Sunday, June 10, 2018

Vintage 1950s Homes

Vintage 1950s

Home Gardens

          In the 1950’s garden, an assortment of mass-produced decorations were scattered around such as plastic wildlife, garden gnomes, black jockey statues, lantern holders, etc. You would also find wide open, well-manicured lawns and an abundance of round- or box-pruned evergreen foundation plants.

          Foundation plants for the front yard included attractive year-round hedges. While many people opted for evergreens, yew,  juniper, boxwood, and holly were often used.

          An increase of landscaping was noted. It refers to the hard elements, or nonliving features of the landscape, i.e. decks and walkways to edging and ornamental features.

          Where one lived, was a major factor in its overall design. Living in warmer climes, the gardens took on a more tropical style. In other areas plants focused more towards subtropical to temperate schemes. Many gardens in the 50’s reflected on outdoor-indoor living, as patios and swimming pools were quite popular. Popular hardscape and outdoor furniture color schemes were pink, black and turquoise. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Vintage 1950s Toys


Vintage 1950s Toys

Colorforms
          The Colorforms concept was developed by Harry and Patricia Kislevitz in 1951. Both recent art students, the couple discovered the idea when they acquired several rolls of flexible paper-thin colored vinyl used to manufacture plastic pocketbooks. It would stick to the glossy paint in their bathroom and allow them to reposition it at will without affecting either surface. 

Simply cutting shapes out of the material and sticking them to the wall turned out to be amusing enough that they left extra vinyl with a pair of scissors for guests to add to their creation. The positive reactions they got to the project led them to believe there was market potential as a product.

          The original Colorforms sets were spiral-bound booklets hand-assembled by the husband and wife team in their New York City apartment. The first 1,000 sets were sold 'on concept' to the FAO Schwarz toy store. Shallow boxed sets containing screen-printed, die-cut pieces, and illustrated backgrounds began appearing soon after. The company used the slogan "It's More Fun To Play The Colorforms Way!" in print ads and television commercials to promote their products.


          Since its inception, more than a billion Colorforms play sets have been produced and sold.

Friday, May 18, 2018

vintage 1950s Scandals


The William Talman Scandal

          William Talman, a television and movie actor is best known for playing Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger in the long-running series, Perry Mason.

          In 1953, Talman played a sadistic, psychopathic killer in a film noir  The Hitch-Hiker. The New York Times wrote, "William Talman, as the ruthless murderer, makes the most of one of the year's juiciest assignments." His performance was also noted by Gail Patrick Jackson, executive producer of the CBS-TV series Perry Mason.

          What you may not know is his arrest. Sheriff's deputies raided a party on March 13, 1960, in a private home in Beverly Hills at which Talman was a guest. The deputies reported finding Talman and seven of the other defendants either nude or seminude. All were arrested for possession of marijuana an lewd vagrancy.  Municipal judge Adolph Alexander dropped the possession charge and dismissed the lewd vagrancy charges against Talman and the others on June 17 for lack of proof. "I don’t approve of their conduct," the judge ruled, "but it is not for you and me to approve but to enforce the statutes. Despite this Talman was fired by CBS.

          Talman was later rehired after Perry Mason producer Gail Patrick Jackson made a request to CBS following a massive letter-writing campaign by viewers.

                Talman was married three times and had 3 children and 2 stepchildren. He died of lung cancer on August 30, 1968, at the age of 53.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Vintage 1950s Food


Rice and Beef Porcupines

When I was young my mother made meatloaf every Monday. When she discovered this recipe the meatloaf retired and the porcupines were hired! I made some the other day, it serves about 4 people.

1 lb ground beef
2 tsp chopped onions
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup raw rice, well washed
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fat
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 cup of water

Form mixture into 10-12 balls, brown them lightly in a saucepan in fat
Drain off excess fat and add tomato sauce and 1 cup of water.

Cover tightly, simmer 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Serve with flavory pan gravy.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Vintage 1950s Cars


Vintage 1950s
Dodge La Femme

          The Dodge La Femme was a full-sized automobile produced by Dodge between 1955 and 1956. It was specifically designed for women.


          The La Femme's stemmed from Chrysler's all-male marketing department's observation that more and more women were taking an interest in automobiles during the 1950s and that women’s opinions on what color car to buy was becoming part of the decision making the process for couples buying an automobile. The La Femme was an attempt to gain a foothold in the women's automobile market.

          The  La Femme began as a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer " spring special" hardtop two-door coupe, painted "Sapphire White" and "Heather Rose". From there, the exterior received special gold-colored "La Femme" script that replaced the standard "Custom Royal Lancer" script on the car's front fenders.

          Upholstered in a pink rosebud tapestry with pale pink vinyl trim, the La Femme came with a keystone-shaped purse that could be stowed in a compartment in the back of the passenger seat. Each purse was stocked with a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse, all made of faux-tortoiseshell plastic or pink calfskin and gold-tone metal, all were designed by “Evans”, a maker of women’s fine garments and accessories in Chicago at the time.

          For 1956, the La Femme returned, with no less fanfare; letters to dealers from Dodge’s marketing department called the La Femme a "stunning success". For 1956, Dodge replaced the Heather Rose and Sapphire White scheme with a Misty Orchid and Regal Orchid color scheme
          Dodge dropped the La Femme in 1957.  Production numbers, suggests fewer than 2,500 were made over the two-year period. At least 40 are known to exist of the 1955 version and approximately 20 for the 1956 version.

          Many theories exist concerning the low sales of the La Femme trim package. No evidence of magazine, television, radio, or other La Femme advertisements have been found since 1986. Given the large number of Dodge dealerships in the U.S. at the time, few of them received a demonstration La Femme for their showroom. Instead, single-sheet dealer pamphlets were the only clue that Dodge La Femme was available when other trim-special models such as the Chrysler 300 letter seriesPlymouth Fury, and DeSoto Adventurer were widely promoted.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Vintage 1950s men's ties


Vintage 1950s 
Neck Ties

          Neckties ties both narrowed and lengthened in the 1950s from the extremely wide and short tie of the 1940s. Designers also dumped the hand-painted novelty designs in favor of traditional stripes and textured solids. It made sense then that silk and shantung were perfect fabrics for men of this era.


          Some novelty themes did remain common- wine grapes, wine glasses, historical statues, graduated stripes, swirls, geometric art, modern art, and hobby motifs introduced some patterns to otherwise plain ties. Big patterns were part of the early ’50s and small hints of design made up the remainder of the 1950s.


          The 2-inch skinny knit/crochet tie was worn across college campuses both in solids and wide stripes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vintage 1950s Parties

AFTER-THEATRE PARTIES

          In the big cities, going to the theatre with friends for a night out was quite common. After-Theatre Parties became popular when more people began living in spacious homes or apartments. Restaurants in the city were usually booked after theatre performances, many decided, “Why not come over and have a party and a few refreshments?” Since everyone was already “dressed,” it was a great way to make the evening last longer.


          Many families moved to the suburbs in the 1950s. The husband took the train to and from work in the city. Wives often drove their husbands to the depot and picked them up in the evening. For an evening out, wives would take the train into the city and meet their husbands at the theatre. Hence dinner had to be postponed until after the performance. Couples who lived in the city would host the “after theatre” party. Slowly the suburbs began to build their own theatres and provide performances to satisfy the needs of the suburbanites for cultural events.



          A suggested buffet for that time was Welsh Rarebit, Stuffed celery, Olives, Chocolate Cupcakes and fresh fruit – or broiled Grapefruit halves and Coffee. Of course, there was always the ever-present, well-stocked bar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

1950s Vintage Ladies Fashions

1950s Ladies Handkerchiefs

          We're all familiar with the use of a dropped, laced handkerchief by women to attract the attention of young men, particularly in the late 18th century. Then the handkerchiefs were colorful, silk and embroidered.  They were also used to protect the ladies nose from terrible odors from the outside as they walked along the streets. Many women had lovely handkerchiefs they carried with them in public and plain cotton ones used at home for actual head colds.



          It was 1924, the birth of Kleenex introduced by Kimberly-Clark that caused the death of handkerchiefs.  Originally invented as a face towel to remove cold-cream, by the 1930’s Kleenex was praised as the antidote to germs with their slogan “Don’t carry a cold in your pocket.”   Many opted for a disposable alternative. In the mid-1950s a Little Golden Book featuring Little Lulu showcased things to make and do with Kleenex tissues, i.e.. showing children how to make bunny rabbits and more from tissues.  Its first printing sold 2.25 million copies.



          In the 1950s women's handkerchiefs were an accessory and came in many styles. Though a woman wouldn't leave home without a pretty handkerchief, it was rarely used except to dot perspiration or lipstick. Today, handkerchiefs are collected and admired but seldom carried or used.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Vintage 1950s Toys


The Slinky

          In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer stationed at the William Cramp and Sons shipyards in Philadelphia, was developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas. James accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf, and watched as the spring "stepped" in a series of arcs to a stack of books, to a tabletop, and to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright. James's wife, Betty, later recalled, "He came home and said, 'I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension; I could make it walk.'" 

          James experimented with different types of steel wire over the next year and finally found a spring that would walk. Betty dubbed the toy Slinky (meaning "sleek and graceful").
          Richard James opened shop in Albany, New York, after developing a machine that could produce a Slinky within seconds. The toy was packaged in a black-lettered box, and advertising saturated America. James often appeared on television shows to promote Slinky. In 1952, the Slinky Dog debuted. Other Slinky toys introduced in the 1950s included the Slinky train Loco, the Slinky worm Suzie, and the Slinky Crazy Eyes.


          Over 300 million Slinkys have been sold between 1945 and 2005, and the original Slinky is still a bestseller.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Vintage 1950s Music



Heartbreak Hotel

          Heartbreak Hotel sung by Elvis Presley was released as a single on January 27, 1956, Presley's first on his new record label RCA Victor. It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton.
          A newspaper article about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window inspired the lyrics. Axton presented the song to Presley in November 1955 at a country music convention in Nashville. Presley agreed to record it, and did so on January 10, 1956, in a session with his band, The Blue Moon Boys, the guitarist Chet Atkins, and the pianist Floyd Cramer. The song is comprised of an eight-bar blues progression, with heavy reverberation throughout the track, to imitate the character of Presley's Sun recordings.
          The single topped Billboard's Top 100 chart for seven weeks, Cashbox's pop singles chart for six weeks, listed at No. 1 on the Country and Western chart for seventeen weeks and reached No. 3 on the R&B chart, becoming Presley's first million-seller, and one of the best-selling singles of 1956.
          "Heartbreak Hotel" achieved unheard feats as it reached the top 5 of Country and Western, pop, and Rhythm 'n' Blues charts simultaneously. It would eventually be certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Presley had first performed "Heartbreak Hotel" during a live show in December 1955 during a tour of the Louisiana Hayride, but the song gained strong popularity after his appearance on Stage Show in March 1956.
          In 1995 "Heartbreak Hotel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". That year it was also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". A rock and roll standard, since its original release "Heartbreak Hotel" has been covered by several rock and pop acts, including Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, who recorded a duet version that topped the Country charts in 1979.

For a young Elvis Presley performing on the Milton Berle show, April 1956 go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH8gqK7y8sU

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Vintage 1950s Homes


1950s Master Bedroom

          In post-WWII USA the housing market boomed as soldiers returned from war and got married. No longer were young married couples living with their parents. They wanted their own homes which created a demand for home furnishings. The economic rise of the 1950’s allowed couples to afford some luxury in their home and emphasis was placed on family life.


          The California-style ranch homes were built in 1955 and had a larger master bedroom than what was often found in earlier homes.

          Several things prompted rooms to get larger. The widespread use of central heating for one. Prior to 1950 master bedrooms were smaller than they are today. People worked and had to be very wealthy to have leisure time. But the introduction of the 40-hour work week allowed for time to relax. Homes became more than shelter and began to be a place to enjoy family and relax. Hence the master bedroom was no longer a place to just sleep but a place for the owners to enjoy with their family. Master bedroom sizes began to increase because of a stronger middle class.


TV's Portrayal of Master bedrooms


          Before the 1950s bedrooms for married couples had twin beds pushed apart. During the first two seasons of the revolutionary television show I Love Lucy (1951-1960), Lucy and Ricky Ricardo slept on twin beds pushed together, but after they had little Ricky, CBS may have insisted the beds be pushed apart perhaps to downplay their sexual relationship. A few years later, Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966), Bewitched (1964-1972), Green Acres (1965-1971), depicted double beds. Since then Double, Queen, King and Western King have not been an issue on TV or in the theater.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Vintage 1950s Cars

Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle – officially the Volkswagen Type 1, is a two-door, four passenger, rear-engine economy car manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.
          The need for this kind of car and its functional objectives was formulated by Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network. Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalize the design.

          Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War).
          From 1950 to 1959, changes were made throughout the vehicle beginning with hydraulic brakes and a folding fabric sunroof in 1950. The rear window of the VW Beetle evolved from a divided or "split" oval to a singular oval.

          In 1953 models received a redesigned instrument panel. The one-piece “Pope's Nose” combination license plate/brake light was replaced with a smaller flat-bottomed license plate light. The brake light function was transferred to new heart-shaped lamps located in the top of the taillight housings. 

          In 1955, the separate brake lights were discontinued and were combined into a new larger taillight housing. The traditional VW semaphore turn signals were replaced by conventional flashing.

          In 1956, the Beetle received a set of twin chrome tailpipes. Models for North America gained taller bumper guards and tubular override bars.


          In 1958, the Beetle received a revised instrument panel, and a larger rectangular rear window replaced the previous oval design.
          The Volkswagen had many names. In the US the VW had many names, "Beetle" "Super Beetle" "Bug" and "Superbug".
In Germany the K√§fer "beetle" and in France the Coccinelle "ladybug" to name a few.