Friday, November 17, 2017

Vintage 1950s Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving

          Other than the food not much has changed for Thanksgiving since the 1950s except for, of course, the clothes and the fact that family would arrive by train or bus vs car or plane.

          I have so many fond memories in New York, waiting in Grand Central Station or the Bus Depot for the family to come from all reaches of New York and Long Island. The anticipation of seeing loved Aunts and Uncles, cousins and grandmothers was always a treat for the holidays.



          Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner in the 50s depended on where you lived. It was not unusual to have Roast Turkey, Herb or Corn Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, marshmallow baked sweet potatoes, Buttered Green Beans, green salad, Hot Biscuits, Butter, Pumpkin Pie, Hot Coffee. Some dinner tables had fruit pies, coleslaw, pineapple upside down cake, Hot Tomato Starters, Jello with fruit were all proudly served.




          The men gathered in the living room to watch professional football games and cheer, while the women congregated in the kitchen to clean up and gossip. Children played with visiting cousins or friends.


          So, not much changed throughout the decades...thankfully so.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Vintage 1950s Toys


Paper Dolls

          A popular "toy" for girls in the 1950s were paper dolls. Accompanying clothes, costumes, and accessories were included.  It could be a figure of a person, animal or inanimate object. Small extending tabs were included in the picture. The girl would cut out the doll and the accessories then fold the tab over the shoulders of the doll to place the clothes on them.

          Magazine Paper Dolls were free with the purchase to the periodical. Good Housekeeping was a major contributor of paper dolls, showcasing the work of many artists from 1909. Sheila Young's Polly Pratt enjoyed the company of Little Louise, Thomas Lamb's Kiddyland Movies, and "walking" dolls by Elmer and Bertha Hader. Extension magazine, published by the Catholic Church Extension Society, presented a series by Martha Miller of Patsy, her friends and family from 1931 to 1935. They published other paper dolls off and on from 1936 through 1959.

          Betsy McCall is perhaps the best-known magazine paper doll in America. She came along after a long tradition of paper dolls in McCall's Magazine from 1904 to 1926, featuring many artists. The 1951 Betsy McCall was designed by Kay Morrissey. She was followed by an unknown artist in 1955, then by Ginnie Hoffman in 1958.

          I have fond memories of playing with my Betsy Mc Call paper doll with the many clothes and costumes for her many adventures.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Vintage 1950s Parties


Halloween Parties
         
 Halloween is an old custom and one we enjoy celebrating. And it's not just for children. In the 1950s, adults loved getting together for a party, especially dressing up. The party games were all the rage during the 50s and Halloween was no exception.

          A Halloween Party refreshments were platters of Pigs in a blanket, red punch (any flavor as long as it was red), donuts, black olives, Carrot straws, Orange sherbet and Chocolate cupcakes. And how about candy apples?

          Keep in mind the fun was the costumes and the games. Remember, bobbing for apples?

          Popular candies were:  Goeltiz Candy Corn, Brach's Harvest Jelly Beans, Hershey's Kisses, Fleers Double Bubble Gum, Jordan Almonds, Goetze's Caramel Creams, Reed's Butterscotch Squares, Midgee Tootsie Rolls, Starlight Kisses, Roasted Peanuts in the shell, and Chocolate Nonpareils just to name a few

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vintage1950s Music

Rock Around the Clock

          The number 2 hit on Billboard in 1955 was Rock Around the Clock, a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954 for American Decca. It was a number one single on both the US and UK charts and also re-entered the UK Singles Chart in the 1960s and 1970s.
          It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with Crazy Man, Crazy  in 1953, and in 1954, Shake, Rattle and Roll sung by Big Joe Turner reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Haley's recording became an anthem for the 1950s youth and is widely considered to be the song that brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. The song is ranked No. 158 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

          Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights on March 20, 1954, the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not a cover version. Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for unknown reasons, Haley was unable to record it until April 12, 1954.
          The original full title of the song was We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!. This was later shortened to (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock, though this form is generally only used on releases of the 1954 Bill Haley Decca Records recording; most other recordings of this song by Haley and others (including Sonny Dae) shorten this title further to
Rock Around the Clock.
          Rock Around the Clock is often cited as the biggest-selling vinyl rock and roll single of all time. The exact number of copies sold has never been audited; however, a figure of at least 25 million was cited by the Guinness Book of World Records in its category Phonograph records: Biggest Sellers.
          The song was used in the opening of the Happy Days (1974 to 1984) tv show.
Take a walk down memory lane! Here is a link to the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgdufzXvjqw


Friday, October 13, 2017

Vintage 1950s Food



Peas Juliette

I loved this as a kid, begged my mother for it every week. I tried modernizing and making it healthier by used frozen peas and omitted the cornstarch. It was very good.

1 1-lb. can Del Monte Brand Early Garden Peas
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
3 cups hot cooked rice
1 6 1/2-oz. can chunk style tuna, drained and flaked
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Drain peas, reserving liquid. Sauté onion in butter or margarine until tender. Add cornstarch dissolved in liquid from peas. Cook, stirring constantly, till thickened. Add peas and pimiento; heat. Combine hot rice, tuna, and cheese. Season to taste. Pack into 1-qt. ring or another simple mold; turn out on hot serving dish. Serve with hot peas mixture, as shown.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Vintage 1950s Scandals


          David Begelman, was a Hollywood producer who was involved in studio embezzlement scandals starting in the 1950s.
          He worked at the Music Corporation of America (MCA) in the 1950s, eventually becoming vice president. He left to co-found the talent agency Creative Management Associates (CMA) with Freddie Fields.  Their clients included Judy GarlandBarbra StreisandLiza MinnelliWoody AllenGregory PeckPaul NewmanSteve McQueenJackie Gleason and Fred Astaire. At CMA, Fields and Begelman pioneered the movie "package" where the talent agency put their stars, directors and writers together on a single project.
          Begelman left CMA to oversee the Columbia Pictures producing such hits as ShampooFunny Lady and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Begelman was among the first Hollywood agents to cross over and rise to the top of the studio system.

          Scandals started when actor Cliff Robertson received a 1099 indicating he had received $10,000 from Columbia Pictures. He had never received the money and discovered that his signature on the cashed check had been forged, starting a criminal investigation. The LAPD and the FBI verified that the $10,000 check was a forgery, and it was tracked to Begelman. Possible embezzlement with Judy Garland was suspected.

          Columbia Pictures discovered that Begelman had embezzled an additional $65,000 through other forged checks. The scandal led to a rift between Columbia executives. He was reinstated for a brief time but was fired quietly.
          Despite the pressure to remain quiet, Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill spoke to the press. David McClintick broke the story in The Wall Street Journal in 1978, later turning it into the best-selling 1982 book Indecent Exposure. Robertson later claimed he had been blacklisted during the 1980s for coming forward about the Begelman affair and had few roles during this period.
 Begelman claimed his alma mater was Yale University. Yale responded that Begelman had never attended that university.
          In 1980, Begelman returned to become CEO and president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. With the exception of Poltergeist, he was unable to repeat his success at Columbia. His apparent slump led to his departure from MGM before his four-year contract expired. After leaving MGM, Begelman was offered a position to run a production company, Sherwood Productions, backed by Bruce McNall. Under Sherwood, Begelman backed War Games , Mr. MomThe Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and Blame It on Rio where he continued in fraud.
          When investor Nelson Bunker Hunt pulled out of Sherwood in 1984, Begelman took the slack and founded Gladden Entertainment with the remaining assets and repartnering. There, with McNall, he produced MannequinWeekend at Bernie'sThe Fabulous Baker BoysShort Time and Mannequin 2: On the Move.
          Hollywood's three major talent guilds filed a petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles to liquidate the Gladden for failure to pay actors, directors and writers residuals amounting to $4.1 million. Begelman left Gladden Entertainment to found Gladden Productions. However, he was not able to get funding for the new production company.
          Begelman became depressed over the bankruptcy and lack of funding for Gladden Productions. Begelman shot himself in a room at the Los Angeles Century Plaza Hotel on August 7, 1995 at the age of 73.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Vintage 1950s Men's Fashion


Men's Shorts

          Men’s shorts in the 1950s were not a new invention but they certainly gained mass market appeal starting in 1949. Shorts for beach and sports playing was the prime reason men wore shorts prior to the 1950s. The most popular style of short was the almost knee length walk (walking) shorts also known as Bermuda shorts. They fit like men’s slacks, without pleats at the waistband and hung straight down to an inch or two above the kneecap. They came in plain colors as well as plaid, seersucker and stripes in cotton, linen, madras and even flannel. Some had back belts and most were worn with a contrasting fabric belt.

          Shorts were hardly ever worn without a pair of knee high socks usually in bold patterns such as the classic argyle. Plain colors were OK too. Paired with a slip-on pair of penny loafers or moccasins, a man was set for a round of golf, a walk to the park, a day at the shore or gardening in his own backyard. Some fashionable men wore flannel shorts to dinner paired with a sports coat, shirts and ties, especially in seaside resort towns.



          Shorts lengths changed little for most of the decade but some specifically designed for athletic wear were even shorter (short shorts). They hit about mid-thigh, worn without a belt and made of a sturdier cotton twill. They provided maximum freedom to move and breath while playing games of baseball, tennis, or soccer.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vintage 1950s Ladies Fashion


1950s ladies house dress

          A 1950s woman had to always, look elegant and clean. New inventions in house cleaning and cooking appliances made her day easier. Looking exhausted, like a hot mess was not acceptable, or so she was told over and over again by TV, radio ads, and newspapers.
          Comfort was key. The full skirt of gathered fabric (5 yards at least)  with a thin petticoat underneath made them easy to move in, change bed sheets, make dinner and tend to children. The button down bodice, known as a shirtwaist, was the prime style of house dress. Easy to put on and take off by oneself it had been around for years but the 1950s woman made it her signature day dress.

          House dress colors and patterns followed the trends of the year.  Trim was minimal. Self fabric details such as small pleats were preferred over large add on trims. The exception to this was wide lace appliqué, small rickrack trim on collars and pockets, and big buttons in white or black.  A coordinated belt was optional.
          The dresses usually had two patch pockets on the front of the dress or slit pockets built into the sides. These held all kinds of useful things such as clothes pins or a handkerchief.  The collar on the shirtwaist dress was usually pointed or a round peterpan collar. Some had no collars, just a round boat-neck or sweetheart opening.


          For running errands or visiting friends outside the home a woman did not need to change dresses. Simply adding jewelry, gloves, a belt, a cardigan sweater or bolero jacket was enough to transition her dress out of the house. The women of the 1950s were not to look like a domestic servant even if she acted like one. Fashion was fashionable even when no one would see you in it.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Vintage 1950s Cars


The Edsel
              It was an automobile brand that was planned, developed, and manufactured by the Ford Motor Company from 1958–1960. Ford had expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler and close the gap between itself and GM in the domestic American automotive market. Ford invested heavily in a year-long teaser campaign leading consumers to believe that the Edsel was the car of the future – an expectation it failed to meet. After it was unveiled to the public, it was considered to be unattractive, overpriced, and overhyped. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly.

          Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on November 19, 1959. Production continued into 1960.

          There were several reasons for the failure:
The aim was right, but the target moved It was considered a marketing disaster.
The wrong car at the wrong time. One of the external forces working against the Edsel was the onset of an economic recession in late 1957.

Reliability Even though the Edsel shared its basic technology with other Ford products, a number of issues caused reliability problems, mostly with the 1958 models. 

Design controversies The Edsel's most memorable design feature was its trademark "horsecollar" or "toilet seat" grille, which was quite distinct from other cars of the period.


