As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The Extraordinary Encounters Episode

The interviews in this episode are remarkable not only because of the circumstances covered, but because of the extraordinary individuals at the centre of them.

A grab-bag of conversations with curious characters - from 50 years of AIH archives

A spectator peers at the horse races in 1923. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Listen27:29

In the introduction to her memoir, The As it Happens Files: Radio that May Contain Nuts, former As it Happens  host Mary Lou Finlay writes: "Sometimes the people make the story, and sometimes it's the story that brings forth the people."

And in some cases, it's both — as it is in each of the stories in this episode of As it Happened: The Archive Edition.

From the strongmen-seeking strongman Walter Cornelius breathlessly running to the phone to explain his upcoming catapult stunt, to Julie Ostrow recounting how she won the American Laughing Championships while boarding a plane, the interviews capture extraordinary characters in the middle of equally extraordinary circumstances.

Click on 'Listen' above to hear the broadcast version of the episode as it aired on the radio. Full-length versions of each of the interviews as they originally aired, as well as archival images, appear below.

She nailed him pretty good in the chest — I think, like, twice. They've got some girth on 'em.-'Amy', an employee of an adult novelty store in San Bernardino, Calif., on her co-worker hurling sex toys at an armed would-be robber

Chapter 1: Where guilty meets pleasure

The employee of a California shop specializing in adult accessories fends off a would-be burglar, with a little 'hello' from her little friend. 

(Original airdate: December 16, 2016) 7:15

Click here for more on this story.

Chapter 2: Stretched arm-strong

For his latest stunt, Walter Cornelius — a.k.a. the world's strongest man — seeks fellow heavyweights to catapult him across a river using rubber bands. 

(Original airdate: December 24, 1974) 3:28

Chapter 3: I am woman, hear me roar

Sally Goodall explains how she won the 1974 Michigan State Fair Husband Calling contest.

A woman — not Sally Goodall —shouting. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Original airdate: December 24, 1974) 2:23

Chapter 4: An unparalleled hue and cry

Paul (Bear) Vasquez's euphoric reaction to witnessing a double rainbow blew up the internet in 2010.

(Original airdate: July 9, 2010) 8:24

Chapter 5: The extra ordinary gentleman of Leeds

A University of Leeds professor prattles on — and on, and on — upon being named Britain's most boring lecturer.

The faces of these students in 1940 show how they feel about the lecture. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(Original airdate: March 1, 1977) 4:49

Chapter 6: The smile high club

Julie Ostrow's mirth proves infectious as she boards a plane after winning the American Laughing Championships.

Julie Ostrow won the 2013 American Laughing Championships. (Tom Munnecke/American Laughing Championships)
(Original airdate: April 8, 2013) 6:27

Listen to the full episode audio at the top of this post. 

Written and produced by Kevin Ball.