The Story Behind

The Story Behind

thestorybehindpodcast.com
The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary
Tipping
Dec 6 • 9 min
One of my clients, Catherine, is the producer for Solo Travel Talk with Astrid Clements of AstridTravel.com. But when I edited a particular episode, answering questions about today’s topic as it pertains to different parts of the world, I was fascinated…
Balloons
Nov 29 • 9 min
When I was in Washington, DC, a few weeks ago, I stopped at the International Spy Museum and a set of pictures intrigued me. They were of both Union and Confederate soldiers using the topic of today’s episode to spy on one another. You’re listening to The…
Cranberry Sauce | From Controversy to Canned Creation (TSB132)
Nov 22 • 10 min
I hope listeners in the United States had a lovely Thanksgiving and hopefully can have some fun conversation about today’s topic while eating the leftovers. You’re listening to The Story Behind: The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary. I’m your host,…
Sick Sayings | Bless You, Frog In Your Throat, Sick as a Dog (TSB131)
Nov 15 • 7 min
As long as there have been humans, humans have been getting sick, and many of these idioms carry a lot of unverifiable history with them. And, much like the cure for the common cold, the true origin stories of these phrases may never be found. You’re…
Boston Baked Beans | Traditional New England Fare (TSB130)
Nov 8 • 8 min
If you follow @StoryBehindPod on Instagram, you may have seen that I went to Boston last weekend for the Sound Education conference at Harvard University to be on a panel with other history podcasters. I got to hang out with Chris Nesi from The House of…
‘Africa’ by Toto | Two-Year Anniversary Episode (TSB129)
Nov 1 • 10 min
If you’ve ever been in The Story Behind Discussion Group on Facebook, you know we have a love for the topic of today’s episode. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind “Africa” by Toto!
Play-Doh | From Wallpaper Cleaner to Teacher’s Craft Supply (TSB128)
Oct 25 • 8 min
If you’re a parent who has even been on Pinterest and looked for activities for your child, you’ve probably seen at least a dozen different recipes for modeling clay or sensory dough, as it’s sometimes called. Most of the recipes are different variations…
The Printing Press | Gutenberg’s Grand Idea and How It Left Him Poor (TSB127)
Oct 11 • 11 min
This topic seemed almost too easy to cover, since the invention was something I think we all remember learning about in grammar school. But, as per usual with this podcast and the book, whenever I dig a little deeper, I always find out new information…
The Story Behind Book Update #2
Oct 11 • 6 min
There will be a new episode this week, but I also wanted to put out a bonus episode talking about The Story Behind book, which releases Monday, October 15th. In all honesty, it’s still not real, even after getting the advanced copies of the book, and…
Banned Books | A History of Putting Books on Blast (TSB126)
Sep 27 • 12 min
Only a few more weeks until The Story Behind book is out! And one of my podcasting mentors and buddies Dave Jackson gave me the idea to do a bunch of episodes relating to books around this time to hopefully set the mood for its release. While I was…
Hairspray | School Photo Horror, Big Hair Throughout the Decades, and the Real Story that Inspired the Musical (TSB125)
Sep 20 • 11 min
School picture time is here and every time I get my daughter ready for her picture, I try not to follow current trends too much. I have this fear she’ll have the same experience I had in 1990 when my mom decided to go all out with my school picture and…
Matches | Alchemy, Phossy Jaw, and the Matchstick Girls Strike (TSB124)
Sep 13 • 10 min
I honestly didn’t think I would be as interested in the history of today’s topic when I first started reading about it. There was a lot of chemistry involved and anyone who knew me in high school knows that was the worst subject for me. But as I kept…
The Teddy Bear | Conflicting Stories, Theodore Roosevelt, Steiff Bears (TSB123)
Sep 6 • 9 min
I love when I find out an origin story I think I knew turns out to be either a widely believed false rumor or when I find out other people learned different origin stories. That’s what this episode is about, so if you think you already know the story…
Roller Coasters | From Russian Ice Slides to Disneyland to the Psychology Behind Thrill Seekers (TSB122)
Aug 30 • 12 min
For many like me, no summer is complete without having ridden the topic of today’s episode at least once. Although, you might be surprised to learn its origins actually began as a winter recreational activity. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The…
S’mores | The (Awkward) History of Graham Crackers, The Medicinal Marshmallows, and All About Milton Hershey (TSB121)
Aug 9 • 10 min
Warning: Some mature content (a reference to “the birds & bees”) This episode will be told in layers. The tasty summer treat I’m talking about has three ingredients, and while they’re all delicious on their own, together they are incredible. And this…
Roadside Attractions | A Road Trip with Josh Hallmark from Our Americana (TSB120)
Aug 2 • 12 min
Today I’m doing a collaborative show with Josh Hallmark from the podcast Our Americana, which explores unique small towns across America through the stories that impact, cultivate, and challenge community. America can feel oppressive. But, there are…
