r/Damnthatsinteresting Dec 01 '22 Silver 1

Exhausted contestants at a US dance marathon in 1938. You would be eliminated if your knees touched the floor. Image

Post image
8.5k Upvotes

1.0k

u/aouwoeih Dec 01 '22

I just read a book on this. The marathons went on for weeks if not months, dancers did get a 15 minute break every hour and five meals a day. It was awful but it kept the participants fed and from sleeping on park benches.

329

u/randumnumber Dec 01 '22

Brings a whole new meaning to "dancing for a better life"

47

u/Flimsood4212 Dec 02 '22

Women actually do have more stamina than men.

4

u/naturallin Dec 02 '22

Women have stronger bottom strength than men.

8

u/daywall Dec 02 '22

Women have x ray vision unlike men

→ More replies

159

u/GayCyberpunkBowser Dec 01 '22

Thanks for this response because I was wondering what the reason they would do a marathon like this because it would have to be a pretty big reward to get me to dance for 15 hours

54

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

What was the point? Like why not feed them without sleep deprivation torture? And that's sad that these people are all going to sleep on the street the next night

87

u/Helenium_autumnale Dec 02 '22

This was a desperate time, the Depression. Millions of people were out of work and destitute. This was the era of the Grapes of Wrath. This dance represented one slender chance to win some money. In the meantime you'd be indoors with guaranteed meals, which for some was more than they'd get otherwise.

46

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

I understand why people participated. I don't understand why the people with the food made them do it

54

u/GetGlad27 Dec 02 '22

It was a form of entertainment. The people providing the food and prize money were making money off the event. Without the marathon, and thus the spectators, there was no incentive to set up such a contest and provide food and money

48

u/bow_m0nster Dec 02 '22

It’s the 1938 Squid Game.

3

u/SilverDryad Dec 02 '22

Cuz this is amurca, you gotta work for it. Otherwise you're just a leech on society. Or some such garbage... Possibly to take the sting out of taking "charity." Our Constitution pledges to promote the general welfare, but our puritanical background shames those who need help. Just my guess.🤷

→ More replies

14

u/Rvrsurfer Dec 02 '22

“They Shoot Horses Don’t They” is a 1969 film about marathon dancing. Worth a watch.

3

u/Leighcc74th Dec 02 '22

I remember my parents talking about it as one of the most harrowing films they'd ever seen. The title alone is bone chilling.

2

u/Jack_Straw_From_CA Dec 02 '22

My first thought when seeing this post as well. Saw it at the theater.

14

u/atkyyup Dec 01 '22

What about utilizing the lavatory

45

u/aouwoeih Dec 02 '22

They'd have to do that during their hourly breaks. If they stopped dancing (well, shuffling) they'd be disqualified.

14

u/atkyyup Dec 02 '22

Shuffle dumps were the way, eh?

3

u/BedNo6845 Dec 02 '22

I think the kids call it docking...

10

u/Rude_Giraffe_9255 Dec 02 '22

What was a typical prize they would compete for?

24

u/Aitolkyn1 Dec 01 '22

Can you share title of the book please

75

u/aouwoeih Dec 01 '22

It's called Dance Marathons: performing American culture of the 1920s and 1930s by Carol Martin and I read it on archive.org.

3

u/coromandelmale Dec 02 '22

Months? What?

3

u/aouwoeih Dec 02 '22

Oh yes. I don't know what the record is but there was one in Chicago that lasted at least 145 days.

→ More replies

5

u/dottydot123456789 Dec 02 '22

I have fears this might become a reality soon for some people. Just in other ways

7

u/agent_sphalerite Dec 02 '22

This is already people's reality

2

u/Sufficient-Aspect77 Dec 02 '22

Why the fuck did you get downvotes?! Man Ill never understamd this shit.

→ More replies
→ More replies

1.6k

u/m1dlife-1derer Dec 01 '22

They look like they're having SO much fun

320

u/Csimiami Dec 01 '22 edited Dec 01 '22

“They shoot horses don’t they” is a great Jane Fonda movie about this.

43

u/WhiskeySyntax Dec 01 '22

*shoot horses

18

u/Csimiami Dec 01 '22

Shoot. I’ll fix it. Lol

57

u/azorianmilk Dec 02 '22 edited Dec 02 '22

The backstory on that movie is pretty interesting. You know the musical Gypsy? Baby June ran away to get out of show biz and her big sister became Gypsy Rose Lee? Well, in real life June Havoc did these marathon dances to survive. She wrote a play, Marathon 33, about - which They Shoot Horses came from. June Havoc survives on the Hollywood Walk Fame- her star is outside an adult store.

