Halfwit History

40 - Braille Fish

March 02, 2020 Jonathan & Kiley Season 1 Episode 40
Halfwit History
40 - Braille Fish
Halfwit History
40 - Braille Fish
Mar 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 40
Jonathan & Kiley

This week Kiley raises up old letters about the founding of an important school, while Jonathan raises his thumb, much unlike a pile of bricks.

Topics: The Founding of Perkins School for the Blind, The 42nd Anniversary of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

Podcast Spotlight: Ransack History

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com 

Support the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/halfwithistory)

Show Notes Transcript

This week Kiley raises up old letters about the founding of an important school, while Jonathan raises his thumb, much unlike a pile of bricks.

Topics: The Founding of Perkins School for the Blind, The 42nd Anniversary of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

Podcast Spotlight: Ransack History

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com 

Support the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/halfwithistory)

spk_1:   0:31
hi and welcome. The half with history. I'm Jonathan. I'm Kylie and is a show where we talk about the upcoming week, but long time ago.

spk_0:   0:38
And sometimes not so long ago.

spk_1:   0:40
Yeah. So do we have any updates?

spk_0:   0:46
I can't think of any.

spk_1:   0:47
No. Me neither. Think we're just gonna hop right into it,

spk_0:   0:50
All right.

spk_1:   0:50
And I'm gonna wager some money that yours is older than mine.

spk_0:   0:54
Is yours really recent? I mean, my is 18 29? Yes. Did you in your own bet? Yes. Already on March 2nd, 18 29 the New England Asylum for the Blind was incorporated in Boston, Massachusetts. Uncle Antebellum Boston was a cauldron of social, intellectual and spiritual reforms. Hundreds of Bostonians were involved in one or more causes. Abolition, child labor, prison reform, careful mentally ill, temperance, education, diet or health. Were all viable things to get behind and to try and support, especially for the wealthy. So when Dr John Dicks Fisher visited the world's first school for blind Children, the National Institute for the Blind during a trip to Paris, he felt confident that his native Boston was the place to introduce such a novel idea to America. So at this point in history, most of society held a rather low opinion of what blind and deaf blind people could contribute. Blind enough, playing Children were basically considered to be incapable of any high level of learning. And so they were usually taught a few hand skills, like broom making or some other kind of craft like that that was pretty easy to keep them from, keep them occupied and to earn a very basic living for themselves. It wasn't until 17 84 when Valentyn Hey, but he began teaching Francoise Lister to read Who was blind in 18 17 85 he founded by his own funds what was then called the Institute for Blind Youth. And in 17 86 he presented his methods with some of his pupils to Louis the 16th which earned him royal funding for his 120 students. So, in 18 19 Louis Braille attended the school and later taught there, and I'm assuming that name of rings a bit of a bell.

spk_1:   3:15
Ah, maybe

spk_0:   3:16
Maybe you might say it was a pointed question, huh? E I came up with that all on my own.

spk_1:   3:25
She is raising her.

spk_0:   3:29
I'm waggling the single one. Um, not that I have a unibrow. I can I move One eyebrow. Independence waggling her single unibrow. No universal. So Louis Braille attended the school and then taught there, Um And for anyone who isn't familiar, he invented the Braille tactile writing system that's used to teach blind people how to read around the world today. And it was invented back then. A good one. And I know it's not great. All right. So back to Boston, Fisher had been so inspired by what he had seen in Paris. Blind students reading from Ray's type books and learning, mathematics, geography, languages and music. In addition to the manual arts like the crafting S O, he spent the next three years persuading men with money and a good conscience to help fund an American school. So on an icy day of March 2nd, as I've already mentioned, a number of prominent Boston men gathered in the Boston exchange coffee house designed papers of incorporation for the New England Asylum for the Blind. When the Legislature approved the Inc three weeks later, it also appropriated $6000 for its funding. This early public private partnership proved to be critical to the growth of the new institution. And there's still a lot of schools that are like that that have both private and public funding. My high school was one of them. It's a It was a private school with serving the public interest, a k. All of the surrounding towns are too tiny to have their own high schools.

spk_1:   5:10
Uh, for you,

spk_0:   5:12
Yep. So the state they're the town's paid for the students to go to that high school so that they didn't have to support their own high school. Fair enough. So this is where a man named Samuel Gridley Howe enters the picture. He was a physician, abolitionist and a hero of the Greek War for independence. Interesting. Yeah, he's American, and he somehow he was like a big freedom guy and somehow ended up in Greece fighting for Greek Greece, independent. So fun. So upon his return to the United States from Greece, he was approached by his friend Dr Fisher, and he was recruited to direct the newly established New England Asylum. He took up the project with his characteristic ardor and sent set out at once for Europe to investigate different approaches to the education for the blind and then rejected a lot of what he found. In 18 29 he returned to Boston convinced that blind Children should be given the same opportunities, experiences and hopes and dreams a sighted Children. His wife, Julia Julia Ward Howe, later remarked, Quote. He assumed that the state ode to the blind and education and he had faith of this education, if properly given, would make the same return to the state that it's common education makes by enabling an important class of citizens to aspire to the rewards of industry and the dignity of independence. End quote. So he was. He had a lot of faith, I think, in both people and the system and in this one instance that actually proved toe work. So go figure. So how began by receiving a few blind Children at his father's house in Pleasant Street In 18 36 he had only six students, but he was ambitious, resourceful and fully determined that his school would be a success. So by 18 38 2 years later, the school hadn't over 60 students and had moved to a mansion that was owned by one of its trustees. A shipping merchant named Thomas Perkins on Perkins had begun to lose his own eyesight around the same time that the institute was established, so he had been pretty heavily involved. So when it needed a bigger building, he offered up his empty mansion pretty much except for himself. So in 18 39 the Perkins home was sold, and the proceeds allowed the school to move to a larger building itself. Boston and in honor of its benefactor, it was renamed the Perkins Institute for the Blind. And if that doesn't ring any bells, I'm sorry.

spk_1:   7:41
Ring some bells for me because you worked there for

spk_0:   7:43
Yes, I did. And that's why I picked this topic. E. I did my graduate school internship there. What one of them, in 18 85 6 acres were purchased in the Hyde Square section of Jamaica Plain, which is a residential district of Boston. For those who are not familiar, and this land was used to build a kindergarten, this property was home to both Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. And when I interned at the Perkins School Archive, as Jonathan already mentioned, I digitized books of letters that were sent to the kindergarten school, which is again, why I picked this topic. Um, the Perkins archives has a lot of great resource is available online for anyone who's interested in learning more. Um, the kindergarten school letters, the 1st 11 volumes. I believe it was a while ago. I can't remember exactly, But they're all the handwritten letter's bound in a city in books, in volumes that were digitized and are, I believe, on the Internet archive. So if anyone's interested, it's actually really cool. Like there are letters like written from Helen Keller and like a variety of other people that you may or may not recognize that there are a lot of big Boston names, particularly so that was really cool. Like I'd be like, Oh, that's who that street is named after in Boston,

spk_1:   9:01
and now all you know who did it ties it so that you can read it.

spk_0:   9:04
Well, all right. So Samuel, how trained teachers toe to use Ray's type books he brought from Europe, as well as text maps and diagrams that he created himself out of paste board gum, twine and pins. Gummed wine? Yep, like gummy kind of late. I don't know if you're not look, because you genuinely don't know if you were making fun

spk_1:   9:27
of No, I don't know a gun point is

spk_0:   9:28
Oh, it's It's just like a kind of twine that has, like a text, like a texture to it so much. It's not like it's kind of sticky, like it's not like it's going to stick to you forever, but it's kind of sticky.

