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YouTube / ScottithGames

Chubby Checker's Lost "Dig Dug" Atari Commercial

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YouTube / ScottithGames

In 1982, Chubby Checker recorded a song about Dig Dug, the classic Atari game, for a commercial. Checker's "Twist"-style recording was not used in the commercial—it appears to have been re-recorded by somebody else—though it's unclear why.

Three days ago, Matt Osborne (son of the late Atari VP of Marketing Don Osborne) posted the song online for the first time. Here it is on SoundCloud:

(Compare to Checker's hit "The Twist." The similarities are obvious, though hearing Checker describe Dig Dug gameplay is pretty trippy.)

Matt Osborne wrote:

My father, Don Osborne, was the Vice President of Marketing of ATARI's Coin-op division at the time and he brought this home one day for us to listen to. I'm not sure how I actually ended up with it, but he may have lent it to me and I just never gave it back or he never asked for it to be returned. The only info that I have about it was that ATARI had envisioned a somewhat '50's styled take on the song, inspired, in part, by Chubby Checker's hit "The Twist." At the time that I'd heard the song and had got possession of the tape, it was fully intended that Chubby's song would be used in the final commercial. It's been over 30 years, that and I was about 13 at the time, so details are fuzzy, but I remember my father being extra excited that Chubby was involved in the project and had great things to say about having met him. After that, I don't recall why his [song] was eventually dropped in lieu of the one in the final cut of the commercial. The only thing that makes sense is that Chubby might have appealed to a much older audience and not the one that the commercial was targeted towards, so they eventually [chose] a younger representation for the band singing the song. Still, try going online and digging up any history, or even a mention of Chubby's involvement, and you will find very little. I'd love to know more myself, so please share if you find anything out.

Compare the audio above with the (Clio Award-winning) commercial as it actually aired:

The song is present, but the singer is not Chubby Checker. What's up with that?

So, people on the internet, it's your move. Does anyone know the true story of why Chubby Checker's vocals were not used in the final Dig Dug commercial? (I suppose we could just ask Chubby Checker; he's 72 and still performing.)

If you're not sure what this game is, or want a heavy dose of nostalgia, you can play Dig Dug online courtesy of The Internet Archive. Watch out for rocks!

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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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