Saturday, July 20, 2019

Vintage 1950s TV Shows

Vintage 1950s TV

Private Secretary

          Private Secretary (also known as Susie MacNamara) was a sitcom that aired from February 1, 1953, to September 10, 1957, on CBS.  The series stars Ann Sothern as "Susie" MacNamara, devoted secretary to handsome talent agent Peter Sands, played by Don Porter.
          Susie is a former stage actress, a WAC veteran of World War II and single woman who works as the private secretary for theatrical agent Peter Sands at a New York theatrical agency, International Artists Inc. Susie's honest, good-natured attempts to help Mr. Sands, especially in romantic matters, always leads to comedic complications.
          Susie is assisted by her best friend, Violet "Vi" Praskins (Ann Tyrrell), the office's nervous and bumbling receptionist. In guest appearances, Jesse White played Mickey "Cagey" Calhoun, a chief competitor and loudmouthed agent business rival to Susie's boss. One of the show's trademarks was the set decoration which portrayed a 1950s state-of-the-art executive office, with stylish furniture, IBM typewriters and the latest office telephone gear from Western Electric. There are occasional references to a young actress, never seen, who was a client of Mr. Sands, named Harriet Lake.
          In an unusual move, Private Secretary also had two brief runs on another network. During the summers of 1953 and 1954, reruns from the recent season were shown on NBC as a summer replacement for Your Hit Parade, with the series resuming new shows on CBS each fall.] Private Secretary, Your Hit Parade and The Jack Benny Program were all sponsored by Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Its parent company American Tobacco Company had some financial interest in all three programs and their respective network time-slots.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Vintage 1950s Toys Electric Football

Vintage 1950s Toys
Electric Football

          Electric Football can be traced back to 1929 when Elmer Sas incorporated Tudor Metal Products in New York City. The company survived the Depression and in the late '40s, Elmer's son Norman became president of Tudor and invented the game, Electric Football.

Norman Sas based the game on a vibrating car race game that Tudor already made. The early #500 Electric Football models were crude to the modern eye but were the first tabletop football game which featured actual moving players as they reacted to the vibrations created by the electromagnet motor under the metal field. Actual passing and kicking was also a unique feature of this first of its kind design.
          Electric Football was an immediate hit and became one of the hottest items at Christmas time from the late '50s and '60s and to date has sold 70 million games. Tudor did so well with the game that other companies also entered the market; Coleco, Munro and Gotham. Over the coming years, some of Electric Football's greatest innovations would come out of the competition between the companies.
          The Electric Football  today features many local, regional, national and even international leagues and tournaments with hundreds of coaches participating and  a World Championship tournament and convention.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Vintage 1950s Women's Wallets

Vintage 1950s Ladies Fashion

Women’s Wallets

          Women’s wallets were much more interesting in design than men’s wallets. A woman could get a wallet in any color to match her outfit or handbag. Wallets came in pink, light blue, red, white, black and every other color in the rainbow. Some wallets came with matching cigarette lighters.

          During this time, a woman’s wallet began to include a coin pocket. They usually had a snap-tight latch or zipper. Wallets also came in matching sets, in case she needed a separate coin purse.

          A common trend seen in 1950s women’s wallets was gold trim or thick white striped trim.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Vintage 1950s Wedding Receptions

Vintage 1950s Weddings

The Reception

          The 1950s was a time of celebration as soldiers returned home from the war. And this celebration can be seen in weddings as well during this time. The traditional wedding started coming back into fashion, with elaborate church weddings. Brides reintroduced bridesmaids and grooms including groomsmen. It was expected that the wedding party all wore proper wedding attire. Lace or satin gloves became a standard for the brides, as well as shortened veils. Sweetheart necklines became popular by way of Elizabeth Taylor who wore a sweetheart neckline wedding dress in the original “Father of the Bride” movie. Groom's fashion changed as well with a shortened, single-breasted narrow jacket with tapered pants. The tiered wedding cakes made their first appearance during this era as well.

In the 1950s, people... society loved to dance. All weddings had music, live or recorded (record players)

Most popular songs:
Unforgettable - Nat King Cole.
Dream a Little Dream of Me - Doris Day.
I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos.
Pledging My Love - Johnny Ace.
All The Way - Frank Sinatra.
Come Rain or Come Shine - Billie Holiday.
Sea of Love - Phil Phillips.

When food rationing ended in 1947, wedding cake decoration became extremely detailed.
Fruit cakes iced in white royal icing were in vogue. This period is famous for using muscovado sugar, fine quality fruits, and premium liquors in the treats. The decorations consisted of natural flowers or figurines of the traditional bride and groom on top. The iconic bride and groom toppers went mainstream in this decade because the plastic was affordable.

For a formal wedding the groom wore a classic tux. The rule of thumb was to play with color (blue for a Spring or Summer wedding, a rich burgundy red for Autumn and Winter. (However, white was most common) By the mid 1950s color, texture and pattern were all the rage.


In the post-WWII years, things changed regarding food. Elegance repeated itself in the food served at weddings. Buffets were very popular depending on the number of guests.

