1/27/13

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, never...


Women's magazines have almost always gone out of their way to make women feel bad about themselves. How else can you possibly logically sell products without telling your buyer they're nothing without it? But this...this has always been a saying that irked me. And for young women today who think the feminist movement was not for them, consider this ad and ask yourself if they'd use it today. I'm sure in some narrow-world-view-circles this is still considered a perfectly logical fear. I ask that those people get off the bus.
Edna’s case was really a pathetic one. Like every woman, her primary ambition was to marry. Most of the girls of her set were married—or about to be. Yet not one possessed more grace or charm or loveliness than she.
And as her birthdays crept gradually toward that tragic thirty-mark, marriage seemed farther from her life than ever.
She was often a bridesmaid but never a bride.
What I'd really like to know is if it was a man or woman who wrote this copy. It wouldn't change my perspective of how bad the ad is, but it would have me wondering about the discussions that went on at the ad agency.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

And if you think not getting married is the biggest horror in life caused by bad breath...I give you death by halitosis.

Personally I think this photo looks like Edna might be crying over Ivy's casket.

1/26/13

PRUETT CARTER lead me to a dead end


These illustrations, from the October, 1936 The American Magazine, were done by Pruett Alexander Carter who was born on February 9, 1891 in Lexington, Missouri and died in Los Angeles, Calfornia in 1955. They were used to illustrate a story entitled Crossroads by Kathleen Norris.


Click on image to see it larger.

He was known for doing illustrations for women’s magazines, working in mainly oil and gouache. He was also a teacher at Grand Central School of Art in New York and Chouinard Art Institute in California.


Click on image to see it larger.

I've found little else about his life other than:
He reportedly moved to California from his place of work in New York after visiting there in 1930, and worked on his art commissions through the telephone and submitted them by air express. It is stated that Carter produces oil paintings on canvas in his well-organized home and outside studios and draws inspiration from the painters Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet. (SOURCE: American Artist)
His death, however, is another matter. On December 1, 1955 in Van Nuys, California, Pruett Carter, age 64, shot and killed his wife, son, and then himself. From Find a Grave:
Illustrator Kills Wife, Son, Self
Van Nuys, California, Dec. 2. - (INS) - Police were unable today to fix a definite motive today for the tragedy in which illustrator Pruett Carter, 64, killed his wife and son and then ended his own life. Investigators assumed that Carter was despondent over ill health in the family. However, he left no notes. His wife, Mrs. Teresa Carter, 50, whom the artist married in Atlanta in 1920, and the son, Deal, 35, a cripple, had been shot as they slept. The elder Carter was slumped in death beside his son's bed. A revolver was near his outstretched hand.
To see more of Carter’s work click here, here, and here. You may glean a few more details about his professional life here.

Again, I never know where an old piece of paper will lead me.

1/25/13

KILLS RATS ONLY, yeah sure


Do you ever have trouble with rats? I'm not talking about the human type, I'm talking about the little buggers that get into the attic and drive you nuts?

Where I live virtually everyone has rat problems. Not something well known to people thinking of moving into the area.

A few years ago I was at the county fair and stopped to speak to someone at a booth giving out info about mosquitos and rats. Fun booth to work, huh? When I asked about rats they immediately said, "Oh do you live in...?" I stared at her and said, "Uh, no. Are they  known for their proliferation of rats?" We then discussed the county wide problem and I made a note to not visit the town mentioned.

I'll admit that I don't like killing the little creatures. I don't find them all that ugly, but I also don't like having them in my walls, especially when they start squeaking. And considering how many cats and owls are in this neighborhood I'm surprised there are any rats. The lizard population has certainly taken a nosedive, but then that might be due to agricultural pesticides. Don't get me started on the lack of frogs.

So is K-R-O still made? This vintage magazine ad is from the 1936 October The American Magazine. You'll notice that they say the product is made from Red Squill. After reading a bit about Red Squill I find their claim of "Kills rats without poison" a little dubious. You can read about all of this to your hearts content here and here.



As far as human rats are concerned...they're best ignored.

And alas, no information given about the illustrator of the rat. I'm just sayin'.

1/24/13

Craving an OLD HAT


I love these old hats. I've mentioned before that I have one that belonged to my grandfather. I long ago tore out the inside band so that it looks now more like a hillbilly hat than a nice gentleman's chapeau. For years I wore the hat in the mountains when I went hiking. Now I wear it when I go for walks on cold days. The hat must date back to at least the 1940s, possibly earlier. That silly old hat means a lot to me. Another one I had was stolen from the cabin. Curse the imbecile who took it. May they have nothing but bad luck beneath its brim.

So first we have a man who "...knows where he's going." I'm thinking he's at a stoplight watching a pretty young thing in the crosswalk. John Hancock Insurance is not on his mind. The light turns green and he suddenly remembers where he's going.

(SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

He's going to the Mallory Hat Company factory located in Danbury, Connecticut.


(SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

I love this illustration. Sadly there's nothing to indicate who the illustrator was.

Now wouldn't you know that there's all sorts of information online about the Mallory Hat Company. I'll let you do much of the digging, but I'll throw you a few crumbs.

Click here to see a few hats at the Metropolitan Museum.

Here is an image of the old factory in 1884.

((Photo courtesy of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society )
An 1884 photograph of the Mallory Hat Company factory in Danbury, one of the many hat manufacturers situated along the city's Still River. Mallory finally closed its doors in 1965.

