The Story Behind

156 EpisodesProduced by Emily Prokop

The Story Behind tells the extraordinary history of the ordinary. Everyday objects are more closely examined, from their ancient beginnings through the present—all within 5-10 minutes.

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Muses

March 21st, 2019

8:18

Conversation Hearts

February 14th, 2019

8:27

One of my favorite holidays just passed. February 15th. Yup, you heard me right. February 15th, not the 14th. Oh, I love Valentine’s Day, but I’m …

The Trampoline

February 7th, 2019

8:19

Groundhog Day

February 2nd, 2019

8:56

Okay, campers, rise and shine and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today!

No, you’re not stuck in a loop, unless you’ve already …

Pantyhose

January 17th, 2019

8:31

Even though the topic of today’s episode isn’t necessarily exercise-related, it would be safe to say it gave me a bit of a workout this past week. …

Bottled Water

January 10th, 2019

15:18

Remember the Left Shark from the Super Bowl a few years ago? He was supposed to be just a guy in a shark costume dancing next to Katy Perry during the halftime show. But because he decided to do his own thing, he became …

Toilet Paper

January 3rd, 2019

7:59

One of my favorite compliments I get about The Story Behind book is that people love reading it in the bathroom. At first, people seem embarrassed to tell me this, but in the introductory chapter of the book, I put a PS …

Re-Release of The Story Behind Christmas Traditions (Part 1)

December 27th, 2018

8:19

Hey there! Hope everyone is enjoying this weird week between Christmas and New Years! When I released the last episode, The Story Behind Christmas Traditions, Part 2, I had some questions about the first part.

I …

Christmas Traditions (Part 2)

December 13th, 2018

11:47

As I’m recording this, I have my holiday candle burning, my kids hopped up on Christmas cookie sugar, and I’m struggling to find a way to hide …

Tipping

December 6th, 2018

9:10

I love my job as a podcast editor. I get to listen to podcasts every day and get paid for it, and my clients are absolutely wonderful, as many …

Balloons

November 29th, 2018

9:49

When I was in Washington, DC, a few weeks ago, I stopped at the International Spy Museum before leaving. I could have stayed in there for hours, and …

Cranberry Sauce | From Controversy to Canned Creation (TSB132)

November 22nd, 2018

10:33

This past year has been one of the busiest I’ve ever had. I could never have imagined two years ago that starting this podcast would have brought me …

Sick Sayings | Bless You, Frog In Your Throat, Sick as a Dog (TSB131)

November 15th, 2018

7:31

Sorry for the delayed episode this week! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen that I went to DC Podfest. And the first day I …

Boston Baked Beans | Traditional New England Fare (TSB130)

November 8th, 2018

8:24

If you follow @StoryBehindPod on Instagram, you may have seen that I went to Boston last weekend for the Sound Education conference at Harvard …

'Africa' by Toto | Two-Year Anniversary Episode (TSB129)

November 1st, 2018

10:52

This is a very special episode of The Story Behind. Believe it or not, two years ago I pressed Publish on the first three episodes of this podcast, The Story Behind the Theremin, The Story Behind Dry Ice, and The Story …

Play-Doh | From Wallpaper Cleaner to Teacher's Craft Supply (TSB128)

October 25th, 2018

8:50

If you’re a parent who has even been on Pinterest and looked for activities for your child, you’ve probably seen at least a dozen different recipes for modeling clay or sensory dough, as it’s sometimes called. Most of …

The Printing Press | Gutenberg's Grand Idea and How It Left Him Poor (TSB127)

October 11th, 2018

11:01

If you’re listening to this episode when it comes out, you may know that The Story Behind book will be released on Monday, October 15th. In the …

The Story Behind Book Update #2

October 11th, 2018

6:04

There will be a new episode this week, but I also wanted to put out a bonus episode talking about The Story Behind book, which releases Monday, October 15th.

In all honesty, it's still not real, even after getting the …

Banned Books | A History of Putting Books on Blast (TSB126)

September 27th, 2018

12:37

Only a few more weeks until The Story Behind book is out! And one of my podcasting mentors and buddies Dave Jackson gave me the idea to do a bunch of …

Hairspray | School Photo Horror, Big Hair Throughout the Decades, and the Real Story that Inspired the Musical (TSB125)

September 20th, 2018

11:04

School picture time is here and every time I get my daughter ready for her picture, I try not to follow current trends too much. I have this fear …

Matches | Alchemy, Phossy Jaw, and the Matchstick Girls Strike (TSB124)

September 13th, 2018

10:45

I honestly didn’t think I would be as interested in the history of today’s topic when I first started reading about it. There was a lot of chemistry …

The Teddy Bear | Conflicting Stories, Theodore Roosevelt, Steiff Bears (TSB123)

September 6th, 2018

9:22

I love when I find out an origin story I think I knew turns out to be either a widely believed false rumor or when I find out other people learned different origin stories. That’s what this episode is about, so if you …

Roller Coasters | From Russian Ice Slides to Disneyland to the Psychology Behind Thrill Seekers (TSB122)

August 30th, 2018

12:14

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer is pretty much reaching the end. And, as a parent, I’m pretty happy about that because it means my …

S'mores | The (Awkward) History of Graham Crackers, The Medicinal Marshmallows, and All About Milton Hershey (TSB121)

August 9th, 2018

10:52

This episode will be told in layers. The tasty summer treat I’m talking about has three ingredients, and while they’re all delicious on their own, …

Roadside Attractions | A Road Trip with Josh Hallmark from Our Americana (TSB120)

August 2nd, 2018

12:32

Today I’m doing a collaborative show with Josh Hallmark from the podcast Our Americana, which explores unique small towns across America through the …

Headphones | From Telephone Operators to the U.S. Navy to Your Ears Today (TSB119)

July 19th, 2018

8:54

If you’re listening to this when it comes out, you may know that next week I’m going to a huge conference for podcasters known as Podcast Movement. And I thought it only appropriate to do an episode related to this.

You …

The Necktie | From Chinese Soldiers to European Dandies to Politicians (TSB118)

July 12th, 2018

8:20

One of my favorite things about doing this podcast is looking at things in everyday life and wondering if they still have the same purpose they did when they were invented. This week’s subject is a bit ambiguous. It’s …

The Stethoscope | Thoroughly Modest Medicine (TSB117)

July 5th, 2018

8:09

If you’ve ever read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” you may hear a heartbeat as something a little creepy. Although it’s funny to note that on many sound machines for babies, a heartbeat is offered as a way to …

The Story Behind Book Update #1

June 28th, 2018

3:48

Hamburgers | More Than Meats the Eye (TSB116)

June 14th, 2018

8:23

Earlier this week, one of the funniest exchanges on social media came about after the company known as IHOP changed out their P, which stood for Pancakes, to a B. Initially, no one knew what the B stood for. …

Bingo | From the Italian Lottery to Popular Church Fundraising Game (TSB115)

June 7th, 2018

9:56
  • Knock at the door
  • One fat lady
  • Rugby team
  • Sweet sixteen
  • A duck and a flea
  • The famous street in Manhattan

No, those weren’t bloopers, although I’m …

Pong | Bleep, Bloop! Table-Tennis for your Television! (TSB114)

May 31st, 2018

7:43

If you’re one of the die-hard listeners of The Story Behind who eagerly await the episode to be released at midnight Eastern time on Thursdays -- yes, Adam, I’m talking to you — you may be wondering why it’s a few hours …

The Traffic Light | Stop Right Now, Thank You Very Much (TSB113)

May 17th, 2018

10:20

As many of you know, The Story Behind is being turned into a book, which means I’m in the process right now of doing probably one of my favorite parts of making the podcast, which is doing a ton of research in …

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen | Freddie Mercury, The Music Video, Wayne's World (TSB1112)

May 10th, 2018

8:37

I’ve only done one other episode of The Story Behind about a song, and that was The Story Behind Imagine by John Lennon. And if you’ve been in the …

Livestream for the Cure | Fundraising for Cancer Research with the Epic Film Guys (TSB111)

May 3rd, 2018

13:39

This will be a different episode from normal, since I normally don’t do interview shows, but I wanted to bring on Nick from the Epic Film Guys to talk a little bit about the fundraiser he and other podcasters are doing …

Emily Prokop | Meet Your Host and Learn About the Show (TSB110)

April 26th, 2018

13:10

If this is your first episode, this is a warning it’ll be a little different than past episodes, but it will also be a good way to hear what this show is about. Does that make sense? Don’t worry. It will.

On the day I’m …

The Paperclip | Office Supply and Demand, Paperclip Trading, and Clippy (RIP) (TSB109)

April 19th, 2018

9:46

This episode is actually one of the first topics I ever thought to talk about when I created the show. And I weirdly kept putting it off.

Whenever I tell someone what my podcast is about, I say something along the lines …

Mercury Retrograde | Damn it, Planet! (TSB108)

April 12th, 2018

8:09

While not scientifically proven as a reason why communication and technology fails, there was plenty of evidence in this episode to prove otherwise, …

The Paralympics | The Doctor Who Turned World War II Spinal Injury Patients Into Athletes (TSB107)

April 5th, 2018

7:16

I am pleased to have worked with Win from the podcast Ask Win for this episode and I’m going to let her introduce it.

When Win first talked to me about doing an episode in conjunction with Cerebral Palsy Awareness …

April Fool's Day "Remastered" | The Quotes Are Intentional ;)

April 1st, 2018

3:57

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.yadot yrt ot eno tcefrep eht saw siht dnA .edosipe redlo na gniretsamer a dnah ym yrt ot detnaw I ,(srehto dna flesym rof) stsacdop gnitide fo neht ecnis nettog ev'I ecitcarp eht lla htiw dna ,yaD s'looF lirpA …

PEZ | History, Candy Marketing, The PEZ Outlaw (TSB106)

March 22nd, 2018

9:46

If you follow The Story Behind on Instagram, you may have seen our weekend adventure with the family to the factory where today’s sugary-sweet topic …

Pi(e) | Meetups, Meatpies, and Mathematics (TSB105)

March 15th, 2018

8:12

If you’re listening to this on the day it comes out, beware the Ides of March! That is if you’re Julius Caesar. But in all honesty, I tried looking …

The Band-Aid | Adhesive Bandages, Marketing Highs and Lows, and the 1980s Supergroup (TSB104)

March 1st, 2018

7:39

For those who don’t know, I am incredibly accident-prone. I’ve never had any sort of grace. In fact, it’s a miracle I’ve never broken any bones. But one thing I do end up with are a lot of cuts and scrapes, and we end …

Post-its | Persistence, Productivity, and Romy & Michele (TSB103)

February 22nd, 2018

8:32

One of my favorite movies I feel doesn’t get enough love is Romy & Michele’s High School reunion, starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow as two …

Sliced Bread | The Greatest Thing Since Betty White (TSB102)

February 5th, 2018

6:44

Today’s topic came about in 1928, and in the span of time since then, many things have been said to be the greatest thing since its invention. The more I read about it, and how easy it made people’s lives, the more I …

The Pink Slip | Enjoyment from Unemployment (TSB101)

January 29th, 2018

8:45

Hey there! Remember me? Yup, The Story Behind is finally back after a hiatus I did not expect would be as long as it has.

Here’s the short version of …

The Story Behind: The Musical! (TSB100)

November 2nd, 2017

7:01

Warning: If you usually listen to this podcast at a faster speed, singing will be used and this might be a good time to slow your podcast player down.

If you’ve been with me from the very beginning, you know every so …

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups | A Combination of Epic Proportions (TSB099)

October 30th, 2017

7:23

I made the mistake of researching and writing this episode with my 6-year-old daughter next to me. And at 8:30 in the morning, the pictures of the …

Kit Kat | From Scholarly Clubs in the 1700s to a Not-So-Scholarly Lunch Hour of Taste-Testing in 2017 (TSB098)

October 26th, 2017

10:16

I should probably apologize in advance for today’s topic, since last week’s episode The Story Behind Lollipops got Shirley Temple and The Chordettes …

Baby Ruth | Layers of Origin Stories, Baseball Tie-Ins and "Ruthless" Marketing (TSB097)

October 23rd, 2017

9:13

I thought I knew the story behind this candy bar before researching it, but it turns out, there was more layers to this story than I originally thought. You know how in Shrek, there’s the line “Ogres are like onions,” …

Lollipops | Differing Origin Stories, Salvador Dali, and Ear Worms (TSB096)

October 19th, 2017

8:01

From Egyptians eating honey on sticks to today’s modern-day confections, this subject of this episode is kicking off a series that will hopefully …

Tissues | From Handkerchiefs to Kleenex (TSB095)

October 16th, 2017

7:26

Every fall and spring, my husband and I buy the topic of today’s episode by the case for our allergies. And with a new baby in the house, we’ve been buying even more. We have a box in almost every room in the house. We …

Handcuffs | My Hands are Tied (TSB094)

October 12th, 2017

10:19

From crime dramas to magic acts to "50 Shades of Grey," today’s topic is known around the world, although there are restrictions in place depending on the country about how a person is displayed with them. France, for …

Promo

October 9th, 2017

0:56

 

Get a taste for The Story Behind by listening to the promo above.

If you're the host of another podcast and would like to play it on your show, by …

The Toothbrush | The Nacirema Weird Habit that Took a While To Catch On (TSB093)

October 9th, 2017

7:13

Usually I grab inspiration for my episodes from random instances during my week when I take a moment and wonder the history behind things we may take for granted. Well, this week, I went to the dentist and while I was …

Las Vegas | Early Settlers, Quickie Divorces and Weddings, Casinos, and the Fabulous Sign (TSB092)

October 5th, 2017

9:54

If you’re listening to this the week it comes out, I’m going to break away from the usual format of the show to editorialize that this was a tough week, no? Sunday night, 59 people were killed and more than 520 people …

Monster Trucks | Modifying Pick-Ups, Sports Entertainment, and Sunday x 3 (TSB091)

October 2nd, 2017

6:39

Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in America probably remember the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons showing the subject of today’s episode. These giant beast machines were jumping over buses, crushing …

Podcasts | Celebrate the Power of Podcasts Sept. 30 (TSB090)

September 28th, 2017

7:10

THE FOLLOWING AUDIO HAS BEEN CORRECTED: Christopher Lydon, not Dave Lydon, is known as the first voice to be released as a downloadable MP3 on an RSS feed in 2003.

***

Everyone has a story about how they discovered …

Procrastination | Historic Productivity, Famous Procrastinators, Carpe Diem Real Meaning (TSB089)

September 25th, 2017

7:11

As I’m recording this episode, it’s a few hours before I usually publish. In fact, I wrote this episode only hours ago from scratch. Did you ever have one of those weekends when you knew you had to do something -- in my …

Pockets | One Hand in My Pick-Pocket-Full of Sunshine (TSB088)

September 21st, 2017

7:04

If you haven’t looked at the title of this episode yet, let me give you a little quiz of your musical knowledge to help introduce today’s topic.

What does these things have in common? The Pretenders’ brass, Perry Como’s …

Clowns | Send Them In, But Don't Expect Everyone to Laugh (TSB087)

September 18th, 2017

12:03

The following contains subject matter that may not be appropriate for younger listeners or anyone with any sort of fear of clowns. Listener …

The Pumpkin Spice Latte | History of Pumpkins, Birth of the Latte, Starbucks Seasonal Favorite (TSB086)

September 14th, 2017

8:29

Here in New England where I live, the fall is probably the most loved season. The leaves change, it gets a bit cooler, and nothing sounds better than …

Clue: The Game | Clue Series: The Inventor, Changes to the Game, Different Versions, Strategies (TSB085)

September 11th, 2017

8:30

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

Clue: The Movie | Clue Series: Behind the Scenes, VHS Cult Classic, Alternate Casting (TSB084)

September 7th, 2017

6:47

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Knife | Clue Series: Early Beginnings, Galvarino, and Mrs. Peacock (TSB083)

September 4th, 2017

7:53

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Revolver | Clue Series: The Beatles, Samuel Colt, the Colt .45, and Professor Plum (TSB082)

August 31st, 2017

8:31

In 1966, the Beatles played their friend Klaus Voorman their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” while Voorman went to work sketching what would become the …

The Rope | Clue Series: Ancient Uses, Torture, and Mrs. White (TSB081)

August 28th, 2017

7:27

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Wrench | Clue Series: False Origins, Jack Johnson, and Colonel Mustard (TSB080)

August 24th, 2017

8:19

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Candlestick | Clue Series: Naughty Nursery Rhymes, Liberace, and Miss Scarlet (TSB079)

August 21st, 2017

6:54

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Lead Pipe | Clue Series: Waterways, Poisoning, and Mr. Green (TSB078)

August 17th, 2017

8:04

Welcome to The Story Behind: Clue Series. In every episode of this series, we talk about the history of one of the original weapons used in the game, “Clue.” This series may not be appropriate for all ages and listener …

The Mustache | Facial Feature of Kings & Wrestlers (TSB077)

July 13th, 2017

8:02

As of 2017, it’s been 16 years since Alex Trebek shocked the world by appearing clean-shaven in the 18th season of “Jeopardy!” Aside from one season back two years ago, when he grew a thinner version back again, …

Beards | Facial Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (TSB076)

July 10th, 2017

7:35

When god said, let there be light, Chuck Norris said, “Say please.” Why is this joke funny? Or, at least it was funny a few years ago when Chuck Norris jokes were an internet favorite? Because in the joke, you are to …

America's Bald Eagle | Lies from Sesame Street and The West Wing (TSB075)

July 6th, 2017

8:18

When you sign up for a social media account, once you’ve established your username and profile, what’s one of the first things you do? Choose a profile picture. Well, in 1776, after the Declaration of Independence was …

Uncle Sam | The Evolution of America's Mascot (TSB074)

July 3rd, 2017

6:17

We talked about mascots in The Story Behind Sports Superstitions and Curses and about how they’re thought to bring a team luck. Well, mascots aren’t just for sports. The one we’ll be talking about today is basically a …

Surfer Lingo | Cowabunga, Dude! (TSB073)

June 29th, 2017

7:42

Sometimes I’ll be researching an episode and get the idea for another episode from whatever Google rabbit hole I find myself in. That’s how this …

Surfing | History of the Sport, Gidget, California Sound (TSB072)

June 26th, 2017

7:08

It’s officially summer, if you’re listening to this episode around the time it comes out in June of 2017. Let’s get away from the deep subjects like we had last week with The Story Behind Hypnotism and The Story Behind …

Hypnosis | Everybody Trance Now! (TSB071)

June 22nd, 2017

7:54

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, …

Subliminal Messages | Conspiracy Theories, Advertising, Paul is Dead (TSB070)

June 19th, 2017

9:27

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 …

Tattoos | Body Art That's Ink-redible (TSB069)

June 15th, 2017

8:02

Psychologists have studied the importance of symbols and found people, whether conscious of it or not, are drawn to symbols of immortality like the …

Ear Piercing | A Hole Lot of History (TSB068)

June 12th, 2017

7:08

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 …

Bubble Gum | Pop-Notch Chewing Satisfaction (TSB067)

June 8th, 2017

8:12

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 …

Chewing Gum | Tree Sap Made Tasty (TSB066)

June 5th, 2017

8:01

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 …

Sporks | KFC Cutlery of Choice (TSB065)

June 1st, 2017

7:39

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 …

The T-Shirt | How Marlon Brando Made Underwear Outerwear (TSB064)

May 29th, 2017

9:41

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 …

Lullabies | The Art of Sleeping Like a Baby (TSB063)

May 25th, 2017

9:59

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 …

Fidget Spinners | The Stress-Relief Toy Fad Teachers Hate (TSB062)

May 22nd, 2017

7:16

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 …

Thank You | Thank You Cards, Gratitude Journals, #Blessed (TSB061)

May 18th, 2017

4:58

During my five week baby break, I received so many wonderful Tweets, Facebook and notifications, Instagram likes and various messages congratulating …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1964-1989 Part 2: Wheel of Fortune through Rock and Roller Cola Wars (TSB060)

May 15th, 2017

5:58

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1964-1989 Part 1: Birth Control through Russians in Afghanistan (TSB059)

May 11th, 2017

7:18

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1961-1963: Hemingway through JFK Blown Away (TSB058)

May 8th, 2017

8:46

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1959-1960: Buddy Holly through Belgians in the Congo (TSB057)

May 4th, 2017

8:18

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1957-1958: Little Rock through Children of Thalidomide (TSB056)

May 1st, 2017

7:19

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1955-1956: Einstein through Trouble in the Suez (TSB055)

April 27th, 2017

8:11

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1953-1954: Joseph Stalin through Rock Around the Clock (TSB054)

April 24th, 2017

9:02

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1951-1952: Rosenbergs through Santayana Goodbye (TSB053)

April 20th, 2017

8:15

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire 1949-1950: Harry Truman through Marilyn Monroe (TSB052)

April 17th, 2017

9:36

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 …

We Didn't Start the Fire | Introduction (WDSTF Series, TSB051)

April 13th, 2017

6:30

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 …

The Stanley Cup | Lord Stanley, NHL Play-Offs, New York Rangers (TSB050)

April 10th, 2017

7:47

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 …

Mechanical Keyboards | From Typewriters to PC Gaming (TSB049)

April 6th, 2017

8:28

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 …

Voice Recognition | Basic Computers, Creepy '80s Dolls, Moviefone and More (TSB048)

April 3rd, 2017

9:30

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 …

April Fool's Day | Special Mini-Sode

April 1st, 2017

3:34

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 …

Wedding Luck & Superstitions | Wearing White, Bridesmaids, Rings, Rice, Cake and More (TSB047)

March 30th, 2017

8:32

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 -- …

Luck in the Home | Opening an Umbrella Indoors, Breaking a Mirror, Walking Under a Ladder, Horseshoes (TSB046)

March 27th, 2017

8:30

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 …

Lucky Food | Throwing Salt Over the Shoulder, Protective Garlic, the Incredible Egg (TSB045)

March 23rd, 2017

8:56

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 …

Sports Superstitions & Curses | The Curses of the Bambino, Cubs and Indians; and Lucky Charms (TSB044)

March 20th, 2017

8:51

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 …

The Luck of the Irish | Four-Leaf Clovers, Irish Luck, Leprechauns (TSB043)

March 16th, 2017

7:17

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 …

Lucky Numbers | Numerology, Unlucky 13, Lucky 7 (TSB042)

March 13th, 2017

8:44

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 …

Lucky Animals | Rabbits (and Their Feet), Spiders, and Cats (TSB041)

March 9th, 2017

8:21

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 …

Theater Superstitions | Break a Leg, The Curse of Macbeth, Whistling Backstage (TSB040)

March 6th, 2017

7:23

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 …

Luck & Superstitions | An Overview of This Month's Theme (TSB039)

March 2nd, 2017

6:23

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 …

Forrest Gump (With Nick from The Epic Film Guys) | Forrest Gump February (TSB038)

February 27th, 2017

15:27

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 …

Prosthetics | Forrest Gump February (TSB037)

February 23rd, 2017

8:30

 

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 …

The Smiley Face | Forrest Gump February (TSB036)

February 20th, 2017

6:38

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 …

Imagine (by John Lennon) | Forrest Gump February (TSB035)

February 16th, 2017

9:13

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 …

Ping-Pong | Forrest Gump February (TSB034)

February 13th, 2017

10:22

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 …

Dr Pepper | Forrest Gump February (TSB033)

February 9th, 2017

8:01

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 …

The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door | Forrest Gump February (TSB032)

February 6th, 2017

9:29

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 …

Nathan Bedford Forrest | Forrest Gump February (TSB031)

February 2nd, 2017

10:26

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 …

The Story Behind 30 Random Things | Trivia and History Galore! (TSB030)

January 30th, 2017

11:41

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 …

Mad Hatters | From Mercury Poisoning to Johnny Depp (TSB029)

January 26th, 2017

8:21

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 …

The Mona Lisa | Stolen Art and a Mysterious Smile (TSB028)

January 23rd, 2017

9:06

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 …

Betty White | The Later Years (TSB027)

January 19th, 2017

10:14

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. …

Betty White | The Early Years (TSB026)

January 16th, 2017

9:22

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. …

Pretzels | Knot Your Average Snack (TSB025)

January 12th, 2017

8:37

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 …

Potato Chips | Crunch Time (TSB024)

January 9th, 2017

8:16

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 …

Soap Operas | A Daily Dose of Drama (TSB023)

January 5th, 2017

9:50

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 …

The Treadmill | Where the Sidewalk Doesn't End (TSB022)

January 2nd, 2017

6:52

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 …

New Year's Eve | Start 2017 Off with Some Fun Facts (TSB021)

December 29th, 2016

8:07

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 …

The Four Chords | From Pachelbel to Journey and Beyond (TSB020)

December 26th, 2016

7:28

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 …

Christmas Traditions | Santa, Reindeer, Christmas Lights, Candy Canes, A Christmas Story (TSB019)

December 22nd, 2016

4:46

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 …

The Polygraph | On the Deceiving End (TSB018)

December 19th, 2016

8:18

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 …

Cabbage Patch Kids | And You Thought Hatchimals Were Hard to Find (TSB017)

December 15th, 2016

9:14

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 …

Lego | Fun to Play With, Awful to Step On (TSB016)

December 12th, 2016

5:49

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, …

Madame Tussaud | Just the Wax, Ma'am (TSB015)

December 8th, 2016

6:39

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 …

Speakeasies | Prohibition's Open Secret (TSB014)

December 5th, 2016

8:28

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 …

Stenomasks | Shorthand Sweet (TSB013)

December 1st, 2016

8:50

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 …

Mount Rushmore | Stone-Faced Presidents (TSB012)

November 28th, 2016

12:40

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. …

The Cornucopia | From Greek Mythology to the Hunger Games (TSB011)

November 24th, 2016

8:11

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 …

Comic Sans | The Font Choice of Batman and the Pope (TSB010)

November 21st, 2016

8:49

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 …

Hoodies | For the Everyday Athlete, Rapper and CEO (TSB009)

November 17th, 2016

8:13

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 …

Sadie Hawkins | Marry the Man Today (TSB008)

November 14th, 2016

8:51

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 …

The Electoral College | A Post-Election Special Episode (TSB007)

November 13th, 2016

9:00

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 …

Peanut Butter | Cheap, Easy and Worth Fighting For (TSB006)

November 10th, 2016

9:14

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 …

Secret Ballots | A "No Duh" Solution to Election Day Violence (TSB005)

November 7th, 2016

10:06

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, …

Gunpowder | 'Cause Baby You're a Firework (TSB004)

November 3rd, 2016

7:15

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 …

Sugar Skulls | A Sweet Mexican Tradition (TSB003)

October 31st, 2016

5:58

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, …

Dry Ice | Science We Didn't Know What To Do With (TSB002)

October 31st, 2016

7:44

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, …

The Theremin | Eeriness and Espionage (TSB001)

October 19th, 2016

8:52
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