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Hi, this is Leah Remini and I am joined by Mike Rinder, and we are so excited to continue our journey with a new podcast called Scientology Fair Game. Mike. When can people hear it? The first episode is airing on 21 July Leha and then weekly thereafter. OK. And for those who are not hoity toity, that's July 21st. Thank you. Listen to Scientology Fair Game on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
In the high stakes world of crime and justice, understanding the legal system is not optional. It's critical. Hi, I'm Philip Holloway, host of the podcast Swarm from Tenderfoot TV and I Heart Radio. Last season we looked at a number of crimes and cases that highlighted issues in our legal system. This season we have a new approach. We're tackling the problems directly. We'll look at faulty forensic science, false confessions and mandatory minimum prison sentences. Season two of sworn is underway and it's available.
Now, listen on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey, everybody. You may not know this yet. And if you don't prepare to be blown away, we are creating right now the first ever stuff you should no book. It's called Stuff You Should Know Colon, an incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things. And you can preorder it now. That's right. And if you preorder everyone, there is an incentive because you get a free gift. And don't worry if you've already preordered, because you can just head on over to stuff.
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Welcome to Step. You should know a production of Heart Radio's HowStuffWorks. Hey, welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles to be Chuck Bryant right over there. Jerry's out there somewhere and this is stuff you should know. You know, Chuck, I have to say here every once in a while, the amazing theme song from our Short-Lived television show comes into my head. Mm hmm. And l just it's just a complete earworm. Yeah.
They just hear the end of it over and over and over again. And it's actually pretty pleasant. It doesn't bother me.
I love it. I haven't heard that song in a while. Well, you need to go listen.
That was the Henry Clay people, right? Yeah.
Our buddies, Joey and Andy Sierra. Mm hmm. California boys. Southern California boys. Men.
Didn't didn't they go to like Harvard or something crazy like that?
Joey ended up going to Harvard and then I think Andy went to FFI and then Joey, I think went back to film school.
And they're both writing, you know, screenwriting. Man, that's great. And he's got. He broke the this. Andy Samberg movie. That's that's coming out soon. Really?
What. Which one? What's the call? Uh, it is called Palm Springs, I think.
Well, he wrote it. Yeah. Dude, that's fantastic. Congratulations. And he wrote on the TV show Lodge 49. Yeah. I haven't seen the Springs, but that that guy, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, son. I love that guy. Yeah. I think one of the coolest people walking around on the planet today. Yeah. I haven't seen large 49 is supposed to be awesome. And Andy was a writer's assistant then ended up on the staff.
And they're both doing great, man.
That's great. Congratulations to both. You got a little baby now. They're both married. Nice man. That's nice.
And that's an update on the Sierra Club as I get it. Let's see what else. What was it?
How did did that come into your head? The song like what made you think of that?
Nothing. I was just out back, like mowing the lawn with my big old lawn mower and it just popped in my head. I was probably thinking of something I had to do that had to do with stuff you should know. And I thought. You should know. And when I thought it, I thought it as stuff you should know doing it. This is displayed on a loop.
This is second time you mentioned the size of your lawnmower. And now you just get to send me a picture. Is this one of these things that you stand? Not in it. It wheels you around like some weird land speeder.
You mean like a scag or something? No, this is just a girl fashion tauro. That is because it's gas powered. I got it like on super discount because everybody's making, like, really good electric lawnmowers. Yeah. But this one was, you know, it was on discount and I like the look of it. Yeah. Could look at Maura. Yeah. I was like, I like your style delivering with me. Is it red.
Yeah. Yeah. It's Red Tories. Yeah. It's nice. Takes you back to the days of paper routes and stuff like that then.
I thought you were mentioning the song because you were thinking of the song Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger.
No, I wasn't at all. Okay, but that's a great Segway Chuck, because it just so happens and you may be aware of this for talking about flagpole sitting to day. In this episode. Right.
And I've been singing that song in my head all day. No, I don't. I don't know that song. You know, it it was a well, maybe not. It was a it was a top 40 hit in the 90s, kind of during the grunge era. It was it was a power pop hit.
Kind of go from here to go into Doon Doon. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Wait, don't do that. It is not it. No, my band actually covers a flag pole, so it's a fun song.
Okay, that's great. I'm gonna have to go listen to it because I feel like I'm missing out. But what that song is, that song about flagpole sitting is about Shipwright Kelly in particular.
No, it's not. But it does have one line that says run it up the flagpole and see.
And that's the only time it references flagpoles at all. Sees what? Who salutes? But no one ever does, I think is an excellent. That rings a bell. But they can and then and then I was again to the mirror a bit clearer. Share on it up the flagpole and see who salutes. But no one ever does.
Yeah, I'm not sick, but. Yeah. Well, who is that? Harvey Danger. Danger. Okay. Yeah, it's a great song. I love it. Yeah. Whoo!
