Budapest, City of Smiles

Long before laughter therapy was developed and empirical studies were carried out on the effects of smile on mood, Budapest had an interesting approach to "urban psychiatric care" in the 1930s. A so-called "Smile Club" was introduced to "counteract the suicide craze" in the city.
"A “Smile Club” has been inaugurated to counteract the suicide craze it was originally begun more as a joke by Professor Jeno and a hypnotist named Binczo, but somehow it caught on. The organisers have now a regular school and guarantee to teach the Roosevelt smile, the Mona Liza smile, the Clark Gable smile, the Dick Powell smile, the Loretta Young Smile, and various other types, the rates varying according to the difficulties encountered. Jeno says the methods employed at his school, aided by better business conditions in Budapest are making smiling popular and before long it is hoped that the name of Budapest will be changed to the City of Smiles." (Museum of the Weird)
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Photograph via The Aubergine Coat

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