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What I remember...

Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007, at 10:45 PM

Of late, several things have come to mind with regard to how things have changed since the days of growing up in the 60's. I thought it might serve as a reminder of simpler times to make mention of a few of those memories.

I remember Saturday nights being very special, although I certainly didn't realize it at the time. There was a degree of anticipation, but it would be years later before I realized its worth. On Saturday nights, we were all gathered in front of the one and only television, a black and white console with its rabbit ears atop, to view Gunsmoke, and many of those evenings would include a plate of hot, homemade chocolate chip cookies, or some spamoni (sp?) ice cream (don't ask…somehow a pint was split among ten people). Lawrence Welk either preceded Gunsmoke or took up the rear, can't exactly recall, but I believe Lawrence came first, because I can recall bedding down on a cold winter's night to the memory of Miss Kittie and that distinguishable facial mole that these days would be whacked off by a plastic surgeon upon its first emergence. Miss Kitty's saloon (not to be confused with "salon") was the site of some injustice having taken place, for which Matt Dillon, with the aid of Chester, came to Kitty's rescue and, although as the song says, he "never hung his hat at Kittly's place," you knew all was well with the world at each Saturday night's conclusion.

Somewhere in that schedule there was also Alfred Hitchcock's weekly mystery (although that may have been Sundays) that began with the very recognizable music that was his and his alone. As Alfred himself walked into the silhouette that was his distinction, the program would begin. It was always a mystery, but with underlying humor and suspense that was classic Hitchcock. And Twilight Zone fell in there somewhere, not sure where exactly.

All the while as the black and white programming commenced, my mother would be using bobby pins…. yes, bobby pins, kept in a bin of some kind, to make individual spiral curls on our wet hair, having just been shampooed with Prell and conditioned with "Tame."…it was Saturday night, remember! If she finished curling all of our hair for Sunday morning Mass with time left to spare during Gunsmoke, she would commence to ironing handkerchiefs and boxer shorts. She would dip her fingers in a bowl of water on the side of the ironing board, sprinkle water with her hands over the garment (much like the priests of the day did with Holy Water on special occasions) and then she would roll up that garment so I suppose it could absorb the moisture for a few minutes before she unrolled it and proceeded to iron it into such a state that was suitable for wearing or placing in an upper pocket when properly folded.

Before going to our respective beds, we'd all line up and open our mouths like little birds, clean little birds with bobby-pinned hair and shiny faces and flannel PJ's with slippers, and we'd each get a dose of cod liver oil. I can still taste it! Then it was to bed, with each wet curl in place. If we felt especially brazen, we'd tune in WLS on the late night radio and listen to Dick Biondi or Larry Lujack (with the volume VERY low) until we drifted off to sleep, often to the distant sound of a freight train rolling down the tracks a half mile or more away…tracks that were marked, of course, with no more than a wooden post holding an "X" shaped warning sign.

On an especially cold night, and there were many in the North, a fortunate one would awaken to the feel of a heavy fur coat that had been placed upon our fetal-positioned frame to ward off the cold that the radiator heat just could not challenge. I still wonder how my mother chose which one of her many offspring was deserving of the seal coat…yes, it was actually made from the coats of seals. I'm betting now that it involved the sacrifice of more than one of those ball-balancing-on-the-nose mammals. Perhaps it was the one child who looked the deepest shade of purple from the cold. We'll never know. It seemed we all got our chance at the furry extra layer at some point, warm and comforting as it was. But of course, in-between turns, we all accused each other of being the "favorite."

Being awakened on a Sunday morning back then held its own memories…but that's for another time.

Got memories?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The cod liver oil was more palatable if you put a bit of orange juice in the spoon....or drank some immediately afterwards.

I think I remember Lawrence Welk even before Gunsmoke - but I don't remember Alfred Hitchcock until a year or so later. (I date things by the house we were living in at the time.)

My youngest brother was traumatized by one particular episode of Hitchcock - where a man bet on his fingers and had each one chopped off over the course of 30 minutes... Pretty harsh stuff for the fifties!

After we took the clothes off the line (no dryers back then), we sprinkled the NON-PERMANENT PRESS shirts, dresses, pants with water, rolled them up, and put them in a ....plastic bag (?) to sort of "season" for a bit (not too long - or they'd mold!!). Then Mom or I would have to iron for DAYS! This had to have been 19--ah, 55..?

