Joe Wos

Essential Pittsburgh
3:42 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

A Brief History of Hysteria and Public Panic with Joe Wos

Africanized bees, also known as killer bees sparked nationwide fear in America, starting in the 1970s when the aggressive species started making its way from South America to the southern United States
Credit revjdevans / Flickr

The spread of the Ebola virus is the latest news issue receiving widespread coverage. From the Y2K panic, to killer bees and more, pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us to discuss the history of public panic and hysteria.

Essential Pittsburgh
3:55 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Exploring the End of Saturday Morning Cartoons

ABC's Saturday Morning Cartoon line-up from September, 1983.
Credit Dex1138 / Flickr

For years, Saturday morning network television was the domain of the younger set. However, like penny candy, pay phones and Life Magazine, Saturday morning cartoons are a thing of the past.

Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us for a history of these weekend staples and why the broadcast networks are no longer carrying them. 

Essential Pittsburgh
2:52 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Does the City's High Self-Esteem Create New Problems?

How does Pittsburgh's attitude toward itself translate to reality?
Credit Flickr user jmd41280

There’s no doubting Pittsburghers take pride in their city. However, can that civic pride result in turning a blind eye to ongoing issues such as race, transportation and poverty? We pose that question to Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum and Chris Potter, editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Read the City Paper article that inspired this segment.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:35 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

From 1960 to Today: Pittsburgh’s Conventions Play a Huge Role in 'Geek Fandom'

Credit Marcus Charleston / WESA

Resistance is futile. Geeks have taken over the world, according to Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum, and Pittsburgh is a huge part of the takeover.

“In 1960, a woman named Dirce Archer, who is from Pittsburgh, brought World Con to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," Wos said. "This is in 1960. This woman just bulldozed right through the science fiction community and said, ‘We’re bringing this to Pittsburgh.’ Despite at that time, 1960, Pittsburgh wasn’t known as a tourist attraction. And it was at that con where comic fandom had its first seeds planted.”

This 1960 conference is historic, as the World Con had the first people dressed up as superhero characters. These costumes led the way to creating conventions for comic book fans.

This weekend Pittsburgh is hosting its own science fiction and comic convention, Steel City Con.

The Steel City Con is at the Monroeville Convention Center Aug. 8, 9 and 10. Single-day tickets are $15 and three-day passes are $30.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:34 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

The Golden Legacy of Little Golden Books

The Poky Little Puppy is the most succesful Little Golden Book, selling over 15 million copies worldwide.
Marcus Charleston 90.5 WESA

For generations of children, Little Golden Books have served as an introduction to reading. The first set of 12 books was released on October 1, 1942, selling for 25 cents apiece. Since then, the series has sold more than two billion books worldwide in a variety of languages. They feature characters from all across the children’s pop culture spectrum drawn by many accomplished illustrators.

Having played such a significant role in the lives of children everywhere, several of the books were included in the Smithsonian Museum’s Division of Cultural History. This month selected artwork from the series will be on display at the Toonseum in Pittsburgh. Essential Pittsburgh visited the exhibit and talked with Joe Wos, the museum’s executive director. He explained why the books have remained timeless.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Beyond the Funny Pages: The Rich History of Pittsburgh African American Cartoonists

Phantom Lady #17, drawn by Matt Baker
Credit Wikipedia

Visitors to the City County Building this February may find themselves captured by the rich history of Pittsburgh-based African American cartoonists.

In a new exhibit titled Beyond the Funny Pages: The Works of Arts and Life Captured in Comics, Toonseum collaborates with the City Parks office of special events to create a time capsule of art by black cartoonists living in the Steel City. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:29 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Everlasting Holiday Television Classics with Joe Wos

The soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas was a daring endeavor for CBS and Vince Guaraldi
Credit Guaraldi / Wikipedia


A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are holiday television staples.

They are aired every single year despite being filmed several decades ago. So why do they still endure?

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:31 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Duck, Duck, “DUCK!” - The History of the Rubber Ducky

The 40 foot tall rubber duck created by artist Florentijn Hoffman, will continue to float at Point State Park until October 20th, 2013.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

If you are a resident of Pittsburgh, you have undoubtedly heard about the enormous 40 foot tall rubber duck that is now floating majestically in the river. But where does this iconic bath toy originate from?

According to Joe Wos, Executive Director of the Toonseum, it goes all the way back to the late 1800’s, when regular Saturday baths first became popular. In order to be clean for church on Sunday, the entire family would gather to take their one and only bath of the week. Wos says dips in the tub went from oldest to youngest, Dad went first, then oldest brother, down to the youngest child.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:26 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Drawing a Crowd At The Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival

Joe Wos, Executive Director and Founder of the Toonseum curates the Reuben Awards Exhibit
Credit Joe Wos

In the world of comic strip art, The Reuben Awards, are on par with the Oscars. Named after Rube Goldberg, the Reuben has been awarded by the National Cartoonists Society to artists such as Charles Schulz, Chester Gould and Bill Watterson.

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