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."
Mad Men, Forrest Gump, and coast-to-coast classic rock FM stations completed the transubstantiation of the 1960s from reality to legend, something stranger than fiction was burning the midnight oil in an old firehouse: The Socrates of San Francisco
, Howard Luck Gossage
, would change advertising--and the way we think about communication--forever. [more inside]
Depending on one's point of view,
Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works.
You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube
, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video
. [more inside]
In 1968, Agnès Varda was living in Los Angeles with her husband, director Jacques Demy, who was there to begin filming his first Hollywood film, Model Shop (1969).
Although initially hesitant about living in the United States, the couple quickly became caught up in the wave of dissent sweeping the country in the late 1960s. Indeed, amid the finger pointing in France about the perceived failure of the events of May ’68 to bring about revolution, many members of the French intelligentsia looked across the Atlantic for alternative models for political change. Varda became part of a growing contingent of French artists and intellectuals, including sociologists Edgar Morin and Jean-François Revel, and writer Jean Genet, who were attracted to the ways in which cultural revolt, social criticism and political contestation were intertwined in the United States. These French thinkers were attracted to the expansiveness and creativity of the American counterculture as opposed to the political deadlock that many believed was the undoing of the events surrounding May ’68. A revolt against American hegemony was taking place within the United States itself, and many leftist French thinkers were enthralled. [more inside]
"The Joe DiMaggio line was written right away in the beginning.
And I don't know why or where it came from. It seems so strange, like it didn't belong in that song and then, I don't know, it was so interesting to us that we just kept it. So it's one of the most well-known lines that I've ever written." An analysis of Simon and Garfunkel's 1968 hit
, "Mrs. Robinson
". [more inside]
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]
A 50 minute documentary about Maxwell Street Market and musicians in Chicago (I interpret the title with an implicit accusatory question mark.)
Mike Shea—previously a photographer for Life
—directed this exquisitely composed, Frederick Wiseman-esque documentary that lurches between the wiles and complaints of street vendors to some astoundingly well-recorded street side blues performances—recorded by Gordon Quinn
. Most notably numerous songs by Robert Nighthawk
and one electrifying performance by Carrie Robinson. There's also one seriously awesome-looking house party. [more inside]
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.
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
About fifty years ago, the governor of Indiana received a letter complaining about obscenity in the lyrics of a rock'n'roll song, and passed that letter on to the FBI. For the following two years, FBI agents examined potential lyrics of the song (which were incomprehensible on the recording, partly due to the singer's braces) to find grounds for an obscenity prosecution. They ultimately failed, but produced a 140-page report, listing numerous possible obscene readings of what the lyrics could be, and in doing so, turned Louie Louie by The Kingsmen from a footnote into a bona fide rock'n'roll rebel anthem
. [more inside]
Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, has died
. McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T College when he, along with fellow students Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. (later Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond (who died in 1990), walked into their local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960, and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter
. This spontaneous act of civil disobedience (previously)
sparked what would come to be known as the sit-in movement to dismantle Jim Crow.
How Silicon Valley Became The Man
The Harvard Business Review's Justin Fox interviews Stanford historian Fred Turner about how the New Communalists molded the Valley in their image.
Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963
, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966
. The performance is also available on YouTube
with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
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]
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat!
aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
The Seeburg 1000
was a phonograph designed and built by the Seeburg Corporation to play background music in offices, restaurants, retail businesses, factories and similar locations, cycling through a stack of non-standard 16-2/3 RPM vinyl records provided by Seeburg in one of three different libraries of music: Basic, Mood and Industrial*.
And now, it has its own Internet Radio Station!
*in the 1960s, that meant "medium-fast tempo music of a lively nature, to induce workers to be more productive."
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]
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]
Forgotten 1960s 'Thunderbirds' projects brought to life.
The "Multi-Unit Space Transport and Recovery Device" (MUSTARD), the "Jumping Jeep", and the "Intercity Vertical-Lift Aircraft". "British arms company BAE has recently been through its archives and publicised some of the projects dreamed up in the glory days of the 1960s, when designers' imaginations were allowed to run riot with little consideration of practicality or budget." From The Economist magazine,
which has period sketches of the designs.
Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up
- a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*
via Cinephilia and Beyond
. [NSFW - some nudity] [more inside]
"In 1961, Phyllis Richman applied to graduate school at Harvard. She received a letter asking how she would balance a career in city planning with her 'responsibilities' to her husband and possible future family. Fifty-two years later, she responds
." [more inside]
A comic written by Julian Bond and published in 1967
, after he was expelled from the Georgia House of Representatives for opposing the war in Viet Nam. [Warning: n-word is used once as an example of hate speech] [more inside]
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
From 1967-1968, Dr. Bill Podlich took a leave of absence from Arizona State University to join UNESCO, teaching in the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Afghanistan. He took many photographs
Jean Genet meets the Black Panthers
In an excerpt from Edmund White's biography of Jean Genet, the French writer visits the US and encounters Black Panthers, Jane Fonda, Ken Kesey on acid, and Jessica Mitford.
has posted several stunning examples of his grandfather's
Kodachrome 40 8mm home movies.
Previously with less, but now with more!! [more inside]
Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel
- An excellent 90 minute BBC documentary, the story of the legendary country rock pioneer as told by contemporary musicians, family, and friends. It includes rare performance footage. (Via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite PABLO FANQUE'S CIRCUS ROYAL
Grandest Night of the Season!
AND POSITIVELY THE LAST NIGHT BUT THREE!
BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR.KITE
(LATE OF WELLS'S CIRCUS
MR. J. HENDERSON
THE CELEBRATED SOMERSET
, VAULTER, RIDER
On TUESDAY Evening, February 14, 1843
. [more inside]
From director Jeff Feuerzeig, The Dude
is a documentary short that follows Jeff Dowd to a Tampa Lebowski Fest. Dowd was a friend of the Coen Brothers and the real-life inspiration for the iconic film character in the Big Lebowski. (Previously: Jeff Dowd of the Seattle Seven is the model for The Dude in The Big Lebowski)
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]
was once considered
the heir to Ian Fleming
with his wildly successful series of novels (The Dolly Dolly Spy
, The Great Spy Race
, The Bang Bang Birds
, Think, Inc.
) about the spy Philip McAlpine. Diment, writing in the swinging ‘60s and ‘70s, was known for his debonair lifestyle and casual flirtation with drugs
. He had it all: success, wealth, sex. Then he disappeared
. [more inside]
"The Big Train"
and other classic 1950s and 60s publicity reels from the New York Central Railroad. Lots of footage of trains, railroad infrastructure, well-dressed office minions, teletypes, punchcard machines, men in white lab coats, bubbling beakers, and even an "atomic signal light." [more inside]
When Captain America
throws his mighty shield, all those who chose to oppose his shield must yield. Doc Bruce Banner, pelted by gamma rays, turns into The Hulk
; ain't he unglamorous? Tony Stark
makes you feel; he's a cool exec with a heart of steel. Cross the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard, where the booming heavens roar, you'll behold in breathless wonder the god of Thunder, mighty Thor
. Stronger than a whale, he
can swim anywhere; he can breathe underwater and go flying through the air. [more inside]
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
, and lots of other things
. No matter where you dive in, there are always treasures
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored.
This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact,
Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
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
. [more inside]
A two-foot piece of wood or plastic mounted on wheels, it yields to the skillful user the excitements of skiing or surfing. To the unskilled it gives the effect of having stepped on a banana peel while dashing down the back stairs. It is also a menace to live and even limb. Life magazine article on skateboarding in New York City
, from the May 14, 1965 issue. Pictures from that article are now online in larger form
on another site). See also: The New York Skate Movie
trailer on YouTube. [more inside]