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Dumb inventions

LIFE magazine presents: 30 Dumb Inventions of the 1950s and 60s. via laughing squid.
posted by serazin on Oct 6, 2009 - 82 comments

More Madness

The Footnotes of Mad Men explores and discusses the historic events, themes, and cultural mores of the show.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 15, 2009 - 33 comments

Shoutout To All My Eichler Homies

Eichler homes! Most Eichlers are located in northern California, but you can find a few developments in the southland. People restore and renovate their Eichlers, write magazine articles about them, and take lots of photos of them. Even Mr. Incredible owned an Eichler. But owning an Eichler is not for everyone. Want to buy an Eichler? Join the Eichler Network or tour an open house.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 6, 2009 - 36 comments

Blood and Sex

Stagmags.com - vintage men's magazine cover scans. (slightly NSFW) [more inside]
posted by gman on Aug 14, 2009 - 52 comments

Homo Superior!

How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race. The excellent Modern Mechanix brings us Mechanix Illustrated's uninformed 1953 article on the effects of nuclear fallout.
But why, then, don't we have our superintelligent bobblehead beagles?
posted by dunkadunc on Jun 6, 2009 - 32 comments

Hey Kids, Ditko Comics!

Before Mr. A, The Question, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, or, well, anything, there was Steve Ditko's 1953 debut, Paper Romance in Daring Love #1. It was soon followed by creepier fare such as Ditko's first professional work, 1954's Stretching Things, A Hole in His Head, and Buried Alive! Shortly after, Ditko illustrated the cover for Space Adventures #10 and the story Homecoming, which began (Or didn't, depending on who you believe) a decades-long association with Charlton Comics that would soon yield Von Mohl Vs. The Ants, If Looks Could Kill, You Are the Jury, Doom in the Air, The Worm Turns, Day of Reckoning, and Car Show, a rare humour piece for Charlton's MAD clone From Here To Insanity. All these, and many more, courtesy of the Steve Ditko Comics Weblog's It Stalks the Public Domain!
posted by Alvy Ampersand on May 31, 2009 - 17 comments

vintage cutaway illustrations

Frank Soltesz was a master of fascinating cutaway illustrations depicting "modern businesses" in the '40s and '50s - from hotels and hospitals to breweries, grocery stores, and more. (via Telstar Logistics Blog) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on May 3, 2009 - 50 comments

Strings, not Threads, nor Duct Tape

Nuclear puppet shows: Atomic survival PSAs by the U.S. Civil Defense
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 5, 2009 - 14 comments

Put that in your pipe and smoke it

Keep watching the skies - The New York Times looks back at 50s Sci Fi films in anticipation of Alien Trespass, the new film from X-Files veteran R.K. Goodwin. One or two of those classics haven't even been remade yet!
posted by Artw on Mar 28, 2009 - 19 comments

Will it last six more months?

It's been 50 years (on Tuesday) since Buddy Holly died. He still has some rabid fans who will be celebrating his life and work, but should the rest of us still care? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 30, 2009 - 38 comments

The Fifties: an invention of Sha Na Na / Scottish Highlanders / Rondald Reagan

Remember the Fifties? For a certain generation, who could forget those golden innocent days as depicted in shows like Happy Days, Grease and the band Sha Na Na. But it turns out that vision of the 50's is mostly fantasy and never existed, largely invented by a group of Columbia U students around 1969. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Oct 3, 2008 - 61 comments

(Internetworking Frequency, 2.4 gigacycles.)

The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sep 9, 2008 - 11 comments

Antpocalypse!!!

Today's date? Why, it's...July 11, 2052, and man has been cowering in terror, self-sealed in his own living-tombs since that day of horror in...1952. Remember? 100 years ago, the sky above America turned black...with the dread flight of millions of ferocious, gigantic ants! [more inside]
posted by kittens for breakfast on Sep 5, 2008 - 56 comments

Comics Artist Jack Kamen Dies at 88

EC Comics great Jack Kamen (probably best known today as the father of inventor Dean Kamen) has died at 88. [more inside]
posted by kittens for breakfast on Aug 7, 2008 - 11 comments

buum bom boom bonk!

Retronomatopeya - cute collection of comic book images and language conveying sound and motion. Also see anastasiav's prior post: Ka-BOOM, the Dictionary of Comic Book Words on Historical Principles. (via oink!) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 17, 2008 - 11 comments

The American Look, 1958

If you can make it through the glacially paced intro and can put up with the typically clunky, often laughable and jingoistic fifties-style narration, this 1958 film from Chevrolet, The American Look is worth viewing. Chock full of futuristic telephones, toasters, blenders, office machines, architecture and more, it's a mid-century design lover's dream. The film is visually striking and elegant, and presented in widescreen format. Here's part 2 and part 3. Or see it here in its entirety. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 12, 2008 - 15 comments

Vault of McCarthite Terror

The pictures that horrified America - how comic books tipped 50s America into a moral panic. [more inside]
posted by Artw on May 8, 2008 - 51 comments

The Mike Wallace Interview(s)

"My name is Mike Wallace. The cigarette is Philip Morris." Before there was 60 Minutes, there was The Mike Wallace Interview. Thirty minutes with Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kirk Douglas, Pearl Buck, and Salvador Dali, to name just a few.
posted by steef on Apr 4, 2008 - 16 comments

Is that what's botherin' ya, bunky?

Lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ive-ness and you'll show the world, you'll show them where to get off! And never give up, never give up... that ship!!!
posted by wendell on Mar 5, 2008 - 19 comments

The People's Singer

"If Communists liked what we did, that was their good luck," said Lee Hays, founding member of the Almanac Singers. A fascinating portrait of one of the linchpins of the politically engaged folk movement of the '40s and '50s. Hays sang beside the more celebrated (and, on one important day in Bob Dylan history, infamous) Pete Seeger on such classic Almanac albums as Talking Union. [Listen here.]
posted by digaman on Feb 18, 2008 - 9 comments

Would I like it? What a DREAM! But hey, what happens if I push this red button?

In the early 1950's, Monsanto Chemical Company, MIT and Disneyland collaborated their resources and creative brainpower to build "the house of 1986." Using 30,000 pounds of plastic (The building's structure, carpet, chairs, sinks, appliances and floors were all plastic. About $7,500 to $15,000 worth.), the Monsanto House of the Future* was opened to an excited public in June of 1957. It was closed in 1967 as ideas of the future were beginning to change. Let's take a quick tour, shall we?
*(Not to be confused with Xanadu Homes of Tomorrow.) [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Dec 12, 2007 - 30 comments

The Unsung Joe: Where bit--part actors go when they die

The Unsung Joe: Where bit-part actors go when they die. Biographies of the most obscure micro-stars of 1940s and '50s cinema, all remarkably well-researched and richly illustrated.
posted by jack_mo on Dec 11, 2007 - 28 comments

Wally Deane: rockin' 'n' rollin' 'n' coppin' a cartoon riff.

Hey daddy-o, when you hear that big brash horn section pump out that oddly familiar riff, only to stop cold and make way for that that prescient single note from an electric guitar, followed straightaway by a twangy voice in perfect rockabilly delivery proclaiming "well, she's got a dress that looks like a sack!", then brother, you're listening to the hoppin' boppin' sound of Wally Deane's Drag On. Once you hear it, you'll wonder why Quentin Tarrantino never put it in a movie. Wally Deane: one of the greatest rockabilly acts you never heard of.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 8, 2007 - 21 comments

Ripeness is All: Lustmord Portrayed in Oil

New York artist Ashley Hope's Ripeness is All exhibit at the Tilton Gallery recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Nov 30, 2007 - 48 comments

A 1950s Woman's View on Women and Sex

Sex and the College Girl, by Norah Johnson A view from an educated woman in the 1950s: "Two criticisms rise above the rest: people in college are promiscuous, for one thing, and, for another, they are getting married and having children too early. These are interesting observations because they contradict each other."
posted by shivohum on Nov 20, 2007 - 24 comments

Making a Cereal Killing...in Real Estate

In 1954, the producers of the radio show Sergeant Preston of the Yukon needed a gimmick to make sure its radio audience would watch the TV version of the show. Meanwhile, the show's sponsor, Quaker Oats, needed a follow-up to their ad campaign about how Quaker Puffed Wheat is shot out of guns. So Chicago adman, Bruce Baker (later the creator of Captain Crunch), dreamt up a wildly successful PR stunt for both Sgt. Preston of the Yukon and Quaker Oats by buying up one-inch plots of land in the Yukon (with legal assistance from future British Columbia senator George van Roggen) and giving away deeds to the land for free in copies of Quaker Oats cereal. (For a picture of the deed, click here and here) [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Nov 15, 2007 - 14 comments

Photographs of American Cities

Photographs of American Cities from the middle of the 20th Century.
posted by jonson on Sep 29, 2007 - 37 comments

"The niggers are coming!"

