The Strange Fad of the 1920s
By Chase Seltzner
Flagpole sitting was made popular by Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly. His first pole sit in 1924 lasted 13 hours and 13 minutes. Soon other people started to try and break his records, getting longer and longer as time went. Bill Penfield almost got 52 days in Iowa but had to come down because of a thunderstorm. The longest ever recorded pole sit was from Daniel Baraniuk of Poland who had a total of 196 days
Alvin Kelly started to get very popular as people started crowding his pole (I didn't mean it to sound inappropriate) to watch. A lot of people then started to pole sit for popularity, advertising, and protesting. One man supposedly sat on top of a pole for almost 440 days to protest the prices of gasoline.
The reason a lot of people enjoyed watching flagpole sitting is that there were very little in means of entertainment. People liked watching Alvin Kelly so much that businesses hired him to sit on poles near their shops and theaters.
By 1929 the flagpole sitting fad died down as the depression neared, but during the time it was a huge thing for people.