11

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

How long do these marathons last that people literally fall asleep?

18

u/trippygenx Dec 02 '22

That's what I'm wondering. And I hope the prize was worth it. Mind u, I once roller skated all night and ended up with a Billy Joel record 🤣

26

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

Some people below explained some. It could last weeks or months. The people did it bc it came with 5 meals a day and they didn't have to sleep on the street, apparently. I don't know, it sounds horrible.

3

u/trippygenx Dec 02 '22

Ohhhh. Well that explains a lot I guess. But man that's kinda harsh 😬

6

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

Seriously, just feed them without torture necessary!

13

u/azorianmilk Dec 02 '22

This was during the Great Depression where people were literally starving. Desperate times create desperate people, and others willing to exploit that.

2

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

Poor people dancing for decent dollars

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

10

u/DirectGoose Dec 02 '22

You just accidentally explained an episode of Gilmore Girls to me

8

u/NefariousnessEvery65 Dec 02 '22

Yes was going to mention They Shoot Horses Don’t They? A brilliant movie about the cruelty of poverty and so much more. Crazy creepy well done

9

u/WilhelmSkreem Dec 01 '22

Came into the comments tocsayxthat, I just watched it for rhe first time last night. Holy shit, what an amazing movie.

→ More replies

43

u/Hallowexia Dec 01 '22

People have actually died doing this.

10

u/hambakmeritru Dec 02 '22

Are you talking about the medieval dancing plague? Or was there something much more recent?

13

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

They're collapsing. They're poor people doing this night and day for food and to be indoors,basically

1

u/greencaste Dec 02 '22

Worse ways to go

19

u/Vlad_the_Homeowner Dec 01 '22

I think even people that hate running have more fun in an actual marathon than these people are having.

3

u/TheJPGerman Dec 02 '22

I don’t think they’re doing this cause it was fun

166

u/unfathomabibble Dec 01 '22

They shoot horses don't they?

118

u/colour_me_quaint Dec 01 '22

There was a Gilmore Girls episode titled 'They Shoot Gilmore's Don't They?' where they got all dolled up and last pair standing won whatever at a dance competition. I never understood the title of that episode until this moment.

22

u/Broutythecat Dec 02 '22

There's an ER episode titled "They treat horses don't they?" I figured it was likely a quote but had no idea where from!

10

u/GozerDGozerian Dec 02 '22

There’s a Harper’s article titled They Shoot Buffalo, Don’t They? and I never got the reference until now.

20

u/macs73 Dec 02 '22

There's a Bob's Burgers episode called "They Serve Horses Don't They" that I never knew was a reference to something like this.

8

u/gissycat Dec 02 '22

Well shit. The title of the gg episode makes so much more sense all of a sudden

13

u/No_Tension_1043 Dec 01 '22

Crazy movie about this fad!

148

u/Wrong_Window_7322 Dec 01 '22

Where’s cricket with his hydronic legs??

31

u/soundoftheheavens Dec 01 '22

Reinforced by space age technology

20

u/flabbergasted-528 Dec 02 '22

Looks like they've been eating sedative laced energy bars

6

u/MzterPoopyButthole Dec 02 '22

Looks like a shitball!

18

u/Galactitronic Dec 01 '22

Q102 - The Qcrew

2

u/Wrong_Window_7322 Dec 02 '22

I see you 🙏

8

u/Volta55 Dec 02 '22

Dennis dancing with that dude's girlfriend

10

u/smashin_blumpkin Dec 02 '22

It's called the Rococo Bang

3

u/ammezurc Dec 02 '22

Gotta break me off a piece of that exoskeleton

577

u/BalognaPonyParty Dec 01 '22

lmao, this lady left front is not having it

307

u/Downtown-Hospital-59 Dec 01 '22

You're weak and a disgrace to your bloodline

74

u/SYLOK_THEAROUSED Dec 01 '22

That’s the exact look she is giving.

→ More replies

112

u/GammaGoose85 Dec 01 '22

She's going to beat them all, look at that determination and hatred in her face.

24

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

She looks like my cat.

8

u/GozerDGozerian Dec 02 '22

Why the hell is your cat holding a half dead human?

12

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

What cat doesn't dream of standing in the presence of a half dead human?

→ More replies

79

u/youcanwaitanotherday Dec 01 '22

It looks like most of the ladies are holding the men up lol

25

u/amdaly10 Dec 01 '22

Women actually do have more stamina than men. Men are usually stronger.

→ More replies

27

u/Omg_a_wee_todd Dec 01 '22

Knees weak, arms are heavy?

5

u/Efficient-Albatross9 Dec 02 '22

Thinkin bout this cheddar already, no more of his mom’s spaghetti?

13

u/marchlintic Dec 01 '22

Get this bozo off me.

27

u/KairuneG Dec 01 '22

Came to say this, you know he didn't leave with her

7

u/Confuseasfuck Dec 02 '22

She looks about ready to murder every other competitor

6

u/80schld Dec 01 '22

She looks pissed.

3

u/PhoebeCeleste Dec 02 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

She's about ready to use this guy as a scarf and dance a solo duo.

99

u/FitzChivFarseer Dec 01 '22

Reminds me of that radio station in the US that decided to have a contest for a wii and one woman died (they got them to drink a bottle of water every 15 minutes and whoever held out the longest won).

Except that was in 2007 and they definitely should have known better.

https://neilbradbury.org/save-your-pee-for-a-wii/

50

u/MimiSikuu Dec 02 '22

IIRC, multiple fans of the show who happened to work in the medical field warned them well ahead of time of what could happen.

19

u/Rude_Giraffe_9255 Dec 02 '22

I knew what you were talking about before I read the link. Hearing “hold your pee for a wii” was forever scratched into my brain as a kid who had just bought a wii right before this happened

14

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

my brain remembers it as “no wee for wii” but i was like 10 at the time so that might’ve just been what went around my school

5

u/d4xq7 Dec 02 '22

I remember hearing this on the radio as a kid and being scarred

3

u/danni_shadow Dec 02 '22

That story popped into my head as well.

2

u/pgraham901 Dec 02 '22

That is absolutely awful and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this.

2

u/RodLawyer Dec 02 '22

WHAT. That's almost a Simpsons idea, wtf, obviously someone was going to end up with a bursted bladder

1

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

Man that’s sad, gave her whole life for a wii. If this isn’t a microcosm of what possessions do to us I don’t know what is.

186

u/nosnevenaes Dec 01 '22

From what i remember this was actually hella exploitative and not funny at all.

103

u/bittertadpole Dec 01 '22

Seems like another way to pick on poor people.

79

u/onemoretryfriend Dec 01 '22

Yeah desperate people just hoping to win some money.

23

u/RddtAdminsR_Pathetic Dec 01 '22

Money they otherwise wouldn't have. I'd do some lame shit like this if the payout was good enough. Money is Money and if you really need it who the fuck cares if you have to dance for hours

54

u/Mashiin1 Dec 01 '22

No one is arguing that. The fucked up part is the rich people taking advantage of these poor people for their own entertainment.

32

u/lapideous Dec 01 '22

The fucked up part is the lack of social safety nets that would prevent such desperation in the first place.

Buying entertainment for money is not immoral.

22

u/Allmightydohllah Dec 02 '22

Yes but exploiting people for entertainment is.

3

u/BYOKittens Dec 01 '22

It really depends on the type of entertainment and the genuine consent and free will of the participants.

→ More replies

4

u/FinanceMum Dec 02 '22

they danced for days with short breaks every hour, that's why they are sleeping while standing up, horrendous abuse of desperate people during the depression. They did it for food and warmth.

1

u/onemoretryfriend Dec 01 '22

You missed the point

2

u/RodLawyer Dec 02 '22

yeah no shit, they look miserable

→ More replies

69

u/Sengmand Dec 01 '22

Desperate people in desperate times in the land of the free.

20

u/Rachel-Paige Dec 01 '22

All the women holding up their men 💪🏻

50

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

I wonder who betrayed who and won the bar? I'm sure Frank had an inside man.

19

u/IownALotOfBees Dec 01 '22

Break me off a piece of that exoskeleton.

15

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

Gimme some of that liquid hydrolic shit.

6

u/Father_420_ Dec 01 '22

Someone here was definitely passing out energy bars

5

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

I can handle my sedatives.

