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Forever Ago

Author: American Public Media

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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.
68 Episodes
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Today’s episode has a lot of pluck! It’s all about the banjo. For over 100 years, the banjo has been associated with country and bluegrass music, two genres that over-index with white musicians. But, with the help of Rhiannon Giddens, we find out that this uniquely American instrument traveled from Africa. The banjo’s story is so rich, it can’t be contained in just one episode, so we decided to make two! We’re also going to string you along for an extra week to think about your answers to First Things First. The question comes in this episode, and the answer comes out in the next. No peeking!Featured expert: Rhiannon Giddens is a Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning singer and instrumentalist. You can check out her website here!Resources: REDLINING IN COUNTRY MUSIC: Representation in the Country Music Industry (2000-2020)
Uh oh! Joy picked up a free plant from a Buy Nothing group that can speak sign language and perform tricks. The bad news? It’s creating a jungle inside the Forever Ago studio! Join Joy and co-host Cora as they get to know their new “totally normal” plant friend and explore the history of another truly amazing plant: the orchid! Orchids are some of the most stunning flowering plants on the planet. Their blossoms come in almost every color of the rainbow and tons of different shapes, from little ballerinas to smiling monkey faces. And around 200 years ago, orchids caused a wild craze in England – full of danger, tough guys, and lots and lots of money. All that, plus a new First Things First that’s truly unbeLEAFable! 
The cat's out of the bag!  We’re back with a brand new episode, and we didn’t cut any corners!  This one is all about idioms, those funny expressions that don’t make sense until you know what they’re supposed to mean, like "steal my thunder" or "it's raining cats and dogs." Join Joy and co-host Zyah to learn all about the history behind some of the most common idioms in English. Plus, a brand new game where you'll get the chance to guess the meaning of an idiom in another language!
Less than a hundred years ago, wheelchairs were big clunky wooden chairs that couldn’t even fit through most doorways.  But in the 1930s, a pair of engineers dreamed up a  new kind of wheelchair that would change the lives of wheelchair-users dramatically. In fact, some of them invented a new sport that would become a worldwide sensation: wheelchair basketball. Join Joy and co-host Otis as they explore the history of this amazing sport and check out Otis’ wheelchair basketball practice! Plus, an all new First Things First!Resources:If you want to read more about the history of wheelchair basketball, check out this article by David Davis. Davis also wrote a book called Wheels of Courage that explores how World War II veterans invented wheelchair sports.
Joy is building a movie theater in the basement of Brains On! Headquarters. She’s got the popcorn, air conditioning, and comfy seats but is overwhelmed by all the cool but complicated technology that makes movies magical. Join Joy and Forever Ago producer Nico Gonzalez Wisler for a silver-screen edition of First Things First!
This week, we’ve got a very special episode from our besties at Smash Boom Best!This debate is a tasty tussle between a chewy champion and a gummy grizzly. Grab your lunch boxes and protect your hair, because it’s Bubble Gum vs. Gummy Bears! Actor, improvisor, and creative extraordinaire Alsa Bruno is all in for glorious Gummy Bears and Forever Ago host Joy Dolo is here to hype the hubbub for team Bubble Gum! Which side will stick it out for the win? Gleeful Gummy Bears or beloved Bubble Gum?
Popcorn is a buttery, tasty treat. You can find it everywhere, from circuses to sports games. But it’s probably best known for its starring role as a movie theater snack! So why do we eat popcorn at the movies anyway? Why not pizza or peanuts or potato chips? Join Joy and co-host Rose as they dive into the delicious history of this beloved snack and learn how for a long time, movie theater owners refused to let people eat popcorn in their fancy buildings. Plus, they’ll meet a very famous popcorn influencer and try their luck with a sweet new First Things First featuring Slurpees, Milk Duds and Sour Patch Kids! Resources:Check out pictures of the first steam-powered portable popcorn poppers and the super snazzy movie palaces of the 1920s.This episode was sponsored by:Walt Disney Studios - Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.PRX - Check out new episodes of PRX's Jamming on the Job wherever you get your podcasts.
Today, bagels are a classic American breakfast food. But less than 100 years ago, most people in the U.S. had never heard of them! Join Joy, co-host Arianna, and special guest Sohla El-Waylly of the Deep Dish podcast to learn how a group of tough, dedicated bakers helped bagels go from nearly unknown to breakfast big shot. Plus, Arianna pays a visit to Asa’s Bakery in Minneapolis and learns how to roll bagels and bialys. And of course, a brand new First Things First!Featured Experts:Sohla El-Waylly is a chef, cookbook author and podcast host! Check out her books, recipes and cooking tips on her website.Asa Diebolt, is a baker and owner of Asa’s Bakery in Minneapolis, MN.This episode was sponsored by:Walt Disney Studios - Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.PRX - Check out new episodes of PRX's Jamming on the Job wherever you get your podcasts.
It’s easy to take toilets for granted, but these porcelain thrones are nothing short of marvelous. In this episode, Joy and co-host Caleb find out how bathrooms and sewers helped civilizations grow. Plus they take a pit stop in ancient Rome where public restrooms were very public. And they learn about a privy fit for a literal queen. Enjoy and remember to wash your hands when you’re done!This episode was sponsored by:Walt Disney Studios - Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.PRX - Check out new episodes of PRX's Jamming on the Job wherever you get your podcasts.
Dogs have served as human’s loyal companions for thousands of years. They’ve also been trained to do some pretty cool jobs! In today’s episode, Joy and cohost Oliver learn all about the history of guide dogs. These are canine companions that are trained to help guide people who are blind or have vision loss. They’ll also meet 16 year old Ella Shea and her guide dog Pico!  Plus, we’ll hear one of your invention mentions, and play a brand new edition of First Things First!Resources:To learn more about guide dog schools, visit https://www.igdf.org.uk/This episode was sponsored by:Walt Disney Studios- Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.
It’s a Forever Ago face-off! Joy has turned the garage at HQ into a boxing arena and has brought in Molly Bloom and Nico Gonzalez Wisler for a rock, paper, scissors showdown!  Grab your smarty pass to witness the raw power of rock, paper, scissors!
When most of us think of fortune cookies, we think of those little folded cookies that come with Chinese food. But did you know that fortune cookies aren’t from China? So where did they come from? And why do we think of them as Chinese? Join Joy and co-host Harlem as they find answers and trace the cookie’s journey. We’ll also hear from journalist Jennifer 8. Lee who wrote an entire book all about fortune cookies, plus a brand new First Things First!Featured expert: Jennifer 8. Lee is a journalist, film producer, and author. She wrote an entire book about the history of fortune cookies called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. Lee also produced a documentary about the origins of General Tso’s Chicken. To learn more, check out her website.Resources: To learn more about the internment of Japanese Americans, check out the graphic novel Displacement by Kiku Hughes.This episode was sponsored by:Walt Disney Studios- Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.
Hey Forever Ago Friends!! Ready for more Forever Ago FUN?! Well you’re in luck— Forever Ago is back with a brand new season May 15th! Tune in to learn all about how wheelchair basketball was invented, why we eat popcorn at the movies, and what humans did with their doo before modern toilets!
Forever Ago host Joy Dolo has a brand-new game she’s calling Instrumental Enigma. It sounds like a lot of fun! Emphasis on sounds! Grab your Smarty Pass to hear what producers Rosie duPont and Aron Woldeslassie think of the new game and all of its interesting sounds!
Do you know what Blibber-Blubber was? How about Wiff-Waff? If only there were an incredible game hosted by Joy Dolo to help us figure it out. Oh wait, there is! Grab your Smarty Pass and let’s play Whatchamacallit! The greatest game to explain a name.
It’s a time-honored Valentine’s Day tradition to hand out conversation hearts - those candies with phrases like “be mine” and “love always” written on them. In this episode, we play a game where contestants come up with conversation candies for made up holidays.
Forever Ago won’t be back for a few months, but never fear! You can catch up on tons of Forever Ago fun today by signing up for Smarty Pass and accessing a back catalog of bonus episodes. You’ll also get ad-free episodes, discounts on merchandise and event tickets, and an exclusive thank you gift mailed straight to your home! Plus, this month we’re hosting a super special challenge. If we get 300 new subscribers in February, all of our Smarty Pals will get to join us for a virtual party hosted by Joy Dolo, Molly Bloom, Sanden Totten and Marc Sanchez where we will challenge you with mystery sounds, answer your questions, and more. We’re on track to throw the Smash Brains Forever party of the year but need more listeners to reach our goal! Support the show and subscribe today for just $4/month or $36/year at smartypass.org.
Joy hosts the timeless classic Snow Zone Bowl– the game where you guess the rules to odd Winter Olympic sports from history. Join Joy, Sanden Totten and Anna Weggel for some frosty fun you won’t want to miss!
Who doesn’t love gum? It’s fun, sticky, and sweet! But did you know people have been chewing on stuff for centuries? Come explore the surprising history of gum with Joy, co-host Aliyah, and their new friend Gumpy (who may or may not be a sculpture made of old gum who magically came alive). Learn how several happy accidents led to the invention of modern chewing gum and why bubble gum is pink. And be sure to stick around for a new First Things First!
Synthesizers are revolutionary instruments. These electronic devices use knobs, buttons and sliders to make different sounds — and you can hear them in all sorts of music, from pop to hip-hop. But that wasn’t always the case. Join Joy and co-host Lilike as they explore the history of the synthesizer and learn one album transformed it from an experimental instrument to an essential hitmaker. We’ll also hear from Switched On Pop producer Reanna Cruz about the legacy of these groovy instruments. All that, plus a new game of First Things First! This episode was sponsored by:Disney+ (ondisneyplus.disney.com/movie/diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-christmas-cabin-fever) Diary of Wimply Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever, streaming only on Disney+ December 8th. Rated PG, parental guidance suggested.
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Comments (102)

Ayla Meadows

yummy

Jul 14th
Reply

becbec+sasa

but this episode was made ages ago.

Jun 20th
Reply (8)

becbec+sasa

everyone loves swimming

Apr 28th
Reply

Kane Charles

Knowing how to organize and manage time not only helps increase work efficiency but also gives us free time so we can rest and entertain. Time Calculator https://time-calculator.io/ is a great assistant to help calculate and optimize time.

Mar 14th
Reply

Ayla Meadows

I love this show and it's meant to be scripted

Feb 18th
Reply

Elliott Dilley

life lesson? ALWAYS SWITCH TO YOUR SECONDARY

Jan 23rd
Reply

Arthur Field

dadadaaaaaa

Dec 30th
Reply

Ever S

I ate lunch at Wrigley Mansion.

Dec 28th
Reply

becbec+sasa

no brollie

Dec 11th
Reply

becbec+sasa

who thinks that this is the best podcast ever

Dec 11th
Reply

Elliott Dilley

first

Nov 9th
Reply

Antonia Galluzzi

I recommend this podcast..... ITS AWSOME

Jul 7th
Reply (1)

Arthur Field

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Jun 28th
Reply

Arthur Field

ffffffffOOOOOOOOOttttttttttttBBBBBBBaaaaaaaallĺllllllllĺllllll⚽️🥅⚽️🥅⚽️🥅

Jun 28th
Reply

Arthur Field

subssssscccccrrriiiiiiibbbeee🥇🏅🥇🏅🥇🏅🥇🏅🥇🏅🏆🎖

Jun 21st
Reply

Antonia Galluzzi

I love this show so much. I listen to it on the way to school and for (almost!) an hour on weekends. I recommend this.

Jun 17th
Reply

Arthur Field

you should do an episode about mythical creatures 🐙😈👹👾👽 and heros🦹🦸‍♂️🤺

Jun 3rd
Reply

Arthur Field

🔴3🟠2🟢1 🟥🟧🟩

Jun 1st
Reply

Arthur Field

brilliant start, brilliant middle , brilliant everything!🦾🤩🤩🤩🤩

Jun 1st
Reply

Arthur Field

EEEEEEEEE

May 22nd
Reply
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