Sunday, December 31, 2017

Vintage 1950s Women's High Heels

1950s Ladies high heels

          Stiletto Heeled Opera, court and pump shoes were all the rage in the early 1950s. At an extreme, they were very tall with 4-inch spiked ultra thin heels. Early on, the heels ended in a small metal cap that left dents in softwood floors, requiring some museum and courthouses to forbid stiletto shoes. The stiletto featured tall arches with a V-shaped cut away from the shoe sides.  Red was the boldest and most in-demand color for formal wear. They were impractical and mostly only worn for very special occasions, short durations, and by fashion models.

          The Winklepicker was an extreme version of the already extreme opera pump. With its sharp pointy toe and high thin heel, it was trendy in the late 1950s for formal and even semi-formal at home wear.
Thicker but still shapely tall heels continued to be worn with fancy dresses. Some heels had pretty all over designs carved, painted or printed onto them, while others had decorations around the edges.

          Strappy tall heel shoes were another ideal shoe for evening wear. Ultra-thin T-straps, slingbacks and ankle straps all provided just enough coverage to keep the shoe on but ultimately made the foot look bare.  Especially in nude colors and sometimes clear plastics, they complimented dreamy party dresses elegantly. 

          Kitten Heel Shoe After trying to balance on tall heels, most 1950s women regained their senses and accepted low but still thin kitten heel shoes. These classic dress shoes were safer to walk in yet still remained elegant and classy. Shoes were made of a soft leather or reptile skin. Suede and some fabric materials, like velvet or mesh, were used as well. Toes were very pointed in the early years and more rounded in the later years. For evening wear, jewel tone colors, especially glittery gold and dark silver, were fashionable.

          Baby Dolls. They featured very round toes that resembled a doll’s shoes. They came in many fun colors during the spring and summer, with cute accent decorations on the trim or an ornament on the vamp.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Vintage 1950s New Years Parties

New Years, 1950s

          Ringing in the new year, in the 1950s, often included a midnight extravaganza at a hotel or company party. However, suburbanites soon realized that they didn't need to mingle with hundreds of people in order to have fun on New Year's Eve. A small party at home or open house with close friends and neighbors could be far more enjoyable than an evening spent jostled around by strangers and uninhibited pranksters. Twelve people were a good number, one for each month of the New Year. When old friends gathered, there was no need to plan entertainment, for time just seemed to whisk away, 'doin' what comes naturally, singing, dancing or just talking and reminiscing. And suddenly it was midnight, time for Auld Lang Syne, and supper. If you had 12 people and a large, round table one could set that table to resemble a huge clock, with one guest seated at each marked hour with two large paper hands indicating the hour.
New Years Eve
          New Year's Eve or Day Dinner was traditionally Roast Beef (your choice: rib roast, rolled roast, or pot roast), Horse-Radish Sauce, Potatoes,
Parker House Rolls, Lettuce with French Dressing, Orange Ice, Holiday Cookies or Fruitcake, Coffee

New Years Eve

          Then came the TV. Television has drastically changed New Year's Eve and Day for millions of Americans. Festive family dinners yielded to broadcasts and TV trays. Open houses replaced with TV's floats, flowers, and football. Sitting in their rocking chairs, TV viewers traveled from coast to coast and back again thru the magic of the one-eyed giant in the living room. So no longer did people have to entertain themselves, TV was the entertainment.
New Years Eve
            Often New Years Day had a very different menu for food and for television

New Years Day

          New Year's Eve and Day buffets became popular so guests could be by the TV. It included  Eggnog or Fruit Punch, Trays of Crackers, Bowls of Cheese Spread, Baked sliced Ham, sliced Roast Turkey, Buttered Slices of Rye, Whole Wheat, and White Breads, Olives, Celery, Radishes, Pickles, Potato Salad, Cranberry Jelly, Cookies, Coffee.
New Years Day

Then there was the cleanup!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Vintag4e 1950s Christmas Parties

Christmas Parties 1950s

          Holiday parties were held throughout the month of December. Parties included Company dinners and dancing, Club/organization awards dinners, church dinner and entertainment, neighborhood open houses and small gatherings. Again, people dressed for the occasion and they dressed well!

          A Christmas Open House was common in neighborhoods during the 1950s. A night out for couples in suburbia that was close in proximity was a blessing. Yet, dressing up was a must. So Open Houses were lavishly decorated and all the stops were pulled by the host and hostess.
          Common foods served for an Open House were buffet style and included:  Cheese balls, Broiled stuffed mushrooms, Deviled eggs, Broiled shrimp, Melon ball cocktails, Fruit cups and individual Jello molds with fruit and/or toppings.

          Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner was usually a buffet or sit down dinner. Either way, it was a wonderful way to connect with friends and family the night before Christmas. Typical 1950s menu was a glazed ham, parsley potatoes, spiced peaches, cornbread, vegetable scallops, Relishes Plates (Olives, pickles, celery), Eggnog pie, coffee and salted nuts and mints.

          Traditional Christmas Day dinner was usually, a more formal sit down dinner. The menu was cranberry juice cocktail, roast turkey with chestnut or sweet potato stuffing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, minted carrots, creamed onions or Brussels sprouts, fruit salad, Parker house rolls, Lady Baltimore Cake.

          Though the holidays were busy, turning down a lovely evening with friends, neighbors and co-workers were impossible in the 1950s.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vintage 1950s Homes

Vintage 1950s Dens

          The 1950s den was probably the only room in the house where the owner can do what he pleased and arrange things as he wished without having to consider the tastes and desires. To many, it became a retreat. Therefore, the den reflected the personality and interest of the owner. His special interests were displayed in a collection of photographs, trophies, pen­nants, etc., and the bookshelves would probably show his taste in books.  

          Generally, it had a restful atmosphere, with subdued colors. Wood paneling or a subtle imitation woodgrain wallpaper added to the achievement of a soft and restful room.

          Often during holidays, family gathers would begin into the living room and spill over to the den because of the relaxed atmosphere.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Vintgae 1950s Cars

\The Hudson Hornet

            The Hudson Hornet was a full-sized automobile made by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, between 1951 and 1954 and then by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957.

          The first-generation Hudson Hornets featured a unique and functional "step-down" design with dropped floorpan and a chassis with a lower center of gravity than contemporary vehicles. This helped the car handle well – especially for racing. The Hornet's lower and sleeker look was accentuated by streamlined styling. The car's low slung appearance. Hudson an image that - many buyers wanted cars -much like Cadillac.

          The second-generation Hudson Hornets was a restyled Nash that was engineered as a Hudson.

Claim to fame:
Hudson was the first automobile manufacturer to get involved in stock car racing. The Hornet dominated stock car racing in the early-1950s when stock car racers actually raced the same cars one could buy at a dealer. Hudson won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, followed by 22 wins of 37 in 1953, and capturing 17 of the 37 races in 1954.

The second claim to fame is the Disney Pixar film Cars and several spin-off video games featured a Fabulous Hudson Hornet named Doc Hudson.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Vintage 1950s 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:

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.