Thursday, June 25, 2020

Vintage 1950s Personalities

Audie Murphy
          While doing in-depth research into 1950s Hollywood for our Skylar Drake Mystery series, we came across Hollywood personalities that shocked and amazed us. Really. You can't make this stuff up!

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."

          Audi Murphy was the most decorated U.S, soldier of WWII, returning home as a hero. He became an actor starring in his own story, To Hell and Back. Though he was only 21 years old at the end of the war, he had been wounded three times, had earned 33 awards and medals. After the war, he appeared in more than 40 films. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life.

          LIFE magazine honored the brave, handsome soldier by putting him on the cover of its July 16, 1945 issue. That photograph inspired actor James Cagney to call Murphy and invite him to Hollywood to begin an acting career. Despite his celebrity, Murphy struggled for years to gain recognition.

          In 1949, Murphy published his autobiography, To Hell and Back. The book quickly became a national bestseller, and in 1955, after much inner debate, he decided to portray himself in the film version of his book. The movie was a hit and held Universal Studio's record as its highest-grossing motion picture until 1975. Murphy would go on to make 44 feature films in all. In addition to acting, he became a successful country music songwriter, and many of his songs were recorded by well-known artists, such as Dean Martin, Jerry Wallace and Harry Nilsson.      

          During his rise to fame, Murphy met and married 21-year old actress Wanda Hendrix in 1949. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1950. He married again in 1951, this time to Pamela Archer, with whom he had two children. Plagued by insomnia and nightmares, a condition that would eventually become known as post-traumatic stress disorder, Murphy became addicted to sleeping pills. In his later years, Audie Murphy squandered his fortune on gambling and bad investments and was in financial ruin.

          He died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971. The aircraft crashed into the side of Brushy Mountain, northwest of Roanoke, Virginia. Murphy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 7, 1971, and was given full military honors.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Vintage 1950s Parties


Hawaiian Style
          When it came to Theme Parties in the 1950s, Hawaiian was most popular. The veterans returning from WWII, those who were stationed in Hawaii or South Pacific, longed for the tropical fruits, music, and overall culture. So once they get got their jobs, careers, families, and homes, what better type of party to throw in the summer in their backyard than a Hawaiian Party?

          Soon it was easy to find the leis, ferns, flowers and Hawaiian music to make it as close to the South Sea Islands as they could. The menu usually consisted of the following:
          Chicken Curry, sautéed banana, tropical fruits, green beans almandine and of course  Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

          Popular beverages were Hawaiian Punch, Pineapple punch, Mai Tai and in 1957 the Blue Hawaiian.  And of course, they would never have a party without Martinis.

          If they really wanted to do it big, they hired a Hawaiian band or someone who played the Ukulele or Hula dancers.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Vintage 1950s Food

My aunt lived in Manhattan, N.Y. Every month my mother would ship off  my brother and me to visit her for the weekend.  When Saturday rolled rounded, we walked with her to the fresh fish market and she bought fresh oysters for this oyster stew.  Ah...memories!

Oyster Stew

1/4 cup butter or margarine                   1-quart raw oysters or 2 pkg.
Dash of pepper                                              frozen oysters
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce         1-1/2 quarts milk
Dash paprika                                         1-1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a deep pan. Add Worcestershire sauce and paprika, stir until smooth. Add oysters and oyster liquid, cook over low heat until edges of oysters curl.  Add milk, salt, and pepper, heat thoroughly over low heat but do not boil. Makes 6 servings