Saturday, May 30, 2020

Vintage 1950s Women's Fashion

Halter Top

          Most summer tops were blouses, often in cotton, with no sleeves. The Halter Blouse/top was a summer favorite throughout the 1950s. These often came in loud floral prints, bold colorful checks. They could have two thick straps that tied or buttoned in the back or slid behind the neck. Some had a zipper down the back or side. Other halter tops styles had a very low back.  They were modest in front, and immodest in back, which was acceptable.

          Another summer top was the spaghetti strap top. The thickness of the straps varied year to year. Another popular style for the hot summer days and night. The halter top style was also popular in dresses.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Vintage 1950s Men's Fashion

Letterman Sweaters

        On high school and college campuses (worn by post-college age men as well), the letterman cardigan sweater or V-neck pullover called an “Award Sweater,” “Letter Sweater” or “Varsity Sweater” was an athletic man’s uniform. The large felt white or gold block letter on the left side represented the school name. Additional letters, stripes, and symbols were sewn onto varsity sweaters or varsity jackets to specify the sport, year, or position on the team.  

        Letterman sweaters were a symbol of social rank in school and a nod to the past for grown men. They have become an icon for 1950s fashion thanks to many movies such as GREASE, about life in 1950s high schools. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Vintage 1950s Cars

The Packard Caribbean

The Packard Caribbean was a personal luxury car produced by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan from 1953 through 1956. It was produced only as a convertible from 1953 to 1955, a hardtop model was added in its final year of 1956.

          The Caribbean line was equipped with a V8 engine and the car was available in two or three-tone paint patterns. Designer Richard Teague succeeded in restyling the old Packard Senior body into a sensational, modern-looking design. Production for 1955 stood at only 500 units.

          For 1956, trim differences between the 1955 and 1956 cars were slight. Total model year production equaled 263 hardtops and 276 convertibles. The model was discontinued when Packard production ended in Detroit.

          It competed head-to-head with Cadillac at one time. The boldly designed Packard offered a wraparound windshield, large tail lamps, lavish interior appointments, and an aircraft-inspired instrument panel.

          One was offered for sale at the St. John's auction presented by RM Auctions in 2012. The car was estimated to sell for $70,000-$90,000. As bidding came to a close, that particular car was sold for the sum of $41,250 including the buyer's premium.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Vintage 1950s Television Dragnet

Vintage 1950s


          Dragnet Television Show  was a police procedural drama centered around a Los Angeles Police Detective. The show stared Sergeant Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb, and his partner Officer Bill Gannon played by Harry Morgan. The police term "dragnet", means a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects. The original show aired from 1951 to 1959 and was revived from 1967 to 1970.

          The series gave the public a feel for the danger and heroism of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers. Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting; he achieved both goals.
          1-The ominous, four-note introduction to the brass and timpani theme music (titled Danger Ahead) date to 1946, Miklós Rózsa's score in the film version of The Killers.

          2-Another Dragnet trademark is the show's opening narration: "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." This underwent minor revisions over time. The "only" and "ladies and gentlemen" were dropped at some point, and for the television version "hear" was changed to "see". Variations on this narration have been featured in subsequent crime dramas, and in parodies of the dramas (e.g. "Only the facts have been changed to protect the guilty").

          After Webb's death (December 23, 1983) Chief Daryl Gates of the LAPD announced that badge number 714 -Webb's number on the television show - was retired, and Los Angeles city offices lowered their flags to half staff. At Webb's funeral, the LAPD provided an honor guard, and the chief of police commented on Webb's connection with the LAPD. An LAPD auditorium was named in his honor. Jack Webb's LAPD sergeant's badge and ID card are on display at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

To hear the opening theme of Dragnet go to:

Friday, May 8, 2020

Vintage 1950s Mystery The Murder House

Vintage 1950s


The Murder House

          While doing in-depth research into 1950s Hollywood, we came across news that shocked and amazed us. Really. You can't make this stuff up! The Rosenheim mansion was one of them. We ended up using the layout of the house as the Brovor Mansion in Game Town.

          Alfred Rosenheim was a German-American architect who built the mansion that was used in American Horror Story, and is now known as the "Murder House." It was also used in American Horror Story: Hotel, when Lady Gaga's Countess character used it to book an appointment with the deranged doctor who was practicing out of the basement.

          Rosenheim moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 1902 and built his stately manor on a hill in the Country Club Park neighborhood that became known as Billionaire Row. His neighbors included some of the most influential names in California including the Kinneys and the Dohenys.

          The Rosenheim family lived in the house for eleven years and sold it to a "colorful mining magnate" named A.J. McQuatters. Then, in the early 1930s actor Edward Everett Horton lived in the mansion. After him, the Catholic Order of Nuns, a Sisters of Social Service used the house as a convent and added a chapel to the grounds. (The chapel was used as the "Attic" in American Horror Story).

          The house has been a popular filming location, beginning with Charlie Chaplin’s silent movies followed by the talkies. The home was used in a series of films and television shows, such as Spiderman, Seabiscuit, The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, Six Feet Under, Bones, Dexter, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (it was the frat house in the episode "Fear, Itself", where Buffy and the gang got locked in on Halloween). 

          It has been featured in numerous TV productions, including Alfred Hitchcock PresentsBuffy the Vampire SlayerBones, and Law & Order: SVU. In 2011 the house was chosen as the location for the first season of American Horror Story: Murder House. To better facilitate filming in the mansion, a large addition was built in the back of the house as a staging area.

          In 1994 an earthquake damaged the house and the nuns put it on the market for $3 million. The house was declared a Historic and Cultural Landmark in 1999. 

Added Note
          The haunted house that inspired the first season of American Horror Story is reported to be based on the Bailey House in Hartford, Connecticut. Location scouts got their inspiration from the Bailey Mansion and chose the Rosenheim Mansion as a filming substitute.  However, if you are looking for the "Bailey Mansion" in Hartford, Conn. it doesn't exist. But someone found a dilapidated Mansion in McKeesport, PA that could be the inspiration for the Rosenheim Mansion.