Weird Universe Blog — March 17, 2018

Peekaboo Mask and Triffids

Continuing with the theme of odd masks...

London designer Hugh Skillen created this unusual "peekaboo" mask in 1952.

He later went on to design the man-eating plants in the 1963 horror movie The Day of the Triffids.

Newsweek - Jan 5, 1953

Janette Scott being attacked by a triffid — via

Update: I tried to track down more info about Hugh Skillen and have concluded there's some confusion about his biography. Seems there were two Hugh Skillens who both lived in London at around the same time.

There was a Hugh Skillen who was a military officer who helped to develop the Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during World War II, and then later worked as a schoolmaster at Harrow County School for Boys. More info about him here.

And then there was the Hugh Skillen who was a costumier, designing costumes for theater productions in London and occasionally working on movies such as The Day of the Triffids.

I don't think these two Hugh Skillens were the same, but IMDb lists the birth/death of the costumier as being the same as the military officer: Aug 22, 1915 to Jan 4, 2004. I'm betting the info is only correct for the military officer.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 17, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Fashion | Headgear | Special Effects | 1950s

Mystery Illustration 70

S&M model? Or not?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 17, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: 1960s

March 16, 2018

Freckle-Proof Sun Mask

Another addition to our collection of weird masks.

Note that this sun mask came with a "breather" tube.

Phildelphia Inquirer - Jan 21, 1940

Pittsburgh Press - Feb 25, 1940

Cassville Republican - Jan 18, 1940

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 16, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion | Headgear | 1940s

Dinner With Drac

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 16, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Music | Superstition | 1950s | Fictional Monsters

March 15, 2018

Mystery Man Mask

Ads for this "Mystery Man Mask" ran in various monster-themed magazines, such as Spacemen, during the early 1960s.

It made me think of some of the other creepy masks we've posted about in the past. (see below)

via The Blood-Curdling Blog of Monster Masks

Other masks previously featured on WU:

Ski masks for chilly cheeks

Styling on the slopes

Identity-preserving balaclava

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion | Headgear | 1960s

from the wu archive

Johnson Smith Catalog Item #23

2018 NOTE: More masks.


If these horrifying masks are "lifelike" in the world you come from, I don't want to visit!

From the 1950 catalog.

First Posted: June, 2012
Reposted By: Paul - Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Disguises, Impersonations, Mimics and Forgeries | Johnson Smith Catalog | 1950s

Raus the Maus

Surely of interest to WU-vies.

Learn more here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 15, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Anthropomorphism | War | Cartoons | Europe | Twentieth Century

March 14, 2018

The Smile Machine

Invented by artist Dick Turner in 1992. The organizers of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer then got wind of it, and decided it would be "the perfect way to make light of Norwegians' reputation as a dour people and ordered 100,000 of them for Olympic workers and town residents to wear."

But they did this without crediting Turner at all. Nor did they order the smile machines from him. When Turner complained, someone from the Norwegian embassy in Washington called him "and acknowledged that the Smile Machine was his idea but said nothing further could be done about it."

More info: Baltimore Sun (Feb 7, 1994)
Image source: ideoideo

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 14, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions | 1990s

Follies of the Madmen #355

Oh, no! Will Mr. Decay catch runaway Mr. Tooth? The suspense is unbearable!

Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 14, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Business | Advertising | Products | Hygiene | Children | 1950s

March 13, 2018

Anti-Puberty Pill

In 1969, British health officer Dr. J.V. Walker proposed the development of a pill "to give young people to delay the onset of sexual maturity until they leave college and could earn their own living." Walker felt certain "it should not be difficult to develop a hormone preparation for the job."

Such a pill would certainly change the college experience for most people.

Akron Beacon Journal - June 1, 1969

A bit of research revealed that this J.V. Walker was Joseph V. Walker, health officer of Darlington. I couldn't find a fuller description of his anti-puberty pill, but I did come across a letter he sent to the Health Education Journal (March 1, 1970) in which he worried that young women would develop into "promiscuous addicts" if they didn't preserve their virginity until marriage. I suppose his pill would help with that goal as well.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 13, 2018 - Comments (10)
Category: Health | 1960s | Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

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