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Think there aren’t gremlins? Here’s the proof

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Author Topic: Think there aren’t gremlins? Here’s the proof  (Read 171 times)
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« on: May 21, 2014, 01:02:46 am »

Think there aren’t gremlins? Here’s the proof

Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:20 am


Remember the movie “The Gremlins?” This horror comedy was released in 1984. The subject of the movie was a young man and a strange creature, called “Mogwai.”

In the movie, the Gremlin was portrayed as an evil character.

Originally, gremlins were found in the myths among Royal Air Force (RAF) airmen during WW I. Gremlins were held responsible for sabotaging aircraft.

Over the years it has been discovered that these little imps are to be found in many places of businesses, industry, and basically the lives of humans and are more mischievous than they are evil.

I have been aware of gremlins that hide in typewriters and computers just waiting to strike. Newspapers, magazines, and other means of communication are subject to their attacks. Not only do they attack the machines, but they also can cast spells on proofreaders, often causing a printed mistake to be overlooked.

I recently fell victim to the newspaper gremlin. In my January 11, 2012 article in the Cleveland Advocate regarding “Old Wives’ tales...” One part of my article was about the old tale of “going barefooted will give a person worms.”

The article as originally written told of the fact that certain worms can be transmitted to humans through the skin of bare feet. Somewhere along the way in my cutting and pasting of my article, a method I use quite often, one of those pesky gremlins substituted a sentence from another subject — a substitution that I missed in my proofreading. Oh, by the way, Gremlins will also attack vision and memory.

Years ago back in the dinosaur days of newspapers, there was a lot of cutting and pasting. Printed subjects, whether news or advertising were printed up, then cut out, run through a waxing machine and then pasted down on a master layout sheet. Many instances, those newspaper gremlins would attack making changes in the original layout, sometimes causing embarrassment for editors.

I remember one such gremlin attack back in the 1960’s in a large Texas newspaper.

A men’s clothing store had bought a big two-page ad regarding a clearance sale of shirts and other clothing. One page concentrated on shirts and was to have a big heading ‘BIG SHIRT SALE.”

Somewhere along the way, a gremlin stole the “R” and then attacked the proofreader’s mind. Nevertheless, the gremlin attack resulted in the largest sale of the history of the store.

Gremlins are also to be found in radio and TV.

Back in 1931, a young and upcoming radio announcer Harry von Zell made a major faux pas when in a live broadcast he referred to U.S President Herbert Hoover as “Hoobert Heever.”

In spite of this, von Zell went on to be one of the major radio and TV announcers working with entertainers such as Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn and announced the “The March of Time.”

Kermit Schafer, a writer and producer of radio and television back in the 1950’s and 60’s collected a large group of mistakes made by radio and TV announcers and coined the term “Bloopers.

He eventually published a selection in recording and also book form.

I remember one particular blooper by a deejay in one of the northern cities. There was a very popular banjo player by the name of Eddy Peabody. The deejay introduced a record thusly: “Now Eddy Playbody will pea for us.”

When I began radio in 1956, there were very few news networks. Most news and sport casts were read live using script supplied by Associated Press or United Press International.

I remember in school we were told that if when we made a mistake, that we were not to go back and try to correct it. This would only alert the listener to the mistake. This warning paid off for me several times in my career.

As I recall, my first big error was in a sportscast I was reading. I was giving a report on some baseball games and one of the games featured the Cleveland Indians. Their pitcher for the Indians had a last name of Funk. Sadly and to my embarrassment, I mispronounced his name but did not try to correct it. But from then on, if his name showed up in the sports reports, I omitted it.

Finally one other story about a gremlin attack. In 1954, Hank Snow recorded a song, “I Don’t Hurt Anymore.”

When Hank recorded it, he sang the opening line of the song “It Don’t Hurt Anymore.” Not only had the gremlin struck Hank’s wording of the song, the gremlin struck everyone else concerned with the recording and the error was not noticed until the song hit the retail market, jukeboxes and radio.

It went on to be Hank’s fourth number one song on the country music charts.
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