Headphones | From Telephone Operators to the U.S. Navy to Your Ears Today (TSB119)
Jul 19 • 8 min
If you’re listening to this when it comes out, you may know that next week I’m going to a huge conference for podcasters known as Podcast Movement. And I thought it only appropriate to do an episode related to this. You may be using the topic of today’s…
The Necktie | From Chinese Soldiers to European Dandies to Politicians (TSB118)
Jul 12 • 8 min
One of my favorite things about doing this podcast is looking at things in everyday life and wondering if they still have the same purpose they did when they were invented. Yet it’s so ubiquitous and has been around for hundreds of years, showing no signs…
The Stethoscope | Thoroughly Modest Medicine (TSB117)
Jul 5 • 8 min
If you’ve ever read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” you may hear a heartbeat as something a little creepy. Although it’s funny to note that on many sound machines for babies, a heartbeat is offered as a way to help them remember one of the sounds…
The Story Behind Book Update #1
Jun 28 • 3 min
No new episode this week, but I wanted to give a quick update on the book, since I am up against deadline right now to get it finished on time. I also wanted to thank everyone in The Story Behind Discussion Group on Facebook for their encouragement and…
Hamburgers | More Than Meats the Eye (TSB116)
Jun 14 • 8 min
Earlier this week, one of the funniest exchanges on social media came about after the company known as IHOP changed out their P, which stood for Pancakes, to a B. The B stood for Burgers, something IHOP has offered on its menu in the past, but when they…
Bingo | From the Italian Lottery to Popular Church Fundraising Game (TSB115)
Jun 7 • 9 min
Knock at the door, One fat lady, Rugby team, Sweet sixteen, A duck and a flea, The famous street in Manhattan. No, those weren’t bloopers, although I’m sure this episode will have plenty. Those were actually number nicknames used in a particular game…
Pong | Bleep, Bloop! Table-Tennis for your Television! (TSB114)
May 31 • 7 min
If you’re one of the die-hard listeners of The Story Behind who eagerly await the episode to be released, you may be wondering why it’s a few hours late. The reason is that I’m hopelessly addicted to a game on my phone called Toon Blast. But it did give…
The Traffic Light | Stop Right Now, Thank You Very Much (TSB113)
May 17 • 10 min
As many of you know, The Story Behind is being turned into a book, which means I’m in the process right now of doing probably one of my favorite parts of making the podcast, which is doing a ton of research in preparation. This week’s episode will be one…
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen | Freddie Mercury, The Music Video, Wayne’s World (TSB1112)
May 10 • 8 min
Usually, I get ideas for topics from stumbling into a piece of trivia I find fascinating during the week. However, this week, my son has been not only working on walking, but also working on his first words, and his favorite one lately kept getting a…
Livestream for the Cure | Fundraising for Cancer Research with the Epic Film Guys (TSB111)
May 3 • 13 min
I normally don’t do interview shows, but I wanted to bring on Nick from the Epic Film Guys to talk a little bit about Livestream for the Cure. Nick is one of my oldest friends in podcasting, so I know you’ve heard me talk about him before. He’s a great…
Emily Prokop | Meet Your Host and Learn About the Show (TSB110)
Apr 26 • 13 min
If this is your first episode, this is a warning it’ll be a little different than past episodes, but it will also be a good way to hear what this show is about. Does that make sense? Don’t worry. It will. This might seem like a little bit of vanity…
The Paperclip | Office Supply and Demand, Paperclip Trading, and Clippy (RIP) (TSB109)
Apr 19 • 9 min
This episode is actually one of the first topics I ever thought to talk about when I created the show. And I weirdly kept putting it off. Whenever I tell someone what my podcast is about, I say something along the lines of it being a short history podcast…
Mercury Retrograde | Damn it, Planet! (TSB108)
Apr 12 • 8 min
While not scientifically proven as a reason why communication and technology fails, there was plenty of evidence in this episode to prove otherwise, including having to record three times. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Mercury…
The Paralympics | The Doctor Who Turned World War II Spinal Injury Patients Into Athletes (TSB107)
Apr 5 • 7 min
When Win first talked to me about doing an episode in conjunction with Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, which was in March, many of the articles and stories I read were about people with Cerebral Palsy who were amazing athletes competing in the…
April Fool’s Day “Remastered” | The Quotes Are Intentional ;)
Apr 1 • 3 min
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PEZ | History, Candy Marketing, The PEZ Outlaw (TSB106)
Mar 22 • 9 min
If you follow The Story Behind on Instagram, you may have seen our weekend adventure with the family to the factory where today’s sugary-sweet topic is made. Find out the history of this almost 100-year-old treat, including the outlaw in the ‘90s who sold…
Pi(e) | Meetups, Meatpies, and Mathematics (TSB105)
Mar 15 • 8 min
If you’re listening to this on the day it comes out, beware the Ides of March! That is if you’re Julius Caesar. But in all honesty, I tried looking up the ides of March and, really, when I found out how Romans calculated dates and that they actually…
