[Ads-l] Slight But Important Antedating of Term "Oscar"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 7 22:19:27 UTC 2018

Popular Science has a history of mocking up images to make things look fancier than they actually are.

Las year I wrote about Bazooka Bob Burns who designed a musical device called a "Bazooka" in about 1918.  The actual bazooka was two pieces of gas pipe, a funnel, and a handle for moving the two pieces of pipe in an out like a trombone - it looked like what would later be called a bazooka (in its honor) during WWII.  But Popular Science put together a fake bazooka that looked more like a Dr. Suess instrument, with tubes and pipes tangled in a mess and the whole thing looking more like a complicated baritone or tuba, rather than a simplified trombone.

The story was more or less truthful, but the image was made to be more interesting - proto-clickbait, I suppose.

I wonder whether the wax head wearing a tie and suit is more Popular Science fantasy.  Perhaps the gist of the article is true, but the representative image is false.  Notice it's not a photo of it in action - it's just a close-up showing the head a shoulders.

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: Slight But Important Antedating of Term "Oscar"

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Subject:      Re: Slight But Important Antedating of Term "Oscar"

Peter Reitan  wrote:
> The FBI purchased rights to a "little Oscar" listening device in 1936. Mi=
ami News, May 26, 1936, page 4.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/20730553/the_miami_news/

Thanks, Peter.

The April 1932 issue of "Popular Science Monthly" has a picture of the
"Oscar" dummy used by the sound engineers at the Philadelphia Academy
of Music. It is surprisingly elaborate. Maybe simpler versions of
"Oscar" devices were used by other sound engineers.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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