Without question, my favorite cable channel is the History Channel, though the Food Channel runs a close second. Switch on the History Channel at any time of day or night, and you're more likely to find something truly interesting being shown than anywhere else. (Occasionally, I have to admit, they do run shows that bore me to tears, but then I just change the channel and watch someone preparing barbecue. MM-mmm.)
One of their best series is the show Modern Marvels, which focuses on the achievements of the 20th century and on into the 21st. The subjects range from the fascinating, like the development of modern hi-tech weaponry, to the terrible, like great engineering disasters (I can think of one for their next season), to the delightfully absurd, like the evolution of breakfast cereal.
Before each commercial break, they throw up a text card, read out by the announcer, with some intriguing bit of trivia about the show's subject. A couple of days ago they were running a show on popular kids' toys, always appropriate for Christmas Eve, and one pre-commercial card told this story. That some years ago, a group calling itself the Barbie Liberation Organization absconded with several hundred Talking G.I. Joe action figures and several hundred Teen Talk Barbie dolls. They switched the voice chips and snuck the toys back onto toyshop shelves. In the course of events, many a little girl had to ponder a Barbie that snarled, "Eat lead, Cobra!!", while little boys had to cope with a G.I. Joe who squealed, "Let's go shopping!!"
See what I mean? My life is richer for knowing that.
[Note: confirming link is here.]