Forever Ago

Forever Ago

Brains On presents Forever Ago®, a history show for the whole family! Every episode looks into the surprising and fascinating history of things we think are ordinary, but they’re not -- like ice cream flavors, video games, baths and more. We make learning about the past fun while teaching listeners to think critically about history.

Episodes

November 23, 2022 35 min

Tag along with Joy, Amira and a magical bobblehead with the gift of gab on a road-trip while they explore the history of cornrow hair braiding! We’ll hear how cornrow braids made the leap from ancient tradition to the halls of Congress – and get acquainted with Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black female self-made millionaire who made her fortune with hair and flair! 

Plus, a special appearance from King Benkos Bioho, a trail-blazing...

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Get ready for an out-of-this-world episode! Joy and co-host Elsa are trapped in a black hole with a baby elephant and a mountain of old junk! 

They’ll explore the history of a super secret astronaut testing program for women called the “Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees.” This group of bold, highly-trained pilots spent years making a case for why women are just as qualified to become astronauts as men! 

Plus, the dynamic duo digs into...

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November 9, 2022 30 min

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but how did it get that way? Join Joy and co-host Buddy as they head to the U-PEN college reunion (a whole university for pens!) and meet pen pals from throughout history, made of everything from feathers to steel. And on First Things First, we’re putting these stupendous school supplies in order: Crayola crayons, whiteboards, and rubber erasers!

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There’s stuff from ancient Egypt in museums all over the world, from jewelry and statues to mummified bodies. But it turns out a lot of that stuff was stolen.

Joy and co-host Hania learn how Europeans took control of so many important artifacts from ancient Egypt. Plus, they teach a video game character about the disturbing history of unwrapping parties, where Victorian people in the 1800s would unwrap mummified bodies in front of ...

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Become a Smarty Pass subscriber today to access bonus episodes and ad-free episodes of Brains On!, Smash Boom Best, Moment of Um, and Forever Ago -- all right here in your favorite podcast player.

Visit smartypass.org/foreverago to get your Smarty Pass! It's $4/month or $36/year (a three-month discount!)

Don't worry: This feed will stay free and we’ll be posting new episodes just like we always have.

Whether you choose to s...

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October 26, 2022 34 min

Grab your hedge clippers and don’t forget to feed your plastic flamingos! Joy and cohost Max are exploring the surprising history—and even more surprising legacy—of the American lawn. The clean, green front lawn has been synonymous with the American Dream for decades, but…why do we like lawns so much? A green-year-round carpet of grass takes a lot of water and other resources to maintain, and can pollute local ecosystems. How can w...

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October 19, 2022 27 min

Get ready to shred! Joy and cohost Buddy are building the most epic guitarchestra (aka guitar orchestra) in this week’s episode — so they’re auditioning some of history’s most notable guitar players. Jazz innovator Charlie Christian shows off his strumming solos, which made scores of people want to buy electric guitars. Les Paul not only plays the electric guitar, he updates the look and sound, paving the way for rock and roll. And...

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October 12, 2022 32 min

Looking for a story full of spies, sabotage, and feuding scientists? Get ready to dig into today’s episode all about the Bone Wars, a raging rivalry over discovering dinosaur bones and other fossils. Joy and her co-host Siddharth meet two competitive, popsicle-loving paleontologists who can’t seem to stop bickering. We’ll also learn about the history of paleontology with the help of science writer Riley Black.

Plus, do you know wh...

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October 5, 2022 31 min

We’re back with a hot new episode on staying cool! We’re talking about the history of air conditioning, our favorite frosty invention. Joy and co-host Maeve meet a sassy talking ice unicorn who is trying to find a place to chill out (and not melt!). Find out what chocolate, chewing gum and macaroni have to do with the invention of air conditioning. Plus, hear about some eco-friendly ways to beat the heat (splash pads, anyone?).

Fi...

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September 28, 2022 25 min

Hey there Forever Friends! We’re coming back with new weekly episodes, starting next week. Until then, check out this cash-riffic show from our pals at Million Bazillion.

