CLOSE
Original image

The Quick 10: The Word on Woodstock

Original image

You've probably heard in the news that we're coming up on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. But I'm not talking about that Woodstock "“ you'll probably hear more retrospectives on that this weekend than you would prefer. Nope, we're going to talk about a different Woodstock "“ namely, the little yellow avian sidekick.

WOODSTOCK1. Woodstock was, in fact, named after the three-day festival of peace and music. Charles Schulz had been doodling birds for years, and by the late "˜60s, he was confident enough in his bird sketches to introduce a nameless avian to the strip. When the Woodstock festival was everywhere in the news a couple of years later, a lightbulb went off in his head. According to an interview he gave to Penthouse in 1971, he decided "Why not?" and named the bird after the hippie-fest.
2. Ever wondered exactly what type of bird Snoopy's corn-colored companion is? You're not alone. But you're also not going to get an answer. Although it's long been assumed that Woodstock is some type of canary, or at least based on a canary, Schulz never specified Woodstock's exact lineage. Woodstock does, however, get quite angry when someone calls him the wrong type of bird.

3. There was speculation for quite some time about Woodstock's sex, but let's clear it up here: Woodstock is definitely a boy. Schulz once said that it actually would have been better if Woodstock had been a girl since he often functions as Snoopy's secretary (and if that rather sexist comment made your hackles rise, you're not alone).

beaglescouts4. That gang of birds that frequently accompanies Woodstock have names. They are Bill, Harriet, Olivier, Raymond, Fred, Roy and Conrad. Although Snoopy can tell the difference between them, we really can't, except for Raymond "“ he's a bit darker yellow than the rest of them. Harriet was once shown to have a full head of hair, but not always (perhaps it was a new cut). They all belong to the Beagle Scouts together.

5. According to a 1995 strip, Woodstock wears contacts. Your guess as to how he gets them in his eyes is as good as mine.

6. Every now and then, Woodstock emits more than just those chicken scratch marks that serve as his speech. He gives out "Z"s when he's sleeping, he sighs when he's exasperated, and "No" is represented by an "X" in his speech bubble. He also laughs and yawns on occasion.

7. Woodstock and Snoopy shared a voice. Bill Meléndez, an animator who worked on every Peanuts film and special, recorded Snoopy's voice by talking pure gibberish into a tape recorder and then playing it at high speed. He did the same thing for Woodstock but in a different register and speed. As a side note, Meléndez also animated for Disney and worked on Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi and Dumbo. He died last year.

snoopy8. Snoopy and Woodstock began their storied relationship when Woodstock's mom built a nest on Snoopy's stomach. The other birds left when Snoopy flung the nest away like a Frisbee, but Woodstock kept coming back to visit. Perhaps Snoopy is responsible for Woodstock's wonky flight pattern?
9. Woodstock has reported that his income is four worms a day. I'm not sure what the going market rate for worms is, but hopefully he's able to earn a good living off of that. He must be "“ we've seen the inside of his birdhouse before and it was fully decked out in "˜70s-style, perhaps a nod to the origin of his name.

10. Whoopi Goldberg has Woodstock tattooed above her left breast. That might be more than you ever wanted to know about Whoopi Goldberg. Me too. Sorry.

So, Woodstock "“ Tweety Bird rip-off? Better than Tweety? Or no comparison between the two at all? I much prefer Woodstock, but I'm probably tainted by growing up in the early "˜90s, when Tweety and Taz dominated the clothing of every tween and teen in the U.S.

Have a Q10 request? I'm on Twitter and I'm all ears! Err... all keys. Something.

Original image
iStock
10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes
Original image
iStock

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.

1. THEY’VE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE 17TH CENTURY.

While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.

2. A GERMAN IMMIGRANT BROUGHT THE TRADITION TO THE STATES.

It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.

3. THEY HAVEN’T ALWAYS BEEN STRIPED.

Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.

4. THEY’RE A (RELATIVELY) VIRTUOUS HOLIDAY TREAT.

Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.

5. THEY DON’T ALWAYS FIT ON A CHRISTMAS TREE.

The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.

6. EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN WAY OF EATING THEM.

Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.

7. MORE THAN A BILLION ARE MADE EACH YEAR.

According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?

8. A PRIEST PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN THE CANDY’S MOVE TO MASS PRODUCTION.

Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.

9. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN (ODDLY-TIMED) HOLIDAY.

December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.

10. THE PROCESS FOR MAKING THEM BY HAND IS MESMERIZING.

Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

Original image
MoviePilot.com
10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films
Original image
MoviePilot.com

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios