Saturday, April 22, 2017

1950 Mystery

Korla Pandit
          Turning on the TV on 1950s Los Angeles, you could have come face-to-face with a young man in a jeweled turban with a dreamy gaze accentuated by dark eye shadow. Korla Pandit played the piano and the organ, usually simultaneously, creating exotic music.

          Pandit was born in New Delhi, India, the son of a Brahmin government worker and a French opera singer. He studied music in England and later moved to the US, where he mastered the organ at the University of Chicago. Not once in the 900 performances did he speak on camera, preferring to communicate with viewers with hypnotic gazes.

          He became one of the first TV stars, with friends like Errol Flynn,  and Bob Hope. Because of a contract dispute he ceded his TV performances to the young pianist, Liberace. And the way Pandt came to fame is a "only-in-America fable" where the audience and the performer are both invested in the illusion.
          So, who was the mysteriously mystic Korla Pandit?
          Korla Pandit was really born John Roland Redd on September 16, 1921 in an African-American family from St Louis Missouri. In the 1940’s he played for a few years under the name "Juan Rolando" to some success.

          In 1944, he married Disney artist Beryl June DeBeeson, and the two reinvented his image, replacing "Juan Rolando" with "Korla Pandit" and fabricating the romantic history. They had two children.

          Pandit died in Petaluma, California of a myocardio infaction. Two years after his death, it was revealed he was John Roland Redd from Missouri.

          Those who knew Pandit described him as a gentle soul. He was a musician, composer, pianist, organist and television pioneer and known as the Godfather of Exotica.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

1950s Television Shows

The Bob Cummings Show

TV series

          The Bob Cummings Show (also known as Love That Bob) was an American sitcom starring Robert "Bob" Cummings, aired from January 2, 1955 to September 15, 1959. The Bob Cummings Show was the first-ever series to debut as a midseason replacement.

The show featured the romantic misadventures of Bob Collins, a sophisticated bachelor and photographer operating in Hollywood, California. The show centered around his womanizing with his models, and his sister's consistent attempt to get him to settle down.

          Regulars in the show were Bob Cummings as Bob Collins, Rosemary DeCamp as Margaret MacDonald – Bob's sister who tried her best to raise her brother's morality, Dwayne Hickman as Chuck MacDonald – Margaret's son and Bob's nephew, a crazy teenager try to get some of his uncle's action, and Ann B. Davis as Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz – Bob's hilarious young secretary who pined for him and occasionally screwed up his love schemes. Ann B. Davis won two Emmy's for playing "Schultzy".
          It was originally aired on NBC in 1955 then CBS 1955 thru 1957, back to NBC from 1957 to 1959. It was retitled Love That Bob and appeared on ABC's daytime line up from October 12, 1959 to December 1, 1961

Saturday, April 8, 2017

1950s Ladies Handbags

1950s Ladies Fashion

Ladies Handbags

          The 1950s were a groundbreaking decade for handbags. It’s not that women were using them more than before or for different purposes, but designers went out of their way to be different and it showed.

          Today almost every woman has a purse with her. But until the 1950s, few women carried one. It was considered too much to coordinate handbags, gloves and hats. Only matching shoes and belts were necessary.

          Then it became important for women to maintain a well "put together" appearance. Handbags and purses were very much thought of as an integral accessory with which to complete the overall "look". Hats, shoes, belts, scarves, bags and gloves, were all expected to coordinate.

          Women preferred short-strapped handbags that stayed close to the body. Duffel bags weren’t unheard of, but didn’t provide the slender, graceful look that women wanted.

          The materials used for purses in the 1950s were varied. In the early 1950s, most purses were made from crocodile, alligator, turtle or snake skin. Some fashion designers used lucite (a transparent material similar to Bakelite, or plastic) boxes that functioned as purses.

          Women also bought wicker purses, leather purses and straw. Popular high fashion purse designers of the 50's included Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Wilardy and others.

          Just like the little black dress, every lady had to have a black leather purse by her side.

