Some creative people find success with an idea or an invention, and then are cursed with being known for that one thing, forever. Every other achievement falls away, to be mostly forgotten, only remembered by those who get off on annotating the lives of the rich and famous on Wikipedia.
But, we can't let these things slip away. We can't forget the other stuff famous creators are responsible for -- especially when the stuff is ridiculous and goes completely against everything you imagine them to be. We must never forget that ...
#5. Rube Goldberg Wrote The First The Three Stooges Movie
The name Rube Goldberg conjures up images of big, needlessly elaborate mechanisms. The ringing of an alarm clock spurs the dropping of a knife onto a balloon that makes a boot kick a football that knocks over a book that creates a domino effect of books that, finally, knocks over a couple of Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water so you can have your hangover cure at the ready from the moment you wake up.
He never made any of the machines that would later be named after him. Goldberg put his degree in engineering from University of California, Berkeley to more appropriate use by getting a job as a newspaper cartoonist. His most famous character was Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, an inventor of complex contraptions that accomplished simple tasks.
Goldberg himself wasn't an eccentric inventor. The dumb complicated machines he wrote and drew about overshadowed his legacy as a writer and cartoonist -- which is why you probably didn't know that ...The Forgotten Creation
Rude Goldberg wrote the screenplay for the very first The Three Stooges movie. Well, it wasn't necessarily their movie. The 1930s Soup To Nuts was Goldberg's attempt at getting his playful imagination, crazy inventions and all, on the big screen.
The movie wasn't a success, but it went down in history for featuring the first on-screen appearance of the now-legendary comedic trio, three years before MGM let them lead their own films. In fact, Soup To Nuts would have landed the Stooges a film contract with Fox if not for internal squabbling within the group that ruined the deal. Their squabble probably involved lots of eye-poking and head-bonking.
#4. The Producer Of The Best Action Movies Of The Past 40 Years Also Co-Created Ultimate Frisbee
The Warriors.Predator. Commando. Road House. The Lethal Weapon movies. The Die Hard franchise. Demolition Man. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The Matrix series. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Some of the most fun action movies of the past four decades were produced by this guy:
Tim Whitby/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
A craggy cliffside that kind of looks like a face.
That's Joel Silver. Needless to say, the man is loaded. He's got money gushing out of every one of his body's custom-built money drainage orifices. He has so much money that he bought the only plantation-style house Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed and then turned it into a private zoo. His wife bought a purple Rolls-Royce solely because she's a Lakers fan. Birthday parties cost around $10,000. He has an art collection worth more than $17 million. He has Freddy Mercury's skeleton on display in his cigar humidor.
That last one isn't true, but it sounds like it could be, right? He's the epitome of the modern-day mega-rich business man ...The Forgotten Creation
And all of that is why it's amazing that he co-created Ultimate Frisbee, aka football for hippies.
If you aren't familiar with the sport, imagine American football in which the football is replaced with a Frisbee and the testosterone is replaced with patchouli. Frisbee had been around in some form or another since the 1940s, began taking shape in the mid-1960s, and, by 1968, still in its infancy, had found its way to Joel Silver. From there, he and his friends at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, quite literally wrote the book on Ultimate Frisbee by writing the first and second editions of the rules of Ultimate Frisbee, the sport's version of the Magna Carta.
But, much more important.
The sport has since gone international. It has its own FIFA-like governing body called WFDF, or World Flying Disc Federation, which sounds like a hobbyist club for UFO hunters. Ultimate Frisbee has gotten so big it's been recognized by International Olympic Committee, but isn't an Olympic sport, which is IOC's way of saying, "We like you, but we don't like like you."
To put all of this another way: The human mind is so versatile that such divergent thoughts as Die Hard and Ultimate Frisbee can come from the same brain.
#3. A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Graphic Novelist Art Spiegelman Created Garbage Pail Kids
Maus is one of the greatest comics ever written. To this day, it's still the only graphic novel to have ever won a Pulitzer Prize. At the time, the Pulitzer people had no idea what category to place it in, but they knew it needed an award. So, they gave it the "Special Award," the Pulitzer's version of a manila office folder labeled "Misc." It's hard to blame them. In the early 1990s, comics of all types were still viewed as being a way for little boys to vicariously live out their wildest power fantasies. And then came along a serialized comic, published in an underground comic magazine, about a Polish mouse living through the Holocaust under the murderous rule of Nazi cats.
It was the work of writer and cartoonist Art Spiegelman, and the story was a biographical tale of his father's real-life experience as a Polish Jew who survived the horrors of Auschwitz. It's some pretty heavy shit. If there were a comic book hall of fame, Maus would be one of its first inductees. It tackled a difficult subject with grace, and it helped the decades-old, but still immature, medium of comics grow up a little.The Forgotten Creation
If the Pulitzer people knew Art Spiegelman also created Garbage Pail Kids, they would have thrown his award in a river and flipped him a double middle finger. The guy who created one of the most brutal and emotionally gut-wrenching comics ever written was also the guy who thought selling children cards featuring really fucked up parodies of Cabbage Patch Kids was a great idea.
Garbage Pail Kids were an inexplicably popular line of trading cards (that doubled as stickers) from the 1980s. Each card featured a cherubic Cabbage Patch-looking kid doing something gross or horrifying or both. A kid at a birthday party being hanged with a balloon? Sure!
A girl with her hands tied behind her back and her head in a guillotine? Why not!
A baby shooting himself in the head? Kids love that sort of thing!
Garbage Pail Kids are an odd relic from a time when the world just did not give a fuck about what we gave to children. These things could have come with traces of radiation and stabbing edges, and they still would have sold millions because the idea of a parent even glancing at the crazy shit they were buying their children wouldn't be invented for another decade, and Spiegelman's bank account thanks them for it.