Through a Lens Darkly - on September 4, 1957, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High, she was blocked by the National Guard and surrounded by a screaming mob of 250: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her. Photos. Dramatic news footage. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls the first day of school. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 25, 2007 - 48 comments

Retro space cowboys

For many kids, the space age made its TV debut years before Sputnik with 1950's TV space serials.
1950 - Space Patrol - The Hidden Treasure of Mars. (Part two)
1954 - Rocky Jones' Space, Space Ranger - Rocky's Odyssey. (Chapters two, three)
1954 - Flash Gordon - Deadline at Noon and Akim the Terrible. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 24, 2007 - 5 comments

Space Oddity

Mars and Beyond - 50 years ago, this animated episode of Tomorrowland aired on Disneyland a few months after the launch of Sputnik - an entertaining melange of astronomy, sci-fi, pop culture, science, speculation, and surreality. Walt himself and Wernher von Braun make guest appearances and clip 5 is particularly trippy. (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 10, 2007 - 9 comments

Duck & Cover Film Festival! Wheeeeeee!

"For the quarter-century following World War II, a special kind of classroom film received wide circulation. These "mental hygiene" films thrived in a confused and nervous America. The rebellious behavior of young people challenging the social norms struck fear into the hearts of parents and educators, who saw dark futures for the teens who broke the rules and refused to fit in with society. These concerned adults embraced the metal hygiene film as a new means of delivering social guidance." Program One: Manners, Menstruation and The American Way; Program Two: Dating, Deliquency and Diversity; Program Three: Conformity, Safety and The Bomb

Special Bonus: Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Mitch Rouse & Steven Colbert re-enact How To Be Popular (from Program Two).
posted by miss lynnster on Jun 8, 2007 - 28 comments

Sorry, No Throbbing Gristle

Although Industrial Musicals and their jaunty odes to corporate pride and brand loyalty have seen the same fate as the values they espoused (mostly), goofily earnest and undeniable catchy tunes like Exxon's Up Came Oil, General Electric's Make a Woman Out of Your Wife, and The Monroe Calculator Company's 1660 & 65 are still as potent as all get out! [More songs and albums to help you get your gray flannel funk on inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand on May 31, 2007 - 24 comments

Lu Lu Lu I got some apples

Fruit Crate Label Art from the 1910s Thru 1950s (via)
posted by Kwantsar on Apr 14, 2007 - 34 comments

WELL SPACED SOUND STRAIGHT TEETH ARE BUILT BY BOTTLED SUNSHINE

Boilproof nipples — Girly pirates? — Hubris — Atomic nose candy — Pit paranoia — The gay mafia's beverage of choice — Mouthwash for flaky skin — Spam spam spam spamDead-fish eyes — and more American advertising from 1932 to 1959...
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Mar 30, 2007 - 17 comments

Stand by for crime!

Stand By For Crime! Archive.org presents the astonishing adventures of Chuck Morgan, intrepid radio muckracker and crimefighter, as he battles The Communist Menace, investigates The Wetback Murders, and solves The Marijuana Mystery. Circa 1953; twenty-six half-hour episodes in mp3 format, each approximately 9 MB.
posted by stammer on Feb 4, 2007 - 8 comments

Vintage Cultural Ephemera lives on via Flickr

Fans of Vintage Cultural Ephemera Rejoice!

Illustration and print design of the 1920s-30s
Cold War Propaganda (on both sides)
Illustration and print design of the forties
Vintage cigarrette advertising
Sheet Music of the 1800s - 1950s
Out of print cookbooks
7-Up advertising (pre 1980s)

All of these (and much more) found via this excellent Flickr Page of Groups administered by cultural archivist Paula Wirth.
posted by jonson on Dec 15, 2006 - 15 comments

1950's Print Advertisements

1950's US Print Advertisements Click thumbnails for larger versions. via.
posted by jonson on Oct 13, 2006 - 22 comments

Wom! Wam! Thank You Ma'am!

!WOm!WAm! WOMEN Doing Things To Men! An insane but illuminating website of bizarrely "wholesome" fetishism depicting examples of women attacking men from 50s/60s popular culture. (slightly NSFW)
posted by jonp72 on Oct 11, 2006 - 10 comments

Extracts from the journals of Susan Sontag

Extracts from the journals of Susan Sontag dating from the 1950s and 1960s were published in this morning's Guardian G2.
posted by nthdegx on Sep 14, 2006 - 9 comments

'Teddy, don't worry, now mommy's here....'

Teddy Girls
posted by anastasiav on Feb 7, 2006 - 57 comments

My Lobotomy

NPR: 'My Lobotomy'
In 1960, Howar Dully was a badly behaved 12-year-old. He was lobotomized with an icepick (as were hundreds of others) and talks about it on this radio show. See also.
posted by Tlogmer on Nov 16, 2005 - 49 comments

Obey the upper class man, please

British public information films. A couple of months back, there was a post about an online exhibition of British propaganda films from WWII. Now, the UK National Archives, who appear to be slowly working their way through the decades, have posted some public information films from the 40s and 50s. BBC News discusses the history of public information films, particularly the famous "Coughs and sneezes spread diseases" (available in Windows Media (sigh) here). My favourite is this optimistic look at how the new towns developed after the war were going to be just *great*. I grew up in a new town - Hemel Hempstead. Let's just say it didn't quite work out that way.
posted by athenian on Oct 24, 2005 - 2 comments

Selling the Mertzes

Fred and Ethel resurrected as corporate shills "Through the magic of Hollywood, famously tightfisted Fred (William Frawley) and his irascible wife, Ethel (Vivian Vance), are brought back to life in a series of entertaining vignettes," California-based PacifiCare said in a release about its new television advertising campaign. Using body doubles, voice impersonators and computer-generated imagery, the national TV ads that will premiere in mid October will enable the two long-dead actors to "speak" once more. And, oddly enough, they'll be talking about PacifiCare's new drug plan.
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Oct 10, 2005 - 40 comments

Reframing for dems. (and a cool filter)

The country music of the atom bomb. Via 3 Quarks Daily
posted by Tlogmer on Mar 16, 2005 - 12 comments

Origins of the Beatnik

Do you consider yourself a latter-day "beatnik"? Even young fans of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg proudly christen themselves with the tag beatnik these days, apparently unaware that word was originally coined as a term of ridicule by San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. "Beat" was indeed used by Kerouac to denote both "beaten down" and "beatitude" -- a state of revelation. He first heard the word spoken by a Times Square hustler and writer named Herbert Huncke; then another writer, John Clellon Holmes, popularized the term "Beat" in a New York Times article headlined "This is the Beat Generation." But the original Beats did not approve of the term "beatnik" -- combining "beat" with the Russian "Sputnik," as if to suggest that the Beat writers were both "out there" and vaguely Communist -- as this hilarious dialogue [note: MP3 link] between a very young Ginsberg, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and an excruciatingly square talk-radio host makes plain.
posted by digaman on Jan 14, 2005 - 45 comments

Wearing the skin of the unthinkable

"Black Like me" : the notion of "Race" is know known to be scientifically meaningless, but now roll back the clock to 1959 : "...John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) was a true Renaissance man. Having fought in the French Resistance and been a solo observer on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, he became a critically-acclaimed novelist and essayist, a remarkable photographer and musicologist, and a dynamic lecturer and teacher. On October 28, 1959, after a decade of blindness and a remarkable and inexplicable recovery, John Howard Griffin dyed himself black and began an odyssey of discovery through the segregated American South. The result was Black Like Me, arguably the single most important documentation of 20th century American racism ever written....Because of Black Like Me, Griffin was personally vilified, hanged in effigy in his hometown, and threatened with death for the rest of his life."
posted by troutfishing on Sep 19, 2004 - 47 comments

beat-generation photos

Still romanticizin' the beat generation? Lovely shots from the Venice West Picture Essay - a photo chronicle of the beat generation in venice west, california circa 1958….from the out-of-print "the holy barbarians" by lawrence lipton
posted by lilboo on Apr 20, 2004 - 21 comments

1957 atomic revolution comic book!

1957 atomic revolution comic book. Quite a find for 1950s atomic memorabilia enthusiasts. Creepy and educational. Has anyone here ever heard of M.Philip Copp?
posted by Peter H on May 19, 2003 - 10 comments

Italian Hepcat Central

All that's cat, all that's hep? Huh? I am utterly mystified by not quite sure about the website, which seems to be Italian, but the pictures are cute and the music snippets that you get when you click on the covers sure are strange and funny and sweet...and I wish I understood what it's in aid of! Can anyone here tell me what these Old Woogie guys are up to? Are they evil? Are they devious? Or are they just tragically enthusiastic?
posted by Carlos Quevedo on Apr 16, 2003 - 3 comments

The future we were promised.

An exhibit of the art of Radebaugh and what the future looked like from the 50's. "The post-World War II optimism that pervaded the nation extended to the not-too-distant future, with its promise of spaceship-traveled skyways whirring in a utopia of streamlined cityscapes. Now, the works of A.C. Radebaugh -- a top illustrator of the day whose works helped define that future-vision -- are being shown in a retrospective at a quirky art gallery obsessed with Americana of the mid-20th century."
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Mar 31, 2003 - 1 comment

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