Saturday, June 24, 2017

Vintage 1950s Music


          The number 1 hit on Billboard in 1955 was Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White or Cerezo Rosa or Ciliegi Rosa or Gummy Mambo, the English version of Cerisiers Roses et Pommiers Blancs, a popular song with music by Louiguy (Louis Gugliemi) written in 1950. French lyrics to the song by Jacques Larue and English lyrics by Mack David both exist, and recordings of both have been quite popular.

          However, Perez Prado's recording of the song as an instrumental with his orchestra featuring trumpeter Billy Regis, whose trumpet sound would slide down and up before the melody would resume, was the most popular version in 1955, reaching number one for 10 weeks on the Billboard chart. It became a gold record. Perez had first covered this title for the movie Underwater! (1955), where Jane Russell can be seen dancing to the song. Billboard ranked this version as the No. 1 song of 1955. 

          In the United Kingdom, two versions of the song went to number one in 1955. The first was the version by Perez Prado, which reached number one for two weeks. Less than a month later, a version by the British trumpeter Eddie Calvert reached number one for four weeks.

          Al Hirt released a version on his 1965 album, They're Playing Our Song.
The song was featured in the film Underwater! (1955) starring Jane Russell. The recording by Perez Prado was featured in the films Cookie and Parents in 1989.


Want to hear the song? Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q4ywIHLAcQ

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vintage 1950 Men's Fashion


1950s Men's Trousers

          Pants were still moderately wide-legged at the beginning of the ’50s, but they quickly narrowed to 17.5 inches wide at the hem. They were worn at the waist, higher up than men are used to now. Pleats were out of style. Flat fronts created a smoother, leaner look with a sharp creased down the center . Cuffs were no longer necessary. Many chose a plain hem instead.

          Since suspenders were on the decline in the ‘50s, suit pants became more fitted at the waist to stay up by themselves. Belts were possible, but it was becoming more common to have self belts or continuous waist bands. The look was copied from men’s western pants, some with belt backs for a better fit.



           Pants were still moderately wide-legged at the beginning of the ’50s, but they quickly narrowed to 17.5 inches wide at the hem. They were worn at the waist, higher up than men are used to now. Pleats were out of style. Flat fronts created a smoother, leaner look with a sharp creased down the center . Cuffs were no longer necessary. Many chose a plain hem instead.


          Since suspenders were on the decline in the ‘50s, suit pants became more fitted at the waist to stay up by themselves. Belts were possible, but it was becoming more common to have self belts or continuous waist bands. The look was copied from men’s western pants, some with belt backs for a better fit. Go to: http://vintage1950s.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 12, 2017

1950s Scandal

The Judy Lewis Scandal
          Judy Lewis was born Judith Young. She is the secret biological daughter of actor Clark Gable and actress Loretta Young.
          She was the only biological child that Gable had while he was still alive but he had no relationship with her. Loretta Young conceived during their filming of  The Call of the Wild in 1935. She concealed her pregnancy to protect their film careers and to avoid scandal. Young went to Europe for several months and then returned to a small house in Venice, California with her mother. A Hollywood gossip columnist interviewed Young because she was claiming to be ill for weeks and needed rest. She gave the interview from her bed, covered in blankets to conceal her pregnancy.

          Young gave birth, and weeks later, the baby was put in an orphanage. Lewis would spend the next 19 months in various "hideaways and orphanages" until Young's mother retrieved the toddler. Later Young told Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons that she had "adopted" two children and several weeks later, told Parsons that she had to give one of the children back to its biological mother. She did this as a smokescreen to cover up the birth and to make her adoption story more believable.
          When Lewis was four years old, her mother married businessman Tom Lewis, and Judy went by his last name. Young went on to have two sons, Christopher Lewis and Peter Lewis, with Tom Lewis.

          Lewis looked strikingly like Gable as she grew older, including having ears that stuck out like his.  As Lewis grew up, several people in Hollywood, as well as the public, began to believe that Clark Gable was her biological father. When Judy was fifteen, Gable came to her mother's house to visit her briefly. Gable asked Lewis about her life and then upon leaving, kissed her on her forehead. It was the only time that Judy ever spoke to Gable. Lewis had no idea he was her father. When Lewis met her future husband at the age of twenty-three, it was he who told her that Gable was her biological father and that "everyone" knew, which stunned Lewis. Lewis, at age 31, finally confronted her mother when Gable had been dead for five years. Loretta Young confirmed the truth. Lewis wrote a book about her life titled Uncommon Knowledge, because it seemed that she was the only one who did not know about her true parentage. Loretta Young's autobiography confirmed that Gable was indeed Lewis's father.  The family stayed silent about the claim until after both Loretta Young and her daughter, Judy Lewis had died.
          Judy Lewis appeared and produced several TV series. In 1985, she shared a Writers Guild of America award for several episodes of CBS's Search For Tomorrow. She obtained a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and became a practicing Psychotherapist in Los Angeles.
Lewis was divorced with one daughter and two grandsons.

Clark Gable died of a stroke on November 16, 1960 at age 59
Loretta Young died of cancer on August 12, 2000 at age 87
Judy Lewis died of cancer on November 25, 2011 at age 76.  


Saturday, June 3, 2017

1950s Movies


To Catch a Thief

          To Catch a Thief was released August 4. 1955. It is a romantic  thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on a novel by David Dodge. The film stars Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar who has to save his reformed reputation by catching a new "cat" preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera. Grace Kelly stars opposite him as his romantic interest in her final film with Hitchcock.

          American expatriate John Robie (Cary Grant) living in style on the Riviera. He must find the copycat jewel thief who pinned their thefts on him. Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) an American who plays with Robie's affection while helping him find his copycat.
In 2002, The American Film Institute included the film in AFI's 100 Years.


Did you know: Alfred Hitchcock appeared about 9 minutes into the film, sitting next to John Robie on the bus. If you look carefully, he shows up in all his films.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

1950s Ladies Blouses


1950s Ladies Blouse Collars
The varieties of 1950s tailored tops was largely tied to the style of shirt collar.  Here are some of the common styles:
Classic collars– Pointed collars fastened to a small V neckline. They were often in white but pastels, plaids, checks and thin stripes were common too. They were the most tailored or menswear looking 1950s shirt.
Boat necks- A fancier French name was Bateau. They were large oval necklines popular in knits that could be pulled overhead. Collars were attached to them but never stayed put very well. The “Sabrina” Bateau had two bows on either shoulder.


Peter Pan collar- Small round collars perfect for layering under a sweater. They flipped out over the sweater and layered on top. Small and dainty, they were a softer alternative to the point collar.


Peasant top– Bohemian chic tops with gathered necklines,  puffy sleeves and folk embroidery made the peasant top unique. They were common in the 1940s too.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

1950 Homes


A look back at Living rooms of the '50s


          The 1950s were the glory days of modern design. It lacked unnecessary ornamentation, focusing on the function, “Form follows Function.” And, there is an artistic side to things, such as referencing nature and organic shape.

          Furniture was bulky with rounded edges, a carryover from the pre-war Streamline era, like a Streamliner train.  The style was meant to look like was moving, even when was standing still. In a way, this is not really 1950s style but 1940s. But, when World War II was on, manufacturing of discretionary items like furniture almost came to a complete halt. Immediately after  the war, it seemed that manufacturers pulled out their designs from before the war and started producing them to meet immediate demands. It took a while for new design looks to be introduced. The streamline look was popular from around 1946-1953.

          One wall of exposed brick or stone was popular in 1950s living rooms. You wouldn't see a lot of wooden furniture or fixings as it was very much the fashion in the 50s to have many of the items in your home were made of plastic. Surfaces like the coffee tables were much easier to clean made of plastics. Pastels were integral to the 1950s living room color scheme. Sofas and armchairs tended to be in deep or bold colors like red and orange.

          New technology added to the new homes. Introduced during the 1950s, popcorn ceilings became the norm in home decor. Along with this textured look came new colors, green, gold, orange, and yellow were all popular colors. The invention of no-wax flooring was popular.
          Ranch style architecture was the still the most popular, but split level homes came in a close second.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vintage 1950s Cars


1955 Chevrolet

The 1955 Chevrolet (sometimes referred to as '55 Chevy) It is considered a huge turning point for the manufacturer and a major success. It was available in three models: the 150, 210, and Bel Air.

The 1955 model was the first successful Chevrolet with an optional V8 engine. Chevrolet had produced an earlier car with a V8 in 1918 (Chevrolet Series D) but it remained in production for only a year. In 1955, Chevrolet decided to fit its new car with an overhead valve V8 engine design, which was similar to the 1949 Oldsmobile "Rocket 88" V8 engine. The new V8 was designed to be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than previous V8s in the auto industry.


          The new "small block" in the '55 Chevy had its problems, however. It had no oil filter, and the factory could only add one externally.  Those who did not order the engine with the "oil filter option" had dirty oil in a short amount of time. This was corrected the next year. The new small block V8 had an easy maintenance, and it had a built-in ability to be upgraded. The small block Chevy V8 became so popular that Chevrolet still sells a version of it today. Although there have been various changes made to the motor to modernize it, the basic design of the original 265 remains.

          Chevrolet offered a wide array of colors for 1955. One solid color, which was standard for the 150, could be had for the 210 or Bel Air...or nineteen different two-tone color combinations were also available. Most popular colors:  solid was Harvest gold, two tone was Sea Mint Green/Neptune Green. Although most everything was new in 1955 for Chevrolet, the reliable Powerglide transmission was mostly unchanged from '54.