4

u/IASIP_Official Dec 01 '22

Oh, he did. One with an exoskeleton.

2

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

Wtf, you real? If so what an honor.

6

u/IASIP_Official Dec 01 '22

Haha nah I'm not. I just wanted to feel the thrill of wearing another man's skin, this is how you get off.

3

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

I feel like this is a quote, but I haven't seen more than a handful of the episodes.

3

u/IASIP_Official Dec 01 '22

Ah yeah it's a quote, S8E7.

3

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

Pardon my ignorance. Love the episodes I have seen and I've always meant to watch more. The gang dances their asses off and the one where Frank convinces Charlie and Dee they've been eating human meat are my favorites for sure though. Funny that they both feature Rickety Cricket.

3

u/IASIP_Official Dec 01 '22

Nice I obviously am a fan and highly recommend watching some more haha funniest show on tv

3

u/two_fish Dec 01 '22

I can handle my sedatives.

4

u/Daultonlee Dec 01 '22

Street rat!

71

u/bigbluehapa Dec 01 '22

…say what you will about gender roles…but why the hell is every single male draping themselves on their female partner?

15

u/beanndog Dec 02 '22

women typically have higher stamina whereas men have more muscle power. That or yea the other comment about it being the ladies shift xD

→ More replies

17

u/elleusesreddit Dec 02 '22

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

4

u/BeautifulGlove Dec 02 '22

how did they go a month without sleep?

→ More replies

21

u/Downtownd00d Dec 01 '22

They were brutal. A very good film from 1969 about this is "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0065088/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

3

u/RodLawyer Dec 02 '22

Damn, that trailer is amazing, it looks like a horror movie.

→ More replies

26

u/Igotticks Dec 01 '22

We had a dance-athon in school, two girls won at 14 hours. They were both super cardio runners and so smart to go together. Rules don't say boy and girl just dance partners, these two hadn't even hit a sweat.

7

u/Flowers_for_Milhouse Dec 01 '22

Is the prize paddy's pub?

4

u/The-Incredible-Lurk Dec 02 '22

lady on the left:

"This Fucking Guy"

21

u/sumastorm Dec 01 '22

:( they look like they tried my meatloaf

6

u/PM_ME_DANGLING_FLATS Dec 01 '22

I do like meatloaf.

3

u/Dr__Doomed Dec 01 '22

Don't let it do that

→ More replies

6

u/SmplTon Dec 01 '22

“They shoot horses, don’t they?”

12

u/Hazelsea1099 Dec 01 '22

Must’ve been some prize

28

u/Timpson96 Dec 01 '22

I've seen some archive footage of this actually.. If I remember correctly it was for some dive bar in Philadelphia called Paddy's Pub

3

u/Cp7067 Dec 01 '22

Oh I thought that said “pride”. Like things that you’re proud of

16

u/Dore81 Dec 01 '22

Again, the ladies literally holding it down (or up in this case) and the look on the far left ladies face is priceless.

3

u/elleusesreddit Dec 02 '22

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

3

u/Radiant-Mail7566 Dec 01 '22

The one on the left is dedicated

3

u/Asriel_Dreemurr07 Dec 01 '22

Just lay down knees upwards

3

u/Goldn_1 Dec 02 '22

This absolute killer on the left just told her partner, don’t worry I got you, we ain’t f’n losing…

No but for real, she may be a killer. 👀😬

3

u/orangecoffee5175 Dec 02 '22

That girl on the left is furious and sick of this man’s shit.

7

u/Allstin Dec 01 '22

Mr Beast be like “last one whose knees touch the floor wins $1,000”

→ More replies

5

u/chrrrollo Dec 01 '22

The guy on the left the type to tell the woman all day about how easy it will be for him and for her to not let him down. Classic giga chad.

5

u/Disasster_Artist Dec 01 '22

That girl on the left is so over it.

7

u/hoseli Dec 01 '22

So laying on your back and leg up against wall / on top of a chair counts?

3

u/FateEntity Dec 01 '22

So long as you keep dancing

3

u/OceanicLemur Dec 02 '22

Every guy is leaning his weight on his gal, and the ladies all look like this is just another Tuesday putting up with their shit

1

u/Head-Gap8455 Dec 01 '22

They kill horses don’t they

2

u/IndependentAssist387 Dec 01 '22

I wonder what the prize was….

