That Was Genius public
[search 0]
More

Download the App!

show episodes
 
Loading …
show series
 
Like carving a pumpkin at Halloween, sprouts at Christmas, and burning policemen in giant wicker cages, this week it's all about traditions! Sam kicks us off this week with a look at the not-as-nice-as-it-sounds Aztec tradition of the Flower War - a sporting contest with very real and deadly consequences, and an even worse runner-up prize. Nest, To…
 
Well we nearly didn't make this one (Tom's mic broke). But we survived and we're back with an episode all about feats of survival! Tom's up first this week, with the parallel tales of H.M. Stanley and Dr David Livingstone, whose lives collided with the famous greeting, "Dr Livingstone, I presume"? Next, Sam's been looking at survival from a great n…
 
It's internet week (Beep beep, boop boop, modem screeching noises)! Sam starts us off with a look at project CyberSyn, a 1970s attempt by communist Chile to let a computer with a millionth the power of an iPhone run its entire economy. Next, Tom's been looking at archaeological finds identified through the highly scientific medium of... Google Eart…
 
It's been... A While. But we're back, tanned, and ready to go! This week it's all about Italy. Tom has been looking at operation Mincemeat, the allied attempts to thwart Axis intelligence in the lead up to the Italian campaign in WW2. Meanwhile Sam's been taking a look at the history of the worlds (sort of) oldest and (sort of) smallest country, Sa…
 
This episode was a patron exclusive, which we're releasing to the public as we're taking a short summer break. Want to join and get more than two dozen exclusive episodes? Find us at patreon.com/thatwasgenius. We'll be back in two weeks! Down at the Bottom of the Garden, among the birds and the bees, there live two slightly sweary hosts, and it's g…
 
I can see clearly now the pane has come. It's glass week! Sam kicks us off with a (tenuously connected to the theme) look at the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, in which a New York newspaper's series of increasingly bizarre articles about a moon civilization caught the public's imagination. Next, Tom's been exploring Glass Delusion, the historical psychia…
 
Edison and Tesla. Hunt and Louda. Tom and Sam. This week we're exploring rivalries! Apologies for Sam's iffy sound quality this week, not sure what happened there. Normal service will resume next week! Tom's up first with a bold and ambitious attempt to examine the Wars of the Roses, one of the most complicated periods in English history, and the i…
 
Maple syrup. Tim Hortons. Burning down the White House. This week we're celebrating all things Canadian! Sam kicks us off with a look at The Great Antonio - Montreal-based strongman, wrestler, and eccentric. Next, Tom's all over the Halifax Explosion of December 1917 - one of the worst man-made disasters in history. PS Sorry this episode is a coupl…
 
Doctor Doctor, I feel like a history podcast! Well you're in luck, it's medicine week! Tom kicks us off with a look at the Ebers Papyri, a very, very long ancient Egyptian scroll full of bizarre and filthy cures for common ailments, with some rather sarcastic modern translations. Next, Sam looks at the nonsense uses of wee in medicine through histo…
 
Like an eel on a bobsleigh track, we're ploughing headfirst into a slippery situation this week! Sam's up first this week with a look at the cursed (but very successful) life of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone and dodger of multiple near deaths, lawsuits, and assassination attempts. Next, Tom's been slipping around the northwest passage (ooh…
 
Ooh Arr, it's farming week! Tom starts us off with a look at Fritz Haber, the German chemist who, on the one hand, revolutionised farming and fed the world. On the other hand, he also led Germany's chemical weapons programme in World War One. The left hand giveth, the right hand taketh away... Next, Sam's been looking at the Pig War of 1859, in whi…
 
And we're off, on a look into some of the most bizarre races ever to have taken place. Sam starts off with a look at the 1907 Peking to Paris rally, and the trials of adventurer, conman and bacon-mechanic Charles Godard. Meanwhile, Tom's been taking a look at history's best-paid sportsman, the remarkable Roman charioteer Gaius Appuleius Diocles. Th…
 
It's a comedy wild west gunfight this week, as we take ten paces and draw (yes, it's cartoons week)! Sam kicks us off with a look at the Illustrated Police News, the world's first tabloid newspaper which delighted audiences with graphic illustrations of the macabre, bizarre, and cheeky. He's also got an honourable mention for the Turin Erotic Papyr…
 
Oh go on, just one wafer thin episode... It's small things week! Tom starts off with the British bantams, the pint-sized soldiers who were small in size, but large in grit, number, and ability to start a fight in a town square. Next, Sam takes a look at the island of Tavolara, which until recently was the worlds smallest kingdom. So small, it's mai…
 
100 ruddy episodes, we did it! To celebrate, we're taking a look at the number 100 in history, which is a surprisingly difficult topic, actually. Sam kicks us off with a look at Tsukumogami, the Japanese belief that household objects gain a soul on their 100th birthday. And usually use the new-found power of life to be arseholes to everyone they me…
 
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside... We're celebrating all things aquatic today! Which basically means shipwrecks, sorry (not sorry, they are great). Sam starts us off with an honourable mention for the only ship ever sunk by a meteor, before talking about Poon Lim and his incredible, record-breaking story of survival at sea. Next, Tom's got th…
 
It's coups week! Which was a lot harder to research and less funny than we were anticipating, to be honest. But we made it work! Tom kicks us off with the overthrow of King Wanda, who woke up one day drunk, shaved and living in a monastery. Best. Stag Do. Ever. Next, Sam takes a look at the Golpa Borghese, a very Italian coup involving the mafia, s…
 
This isn't a democracy, you can't tell us what to do! Apart from the audience member who told us to do tyrants and despots, which is exactly what we've done this week. Sam starts us off this week with a look at The Zhengde Emperor - the mad Ming ruler who spent his time playing dress-up, chopping up Europeans and collecting animals and women, rathe…
 
Boom! It's weapons week. And our first episode of 2021! Tom starts the year off with a bang, with a look at the first ever military submarine, the Turtle of 1776. He also gives an honorable mention to Dazzle camouflage - the idea you can mask a ship's movement by painting it mad, zebra-like patterns. Next, Sam takes a somewhat odd look at the surpr…
 
What a year! And how better to say goodbye to it than reminding ourselves how things were crappy in the olden days, too. So, here we have our end of year quiz, with audience suggestions too (the questions were posted on our Facebook page and Patreon). Have a great holiday season and new year everyone, wherever you are. I hope 2021 is better than wh…
 
It's best friends week! Tom kicks us off with a look at the origin of 'Whipping Boys', along with a trip to the land of the Groom of the Stool, and court eunuchs. Next, Sam takes a look at the unusual friendship and daring prison camp escape of Max Gendelman and Karl Kirschner, a Jewish-American POW and a German officer who became best friends. Nex…
 
Waking up the next day full of regret and with a splitting headache: Just one of the side effects of listening to this podcast. Especially in hangovers week! Well, to be honest, we've both just done drunks, but hey ho. Sam kicks us off with a look at the battle of the Alma, a Crimean war barney fuelled by huge amounts of mid-fight boozing on the pa…
 
Here in my car, I've got lots of podcasts, all about stuff that happened way in the past. It's Cars! Yes, the humble automobile is the topic this week. Tom's been looking at the amazing overland odyssey of mad Australian Francis Birtles, who drove from the UK to Oz (granted, with some boats) in the 1920s. Next, Sam takes a look at Bertha Benz, wife…
 
Nudists or animal lovers? It's anyone's guess this week as we mangle the line between naturalists and naturists. Tom takes a look at Nazi nudists, because he got confused about the topic. Frankly, it's still pretty interesting though. Meanwhile, Sam's been looking at nudist explorer Robyn Davidson's 1700 mile naked trek across Australia, followed b…
 
There's nothing civil about That Was Genius. Except this week's theme, civil wars. Sam starts off with a look at the Battle of Bamber Bridge, a WW2 attempt to segregate US troops stationed in a small village in Britain, which saw whites banned and a running battle between African American and white US troops in the streets. Next, Tom takes a look a…
 
