The Story Behind | The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary

The Story Behind | The Extraordinary History of the Ordinary

thestorybehindpodcast.com
Do you ever wonder about the history of everyday things in your world? Do you like trivia and fun facts? Have you lost hours to Wikipedia rabbit holes? The Story Behind is the show for you! Trivia nerd Emily Prokop explores the origins and cool stories that surround the things, people and places you may never have wondered about before. Warning: Your friends might tire of you starting sentences with, “I learned on a podcast …”
Hypnosis | Everybody Trance Now! (TSB071)
Jun 22 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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…
1964-1989 Part 2: Wheel of Fortune through Rock and Roller Cola Wars (WDSTF Series, TSB060)
May 15 • 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…
1964-1989 Part 1: Birth Control through Russians in Afghanistan (WDSTF Series, TSB059)
May 11 • 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…
1961-1963: Hemingway through JFK Blown Away (WDSTF Series, TSB058)
May 8 • 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…
1959-1960: Buddy Holly through Belgians in the Congo (WDSTF Series, TSB057)
May 4 • 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…
1957-1958: Little Rock through Children of Thalidomide (WDSTF Series, TSB056)
May 1 • 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…
1955-1956: Einstein through Trouble in the Suez (WDSTF Series, TSB055)
Apr 27 • 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…
1953-1954: Joseph Stalin through Rock Around the Clock (WDSTF Series, TSB054)
Apr 24 • 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…
1951-1952: Rosenbergs through Santayana Goodbye (WDSTF Series, TSB053)
Apr 20 • 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…
1949-1950: Harry Truman through Marilyn Monroe (WDSTF Series, TSB052)
Apr 17 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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
Before there were allergy-free tables in school cafeterias, it seemed every kid when I was growing up had a PB&J sandwich in their lunch at least once a week. It seems almost foreign to me now to make my daugher’s lunch and have to move the…
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…
Gunpowder | ‘Cause Baby You’re a Firework (TSB004)
Nov 3, 2016 • 7 min
There’s a lot of talk about the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, this election season. Gun control has been a hot-button topic in politics for many years, and has seemed to increase in being discussed, as well as what the Founding Fathers…
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, after walking all night to fill up your bucket with Halloween candy and eating too many, only to have a sugar rush that…
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 — depending on your…
The Theremin | Eeriness and Espionage (TSB001)
Oct 18, 2016 • 8 min
This is the first episode of The Story Behind …, a podcast exploring extraordinary history behind ordinary things. I’m your host, Emily Prokop, the former host of the Classy Little Podcast. This Story Behind … is similar in many ways to the Classy…