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The Quick 10: The Rest of Paul Harvey’s Story

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Hello, Americans (and _flossy readers from everywhere else)! Two years ago today, Paul Harvey died at the age of 90, having been on the radio for over 70 years. For what it’s worth, here are ten interesting tidbits about the legend of radio.

1. He would want us to mention his name. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on September 4, 1918 as Paul Harvey Aurandt, the newscaster was the son of a police officer and a Danish immigrant. He dropped his surname when he began his radio career at KVOO in Tulsa.

2. He wasn’t into long courtship, apparently. Harvey met Lynne “Angel” Cooper at KXOK-AM in St. Louis, where they were both newscasters. He proposed on their first date, she accepted a year later, and the couple married in 1940. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. He was a friend of the animals. Paul and Angel were members of the Humane Society from the group’s founding in 1954. Later, son Paul Jr. became involved as well. Harvey discussed issues of animal cruelty in his broadcasts and publicly endorsed animal protection initiatives in Arizona and California.

4. Advertisers put their money where his mouth was. In 1979, People Magazine reported that Harvey made about $2 million a year — as much money as Barbara Walters, Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace combined. In 2000, ABC extended Harvey’s contract by ten years and $100 million. In 2005, Forbes reported a $30 million income for the broadcaster, and in 2006, Harvey reportedly accounted for 10% of ABC’s $300 million a year advertising earnings.

5. He was a coiner of words. Reaganomics, guesstimate, and skyjacker have been attributed to Harvey.

6. But he probably didn’t write that forwarded email you keep getting. Snopes has an ever-growing section of Paul Harvey-misattributed stories, almost entirely all false. So if you’re still getting “The Rest of the Story” forwards claiming Mel Gibson is the real-life Man Without a Face and Grace Slick named her daughter God, you can disregard them. (This is probably true of most forwarded emails, actually.)

7. He was nearly charged with espionage. In 1951, Harvey was caught on restricted property at Argonne National Laboratory, a nuclear test site near Chicago. He claimed he was doing some “investigative journalism” on the lab’s reportedly lax security. Harvey was taken before a grand jury but not indicted. A year later, he met with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the two became friends.

8. He was well connected, to say the least. Following Harvey’s brush with the law, his friendship with Hoover proved rather beneficial to his show. In 2010, Paul Harvey’s FBI file was released under the Freedom of Information Act. The 1400 pages of information indicate that officials in the bureau were happy to “add meat to the bones” of Harvey’s broadcast content, which he frequently sent them in advance. Agents routinely fact-checked and added material to his pieces from the mid-fifties until his death.

9. And he was highly-awarded, too. Harvey was named American of the Year, Father of the Year, Salesman of the Year, Commentator of the Year, Person of the Year, elected into the Radio Hall of Fame, DeMolay Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Hall of Fame, listed in a Gallup poll of America’s Most Admired Men, and received 11 Freedom Foundation Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

10. The Rest of the Story. Most of us remember Paul Harvey from his ubiquitous “The Rest of the Story” pieces, which broadcast to more than 24 million listeners a week at the show’s peak. Premiering on May 10, 1976, the series ran six days a week until Harvey’s death in 2009, and was written by Paul Harvey, Jr. Though well-received and memorable, claims by the broadcaster that every piece was entirely true have been long debated by urban legend and history experts.

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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.

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.

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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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