I don't believe it! This week we're looking at things that never happened. Tom kicks us off with a look at some of the ridiculous flying saints in the Catholic church; some more recent than you might think, and all especially stupid. Or possibly just epileptic. Next, Sam takes a look at English As She Is Spoke by Pedro Carolino - a very real phrase…
 
Boom, we're back with a shot across the bow for ships week! Tom kicks us off with the story of the collision between the HMS Victoria and the HMS Camperdown in 1893, where a badly timed order and a test of loyalty had disastrous consequences. Next, Sam takes a look at the Battle of Fimreite in 1184, in which the Norwegian King Magnus Erlingsonn and…
 
Sorry for the very late episode, but we've got some news! Listen on to find out more. This episode was originally a patron exclusive, but given we've taken August off for Sam to get used to *insert news here*, we thought we'd share it around to give you something to listen to. A podcast all about pictures. I'm sure this'll work... Sam starts us off…
 
It's the Sultans of Swing themselves, yes, Tom and Sam are back to talk all things bands! Tom kicks us off with a look at the history behind Robin Hood's Band of Merry Men, including a story about Maid Marian and Friar Tuck that reads like bad Twilight fan fiction. Next, Sam takes a look at the fascinating story of Eric Vogel and the Ghetto Swinger…
 
Teenagers, eh? This week is all about errant youth through the ages. Tom kicks us off with a look at public (what we in the UK call private) school rebellions, in which posh kids rose up against their teachers. Next, Sam takes a look at the Gottorp Fury, the summer in which a young King Charles XII of Sweden let loose in a booze-fuelled summer ramp…
 
To the left to the left, everything you hold in the hand to the left. Yes, it's left handed week! Sam, our resident Southpaw, kicks us off this week with a look at the odd Russian folk tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea - a pre-revolutionary story about a poor but very skilled craftsman and a very, very small flea. Next, Tom take…
 
It's all about trusted advisors and sidekicks this week from your two favourite right-hand men. Tom kicks us off with some of the stories of Raja Birbal (or just Birbal), the 16th Century advisor to Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Witty, petty and sometimes a bit rude, his stories have become the stuff of fairytale! Next, Sam takes to the high seas for a lo…
 
Is listening to podcasts a hobby? Well here's some more. Only these ones are a bit odd. And rude. Sam kicks us off this week with a look at James 'Jemmy' Hurst, the mad, animal-training Yorkshireman from the 18th century, who rode around on a bull with a pack of hunting pigs, whilst wearing a technicolour dream coat and a 9 foot wide hat. Next, Tom…
 
A happy marriage of history and 'comedy'*? It must be weddings week! *in the loosest sense. Sam starts us off this week with a look at the bizarre and ridiculous marriage of Elisabeth Pallier and Pierre Houlbronne, two 16th Century lovebirds who were married once happily, married once by force (including a jail sentence), and after all that, divorc…
 
Eey By Gum, it's accents week! Tom kicks us off with a look at the fascinating (and very short) history of two classic stereotypical accents - the west country pirate we all know and love (but who didn't exist until the 1950s) and the dashing (and very posh) WW2 RAF pilot - who turned out to be a bit more working class in reality! Next, Sam takes a…
 
Ooh er matron, it's nurses week! Sam kicks us off with the tale of WW1 best mates, motorbike daredevils and fearless first-aiders Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, whose bravery in setting up an independent nursing station just metres from the trenches near Ypres earned them fame, medals and more. Next, after a light-hearted start, Tom takes us on …
 
Who's a good boy then? We are, that's who. It's pets week! Tom kicks us off with a look at Wojtek, the Syrian brown bear and Polish army corporal with a penchant for marmalade, cigarettes, stealing underwear and lugging shells on the battlefield. He traveled with the Polish 2nd Corps through Iran, Iraq, the middle east and Italy, making friends alo…
 
We're going on a history hunt, we're going to find a fun source!Yes, it's traveler week. Tom kicks us off with a look at Till Eulenspiegel (which bizarrely translates as either toilet paper or owl mirror), the ridiculously rude medieval book about an idiot circus performer who farts and poops his way through Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, annoy…
 
We tried not to. We begged not to. But the audience demanded: This week we're doing pandemics. In a rare and possibly slightly drunken display of bravado, Sam goes first this week with a look at the bizarre phenomenon of 'Mass Psychogenic Illness'; where madness becomes momentarily contageous. Sometimes it's becoming convinced your windscreen is be…
 
It's not high kicks, it's not karate kicks, oh no, it's sidekick week. A bit of a tricky one this week, if we're being honest. Tom's been looking at the odd triangle of sidekickery between the Byzantine emperor Justinian, his wife Theodora (known for her very public and quite voracious sexual appetites), general Belesarius and two-faced, bet hedgin…
 
This episode's all about guts, balls, and lofty ambitions to wow a crowd. Yes, it's daredevil week! Desperate to avoid traditional daredevils if we can, Tom's been looking at the horrifically violent ancient sport of mob football - banned by most medieval towns in England for being too dangerous (it had no rules except 'don't murder' but still led …
 
In out in out shake it all about, it's movement week! Tom starts us off this week with a whistlestop tour of the humble Waltz, a dance deemed too risque for stuffy bishops because it involved (shock horror) touching! Next up, Sam takes us to the Wild West and Mary 'Stagecoach' fields, the first black woman stagecoach driver in the US. A ripped, gun…
 
The name's Genius. That Was Genius. Yes, it's spy week! Pew pew pew! Tom starts with a guide to simple sabotage by the OSS (later CIA ) in WW2. Now available to download (so you can kick start your own revolution), it's a handy, step by step guide to just really annoying people and being a bit of a p**k. Which according to the CIA, might just be en…
 
The head bone's connected to the... Knee bone. Hmmm. It's probably best that we're historians talking about body parts, rather than actual doctors. Tom kicks us off this week with the horrific story of William Lanne, one of the last remaining 'full-blooded' Aboriginal Tasmanians. His heritage led to the pretty appalling treatment of his corpse when…
 
It's time to *lift* your spirits, *stretch* the truth, and *work out* exactly what the sources are telling us in an episode all about health and fitness! Yes, after a week's break we're back, re-united in the UK at last! Although we still live several hundred miles apart. Sam kicks us off with a look at Jean II le Meingre, better known as Boucicaut…
 
There once was a podcast on history. And why they still did it's a mystery. This week's about verse, so Sam's picked the worst. And Tom's done Catullus for his story. Yes, it's poetry week! Tom kicks us off with a look at the absolutely filthy mind of the famed Roman poet Catullus. Telling your rival to quite literally suck your d**k has never soun…
 
Oh have mercy, it's serial killers week! Featuring Sam murdering a song in our first proper musical interlude! Tom kicks us off with a look at Alexander Pearce, the Irish convict sent to Tasmania for stealing shoes, who pretty quickly found a taste for his fellow inmates. Next, Sam takes a look at some of the murderous cults and assassins through I…
 
Welcome to the age of discovery, as we attempt something we've never done before: An episode on world firsts! And it's a good'un this week. Tom kicks us off with a look at the lesser known stories and backwaters from Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe. From deaths, to revolts, to the gretest hits of Enrique Iglesias. Next, Sam takes a look at…
 
Sacre Bleu! It is ze week we av all been waiting for, kick arse Frenchmen week!Yes, after months of baiting our cousins across the sea, it's finally their time to shine as we explore some of the most competent, brave souls from the beautiful country. We do mock the Swiss though, don't worry.Tom kicks us off with a look at Marcel "Bruno" Bigeard, a …
 
Finally, something to laugh about - this week's episode is all about the humour (well it's rarely about the history)! Tom kicks us off with a look at the Philogelos (Love of Laughter), the oldest known jokebook. Written by a couple of witty Greeks in around 400AD, it pokes fun at students, foreigners, and sufferers of bad breath. And it has at leas…
 
Loading …

Quick Reference Guide

Copyright 2021 | Sitemap | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Google login Twitter login Classic login