Smiling poop. Zombie lady. High-fiving squid. Emojis cover a huge spectrum of human expression. But did you ever wonder where they came from? On September 19, 1982, a computer scientist, concerned his jokes weren’t landing in a university chatroom, used the first emoticon; colon, minus sign, parenthesis. The simple smiley face set the stage for a revolution in online communication.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was the epitome of Hollywood glam, starring in dozens of films and tv shows in the 1940s and 50s. But by the 1980s, her shine began to dim. On September 14 1989, Gabor made a celebrity comeback when she was prosecuted for slapping a Beverly Hills cop. In court Gabor played the role she was born to play… herself.
American flags, camouflage ribbons and “Never Forget” statements, prevailed as symbols of patriotism in the early 2000s. On September 11, 2001, four coordinated terrorist attacks took place in the U.S. and had catastrophic ripple effects across the globe. Simone explores her personal feelings about 9/11 and the “Never Forget” narrative.
In the 90s, everybody had to have a Beanie Baby. Not just kids. They were one of the biggest get-rich-quick schemes of the decade. On August 31, 1999, the company, Ty Inc., released a cryptic message that they would retire the wildly popular toys. Instead of fueling a massive frenzy — it revealed the beanie baby bubble was destined to burst.
Enron, the Houston-based energy giant, was one of the biggest, most well-respected companies in the 90s. But in 2001, it went from top of the heap to bottom of the barrel, real quick. On August 22nd 2001, Sherron Watkins met with the company’s CEO to warn him about the accounting scandal pushing the company to the brink of collapse.
Woodstock is the most iconic music festival in American history, remembered for peace and love. On August 18, 1969 it earned that reputation after being declared an official disaster zone without all the deadly side effects. It even converted its host, dairy farmer Max Yasgur, into an unlikely apostle on the way.
Jesse Owens swept the track and field events at the Olympics in Berlin. On August 3, 1936, Owens won his first of four gold medals in the 100 meter dash cementing his name in history. The Black track star was celebrated as a hero -- but the celebration was short lived. (edited)
Ever heard of lady crime boss, Ma Barker? On July 26, 1932, her alleged gang of thieves stole over $200,000 from a Kansas bank without firing a single shot. The Barker-Karpis gang stole millions before Ma was killed in a shootout with the FBI. But was she a criminal mastermind or just a scapegoat?
Paris Hilton’s sex tape ushered in a new era of celebrity obsession. On June 15, 2004: it went on sale after her ex made a deal with a pornographic distributor. Simone reflects on the scandal, fallout and impact it had on a generation of young women.
How are cornflakes and eugenics connected? On May 31, 1895: the Kellogg brothers filed the patent for what would eventually become Corn Flakes. Simone digs in to the cereal’s bizarre, dark origins and examines its lasting impact on the wellness industry today.