Category Archives: The Best of the Rest
“I came here to play harmonica and have copious amounts of affairs, and well, I just finished playing harmonica.”
When you hear the word “famous” there are a lot of words that could follow without knocking you off balance. Famous movie star? Makes sense. Famous doctor? Somewhat more rare, but not particularly shocking. Famous drunk blogger? Well now you’re just lifting lines from the vision board in our office. But if you were given a million guesses to name professions or identities that could make you famous, we’re willing to bet that “harmonica player” would not even come close to making the list. But that’s only if you’ve not heard of Larry Adler, the famed mouth organ player. (And yes, he referred to the harmonica almost exclusively as the mouth organ, and yes a part of him no doubt did this to allow for all the easy jokes that come from building a career blowing air into a thing you call a mouth organ.)
Larry Adler somehow managed to go from harmonica street performer who didn’t know how to read music to bonified international star who had affairs with famous actresses and recorded music with the likes of Elton John and Cher (as well as a bunch of people who were famous in like the 1950s but if we started this article with stuff like “oh he knew Jack Benny and worked with Dizzie Gillespie” about two thirds of our readers would lapse into an hour-long coma).
Hell, we’ve written AFFotDs for far less impressive careers. So fuck it, we’re going to talk about a harmonica player now.
Larry Adler Was Better At Harmonica Than You Are At Anything
“*sigh* Yeah he’ll take it.”
~Eric Roberts’ Agent
So here’s a story. The other day we were thinking about Eric Roberts. You know, the actor. Don’t ask us why. You’re gonna ask us why? We were drunk, okay? What that’s not enough explanation for you? Have you ever read our site? We once got drunk and decided it was a good idea to rate every fictional president in film history, and then this shit happened. We are not responsible adults here, okay?
Anyway, we went to Eric Robert’s IMDB page, because we may or may not be watching Sons of Anarchy and may or may not have wanted to write a joke about how shit Eric Robert’s haircut is before realizing that he’s not in that show at all, he just looks kiiiind of like Jeff Kober. Tell us we’re wrong.
Do you know what we found? Well, as you can tell by the title of this article, this dude hustles. Like, holy shit. Look at how many pending project he has on his IMDB page. We can’t even fit all of them in a screenshot, and that’s after we’ve zoomed our browser down enough that it’s blurred beyond recognition.
How do so many of these not have release dates?
So yeah. Apparently Eric Roberts, according to the internet (WHICH IS INFALLIBLE! ALL PENGUINS ARE GIRLS, THAT’S A FACT NOW) has FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN CREDITS to his name. That’s insane. You know how insane that is? When we started writing this article, that number was on 504. Then when we finished writing this article it was 514. And between writing this and posting it, it jumped up three more. We wish that was a joke.
Now if you want to feel kind of disillusioned, here’s a fun fact. Again, if we go by what the internet says (APPARENTLY ALSO SPIDERS ARE AFRAID OF BULLSEYES, THAT’S A FACT NOW, SO SAYETH THE NET) that Eric Roberts is worth about $8 million, after a highly successful acting career and literally half a thousand roles. That means each appearance he’s had behind the camera has been worth about $14,000. Which honestly? Is not bad money, but it’s not “award-nominated actor” money either. Not even close.
His sister, Julia Roberts (MAYBE YOU HAVE HEARD OF HER HMM) is worth about $140 million. Over 61 credits.
His daughter, Emma (who we confuse with Emily Rossum for some reason?) is worth $15 million. Which, lol. Do you think he’s a bit jealous of his daughter being worth twice as much as him, or is he mostly proud? Probably mostly proud, with a twinge of jealousy, right? That seems right?
Anyway, we’re going to talk about Eric Robert’s Hustle.
“Okay guys, I don’t know who decided to write this article, but I’ve doubled our whiskey rations for it. Things are about to get bleak.”
~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt
Our Gang helped define an entire era of early Hollywood entertainment. From 1922 through 1944, the franchise, which you may know better as The Little Rascals, put out 220 short films and one film, featuring 41 child actors during that span. They remain such an important cultural touchstone that we even decided to revisit the characters in a 1994 motion picture (which, like, did only okay). But when we started looking into the actors who played iconic characters such as Spanky and Buckwheat and Alfalfa, we discovered something a little…perturbing.
That cast is haunted, guys.
Sure, snopes has weighed in on this to preemptively tell us we’re wrong. But we’re not. To prove so, we’re going to talk about the early, non-natural demises of original cast members in what promises to be our most depressing article yet. We excluded things like overdoses and people who got heart attacks in their 50s because, well, we just don’t want to write a bunch of jokes about that kind of stuff today.
But we’ll leave it to you once you’ve seen the evidence. Was the original Little Rascals cast cursed?
(Yes they fucking were.)
The Original Little Rascals Cast Was Probably Cursed?
“Sure, this thing says I can’t vote, but where does it say I can’t just be president, then, huh?”
There are two kinds of historical figures in America; the ones we learn about at an early age in school, and the equally badass ones who just sort of linger in obscurity for a while until someone decides to write a movie about them. The latest figure in that latter category, based on the fact that Brie Larson is signed on to play her in a currently under-development movie from Amazon Studios, is Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States of America. Oh, no, she didn’t come close to winning, obviously, but she still stands as an impressive, and pretty quirky, American hero that might as well be saluted in these hallowed, beer-splattered halls. So here we go.
Victoria Woodhull, the First-Ever Woman Presidential Nominee, Was Kind of Badass
“Wait, without Budweiser, that means I’ll have to drink a better beer, which is literally any other beer.”
~America in 1976
Even when we’re screeching harpies hating on everything you love (which, apparently, solely consists of fucking ALDI, you goddamn lunatics of the internet) we are at least aware of the hatred we’re spewing. For example—many Americans like Budweiser. Like, they buy it, and drink it, and describe the flavor as something better than “remember that kid who would always sit alone and chew grass during recess? We’re pretty sure he’s now the brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch” and that’s fine. Let your freak flag fly, enjoy getting full before getting drunk and, we don’t know, unironically wearing trucker hats, it’s your life and do what makes you happy. We’re putting that out there because, invariably, every time we talk about Budweiser (which fucking sucks) an army of mouth breathers flock to the comments section to respond to our (correct) point (that Budweiser is trash). They say things like “Hey! Asshole! I like Budweiser!” (literally the only valid argument you have) or “Listen Mr. Fancy Beers, go back to your IPAs and your porters or whatever” (which inevitably is brought up in the articles where we never once mention IPAs or porters).
So, we know two things here. First of all, we know that we have a fun fact that most of you are unaware of. And secondly, we know that many of you will be absolutely fucking livid at the tone we take to tell you about it (that tone being “Budweiser is like if someone drank gutter water and thought ‘if only this could get me a slight buzz’”) (which is the correct tone). And we say bring it on. Budweiser is trash, no one should drink it, and for a brief moment in 1976, a group of Teamsters actually managed to make that happen. This is their story.
Unsung Heroes: The Budweiser Beer Strike of 1976
“Holy shit, I can’t believe I got killed by Uncle Fester.”
~An Actual Murderer
“Actors aren’t as tough as they used to be” sounds like a sentence you’d hear an angry old man shouting from his porch, possibly to children gliding down the sidewalk on Heelys. But there is some truth to it. Sure, a lot might have to do with the times we live in, but it’s easy to forget that Hollywood wasn’t always full of glamour and George Clooneys. The Golden Age of Hollywood was pretty much fueled by animal deaths on set and carefully regimented drug cocktails forced upon strung out teenage actresses off it, and if you managed to pull through that minefield relatively successful and sane, then you had to be made of some pretty solid stuff.
We mention that because while we (correctly) look back at groundbreaking actors such as Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Humphrey Bogart as visionaries and badasses, there’s one actor who probably was the toughest son of a bitch to step in front of a camera (yes, we know that list includes Danny Trejo) if for no other reason than the fact that his childhood, we’re pretty sure, was haunted. Which probably helped him prepare for the role of Uncle Fester.
Yes, we’re going to talk about Jackie Coogan, who could totally beat you up.
Jackie Coogan: Uncle Fester Was Kind of a Badass
“Wait. His name was Alfred Mosher Butts? Are you sure? This wasn’t someone on staff fucking with Wikipedia again, was it?”
~AFFotD’s Fact Checking Team
We’ve all at one time or another played Scrabble—statistically, it’s in 1/3 of every American household, and 95% of every American grandparent household. If you haven’t played it before, you’re probably not reading this article, due to your severe and truly heartbreaking illiteracy, but on the off chance that someone told you how to use those programs that read websites out loud for blind people, we’ll throw you a bone. Scrabble is a classic American game where you form words on a grid to get points. If you said, “Oh, just like Words With Friends?” hello readers who were born after 9/11. But yes, it’s what Words With Friends ripped off. It’s a simple, yet enjoyable, game that stupid people absolutely despise for obvious reasons.
But it is an American invention. And not only that, it was invented by a man that we can’t believe isn’t better known in society. Partly because he invented an iconic game enjoyed by millions, if not billions. But also because his name was Alfred Mosher Butts! We are children, but we don’t care, we will always find that funny. So let’s talk about him!
The Inventor of Scrabble Was Actually Named Alfred Mosher Butts
Why do people keep asking me about green eggs and ham, dammit?”
America is a young enough nation that history can pretty accurately tell us about our founders, with some embellishment and omissions because if we’re being honest and cynical enough we can admit that history writers used to pretty much be the old time equivalent of PR agents. But we know a lot about the lives of the people that helped create this nation. We know about George Washington’s wooden teeth (which is a myth), we know that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite with a key on it to discover electricity (which was also probably a myth) and we know about Paul Revere riding through the streets warning “The British are coming” (also bullshit). Okay, so these are some bad examples. But the point is, the people that represent America, people like Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe, are at least historical figures that we know a decent amount about.
Which is why it’s interesting that we don’t often talk about Uncle Sam, the finger-pointing goateed patriot who is basically timeshares with bald eagles to be America’s mascot. That’s because we just assume he was an invention created to get people to support various war efforts. But most of us don’t really think much about his actual origin. Sure, you might point to Columbia or Brother Jonathan as examples of America-personifying precursors, but you’d have to be a very specific type of person to both know about those examples and want to nerd out over it. But for the rest of us, not only does Uncle Sam have a relatively rich history, but he’s actually based on a real person. So let’s talk about Samuel Wilson, the man who actually was Uncle Sam. Well, at least officially.
Samuel Wilson- The Man Who Was (More or Less) Uncle Sam
“It’s the greatest invention since sliced bread.”
~Literally every single salesperson you have ever met, every goddamn one
We take a lot of the simple things in our lives for granted. That’s just human nature—if something doesn’t look difficult, or inherently present itself as some technological triumph, we tend to assume that these have always existed. We can marvel at the technology behind, say, a smart phone, but overlook the fact that the first calculator was made in 1959, looked like this, and was able to compute less than your smart phone’s calculator app.
We’re going about this in a roundabout way, but the moral here is that many assume sliced bread has been around since, oh, roughly the same time as bread and knives co-existed, when in reality it’s a 20th century phenomenon. Yes, sliced bread was first packaged and sold in 1928, and it is an American invention. Specifically, by an enterprising Midwesterner who devoted over ten years of his life to designing and perfecting a machine to slice whole loaves of bread at once to ensure that we would forever be able to take an arduous step out of the process of making toast and sandwiches. That man, nay, that hero, was Otto Frederick Rohwedder, and this is his story.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder and the Invention of Sliced Bread