The Band-Aid | Adhesive Bandages, Marketing Highs and Lows, and the 1980s Supergroup (TSB104)
Mar 1 • 7 min
For those who don’t know, I am incredibly accident-prone. I’ve never had any sort of grace. In fact, it’s a miracle I’ve never broken any bones. But one thing I do end up with are a lot of cuts and scrapes, and we end up keeping quite a large supply of…
Post-its | Persistence, Productivity, and Romy & Michele (TSB103)
Feb 22 • 8 min
One of my favorite movies I feel doesn’t get enough love is Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow who realize their 10-year high school reunion is coming up and begin planning to impress their former classmates. They…
Sliced Bread | The Greatest Thing Since Betty White (TSB102)
Feb 5 • 6 min
Today’s topic came about in 1928, and in the span of time since then, many things have been said to be the greatest thing since its invention. The more I read about it, and how easy it made people’s lives, the more I realize the idiom about how great it…
The Pink Slip | Enjoyment from Unemployment (TSB101)
Jan 29 • 8 min
Hey there! Remember me? Yup, The Story Behind is finally back after a hiatus I did not expect would be as long as it has. Here’s the short version of what happened and why it was so long, and I promise this has everything to do with today’s topic. I…
The Story Behind: The Musical! (TSB100)
Nov 2, 2017 • 7 min
Warning: If you usually listen to this podcast at a faster speed, this might be a good time to slow your podcast player down. If you’ve been with me from the very beginning, you know every so often I like to thrown in a little singing now and then. I try…
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups | A Combination of Epic Proportions (TSB099)
Oct 30, 2017 • 7 min
I made the mistake of researching and writing this episode with my 6-year-old daughter next to me. And at 8:30 in the morning, the pictures of the familiar orange and yellow wrappers on screen proved to be the catalyst for a 20-minute session of her…
Kit Kat | From Scholarly Clubs in the 1700s to a Not-So-Scholarly Lunch Hour of Taste-Testing in 2017 (TSB098)
Oct 26, 2017 • 10 min
I should probably apologize in advance for today’s topic, since last week’s episode The Story Behind Lollipops got Shirley Temple and The Chordettes stuck in the heads of a few listeners. I promise I won’t play the theme song to the candy bar I’ll be talk…
Baby Ruth | Layers of Origin Stories, Baseball Tie-Ins and “Ruthless” Marketing (TSB097)
Oct 23, 2017 • 9 min
I thought I knew the story behind this candy bar before researching it, but it turns out, there was more layers to this story than I originally thought, which is convenient since the candy bar, itself, is layered with nougat, peanuts, caramel and finally…
Lollipops | Differing Origin Stories, Salvador Dali, and Ear Worms (TSB096)
Oct 19, 2017 • 8 min
From Egyptians eating honey on sticks to today’s modern-day confections, this subject of this episode is kicking off a series that will hopefully lead us into Halloween with a sweet twist. Just to warn you, there are some earworms in this episode, so take…
Tissues | From Handkerchiefs to Kleenex (TSB095)
Oct 16, 2017 • 7 min
Every fall and spring, my husband and I buy the topic of today’s episode by the case for our allergies. And with a new baby in the house, we’ve been buying even more. We have a box in almost every room in the house. We most likely take them for granted,…
Handcuffs | My Hands are Tied (TSB094)
Oct 12, 2017 • 10 min
Normally when I have to make a disclaimer for episodes, they involve content that may not be suitable for all ages. But this episode’s disclaimer is a bit different. So here it goes: The content you’re about to hear is intended for educational purposes.…
Promo
Oct 9, 2017 • 0 min
Find out the history and trivia behind everyday objects, places and people in this short-narrative style podcast. Find out more at TheStoryBehindPodcast.com.
The Toothbrush | The Nacirema Weird Habit that Took a While To Catch On (TSB093)
Oct 9, 2017 • 7 min
Usually I grab inspiration for my episodes from random instances during my week when I take a moment and wonder the history behind things we may take for granted. Well, this week, I went to the dentist and while I was in the chair, getting my teeth…
Las Vegas | Early Settlers, Quickie Divorces and Weddings, Casinos, and the Fabulous Sign (TSB092)
Oct 5, 2017 • 9 min
This was a tough week. The recent shooting in Las Vegas was on everyone’s mind. And I want to thank Chris from Faces and Aces Las Vegas podcast for Tweeting updates. It may seem weird to try to do an episode about a whole city, and I will be the first to…
Monster Trucks | Modifying Pick-Ups, Sports Entertainment, and Sunday x 3 (TSB091)
Oct 2, 2017 • 6 min
Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in America probably remember the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons showing the subject of today’s episode. These giant beast machines were jumping over buses, crushing cars, and coming to a coliseum near…
Podcasts | Celebrate the Power of Podcasts Sept. 30 (TSB090)
Sep 28, 2017 • 7 min
Everyone has a story about how they discovered podcasts and on Saturday, Sept. 30, you can celebrate your love of podcasts on International Podcast Day. How can you celebrate? Send an email or a Tweet to your favorite podcast to let them know you enjoy…
Procrastination | Historic Productivity, Famous Procrastinators, Carpe Diem Real Meaning (TSB089)
Sep 25, 2017 • 7 min
As I’m recording this episode, it’s a few hours before I usually publish. In fact, I wrote this episode only hours ago from scratch. Did you ever have one of those weekends when you knew you had to do something — in my case, write Monday’s episode — and…
Pockets | One Hand in My Pick-Pocket-Full of Sunshine (TSB088)
Sep 21, 2017 • 7 min
If you haven’t looked at the title of this episode yet, let me give you a little quiz of your musical knowledge to help introduce today’s topic. What does these things have in common? The Pretenders’ brass, Perry Como’s falling star, Natasha Bedingfield’s…
Clowns | Send Them In, But Don’t Expect Everyone to Laugh (TSB087)
Sep 18, 2017 • 12 min
With the release of IT in September of 2017 came shattered box office records and a majority of my favorite podcasts talking about the new version with Bill Skarsgard in the title role. The Stephen King novel the movies are based on is looked at as one of…
The Pumpkin Spice Latte | History of Pumpkins, Birth of the Latte, Starbucks Seasonal Favorite (TSB086)
Sep 14, 2017 • 8 min
Here in New England where I live, the fall is probably the most loved season. The leaves change, it gets a bit cooler, and nothing sounds better than being cozy warm in a cable knit sweater. It all sounds very calm and serene, doesn’t it? But we can’t be…
Clue: The Game | Clue Series: The Inventor, Changes to the Game, Different Versions, Strategies (TSB085)
Sep 11, 2017 • 8 min
Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener discretion is advised. This…
Clue: The Movie | Clue Series: Behind the Scenes, VHS Cult Classic, Alternate Casting (TSB084)
Sep 7, 2017 • 6 min
This is the second-to-last episode of The Story Behind Clue Series. Since we’re out of weapons to talk about, let’s shift our attention to the movie I’ve gotten tons of clips from. And I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has sent in clips for…
The Knife | Clue Series: Early Beginnings, Galvarino, and Mrs. Peacock (TSB083)
Sep 4, 2017 • 7 min
There’s so much information about this particular Clue weapon, and I’m only able to touch the surface of the full story behind it. I can say, however, that the other weapons in this series like the revolver and the rope are actually better choices when it…
The Revolver | Clue Series: The Beatles, Samuel Colt, the Colt .45, and Professor Plum (TSB082)
Aug 31, 2017 • 8 min
In 1966, the Beatles played their friend Klaus Voorman their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” while Voorman went to work sketching what would become the cover to the band’s next album. It was almost called After Geography, a pun based on the Rolling Stones…
The Rope | Clue Series: Ancient Uses, Torture, and Mrs. White (TSB081)
Aug 28, 2017 • 7 min
The weapon we’re talking about in this episode is probably the most ubiquitous of the Clue weapons. While its original intent may have been for utility purposes, the number of ways it could be used for MURDER range from strangling to hanging to the…
The Wrench | Clue Series: False Origins, Jack Johnson, and Colonel Mustard (TSB080)
Aug 24, 2017 • 8 min
What can you say about this weapon? While not as useful as the rope or as destructive as the knife, it’s definitely a staple in any tool box … and also the perfect tool for MURDER. To quote Laugh-In’s Judy Carne, Socket to me! I’m your host, Emily Prokop,…
The Candlestick | Clue Series: Naughty Nursery Rhymes, Liberace, and Miss Scarlet (TSB079)
Aug 21, 2017 • 6 min
Did you ever wonder why it’s tradition to blow out candles on your birthday? It goes back to the Ancient Greeks and burning candles in religious ceremonies, including to pay tribute to the goddess Artemis. They baked cakes to symbolize the shape of the…
The Lead Pipe | Clue Series: Waterways, Poisoning, and Mr. Green (TSB078)
Aug 17, 2017 • 8 min
This episode’s Clue weapon is depicted in the game by a bent metal tube, probably bent because of the force one would need to actually kill someone with that weapon. And, even if it’s not being used for MURDER, the material it’s made out of certainly has…
The Mustache | Facial Feature of Kings & Wrestlers (TSB077)
Jul 13, 2017 • 8 min
As of 2017, it’s been 16 years since Alex Trebek shocked the world by appearing clean-shaven in the 18th season of “Jeopardy!” Aside from one season back two years ago, when he grew a thinner version back again, prompting fan pages and even a Twitter…
Beards | Facial Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (TSB076)
Jul 10, 2017 • 7 min
When god said, let there be light, Chuck Norris said, “Say please.” In today’s episode, we’ll explore the feature God and Chuck Norris share that no doubt is seen as a contributing factor to their power — at least according to jokes on the internet. I’m…
America’s Bald Eagle | Lies from Sesame Street and The West Wing (TSB075)
Jul 6, 2017 • 8 min
In 1776, after the Declaration of Independence was signed, what was one of the first things the founding fathers wanted to do? Establish a national seal — basically the profile picture of the United States. But it’s not like they could just grab ye olde…
Uncle Sam | The Evolution of America’s Mascot (TSB074)
Jul 3, 2017 • 6 min
Mascots aren’t just for sports. The one we’ll be talking about today is basically a mascot for the United States, although you probably won’t see him performing cartwheels during halftime of the Olympics or something. This particular mascot went something…
