Dom Joly: Five amazing secrets of the Frisbee

Weird World of Sport: Iraqi bakers started the practice of throwing the boiling hot bread from person to person

Share
Related Topics

The inventor of the Frisbee died last week. Walter Frederick Morrison died at the grand old age of ninety at his home in Utah. A Frisbee "historian" Phil Kennedy was quoted as saying that Mr Morrison had originally got the idea when throwing a metal cake pan about on a beach in California. I love the idea that there is such a thing as a Frisbee "historian." How many are there? Just the one or are there hundreds of prestigious universities crammed full of them? How much history is there to document in the world of Frisbee? Admittedly, it's interesting to find out that the Frisbee was invented at the height of UFO fever in the US and so it was originally known as the "Pluto Platter." Then Mr Morrison sold his invention to a company called Wham-O and they changed the name to Frisbee as kids were already calling it this after a well-known pie ... that, surely is about as much history as anybody might need to know about the Frisbee.

Maybe there are differing views as to the exact history of the object? Surely the Ancient Greek use of the discus could be seen as a slightly earlier version of the flying disc? Perhaps there were opposing factions within the world of Frisbee who dispute the salient facts as much as people do those in the Kennedy assassination? I decided to dig a little deeper and, sure enough, uncovered a multitude of different Frisbee historical facts. I simply present them all for your delectation – it is up to a proper Frisbee historian to verify them...

1 Although the Ancient Greeks used a wooden discus in their athletic events, they also had a circular weapon that was used in battle. Known as the Frisbuskion, it was about two feet wide and took three Greeks to hurl at the approaching enemy. Although it did not fly on its own, it could travel up to nine feet if thrown correctly. The enemy would be squashed under the object and then finished off with a spear. This was the origin of the phrase "beware of Greeks bearing discs" that was later bastardised into gifts.

2 In areas of Aquitaine during the Middle Ages arose a curious tradition of patella throwing. The average kneecap, when removed and honed, is the perfect Frisbee shape. Although smaller than the average Frisbee, the locals became highly skilled at using these "frisknees" and a distance record of 122 metres was set in 1422. It has never been broken, possibly because the Pope declared the practice to be "immensely unseemly" and banned it under threat of excommunication.

3Those of you who are James Bond fans will no doubt remember the infamous Oddjob and his razor-edged hat that he used to such great effect. A lot of Frisbee enthusiasts assumed that the idea had come from the Frisbee itself. Not so. Oddjob was supposed to be Korean and the practice of using hats as a weapon is a very ancient one in Korea. The original throwing hat – the chukka – was used by warrior monks in Nothern Korea in the 12th Century. This flat, almost beret-like head cloth had five spikes around the edge. Later on this was developed further into something that resembled a bowler hat. The top was hard and reinforced to be used as a helmet while the spike were retained for throwing purpose. The use of razor-blades on the edge was an idea had by Cubby Broccoli. Sadly, two props men were to lose several fingers while testing the device.



4 In Iraq people used to throw Arab mountain bread for sport. The bread is circular shaped and cooked over a boiling hot metal dome suspended over a fire. When the bread was ready it was whisked off the metal but was too hot to handle and would almost melt onto the skin if held for any length of time. Iraqi bakers, therefore, started the practice of throwing the boiling hot bread from person to person. This quickly developed into a craze and bread-throwing became the one of the most popular pastimes in the country until the early American sanctions after Gulf War I made bread too valuable to chuck about.



5 Walter Morrison was uncle to Doors' singer Jim Morrison and early royalties from the Frisbee paid for the band's first recording sessions.

Long shot?

Surely somewhere, there is a member of the England football team who lives a quiet life with his wife, doesn't go "dogging" at the weekends and drives a Fiat Punto? Now that would really be a story...

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea