If there was ever one man responsible for how an entire generation of American kids dreamed about science, animals, and nature it might be a producer by the name of Ivan Tors. [more inside]
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]
"In the 1950s, a DJ named Jean Shepherd hosted a late-night radio show on New York's WOR that was unlike any before or since. On these broadcasts, he delivered dense, cerebral monologues, sprinkled with pop-culture tidbits and vivid stretches of expert storytelling. 'There is no question that we are a tiny, tiny, tiny embattled minority here,' he assured his audience in a typical diatribe. 'Hardly anyone is listening to mankind in all of its silliness, all of its idiocy, all of its trivia, all of its wonder, all of its glory, all of its poor, sad, pitching us into the dark sea of oblivion.' Shepherd's approach was summed up by his catchphrase: a mock-triumphant 'Excelsior!', followed by an immediate, muttered 'you fathead ... '" (via) [more inside]
GlamourFilter: Opening Night at La Scala. Pictures from La Scala's opening nights, dating through the fifties and sixties. (Main story here, slideshow here, those links in Italian, but easy enough to figure out for non-speakers.) Pictures of Callas, Toscanini, Princess Grace, Dick and Liz, and many more, all looking impossibly fab and glamourous. (Via the always informative and entertaining Opera Chic.)
Le Blues De Memphis — behind the scenes at STAX & FAME Recording Studios (1969) and Hollywood Blues, a 1969 Hollywood Recording Session. Just a sample of the vintage 50s, 60s & 70s music, movies, microcode and high-speed pizza delivery at Bedazzled.tv. [sacré bleu]
"Teen rebels and bobbysoxers still heralded Johnnie Ray as their hero, but to parents across America, he was Public Enemy Number One. Five years before Elvis Presley evoked a similar kind of mass parental dread, Johnnie had all of button-down America shaking in their boots, fearing for the souls of their children." [more inside]
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!
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]
The pictures that horrified America - how comic books tipped 50s America into a moral panic. [more inside]
50 years ago, it was the era of Sputnik, nuclear power, decolonisation, European vows of ever closer union, transistor radios, cars for the masses, and Hula Hoops. What better time to hold a damn big party? [more inside]
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.
Spots Before Your Eyes, an award-winning series of animated shorts promoting tolerance and human relations, produced in the 1950s by the American Jewish Committee (at AJC Archives)
Alum Falls Ohio. 'An original comic about growing up in the Fifties.'