Surfer Lingo | Cowabunga, Dude! (TSB073)
Jun 29, 2017 • 7 min
Sometimes I’ll be researching an episode and get the idea for another episode from whatever Google rabbit hole I find myself in. That’s how this episode came about — while I was researching The Story Behind Surfing. I got into the topic of words…
Surfing | History of the Sport, Gidget, California Sound (TSB072)
Jun 26, 2017 • 7 min
It’s officially summer, if you’re listening to this episode around the time it comes out in June of 2017. Let’s get away from the deep subjects like we had last week with The Story Behind Hypnotism and The Story Behind Subliminal Messages and do…
Hypnosis | Everybody Trance Now! (TSB071)
Jun 22, 2017 • 7 min
Join The Story Behind Discussion Group on Facebook! If you are driving, did you notice the last exit you passed? Or do you remember where you were on the road five minutes ago? If you answered no to those questions, you’re already familiar with this…
Subliminal Messages | Conspiracy Theories, Advertising, Paul is Dead (TSB070)
Jun 19, 2017 • 9 min
There’s a lot we may never get the full Story Behind. In fact, this topic is probably far from being explored to its full potential, especially within a short podcast episode. But that didn’t stop me — and my ADD — from becoming intrigued by its…
Tattoos | Body Art That’s Ink-redible (TSB069)
Jun 15, 2017 • 8 min
Psychologists have studied the importance of symbols and found people, whether conscious of it or not, are drawn to symbols of immortality like the Egyptian ankh, or hearts, crosses and flags. History has uncovered jewelry and decorations with these…
Ear Piercing | A Hole Lot of History (TSB068)
Jun 12, 2017 • 7 min
I love picking topics for this podcast that are normally not questioned on an everyday basis. In fact, many topics I pick stem from me being able to slow down for a few seconds and question, “Hey, where does this come from?” or “Why do we do…
Bubble Gum | Pop-Notch Chewing Satisfaction (TSB067)
Jun 8, 2017 • 8 min
Many people can probably relate to eating too much of something at one time, and then never wanting it again, right? Well, for me, that thing is bubble gum. I was in a show years ago in which the director wanted my character to chew bubble gum and be…
Chewing Gum | Tree Sap Made Tasty (TSB066)
Jun 5, 2017 • 8 min
Gumpa Lumpa Dum-pa-dee-do I have another podcast for you Gumpa Lumpa Dum-pa-da-dind This episode of The Story Behind Gum’s been around for quite a long while Freshening your breath and whitening your smile It is a favorite for astronaut crews But a…
Sporks | KFC Cutlery of Choice (TSB065)
Jun 1, 2017 • 7 min
Whoever came up with the idea to attach an eraser to a pencil was a genius, when you think about it. Before that, they were two separate objects, but you usually didn’t want to have one without the other. Sometimes combinations like this work out…
The T-Shirt | How Marlon Brando Made Underwear Outerwear (TSB064)
May 29, 2017 • 9 min
There are a lot of ways your personality is showcased to the world. The food you eat, the shows you watch, the places you go. But did you ever think of how you wear your personality on your sleeve, or, rather in the case of this episode, your torso?…
Lullabies | The Art of Sleeping Like a Baby (TSB063)
May 25, 2017 • 9 min
The Story Behind Lullabies Spotify Playlist As you can imagine, much of my baby break was spent getting used to having a newborn in the house again and learning what he likes and dislikes. Turns out, my son is a fan of music, which should come to no…
Fidget Spinners | The Stress-Relief Toy Fad Teachers Hate (TSB062)
May 22, 2017 • 7 min
Did you ever wonder about that teacher’s magical drawer that contained all the awesome toys confiscated throughout the year? Like that scene in “A Christmas Story” when the teacher opens her desk drawer to put in the kids’ wax teeth, and when…
Thank You | Thank You Cards, Gratitude Journals, #Blessed (TSB061)
May 18, 2017 • 4 min
During my five week baby break, I received so many wonderful Tweets, Facebook and notifications, Instagram likes and various messages congratulating me on the birth of my son. I wanted to convey how much our family appreciated those messages, not to…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1964-1989 Part 2: Wheel of Fortune through Rock and Roller Cola Wars (TSB060)
May 15, 2017 • 5 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1964-1989 Part 1: Birth Control through Russians in Afghanistan (TSB059)
May 11, 2017 • 7 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1961-1963: Hemingway through JFK Blown Away (TSB058)
May 8, 2017 • 8 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1959-1960: Buddy Holly through Belgians in the Congo (TSB057)
May 4, 2017 • 8 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1957-1958: Little Rock through Children of Thalidomide (TSB056)
May 1, 2017 • 7 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1955-1956: Einstein through Trouble in the Suez (TSB055)
Apr 27, 2017 • 8 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1953-1954: Joseph Stalin through Rock Around the Clock (TSB054)
Apr 24, 2017 • 9 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1951-1952: Rosenbergs through Santayana Goodbye (TSB053)
Apr 20, 2017 • 8 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire 1949-1950: Harry Truman through Marilyn Monroe (TSB052)
Apr 17, 2017 • 9 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’m taking some time off after the birth of my son. I’ve recorded these ahead of time and most likely will not be available on social media for the next few weeks, but…
We Didn’t Start the Fire | Introduction (WDSTF Series, TSB051)
Apr 13, 2017 • 6 min
If you’re hearing this episode around the time it comes out, it means I’ve gone into labor and, quite possibly, have already had the baby that’s been using me as a human punching bag for the last few months. I’ve recorded these ahead of time…
The Stanley Cup | Lord Stanley, NHL Play-Offs, New York Rangers (TSB050)
Apr 10, 2017 • 7 min
When I planned on taking a baby break, I planned on doing my two tech week podcasts last week and then scheduling my upcoming series, but then my husband reminded me I had the idea a while back to do this episode as the NHL play-offs are about to…
Mechanical Keyboards | From Typewriters to PC Gaming (TSB049)
Apr 6, 2017 • 8 min
You know how people are fond of a certain pen? Like, I happen to have a preference for the Pilot Precise V5s, while my husband always buys the Pilot G-2 07. Well, when I asked him for gadget ideas for my collaboration with Home Gadget Geeks back in…
Voice Recognition | Basic Computers, Creepy ’80s Dolls, Moviefone and More (TSB048)
Apr 3, 2017 • 9 min
Welcome to Tech Week! This is one of the last weeks of The Story Behind before I officially go on Baby Break, but this week was planned way back in January when Jim Collison from Home Gadget Geeks reached out and wanted to do a collaboration of his…
April Fool’s Day | Special Mini-Sode
Apr 1, 2017 • 3 min
If you’re a podcaster or an aspiring podcaster, I can’t recommend Libsyn enough for hosting. And when Elsie Escobar, from Libsyn’s The Feed and She Podcasts, reached out and suggested I do an episode on this topic, of course I jumped at the…
Wedding Luck & Superstitions | Wearing White, Bridesmaids, Rings, Rice, Cake and More (TSB047)
Mar 30, 2017 • 8 min
Ever wonder why brides wear white or why they wear veils? Or maybe what the point of bridesmaids were and why they’re dressed alike? There are tons of wedding traditions you probably dismissed as being just that — traditions, but in fact, many of…
Luck in the Home | Opening an Umbrella Indoors, Breaking a Mirror, Walking Under a Ladder, Horseshoes (TSB046)
Mar 27, 2017 • 8 min
Ever wonder why it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors? Or why breaking a mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck? Or why you shouldn’t walk under a ladder? Or maybe you’ve always wondered why horseshoes are said to bring luck. For the…
Lucky Food | Throwing Salt Over the Shoulder, Protective Garlic, the Incredible Egg (TSB045)
Mar 23, 2017 • 8 min
Ever wonder why you’re supposed to throw salt over your shoulder if you spill some? Or why garlic is said to be protection against vampires? Or just how many superstitions are linked to the egg? For the month of March, I’ll be looking at the…
Sports Superstitions & Curses | The Curses of the Bambino, Cubs and Indians; and Lucky Charms (TSB044)
Mar 20, 2017 • 8 min
It’s no wonder athletes can be incredibly superstitious. The difference between winging a game or a medal can mean the difference between a giant sum of money and endorsements versus getting little or nothing in return for all the hard work they put…
The Luck of the Irish | Four-Leaf Clovers, Irish Luck, Leprechauns (TSB043)
Mar 16, 2017 • 7 min
Ever wonder why a four-leaf clover is considered lucky? Or what, exactly, luck of the Irish is and why are the Irish associated with luck? And are leprechauns supposed to be good spirits? Or bad spirits? For the month of March, I’ll be looking at…
Lucky Numbers | Numerology, Unlucky 13, Lucky 7 (TSB042)
Mar 13, 2017 • 8 min
Have you ever gotten into an elevator of a hotel and noticed the buttons went from 12 to 14, skipping the number 13? It’s not as if the 13th floor is actually missing, though — the 13th floor was just named the 14th floor. Believe it or not, this…
Lucky Animals | Rabbits (and Their Feet), Spiders, and Cats (TSB041)
Mar 9, 2017 • 8 min
Ever wonder why rabbits and their feet are associated with luck? Or why even though fear of spiders is especially popular, many associate them with luck and prosperity? Or why cats, and especially black cats, carry so many superstitions? For the month…
Theater Superstitions | Break a Leg, The Curse of Macbeth, Whistling Backstage (TSB040)
Mar 6, 2017 • 7 min
Ever wonder why actors say “Break a leg” instead of “Good luck?” Or why Macbeth is supposedly cursed? Or why you shouldn’t whistle backstage? For the month of March, I’ll be looking at the stories behind common superstitions and symbols of…
Luck & Superstitions | An Overview of This Month’s Theme (TSB039)
Mar 2, 2017 • 6 min
Rabbit, rabbit! New month, new theme, everyone! Ever wonder why we believe in luck and superstitions? In the simplest terms, our brains are wired to look for patterns and it’s not just human brains. And once we determine the effects of a certain…
Forrest Gump (With Nick from The Epic Film Guys) | Forrest Gump February (TSB038)
Feb 27, 2017 • 15 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man was Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
Prosthetics | Forrest Gump February (TSB037)
Feb 23, 2017 • 8 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man was Forrest. Forrest…
The Smiley Face | Forrest Gump February (TSB036)
