Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This is the Technical Difficulties, we're playing Citation Needed. Joining me today: he reads books y'know, it's Chris Joel. Third time's a charm. Everybody's favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan. Join me in my secret expedition, to Noel Edmonds' secret underground bunker... of filth! And the bounciest man on the internet, Matt Gray! Today's show is sponsored by the word cuneiform. Getting highbrow here. In front of me I have an article from Wikipedia and these folks can't see it. Every fact they get right is a a point, and a... You OK there? Might be reaching coffee saturation. I'll start being funny any minute now. Can we just... Good siren noise there. Can we just take a minute to acknowledge how good that siren noise was?! In front of me I've got an article from Wikipedia and these folks can't see it. Every fact they get right is a a point, and a ding [DING]. And there's a special prize for particularly good answers which is: ♫[MYSTERY BISCUITS]♫ You will put your back out doing that at some point, Gary. All in the name of wit. And today we are talking about Thomas Midgley Jr. Son of Thomas Midgley? I mean one would assume so, yeah. It doesn't explicitly say that here. It'll be under early life. I'm pretty sure. It's not! It just said where he was born. Which was the town of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Also known as a 'Slut Drop'. I said that before I thought about it! - That's a better joke than I was thinking about. - Pennsylvania, you're it this week! Either that, or it's a town at the bottom of a cliff. Above it is a large woodland. With a very heavily disguised edge of cliff. "What are we going to call this place?" That's my impression of a beaver, by the way. I don't know what noise they make when they hit the ground, I've never seen it. A siren noise by the sound of it. Oh, it's a trumpet. Yeah. Yeah. Grew up in Ohio, then. And went to Cornell University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He sounds like an awful person(!) His father was an inventor and he was an inventor and he made, I think a... great change to the world. Although it might not have been for the better. The automatic French horn? Why would you need an automatic French horn, Gary? To save you having the trouble of playing a French horn, dickhead! You've got player pianos, why not player French horns? -Yeah! -OK! Yeah! Come on. It's the general trend towards playerisation of the entire orchestra. They just stumbled on the kettle drum. It's a self-boiling kettle drum. It's just a kettle with the drum attached to it and steam... "That's not quite what we had in mind. But useful in the morning!" Eight am. "But I do have hot water for tea now, so that's good." And everybody's awake! No. That's not what he invented. I'm out. Tom, are you asking us of all the things that could have been invented in the 1900s I was hoping that you might hit on something I could move towards it. But no... Ivory harvesting machine? ...since you went with automatic French horn and ivory harvesting machine, no! Nothing like that. Let me see if I can narrow this down a bit. He was working at Dayton Research Laboratories. Oh! Dayton Research Laboratories! Still no idea. ...which are a subdivision of General Motors. So what would he be working on, in about 1920? This is December 1921. Nuclear powered car? The double decker bus? No, no, but you are technically closer. It's something to do with how cars are powered. Nuclear powered double decker bus! I mean... That's a great film actually. That's combining both noes there. Wait. What film is that? I remember that. - The Big Bus. - The Big Bus! Big Bus, brilliant. All I remember is someone pulling a lever and the flags of all nations popping out of the top of it. Yep. Yeah. Wow! It actually predates Airplane! as well. - It was a comedy, wasn't it? - Yeah. Aaw! Well "comedy". If you want a serious one, did you hear about Supertrain? No? This was a massive flop for NBC, in the US. It was one of the worst, one of the most expensive and greatest television failures of all time. This sounds like it should be in my DVD collection already. You know how they had the Love Boat? I do know how they had the Love Boat. Would you explain the Love Boat for our viewers? The Love Boat was a serial. I think it was probably weekly or something. Where you have a cruise liner. A boat went around, trying to shag other boats. My God! The one with the oil tanker! You should have seen that one. Lubricated. That's kinda what it sounded like. Make sure this one is called the 'Gary Brannan Sound Effects Special' As I have just done a cruise liner shagging an oil tanker. Actually, yeah! Sorry! ♫[MYSTERY BISCUITS]♫ Recognise the effort this series. Erm, no. I don't think it was a comedy. It was a kind of a light drama maybe. Romantic drama. Where you had a cruise liner... So was this like Tugs? No, no, no, no. Wow! I bloody love Tugs. Tugs, by the way, to digest... - Digest?! - Tugs was like Thomas the Tank Engine on water. We are now three diversions deep. But keep going. - We'll circle back round. - Tinder username! This is, I think, the third season in a row... where you have referenced Tinder, despite being the one married person at the table. Yeah! The one who's safest to reference it without any eyes swivelling on it. That's fair. But the Love Boat is a giant cruise liner... and you have guest stars every week and romantic things would happen, while at sea. - Right. - But because you're in international waters... there's all manners of deviancy you could get up to. This was the point. You could have a steady, regular cast for the crew... and guest stars each week, for the passengers on the ferry. Superdeathtrain! Supertrain. Which was NBC going, "Huh. They've got that, what can we do differently so it's not a complete ripoff? Let's put it on a train." Wow! "Let's put it on a nuclear powered train, that goes from New York to Los Angeles, in 36 hours." "That's a great idea. That can't possibly fail." Yes, when you do the math, that means the train is doing about 80 miles an hour. That's hardly impressive. That's hardly impressive at all. No. In fact you can do that on the West Coast Main Line. You actually could. Double width train, so you can get some sets and things like that. - Of course. - Stupid, stupid idea from start to finish. But it was like, "this is the big series. This is what we're going to do." Sounds expensive. Yes, it was massively expensive... it did not work. Why did we talk about Supertrain? - I don't know. We talked about nuclear powered... - Big Bus. - Nuclear powered bus. The Big Bus. - Big bus. Yep. - And then where were we... - And I said nuclear powered cars. - Because it was an invention for the motor. - Because he was working in Dayton... Because Thomas Midgley Jr... invented something about how cars were powered. God, I watched Inception last night. And this is more difficult. That's not surprising, I've seen Inception. What was the invention in the 1920s? That would reduce the... - That would make engines more effective. - Was it an electric car? No it wasn't. No, it was definitely petrol. In fact this was something to do with the petrol. Leaded petrol? Point! [DING] Absolutely spot on. Nice. Nice, harmonisation there. Yeah, that was good. He added tetraethyl lead... The scamp! ...to petrol and discovered it reduced 'knocking'. On heaven's door? Yes! Yes that's why... "Do you need to cure Bob Dylan? Use lead!" (That worked for JFK.) "What did he die of?" "Lead poisoning." Do you know, when it got to unleaded cars, in the early 90s, when it started coming in? They stopped selling four star. Four star petrol used to be leaded petrol. -And two star. -And two star, they stopped selling it. A relative of mine, who shall remain nameless, he's an older gentleman, shall we say Decided he wanted to convert his car to use unleaded petrol. It was quite an expensive procedure.