→ More replies

2

u/Prosklystios Dec 01 '22

Oh I remember that Gilmore Girls episode

2

u/Savitar-1 Dec 01 '22

Just lay on your back with your knees bent.

2

u/Inkeditor Dec 02 '22

They Shoot Horses Don't They?

2

u/MsStormyTrump Dec 02 '22

Yes! I should rewatch "They kill horses, don't they" this weekend.

2

u/zer0_dayy Dec 02 '22

reminds me of that Sunny in Philadelphia episode where they did this

2

u/mengel6345 Dec 02 '22

They did it for the cash prizes during the recession people were very desperate

2

u/CPLShep_hard Dec 02 '22

Bend knee when lying down on floor so it won't touch floor, big brain it didn't say body can't touch floor lol

2

u/Stoned2thebone420 Dec 02 '22

The only couple working together are on the far right the rest are leaning on the women 😂😂😂

2

u/aziler2o7 Dec 02 '22

mrbeast 80 years ago

2

u/r_bassie Dec 05 '22

that lady on the left ain't losin

6

u/MedicSH84 Dec 01 '22

Interesting that the women keep the men above lol

4

u/FatherOften Dec 01 '22

Soooo much fun. Date night from hell.

2

u/[deleted] Dec 01 '22

In an era before deoderant, too.

2

u/cheemsgyaru Dec 02 '22

The girl holding the dark-haired guy looking at the camera like “you see what you’ve done to us, you sick bastard?”

1

u/PIWIprotein Dec 01 '22

Its funny the women seems to be standing and the men using them for support

1

u/buzzkiller2u Dec 01 '22

They're all winners.

1

u/Xylogy_D Dec 01 '22

Girl on the left looks like Dwight Schrute's Grandmüter

1

u/Baberuthless95 Dec 01 '22

Jesus the one girl that looks like Bill Skarsgard is so over it.

1

u/JusAnotherBrick Dec 01 '22

That angry woman would probably win the solo competition. Liveliest of the lot.

1

u/Practical-Mail-2872 Dec 01 '22

Her face is priceless ❤️

1

u/Existing_Skin_1564 Dec 01 '22

The guys suck lol

1

u/Minimum_Document_613 Dec 02 '22

I think that woman on the left is doing it for the fatherland.

-9

u/ginter76 Dec 01 '22

I’m sure this happenend but I beilieve this is a staged photo. No one could hold that guy up like that for very long. They were going for a funny pic to rememeber the event

2

u/elleusesreddit Dec 02 '22

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

-1

u/Technopuffle Interested Dec 01 '22

Who are these weak men? You can’t just expect someone to carry you

2

u/elleusesreddit Dec 02 '22

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

→ More replies

-1

u/elleusesreddit Dec 02 '22

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money.

1

u/djevilatw Dec 01 '22

Dude In front left straight out cold

1

u/ZyklonBDemille Dec 01 '22

They Kill Horses Don't They

1

u/onceReflect23 Dec 01 '22

‟Prepare to meet thy God”. Damn, if that is not ominous I do not know what is.

1

u/Mysterious_Tax_5613 Dec 01 '22

The men are more exhausted than the women.

1

u/Thin_Violinist_6518 Dec 01 '22

The things people do.

1

u/GentleSaidTheRaven Dec 01 '22

“Where’s my Game Boy at?”

1

u/F_O_B74 Dec 01 '22

Strong guys … äh….

1

u/grundslam Dec 01 '22

Should have had more energy balls

1

u/BfloGal2 Dec 01 '22

So who won?

1

u/No-Place170 Dec 01 '22

Lay on your back

1

u/braftceer Dec 02 '22

Come on 51 pull it together man

1

u/SensitiveEvidence900 Dec 02 '22

So what's the prize?

1

u/uno-slick-willy Dec 02 '22

Womans literally holding that guy up.

1

u/cwilson012 Dec 02 '22

Well who won?

1

u/THCLacedSpaghettiOs Dec 02 '22

Thessel on the left having none of her partners shit.

1

u/Enough_Librarian3720 Dec 02 '22

Mad props to that dame carrying that dead weight on the left.

1

u/Wiskid86 Dec 02 '22

That women in the left look like she's thinking

"Christ Tom if you loss this for us we are done!"

1

u/BurningLemons377 Dec 02 '22

the girl on the left . talk about carrying the team .

1

u/u5ua1Suspect Dec 02 '22

She looks so happy with the man she got.