Feb 20, 2017 • 6 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man was Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
Imagine (by John Lennon) | Forrest Gump February (TSB035)
Feb 16, 2017 • 9 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man was Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
Ping-Pong | Forrest Gump February (TSB034)
Feb 13, 2017 • 10 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man is Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
Dr Pepper | Forrest Gump February (TSB033)
Feb 9, 2017 • 8 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man was Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door | Forrest Gump February (TSB032)
Feb 6, 2017 • 9 min
In 1994, a movie came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man is Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
Nathan Bedford Forrest | Forrest Gump February (TSB031)
Feb 2, 2017 • 10 min
In 1994, a story came along about a man of low intelligence who happens to hit a few lucky breaks, weaving himself in and out of the timeline of American history, and into the hearts of millions of movie-goers. That man is Forrest. Forrest Gump. For…
The Story Behind 30 Random Things | Trivia and History Galore! (TSB030)
Jan 30, 2017 • 11 min
This episode was decided by listeners who responded to a poll I put up last week on Twitter asking if I should do a regular show for Episode 30 or if I should do a special episode with 30 random facts. If you’re not already, follow @storybehindpod…
Mad Hatters | From Mercury Poisoning to Johnny Depp (TSB029)
Jan 26, 2017 • 8 min
This week’s theme was inspired by the title of my favorite song from Elton John, which is Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. You don’t have to be familiar with the song to listen to the episodes, but if you haven’t, it’s one of the more underrated of…
The Mona Lisa | Stolen Art and a Mysterious Smile (TSB028)
Jan 23, 2017 • 9 min
This week’s theme was inspired by the title of my favorite song from Elton John, which is Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. You don’t have to be familiar with the song to listen to the episodes, but if you haven’t, it’s one of the more underrated of…
Betty White | The Later Years (TSB027)
Jan 19, 2017 • 10 min
Today’s episode is the second in a two-part series of The Story Behind. The subject of these two episodes couldn’t be contained into just one show. We’ll be celebrating her 95th birthday, which was on Tuesday, January 17th, by dedicating this…
Betty White | The Early Years (TSB026)
Jan 16, 2017 • 9 min
This week’s episodes will be a two-part series of The Story Behind. The subject of these two episodes just couldn’t be contained into just one show. So we’ll be celebrating her 95th birthday on Tuesday, January 17th, by dedicating this week to…
Pretzels | Knot Your Average Snack (TSB025)
Jan 12, 2017 • 8 min
Whether you like them sweet or salty, dipped in frosting or mustard, or even if you prefer hard over soft, the snack food we talk about in this episode continues to be a favorite around the world. And, I don’t know about you, but I know it’s tough…
Potato Chips | Crunch Time (TSB024)
Jan 9, 2017 • 8 min
When this episode comes out, it’ll be the second week of the new year. So … how’s everyone’s diets going? If you’re looking for some motivation, you might want to go back to last week’s episode on The Story Behind the Treadmill because in…
Soap Operas | A Daily Dose of Drama (TSB023)
Jan 5, 2017 • 9 min
Emily’s evil twin, Erica, crashes the podcast for this episode! Luckily, Dr. Drake Ramoray, her long-lost brother, who came out of his coma AND recovered from amnesia, was there to save the day and the show! Only a show on the topic of soap operas…
The Treadmill | Where the Sidewalk Doesn’t End (TSB022)
Jan 2, 2017 • 6 min
Happy New Year! Are you ready to make this year the best year of your life? Are you going to get off the couch, throw out those Christmas cookies, join the gym, and get that heart beating?! Well, what are you waiting for!? I bet you’re at the gym…
New Year’s Eve | Start 2017 Off with Some Fun Facts (TSB021)
Dec 29, 2016 • 8 min
You may be seeing a lot of social media posts from people reflecting on 2016 or even saying “good riddance” to the year, looking forward to a new year. And you may already have heard people discussing their new year’s resolutions or plans for…
The Four Chords | From Pachelbel to Journey and Beyond (TSB020)
Dec 26, 2016 • 7 min
When Australian comedic Band Axis of Awesome created a YouTube hit in 2011 with their song, “Four Chords,” many were amazed to realize just how many songs used the same chord progression. If you haven’t heard the song in it’s entirety, I…
Christmas Traditions | Santa, Reindeer, Christmas Lights, Candy Canes, A Christmas Story (TSB019)
Dec 22, 2016 • 4 min
This episode is a bit different from regular episodes of The Story Behind. Instead of one topic, I explore the story behind five different Christmas traditions, some from history and some more modern. This was originally recorded for a guest segment I…
The Polygraph | On the Deceiving End (TSB018)
Dec 19, 2016 • 8 min
We’ve seen them on TV, most notably on daytime shows like Maury, catching cheaters and making for over-dramatic television. But if lie detectors are so good? Why aren’t they used in actual criminal cases? In this episode, we’ll talk about the…
Cabbage Patch Kids | And You Thought Hatchimals Were Hard to Find (TSB017)
