one dated reference in Blazing Saddles and have that reference not be Hedley Lamarr's name and everyone getting it wrong?

(or do people still know who Hedy Lamarr is these days?)

That's 'Hedley'.

MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

Cat Army


DACK FAYDEN posted:

Why point out exactly one dated reference in Blazing Saddles and have that reference not be Hedley Lamarr's name and everyone getting it wrong?

(or do people still know who Hedy Lamarr is these days?)

Unless you're of a certain age, you probably wouldn't get the reference with the Mexicans not needing badges.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Shut up Meg
Jan 8, 2019

You're safe here.


DACK FAYDEN posted:

Why point out exactly one dated reference in Blazing Saddles and have that reference not be Hedley Lamarr's name and everyone getting it wrong?

(or do people still know who Hedy Lamarr is these days?)

Related:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVGFGmoltDs

quote:

George Randolph Scott (January 23, 1898 – March 2, 1987) was an American film actor whose career spanned the years from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his cinematic career, Scott appeared in a variety of genres, including social dramas, crime dramas, comedies, musicals (albeit in non-singing and non-dancing roles), adventure tales, war films, and a few horror and fantasy films. However, his most enduring image is that of the tall-in-the-saddle Western hero. Out of his more than 100 film appearances over 60 were in Westerns; thus, "of all the major stars whose name was associated with the Western, Scott most closely identified with it."[1]

I had no idea who he was and I first watched BS pre-wikipedia

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«25 »