Posts tagged trivia

Earring-Back Debate Is Put to Rest as Disk Inventor Emerges to Set the Record Straight

Let us breathe a collective sigh of relief because the Great Earring-Back Debate has been settled — thanks to the guy who invented the plastic disk-shaped thingamabob at the core of the controversy.

An amused Ira Carlin, the 65-year-old self proclaimed "Earring Doctor," told the Toronto Star that there is no grey area when it comes to the purpose of the clear plastic piece that consumers often find affixed to their metal earring backs.

“You actually leave it on. Period. Categorically, emphatically, from the expert's mouth, you leave it on,” Carlin said. "It’s not part of packaging. It’s part of functionality.”

The item even has a name. Carlin invented "Le Disc Plus™" in the mid-1980s as an easy and inexpensive way to solve his wife's problems related to heavy earrings and droopy earlobes. The invention became a commercial hit and Carlin has sold tens of millions of them.

According to his web site, "LeDisc Plus™" provides support and stability to earlobes, enhances earring presentation, provides extra comfort, prevents sagging earrings and eliminates back clasp irritation on the earlobe.

Carlin described the dynamics of how the earring backs really work...

“If you were to hang a painting on a curtain it would tilt forward," he told the Toronto Star, "but if you put a board behind a curtain and then hung a painting on it, it would stay stable,” he said. “And that’s exactly what took place with my first item.”

Last week, we reported on the Twitter-fueled national debate over whether the plastic backings should be removed and tossed away, or whether they served a useful purpose. The issue was lampooned on The Today Show, and NBC conducted an online poll, where viewers let their opinions be know. Viewers overwhelmingly agreed — 92% vs. 8% — that the plastic part should stay on.

The earring drama originated with an August 1 tweet by Chelsea Smith, who revealed she had spent her entire life wearing her earrings “wrong.”

The 19-year-old posted photos of two earring backs, one with the plastic disk intact, and the other with the disk removed. Her revelation: “After my nineteen years of living I have now realized that you are supposed to take the plastic part off.”

Carlin called the Twitter debate "a hoot" and said he first learned about it when stories emerged on his Google Alert, which he has programmed to delivery "earring" stories.

He is also enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. "I’m getting so much fun out of it,” he said.

Credits: Ira Carlin via Getty Images; LeDisc Plus via earringdoctor.com; Twitter/Chelsea Smith

‘Wizard of Oz’ Fan Offers $1 Million for Info Leading to Recovery of Stolen Ruby Slippers

An anonymous donor from Arizona is offering $1 million for information leading to the recovery of the iconic ruby slippers stolen 10 years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn. Worn by Garland in her role as Dorothy in the blockbuster 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the pilfered pair was one of only four known to exist.

The pair, above, was famously donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 1979 and currently is the top attraction in the American Stories section (second floor east). A third pair was purchased in 2012 by Leonardo DiCaprio and other benefactors on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The fourth pair is owned by a private collector in Los Angeles.

A self-proclaimed big Wizard of Oz fan, the Arizona donor made his offer to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the audacious August 2005 heist of the ruby slippers from the Judy Garland Museum. To claim the reward, the tipster needs to provide the exact location of the slippers and the name of the perpetrator.

John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland Museum, said the stolen slippers were insured for $1 million and could be worth up to $3 million today.

Back in June, the stolen shoes were in the news when Grand Rapids investigators followed a rumor that the slippers had been placed in a sealed container and sunk in a small lake about seven miles from Garland's birthplace. Although the dive proved fruitless, it did spark renewed interest in the missing slippers.

Interestingly, the ruby slippers were actually silver slippers in the 1899 children’s book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. According to film legend, screenwriter Noel Langley recommended that they be changed to ruby red so they would stand out better on the yellow brick road when shot in brilliant Technicolor.

Another neat piece of trivia is that the ruby slippers are not made of ruby at all. In fact, the bugle beads that prop designers used to simulate ruby proved to be too heavy. The solution was to replace most of the bugle beads with sequins, 2,300 on each shoe. The butterfly-shaped bow on the front of each shoe features red bugle beads outlined in red glass rhinestones in silver settings.

Images: Smithsonian