spk_1:   9:41
I'm just imagining very stretched out chewed

spk_0:   9:43
gum. Oh, gross. Not quite that, um So he devised ways that students could use their sense of touch to compensate for their lack of sight. Blocks of different sizes helped communicate mathematical proportions. Pasted string allowed students to trace out and learn geometric figures. Geography was taught using a large globe, the head raised features so that you could feel it. Um, and a lot of these methods are actually still used today. While I was working there, there were a lot of these methods, um, that were used to create interactive and educational and accessible exhibition spaces for students. Mostly, it was focused on Perkins history, like in and of itself, so that students could better understand that, Um, it was really interesting to kind of see that whole thing kind of get built. They did a pretty heavy thing off several years ago. Like before I was there, Um, that was about, like, accessible, interactive things like that. But like it's it's a continuing conversation. So even while I was there, there were meetings about how to make it better. How to make it more accessible, that kind of thing. Yeah, it was. It was really fun. So how even developed a special printing? A department that produced books with them bossed Roman letters. So, like raised Roman letter like letters like our alphabet, and it soon became known as Boston Line type. His efforts attracted the attention of Charles Dickens, who visited the school and wrote about it in his book American Notes. Um, I've never read it, so I'll take their word for it. Dickins had the school print and distribute 250 copies of his book, The Old Curiosity Shop, all in Boston Line type, which was eventually combined with another raise type from Philadelphia. And this hybrid form of Ray's letters was the predominant and boss type for blind people in the U. S. And the choice of most of the schools until it was surpassed by the rays dot system Braille call back to Louis Braille from earlier

spk_1:   11:49
made a circle with her hands over her head.

spk_0:   11:51
I don't know why it felt like it was required. So in terms of accessibility and education, how's greatest success story was Laura Bridgman. A life threatening case of scarlet fever had left the seven year old Laura both deaf and blind. Like other deaf blind Children, she was generally considered to be uneducated ble Samuel. How, however, was determined to reach the girl and brought her to Perkins. There he worked to break through to her to her world by using her tactile senses to teach her individual letters. He gradually was able to connect the letters to words and words objects. Laura We Laura was eager to master the new puzzle. She relied on rote learning of the patterns to spell out the words for objects like Fork, spoon, key and book. After about two months of this learning, Loris suddenly realized the significance, and it just kind of clicked, and I think it seems like one of those things are like, You can do something, and then you get it and just you get it, right? Yeah. Um, the So she proved to have an insatiable desire to learn and to communicate, which I mean, imagine being unable to communicate for most of your life and then suddenly having a way to do it, I can only imagine that anyone would be like, Oh, my gosh, I need to tell you like everything all at once so I could Yeah,

spk_1:   13:16
lots of pent up feelings.

spk_0:   13:17
Yeah, exactly. So she was soon reading books and raised type finger spelling words and eventually writing with a board on grooved paper. Her success brought the Perkins Institute to the forefront of blind and deaf blind education. So, as I'm sure, most, if not all of our listeners know, Helen Keller is undoubtedly the Perkin school's most well known student. She had been rendered deaf, blind and mute by a severe fever when she was 19 months old. When her mother read about Perkins in Dickens's notes on America, she contacted the school house son in law Michael En Agnos had taken over following house death in 18 76 he sent a recent Perkins graduate, the formally blind Annie Sullivan toe work with Helen at her home in Alabama. And I'm sure many people are also familiar with Annie Sullivan. If you're familiar with Helen Keller, you're familiar with Sullivan. After her famous breakthrough in teaching Helen Finger Spelling, the pair moved to Perkins and lived there for the next on and off for the next six years. It isn't very. What isn't very well known is that Helen and an Agnos actually butted heads pretty frequently, which prompted Helen and and to move to New York in 18 94 to attend the right write homos in school for the death in 18 96 they returned to Massachusetts so Helen could learn from Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Allston, which I didn't know there was another school for the deaf in Allston. Like, I don't think I don't know why I didn't know it, but I didn't.

spk_1:   14:50
Here's a question. Did you guys have Horace Mann awards in your elementary school?

spk_0:   14:57
Not that I know off.

spk_1:   14:59
All right, so that might have just been a Massachusetts thing,

spk_0:   15:01
but was it for

spk_1:   15:02
for academic excellence.

spk_0:   15:06
I mean, we had awards, but I don't think I would ever remember what they were

spk_1:   15:09
called. I just was wondering if that was a purely Massachusetts things. Horace Mann was from Massachusetts. I think it might have.

spk_0:   15:16
I feel like it probably was because I know we did like awards and stuff in middle and elementary school, but I would never remember the actual name of them. Like, I think they were just like I only they were named after people. I think they were just like educational excellence. Awards can like a generic.

spk_1:   15:33
In elementary school, they didn't have, like, honors called kids who excelled like they were part of the horseman list.

spk_0:   15:41
Oh, cool. Well, yeah. No, we didn't have that. We didn't have anything like that. We didn't get a list. Now I'm a little jealous. So Fuller. Sarah Fuller had been trained in the skill of teaching deaf Children how to speak by Alexander Graham Bell, which I didn't know he did that either. So lots of

spk_1:   15:57
name dropping. Going.

spk_0:   15:58
I was learning lots of things while researching this, and I'm just like I didn't know this. I didn't know that. What is this I feel like that Mean, what is this? Is this blank? Um so Alex, she learned from Alexander Graham Bell and then applied the learning to given giving Helen her first speech lessons. So Sarah Fuller is part of the reason Helen Keller learned to speak, which is really impressive, considering she couldn't hear other people. I feel like speech in particular is one of those things were like, You rely a lot on what you hear.

spk_1:   16:34
Oh, yeah,

spk_0:   16:35
So I can I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to learn that without any point of reference. So Helen entered the Cambridge school for young ladies. But before gaining admittance to ride the Radcliffe College in 1900 Um, And for those who don't know, Radcliffe College was wth e, um, girls version of Harvard University. And then, in the late 19 nineties, I believe they were incorporated into one. So now Harvard College, um, is co Ed and Radcliffe? There's the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. That's like a graduate school that's focused more on like women's studies in that kind of thing. All the I worked for her for something that I know that is just

spk_1:   17:20
a big resume for Kylie.

spk_0:   17:22
It is pretty much I've named drops two of the three places I have worked in the last five years. All right, eso at Radcliffe College, Helen Keller became the first deaf blind person to earn a bachelor's degree. My notes. A bachelor of arts. But I I think it's just generic batch that she was the first person to earn a bachelor's degree. The first deaf blind person, um, she would go on to become a world famous speaker and author, and she's remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities. Ah, suffragist, pacifist, radical Socialists in Birth Control supporter, which that part surprised me a little bit. Don't know why, um, in 1912 with the demand for programs growing, Perkins moved to a 38 acre campus on the banks of the Charles River in Watertown. They're in 1951. The school introduced the first Perkins Brailer, which allowed students to type in Braille text. So like typing instead of just having to hand right. Thanks Um, over the next 30 years, over 100,000 Brailer machines were produced and distributed among the across the country as the number of blind students educated in public schools grew. The number of students and residents at Perkins declined. Always evolving, Perkins expanded its mission to serve sighted Children with other disabilities, including deafness, mental retardation and cerebral palsy. In the 19 nineties, Perkins began to offer. Service is for visually impaired elders the fastest growing blind population. You know, losing sight as you get older, that kind of thing. In 1931 the school began the Perkins Braille and Talking's Book Library, which maintains a collection of Braille books and Brill Music for the use of the students. And it circulates 50,000 recorded titles and 16,000 Braille books. It's a big collection of Braille, everything Oh yeah, yeah, it's really cool. In 2004 to commemorate its 175th anniversary, the school opened the Perkins Museum, a multi sensory journey through the history of blind and deaf blind education over the past 200 years. And that was like the big project that I was talking about before that was like, very focused on being accessible for like all people can't nothing like tactile and everything. Yep, The school also has countless programs and resource is for the students as well as the wider, deaf blind community. My particular favorite. From my time there was the lunch program who it was great. So students with an interest in the culinary arts would make lunches and they were always amazing. And then they sell them to other students, faculty and staff. And I distinctly remember the three of us who were who were at the archive waiting for the lunch menu for the next week to be released to plan what day we were gonna go during our lunch break and then being told that, like the first day to be like it's really good if you want to go like we have to be there at noon, like you cannot be late because, like, you probably won't get anything because, like there was just a line, it was amazing. It was fantastic, and it was always totally worth it. Um, so that was my favorite part. There are also numerous other fascinating figures from Perkins passed, and I would urge anyone who's interested to check out the Perkins Archives website at www dot Perkins dot org's slash history slash archives.

spk_1:   20:58
Very cool pants money what? Advertising for them.

spk_0:   21:03
00 no. This is pro bono, because oh, I want people to see my block post. Oh, yeah? So you made amazing staff. They're also run a great blogged wink wink that you can also find on that website where they highlight some of the more interesting and unique people, places and things that they have found in their collection. You might even find a blogger article from yours truly.

spk_1:   21:28
You'll probably find it. She was over the moon when she finished writing it because she got asked if it could be posted like,

spk_0:   21:35
yeah, it got it. Got published our local archivist newsletter, which I was very excited about. So it's you You're ah, New England arguments member. You probably saw it like, four years ago. Maybe, um so you can also check out the archives on Instagram at Perkins Archive as well as the school social media, which is Perkins vision on Twitter and Instagram, and they post a lot of really cool stuff. So I highly encourage you guys to follow them and you always learn something. Yeah, that was my topic.

spk_1:   22:11
Awesome. So we are likely going to be starting doing something a little bit different right here. We have a few people who also run podcasts that wanted to do cross promotions. So in between a switching topics, we will likely have Ah, minute or so break where you guys get to hear from other lovely podcasts. Yeah, So here's our 1st 1 Our history. Those short is wrought with events that transform our existence locked away and hidden within sacred vaults exists a treasure trove of events, inventions and stoic occurrences hoping to shine once more. These gems have many facets. Some shine like beacons of hope and others air dim with warnings of future transgressions. Sometimes history is easily accessible, and this is the history that we know by teachings. But what of the history that we were never taught? Sometimes we must act as thieves to steal the lock treasures of history and find out what secrets, like join us as we picked the locks, open the hidden artifacts and bring these treasures back from whence they came Onley on ransack history presented by sounded heart. Welcome back,

spk_0:   23:28

spk_1:   23:29
Hope you enjoyed that. Hope you Ah Go check them out after you finish listening to us. Obviously

spk_0:   23:34
Yes. Please finish ours first. But if you don't, I mean, you're only skipping, Jonathan. I

spk_1:   23:39
see how it

spk_0:   23:40
I'm Katie. Don't give Jonathan. I have no idea what you're gonna talk about, but I'm sure it's wonderful.

spk_1:   23:47
So my topic is on March 8th of seven of 1978. I have definitely got a little bit of number dyslexia. Whenever I read,

spk_0:   23:58
I was going to say if it wasn't 1700 you should have gone first.

spk_1:   24:01
So mine is March 8th of 1978.

spk_0:   24:05
There you go.

spk_1:   24:06
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam is released.

spk_0:   24:10

spk_1:   24:11
so I know that I just did like a sci fi first recently with Rossen's Universal Robots, and that was also part of the BBC. And so is this. But I just couldn't pass on the opportunity to somehow talk about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's 42nd anniversary.

spk_0:   24:32
I mean, that's worthwhile.

spk_1:   24:34
And if you don't know why the 42nd is worth, while we will eventually loop around back. My greatest disappointment is that we didn't start this podcast to episode earlier so that we could also be releasing this on Episode 42.

spk_0:   24:49
Ah shucks

spk_1:   24:50
ah so close. We were so close again. It'll make sense later. So if you don't know about Hitchhiker's Guide, then you might recognize the 2005 Disney movie starring Martin Freeman, Zoe Deschanel Most def. Sam Rockwell and Alan Rickman.

spk_0:   25:11
It's Disney. Yep, my brain just blow up.

spk_1:   25:18
Or you alternatively know this as the only book trilogy that has five books in it.

spk_0:   25:23
Wait a second.

spk_1:   25:24
Yeah, and it says that right on the cover of the books. It'll it'll say Book one of three Book two of three book three of three Big Book four of three book five of three

spk_0:   25:36

spk_1:   25:36
Yep, so you already kind of get a feel for what we're headed into right here. And there's more to it because the original production of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was actually a radio show, which I had no idea, Huh? So I had no idea that this existed, and I when in listen to the first episode of it, and he was kind of like a synopsis of the the first episode. It was 1/2 hour format show, just kind of like, you know, most radio dramas back then they're kind of podcast now.

spk_0:   26:11
Hey, wait.

spk_1:   26:13
So The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy opens with a narrator explaining what the hitchhiker's guide is and how it has already supplanted the Great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository for all knowledge and wisdom in the galaxy. Because even though The Hitchhiker's Guide contains many omissions, much of that is hypocrisy fall or at least wildly inaccurate. It beats the older and more accurate works in two important ways. It has the words don't panic in large, friendly letters on the cover, and it's cheaper

spk_0:   26:44
they go.

spk_1:   26:45
So that's a what I listen to that like, You know, I remember reading that, and I remember seeing it in the movie, but it was kind of funny. Listen, listening to like the 1979 version

spk_0:   26:56
Oh, I bet

spk_1:   26:57
a. Yeah, in just that's the kind of comedy year in for when, when you go to listen to this,

spk_0:   27:03
so can you still listen to, like the original broadcast then?

spk_1:   27:06
No, I couldn't find the original original broadcast. The BBC has a website dedicated to it, with all of the episodes having their own pages, but they'll just say not available at this time. I think there's like two or three of the original broadcast episodes that are actually available to listen to right now, huh? Yeah. So the story centers around Arthur Dent, who is a normal person whose house is being demolished so that the so that they can build a bypass through it. When Arthur mentions to the construction workers, that has just been a day since he was told the House would be demolished. The foreman informs him that the plans have been on display in the city hall, in a basement, in a file cabinet England glass case with a warning, obstructing it, saying watch out plans air inside and that it has been there for weeks.

spk_0:   27:53
Ah, yes. Then you should have known exactly where to go

spk_1:   27:56
to find it. So ah, in enters one of Arthur Dens friends who is Ford Prefect. He is an alien who, um ends up coming to warn Arthur that he needs to come with him to the pub right away. The narrator than interrupts to describe The Hitchhiker's Guide again. Basically, after the continuing theme throughout this throughout this whole show is that the Hitchhiker's Guide reads its own entries to you when they happen. Interesting. So it goes to explain that Arthur, I mean that Ford Ford Prefect is actually an alien who's been living on Earth for a long time and has been tryingto absorb different Earth culture. Because The Hitchhiker's Guide only has one entry for the planet Earth, and it just says harmless. Yep, so that's that's it. And then Arthur ah, Ford Prefect ends up explaining to Arthur that he's been here to tell, provides, improve that entry in that after many redactions, he has finally gotten a new version into The Hitchhiker's Guide. Mostly harmless.

spk_0:   29:05
I mean, pretty much an improvement. I Yes.

spk_1:   29:09
Yep. So while they're talking in the bar, ah, Ford is just casually mentioning that the Earth is about to be destroyed to everyone. Just anyone that asks. He's just like, Yep, we only got 10 minutes left. Everyone just kind of like, figuratively or literally was, like, absolutely, literally, like we've got 10 minutes left before everything's gone. So you're gonna need to drink and drink again and drink again. You're gonna need it. And then the narrator goes on to describe the ships that are currently above earth that are going to destroy the Earth and that they described it as these ships hung in the air exactly the way that bricks don't. What a way to describe something.

spk_0:   29:50
Oh, my gosh, the opposite of this thing.

spk_1:   29:56
So as the conversation is going along with with Arthur and Ford and Arthur is just being exasperated and can't not focus on his house, that's about to be demolished.

spk_0:   30:07
I mean, Fair

spk_1:   30:08
four just keeps counting down the exact seconds to till the world ends. And that's when when he finally gets close to zero Ah, Arthur gets up and goes to try and stop the construction workers construction workers again while he's at the construction site. A loud noise comes from above the earth, and it is a vogue on fleet that is invading Earth. And they explained that the Vogue on construction crew is here because they need to create a bypass through space. But people shouldn't worry. The plans were on display at the neighboring outfit, secretary for 50 Earth years, and everyone should have had the time to review them. Ford runs and grabs. Arthur sticks out his thumb and teleports them to the Vogue on ship just before the earth is destroyed.

spk_0:   30:52
So basically, Arthur is now the only human.

spk_1:   30:55
Yes, the earth is destroyed fun. And actually, he's not the only human. There is another human in space named Ah. I think her name is trillion, but we don't need to get there. She doesn't come up in the first episode. Ah, so this episode also introduces something called the Babel fish, which might sound familiar to some people. Um, when Ford sticks it in Arthur's ear, he understands all languages

spk_0:   31:25
around. Yep,

spk_1:   31:27
yep. So now it's clicking.

