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


          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

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.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Vintage 1950s Food

Instead of chicken soup, this was the staple in my house for when we got sick. Our neighbor gave this recipe to my mother when she was a new mother and she was sick. Since it worked, she made tons of it at the beginning of winter (in New York) and froze it in individual servings. I still make it today for a cold winter night with cornbread.

Split Pea Soup
1 c dried green split peas                         1-1/2 quarts water
Beef knuckle, cracked or ham bone       1 bay leaf
1 No. 2 can (2-1/2 c) tomatoes               1 t salt
1 med. onion, peeled and chopped                 dash pepper

Wash and pick over peas. Add remaining ingredients. Cover, simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the soup thickens too much, add additional boiling water. Remove bone. Press soup through a sieve. Serve hot with croutons. makes 6 servings.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Vintage 1950s Toys

Hula Hoop
          The modern Hula Hoop was invented in 1958 by Arthur K. "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr. Children and adults around the world have played with hoops, twirling, rolling and throwing them. Traditional materials for hoops include willow, rattan (a flexible and strong vine), grapevines and stiff grasses. Today, they are usually made of plastic tubing, Marlex.

          Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling dance incorporating anywhere from one to thirty hoops as props. These hoops are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, which represent various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. The dance is generally performed by a solo dancer with multiple hoops. It is said that the name "hula" came from the Hawaiian dance in the 18th century, due to the similar hip movements.
Wham-O was the manufacturers and distributors.

Tid Bit- In the last season of M*A*S*H there is an episode called "Who Knew?" where Sergeant Klinger sees kids playing with barrel rings and fashions a hula hoop-like toy made of metal tubing. He then tries to get Major Winchester to fund putting them into production but is unable to because the major thinks they are silly because he was laughed at while trying to play with one. If he only knew!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Vintage 1950s Music


          The number 3 hit on the Billboard Chart  in 1955 was Mitch Miller's version of The Yellow Rose of Texas. The song is a traditional American folk song. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. Several versions of the song have been recorded, including those by Elvis Presley, and Willie Nelson.

          This song originally became popular among Confederate soldiers in the Texas Brigade during the American Civil War; upon taking command of the Army of Tennessee in July 1864, General John Bell Hood introduced it as a marching song.

          In September 1955, for six weeks, Mitch Miller had a Billboard number one hit with the song. Thirteen months later, Miller's version was used for a key scene in the 1956 Texas-based film Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. The 1955 song became a gold record. The song achieved the #2 position in the UK and the #1 position in Australia.

Enjoy the memories! To listen to the song click on the link below.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Vintage 1950s Men's wallets

1950s Men’s Wallets

          Men’s wallets weren’t too much different than they are now. Brown or black cowhide leather was the smart choice. These wallets had several compartments for holding keys, ID cards, pictures, cash, and coins.
        Some wallets zipped around the edges to keep it closed and other had secret compartments. For that extra personal touch, men could get a wallet with his initials, his name or his favorite activity (like fishing) embossed on the front.

        Plastic inserts held pictures and other card-sized items. Some wallets even came in exotic leathers like sealskin, South African ostrich, alligator, water buffalo and almost any other kind of animal you can imagine.

        A fashionable man in the 1950s had a belt that matched his wallet.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Vintage 1950s Scandals


TV Quiz Show

          Dotto, launched January 6. 1958,  was a game show that was a combination of a general knowledge quiz and the children's game connect the dots. Jack Narz served as the program's host, with Colgate-Palmolive as its presenting sponsor. Dotto rose to become the highest rated daytime program in television history, as of 1958. The show was abruptly canceled without public explanation over the weekend of August 16, 1958. The reason for the cancellation was revealed by CBS and NBC on August 18. the show had been fixed, tarnishing the show's reputation and setting the stage for legal and political investigation, of the fixing of 1950s quiz shows.

          Dotto's downfall began with a backstage discovery in May 1958. A notebook belonging to contestant Marie Winn was found by a standby contestant, Edward Hilgemeier Jr. The notebook included questions and answers to be used during Winn's appearances. He tore out the relevant pages of the notebook. Hilgemeier later reported that  Dotto's  producers paid him $1,500 to keep quiet about his discovery. Dotto on CBS, meanwhile, grew in popularity as 1958 went on and became the highest rated Daytime show on the air.

          Hilgemeier Jr. eventually decided to break his silence. He contacted the Colgate-Palmolive company on approximately August  8, 1958, with his story, which was then relayed to CBS. Executives at CBS and the show's sponsor quickly moved to confirm the allegation internally and worked the issue between August 11 and 16. CBS executive vice president Thomas Fisher tested kinescopes of the show against Winn's notebook and concluded that the show looked fixed. Executives at CBS series met with its creator, Frank Cooper, concerning the potential rigging of the show on the evening of Friday, August 15. Cooper admitted that the show was indeed fixed, and CBS then reported these findings to NBC as the hosts of the nighttime version. Over the weekend of August 16, both the CBS daytime and NBC primetime series were canceled. In the meantime, in an August 18 affidavit, Hilgemeier complained to the Federal Communications Commission that Dotto was fixed.

          Narz was not involved in the deception and cheating on "Dotto," and was immediately absolved of any responsibility when the story broke.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

vintage 1950s TV

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

          Alfred Hitchcock Presents is a television anthology series hosted and executive produced by Alfred Hitchcock, which aired on CBS and  NBC between 1955 and 1965. It featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time it premiered on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over thirty years.

          Alfred Hitchcock Presents is well known for its title sequence. The camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile. As the program's theme music, Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette, plays, Hitchcock appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. He then almost always says "Good evening."

          The caricature drawing, which Hitchcock created, and the use of Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette as theme music have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.
          Hitchcock appears again after the title sequence, and introduces the story from a mostly empty studio or from the set of the current episode; his monologues were written especially for him by James B. Allardice. At least two versions of the opening were shot for every episode. A version intended for the American audience would often spoof a recent popular commercial or poke fun at the sponsor, leading into the commercial.

          Hitchcock closed the show in much the same way as it opened, but mainly to tie up loose ends rather than a joke. Frequently, in the filmed story, a leading character would have seemingly gotten away with a criminal activity; in the postscript, Hitchcock would briefly detail how fate (or the authorities) eventually brought the character to justice. Hitchcock told TV Guide[ that his reassurances that the criminal had been apprehended were "a necessary gesture to morality."

          Alfred Hitchcock Presents finished at #6 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1956–57 season, and at #12 in 1957–58, #24 in 1958–59 and #25 in 1959–60.  The last new episode aired on June 26, 1965, and the series continued to be popular in syndication for decades.

          Two episodes, both directed by Hitchcock himself, were nominated for Emmy Awards: "The Case of Mr. Pelham" (1955) with Tom Ewell, and "Lamb to the Slaughter" (1958) with Barbara Bel Geddes and Harold J. Stone.  "The Glass Eye" (1957) won an Emmy Award for director Robert Stevens. "An Unlocked Window" (1965) earned an Edgar Award for writer James Bridges in 1966.

          The most famous episodes remain writer Roald Dahl's "Man from the South" (1960) starring Steve McQueen and.  The episode was later referenced and remade in the film Four Rooms, with Quentin Tarantino directing a segment called "The Man from Hollywood."