Thanks for the Great Movie Facts!

You guys stepped up to the challenge on our first "Show Off Your Smarts!" post. The challenge was to send in your favorite movie-related facts. Here are three of my favorites:

1) Allison submitted a fact that just screamed urban legend and even when she claimed it wasn't, I still had my doubts. But our genius research editors did some digging and it turns out it's true. Allison wrote:

During the making of "the Wizard of Oz", the costume department brought in used clothing from charity shops. A jacket worn by Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel was discovered to have belonged to L. Frank Baum (author of the book). I always thought it was one of those myriad "Oz" myths, but I've researched it and its true! That, my friends, is the very definition of irony.

2) I also liked Emily's fact, because it is so Hollywood:

6 of the 9 women who won an Oscar for best actress in the past 10 years (Hilary Swank won twice) have split from the husband or boyfriend they thanked in their speech.

3) And then Louis Ginocchio III submitted a fact which also surprised me:

Bollywood puts out more movies every year than Hollywood. Common knowledge, right? The truth is that India is no longer the home of the world's most prolific movie industry. The honor now goes to Nollywood (Nigeria) which produces about 1500 full length movies a year. What is amazing is the fact that this number was almost zero only a short time ago. Today the industry employs thousands and brings in several hundred million dollars a year in revenue.

Our research team would probably make a small tweak to that and say "as many as 1500" because we could not confirm that it was quite that large but we did confirm that it was larger than Bollywood.

See, now we're all a little smarter. Thanks folks and be sure to look out for next week's challenge!

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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