Glove Story: The Freezy Freakies Phenomenon of the 1980s

Pete Jelliffe, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Pete Jelliffe, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Kids who grew up in the northeast in the 1980s were pretty invested in a fad that might have gone unnoticed in warmer parts of the country. Cajoling their parents at department stores during shopping trips, hundreds of thousands of them came home sporting a pair of Freezy Freakies—thick winter gloves that came with a built-in parlor trick. When the temperature dipped below 40°F, an image would suddenly appear on the back part of the material.

Swany America Corporation, which made, marketed, and distributed the gloves, released more than 30 original designs beginning in 1980. There was a robot, a unicorn, rocket ships, ballerinas, rainbows, snowflakes, and various sports themes, though the “I Love Snow” image (below) may have been the most popular overall. At the height of Freezy mania, Swany was moving 300,000 pairs of gloves per year, which accounted for about 20 percent of their overall sales.

A Freezy Freakies glove before and after the temperature change
Freezy Freakies

“Boys loved the robot design,” Bruce Weinberg, Swany’s vice president and a former sales director for Freezy Freakies, tells Mental Floss. “Above 40 degrees, the image would disappear.”

The secret to the $13 Freakies was thermochromic ink, a temperature-sensitive dye that's been used in mood rings and heat-sensitive food labels and can appear translucent until it's exposed to warmer temperatures. Swany licensed the ink from Pilot, the Japanese-based pen company, after Swany CEO Etsuo Miyoshi saw the technology and thought it would be a good fit for his glove-focused operation. (Though they experimented with making luggage in the 1990s, Swany has predominantly been a manufacturer of higher-end ski gloves.)

Weinberg isn’t sure how Miyoshi settled on the “Freezy Freakies” name—the president is now retired—but says Miyoshi knew they had a hit early on. “After a few seasons, they could tell they had a winner product,” he says. Swany even put advertising dollars into TV commercials, a rare strategy for glove-makers not named Isotoner.

Pilot was able to adjust the temperature at which the ink would become transparent, or vice versa. If kids were impatient, or if it happened to be during the summer, Weinberg says it wasn’t uncommon to find Freezy Freakies stuck in the freezer so they could materialize their art design. “At trade shows, we’d do something similar with some ice or a cold soda,” he says. “All of a sudden, some ice cubes would make it change, and buyers would think that was really cool.”

The Freakies were such a hit that Swany licensed jackets and considered changing the name of the company to the same name as the glove. It’s probably just as well they didn’t: While Freakies lasted well over a decade, by the 1990s, things had cooled. In the new millennium, Swany was down to selling just a few hundred pairs a year. Color-changing ink for coffee mugs or beer cans was more pervasive, wearing down the novelty; knock-offs had also grabbed licensed cartoon characters, which Swany was never interested in pursuing.

The brand was dormant when a company named Buffoonery approached Swany in 2013 to license Freezy Freakies for a crowdfunded revival. This time, the gloves came in adult sizes for $34. The partnership has been successful, and Weinberg says Buffoonery has just signed an extension to start producing kids’ gloves.

“Parents will probably want matching ones for their kids,” Weinberg says. And both might still wind up in the freezer.

Netflix Promises That The Office Isn't Going Anywhere, Despite Reports to the Contrary

NBCUniversal, Inc.
NBCUniversal, Inc.

With all of the streaming sites available, deciding which one to choose can sometimes be just as difficult as figuring out what to watch once you get there. But one thing is certain: For Netflix users, The Office never fails. Which explains why Dunder Mifflin devotees panicked when they heard that the NBC series would be leaving the streaming giant's library. Fortunately, Netflix quickly took to Twitter to reassure fans that the Steve Carell-starring comedy isn’t going anywhere ... until at least 2021.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that NBCUniversal might want to take back its rights to The Office in order to put the series on their own streaming site, which is not yet live. This, of course, sent fans into a frenzy. Many took to social media to share how upset they were that their favorite workplace comedy might be disappearing. (A similar situation happened with Friends, another one of Netflix's most popular shows, back in December.)

Although The Office aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief—at least for now—Marvel fans haven't been so lucky. Disney has started to remove its movies along with Netflix’s Marvel shows like The Punisher and Daredevil. The new streaming service Disney+ will drop in November and will feature Marvel films, as well as original series—plus the entire Star Wars franchise.

With all the changes, it’s not difficult to become paranoid that your favorite show might be taken off your preferred streaming service. Better to binge what you can now while it’s still available.

Game of Thrones Could Have a Major Twist In Store for Tyrion Lannister

Helen Sloan/HBO
Helen Sloan/HBO

We're only two episodes into the final season of Game of Thrones, and already we've seen Jon Snow learn about his true lineage—and then reveal that game-changing tidbit to Daenerys Targaryen (who seemed oddly unbothered by the news). But what if we’re about to learn something about the true identity of yet another major character?

Over the years, many fans have theorized that Tyrion Lannister is also a secret Targaryen—and while some dismissed the idea once it was confirmed that Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen, a couple of key moments in season 8 might be hinting that Tryion could indeed still have Targaryen blood.

Reddit user nisensegar believes Tyrion has discovered he’s a Targaryen, which would explain why he has been acting a little strangely this season. The evidence to back up this theory comes from three specific moments: When Tyrion was able set Daenerys’s dragons free without getting burned; when he watched the door to the room in which Dany and Jon were making love, as if he knew what was going on; and his father, Tywin Lannister’s, last words before Tyrion killed him being: “You’re no son of mine.” These pieces of possible evidence have been cited before in fan theories, but this Reddit user believes Tyrion’s recent behavior supports the claim as well.

All of these things have seemingly been leading up to the most recent episode when Bran Stark speaks to Tyrion, which might have been him confirming his true identity. This would make sense, considering we didn’t actually witness their conversation—we just know they had one.

“A lot was mentioned about Tyrion's intelligence and his challenged loyalty," the Redditor writes "There is also an ominous, secretive shot of him in next week's teaser giving a side glance, half-concealed. Very foreboding.”

The Redditor also references the final scene in "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," the most recent episode, which shows Jon and Daenerys, and then Tyrion. “It's a very strange and wild family dynamic but as Sansa famously said: ‘Families are complicated,'" the post concludes.

Given how popular the theory has become over the years, we're dubious of its veracity. (Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss hate to be predictable.) However, we can’t deny these clues. We’ll hopefully find out what Bran and Tyrion discussed, as well as why the latter has been acting so differently, in the coming episodes.

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