Friday, March 27, 2020

Vintage 1950s Cars Plymouth Belvedere

The Plymouth Belvedere was an American automobile model that was produced by Plymouth from 1954 to 1970.
          The Belvedere name was first used for a new hardtop body style in the Plymouth Cranbrook line for the 1951 model year. In 1954. the Belvedere replaced the Cranbrook as the top trim and became a full model line with sedansstation wagons and convertible body styles. The Belvedere continued as Plymouth's full-sized car until 1965, when it became an intermediate, and was replaced after the 1970 model year by the Satellite, a name originally used for the top-trim level Belvederes.
          The 1957 model year had high sales for the Chrysler Corporation, and for the Plymouth line. Plymouth's design was so revolutionary that Chrysler used the slogan "Suddenly, it's 1960!" to promote the new car.
         The Belvedere returned as a top-level trim for 1958. Styling was a continuation from the 1957 models.
          The convertible was only available in the Belvedere model between 1956 and 1958.
          The 1957-58 Belvedere two-door hardtop gained notoriety from the Stephen King movie Christine (1983). In the opening of the movie, it is indicated that Christine is a 1957 Fury, though the standard color of the 1957 Fury was not red. 1957 Fury had standard Sandstone White with gold anodized aluminum trim. For the movie, Christine is painted "toreador red" with an "iceberg white" top.
            The Belvedere name was dropped at the end of the 1970 model year, replaced by the Satellite name originally reserved for higher-end Belvederes. It lasted only through 1974, becoming the Fury in 1975 when the longer-wheelbase Fury model became the Grand Fury.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Vintage 1950s Movies, Trapeze

Vintage 1950s
Trapeze is a 1956 circus film directed by Carol Reed and starred Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, and Gina Lollobrigida, making her debut in American films. The film is based on Max Catto's novel The Killing Frost, with the adapted screenplay written by Liam O'Brien.
The film did well at the box office, returning $7.5 million in North American rentals and placing in the top three among the year's top earners.

                The plot:  Crippled trapeze aerialist and former star Mike Ribble (Burt Lancaster) sees great promise in young, brash Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis). Ribble—only the sixth man to have completed the dangerous triple somersault—thinks his protégé is capable of matching the same feat, but only if he gives him rigorous training. However, Orsini is distracted by the new third member of their circus act, the manipulative Lola (Gina Lollobrigida). Tensions rise as a love triangle forms.

Added Note:
Burt Lancaster, was a circus acrobat in his younger years. He performed many of his own stunts, except for the most dangerous ones  (including the climactic triple somersault). The most dangerous one was performed by technical consultant Eddie Ward from the Ringling Brothers Circus.

Trapeze was filmed entirely in Paris:  at the Cirque d'Hiver, and at the nearby Billancourt studios.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Vintage 1950s Music: AutumnLeaves

Vintage 1950s Music
Autumn Leaves

The number 4 hit on the Billboard Charts in 1955 was Autumn Leaves version by Roger Williams. Originally it was a 1945 French song, Les Feuilles mortes"(literally The Dead Leaves), with music by Hungarian-French composer, 
Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert. The Hungarian title is Hulló levelek (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced Les feuilles mortes in the film Les Portes de la nuit (1946).

          In 1955, pianist Roger Williams recorded Autumn Leaves, the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard's popular music chart. It sold over two million copies and was awarded a gold disc. This version was known for WIlliam's descending scales and arpeggios, depicting the falling leaves from the trees to the grounds below.

          A movie by the same name was released in 1956 by Columbia Pictures starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson in an older woman/younger man tale of mental illness.

To listen to this beautiful instrumental piece, goto:

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vintage 1950s Lost Buildings

Vintage 1950s Lost Buildings
The Brown Derby

formally 3427 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles

The Brown Derby was the name of a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles, California. The first and most famous of these was shaped like a man's derby hat, an iconic image that became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was opened by Wilson Mizner. The chain was started by Robert H. Cobb and Herbert K. Somborn (a former husband of film star Gloria Swanson) in the 1920s.
          Opened in 1926, this original restaurant is the most famous due to its distinctive shape. The whimsical architecture was popular at the time, and the restaurant was designed to catch the eye of passing motorists.
                   In September 1980, the restaurant closed without warning. Local preservationists unsuccessfully tried to stop the building from being bulldozed, but the demolition was completed in November and replaced by a parking lot.

          The parking lot was replaced in late 1985 by a shopping center known as the Brown Derby Plaza.  The domed structure was incorporated into the third floor of the building, and is currently vacant; it formerly accommodated a Korean bar.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Vintage 1950s Women's Fashion Knit Tops

Vintage 1950s Women's blouses

 Knit Tops

          The short sleeve snug-fitting pullover knit top was a cousin of the sweater. New materials, like Orlon, reduced the bulk of previous generations of sweaters as well as making them shrink-proof.  Thin knit tops could have a traditional tailored point or peter pan collars but were more often seen with high crew necks, roll necks, shawl collars and boat necks. Sometimes the V neck versions with point or shawl collars were called polo shirts. 

          The summer knit tops were usually featured plain colors, not patterns. Some did feature knitted in designs or textures as alternatives to the smooth finish on most knit shirts.  Sleeve lengths were short mid-arm lengths or longer with Dolman sleeves.

          The bottom of the knit top usually had a wide waistband. They could be worn tucked into skirts and pants or worn over them. Tucked In was more sleek looking while out was more casual.

          One popular trend was to wear a short chiffon scarf, rolled and tied, to the left around the neck. These colorful neck scarves were almost always worn with a tight-knit top. The pop of color was yet another way of accessorizing an outfit.

          Even in winter,  knit tops were usually worn alone, not over another blouse. This helped reduce bulk and keep the wasp waist effect popular in 1950s fashion.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Vintage 1950s Men's Fashion Business Suits

Vintage 1950s Men's Fashion

Business Suits

        In the ‘50s, men were usually the sole breadwinners, serious heads of the household. Business dress reflected this role. Suits were somber, conservative and mature looking. Men heading off to office work looked totally anonymous, blending in with everyone else.
            At the office, his clothes were narrower, straighter and less fussy. Grey was the only color necessary in his wardrobe, with subtle shades of brown or blue for those daring to stand out.
           The 1956 movie,  The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, starring Gregory Peck,  defined men's office/business dress.  These clothes came directly from Ivy League college students. When they graduated they dressed more conservatively with a “plain gray flannel three-piece, narrow-shouldered sack suit, loose at the waist, with a long jacket.  Young businessmen opted for the loose sack suit, which was also popular at the turn of the century among business men.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Vintage 1950s Cars MG-A

Vintage 1950s cars
The MGA was produced by MG from 1955 to 1962.
            The MGA replaced the MG TF 1500 Midget and represented a complete styling break from MG's earlier sports cars. Announced in September 1955 the car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
            The MGA design dates back to 1951 when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips' TD Le Mans car. After several changes to the chassis, the prototype was built. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the "first of a new line" to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available, therefore the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line. The MGA convertible had no exterior door handles.
            The MGA has been raced extensively in the U.S. since its 1955 introduction and with considerable success. In the Sports Car Club of America competition, the MGA has won numerous regional and national championships. It has also been a favorite choice of those competing in vintage racing.
            In the United States, the MGA was used in NASCAR from 1960–63 in the Grand National Series, but failed to win a single race. After production ended of the MGA, MG (which at that point was the last foreign automaker in NASCAR) decided not to field another entry in the circuit.
                    A total of 101,081 units were sold through the end of production in July 1962, the vast majority of which were exported. Only 5869 cars were sold on the home market, the lowest percentage of any British car. It was replaced by the MGB.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Vintage 1950s Scandal The Bergman Scandal

Vintage 1950s 

The Bergman Scandal
          While doing in-depth research into 1950s Hollywood, we came across scandals that shocked and amazed us. Remember, people especially women had a special society code of decency they needed to follow. Though things were slowly changing it the 50's many women and men were caught in the web of change and did not recuperate. Really, you can't make this stuff up!
          Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who was known for her graceful beauty and wholesome persona. She is remembered for playing Ilsa in Casablanca. She endured a scandal that was large and profound.   
          She married a much older man, neurosurgeon, Petter Lindstrom and had a daughter, Pia. After producer David O. Selznick saw Ingrid's Swedish films.  He offered her a contract and she went to Hollywood.
          When Bergman arrived, she refused to undergo a makeover, she didn’t want a new name, said no to thick pancake make-up, and most of all wouldn't let them pluck her bushy Nordic eyebrows. Selznick decided that Bergman’s image would be NO IMAGE AT ALL.
          Bergman wrote a letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini  offering to appear in his next movie Stromboli. Along with giving her the part, Rossellini immediately replaced his previous lover, Anna Magnani, with Bergman.
          Rumors of an affair soon started. Her old friend and famous columnist, Hedda Hopper, interviewed Bergman who refused to admit she was pregnant.  But when Hopper’s arch-rival, columnist, Louella Parsons, announced the pregnancy days later, Hopper retaliated by shaming Bergman as much as possible.  Ed Sullivan refused to allow Bergman on his show, and she was denounced on the floor of the United States Senate as an “Instrument of Evil.”
               On top of that, Bergman’s husband, Lindstrom refused to grant her a quick divorce, effectively ensuring that Bergman would give birth to a “bastard child.” Bergman’s Hollywood image was damaged beyond repair. (Lindstrom granted her a divorce just days before her child was born.)
          Soon after, Rossellini and Bergman married causing an international scandal.
          Bergman left America, had more children with Rossellini including a pair of twins (model Isabella Rossellini),
          The couple divorced in1957 and Bergman’s career made a comeback. She earned another Academy Award for Anastasia in 1956
Ingrid Bergman died August 29, 1982 in London from Breast Cancer

Friday, January 31, 2020

Vintage 1950s Parties Hollywood Themes

Vintage 1950s Party

Hollywood Theme

                Theme parties were all the rage in the 1950s. A Hollywood Themed Party was very popular. There were several ways a host/hostess would plan it. One was asking party-goers to dress like a famous celebrity from a specific era, a costume party, or it would be a simple get together with the house decorated like "Tinsel Town".  Some even held the party around Halloween! Table settings were either stylish or all-out Hollywood.

          Here's a menu of such a party: Caviar, Chicken l'orange, Green Beans Almandine, hearts of palm salad in vinaigrette, fruit, cheese, and an elaborate cake, coffee and, of course, champagne.

          Charades was a  popular game, especially with hit movies.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Vintage 1950s Toys

Vintage 1950s

Corn Popper

          It  is a toy manufactured by Fisher-Price since 1957 aimed at pre-schoolers.  When the Corn Popper is pushed or pulled, colored balls inside a plastic dome bounce and create a popping, bouncing noise.
          The Corn Popper was invented in 1957 by Arthur Holt and sold and sold the Corn Popper to Fisher-Price for $50.  Holt was an inventor who had received more than 35 patents in the fields of electronics and optical character recognition. He died on April 2, 1996.
          The Corn Popper is a popular toy for young children. It sends tiny, colorful, gumball size balls flying and hitting the plastic dome, to create its signature loud popping noise.
          The wide wheels and easy-to-grasp-and-push handle helps preschoolers with walking. Once children have taken their first steps, this push toy encourages them to keep moving in order to see & hear the exciting "poppity-pop" action. That is, the faster they go, the faster the colorful balls bounce and pop.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Vintage 1950s Mystery Pollock Twins

Vintage 1950s

The Mysterious Case of the Pollock Twins

          My husband, Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hardboiled  Detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, GAME TOWN is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the Toy Companies in Los Angeles.
          While doing in-depth research into the 1950s, we came across scandals that shocked and amazed us. Really, you can't make this stuff up!

        The John and Florence Pollock family and their two young daughters Joanna, 11, and Jacqueline, 6 lived in Hexham, in North- Cumberland, England.
         On May 7, 1957, tragedy struck when the two girls were on their way to church with a friend. They were hit by a car. The two Pollock girls were killed instantly in the accident and their friend died later at the hospital.
        The devastating news was widely covered in England and the US.  Their parents were devastated over their loss. Florence Pollock went into a deep depression, and John maintained hope that his daughters would somehow return to them. Arguing ensued resulting in filing for divorce.

        Florence became pregnant the following year, and on October 4, 1958 gave birth to healthy twin girls. The twins, Gillian and Jennifer, as John had predicted. It was a total surprise, since their doctor had told them it was to be only a single birth and neither one of the parents had any history of twins in their families.
        John considered them to be a miracle, and he truly believed that his dead daughters had come back to them, citing as evidence an odd birthmark on Jennifer’s right eye that resembled a scar that Jacqueline had had in the same exact spot, as well as a matching round birthmark on her waist. Although they were identical twins, Gillian lacked the marks.
        The family moved from Hexham to Whitley Bay when the twins were just a few months old. Then things became strange. As soon as the twins were old enough to talk they began asking for and describing specific toys that Joanna and Jacqueline had owned, even calling their dolls by the same name. The twins had never seen them before and were not aware that they had two sisters who had died. When the toys were brought down from the attic each of the twins instinctively collected the respective ones that belonged to Johanna and Jacqueline, stating that they were “Santa’s gifts”. Eerie, because they were Christmas gifts.
Also, the two twins liked the same foods as Joanna and Jacqueline had the same respective personalities, mannerisms, and behaviors, liked the same games as their older sisters. The twins had the same gait as their dead sisters when they walked, and the same general builds, i.e. Gillian being slender as Johanna had been, and Jennifer stocky, same as Jacqueline.
        Oddities continued over the years, with the girls eerily giving details of things that only their parents and Joanna and Jacqueline would have known.

        These stories were unusual enough to make it into local newspapers, which caught the attention of psychologists, Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was interested in evidence of reincarnation in children. He began to make frequent visits to the Pollocks.
        These memories of the twins’ past lives began to fade at around the age of 5, after which they led normal lives without being haunted by the past.  Stevenson would keep in contact with the family for years until the death of their parents.
        Stevenson was so enthralled with the Pollock case that he wrote a case report in a volume of Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects, as well as mentioning it in 1987 in a book called Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation. He would go on to write a total of 12 books on the subject of reincarnation and study thousands of such cases in children.
        Stevenson had considered the possibility that the twins could have been influenced by their parents but he eventually came to the conclusion that it would have been impossible for them to mold the behaviors and recollections of their twins to match to their dead sisters. Stevenson pointed out that the birthmarks provided physical evidence that something strange was going on, and indeed birthmarks, matching injuries, scars or other birthmarks of past lives are fairly common recurring phenomenon with reincarnation cases.     

        In the end, Stevenson strongly believed that the evidence, when coupled with hundreds of other similar cases were beyond rational explanation and undoubtedly pointed to reincarnation is real, and he believed the Pollock case to be genuine.