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.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Vintage 1950s TV Shows

Vintage 1950s TV

The Pinky Lee Show

          The Pinky Lee Show, was a prime-time variety show that ran for seven months in 1950. This was an attempt to bring energetic, visual burlesque comedians to a new visual medium.
          In 1954 Pinky Lee turned to a juvenile audience.  Television producer Lawrence White's three kids bugged him relentlessly to put Pinky Lee back on TV. Once The Pinky Lee Show debuted on January 4,  it was a big hit for NBC daytime. Pinky opened his show by bursting a balloon and bound onto the set singing his familiar "Yoo-Hoo it's me!" theme song. The half-hour ended in a flurry of gift-giving, screeches, and kiss-throwing. Joining Pinky on the series were regulars Molly Bee (a 14-year-old singer), Jimmy Brown and Barbara Luke.

          The frenetic pace of The Pinky Lee Show brought complaints from a number of parents who felt the program was getting their kids all wound up unnecessarily, leading to disciplinary problems at home after the show went off.
          In August of 1955, NBC agreed to tone it down and the network's kid show continued on a daily basis.

          Pinky was on the air six days a week and rapidly became one of the most popular children's of all time. During an airing of his live program late in 1955. While performing one of his hysterical routines, Pinky Lee collapsed live on the air - stricken by what appeared to be a massive heart attack. It was later said to be a severe sinus attack. Under doctor's orders, the host was forced to take a year off to recuperate. The show continued without Lee until June 1956.
When Lee attempted to return to the tube in 1957, he found an unreceptive climate. He took over the hosting duties on NBC's The Gumby Show on Saturday mornings for a short time in 1957 after the original host, Bobby Nicholson, left the show.

He died on April 3.1993 at home in Mission Viejo of a heart attack. He was 85.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Vintage 1950s Music

Vintage 1950s


          The number 5 hit on the Billboard Chart in 1955 was Unchained Melody.  The music is by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. North used the music as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. It has since become a standard and one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, most notably by the Righteous Brothers. According to the song's publishing administrator, over 1,500 recordings of Unchained Melody have been made by more than 670 artists in multiple languages.

                In 1955, three versions of the song (Les Baxter, Al Hibbler, Roy Hamilton) charted in the Billboard Top 10 in the United States, and four versions (Al Hibbler, Les Baxter, Jimmy Young, and Liberace) appeared in the Top 20 in the United Kingdom simultaneously. This is an unbeaten record for any song.

          In 1954, North was contracted to compose the score for the prison film Unchained. North composed and recorded the score, and then was asked to write a song based upon the movie's theme. North asked lyricist Hy Zaret to write the lyric, but Zaret initially declined, saying he was too busy painting his house. North was able to convince him to take the job, and together they wrote Unchained Melody. The song has an unusual harmonic device as the bridge ends on the tonic chord rather than the more usual dominant chord. 

With Todd Duncan singing the vocals, the song was nominated for an Oscar in 1955.
The use of the Righteous Brothers' cover of Unchained Melody in the film Ghost resurrected the song popularity, and the scene where the song was played also became widely recreated or parodied in popular culture.

                Take the time to enjoy the song and its memories.