Fellow I podcast friend John Roderic. Actually, Sean Nelson was a friend of his in Seattle, Nate. He played bass for a little while. And Harvey Danger.
No. Very. Wow, man. Yeah. Oh, come first. Look, I got one more for you. What you guy? I used to have that song and I don't know where I downloaded it from. This would have been probably back in the Napster days or something. Whoa. And it was mislabeled as Brian Jones Howe massacre. And I was always like this. That sound like Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Now, I know it most definitely wasn't Brian Jones cell massacre.
Wow. All right. We haven't even talked about flagpole sitting it. No, we haven't. Which is a crime because it's actually one of the more interesting weirdo fads that's ever come this way in America. No, it's in the 20s. It started. We actually we know who. Patient zero was a flagpole sitting. And it's easy to tell because it is such a bizarre thing to do that if you can find the person who who who did it first, who claims to have done it first, they're probably correct.
And in this case, you can trace it back to sometime around January of 1924, supposedly potentially in Hollywood, California, part of Los Angeles. And there was a man named Alvin Shipwright Kelly, who supposedly climbed up on a flagpole as part of a promotion for a movie and sat there for a full 13 hours and 13 minutes to help draw a crowd. And boy, did he ever. Yeah.
Which, you know, it sounds like a long time to sit on a flagpole, but that is kid stuff.
Yeah. Compared to where this is headed. Yeah, for sure. That's an apple teef, but it's a good first attempt, you know. Yeah.
And so, you know. It sound strange because when you think of a flagpole, you're like, what are they sitting on? It's a it's a modified flagpole that basically there are different kinds, but usually it's sort of like a bar stool at the top of a flagpole.
Mm hmm. And it's that low fi. And you climb up there and you sit and that's all you do.
It's a I mean, whatever else you want to do. Well, sure. You do it yourself or whatever. Yeah. That's up to you. But as far as being considered a flag pole sitter, that's it. You sit on top of a flag pole for as long as you can.
All right. So let's talk about this guy, because Shipwright Kelly was a pretty interesting character.
And I have to say there's a memory palace episode about him that I specifically didn't listen to beforehand because I didn't want to unconsciously rip it off. I go listen to that. Yeah, Obadi. Nate, I'm gonna check that out for sure. So, Alvin Kelly, he was born Alah wishes Anthony Kelly in New York City in Hell's Kitchen and a tenement in 1893 and had a very sad start to his life in that his father was had already passed before he was born.
His mother passed in childbirth. And that basically meant he was shuttled around to relatives in orphanages from, you know, the minute he took his first breath. Yeah.
And apparently from a pretty pretty early age, he would do things like climb flagpoles and other tall stuff. And like working at heights became a kind of a recurring theme in his life. Supposedly by age seven, he was climbing flagpoles. Within a few years after that, he was starting to scale the facades of some of the buildings in his neighborhood. And by the time he was 13. And bear in mind, if this guy's biography seems a little thin, he just came out of nowhere in 1924 for sitting on a flagpole.
So all of the info about him came from him to reporters who were reporting in the 1920s. So just fabrications are flying around left and right. Sure. But supposedly he ran away at age 13 and ran off to join the crew of a cargo ship and start his life sailing the seas.
Yeah, and he did a lot of kind of odd jobs or maybe the odd jobs, but just jobs that didn't have anything to do with one another over the next couple of decades. He was in the movies as a stand in and a double. He was a stunt person, a stunt pilot, a high diver, a boxer. This part I love. There's actually a name for people that repair church steeples.
What does that steeplejack? He was the steeplejack. That is definitely a band name for sure. Steeplejack. Oh, yeah. It sounds like maybe an industrial band, but like on the light side, like they like they're technically too melodic to actually be considered industrial, but they still call themselves industrial.
That's become my favorite part of this whole band name thing. It is you describing what kind of band it is. Okay. Well, thanks, man. That makes you feel warm. Fuzzy.
So World War One comes along and he was in the Naval Auxiliary Reserve as an ensign and served on the USS Edgar F Luckenbach during that war.
Yeah. So he did have some sort of well, I should say, I don't know if anybody's corroborated that, but we don't take all that at face value because it doesn't really matter at this point. But what he eventually picked up the nickname Shipwreck, and there's a lot of different explanations for this. And he's given he gave multiple different explanations, depending on what reporter he was talking to. But one of the numbers that gets bandied about pretty frequently is that shipwreck Kelly was so named because he survived 32 different shipwrecks at sea.
And this is where shipwrecks tend to happens with the good old days. Yeah, you just make up stories about yourself. Do you remember when we talked about we did an episode on the world's either luckiest or unluckiest people? And do you remember that one guy? He was like, I survived a car that fell off a cliff and I survived a train wreck and all that. He was doing his jazmín like 2005, remember? How was he? Yeah, he was pretty pretty recent, if I remember correctly.
Remember, his son came out, was like everybody. This is not true. Right? Like none of what you're talking about is true. Well, we don't. I just fooled you. We don't know if Shipwreck Kelly actually survived the Titanic like he claimed, but we do know that he was not on the roster on the Titanic. So I I'm going to venture to say that he made that one up and there were three Kellie's on board, but who were survivors.
But all three of them were women. So, yeah, he probably wasn't on the Titanic. Maybe he did survive shipwrecks. He was at sea, most likely. But the point is, is they call them shipwreck Kelly. And I guess somebody went to the trouble of digging up that some reporters who covered his boxing career are probably the likeliest source for where he got his nickname Shipwreck. Right.
Which I love because I guess he wasn't a great boxer because they said that he was often adrift and ready to sink that great shipwreck.
Kelly, it's a great nickname and an even better origin story than surviving 32 shipwrecks, if you ask me. Yeah. And the other thing we don't know for sure is even if that Hollywood movie premiere story is correct in his first major outing as a flagpole sitter, because yet another story says no, this is actually in Philadelphia at a department store. And he just did it on a dare in the department store. Got a lot of business because people are sitting around looking and then doing some shopping.
So they were like, hey, stay up there and I'll give you some extra dough. Yeah. So either way, it's pretty widely held that shipwright Kelly was the guy who started the flagpole sitting crays. Right. And it was a craze because this is a time where you could go sit on a flagpole for 13 hours and 13 minutes. And newspapers around the country would pick up this story and write about it. And you would suddenly become famous overnight.
And that's exactly what happened to Shipwright Kelly. So that's prong one toward this becoming a fad in the 1920s. The other criteria is that people have to want to topple that record. And that was very widespread at the time, too, because the 1920s were actually really big into fads, like people would take up weird fads and just go nuts over him for basically the whole decade. Yeah.
You know, people had time and they had fewer distractions. Yeah.
No TV. So like someone doing a dance a thon for 28 hours or sitting on a flagpole for a day. You know, it's it's an interesting story back then. It's sad, but that that was interesting.
But it was so.
Well, we'll talk about dance marathons and then we'll take a break. Okay. Okay. Okay. Hello, this is Leah Remini and I am joined by Mike Rinder, and we are so excited to continue this journey with a new podcast called Scientology. Fair Game. Mike, thank you for continuing this journey with me. And thank you for continuing to fight.
Of course, Leah. And the same to you. I couldn't be happier to be back together in the saddle again, taking on the subject of the abuses of Scientology. And hopefully with this podcast, we can get into things in even greater depth and perhaps more incisively than we were able to do in the limitations of a network TV show.
So we got a lot to do here. Leah, guess who isn't happy about this podcast? Mike Scientology. Right. So gear up.
Scientology can be a bumpy ride. Listen to Scientology. Fair game on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Oh, wait. I got that backwards check. I just realized. Hopefully Jerry figured it out and there is an ad in there somewhere. I think we should just leave it just like that. That'll be fun.
OK. So we're going to talk about marathons. Dance marathons now after the ad break, despite what I said before. And dance marathons are a super twenty's example of a crazy fad that kind of came along and got everybody by the hackles. And people are across the country started entering basically dance marathon competitions, all because of one person, one woman, a dance instructor named Alma Cummings.
That's right. Thirty eight years old. She danced for 27 hours at the Audubon Ballroom in New York in 1923 with six different dance partners. And it was a weird time because it wasn't just dancing. It was endurance. Challenges as a whole were just all the rage and punishing your bodies and all these weird random ways, from Yo-Yo ING to hula hooping to rocking in a rocking chair or skipping rope to dancing.
Dancing was the big one. That's where you you know, if you see these videos of these marathon dance competitions, it's just it looks like hell on earth. It looks awful.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. They didn't seem very fun at all. But Alma Cummings is kick the whole thing off. And again, just like shipwright Kelly, who would follow, I guess, a year later or even. Yeah, about a year later. She got a lot of publicity. There's like a famous photo of her with her feet in a tub of water soaking at home. And she's holding up her shoes and they have holes in the soles where, you know, she wore holes from dancing for 27 hours.
And I guess, like you're saying, people were bored or there wasn't as much to do. But also there really seems to just be a profound hunger for celebrity. However, you can get it. And that seemed to be like really drive people who wanted to be like, well, this lady got this much attention for dancing 27 straight hours. Maybe I can get even more attention for dancing 30 straight hours. And so within just like I think three weeks of Alma Cummings setting this record for dancing, it had been broken nine times, at least from people trying to seek the same kind of publicity she got here.
And, you know, it's funny, it really like we talk about these days how everyone wants their ten minutes or they want to be reality show famous or whatever. And I've been whittled down to ten now. I thought I was like fifteen. Well, like, that's something new. And it's really not like this is sort of this version of that back then was I want to be famous. I want my names in the papers. But I'm not particularly skilled enough to do anything to do that.
So I'll rock in a rocking chair for three days.
Yeah. You know, and hopefully they will come my rock, they will come.
And it's there's a pretty laugh at best. But I appreciate it's a bad joke admittedly.
But it would. And we should shout out a bunch of great Web sites here, because this next Mitton came from Atlas Obscura, one of our favorite sites, and also our dearest of old sites that we always have loved. Mental Floss. Ripley's History Daily. J. Mark Powell and Historic Pelham, which is great, but Atlas Obscura talks about the in the 30s and this is really kind of depressing.
During the Depression, it's very appropriate.
Is that sometimes people would enter these dance marathons because it would be somewhere they could sleep and eat for a week at a time when they didn't necessarily have a home or food.
Yes, it is extremely depressing or just the prize money that was offered in the gap to depression might be enough to keep your house from being foreclosed on. Yeah. So, yeah, the thing is, is, you know, you can blame promoters for continuing this long beyond the fad, but the promoters wouldn't have been putting these on and offering these part of this prize money were it not for all the crowds that would show up every day to watch these people get increasingly closer to, you know, catastrophic exhaustion from from dance marathons.
Because like there were there were rules where, you know, probably early on in the dance marathon you could sleep or rest for 15 minutes of every hour. Yeah. And then after, like, a week, a week of this dance marathon going on, the promoter might be like, oh, OK. Well, you know, we need to step things up a little bit. And you will now have three minutes per hour of every 24 hour period in a day to where you can rest.
And then toward the end, they be like, no rest. I think I read about one where the last fifty seven hours of a multi week dance marathon was like it had no rest. So these people dance for more than two straight days constantly. You had to constantly be in motion and your knees couldn't touch the ground or else you'd be disqualified.
Yeah. And if you look at footage of this stuff, I mean, it's charitable to recall what they're doing is dancing toward the end.
It's just hanging. It looks like two corpses hanging on each other, sort of swaying back and forth.
Yeah, I don't get I mean, any of these things, even the modern day versions of like these contests where you have to keep your hand on a car or whatever it is, hard body man or sit in the car. I knew a guy that did one of those where he tried to win a Volkswagen Beetle by sitting in it with four other people in a mall.
And just like, oh, yeah, you told us that story before. Did he win or not?
I think he did. But there's just no way. Kill me. Yeah, it would be really awful for sure, because let's say for one of those contests. We don't win. Then you've just sat in a car with three strangers for a week and you didn't even get the car. But even if you did get the car. Imagine yourself five years on. And that car is like head like hers. There's Tear's in the seats or something like that.
You know, like the glove compartment won't close. It's you know, I mean, I guess you got a story to tell at cocktail parties, but even that would wear thin after a while.
Yeah. But, Chuck, we need people to do stuff like that because there's something about contests like this.
There's something about fads like flagpole sitting that keep humanity from becoming too cerebral. I mean, from just becoming like. Computers, basically, we need people that do stuff like this because it brings out some juvenile. Something in us that makes us want to find out about her, learn about it or talk about it. And I think that's good. I think that's healthy for our species.
All right. This might might take its genuinely off the cuff. I'm actually just surprised at myself that I just said that out loud.
You're just riffing. Mm hmm. So Shipwreck Kelly back to flagpole sitting that initial 13 hour, 13 minutes sit, like you said, inspired so many others to break it. And it was getting broken in pretty short order. Kind of like the dance, Athans. There was a woman named Bobby Mack from L.A. who did it. A guy named Joe Holdom Powers who did this in Chicago for 16 days. Mm hmm. Another guy for 51 days named Big Bill Pinfield.
Yeah. So. So let's point this out. Take a second here. Shipwright Kelly did 13 hours and kicked off a national fad. These people are now in two weeks. Yeah, at a time. 51 days is more than seven weeks up there. Yeah, that's I'm interested at least. Are you bucking this arrival?
Yes. Right. How can you tell?
Let me see here. In the 20s, there was a 15 year old boy who set the kid record for ten days, ten hours, ten minutes and 10 seconds. I think that was planned.
I. Yeah. If not, then proceed. There you go, Chuck. We're thinking about that. It's making us think this little kid is making us think we got to void. That needs to be random, random combinations of numbers so we don't start thinking about.
We should also point out that not everyone was like, oh, this is the best thing ever. And Cosmopolitan magazine, Cosmo called it competitive imbecility.
Yeah, this is fine. We need that, too. I have to say, I want to say something. Here is a little PSA. This might not even make it in the final edit. So I'll just say it to you. How about that, huh? I would say the last like few weeks of episodes, there's been like some some good ones here, there. But overall, I find that they've been less good because I am so sick of myself, because we've been so entrenched in the book right now.
So it's like living, breathing s y. S k, which is us and having to confront and like myself in my own personality and sense of humor and whether it's actually funny and just constantly thinking about this on top of doing the podcast, on top of the other stuff we're trying to do now, too. And I am so sick of myself, I can barely tolerate listening to myself talk. So if anyone's picked up on the last few episodes, like in the last few weeks, it's been a little ho-hum.
That's why. And I apologize. Maybe we'll go back and redo on one day. Wow.
News to me. Thank you, OK? You've been great. Hey, thanks a lot, man. That's ultimately what I was fishing for. All right. Well, if you want to cut that part out, let me pick this up by saying. And I'm sure you've made a great point, Josh. So so back to Kelly, right? Yeah. You got all these? Well, I'm sure Shipwreck Kelly deemed slack jawed yokels homes, that kind of thing.
Who were out there trying to topple his record. And they did so did topple his record. But nobody had turned this into a business like Shipwright Kelly Head. There was a one man moneymaking machine who made his money just by sitting on top of a flagpole. Good money because he was really good at self promoting. Like there wasn't a reporter who's here. He wouldn't bend if he got the chance. And in these reports or these articles, he would say things like, I'm in town for this, but if anybody has any other offers, I'm wide open.
And I'm saying that, you know, the Cambridge Arms itinerant hotel for the next few days, if somebody wants to get in touch with me there with a job offer, like he was really good at at attracting job offers specifically for flagpole sitting. Yeah.
And he made good dough for back then. I mean, this is good money anytime. If he made one hundred dollars an hour like he claimed to other people said now really wouldn't that much, it was probably closer to anywhere between a hundred and five hundred dollars a day. Still a lot of money. Sure. And like you said, it was like he was almost like a celebrity version of a sign spinner. Like, if you could pay George Clooney to sign spin in front of your mobile phone store.
That was sort of what shipwreck Kelly was.
That's a great one. I go into it. It's almost like if there was a cult of personality built up around, like the flapping dancing wind sock guy that they put out like a mattress mattress stores in like 2005. All of those dudes.
Those were fun. Both. I think both of those are high quality analogies. Was. We'll see which one Jerry uses in the edit. Okay. Let me see here. Here. Here are some of his longer sets. He did one hundred and forty six hours at the Old West Gate Hotel in Kansas City. Not bad. Three hundred and twelve hours in Newark, New Jersey, atop the St. Francis Hotel. That's pretty good. Sure. I don't know what that is in days, but three hundred and twelve hours.
Let's see if you divided that by 24 as you should. You would come up with something along the lines of 13 days on the nose. Mm hmm.
All right. Well, how about twenty two days? And this was in conjunction with the dance marathon at none other than Madison Square Garden. Yeah. Because I don't know if we said or not, but there was a dance marathon at Madison Square Garden that was actually shut down by the health department because they decided it had gone on too long, 10 days, and that it deemed a threat to the health of the participants. That wasn't the one that he he sat in.
But there was one the following year where for what was it, 22, two days.
Yeah. That means that the dance marathon went on for 22 days. But imagine that. So you've got these two endurance fads just interweaved in this way that the universe almost like collapses in on itself because they're put together to too close together, you know?
Yeah. And here's how he would do it. He would sit on a seat on that barstool like thing and it was padded and he would, you know, eat and smoke cigarettes and shave, apparently, and they would send this up stuff up and like a with a bucket and a rope and tell him how he would sleep, because this is what I really kind of wanted to know. So so you said his. His seat was like a bar stool around bar stool.
Yeah, exactly right. And it was on a pole, a flag pole appropriately. And then in the five, you'd have two holes drilled just beneath the seat. And now that I'm doing it, I'm like, that's really hard to reach. So now I'm questioning whether this is true or not.
Even long arms, maybe a long thumb. But he so he would plug is his thumbs into those holes drilled into each side of the flagpole so that when he started to lean forward, the pressure from that, the five pull on his thumbs would kind of cut into his skin and wake him up just enough that he would adjust himself. And apparently he got so good at this that he would adjust himself to sit back up so he wouldn't fall over off the flagpole while he was still sleeping.
Like he wouldn't he wouldn't wake up. He could just adjust himself in his sleep. That's right.
And he'd have his little they're a little bit. He would have his ankles locked around the pole. And apparently he would tether a leg to keep him from catastrophe. But I think it's very dubious that that was a solid life saving rig.
Yeah. And I mean, like some of these flagpoles, he's sitting on 30 feet, 50 feet. One of them, I guess the impression I had, the one that you mentioned on Kansas City's Westgate Hotel, that that flagpole was on the top roof of the hotel. So, I mean, he was up there for sure in a field suddenly gone wrong. He would have. Yeah. That tether probably would not have done terribly much or it would have done a lot to keep his leg hanging over the rest of them, would it kept going to the ground.
You know, how did EPMD Pooh-pooh? He had a little contraption for that with the tube that went down.
OK. But here's the thing. So you're you're a traveling flag pole sitter. You're relying on the help of other people on the ground. You need food. You're when you pee and poop into that contraption, that leads to a tube that goes down to the ground. You don't want that just leaking out for the spectators to see. It's an experience. You need to go into a bucket that somebody is going to go take away and dump. So you're relying on this kind of group of assistance and hands that probably the promoter maybe helped hire for you.
Maybe you make a friend along the way who just kind of travels from town to town with you for a little while. That's what I think he had Chip Kelly had an assistant. He had a boy. That was the worst job in show business. All right.
He had a lad who would help him. Yeah. Yeah. So that would be a pretty bad job. Yeah. But anyway, so he had a Armenia to eat and he didn't eat much. He would apparently just kind of almost do a broth fast augmented with cigarettes and coffee. He would stay up for four days at a time because it's like living on a flagpole is not exactly like the most comfortable place you can exist for, you know, 22 days or 13 days or however long you.
And it eventually turned against him in that the money dried up after he did this sort of big Atlantic City stunt that we talked about. And it was the Great Depression. And eventually people were kind of like, I don't really care so much about this dumb stunt because I'm starving and I'm broke and I'm homeless. Right. And that kind of tide of public opinion turns such that. In 1935, he went to do this in the Bronx and he was actually arrested for public nuisance.
Yeah, and I'm sure he was like, but I'm shipwrecked, Kelly.
But I mean, think about that. It's like everybody's sick of you now, Kelly, and your shtick. We're all just depressed in the Depression. So maybe we'll do a dance marathon, but we're not going to watch you sit around the flagpole anymore. And there is a contemporary article that was written at the time that said that he attributed the decline of flagpole sitting directly to the stock market crash. And he said that people then want to see anything higher than their securities stock securities at the time, which were not very high.
So they're never going to win.
That's just not even a joke in good taste. And he inhaled punches, human familiar in the mouth and say, you told me to tell that joke. Yeah. That was gangbusters, Chuck.
Do you watch that show, Gabby? What we do, what we do in the shadows. I've seen some episodes of it. You know, we were talking about it. One of the pieces I think wrote in to say that they were they were just blown away, that we were we're giving such big ups to their show. I think if you talk to Matt Berry told me a comedy genius. I never heard anything back. Oh, have you seen an evening with Beverly Loughlin?
Now, how do I know that name? So it's a Craig Robinson. Yes. From the office, right? Yeah. He plays a guy named Beverly Love, Lynn and Aubrey Meadows.
I'll be Rosemary Meadows, Pausa. That's right. Man, I'm nearly eight with first names. Yeah. And then. Okay. So she's the main character, Jemaine Clement. I know him. You got that. He plays well. You just have to see. Anyways, so what he was in what we do in the shadows. The movie. Right. Right. So he I think he co created it too. This is what all ties into this.
He and Matt Barrie are also in this too. Matt Bury's in the TV version of what we do in the shadows. Yes. I mean, Klement help help create it, but it's definitely worth watching is purposefully very bizarre, which can get really annoying really easily. But this movie pulls it off very well, like purposeful bizarreness and for humor. And it's a good it's a good movie. It's worth watching. Okay, it's worth watching. Leave it to you to decide whether it's a good movie or not.
Well, I love everybody in it. That's a great cast. Yeah. I mean, it's a it's a it's a it's worth watching. How about that. All right. Shall we take a second break here. Can you believe we haven't. Yes, I can. All right. Well, Stuart. Other break and then we're going to talk about we're going to wind up this flagpole sitting thing right after this. In the high stakes world of crime and justice, understanding the legal system isn't optional.
It's critical. Hi, I'm Philip Holloway, host of the podcast Schwan from Tenderfoot TV and I Heart Radio. We've got an all new season and this time we're tackling the problems directly. We'll look at faulty forensic science, false confessions and mandatory minimum prison sentences.
California has the largest prison system in the United States. The United States is the largest prison system in the world.
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OK, so, Kelly, when we left off, the public turns on him, they don't care about him anymore. He's he's probably drunk in some hotel room somewhere with his human familiar talking about the good old days at this point. Yeah, yeah. It is kind of sad. I get the impression that the Memory Palace episode really focuses on the sad decline of Shipwright Kelly, because, I mean, he was a celebrity, a national, probably international celebrity for like a decade, a decade for sitting on flagpoles.
And then all of a sudden he's just done like society drops him like a hot potato and he's penniless and on public assistance, basically. Yeah.
And he died a very sad death. He did. And I think his final flagpoles set was all the way in the 1950s in Orange, Texas, in 1952. He was almost 60 years old at this point. And he had, during the publicity run up to this, had two heart attacks.
Well, was he sitting on his poll for publicity or was this part of the poll sitting when he had the heart attacks? He was he had the heart attacks on the pole during the publicity. Oh, so the the actual sit was another publicity stunt for someplace, right? Yeah.
I don't know what business it was for. I didn't see that, but I did see that the promoters were like, come down right now. We we don't think you're going to survive a third heart attack. So stop. And this is crazy. I mean, only 59 at the time.
Yeah, but 59 in the 1950s. That was I guess that's a tough when your name was shipwrecked. Yeah. But he did die, had that third heart attack like a week after that, right.
Yeah, I he's walking around New York on Fifty First Street and he he dropped dead on the sidewalk from a heart attack and he was found holding a scrapbook of all like clippings of newspaper articles about him during his heyday. Man, that's sad. It's like a movie. Yeah. I can't believe this is a movie. He's I mean, he's a gold mine, just waiting to be. Well, mind.
Wait, wait, wait. There's one other thing about. Move on. What would he after he was done with his flight, pulsating career, the heyday of it. He's one of the jobs he had was as a gigolo, a male escort who would dance with whoever wanted him to dance at the Roseland Ballroom near Times Square.
He was a private dancer, a dancer for money.
I've been to Roseland and seen some good shows there. Yeah, well, you were where Shipwright Kelly danced for a dime a dance because he was a gigolo.
I would have paid for that dance. Sure. Told to sit on my head. Hey, he'll do what you want him to do, boy. So we looked or rather you look because you put this one together and you found one death from flagpole sitting, isn't that right?
That's all I could turn up. Surely. Surely there are more, but I could really only find one. And this guy was wonderful in every way. Dick Blandy, Dixy Blandy, Richard Dixie Dayaks, i.e. Bland Dick Dixie Blandy, Chir. So Dixie Blandy, he was a fake pulsifer who was contemporaneous to Shipperd Kelly. Little bit like during. Surely he was directly inspired by Shipwright Kelly. He came along and started in 1929, which was almost the worst year you could join the flagpole sitting movement, because just the next year shipwright Kelly had his triumphant sit aboard like a rebuttal to what?
It's just great. Yeah. Yeah, well, it was triumphant for a couple of reasons. One, it was his longest sit, I believe, 22 days, 23A, something like that. And secondly, as a board above atop a 200 foot flagpole for weeks, he sat up there. That's triumphant, if you ask me. But he did his in 1930 and everybody dropped him right after Dixy Blandy just started in 1929. But even though people said flagpole sitting is so out, we're not going to bother even looking up when we see somebody on a flagpole.
Dixie Blandy said, you know what? I'm not giving up on this. And he continued to make a career out of it wherever he could. Yes.
Until he died from flagpole sitting in at the age of 71. In 1974, he fell off of his flagpole.
It was a 50 foot pole. And where was this? And in Harvey.
Yeah, I get the impression in Pennsylvania. Harvey, Pennsylvania. Yeah, because the the article that reported on it, as if it were something of a nearby event was called the Reading Eagle. And reading is in Pennsylvania, right?
Yeah. Is it Redding? Whatever. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that since I was a child playing Monopoly and it's just never stuck for somebody.
How was it that the titular railroad. Mm hmm. Okay. Well, we were reading railroad. We said reading. Yeah, that's right. That's what I said, too. But apparently is writing right now. I did notice the same thing. But either way, this is where Harvey and of course, it's it's always like the grand opening of a shopping center or something. Yeah. And that's what was going on here. So for day promotion and he basically said, I think this pope was attached to a trailer and the trailer moved.
Is that right? Well, he asked the security guard to move the trailer so they can make room for what I took to be a cherry picker that could go up and get them. This is hours before the end of his four day sit. And when the security guard, I guess, who had never tried this before, moved the trailer, Guidewire that was stabilizing. The pole became taut and actually pulled the pole, snapped the pole in two with Dixy still on top of this 50 foot pole.
And he landed skull first, from what I can tell, on to the to the asphalt below. Is not what you want to to open your grocery store with no.
Or to close your flagpole.
Sit with no. Either way, here, here's a bad jam if you're going to fall early. This is not his only accident, too. This is the one that got him. But he had fractured his skull before when he was thrown off a pole in a storm in 1955. And then there was this is heart warming in 1961. He was doing a pole set for a promotion dressed as Santa Claus, and he was shouting Merry Christmas. That was his job.
Sit on the top of the five pole and shot Merry Christmas. And apparently he goes to the point where he finally yelled down that he was getting numb and he had to be taken to the hospital. Which is this is what I'm talking about, man. Just no thought. It doesn't take thought to just think about the flag pole sitting. And I love that about it. Yeah. Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. I think. I think there's something wrong appear. I've got to go to the hospital cause I'm sitting on top of a flagpole just as Santa Claus showing Merry Christmas for three days. And it's December in Pennsylvania.
In Redding, it's reading. Hey, this was you know, these were definitely the waning days. This is in the 1970s. There were some other stunts throughout the years here and there. A couple got married atop a flagpole.
Let me see here. 17 year old in 1963 named Peggy Townson spent 217 days on a pole for a contest for a radio station. Yeah, and then the granddaddy of them all, this guy, Kenneth. Ken Gidge, 248 days in 1971. This guy would later on be a state rep for New Hampshire and.
He I mean, reading his account, he wrote. He was basically like it was terrible. Right. And I hated it every night, only seconds he had a parakeet. He had his parakeet with him named Nixon, and he said that his parakeet came to hate him, like despise him. He said he didn't think any animals ever hated somebody more than that. Parakeet hated him, probably because he made him stay up there in this little tiny house.
Yeah. Top of fiberglass poles that generous sway back and forth. He couldn't lay down straight in it because the polls show a delay wrapped around the pole. It sounds really horrible and terrible. And he did it to get publicity because it was an out of work actor, I guess, at the time.
Yeah, like I said, it's called the thing. A house is generous. It's this little Meagen see a picture of it. But it was it was some sort of shelter. At least he wasn't just sitting on a bar stool like a shipwreck Kelly for 248 days. Sure, but it was bad.
And he and it's just funny reading these quotes from him. He he did not have a good time and he just basically kind of talked about how awful it was.
Yeah. He said they said that he lost 15 pounds, three inches from his waist in 13 days of sleep just within the first three months. And that when people would come out, like when the weather is nice, he would come out and shout questions up to him and talk to him. And he said the men usually asked if he sleeps and how he goes to the bathroom. And then women asked if he was lonely, which I find very sweet.
But I mean, remember, we started out here 13 hours is what kicked this off. And this guy, Kenneth Gidge, has has brought it up to 248 days. But Chuck, that does not seem to be the record any longer. In fact, the record may never be broken, ever. What do you think?
Yeah. H. David Werder of Weeki Wachee, Florida. Man, this is unbelievable. SAT for four hundred and thirty nine days. Eleven hours. Six minutes. Yeah, his sitt. Went from 1982 to 1984. That's amazing. Yeah. It was outside of an appliance center in Clearwater and he didn't do this as well, like a publicity stunt for that appliance center. He did it to protest gas prices at the time. Yeah, that's how you see these these days sometimes as protests.
Sure. But the gas at the time was 99 cents a gallon. That's cute. So was his protest. Didn't work at all. But he spent four hundred and thirty nine days of his life on a five pole because there's was mad about the price of gas. No thought whatsoever. You were a Zen like beautiful state is what this man achieved. Is that the overarching theme? Yes, I think so.
I mean, really, you got anything else?
Yeah. I mean, we should mention David Blaine. He very famously did this standing. In 2002. Remember that for how long? No, I don't remember that at all. He stood atop a 90 foot pole for thirty five hours in Bryant Park in New York.
Wow. And this is when he was doing those.
I'd love the guys, a street magician, and give me a little levitation trick. But when he was like, I'm going to hold my breath or I'm going to be encased in ice or stand on this thing, that's when I lost interest. Oh, yeah, yeah. I like street magic, too, it's pretty great stuff. Yeah, but yeah, he said it's tough to stand. I mean, sitting is hard, but standing is a whole different deal.
Yeah, for sure. I would want to do it. No. So you got anything else about flagpoles sitting. I don't. Well then Chuck, that means of course it's time for listener mail.
This is oh, this is just funny.
Remember in the bruxism, I talked about my doctor Tuggle. This comes from Joe in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He said, Hey, guys, thanks for an E entertainment knowledge. Your discussion of doctor names at the end of the Bruxism podcast remind me of two anecdotes. My ex-wife had a dentist in San Francisco named Dr. Drilling.
No. Pretty good, huh? Sure. And this is even better. He said, second, this one never gets appreciated as much by others. For some reason it was she just hit me the right way. But I'm with you, Joe. It hits me, too. She worked with a medical. Worked in medical administration.
And her boss at one point was named Dr. Wachter WAC H.E.R pronounced Walker. And he said, I can imagine her submitting daily reports using Babytalk going here. Doctor, walk to heal your heart.
Hey, man, this guy is our new mascot here on the show. I think we need to actually get him on here.
What's his name? Joe in Gettysburg. I love it. Yeah. Joe, way to go. This is one of the best listener mails I think I've ever heard. Chuck. Dr. Wachter. Well, if you want to be like Joe and try to topple his record as the greatest e mail listener mail writer of all time, let's take your best shot. You can wrap it up. Spank it on the bottom. Run it up the five pole and see who salutes it at Stuff podcast.
I heard radio doc.
Stuff you should know is production of Heart Radios HowStuffWorks. For more podcasts, My Heart Radio is at the heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. In the high stakes world of crime and justice, understanding the legal system is not optional. It's critical. Hi, I'm Philip Holloway, host of the podcast Schwan from Tenderfoot TV and I Heart Radio. Last season, we looked at a number of crimes and cases that highlighted issues in our legal system.
This season we have a new approach. We're tackling the problems directly. We'll look at faulty forensic science, false confessions and mandatory minimum prison sentences. Season two of sworn is underway and it's available. Now, listen on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
Hi, this is Leah Remini and I am joined by Mike Rinder. And we are so excited to continue our journey with a new podcast called Scientology Fair Game. Mike. When can people hear it? The first episode is airing on 21 July Leha and then weekly thereafter. OK. And for those who are not hoity toity, that's July 21st. Thank you. Listen to Scientology Fair Game on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.