Flashback: History's Unintended Consequences

Flashback: History's Unintended Consequences

A series of stories of disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas, crazy coincidences, unsung heroes and forgotten villains. From OZY’s Sean Braswell, host and creator of the chart-topping, Webby-nominated The Thread, comes a new show about how some of the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong, or prove unexpectedly magnificent.

Episodes

February 1, 2024 2 mins

On Very Special Episodes, we tell one incredible story each week. Stranger-than-fiction tales about normal people in extraordinary situations. Stories that make you say, “this should be a movie.” Follow Dana Schwartz, Zaron Burnett, and Jason English down a different rabbit hole every Wednesday.

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This is the true story of Georgia Durante, an All-American beauty, once named “Kodak Girl” as the most photographed model in the world, who moves to New York and becomes a Mob wife and getaway driver for the Gambino crime family.Then, as a means to save her daughter and escape her abusive marriage and criminal ties, she moves to Los Angeles with $7 in her pocket, reinventing herself as Hollywood’s first female stunt driver. It’s a ...

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After the horrific violence of Election Day, 1920, in Ocoee, Florida, hundreds of Black families fled the town, never to return. White farmers took ownership of their lands. And the crimes of the mobs of white vigilantes - lynching, murders, arson, theft - were covered up for almost a century. Until now. 

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Before the presidential election of 1920, the Klan marched through Florida to warn Black citizens not to vote. Newspapers across the state issued the same warning. When a prominent Black resident, Mose Norman, tried to cast his vote in the town of Ocoee, a mob of white vigilantes descended on the community. They exacted a terrible vengeance, starting with the family of a local Black leader, July Perry. Photo credit: Orange County R...

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The worst incident of election violence in American history happened a century ago on Election Day, 1920 in the town of Ocoee, Florida. The victims were hundreds of Black residents. The perpetrators were their white neighbors. And the reason was that Black citizens had gone to the polls and tried to vote.

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Did President Ronald Reagan authorize selling arms to Iran while still recovering from major surgery in 1985?

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After a 23-year-old Elvis Presley submitted to an Army barber in March 1958, rock and roll, and American life, were never quite the same.


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In 1955, actress Grace Kelly journeyed to the Cannes Film Festival, setting in action a chain of events that would find her trading her Hollywood throne for a real one. 

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The tragic death of Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in 1920 would help shape the future of baseball.

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Ludwig Bemelmans rode his bike down the wrong side of the road and into literary history when he dreamed up the beloved children’s book Madeline.

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If not for the fateful inaction of a single Washington, DC police officer, Watergate might never have happened.

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When a newspaper mistakenly proclaimed Alfred Nobel dead in 1888, the inventor of dynamite set out to reinvent his legacy.

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Flashback listeners send us examples of the unexpected results of some historical events -- from two World Wars to an unfortunate landscaping trend. 

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Why the story of human flight begins on a frozen pond in Dayton, Ohio…and why there was only one Wright Brother with the Right Stuff.

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The birth of Hollywood owes a surprising amount to the untimely demise of a single Frenchman.

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A tale of rugged frontier individualism gone corporate, and how the Ingalls’ family farm led to the Koch brothers’ political machine.

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The discovery of one of the most hazardous elements on earth helped spark the greatest underdog story in the history of human labor relations.

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Gypsy moths and the invasive vine kudzu were supposed to be solutions. Instead they’re problems that seem to grow … and grow.

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The backlash to a 19th century chastity law ended up sparking a far more controversial new freedom for women.

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Did one dictator’s chronic flatulence wind up causing needless suffering for millions?

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