Tell us about your memories of purses back in the 50s?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

1950s Homes

A look back at kitchens of the '50s

          In the Fifties, kitchens were considered the heart of the home. Pastel colors such as turquoise, aqua, and pink gave the space a carefree and warm touch. These rooms were so frequently used, it became normal for a family to eat in the kitchen even if they had a formal dining room. Both formica and chrome dinette sets were a popular choice for kitchens.

          Common in the 1950s was the effort to evoke a kind of jet-age, modern look with sleek lines. Paradoxically, this would also be countered by the frequent use of rustic, country styles. Built-ins were big in the 50s, reducing the haphazard jumble of appliances that was standard in kitchens of years past. Dishwasher snuggled in under the counter and a refrigerator and stove continued the countertop line.

          Kitchens during this era sucked up electricity, because of the great expansion in the power grid.

          Another overlooked innovation of the 1950s is the open layout that allowed for a large table in the kitchen for dining. In the 1940s, dining was typically done in a dining room, with the kitchen reserved exclusively for cooking--or at most featuring a small breakfast table.  A typical 1950s kitchen was a center for dining as well as cooking.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

1950s Cars

1955 Thunderbird

          The epitome of 1955 new cars was the new Ford Thunderbird. It was custom designed for the "American Road". It promised a new kind of sports car, though it is said to be more of a "brisk luxury tourer" and not a sports car per se.

          The Ford Motor Company called it a personal car, competing against the Chevrolet Corvette introduced  in 1953. Some unique features were four-way powered seats push button interior door handles. Telescoping steering wheel and a tachometer. As with all cars of that era the brakes were not good. As the heated brakes would fade decreasing stopping ability on the street. One of the factories that made the Thunderbird was in Long Beach, California.

          Ford unveiled the Thunderbird at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. The first production car came off the line on September 9, 1954, and went on sale on October 22, 1954 as a 1955 model, and sold vigorously.  3,500 orders were placed in the first ten days of sale. While only 10,000 were planned. A total of 16,155 were sold by the end of 1955.
          As standard, the 1955 Ford Thunderbird came with a removable fiberglass top, but the fabric convertible top was the most popular. A total of 53,166 cars were made from 1955 to1957. You could buy them with an automatic or manual transmissions.
          The hardtop was often a different color, the most popular combination was aqua and cream.
          Many dreams came true when a young man or woman drove the car, a sign of freedom. They'd "arrived".

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1950s dessert

Pineapple Jello Rings

1 (3 ounce) box of lime or strawberry Jello
1( 20 ounce) can of Pineapple Rings/Rounds

Just pour off the liquid of a No. 2 can of Dole Pineapple. Replace with gelatin made with half the liquid in package directions. Chill until set. Run a little hot water along the sides and bottom to loosen. Then cut bottom of can and use to push mold out. Cut between pineapple rounds and serve.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

1950s Unsolved Mystery


George Reeves

George Reeves (born George Keefer Brewer) was an actor from Woolstock, Iowa who appeared in Gone with the Wind, From Here to Eternity, and Samson and Delilah. He was best known for his role as Superman in the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman. His death at age 45 from a gunshot remains a mystery. The official report was suicide, but some people believe he was murdered or was the victim of an accidental shooting.

The Case
Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head on June 16, 1959 at his Benedict Canyon home at the time. In the home were his fiancĂ©e Leonore Lemmon and three other guests. 

Though ruled a suicide, the fact that those in the house waited to call the police and stray bullet cases were found near the body led some to believe Reeves was a victim of homicide. He had been having an affair with Toni Mannix, the wife of an MGM executive. One theory holds that the jilted Toni had Reeves killed, another was that the her husband, Eddie Mannix, used his underworld connections to have Reeves killed. 

Where the Case Stands Today
In 1999, a Hollywood publicist, Edward Lozzi, said Toni Mannix confessed to killing Reeves. However, no proof was offered or found. The case remains, officially, a suicide.