          Despite the Edsel's lack of sales success, several of the cars were nevertheless raced in NASCAR's Grand National series in the late 1950s.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vintage 1950s BBQ


          After WWII, many returning GI's married and settled in the suburbs. A house with a backyard was one of the status symbols of American middle-class. How best to show off one's backyard? Men proudly did the grilling. Wives did the planning and prep-work based on suggestions offered by contemporary magazines and cookbooks. James Beard's Complete Book of Barbecue & Rotisserie Cooking (1954) was one of the "bibles" for American home barbecues.



               The Good Housekeeping Cook Book recommended meats include: big steaks, little steaks, king steak, salt-grilled sirloin steak, barbecued spareribs, heavenly hamburgers, hot franks, grilled ham, barbecued bologna roll, and beef alfresco, kabobs, charcoal-grilled chicken, charcoal-grilled duckling, fish fries and barbecues, and shellfish alfresco. Fresh grilled vegetable recipes feature corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Grilled French & Italian breads, grill-baked breads, rolls and muffins, garlic-buttered slices and a variety of hot grilled sandwiches were also recommended. Dessert could be prepared on the grill. Popular items were caramel roast apples, walnut roast, fried marshmallows, baked bananas, and "Marshmallow Treats," (similar to S'Mores).

Saturday, September 2, 2017

1950s Homes


Split Level Style Homes

         The Split Level style, with half-story wings and sunken garages, began in the 1950s was a popular home design. This style rose to popularity as a multi-story modification of the dominant Ranch house. Although it retained the horizontal lines, low-pitch roof, and overhanging eaves of the Ranch, an added two-story unit was planned at mid-height with a one-story wing to make three floor levels of interior space.



         Three types of interior spaces were planned: quiet living areas, noisy living and service areas, and sleeping areas. The new split form made it possible to locate each area on separate levels. The lower level usually housed the garage and, noisy family room with its television, the mid-level wing housed the quieter, living and dining areas, and den, and the upper level was the quiet area for the bedrooms.


         Split levels remained quiet popular until the late 1970s.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vintage 1950s Toys

Tinkertoy

         The Tinkertoy Construction Set was created in 1914 by Charles H. Pajeau, who formed the Toy Tinker Company in Evanston, Illinois. He was a stonemason and designed the toy after seeing children play with sticks and empty spools of thread. Pajeu partnered with Robert Pettit and Gordon Tinker to market the toy. The goal was to allow and inspire children to use their imaginations. A colorful “how-to” instruction guide accompanied each set. In the 1950s, color was added and the wooden sticks appeared in red, green, blue, and yellow.


For a generation, Tinkertoy was the "Lego of it's day."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vintage 1950s Music

     Rock Around the Clock

          The number 2 hit on Billboard in 1955 was Rock Around the Clock, a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954 for American Decca. It was a number one single on both the US and UK charts and also re-entered the UK Singles Chart in the 1960s and 1970s.

          It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre (Bill Haley had American chart success with Crazy Man, Crazy  in 1953, and in 1954, Shake, Rattle and Roll sung by Big Joe Turner reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Haley's recording became an anthem for the 1950s youth and is widely considered to be the song that brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. The song is ranked No. 158 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
          Although first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights on March 20, 1954, the more famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets is not a cover version. Myers claimed the song had been written specifically for Haley but, for unknown reasons, Haley was unable to record it until April 12, 1954.
          The original full title of the song was We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock Tonight!. This was later shortened to (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock, though this form is generally only used on releases of the 1954 Bill Haley Decca Records recording; most other recordings of this song by Haley and others (including Sonny Dae) shorten this title further to
Rock Around the Clock.
          Rock Around the Clock is often cited as the biggest-selling vinyl rock and roll single of all time. The exact number of copies sold has never been audited; however, a figure of at least 25 million was cited by the Guinness Book of World Records in its category Phonograph records: Biggest Sellers.
          The song was used in the opening of the Happy Days (1974 to 1984) tv show.
Take a walk down memory lane! Here is a link to the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgdufzXvjqw