1Kim Jong Il Forced Filmmaker to Remake "Godzilla"
Shin Sang-ok was known as the Orson Welles of South Korea. In 1978, he was kidnapped and brought to North Korea where he says he was imprisoned and forced to modernize the repressive country's film industry.
Dictator-in-waiting Kim Jong-Il (his father Kim Il-sung was still in power) wanted to show the world that creativity could thrive in North Korea. The result was a series of films, including Pulgasari, a blatant Godzilla rip-off, albeit with a Socialist message and heavily controlled by Jong-Il.
Eventually, Shin and his wife escaped; Pulgasari was released to the world in 1998 and was a flop. But you can watch it below!
2Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos Almost Had The Beatles Killed
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, rulers of the Philippines, were huge Beatles fans. The Fab Four were invited to play the Philippines on their 1964 world tour, which they accepted. However, upon arriving, they were greeted at their hotel by military personnel who told them they were required to meet with the Marcoses at the presidential palace for a luncheon. Having just flown in from Tokyo and needing rest for their 2 shows later in the day, they declined. First Lady Marcos was outraged and she quickly help spread the word throughout the country that the Beatles had snubbed the president and his wife. Chaos eventually ensued, with the Beatles, who were used to being mobbed by screaming young girls, now being threatened with death by an angry mob. They had to sneak back to the airport and run onto the tarmac to catch their plane. Here's what the Lads said about it:
3Mobutu Hosted Foreman Vs. Ali's “Rumble in the Jungle”
In 1974, fledgling boxing promoter Don King was looking for a way to make a splash. He managed to get arch-rivals Muhammad Ali and George Foreman to agree to a rematch for the Heavyweight Title, but he still needed an $5 million purse and a venue to hold the fight.
Enter Mobutu Sese Seko, narcissistic dictator of Zaire (now known as Democratic Republic of the Congo) who was always seeking publicity and offered to host the fight in Kinshasa.
The result was the famous “Rumble in the Jungle,” which occurred on October 30, 1974. Ali, considered to be the underdog, knocked out Foreman in the 8th round and regained his title of World Heavyweight Champion. It's now considered one of the greatest sporting events of all time.
4Idi Amin Forced White Men to Carry Him Around
Idi Amin (President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979) was a ruthless dictator known for his erratic behavior. When he inaugurated himself President for Life, he celebrated by being carried aloft through the streets in a sedan chair by four white men, which he jokingly referred to as “The White Man's Burden.” “We Africans used to carry Europeans, but now Europeans are carrying us. We are now the masters,” he was quoted as saying.
5Francois Duvalier and the Number 22
Haitian dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier was known to be extremely superstitious as well as a practitioner of voodoo. He believed the number 22 to be particularly powerful – he seized power on October 22, 1957. In addition, he claimed to have placed a curse on President Kennedy, who indeed died on November 22, 1963. In later years, he felt the 22nd of each month was the only day safe enough for him to leave his palace. He died on April 21, 1971 after a long illness, but his last wish was it not be announced until the 22nd.
6Hitler Invented the Blow-Up Doll
Adolf Hitler, in an attempt to prevent the spread of syphilis in his soldiers, came up with what is considered the first blow-up sex doll. They were referred to as “synthetic comforters” and were designed with blond hair, blue eyes and small enough to fit in a backpack.
After extensive “testing,” at least 50 dolls reportedly went into production, but many soldiers refused to carry them. The blow-up doll factory itself was presumed to have been blown up during the bombing of Dresden in 1942.
7Gaddafi Had 15 Female Virgin Bodyguards
Former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was known to love women; he even lavished gifts upon Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He took his adoration to the extreme, however, by employing only female bodyguards to protect him.
Nicknamed a'The Amazonian Guards" by Western Journalists, these females were all trained in weaponry and allowed to wear makeup and high heels; they were also reported to be virgins. Gaddafi said he used these women for protection because he felt an assassin would have emotional issues about shooting a female.
8Saparmurat Niyazov Changes His Name (And Everything Else) To Turkmenbashi
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the leader of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, stepped in to fill the void. He renamed himself Turkmenbashi and created a golden statue of himself in the center of the capitol, which rotated so it always faced the sun. He didn't stop there – his face and name appeared everywhere, on money, street corners, vodka bottles, and he even renamed the month of January Turkmenbashi. “I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want," he modestly said.