Ridiculous History

Ridiculous History

History is beautiful, brutal and, often, ridiculous. Join Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown as they dive into some of the weirdest stories from across the span of human civilization in Ridiculous History, a podcast by iHeartRadio.

Episodes

October 5, 2022 46 min

In his heyday, Japanese author Yukio Mishima was one of the most well-known writers in the world. But where did he come from -- and what on Earth led to his strange demise? In part one of this two-part episode, Ben, Noel and Max welcome research associate Zach Williams in his first on-air appearance. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

We've all heard them. You're watching or hearing a show, a character says something, and -- boom! -- an invisible choir of audience members loses their minds in riotous laughter, awws, or applause. But how did where does this come from? In today's episode, we're learning how this came to be, and how it eventually became its own worst enemy. Ben here: I'd like to give a special thanks to Max for some stellar soun...

Mark as Played
September 27, 2022 42 min

Today you'll hear people described as 'Luddites' if they don't care for -- or don't understand -- some newer piece of technology, but where did this phrase come from? In today's episode, Ben, Noel and guest producer Tari trace the term back to its surprising origin story ... a violent labor uprising that, these days, remains largely forgotten.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

As Momofuku Ando's instant noodles take Japan by storm, he sets his sights on the global horizon. In part two of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the expansion of instant noodles into the United States, the rest of the planet -- and, eventually, space.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Today, instant noodles are ubiquitous. You can find them in almost every grocery store, in any number of flavors sold by any number of brands -- but where did they come from? In part one of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the story of Momofuku Ando, and how a sudden realization in post-WWII Japan inspired an idea that would go on to change the world.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
September 15, 2022 31 min

We've all been there -- you're calling a bank, a loan company, you name it, and boom: you're put on hold. But where does that music come from? In today's episode, Ben and Noel dive into the strange origin story of telephone holding music. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

How far would you go to fly? It's a question many inventors have asked themselves over the ages and, tragically, for every successful breakthrough it seems there were also dozens of failures, flops and -- sometimes -- fatal crashes. In part two of Flyin' or Dyin', Ben, Noel and Max explore modern inventors who died as a result of their flying contraptions. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Humans can swim, though not as well as a fish. Humans can run, though not as swift as a cheetah. From ancient civilization to the modern day, no human being can fly unaided. In this first of a long-running series, Ben, Noel and Max explore inventors across history who died while trying to fly. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

If Reich's concept of orgone was simple pseudoscience, why did the US government ban -- and burn -- his books? In part two of this two-part episode on Wilhelm Reich and orgonomic vibes, Ben, Noel and Max explore Reich's activities in the US, as well as the oft-ignored legacy of Reich's studies in the modern day.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Born in 1897, Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian doctor of medicine and a psychoanalyst, as well as -- for a time -- a follower of Sigmund Freud. Today, he's most often associated with his life's work: the study of a strange, pervasive energy he called "orgone." In part one of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore Reich's origin story, from his early days to the experiences that persuaded him sexual vibes c...

Mark as Played

Pretty much everyone recognizes Pringles -- these tasty, not-quite potato chips come in tons of at-times bizarre flavors, all neatly packed in a nifty tube. But where did Pringles come from? In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Matt dive deep into the hidden history of this snack, the astonishing science behind it and the incredibly weird funeral demands of the Pringles creator.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Are you a cat person, a dog person, or somewhere in between? It turns out that famous trash-talking wrestler -- and former President -- Abraham Lincoln was also a huge fan of cats. In today's episode, Ben, Noel and Max dive into the lives of Presidential pets, from eagles to goats, dogs and more. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

In today's episode, we venture into the podcast vault to talk about some snuggly friends, many of the ridiculous variety. It's no secret that, until very recently, US Presidents were known as huge fans of pets -- and they didn't limit themselves to cats and dogs! Join Ben and Noel as they explore some of the strangest pets in presidential history, from warhorses and cows to bears, raccoons and much, much more.

See omnyst...

Mark as Played

In a world where the iconic McDonald's arches became as recognizable as the Pope or Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald himself became synonymous with not just fast food -- but the United States, western imperialism and capitalism overall. In the second part of this episode, Ben, Max and returning special guest, the (ostensibly) reformed Jonathan Strickland, aka the Quizster, take a case-by-case look at the alleged causes of Ronald&#...

Mark as Played

Today, billions of people across the world recognize McDonald's — it's one of the planet's most well-known brands. Yet, in recent years, McDonald's has also become home to an enduring mystery: What exactly happened to Ronald McDonald? In part one of this two-part series, Ben and Max welcome special guest Jonathan Strickland for an in-depth exploration of Ronald's meteoric rise and fall.

See omnystudio.com/listene...

Mark as Played

It's no secret that the Olympics have evolved over time, and met with their fair share of controversy over the years -- but the 1904 Olympic marathon remains a tale of ridiculousness for the ages. In today's episode, Ben and Max dive into a madcap series of bizarre events, brazen cheating, and more in the humid heart of brutal St. Louis weather. Taking a cue from their pals at Ridiculous Crime, the guys want you to know eve...

Mark as Played

Known as Old Hickory to his fans, and King Andrew to his critics, Andrew Jackson was an outspoken, deeply divisive figure. When he was attacked by an assassin while leaving a funeral, the killer's gun miraculously misfired not once, but twice, and despite his old age Jackson retaliated by absolutely wailing on the guy, beating within an inch of his life. And, as it turns out, Andrew Jackson isn't the only president to survi...

Mark as Played

Today, the terms "citizen" and "consumer" are often used interchangeably by authors, journalists and politicians. To some experts, this shift has disturbing implications. But how important is a word? How did this switch occur, and why? In today's classic episode, Ben and Noel explore the implications of this strange, often unexamined, evolution.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

As reality TV continued to grow across networks and genres, it also spread across the planet. In the second part of this two-part series, special guest Anna Hossnieh joins Ben, Noel and Max to break down the evolution of massive hits like The Bachelor, The Real Housewives empire, and more.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played

However you define it, reality TV is a giant in the world of entertainment. From soap operas to game shows and the hazards of dating, it seems almost any genre can find a home in reality television. But how did we get here? How did this global phenomenon begin? In part one of this two-part series, special guest Anna Hossnieh joins Ben, Noel and Max to explore the evolution of unscripted programming -- and what it teaches us about h...

Mark as Played

The Latest News

Popular Podcasts

    If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.

    Bone Valley

    Bone Valley is a 9-episode true crime podcast. New episodes are available for free every Wednesday. In 1987, 18-year-old Michelle Schofield was found dead in a phosphate pit in Florida. Two years later, her husband Leo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Fifteen years later, previously unidentified fingerprints matched Jeremy Scott--a violent teenager who lived nearby. Jeremy has since confessed to Michelle’s murder. Yet Leo Schofield remains behind bars. In this groundbreaking podcast, Bone Valley host Gilbert King uncovers startling new evidence that Jeremy is responsible for a string of murders. King is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Devil in the Grove, which led to the exonerations of four innocent men. Bone Valley is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1.

    All There Is with Anderson Cooper

    Anderson Cooper takes us on a deeply personal exploration of loss and grief. He starts recording while packing up the apartment of his late mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Going through her journals and keepsakes, as well as things left behind by his father and brother, Cooper begins a series of emotional and moving conversations about the people we lose, the things they leave behind, and how to live on - with loss, with laughter, and with love.

    Dateline NBC

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Noel Brown

Noel Brown

Show Links

AboutStoreRSS

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

    Connect

    © 2022 iHeartMedia, Inc.