If you add up all the money a grown-up makes in their lifetime, it might sound like a lot! Surely they must have more to show for it. Where are the castles, the ponies, the fancy cars? In this episode, with the help of a magic necklace and a podcast-loving neighb...

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Ahoy, matey! When you think of a pirate, you’re probably thinking of a white man with a beard and an eyepatch, maybe a pegleg, maybe a parrot on his shoulder. But we’re here to tell you that pirates didn’t usually look like that. Joy and co-host Elsa learn about what pirates were really like from expert Laura Sook Duncombe (instead of an eyepatch, they usually had… a written contract?) and hear the story of Cheng I Sao, a fierce fe...

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July 13, 2022 33 min

Whenever you go to a big pool or a public beach, you’ll always see lifeguards around: a person whose job it is to stand by the water and make sure everybody is safe. It’s a cool job, but did you ever wonder how it got started? Joy and co-host Brooklyn want to learn how to be lifeguards, and they learn from a couple of robots programmed to be like Hawaiian surfing legends Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth, who are part of the early ...

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July 6, 2022 30 min

Everybody loves a nice dip in the pool when it’s hot outside… but if you never learned to swim, that pool can be pretty scary. Host Joy Dolo and co-host Brooklyn take us on a personal journey this week, exploring Joy’s own history with swimming, along with why many African-Americans aren’t comfortable in the water. (Hint: it’s about colonialism.) We’ll look at the history of swimming around the world, some of the misguided beliefs ...

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June 29, 2022 24 min

Scrub-a-dub-dub, it’s time for the tub! Or is it? You probably wash up with soap plenty of times throughout the week, but did you know that most people throughout history didn’t use soap for their bodies at all?

Joy and co-host Maeve take a trip to Menaka’s ‘Storical Soap Stand, to learn how soap became such a big deal. And on First Things First, we’ll be putting these items in historical order: kids’ bubble bath, shower caps, and...

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You might think macaroni and cheese is just a quick and easy meal, or a special dish that comes to the holiday table. But Joy and her co-host Buddy are here to tell you that macaroni and cheese is actually a pair of SUPERHEROES!

We’ll trace the history of the dish back to ancient Rome, through the Elizabethan Age, and all the way to America by way of James Hemings, an enslaved chef who cooked for Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

T...

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June 15, 2022 28 min

We can learn a lot about what a culture thinks is important through its fashion. These days, most men don’t wear makeup to work, or lace collars, or powdered wigs, but that wasn’t always the case! Joy and co-host Max go on a journey to the history spa, where they get a 1770s makeover from Frank, the macaroni maven. (What’s a macaroni? Not just a noodle!) Listen as they learn about the ancient history of makeup (we’re talking Egypt ...

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The Rubik’s Cube is a twisty toy that has 43 quintillion possible configurations — and it can also teach us something about trends and fads. Joy and this week’s co-host Buddy are visited by Rocky, of long lost Pet Rock fame, who wonders why it isn’t still popular. Listen as they all explore the ups and downs of the Rubik’s Cube and spot the differneces. Find out who invented the Rubik’s Cube, how it’s popularity died out and why it...

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Forever Ago kicks off the new season with everybody’s summer favorite: ice cream!

In this episode Joy and co-host Maeve explore the many flavors of this frozen treat. Historian Rosa Abreu tells us why classic vanilla is anything but boring. We’ll also check out some historical tastes of the past, including mace, orange blossom, and ambergris. That last one comes out of a whale’s intestine and was considered a delicacy.

We’ll lear...

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May 18, 2022 1 min

Forever Ago fans! The moment is finally here! Host Joy Dolo and team are back with new episodes June 1!

Forever Ago is a history show for the whole family. Every episode looks into the surprising and fascinating history of things we think are ordinary but they’re not - like ice cream flavors, video games, baths, and more.

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The oldest known pair of shoes didn’t look like much, but foot fashion has come a long ways since prehistoric sandals. Joy Dolo and her co-host Daria lace up some matching footwear and take a hike through shoe history with reporter Nancy Yang. First stop is the Oregon cave where a 9,000-year-old pair of shoes was discovered. Then, a French king who tried to enforce a monopoly on his signature style, and the inventor who made shoes ...

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