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The Truman Show and Reality TV

Truman Show pinback button

The Truman Show was released by Paramount Pictures in 1998. It centers around Truman Burbank, a man whose whole life from birth has been a show, unbeknownst to him, for the enjoyment of others. What if you were Truman? Or one of the characters or viewers of his show? Would you support freeing Truman? Is there a reality outside the ‘set’ for Truman? Paramount created a special website and released special materials such as this button surrounding the release of the film almost as if to blur the reality between real life and the story in the film. Seemingly with the aim of stirring up viewer sentiment to sympathize with Truman.

Last year during the anniversary of the film’s release there was some discussion with the actors and actresses. Twenty years ago they thought the theme of recording one’s life as entertainment was preposterous. However, now it seems like it may have predicted a trend. Since “The Truman Show’s” release Reality TV has become a part of everyday life. Whether it be in the form of shows like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, your neighbor’s Youtube channel, or your best friend's Instagram (or Snapchat)  broadcasting and sharing our lives with those around us is the new normal. It does beg the question though, what is real when everything is a video made for the enjoyment of others?    


Miller, Julie. (2018, June 5). Twenty years later, everything is the truman show. [Vanity Fair article]. Retrieved from

Milvy, E. (1998, June 25). Paramount shows creative use of the web with site to free truman [News article]. Retrieved from


Research and text by Bekah Leidenfrost

Fancy That: A Brief History on Social and Early Medical Conclusions Surrounding the Bicycle

cycle for your health finback button

The first bicycle was invented in 1817 in Germany by Baron von Drais, this had no pedals or gears. Inventors continued to improve on and change the design until the creation of the Safety Bicycle in 1885, the precursor to the bicycle as we know it today. This model was then popularized and became affordable, as the lower price point allowed many to be able to purchase one (Guroff, 2017). Previous models of the bicycle, such as the Penny Farthing, were costly and therefore limited cycling to a social activity for wealthy young men. With the wealthy and those less fortunate both being able to access the same activity, thanks to the Safety Bicycle, they were also able to engage with one another in a setting that they never would have previously. Prior to this those of different social standings would never have interacted as they passed each other on the street.

As it was also widely lauded for its health benefits and a design accessible to women of the day the bicycle raised concerns in some. One such instance noted by a medical professional stated that women shouldn’t be allowed to ride bicycles. He cites the instance of several well-bred women conversing with local prostitutes for several days as they rode their bikes along the street (Mapes, 1897).

Is this pin poking fun at these conventions and thoughts? What’d you think?


Guroff, Margaret. (2017, May 19). The great leveler. Retrieved from

Hiles, Dillon. (2017). 58 milestones from bicycle history you must know. Retrieved from

Mapes, C.C. (1897, November 10). A review of the dangers and evils of bicycling. Swift, E.G. The Medical Age, Vol. 15 (pp. 644-45).


Research and text by Bekah Leidenfrost

Horror Movie Buttons for the Halloween Season

There’s no denying the fandom around old horror movies and why we love to indulge in them this time of year. These movies are works of art to a lot of movie buffs, toy collectors, and just spooky memorabilia fans in general. The stylization of these horror movies make them unforgettable and perfect for commemorating on a button. 

Take a peek at our creepy collection, if you dare!

Never Watch Night Gallery Alone! - Night Gallery

A horror anthology series that aired on NBC from 1969 to 1973, Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone’s very same!)  this button warns you to never watch it alone. The show was a look through the unusual, the strange, and chilling paintings accompanied by a scary tale. Many of the stories were Serling originals, with some  being adaptations by some horror authors such as H.P. Lovecraft.

Don’t Dream It Be It - The Rocky HorrorPicture Show

Debatably not what you may think of when you think of “best scary movies”, it could be argued that Tim Curry’s performance is scary good in this 1975 movie musical. The pin reads “Don’t Dream It, Be It” calling back to the melody sung at the end of the show. Before the movie, The Rocky Horror Show was a stage show written and created by Richard O’Brien and was a tribute to his love for sci-fi and horror B movies. The play began gaining cult status, in part due to its iconic midnight showings and audience participation.

It’s All Here - Gremlins

Hopefully you know by now that the three rules to keeping a Gremlin is that you should never expose it to bright light or the sun, never get it wet, and NEVER feed a Gremlin after midnight. Break these rules and you’ll soon be looking at the other side of this lenticular button!

This button as part of the horror film’s 1984 release, the fast food chain Hardees teamed up with Disney’s Buena Vista Records to release Gremlins Storybooks and Record Sets. Five in total, they were available for 89¢-99¢ with the purchase of a sandwich, fries, and a drink. Each book featured 16 pages including original artwork that coincided with the 10 minute album telling the story of the Gizmo and the other Gremlins.

Pray for Rosemary’s Baby - Rosemary’s Baby

This pleading pin comes from the film and book of the same name—the 1968 horror classic, Rosemary’s Baby. After Mia Farrow’s character becomes mysteriously pregnant in the movie, it is soon realized that their suspicious, evil cult member neighbors have cursed her with the burden of carrying the child of the son of satan. Promotional posters and other advertisements for the movie all featured this lingering and ominous request, to “Pray for Rosemary’s baby.” 

Now that we’re all in the mood for the bogeyman, black cats, banshees, and buttons, take a look at these easy glow in the dark tips that will help you make your own pins for this spooky Halloween season.

by Andy Bell

And Are Totally Safe for Work (Really.) Buttons That Make Us Laugh!

Let’s face it—everyone right now could use a good laugh right about now. On the one hand, the internet makes it extremely easy to spread the unfortunate word of tragedy, so we thought we’d try to help balance the dreary with some lighthearted, humorous and laugh-able buttons from the Button Museum.

That’s right, just some good clean fun to show your grandma, niece, boss, or whomever!

To read the whole blog post, check it out here: