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"Older respondents reported hopping on railway cars and stealing gin"

The shortening leash on American children: We heard a lot about sneaking out, petty theft, amateur arson, drugs, and sexual experimentation from our older respondents. But as time passes, the picture of childhood looks a lot less wild and reckless and a lot more monitored. We asked parents how they would react if they caught their kids doing what they had done as kids. A typical response: "I'd probably freak out and turn my home into a prison."
posted by scody on Aug 6, 2014 - 165 comments

Eichler, Cliff May and the invention of the California Ranch Style home

The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 4, 2014 - 29 comments

Envisioning the American Dream

Envisioning the American Dream is "a visual remix of the American Dream as pictured in Mid-Century media" that discusses topics such as Man and Machines, Vintage Advice for Cheaters, and Suburbia for Sale, amongst many others.
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jun 9, 2014 - 5 comments

Is that what's botherin' ya, bunky?

You say you just learned of the passing of comedian Eddie Lawrence last week at the age of 95?
He was best known for his 1956 routine "The Old Philosopher", in which he gloomily described a litany of sometimes absurdly funny mishaps then changed gears into a cheerleading chant ending in "NEVER GIVE UP (BANG! BANG!) THAT SHIP!*" It was a big hit single (and Dr. Demento staple**) and led to a series of follow-ups, including "Son of the Old Philosopher", the Christmas-themed "Merry Old Philosopher", "The Radio DJ's Old Philosopher" (filled with inside-the-biz jokes) and "The Old Philosopher On The Range", as well as radio commercials based on the bit: "Leave It To (John) Leavitt"***. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Mar 31, 2014 - 22 comments

Eat your K rations and like it

Hundreds of newsreel and publicity films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s -- the golden era of instructional, scientific, government, and industry films -- are now available on YouTube via users like Ella's Archive (focusing on transport and technology), Val73TV4 (British Council portraits of English towns & more), NuclearVault (war and diplomacy) and others.

How about starting with The Big Delivery Wagon (1951) a Heinz-sponsored spot about nationwide food distribution? Or ‪Native Foods: Commandments For Health (1945)‬, a U.S. Navy animated training film featuring Private McGillicuddy, who neither likes Vienna sausage nor seems to know that local foods are full of "poison more treacherous than a Jap warlord." Maybe Choosing For Happiness (1950) has some choice dating tips for even today's women? Or show your kid Defense Against Invasion (1943) in which a doctor explains to a fearful child exactly why he ought to get immunized.
posted by spamandkimchi on Feb 15, 2014 - 5 comments

La-La Land

Vintage Los Angeles is Alison Martino's YouTube channel featuring a look back at Los Angeles during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. There's an accompanying blog and a facebook page, too.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 5, 2014 - 10 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

The Thrill Of Being Airborne

A 1955 TWA promotional movie about vacationing in the glittering metropolios - SKYLINE NEW YORK!
posted by The Whelk on Nov 22, 2013 - 26 comments

Fat in the Fifties

In 1954, Life magazine published an article entitled "The Plague of Overweight" with a series of photos of a woman named Dorothy Bradley. The story features some now-familiar tropes about fat people ("197-pound Dorothy ... covered up embarrassment by being jolly and gregarious"; "Dorothy envies slim girl's milkshake"). It is also notable as an early appearance of the concept of an obesity "epidemic".
posted by dontjumplarry on Sep 29, 2013 - 109 comments

artists in their own words

Painters on Painting - 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 2, 2013 - 8 comments

There are no Z-Rays

Help stamp out quackery.
posted by nadawi on Sep 2, 2013 - 37 comments

From Folklore to Exotica: Yma Sumac and the Performance of Inca Identity

When the Andean exotica singer Yma Sumac became famous in the United States for her supposed Inca heritage and five-octave voice, her fellow Peruvians called her a sellout. UC Davis professor Zoila Mendoza, however, knew Yma Sumac as her mother’s childhood friend.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 31, 2013 - 18 comments

'Ploughboy's Lunch, Harry, please'

'The ploughman's lunch is a UK pub meal who's core components are cheese, chutney, and bread. It can also include such items as boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions, and is accompanied with beer.' [more inside]
posted by panaceanot on Aug 12, 2013 - 92 comments

Disney Voce

This is a video I’ve wanted to dish for years--a video that contextualizes Disneyland within the political and cultural events of the early 1950s. “Disneyland Voce” is distilled down from a dozen home movies, all shot in 1955, during the first five months that Disneyland was open to the public. Here’s one reason I love home movies: they reveal the vacation experience as taken by the average guest. Disney has produced reels of film documenting the park during its early years (most notably “Disneyland U.S.A.” in 1956 and “Gala Day at Disneyland” in 1959), but professional footage presents the park under ideal conditions. Home movies lay down the scenery as a typical guest would have experienced it. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to visit Disneyland when it first opened, buckle into your DeLorean and hit the play button on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 10, 2013 - 18 comments

The Cars-in-a-barn Urban Legend that is Real

For years, there have been rumors among car people about a bunch of unbelievably low-mileage 50's and 60's cars in a barn or warehouse in the upper Midwest. It's true, and they'll be auctioned off this fall. Not Safe for people with a propensity to drool over old metal. [more inside]
posted by pjern on Jun 30, 2013 - 74 comments

A Clean House Is A Safe House.