Salad: the era of Jell-O salad. Molded Jell-O made with cottage cheese and canned fruit was vogue. Greens salads would have been made with iceberg lettuce served with French dressing or a vinaigrette.

Appetizer: Deviled eggs, fondue, or fruit skewers. For a more casual wedding, celery topped with Cheese Whiz was served.

Entrees: Roast beef or Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and corn or green beans. For a casual wedding individual pot pies were popular. For something between casual and elegant, steak with fries made its appearance.

Dessert: Fruit cup, or ice cream served with the cake.

Weddings strived for elegance regardless of location. The decor was mostly pink and peach, second most popular was blue or green/yellow.

The color palette for the 1950s wedding reception was peach, or teal, with white and occasional gray. The key here is elegance for the bouquet and the table decorations.

          In other words, reception is held as a sort of welcome for those who attended the wedding. The couple received their community, i.e. friends and family, for the first time as a newly married couple. And the celebration commenced.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Vintage 1950s Famous Brides

Vintage 1950s Weddings
Famous Brides of the 1950s

When Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953 there was a brief revival of jeweled crowns to be worn instead of hats.

Audrey Hepburn’s real wedding gown in 1954 had a full tea-length skirt, high collar, small buttons down the center, billowing elbow length sleeves and a wide sash around her waist. It enveloped her tiny figure.

Debbie Reynolds  wore a crescent wedding hat with a veil in 1955.

 Jackie Kennedy wore her grandmothers rosé point lace veil attached to a small tiara of lace and orange blossoms. It contrasted nicely against her ivory silk taffeta ball gown with ruched bodice and off the shoulder neckline. 

 Grace Kelly wore a skin tight long sleeve lace wedding gown for her church wedding to Prince Rainier.

In 1952 Brigitte Bardot wore a Victorian style dress featuring a high collar, long sleeves and train, included a chic white muff, embroidered veil and open-toe shoes.

Natalie Wood wore a modern white, strapless cocktail dress with a lace hood,  jacket, and ballet flats.

Marilyn Monroe wore a light beige muslin gown. Rumor has it she couldn’t find a veil to match so she dipped her veil in coffee to turn it beige.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Vintage 1950 Wedding Dresses

Vintage 1950s


Wedding Dresses

Coming out of the 1940s women were looking too high fashion designers and their Hollywood models for fashion inspiration. The 1950s vintage wedding dress was no different.

        The sweetheart neckline, small waist, and full skirt was the classic wedding gown silhouette. Early 50s fabrics favored a structure that easily molded the torso and shaped the hips down to the floor. Ribbed silks and Duchesse satins were smooth and shiny. Lace was used on both the top only or full dress fabric infused with gold or silver thread. Handmade lace was very soft and expensive but new cotton or polyester-cotton machine-made lace was affordable. Lace was often used.


        Mid 50s wedding gowns were practical. Modesty was required in churches.  But in the area of reception gowns, brides wanted something modern and fashionable. Wedding dress designers solved this dilemma with removable layers. Most bridal gowns were now strapless but also had a matching bolero jacket with three-quarter length sleeves that were worn at the ceremony. Jackets could be solid silk or satin but more often were white lace, tightly fitted with a sleeve, short, three-quarter or long. 


        Mid to late 50s dresses softened up the shape into the round ball gown and used chiffon and tulle to make them lighter as well.  Hemlines rose up, up, and up to the tea length (ankle) or mid-calf, exposing footwear for the first time since the ’20s. The bodice styles simplified and short sleeves were preferred.



        Wedding dress skirts of the 50s had little variety but the necklines embraced nearly every shape imaginable. Here are12 necklines popular during most of the 50s
·      Bateau – cut straight across the collarbone in front and equally in the back with a one inch gap at the shoulders.
·      Fichu- A frilled fichu gathered into a point at the breasts. Sometimes a brooch or flower was placed at the point
·      Halter- Thick straps gather from the side of the breast up and around the back of the neck.
·      Horseshoe- U shaped halter that loops under the bust line.
·      Jewel – Simple round neckline, perfect for showing off jewelry
·      Off the shoulder- A boat neckline that falls just slightly off the shoulder with short sleeves
·      Portrait – A collar that frames the neck and shoulders
·      Queen Anne – A high back and neck that curves down into a sweetheart front. Very regal.
·      Scoop neck- A wide and low U shaped neckline
·      Square neck- Straight sides and bust line, no cleavage
·      Strapless – A supported (boned) top with a straight bust line often paired with a bolero or crop jacket
·      Sweetheart – A center point between breast bowls out over the breasts and straight up the sides. A sheer lace, chiffon or net illusion panel may be added for modesty.
·      V- neck – Wide or narrow V opening from neck to bust or neck to low back. Sometimes with a peel out collar.

        Overall, brides were encouraged to dress like the Hollywood stars in the most expensive gown they could afford. Thanks to manufacturing improvements, wedding dresses were now being offered “off the rack” with cheaper synthetic materials that looked as expensive as the real thing. Every bride could afford a wedding dress of their dreams including accessories and live happily ever after… or so they say.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Vintage 1950s Weddings Bridal Accessories

Vintage 1950s Weddings

The Bride's Accessories
Everything for that special day.
Gloves were equally as elegant as the dress. In the early 50s, a short sleeve gown would be paired with over the elbow or at elbow doeskin white gloves that wrinkled at the wrists.  Long sleeve gowns didn’t need gloves but a pair of wrist length or fingerless gloves in satin, lace or tulle was a nice touch.

In the late 50s  short, wrist length white gloves in materials matching the dress. They paired well with short sleeve, tea length dresses the best. Only about 1/4 of all brides chose to wear gloves.  

Flowers. Lilly of the valley and fern or a single stem white Lilly tied in a white satin bow was popular. Elizabeth Taylor chose yellow daffodils and tulips to match her bridesmaid’s yellow chiffon dresses. Jackie Kennedy carried a spray of white and pink orchids and gardenia.  Anything pink was highly fashionable in wedding flowers for most of the decade.
Jewelry was minimal. A short, single strand pearl necklace was often worn with low neck dresses. A matching pearl bracelet was a nice addition, especially if it was “something borrowed.” Pearl clip on or stud earrings may have been worn if they were not covered up by hair.  
Shoes Cuban or kitten heels with a rounded toe in white was the classic wedding shoe. Anything fancier, open-toed, strappy or otherwise more “interesting” shoes would detract from the bride and her wedding dresses. Shoes had to be simple. However, the shorter the dress, the taller the heels. High heels, i.e. ultra-thin stiletto heel shaped the exposed calves into something attractive.       


Friday, May 24, 2019

Vintage 1950s A Special Wedding

 Vintage 1950s

A Special Wedding
We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, 1957. Reading newspapers and magazines of the year we came across some amazing stories of people's lives after WWII. Here is one of those amazing stories.
          World War II, Maj. Claud Hensinger and his crew made a successful bombing run over Yowata, Japan. However,  on the way back to base, one of their engines caught fire and they were forced to bail out over China. In 1944, much of China was still occupied by the Japanese who were always on the lookout for down Allied aviators.

          Hensinger was also injured from landing on a pile of sharp rocks and was bleeding. He kept his parachute after landing. The chute kept him warm and kept his bleeding to a minimum.
          When the war ended, he returned to Pennsylvania, where he reconnected with Ruth. When he got down on one knee, he proposed to her without a ring. Instead, he gave her the parachute and told Ruth how it saved his life and that he wanted her to make a wedding dress from the dirty, blood-stained nylon.
          She said yes to both questions. One day, while she was walking by a store, the inspiration came to her. In the store window there  was a dress inspired by the one worn by Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. She patterned the dress to match that while designing a veil and bodice.
          A local seamstress sewed the veil and bodice, Ruth sewed the skirt, using the parachute strings to lace the skirt. Keeping with tradition, Hensinger didn't get to see his wife's parachute dress until she walked down the aisle. He was a happy man, according to Ruth.

          The couple was married for 49 years before Hensinger died in 1996. In the years between, two other generations of women were married in Ruth Hensinger's parachute dress. The dress is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Vintage 1950s Teen Shoes

Vintage 1950s Women's Shoes
 Teen shoes

New 1950s style shoes for Teens were more than just black and white saddle shoes.

Saddle Shoes Teenagers and housewives wore saddle shoes. These were black and white oxford shoes most associated with teenage girls in felt poodle skirts. They were usually worn with a pair of bobby socks-– white socks rolled or folded down 2 or 3 times. The soles and heels were black along with the center panel. White shoes and heels had to keep in pristine condition. Girls would clean and shine their shoes nightly and buy new ones as soon as they began to show signs of wear. Learn about the history of saddle shoes. 

White “bucks or nubucks, were another style of Oxford shoe for teens. They had to be kept perfectly white all the time. Small “bunny bags” of chalk powder were included with each white buck shoe so girls could powder them on breaks. Another white shoe was the clunky Joyce, which resembled nurses shoes or senior orthopedic shoes today. They also had to be kept perfectly white at all times. Bleaching laces, polishing leather and washing soles were all part of the nightly routine.

Mary Jane They were a young girl’s shoe that to teens meant you were too young to know how to keep your shoes on. Graduating to a strapless shoe meant growing up. There was a trend for the T-strap shoes, which returned everyone back to strapped shoes again.  Black or red were the most popular colors among 12-15 year-olds.  Even women jumped on the trend with T-strap evening shoes and sandals.

Bunny Shoes Another teenage shoe trend in the late ’50s was bunny shoes or just bunnies. They were leather slip-ons in white, black or red with two “ears” for a tongue and wings on the heel for a bunny tail. The fad for bunnies, also called Pixies, was widespread but short-lived among girls and teens. Women’s shoes, however, adopted the “ears” calling them twin peaks and placing them onto loafers and flats. The two peaks stayed in fashion into the early ’60s.