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6 Televised Musical Performances That Caused a Stir

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The free-spirited world of music is sometimes an odd fit for the controlled, advertiser-indebted medium of television, even though the two have been deeply entwined for decades. Here are six performances where rock or pop stars caused a stir with TV viewers, hosts, executives, or sponsors.

1. ELVIS PRESLEY ON THE MILTON BERLE SHOW // JUNE 5, 1956

When Elvis appeared on The Milton Berle Show for a second time in 1956, Mr. Television gave the young singer some advice: “Let ’em see you, son.” At Berle’s suggestion, Elvis ditched his guitar and performed “Hound Dog” for an at-home audience of around 40 million people. Unencumbered by his six-string, Elvis waved his arms and gyrated his hips, occasionally poking his pelvis into his microphone stand.

Ben Gross of the New York Daily News called it “an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos.” Other reactions, collected by Gilbert B. Rodman for his book Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend, were beyond reproachful. “He can’t sing a lick, makes up for his vocal shortcomings with the weirdest and plainly suggestive animation of an aborigine’s mating dance,” wrote Jack O’Brien of The New York Journal-American. The Catholic Church-published magazine America was also unkind: “If the agencies (TV and other) would stop handling such nauseating stuff, all the Presleys of our land would soon be swallowed up in the oblivion they deserve.”

Social conservatives were already wary of Elvis, but the “Hound Dog” performance turned him into a full-on moral threat. Soon after, a Florida judge threatened to jail him if he did those hip gyrations at a Jacksonville gig.

2. THE DOORS ON THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW // SEPTEMBER 17, 1967

After it introduced The Beatles to America, playing The Ed Sullivan Show became a must for upcoming bands, even as the program struggled to come to terms with the increasingly edgy content of rock songs. The show's producers cajoled the Rolling Stones into changing the lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together,” though Mick Jagger gave the audience a knowing eye-roll.

The producers couldn't tame The Doors, however, who got a slot on Sullivan’s show nine months after the release of their debut album. Hours before they were set to go on, a producer stopped by their dressing room and instructed them to omit the word “higher” from “Light My Fire,” because of its association with drug use. The group agreed, but as soon as the producer left the room, Jim Morrison made it clear to his bandmates that they weren't going to change a word.

Sullivan and his producers were furious when they heard the offending “higher” during the performance, and the host declined to do the usual handshake with the band after their set. Backstage, a producer told The Doors, “Mr. Sullivan wanted you for six more shows, but you’ll never work The Ed Sullivan Show again,” to which Morrison reportedly shot back, “Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

3. THE WHO ON THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR // SEPTEMBER 17, 1967

Just one hour after The Doors’ Sullivan performance, CBS aired yet another infamous display by a young rock band. The Who’s appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was their first performance on American TV. Hosts Dick and Tommy Smothers knew the band would end their set by smashing their instruments. According to Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' by David Bianculli, they’d seen the band do it at the Monterey Pop Festival, but The Who wanted something even louder and more destructive for their introduction to U.S. viewers.

The band planned a blast of smoke and noise to coincide with the finale of “My Generation,” and they convinced a stagehand to build a small cannon in Keith Moon’s drum set. “[I]n the rehearsal it went bang,” recalls guitarist Pete Townsend, “but it kind of made a lot of smoke and a bit of a dull thud. And Keith said, ‘Listen, you must increase the charge.’” Even after the stagehand complied, Moon packed it with even more explosives.

As they finished their performance, Townsend began smashing his guitar, and an explosion ripped through Moon's drum set, nearly knocking Townsend over. (Townsend later claimed the blast gave him hearing loss.) Dazed, Townsend managed to grab an acoustic guitar from a stunned Tommy Smothers as part of a pre-planned bit and smash it.

According to Dangerously Funny, the brothers thought the episode was so good they rushed it on the air two days later, bumping a previously taped one featuring Herman’s Hermits. The display of bedlam became another point of contention, and from that point forward CBS executives began demanding the brothers submit show footage days in advance for them to prescreen.

4. HARRY BELAFONTE AND PETULA CLARK ON PETULA // APRIL 8, 1968

In 1968, a Chrysler executive was aghast when he previewed footage of Petula Clark's NBC special Petula, which the auto company had sponsored.

Clark ended the show with a duet with Harry Belafonte, singing the antiwar song “On the Path of Glory,” but it wasn’t the protest component that troubled Doyle Lott, Chrysler's advertising manager for the Plymouth division; it was that Clark, a British-born white woman, held the arm of Belafonte, an American black man of Jamaican ancestry. Lott was concerned with backlash from Southern stations and asked for the segment to be re-taped. The performers refused, and they insisted the song be aired as-is.

Belafonte took the issue to the press, saying that "it is essential for television and industries to know that people like Doyle exist." Lott apologized, claiming he “overreacted to the staging, not to any feelings of discrimination," and Chrysler distanced itself from Lott, insisting the objections were his and not the company’s. The performance was left in, and the program aired as Clark and Belafonte intended.

5. SINEAD O’CONNOR ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE // OCTOBER 3, 1992

Promoting a new album in 1992, Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor appeared on Saturday Night Live to perform two songs. The second was an acapella cover of Bob Marley's “War,” to which she added lyrics about child abuse. During the live performance, she took out a photo of Pope John Paul II and ripped it to shreds, declaring, “Fight the real enemy.” The audience was stunned silent, and so were SNL's cast and crew—producers later said she had held up a picture of a child in rehearsals.

After the live performance, NBC received more than 4000 complaints. A spokesperson for the New York Archdiocese called it “an act of hatred and intolerance.” John Joseph O'Connor, archbishop of New York, accused O’Connor of trying to harm the Pope via “voodoo” or “sympathetic magic.” The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations offered to make a $10 donation to charity for anyone who forfeited to them a copy of an O’Connor album.

O’Connor explained the move to TIME, describing the performance as a protest against abuse in the Catholic Church. "In Ireland," she said, "we see our people are manifesting the highest incidence in Europe of child abuse. This is a direct result of the fact that they're not in contact with their history as Irish people and the fact that in the schools, the priests have been beating ... the children for years and sexually abusing them."

In 2010, O'Connor told Irish magazine Hot Press that the photo was not just a random image of the Pope—it was a photo that had been hanging on her mother's wall since 1978.

6. JANET JACKSON AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE'S SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW // FEBRUARY 1, 2004

It was the event that added the term “wardrobe malfunction” to dictionaries. The MTV-produced halftime show for Super Bowl XXXVIII included Kid Rock, P. Diddy, and Nelly, and it ended with a set by Janet Jackson. As a finale, the veteran pop star bought out Justin Timberlake for a duet of his hit “Rock Your Body.” As Timberlake sang the line, “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he pulled off a piece of Jackson’s costume, revealing—for less than a second before CBS cut away—her breast, adorned only by sun-patterned nipple jewelry.

The Federal Communications Commission received upwards of 200,000 complaints. AOL asked the NFL to pay back $7.5 million in sponsorship money, and the company refused to rebroadcast the event online (as they had originally agreed). Radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications blacklisted Jackson’s songs and the Grammys disinvited her (but not Timberlake). The FCC cracked down on “indecency” across the board, levying $7.9 million in fines in 2004 (compared to $440,000 in 2003) [PDF]. The public, however, apparently wanted to see the offending footage; in 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed the incident “the most searched item in internet history.”

In November 2004, Viacom paid the FCC $3.5 million to settle a range of ongoing cases, but Super Bowl broadcaster CBS never paid its $550,000 fine. A court nullified it in 2008, ruling that a broadcaster shouldn’t be on the hook for unplanned “indecency” in a case like a "wardrobe malfunction."

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up in a new Animal Planet series, Cat Vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

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Animals
10 Juicy Facts About Sea Apples

They're both gorgeous and grotesque. Sea apples, a type of marine invertebrate, have dazzling purple, yellow, and blue color schemes streaking across their bodies. But some of their habits are rather R-rated. Here’s what you should know about these weird little creatures.

1. THEY’RE SEA CUCUMBERS.

The world’s oceans are home to more than 1200 species of sea cucumber. Like sand dollars and starfish, sea cucumbers are echinoderms: brainless, spineless marine animals with skin-covered shells and a complex network of internal hydraulics that enables them to get around. Sea cucumbers can thrive in a range of oceanic habitats, from Arctic depths to tropical reefs. They're a fascinating group with colorful popular names, like the “burnt hot dog sea cucumber” (Holothuria edulis) and the sea pig (Scotoplanes globosa), a scavenger that’s been described as a “living vacuum cleaner.”

2. THEY'RE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN.

Sea apples have oval-shaped bodies and belong to the genus Pseudocolochirus and genus Paracacumaria. The animals are indigenous to the western Pacific, where they can be found shuffling across the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters. Many different types are kept in captivity, but two species, Pseudocolochirus violaceus and Pseudocolochirus axiologus, have proven especially popular with aquarium hobbyists. Both species reside along the coastlines of Australia and Southeast Asia.

3. THEY EAT WITH MUCUS-COVERED TENTACLES.

Sea cucumbers, the ocean's sanitation crew, eat by swallowing plankton, algae, and sandy detritus at one end of their bodies and then expelling clean, fresh sand out their other end. Sea apples use a different technique. A ring of mucus-covered tentacles around a sea apple's mouth snares floating bits of food, popping each bit into its mouth one at a time. In the process, the tentacles are covered with a fresh coat of sticky mucus, and the whole cycle repeats.

4. THEY’RE ACTIVE AT NIGHT.

Sea apples' waving appendages can look delicious to predatory fish, so the echinoderms minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention by doing most of their feeding at night. When those tentacles aren’t in use, they’re retracted into the body.

5. THE MOVE ON TUBULAR FEET.

The rows of yellow protuberances running along the sides of this specimen are its feet. They allow sea apples to latch onto rocks and other hard surfaces while feeding. And if one of these feet gets severed, it can grow back.

6. SOME FISH HANG OUT IN SEA APPLES' BUTTS.

Sea apples are poisonous, but a few marine freeloaders capitalize on this very quality. Some small fish have evolved to live inside the invertebrates' digestive tracts, mooching off the sea apples' meals and using their bodies for shelter. In a gross twist of evolution, fish gain entry through the back door, an orifice called the cloaca. In addition expelling waste, the cloaca absorbs fresh oxygen, meaning that sea apples/cucumbers essentially breathe through their anuses.

7. WHEN THREATENED, SEA APPLES CAN EXPAND.

Most full-grown adult sea apples are around 3 to 8 inches long, but they can make themselves look twice as big if they need to escape a threat. By pulling extra water into their bodies, some can grow to the size of a volleyball, according to Advanced Aquarist. After puffing up, they can float on the current and away from danger. Some aquarists might mistake the robust display as a sign of optimum health, but it's usually a reaction to stress.

8. THEY CAN EXPEL THEIR OWN GUTS.

Sea apples use their vibrant appearance to broadcast that they’re packing a dangerous toxin. But to really scare off predators, they puke up some of their own innards. When an attacker gets too close, sea apples can expel various organs through their orifices, and some simultaneously unleash a cloud of the poison holothurin. In an aquarium, the holothurin doesn’t disperse as widely as it would in the sea, and it's been known to wipe out entire fish tanks.

9. SEA APPLES LAY TOXIC EGGS.

These invertebrates reproduce sexually; females release eggs that are later fertilized by clouds of sperm emitted by the males. As many saltwater aquarium keepers know all too well, sea apple eggs are not suitable fish snacks—because they’re poisonous. Scientists have observed that, in Pseudocolochirus violaceus at least, the eggs develop into small, barrel-shaped larvae within two weeks of fertilization.

10. THEY'RE NOT EASILY CONFUSED WITH THIS TREE SPECIES.

Syzgium grande is a coastal tree native to Southeast Asia whose informal name is "sea apple." When fully grown, they can stand more than 140 feet tall. Once a year, it produces attractive clusters of fuzzy white flowers and round green fruits, perhaps prompting its comparison to an apple tree.

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