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The Quick 10: 10 Dolls That Will Keep You Awake Tonight

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I love a good scare, but like most people, I have a line that just shouldn’t be crossed. And that line involves blinky eyes, cracked porcelain skin, and oddly jointed bodies. Yup: dolls scare the crap out of me. I’m in good company though – it seems like plenty of people out there are terrified of these little mini-people. I believe in facing my fears head on, so I dove headfirst into research on the most nightmare-inducing dolls out there, and here’s what I came up with (your mileage may vary).

1. Frozen Charlotte dolls are dolls that molded from one solid form – no movable arms and legs, no free-flowing hair. And the reason this gal is called a Frozen Charlotte adds to the creepy factor: it’s based on an 1800s folk song called “Fair Charlotte” about a girl who refused to bundle up to go on a sleigh ride and froze to death. Charming. The male version is called a Frozen Charlie.

2. Baby Laugh a Lot. This commercial is so disturbing I swore it must have been an SNL skit, but as far as I can tell, it’s the real thing. Baby Laugh a Lot was made by Remco in 1979.

3. Robert the Doll. Robert has been around since at least 1896 and belonged to a little boy (who grew up to be famous artist Robert Eugene Otto) in Key West. As children do, little Robert often chatted with his doll – but, servants and family members said, Robert the Doll often talked back. Neighbors claimed they saw Robert move to different windows of the house when they knew no one was inside; entire rooms were trashed and the little boy, seemingly terrified, claimed it was Robert’s doing.

A family bought the house in 1972. Their little girl discovered Robert in the attic and was petrified of it, claiming even 30 years later the doll wanted to kill her. These days Robert resides at the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum. If you want a picture of him, you have to ask – a slight tilt of his head means yes. If you don’t get the tilt and take a picture anyway, beware – Robert will curse you. Word has it there are letters in the museum from people apologizing for taking pictures of Robert or for not believing in his powers.

4. Buddy Lee. Little Buddy Lee was the Lee’s jeans mascot from 1920 through 1962. He was brought back in the late ‘90s in a series of ads that found Mr. Lee facing certain destruction and coming through unscathed, showing, of course, just how indestructible Lee jeans were. All it shows me is that dolls are freaks of nature that can’t be killed, so… (I know, I know, they’re not alive to begin with… right?)

5. Hugo: Man of a Thousand Faces. A toy produced by Kenner in the 1970s, Hugo was a relatively blank slate that came with many accessories so you could mold him into any man you wanted him to be (hmm). The good thing about Hugo? He was just a torso and a head, making it slightly harder for him to kill you should he happen to come alive during the middle of the night.

6. My Buddy (and Kid Sister). As a child of the ‘80s, I remember those relentless “My Buddy” commercials during Saturday morning cartoons. I can still sing it to this day. It’s thought that the makers of the Child’s Play movies based Chucky’s look on My Buddy, and it’s hard to argue.

7. Tiny Tears. Everyone knows how much fun a crying baby is, so why not make it into a toy? Well, they did, and it’s quite off-putting. Tiny Tears was around during the ‘50s and ‘60s, and after you gave her a drink of water with her special baby bottle, she could cry tears if you pressed on her stomach. Tiny Tears’ other big selling point is that her eyes closed slowly when you leaned her back, instead of blinking shut fast like other dolls of the day.

8. Betsy Wetsy. I mean, just look at her. This is the version I dislike the most, but a later version came with real hair as well.

9. Annabelle the Haunted Doll. This Raggedy Ann was given to a little girl named Donna in the ‘70s and she and her family immediately began to notice strange things. The doll would seemingly repose itself when no one was looking and was once even found in a kneeling position. When Donna tried to replicate the pose with the doll, she couldn’t – it was too soft to stay in that position and would just fall over. Childish writing began to appear on the walls, scaring the family enough to hire a medium and hold a séance. They discovered that a little girl named Annabelle had once lived there long before the building housed apartments; she wanted to play with them. Even worse things began to happen afterward – Donna’s father received inexplicable burn marks on his chest and everyone in the house began having nightmares. Suffice it to say, Donna and her family got rid of Annabelle the Doll. It’s now in an occult museum; she apparently makes new “friends” every day.

10. Baby Secret. The commercial speaks – er, whispers – for itself.

Well, I’m not sleeping tonight. How about you guys? If you still think you’ll be able to get some shut-eye, check out this photo gallery of creepy dolls from Life magazine. That ought to do the trick.

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10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes
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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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?


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.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


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

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10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films
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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.


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