There also were none of those handy-dandy zip-lock bags that I LIVE by nowadays. The little bags were light-weight and had to be tied....ah..Did we have twist ties then?? Darned if I can remember! Anyway, my mom made me WASH the plastic bags and hang them up to dry!!

She also recycled "tin foil," which was (even then) aluminum, I think.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 7:29 AM

Wow,how did your folks get so much done,when I have trouble just taking care of myself and getting to work on time? (although,this year,I haven't been late once and I have NO speeding tickets,so pretty good for me!)

How were they so efficient,without reading Martha Stewart? Hey,she was young then too? HMMM...,maybe that's her secret-she just never forgot her childhood with an efficient mom!

I can relate to one thing-we were visiting my aunt in St.Louis,and all the "big" kids were downstairs watching the Twilight Zone (which I had never seen before). The episode was one where a creepy weeping willow tree was really alive and eating kids.I remember it ate one kid's dad,before I ran upstairs and clung to my Daddy the rest of the trip.

Man,did I have nightmares from that stupid show,and I HATE weeping willow trees to this day!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 8:00 AM

Those were SCAREY programs!! I hate the one where the guy is on a plane, and some sort of creature is outside on the wing, messing with the engine.... This one passenger is the only one who can see him -- no one else will believe him (of course). You know the part -- He's lowered the window shade - and when he opens it, there's that creature's face, plastered up to the glass!!!!

Oh, my gosh! I almost had a heart attack!! I knew it would be there, but I just didn't know when!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 9:32 PM

My favorite Twilight Zone was the one where the female patient, about 35, is the only one shown throughout the show. You hear the voices of her doctors as she lies in a hospital bed with her face all bandaged up, and they're trying to convince her that it will be ok, that they've done their best to make her look presentable after an apparent "accident" or something that has left her in terrible shape. They've done all they could, but she should be prepared for the worst. Only the patient with the gauze-wrapped face is shown through all this dialogue. Then...the unveiling...slowly, layer by layer the gauze bandages are removed. The camera focuses on her face alone as it is bit-by-bit revealed. As more and more of her face is revealed, you hear awful gasps from the doctors and nurses awaiting the reveal. It is obvious that they're all horror-stricken. And then the camera pans in on the totally revealed face...that of a stunningly beautiful blonde woman with perfect features. They reluctantly give her a mirror and she is horrified at her own looks and it becomes abundantly evident why as the camera finally shows the doctors and nurses surrounding her bedside...all horribly disfigured! She, with perfect looks by our standards, is terribly deformed by theirs. What a shocker that one was for the times. One I'll never forget.

-- Posted by bringwine on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 10:15 PM

Bringwine, that has always been my favorite too...either that or the only one that truly scared me so much that I'll never forget it!

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Sat, Sep 22, 2007, at 10:45 AM

Many of those early TV programs on "Twilight Zone" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" were based on Science Fiction writing - and they were designed to make us think.

You don't see that anymore. The current trend seems to be the opposite - mindless entertainment, which is used as a diversion from thinking.

Even the comedies made us think - the Andy Griffin Show was so hilarious, but it also had a wonderful overall theme and an affirmation of the simple way of life.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Sep 23, 2007, at 7:37 AM

GL, the episode you are thinking of starred ... (drum roll) the future Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner, as the excitable airplane passenger.

BW and LEC633, the episode you are thinking of was called Eye of the Beholder. The beautiful young woman was "deformed" because everyone else had pig-like noses and facial features.

GL is right. Rod Serling was one of the 1950s top writers of TV dramas. But he got tired of sponsors preventing him from writing about controversial subjects. He thought that if he wrote about contemporary topics under the guise they were "only" science fiction, that he could get the sponsors to let them on the air. So he started Twilight Zone. (BTW, GL, since you are so enamored with Andy Griffith, have you ever written him a "fan" letter?)

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sun, Sep 23, 2007, at 5:44 PM

No, I haven't written him a fan letter; in fact, I didn't care for him in later movies - but he sure was great in the Mayberry series.

Wow, why can't we have writing like Twilight Zone on TV now? It's all reality shows, which require no clever writers at all! All this "dumbing down" of our television viewing seems to be a plot to save production costs, but it appears to be working on a more sinister level.

Could it be part of a giant conspiracy to undermine the American educational system and pave the way for NCLB????

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Sep 23, 2007, at 8:32 PM

Alright, I'll ask: what's NCLB?

-- Posted by gardengirl on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 2:46 PM

Ah, you need to check out the conversation on Sasha's "Good thing she's cute" blog, where we've been hashing over the education issue.

Right now, it's four bloggers to one against the "No Child Left Behind" issue. I.B. Le Truth is holding out all by himself.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 4:17 PM

GL-FJ is Former Jeopardy guy,maybe even Ken Jennings himself.

Who else would have such useless,but interesting trivia at his disposal?

Probably does crosswords in ink,yet can never remember where he parks at Wal-Mart.

Am I right FJ,you just know good bloggin' when you read it?

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 6:58 PM

I don't think I.B. would hold out if he understood the price we've paid in the classroom to keep up with the mandates of No Child Left Behind. In theory, it sounds great...let us not let any any child proceed to the next level until he/she is performing in Communication Arts (Reading) and Math at grade level or above...well, it's not going to happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week. Some children will never perform on grade level, much less "above". And when they don't as a whole or "subgroup," teachers work on those areas that held those students back. They are mandated to focus on one area of the test so much so that other areas are neglected. SO, let's guess what happens next year...they'll excell in the area that was focused upon and faulter in some other that the teachers didn't have time to expound upon...thus, THAT area will now show up deficient. And so on and so on. Teachers are so mandated by this silly law that they find themselves directed to "teach" the test and focus on the areas that need improvement, that they have no time to focus on other basics that need to be addressed. I'm all for accountability, but let it be evident in the student's grades/progress and overall achievement, not in these ridiculous federally mandated categorical subgroups. How ridiculous is this?....One of the subgroups that is "judged" via the NCLB law, is the group of students who qualify to receive Free or Reduced meals. SO, when the MAP results come back, they are broken down to show the deficits in particular areas..notably and predictably in most cases, the F/R grouping. It just goes hand-in-hand, unfortunatley. NOW, when the results come in and the F/R subgroup is said to be deficient in, say an area of Communications Arts, it's the teacher's job to boost those scores over the following school year. But there's a problem here...under the laws that govern confidentiality, teachers are not privy to which students in their classroom fall into the Free/Reduced meal status.

SO, essentially, they're told to teach that group more effectively, but they're not allowed to know which of their students is in that group!!!! Absurd...you betcha! But it's part of the NCLB mandate. It's hideous. It doesn't need revamping...it needs DUMPED!

-- Posted by bringwine on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 7:05 PM

I probably will not change my mind. I have been through numerous changes and new programs in my life. I learned after kicking and screaming until I made myself sick that the best thing for me to do was to accept and try to be successful. Life always turned out easier after that and things usually worked out really well.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 7:49 PM

When I was a kid No Child Left Behind meant that you made sure everybody was in the car after a snack and bathroom stop on a trip. After BW's explanation of NCLB I need a bottle of Aspirin and a couple stiff drinks of whatever is handy. Repeal it, get rid of it, send it back to Texas or wherever it came from.

YRofE, you might think twice about bringing up any episodes of the original Outer Limits or The Fugitive (two of the best TV shows ever) -- or you'll really get an earful!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 8:04 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:

Who, among us, had the resources to take a trip? You must have been considered the "elite" of the time!

And yes, get rid of NCLB...send it back from whence it came and be done with it. I say, "Let the teachers teach," which is something they have been refrained from doing for a long time. Ask a teacher.

Minnie - I am still chuckling at the vision of "Little Minnie" in her flannel pj's, chirping for her cod liver oil - no doubt donning her little rose-covered hat (covering her bobby pinned hair). You undoubtedly inherited your writing skills from your mother, who, I presume, stored her various sized bobby pins in the appropriate egg carton.

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 3:34 AM

Hey FJ-I can't comment on the shows you mentioned,since I've never seen them.

I like to read detective/mystery books, but I can't stand scary movies or tv shows. I can't explain it,I'm just more of a comedy,nature,documentary person.

Although I did enjoy "Mystery Theater 3000"-that's as much sci-fi as I can take!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 10:53 AM

Oh, I loved those old shows, but they scared the crap out of me. I remember one where an old lady was afraid to open her door because Death would come in to take her. She hears a wounded young man outside her door who begs pitifully to be let in and she eventually does . It's a very young Robert Redford, so I'd have let him in too. She helps him and they talk and it turns out he IS Death and he's there to take her. It was cool, but scarey.

I can't handle the blood and guts kind of movies, but the psychological thrillers are great. I love science fiction too. I loved the original Star Trek when it still had actual honest to gosh SF writers doing the scripts.

FJGuy, try Harlan Ellison. Love him, love him, love him. One of my faves is a short story called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." Hugo Award winner. I also very much liked the screenplay he wrote for "I Robot." So did Issac Asimov, by the way, but it was never made and we ended up with the version that was filmed with Wil Smith. Sad substitution.

Yellow Rose, if you like mysteries and historical ones at that, I can heartily recommend the Brother Cadfael Mystery series by Ellis Peters. "One Corpse Too Many." "A Morbid Taste for Bones." Very well written. Good plot, good characterization, good dialog - they've got it all, to my mind. They were made into movies which ran on the PBS "Mystery" series at one time. Derek Jacoby played Brother Cadfael. I think there were 20 of the books total.

It's crazy, but as I read Goat Lady's blog entry, I remembered that it was William Shatner too. Of course, I didn't know it until after he became famous on Star Trek and saw the Twilight episode in re-runs.

-- Posted by Ducky on Tue, Sep 25, 2007, at 5:30 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
But the best book ever is...Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." Even though you open it knowing the outcome, it's the best investigative, non-fiction yet. As I've always said...the only book I was ever compelled to read twice.

For those who know anything of Capote, the movie, "Capote" from just a few years ago was excellent. It kind of went by the wayside after the awards, but it was an excellent portrayal, as few movies are.

m o'

Oh, horrors! Do you have any idea how many years I've been avoiding "In Cold Blood"??? I absolutely LOVE Truman Capote's writing, but I could never bring myself to read that book!

You do realize that Capote was "Dill" in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," don't you?

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 5:42 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
Oh, dear Goatie...(not to be confused with Goatee (as in "little beard" as in your backyard friends)...

Yes, Capote grew up as a neighbor and dear friend to Harper Lee, the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird." The character of "Dill" is fashioned after Capote himself, although he did not star in the flick.

The book is a "must read," GT...to be relished in the dark of night by lamplight. 'Tis the most insightful reading, delving into the character and reason of the criminaly insane....ewwww....sounds more gruesome than it is. I guarantee you...once you pick it up, you will not put it down....well, unless you hear a mournful, "bahhhhhh,"...naw, that's a sheep, but similar to a goat in distress. You be the judge.

Okay, perhaps you've talked me into reading it, after all these years. I think I may even have it downstairs on a shelf. If not, I'll visit Ye Olde Country Library...

If you want to get technical (and I know how you love to get technical..), I don't know that even ye olde country goatherder can tell the difference between a goat "baaaa" and a sheep "baaaa..."

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 6:37 AM

Minnie, I was a little creeped out about your obsession with "In Cold Blood" (Which for the uninitiated is a non-fiction novel about the two men who murdered a family of four in Kansas in 1959.), until I remembered that I recently read "Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. Mao Tse-tung is credited with murdering upwards of 75 million innocent people, so I'll overlook your obsession with small time killers. After all, they weren't as twisted as Mao, who regretted that his dad died before he could torture him to death by waterboarding. (Now there is a little food for thought by armchair Freuds!)

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sun, Sep 30, 2007, at 4:54 PM

You twisted people are ALL creeping me out!! My daughter (and others) have told me for years how good the "Silence of the Lambs" books and movies are, but - despite my great love of Anthony Hopkins - I have not seen or read any of them! Ditto with Stephen King's "Misery," and all those "Flowers in the Attic" novels that my students used to love!

Books and movies I have avoided for 20 years or so: The Exorcist, Misery, Silence of the Lambs, Helter Skelter, Flowers in the Attic (and etc.)

I just forced myself to see and read "The Shining" (both movie versions) within the last five years. That picture of Jack Nicholson grinning through the splintered door was enough to scare the bejeebies out of me!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Sep 30, 2007, at 5:29 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
OK, couldn't manage, in all my "Minnie" wisdom, to edit a comment below, SO just so you know, the phrase, "unless I believe" written below, should read, "unless I'm mistaken." Whew!!!

FJGuy, did Mao PERSONALLY murder all those 75 people - or did he have someone else do it? (Not that it makes much difference, of course, but it's just a morbidly fascinating topic!)

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Sep 30, 2007, at 5:32 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:

I really believe it was the "investigative" aspect that drew my attention and my liking, to the Capote book. Moreso, I suppose, was the insight into the minds of these two individuals. Capote himself was such a colorful character. At first appearance, it was a bit difficult to take him seriously, but he was a most brilliant writer. He was an outward gay, a rare thing in the 50's in America. He was, unless I believe, the first to author a non-fiction of this type and to bring to the public the inner-thinkings of those involved. He really delved into the lives of each of the Klutter family. The reader feels personally acquainted with each family member before the "incident" takes place. Capote was a master at this. Anyone who can go from "In Cold Blood," to, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is ok with Minnie.

I believe Minnie, in all her wisdom, meant, "as I believe," not, "unless I believe" in her above response....that is, unless I'm mistaken, I believe.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sun, Sep 30, 2007, at 8:59 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
Thank you for the wisdom to correct the error, bw.

Now, for Goat..funny, I read your list of books and movies that you just couldn't bring yourself to view or read and discovered that I'd read or viewed most of them...hmmmmm, which tells me that perhaps I AM warped, as FJ so aptly implied earlier. I had seen Silence of the Lambs and "The Exorcist" in the 70's..(was pregnant at the time and just KNEW my firstborn's head would be spinning around her teeny neck when she exited the birth canal). Never watched "The Shining" through, but love Nicholson in other things, just not that. Saw Misery, but didn't read it and still can't watch the sledge hammer descend upon James Cann's leggs without looking away...ewwww..hurts to think about it. And, "Flowers in the Attic,"..now that brought back memories. I was divorced with three "young-uns'" actually living in the furnished basement of my mother's and was given the book to read. My dear younger brother, who could see good in everything, advised me to write my own novel and call it, "Weeds in the Basement." It never quite got off the ground....but I did.

Well, Minnie, I guess at our age, we've lived some of those books we've read. They become a part of us. I changed channels on the sledge hammer part of "Misery," so I never saw how it turned out.

One year I had a particularly fun group of juniors fifth hour, right after lunch, taking an elective literature class. One discussion led to another, and we did a unit on "The Shining." So interesting! We always wanted to take a field trip to the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, where they sometimes have showings of the movies.

Nobody can do crazy like Nicholson!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 6:18 AM

I had a cousin who liked raw hamburger when she was pregnant with her first child. She worried that he would come out a demon. What was the movie where Mia Farrow had the demon child?? My brain fails me...(as usual)...I'll remember it as soon as I post this.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 6:22 AM

Rosemary's Baby....ewwwww!

-- Posted by bringwine on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 6:55 AM

I'll be looking over my shoulder,under the bed,checking the closet with a baseball bat at the mention of all those creepy tales!

The scariest book I ever read was "The Amityville Horror" and it is the only book I ever got rid of. I was so scared,I didn't even want it in the house with me. Now that I think about it,that is powerful writing that can evoke such a response,that to this day I refuse to see the movie(s) it spawned!

I think that is where my distaste for horror/slasher/occult books started,then after that scary Twilight Zone show,I was done for life!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 8:01 AM

That's it! Rosemary's Baby! Oh, my!

I also have a sort of fatal attraction/repulsion for werewolf and vampire books/movies. I've crossed them off my list ever since my husband died. He had such a healthy disrespect for those genres. He would laugh at the scariest parts!

One of the best Dracula movies I ever saw was made in 1979 and starred a particularly effective Dracula (whose real name I don't remember)...He performed the role first in the stage version of the legend. The setting was particularly cool -- I remember a camera angle from high in the entry hall of his castle, looking down through a spider web, as his lovely unsuspecting victim entered below. The film also included a really cool waltz scene between Dracula and his intended victim. Wow!! The fatal attraction element was really in play there!

Has anyone seen the new vampire series on Friday nights? If it doesn't get too graphic, I may watch. It's right after "Ghost Whisperer," though - so that's a lot of creepiness in one night...

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 8:16 AM

GL, you misread. Mao is credited with responsibility for the murder of upwards of 75 million people, not 75. Now he personally may have only killed a handful of people, but the many millions of deaths were the consequence of his political policies and leadership. Remember that Adolf Hitler is only suspected of personally killing one person in his life. (Hitler was in love with a niece, and in 1931 she was found dead in Hitler's home, having been shot to death with Hitler's pistol. One speculation is Hitler killed her because of jealousy over her infidelity.) All the tens of millions of people killed by the German government's policies under Hitler's leadership were personally killed by other people. The same is true with Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini, etc. The maniacal genius of these types of people is getting others to willingly and even enthusiastically do their murdering for them. Many scholarly books have been written trying to understand why people who appear normal in every way are so willing to follow instructions to murder large numbers of people they know are innocent of any wrongdoing. Now to me THAT is a horror.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 9:28 PM

Oops, sorry, FJ! I looked back over that, and I certainly did misread it. I think I'm getting dyslexic in my old age.

Did you see the experiment done a few years ago by a psychologist (Yes, I know you did, of course) who was trying to show that the average individual would follow orders if given by an authority figure (esp. in a uniform)-- just like the German population did for the Nazis?

The ruse was to make the subject think he was administering an electrical shock to an individual in another room each time the subject made an incorrect answer to a question. The idea was to see if the electrical shock would improve their answers on a test, I think. Of course, the electricity was NOT really hooked up - but 60% of the "shockers" continued to administer ever-increasing doses of electricity to the "shockee," despite screams of pain. They continued, even after the "shockee" was supposedly dead.

When they were asked why they did it, they said they were told to, that the official in the white coat agreed to "accept responsibility" for anything that happened, so the "shocker" followed orders to the death.

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 9:40 PM

Oh yes GL, you are referring to Stanley Milgram's experiments at Yale in the 1960s. Before he conducted them he queried psychologists for their estimates of how many people would "go all the way" and give the maximum voltage. They estimated less than 1%. Weren't they surprised!!! Actually 100% of the participants administered the voltage (even though the person was screaming and begging them to stop) up to the point that the person became totally silent and wasn't giving any answer to the questions. The official in the white coat told them to consider silence to a question as a wrong answer. After that point some of the people began dropping out until the maximum voltage was reached -- even though for all they knew they had killed the person. Several of the people administering the shocks actually complained that they couldn't give more juice to the person!!! Also, not a single one of the people got out of their chair to see if the person receiving the shocks was OK after they became silent. So the "obedience" rate was 100% -- it is just that some people were willing to go a little further than others!!

Naysayers claimed Milgram's experiment was flawed, but it has been replicated many times in the US and other countries with similar results. Actually, the more recent experiments show that the level of "total" obedience is increasing. Also, Milgram initially only used men, but when he tested women the results were similar.

Milgram wrote a book, "Obedience To Authority" about his experiments and their implications for society. He bluntly said that if the US had an authoritarian government like Nazi Germany that there would be no problem recruiting a large number of people in the US willing to kill millions of Americans who had done nothing wrong.

Milgram's experiments and their implications make some people uncomfortable. He was the first person to provide scientific proof that it is a delusional myth that Americans are "rugged individualists." They are mostly meek followers who will commit the most heinous crimes on the command of an authority figure. Definitely food for thought, and Milgram's book is well worth reading. Also, Milgram filmed his experiments, and some colleges/universities have a video version in their library. It is well worth watching. In a way it is scarier than any fictional horror film ever made.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 9:39 PM

FJ and GT...

I have seen a video of this experiment and you're so right..it's more frightening than fiction. The subjects are so complacent, it's just unbelievable what they will do in the name of obedience. It's almost as if they're under hypnosis and by the time it's over, you wish they had been. At least, that would have granted them an excuse for following orders, but not so. I'm not sure if it was Milgram's experiments I witnessed, as they didn't appear that dated, but there was some version of this recently on a documentary. I'm quite sure the display I saw involved women along with men. Scary stuff! FJ..to what do you attribute this response? We see so much retaliation around every corner in the real world, especially in the media, that it makes this reality just amazing. What is truly amazing is that it hasn't been turned into a reality show yet!!

-- Posted by bringwine on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 10:10 PM

I looked and SEMO's library has Stanley Milgram's video. The title is "Obedience." It is only 45 minutes long, so it can be watched there. It's location is: SEMO IM/VC (IM Center). The call number is: IM/VC 6576

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Oct 4, 2007, at 1:44 AM

Wow-people have always been cruel!Whenever some horror happens in the world,my grandpa always says these verses,"Man dominates man to his own injury" or "It does not belong to man who is walking upright to direct his own steps".Stuff like the above experiments show he really is right.

Hopefully,we can evolve beyond this someday!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Thu, Oct 4, 2007, at 7:36 AM

And I thought I'd get some sleep tonight. Not. Visions of Vlad the Impailer float through my head.

-- Posted by Ducky on Thu, Oct 4, 2007, at 2:57 PM

This is so great! All we have to do is mention something we've seen in the past, and our resident archivist (FJGuy) can find it, date it, summarize it, evaluate it, and give us the location to find it!!!

Thanks, FJ!

The 1960 video is obviously the one I saw, and it was almost as chilling as those horrible films that the Nazis made of their "experiments." I remember seeing one particularly heartless one in which they experimented with how many rifle blows to the head a child could take before receiving brain damage. The boy was even dressed in pajamas, making the scene more horrible. After each blow to the head, the white-coated "scientists" would make the child walk across the room, so they could film his "progress."

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Oct 5, 2007, at 6:47 AM

BW, you evidently saw a video of when women and men were involved in a replication of Milgram's experiment. GL apparently saw Milgram's original.

Philip Zimbardo's "Stanford Prison Experiment" was the other major behavioral experiment related to obedience. It involved 24 young men selected for their normality who were randomly assigned to either be a guard or a prisoner in a realistically designed mock prison for what was planned to be a two-week experiment of how they would react to the situation.

The guards all became authoritarian and some joyously sadistic, and the experiment had to be terminated after six days because five of the prisoners reacted by having nervous breakdowns. The weird part is that any of the prisoners could literally have walked out at any time, but less than 24-hours after the experiment began Zimbardo observed that the prisoners had mentally accepted that they were incarcerated in a prison environment. So instead of simply leaving they internalized the horror of their situation by psychically collapsing. In contrast, all the guards reveled in the situation and not a single one left or did anything to aid the increasingly distressed prisoners.

Zimbardo recently published a book about his 1971 experiment -- "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil." He also has an excellent website with a slide-show presentation of photos (and commentary) from the experiment. It can probably be viewed with no problem with a dial-up Internet connection. It is at, http://www.prisonexp.org

Zimbardo makes the comment in his book that the highly unusual people in society are the ones who have the as yet unidentified character "gene" that allows them to stand-up and say "No!" to harming others -- when all around them are saying "yes."

An interesting trivia tidbit is that even though the prisoners were dropping like flies with real-life nervous breakdowns and had to be removed from the experiment, Zimbardo didn't want to end it -- he saw the increasingly sadistic guards and the psychologically collapsing prisoners as "lab rats" to be studied under his microscope. On the sixth day one of his graduate students came for the first time to observe the experiment. She was horrified and instinctively knew it had to be stopped. She and Zimbardo got into a major brouhaha during which she was able to finally get Zimbardo to look as a human being, and not just as a clinician, at what was happening before his eyes. He later married that woman and they remain married 36 years later.

After the experiment one of the prisoners described what Zimbardo created as "a real prison run by psychologists instead of run by the State."

Zimbardo's experiment has been replicated in England and Australia, but never in this country because of prohibitions, enacted after his experiment, against human experimentation that can be expected to cause harm to a person.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sat, Oct 6, 2007, at 1:26 PM

Wow, has this information been sitting here on this blog since Oct. 6, and I didn't see it??

Just goes to show that we need to check ALL the blogs every day. Otherwise, we'll miss some fascinating material.

It's really chilling to think of what we humans are capable of.

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Oct 17, 2007, at 8:53 PM

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