Watch Planet Money Shorts : Planet Money Have you ever wanted to watch video of the people who make NPR acting out Planet Money stories? Well, who asked you anyway.
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Watch Planet Money Shorts

We made a video series. It has a logo and everything. NPR hide caption

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We made a video series. It has a logo and everything.

NPR

Yes, it's true — we have a video series. These videos tell the weird stories behind big economic facts and ideas, re-enacted and explained by the crew of goofballs over here at National Public Radio.

So affix yourself to your chair, tape your eyelids open and binge on this classy content (organized in descending order of recency):

The Apple That Changed The World

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The mid-20th century was a bad time to be an apple lover. The produce section of supermarkets only had a few apples, and one stood tall above the rest: mealy, and tough-skinned, it was the Red Delicious.

Back in those days, apples were a commodity, and the race to provide apples at the lowest price suppressed prices for all apple growers and discouraged apple innovation. A few things helped change that world for the better — and chief among them was the discovery of the Honeycrisp.

This is the story of that miracle apple and the innovation that made the business of better apples sustainable — all while hastening the downfall of the Red Delicious.

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!

How American Cemeteries Promise To Keep Your Grave Forever

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If you die in America, chances are the cemetery is going to promise to maintain your grave forever. Americans take this for granted, but it is a whacky, wild promise that we maybe should not be making.

In a lot of other countries, you basically rent a grave until they dig up your bones to make room for the next guy. And yet, in America, this forever-grave thing is actually in most states' law. With the exception of religious cemeteries (which often do this anyways), the state regulates how cemeteries save to ensure, theoretically, that they can maintain a grave forever.

It's a weird country to die in. So, we made a weirder video about it.

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!


The Price Of Coke Stayed The Same For 70 Years — Why?

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The thing about prices is they tend to change. But for 70 years, between 1886 and the late 1950s, the price of a Coca-Cola was a shiny nickel.

Think about how crazy that is: Between 1886 and the late '50s, you had two world wars, Prohibition and the Great Depression. But through it all, one constant in life was the nickel Coke.

This is the story of how two lawyers from Chattanooga struck a deal with the president of Coca-Cola that led to the company's pricing lockdown. With re-enactments from our very own Robert Smith & Nick Fountain, it's the fourth episode of Planet Money Shorts.

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!


A Quick History Of Slow Credit Cards

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In the mid-'60s, the airline industry had a problem. The 747, the first real jumbo jet, had just been introduced. There were more passengers at the airport than before. More passengers meant longer lines. And that was especially bad because this was the era when customers paid for their tickets right there at the airport — often by credit card.

Back then, paying by credit cards was a whole ordeal. The airlines had to call up the bank manually in order to confirm the card. With lines growing, the airlines needed a faster process. So they called IBM to ask for help, and that's where our story (which also features some French fraudsters and a hippie inventor) begins.

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!


The Price Tag Hasn't Always Existed, It Had To Be Invented

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Most people are used to prices that don't change from one customer to the next. You go into a store to buy some Quaker Oats, and they're going to cost the same for you as they will for whoever tries to buy them next.

But for a long time, that's not how it worked at all.

For most of human history, you had to haggle over prices before you could buy something. The Quakers were among the first people to commit to fixed prices — and they did it because it was good morals. Turned out, it was also good business. This is the strange story of the long journey of that little piece of paper.

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!


Which Came First, The Frozen Chicken Or The Tax On Foreign Trucks?

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In the 1960s, there was a new fad in Germany: cheap, frozen American chicken. German families couldn't get enough of the stuff — it was great for the German consumer, but not so great for the German chicken farmer. So the farmers went to the government, and, lo, a trade war was born.

In this first episode of Planet Money Shorts, witness the making of an automotive juggernaut — the story of how a tax on frozen chicken wound up defining the U.S. market for trucks. With some acting help from various NPR employees (read: definitely not professional actors), it's the story of "The Chicken Tax!"

Listen to the original Planet Money podcast episode here!


That's all we've made so far, but you can subscribe to our video series here — and, while you're at it, subscribe to our podcast.