" The House In The Middle" A 1954 Civil Defense film shows how you can protect your home against atomic firestorms via good housekeeping (13 min, YouTube)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2013 - 44 comments

"Through a revolutionary change in the way US income is distributed."

A look at the post-war middle class, brought to you by the editors of Life, and Fortune Magazines.

Opportunties Unlimited (via)
posted by timsteil on Jun 2, 2013 - 1 comment

The CLUB HANGOVER Archive, 1954-58

In the 1950s, Club Hangover was the place to go in San Francisco to hear Dixieland and New Orleans jazz. Thanks to tapes from KCBS being preserved and passed on, you can now listen to 25 complete and unedited half-hour broadcasts from Club Hangover, with recordings of Louis Armstrong, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Kid Ory, Muggsy Spanier, Ralph Sutton, and Jack Teagarden, all from 1954-58.
posted by fings on Apr 25, 2013 - 6 comments

"Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists"

The Homosexual Atom Bomb
Such absurd equations show how homosexuality became a floating signifier, associated with whatever political tendency one most disliked. Rather than representing a certain group of people, it represented everything that was wrong—whatever that meant. America’s Red Scare bled into its Lavender Scare; the Soviets associated homosexuality with capitalism and fascism. But empty as it was, the political use of the trope of homosexuality had a devastating effect on real people from both countries.
"Homosexuality Is Stalin's Atom Bomb to Destroy America" is on display at the Winkleman Gallery in NYC. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 28, 2013 - 21 comments

When Nikita met Marilyn

Khrushchev Tours America - His shoe banging incident at the UN and the the Kitchen Debates with Nixon are well known but less attention has been given to the time Nikita Khrushchev went to Hollywood. He met Marilyn Monroe and other film luminaries but he was denied a trip to Disneyland (previously). [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 19, 2013 - 16 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

Spoiler alert: there is a red shirt.

Jeff Altman has posted several stunning examples of his grandfather's Kodachrome 40 8mm home movies.

Previously with less, but now with more!! [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Aug 28, 2012 - 14 comments

Look to the skies. The flying saucers will always be there.

In the mid-1950s, Dickie Goodman was a struggling song writer working with song publisher Bill Buchanan, when the two men came up with the idea of a fake radio program interrupted by a UFO attack (similar to the hoax Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds), except in this case, the aliens spoke the language of rock 'n' roll. The result was Flying Saucer, Parts 1 and 2 on Luniverse Records, the first novelty break-in record and a forerunner to the modern mashup. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Aug 18, 2012 - 14 comments

Not A Crime

Montreal Cops Chase Skateboarders [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Aug 2, 2012 - 20 comments

Rejoice Dear Hearts

Dave Gardner scored his first Top 20 hit in 1957 with White Silver Sands, and while a fine singer (and drummer), it was the stories he told between songs that transformed him into "Brother" Dave Gardner.
posted by timsteil on May 23, 2012 - 10 comments

Thousands of ads, thousands of brochures, thousands of photos

x-ray delta one's flickr stream is filled with thousands of scans assembled by a one-man library named James Vaughan. The collected ephemera contains brochures, ads, and magazines from the world of air travel, cars, trains, and lots of other things. No matter where you dive in, there are always treasures.
posted by mathowie on May 10, 2012 - 10 comments

True Adventures in Better Homes

True Adventures in Better Homes - Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.
posted by Artw on Apr 16, 2012 - 44 comments

Alexander Mackendrick's "Sweet Smell of Success"

"A Movie Marked Danger" - a Vanity Fair article on Sweet Smell of Success (1957), directed by Alexander Mackendrick, screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, cinematography by James Wong Howe, soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 14, 2012 - 22 comments

Two bits of wood bolted together

Fender Factory Tour 1959 - Leo Fender in the second shot. Freddie Tavares at 7:26. A day when "everything was done by hand... It is amazing to realize that every guitar made that year is now worth a small fortune." The 1959-63 era Stratocaster is called one of the 50 guitars to play before you die. (via the q-ster)
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 27, 2012 - 15 comments

Fight and Flight. And Cars, too.

AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2012 - 2 comments

of Spivs, Cosh boys & Creepers

Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits: Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 30, 2012 - 15 comments

Hep

London coffee bars of the 1950s (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 29, 2012 - 63 comments

put on a shirt his mother made, and went on the air

Well, bust my britches, here it is January 8, Elvis Presley's birthday! Now, a mere 20 days after the young rock crooner had celebrated his 21st, back in 1956, he stepped onto the stage at CBS Studio in New York City and made his US national television debut, on the Dorsey Brothers show. Seems he was hot property from the get-go, cause he was back on that stage, straightaway, for five more appearances, on February 4th, 11th and 18th, then again on March 17th and 24th. And, yeah, heck, he was pretty good.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 8, 2012 - 42 comments

Vintage Dog Training and Performance: Jay Sisler

Positive reinforcement dog training existed in the States in the 1950s. Sisler's dogs were trained to amazingly high performance standards using hand signals and body language with just... petting, praise and pancakes? Aussies, maybe, but greyhounds, really? [more inside]
posted by vers on Jan 7, 2012 - 22 comments

No one would have believed in the middle of the 20th Century that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than Man's...

The making of George Pal's War of the Worlds
posted by Artw on Oct 30, 2011 - 26 comments

UNIVAC

To meet this need for high speed data processing, the scientists and technicians of the Eckert-Mauchly division of Remington Rand have created a miracle of electronic development: UNIVAC! [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 7, 2011 - 8 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

Robert Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly"

At the core of Kiss Me Deadly are speed and violence. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 18, 2011 - 23 comments

A band of sisters and brothers in a circle of trust

Images of a People's Movement - more than 18 pages of photos and dozens of first-hand narratives, interviews & recollections of the 1951-1968 Southern Freedom Movement by the Civil Rights Movement Veterans. (These are just samplings - it's a deep and rich site.) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 4, 2011 - 12 comments

Deterrent failed. Mission accomplished.

Only 60,000,000 citizens killed?! Success!!! A 1950s Air Force film on what might happen in the event of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear conflict has been declassified and is available in full, online, from the National Security Archive of George Washington University.
posted by markkraft on Feb 21, 2011 - 54 comments

Vintage household hacks

Home Kinks, part 1 and part 2 - for years, Popular Mechanics Press published a series of tips, many from readers, in a special edition format they called "Household Kinks." Scanning Around With Gene has posted a collection from 1940s and '50s editions.
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 20, 2011 - 40 comments

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Video footage of an experimental LSD session from the 1950s, which concludes with a short discussion with philosopher Gerald Heard.
posted by gman on Jan 16, 2011 - 138 comments

Look at (Vintage London) Life

IN Gear, swinging London of 1960s and SOHO bohemian Coffee Bars of London, 1959. These are a few of the 500+ vintage documentary shorts called "Look at Life" that ran at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas during the 50s and 60s. (via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 29, 2010 - 15 comments

As opposed to 60s advertising execs

Back in May, Jen (but never Jenn) spent 2 weeks emulating a 1950s Housewife. [Results] [Lessons] Now she's back, this time, with a more husband-centric attempt at 1950s living.
posted by jacquilynne on Oct 26, 2010 - 64 comments

Beware the Electronic Automatic Sound-Spectrograph Computing Digit Translator Playback Recognizer Machine

Telephoneme: Even if your Alphabet Conspiracy succeeds and you destroy the books, machines have no minds of their own. They are easily confused by different voices and different accents. It is the brain of man that tells them what to do. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 20, 2010 - 10 comments

Life in Kodachrome

Michael Williams, the guy behind A Continuous Lean, buys Kodachrome slides from the 50's and 60's at flea markets, estate sales, and other sources. Then he posts his finds online: Part I, II, III, and IV. [more inside]
posted by defenestration on May 5, 2010 - 26 comments

TV, When It Rocked and Rolled

In August 1990, when Spin magazine was still an edgier cousin to Rolling Stone, it published a list of the 35 Greatest Moments in Rock 'n' Roll Television. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Feb 17, 2010 - 49 comments

eavesdropping on jazz giants

The Jazz Loft Project - From 1957 to 1965, celebrated photojournalist W. Eugene Smith made 4,000 hours of surreptitious recordings and took 40,000 photographs in a loft in Manhattan's wholesale flower district where Roland Kirk, Thelonius Monk, Hall Overton, Charles Mingus and other jazz greats jammed until dawn. Archived in the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the project is now accessible via a book, a traveling exhibit, a 10-part Jazz Loft series on WNYC, NPR's Jazz Loft Project Sights & Sounds, and an interview with JLP author Sam Stephenson, which includes some images from the book. Via a Grain Edit post, which also has some great images. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 3, 2010 - 21 comments

Busking into your living room

Teenage rockabilly group Kitty Daisy & Lewis perform Going Up Country on German TV [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 21, 2009 - 26 comments

Everyone's On LSD!

Autistics on LSD Elephants on LSD British Troops on LSD Spiders on LSD Cats on LSD Argentinians on LSD Childhood Schizophrenics on LSD
posted by jonp72 on Nov 27, 2009 - 78 comments

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