Dec 15, 2016 • 9 min
For anyone who has been pregnant or has been around someone who is pregnant, you may be familiar with the amazing phenomenon of the swelling of appendages you never knew could swell so much. Being pregnant myself, there are days when someone will ask…
Lego | Fun to Play With, Awful to Step On (TSB016)
Dec 12, 2016 • 5 min
With the birth of our second child coming in April, we’ve been going through a lot of my daughter’s toys to see what we can pass on, and there’s one bin of toys we know will be always be shared by her, our future son, as well as my husband and…
Madame Tussaud | Just the Wax, Ma’am (TSB015)
Dec 8, 2016 • 6 min
Have you ever seen a human-like robot, doll or animatronic that was so lifelike it gave you the creeps? Maybe you feel uncomfortable seeing a clown or zombie but don’t know why. The uneasiness you may feel is known as the Uncanny Valley Phenomenon,…
Speakeasies | Prohibition’s Open Secret (TSB014)
Dec 5, 2016 • 8 min
There are lots of experiments that have come and gone. And not just experiments you’ll find in science laboratories or chemistry classes. For example, if you were around for the early days of Facebook, back when it was known as “THE Facebook,”…
Stenomasks | Shorthand Sweet (TSB013)
Dec 1, 2016 • 8 min
Many around my age remember talking to our friends on AOL Instant Messenger after school and using netspeak for things like LOL or JK or BRB for Laughing Out Loud, Just Kidding or Be Right Back, which no one really does anymore with the internet. But…
Mount Rushmore | Stone-Faced Presidents (TSB012)
Nov 28, 2016 • 12 min
Yelp Review: 1 Star”If I could give zero to this collection of ‘Merican phat pants ice cream zoo I would. This is a disgrace to the park system. Don’t go here. Stay in the hills or badlands instead. I do not think it is patriotic to deface a…
The Cornucopia | From Greek Mythology to the Hunger Games (TSB011)
Nov 24, 2016 • 8 min
Even though my family’s dining room table is usually too full of food for any sort of decoration, there’s one particular centerpiece associated with Thanksgiving. Whether you paid an exorbitant amount of money for one at Williams-Sonoma, or found…
Comic Sans | The Font Choice of Batman and the Pope (TSB010)
Nov 21, 2016 • 8 min
As a parent of a kindergartener, I get a lot of notices home from my daughter’s school. Bake sales, fundraisers, notices about upcoming events, all that fun stuff. And, I’m convinced public schools are only given access to one font for these…
Hoodies | For the Everyday Athlete, Rapper and CEO (TSB009)
Nov 17, 2016 • 8 min
As basic as the need for warmth and being covered is, fashion has taken a basic need to a completely different level at times. You could pick up any yearbook from the 1980s as proof of that. But sometimes the most simple articles of clothing create…
Sadie Hawkins | Marry the Man Today (TSB008)
Nov 14, 2016 • 8 min
I loved dances in high school. As an adult, I think the closest we have to school dances are weddings, but it’s still not the same excitement of the unexpected that came from school dances. Except for November of my sophomore year. There was one…
The Electoral College | A Post-Election Special Episode (TSB007)
Nov 13, 2016 • 9 min
Welcome to a special episode of The Story Behind. There will still be two regular episodes this week, but following the 2016 election results, I wanted to do a special episode on The Story Behind the Electoral College. Many are wondering why do…
Peanut Butter | Cheap, Easy and Worth Fighting For (TSB006)
Nov 10, 2016 • 9 min
Beginning as a slave food, then a source of protein during World War 2, and, even though it’s not as loved by our friends over in the UK, it’s still an American staple and favorite. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Peanut Butter.
Secret Ballots | A “No Duh” Solution to Election Day Violence (TSB005)
Nov 7, 2016 • 10 min
If you live in the United States and you’re listening to this on the day it comes out, you may be feeling a number of different emotions about tomorrow’s election. From anger to confidence, fear to even indifference, you know that casting your ballot…
Gunpowder | ‘Cause Baby You’re a Firework (TSB004)
Nov 3, 2016 • 7 min
Gun control has been a hot-button topic in politics for many years, including what the Founding Fathers could have meant when they wrote the second amendment. But we’re going way back before all that in this episode — starting with trying to find the…
Sugar Skulls | A Sweet Mexican Tradition (TSB003)
Oct 31, 2016 • 5 min
If you were a child growing up in the U.S., you likely remember the feeling of waking up with a sugar hangover on November 1st from too much candy the night before. The last thing you’ll want to do that day is look at any more sugar. Unless you happen to…
Dry Ice | Science We Didn’t Know What To Do With (TSB002)
Oct 31, 2016 • 7 min
Dry ice. The name, itself, seems like an oxymoron. Ice is made of water, and for the most part, there should be a wet mess left behind when it melts, right? Maybe you saw it for the first time in middle school in a science class — maybe you were even…
The Theremin | Eeriness and Espionage (TSB001)
Oct 18, 2016 • 8 min
If you haven’t heard of a theremin, you’ve certainly heard it. That eerie sound, like a string instrument being played in a nightmare, used by foley artists to create an alien ambiance. The theremin may be one of the weirdest sounding instruments, and to…