Apr 6, 2012
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Being a celebrity takes work. Not only must they avoid paparazzi and autograph hounds, but they also face unique problems in the workplace. Michael Jackson wanted to lean 50 degrees forward during a dance routine—but the tools didn’t exist to let him do that. And Prince was frustrated that his keyboardist couldn’t rock-n-roam around the stage freely during concerts.
So what did they do? They built their own tools.
6. Michael Jackson's Method for Creating the Anti-Gravity Illusion
Beyond the lone sparkly glove, MJ was probably best known for his dance moves. There was the moonwalk, his signature spin, and of course, his seemingly-supernatural anti-gravity lean. This lean wasn't made possible by MJ's superhuman dance skills, but rather U.S. Patent 5,255,452. That's right, the illusion required special shoes and a specially designed portion of the stage that allowed him to hitch the footware in. The result: a gravity-defying illusion of epic proportions.
5. Walt Disney's Art of Animation
No big deal, guys. Disney just invented animation as we know it. , Disney created the multi-plane camera. It allowed designers to create more realistic 3D images, giving the 'toons more realism and depth. That’s the difference between a pre-multi-plane cartoon like Steamboat Willie, and a post-multi-plane cartoon like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
4. Margaret Thatcher’s Soft Serve Ice Cream
Before becoming a political powerhouse, the Iron Lady was involved with something much more sweet: soft serve ice cream. Fresh out of Oxford with a chemistry degree, one of her early jobs was to figure out a way to pump more air into ice cream, creating a yummy new version of soft serve, .
3. Kevin Costner’s Ocean Therapy Machine
Kevin Costner, star of 1995's Waterworld, spent $20 million of his own money to create the Ocean Therapy Machine, most recently used to clean up after the BP oil spill. it works like this: high-speed centrifuge vacuums placed on a barge pull in polluted ocean water at a rate of 200 gallons per minute. They spin to separate out oil, leaving behind water that is 97% clean.
2. Prince's Purpleaxxe Keytar
Way more popular than the piano-key necktie is Prince's fabulous Prince-inspired, Prince-branded, Prince-keytar aptly named the Purpleaxxe. Hoping to liberate his keyboardist from the confines of his post on stage, Prince co-created the guitar/keyboard hybrid to let his bandmate roam freely while looking ‘80s-tasctic.
1. Steven Spielberg's Dolly Track Switch
Spielberg blessed filmmakers with the hand steadiness of a surgeon with his Dolly Track Switch. The device allows camera operators using a dolly to smoothly switch between tracks, helping to avoid those Blair Witch-esque moments on the silver screen.