spk_0:   31:29
Yeah, it's second,

spk_1:   31:30
and there is currently a vogue on coming through a p, a system that they're now hitchhiking on. And Arthur just understands what the Vogue on languages after this Babel fish is stuck in his ear. The Hitchhiker's Guide describes the Babel fish as small yellow leech like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. The way it works is it feeds on brainwave energy not from its own carrier, but from those around. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brave Wayne brainwave energy to nourish itself and then excretes into the mind of its carrier at Telepathic Matrix formed by combining the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain, which has supplied them. So it's a translator. It's alive. Translator.

spk_0:   32:14
Very much, Jeff.

spk_1:   32:15
So for a real life society, this is one of the more influential parts of the site. SciFi story, as it predicted the future or more accurately, gave scientist something to strive to make. Riel. In 1998 Alta Vista gave us the first Internet translation service, which they ended up naming Babel fish a few years later. Now, fast forward, quite a few years, and there are quite a few devices and Absecon translate and listen and replace speech in other languages. And there is even an ear piece version in the works, probably a few of them. But the one that I was able to find was an Indiegogo project by Waverly Labs called The Ambassador, and it just kind of looks like a Bluetooth ear piece that covers your whole year. And apparently it'll start shipping this summer, so we'll hope that works.

spk_0:   33:00
That's really need.

spk_1:   33:02
So back to Hitchhiker's Guide Now the radio show is met with critical acclaim as one of the most high quality sound radio shows out there, and it came fully stocked with sound effects. Unlike any show that had been done in the past,

spk_0:   33:15
that's pretty neat.

spk_1:   33:16
So after the first improv airings of the first season, the actors went back and re recorded the live shows to add even more polished sound effects and obviously, cleaner dialogue with the removal of the improv aspect of it. Aye, aye. Listen to this version of the show, and it felt completely fluid, like it was almost like the audio is ripped from the movie. Rather than being an audio only mitt medium, I was really impressed that it actually still holds up listening to it 42 years later. Wow, yeah, and just one more aka Laid for them that they earned is it's the only radio show ever to be nominated for a Hugo Science fiction and fantasy award.

spk_0:   33:53
Oh, that's cool.

spk_1:   33:54
Yeah, So where does the story go after radio? Well, it became a stage show some years after the radio at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, and a few repeat showings happen the years that other places in Europe than a TV show existed a few years later, in 1981 the radio show also became a Siri's to support these new mediums, including the book Siri's that most people are probably familiar with. The books were called Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in late 1979 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in 1980 Life, the Universe and Everything in 1982 So Long and thanks for All the Fish in 1984 and mostly harmless in 1990. So remember how I have mentioned that was a trilogy and it had five books. Well, it turns out, the reasoning for this was that the radio show was so popular that the publisher wanted Douglas Adams to transcribe the novel fast. Adams was working on it, and it ended up exceeding the publisher's deadline. So when Adams told the publisher that he still need more time, the publisher came to Adams, told him to finish writing whatever line he was on and took the script and published it.

spk_0:   35:03

spk_1:   35:04
so if you read the first book, it ends extremely abruptly and that is why so that's how the first book got split in two, and I'd imagine the same happen to one of the other book, Somewhere down the line. Adam's reportedly wasn't much of a fan of having only five books, as is weird, numbered and done, and he'd much prefer six. But he died in 2001 before he could end up writing the sixth book since 1984. There was an attempt to fill out the last bit of media for the franchise, but they could never get around to making a movie. Originally, the movie was written with Bill Murray, Hugh Laurie, Jim Carey and Dan Ackroyd in mind for the main characters. But Bill Mary and Dan Ackroyd's involvement with another SciFi epic in 1984 Ghostbusters definitely squash those plans if they ever were truly considering them. Yeah, so it would take many studios, directors and almost there's Before, in 2005 we would get to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie that some of us have probably seen.

spk_0:   36:02
I've seen it, Yeah, I actually think I watched it with you,

spk_1:   36:05
probably. So that's not the last that we get of Hitchhikers since in 2009 Adam's Post humus Lee got his wish for a six installment created by Oh and Coffer

spk_0:   36:16

spk_1:   36:16
who is the creator of the Artemus Foul Books. Siri's

spk_0:   36:19

spk_1:   36:19
Yeah, it was announced on BBC radio by the original voice of the protagonist, Arthur Dent, and was end up being called another. And another thing. Yeah, unlike the books that came before, the title was not actually in the book but take him from in line earlier in the installment. So long and thanks for all the fish. The line red. The storm has now definitely abated. And what Thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying. And another thing 20 minutes after admitting that he lost the argument

spk_0:   37:00
Army arguing myself in the shower. Two days later, winning said argument with myself in the shower.

spk_1:   37:08
Yep, I thought that was really clever thing to label a book that came out many, however,

spk_0:   37:14
many years later, in

spk_1:   37:15

spk_0:   37:17
Wow, Yeah, that's another really smart. That's brilliant.

spk_1:   37:23
So I guess to close this out the this being the 42nd anniversary is a big deal because one of the major plot points of the book for revolves around the president of the Galaxy's a fad Beetle Brocks trying to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Another one of the book titles when they finally find the Heart of Gold, a supercomputer that can give them this meaning it responds much to their dismay. 42. So that's part of the story of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

spk_0:   37:53
The meaning of everything is 40 42. So if you're 42 years old, then I guess that's like what, Like Peek, that's your peak. Wow, it'll never be back

spk_1:   38:03
from Kylie. That's that's your peak

spk_0:   38:06
by anyone. Most people say that you peek in your twenties and I'm just like there's hope. If I can pick it 42 I'll be happy. Okay,

spk_1:   38:20
all right. So onto our call to action, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter at half wit history. You can find us on our website at half wit. Dash history dot com, and you can send us e mails to half wit pot at gmail dot com.

spk_0:   38:37
Yeah, we'd love to hear from you guys any common suggestions, topic ideas. We welcome it all

spk_1:   38:44
and just want to give a thank you to the fishermen for the use of our theme song Another day you confined their soundcloud in our show Notes.

spk_0:   38:53
Yeah. Go check him out.

spk_1:   38:55
Okay. Are we on to fund fax

spk_0:   38:57
Fun? Fax What you got? What? You What you What you got? Um, I have several. Pick one. Okay, I have one real quick one in one. Real one. Okay, I'll do my real quick one, then you can go. Then I'll go. Fine, Fine. Okay. So in a really quick call Back to Episode 6 March 3rd 1951 Watch. Mr. Wizard debuted on NBC. Oh, cool. So that was my call back?

spk_1:   39:26
Yep. In an episode, six was something Wizard World.

spk_0:   39:32
Ah, super was there was a world. Yep,

spk_1:   39:35
yep. Super was their world. I talked about Mario Brothers, that one

spk_0:   39:38
and I talked about Mr Wizard. Yeah,

spk_1:   39:42
And then I guess mine is going to be that March 6 of 1950. Silly Putty was introduced as a toy by Peter Hodgson. It was invented in 1943 by James, right in an effort to make synthetic rubber.

spk_0:   39:56
Ah, that's fun. All right, so my real fun fact is a little weird on march 2nd 1978 Charlie Chaplin's body was stolen from a cemetery in the Swiss village, of course. Ear serve survey near, uh, Lusanne, Switzerland. The grave robbers and the body were found a few weeks later. Oh, no. Yeah.

spk_1:   40:23
I mean, they they found a body.

spk_0:   40:24
They reburied him and everything, but Yep. Charlie Chaplin's body was stolen.

spk_1:   40:31
I think that's just a measure of, like, how great you are. You know, wild when you start getting one star reviews for things that people like you've really made it.

spk_0:   40:38
I think it's

spk_1:   40:39
also for famous people. Once your body gets

spk_0:   40:41
robbed, you made it. You get grave, Rob. Yeah. So I thought that was weird.

spk_1:   40:47
Cool. Well, anyways, that's been our show. As always, I've been your half wit,

spk_0:   40:52
and I'm your historian,

spk_1:   40:53
and we hope you listen. Next week