Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Satan's Toaster

This old video from the Today Show has been making the rounds on the social networks over the last couple of days, but it's just too good not to post here. In a segment on supermarket tabloids, we meet a woman who had sex with aliens, a man who was rescued from drowning by his ventriloquist's dummy, and a woman who claimed her toaster was possessed by the devil. It's important to keep in mind regarding the latter story that this aired in the mid-eighties when a substantial group of people actually believed that objects like household appliances could be possessed and that the devil was lurking everywhere, and this belief is part of what fueled the bogus "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare.

Personally, I used to love the Weekly World News back before it went online-only. I didn't believe much of it, but that wasn't the point. It was the so-called news source that gave us Bat Boy, conservative columnist Ed Anger (possibly a predecessor to Stephen Colbert, and to my knowledge the writer who coined the phrase "pig-biting mad"), Elvis Presley sightings, and more fortean accounts of monsters, aliens, and so forth than one could ever want. It also reported many sightings of the devil, such as stories accompanied by images of devil faces photoshopped over thunderstorms and debris clouds from natural disasters. As you might expect, image manipulation technology was an absolute boon to the tabloid industry, and the Weekly World News in particular.

The three stories covered in the video are all quite weird, but as you might expect the only one that includes any sort of demonstration or evidence - Satan's toaster - is obviously a hoax. The piece of toast reading "Satan Lives" has clearly had the letters cut into it rather than burned during the toasting process. The toaster does shoot up a two foot flame, which is pretty impressive, but if you watch the video you can see the woman push the toaster away from her the moment she gets the toast in - you know, like she had some idea of what was about to happen. Finally, the last line, "it makes good toast," sounds way too much like a punchline to a bad joke and pretty much lets anybody who's paying attention in on the gag.

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J.C. said...

I wonder if this then predated the dancing toaster in the Ghostbusters II and if it inspired that scene in the movie.

Scott Stenwick said...

Ghostbusters II was released in 1989, so I think this predates it (1986 as I recall). It aired early enough that the screenwriters might have indeed seen it while writing the movie.