At a library in Wisconsin they have an old brochure about the company. Below are a few pages. The illustrations were done by Edward Penfield. Do you notice anything wrong in the photos?





Here's an article about some union problems from The Day, September 1, 1951.


Now, as to this product on the hats called "Cravanette." I love the name...crave a net. Of course, perhaps the person who invented it was named Cravanette. Then it just sounds like a candy bar. Click here to read an article about Cravanette, the waterproofing stuff, not the candy bar.
Some thirty-five years ago, a woman n “Merrie England,” that fog-famous land, dreaded alike the wetting of her clothes and the odor of rubber coats and mackintoshes.
Said she, “Deception is the better part of valor;” and being afraid, as aforesaid devised an innocent deceit. Taking a piece of woolen cloth, she treated it to a process of her own invention, and—the cloth was more than cloth, it was waterproof.
From that cloth was made a coat which led an unusual double life, unusual is that both lives were good. On rainy, foggy days it was a waterproof, and preserved her clothes. ON sunny days it was a stunning long overcoat and preserved her pride. Incidentally, by serving a double purpose, it preserved her pocketbook also. (SOURCE: America's Textile Reporter)
Of course, a man went on to market it and the woman's name seems to be another lost to history...herstory.

To read an article about a court case regarding Cravenette click here. And to buy a box of Raisentes.

1/22/13

AN OYSTER A DAY is all they ask


I can definitely say that I will never ever slurp an oyster out of a shell. In fact, I may be so bold as to say I will never eat an oyster no matter how it is prepared. I know I am not alone with this thought.

Then there's the Oyster Institute of North America. Or perhaps I should say there WAS the Oyster Institute of North America. I cannot find any information indicating this group still exists. I'm sure, somewhere in the halls of Congress there is a lobbyist knocking on doors carrying a bucket of slurpy oysters hoping to entice some representative into writing a bill that leans towards oysters and oyster farmers. And so it goes.

This vintage magazine ad for oysters is from the October, 1936, The American Magazine. Has anyone seen any oyster ads lately?



The illustrator was Don Hearld. I cannot find any biographical information about him, but then after one post in an old book I decided I didn't care to know anything about him. He was apparently the author of some humor books available here and here. His one main claim to fame seems to be this image of Santa.

If you're a researcher interested in the Oyster Institute and find yourself at the Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea you might want to check out the archives of Howard W. Beach who was the president of the Oyster Institute of North America, and the Oyster Growers and Dealers Association of North America. He apparently kept a series of scrapbook dating from 1905 to 1941.

1/21/13

Why is she SMILING?


Who came up with this idea? A woman's disembodied head floating over a serving tray in an ad for Gillette razors. I'm confused. I'm bafffled. I'm surprised. It's magical. It's creepy.

Anyone able to translate the characters on the tray? Are these the woman's last words?

Okay, the fellow is Harry Blackstone, Sr., famous magician.
Harry Blackstone (September 27, 1885 – November 16, 1965) was a famed stage magician and illusionist of the 20th century. Blackstone was born Harry Bouton[1] in Chicago, Illinois,[2] he began his career as a magician in his teens and was popular through World War II as a USO entertainer. He was often billed as The Great Blackstone. His son Harry Blackstone, Jr. also became a famous magician. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
I get it. But seriously....?

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

1/19/13

Sellin' the good stuff for McCONNON & COMPANY


I don't know about you, but when I look at this truck/car I feel like there should be guys with Tommy guns hanging out the windows shootin' at the coppers following behind. Alas, this fellow isn't carrying booze. Well, he could be because by the time this ad ran prohibition was over.


No, this is a just your friendly McConnon & Company representative rushing your order direct to your home. I've found a variety of information about the company, but nothing concrete saying they still exist. Here's a little of the history I did find.
McCONN'ON, Henry J., manufacturer; born at Winona, Minn., Aug. 1, 1870; son of James and Ellen (McKee) Mc- Connon; educated in public schools of Winona; unmarried. Began active career in drug business, 1889; was pro- prietor retail drug store for 9 years; entered manufacture of remedies, stock food, flavoring extracts, toilet articles, etc., 1899, and incorporated, 1904, as McConnon & Company, of which he has been president from the beginning. Member Board of Trade. Democrat. Catholic. Club: Arlington (director). Recreations: Fishing and hunting. Ad- dress: Winona, Minn. 
McCOlTNON, Joseph B., secretary and treasurer McConnon & Company; born at Winona, Minn., 1877; son of James and Ellen (McKee) McConnon; educated in public schools of Winona; married at Winona, 1905, to Miss Jeanette Morey. Entered the house of McConnon & Com- pany, manufacturers of remedies, stock foods, toilet articles, etc., in 1896, and has been secretary and treasurer of the company since its incorporation, 1904. Catholic. Clubs: Arlington, Meadow Brook. Recreations: Golf, fishing. Ad- dress: Winona, Minn. (SOURCE: The Book of Minnesotans)
So, we have more than we probably wanted to know about the secretary/treasurer of the company, but because of Henry J. McConnon's bio we know when the company started.

Through the years they manufactured a variety of items including cookbooks.

(SOURCE: Abe Books)

And then there were all the legal cases. Lots of legal cases. After all, they did warn you right in their copy that "BIG STOCK SENT ON TRIAL." You were warned. Who knows how Big Stock's trial ended.

This is all legalize double-speak. I haven't a clue about what was going on.


And here they are accused of aiding and abetting. Don't you love that phrase? Aiding and abetting.  Apparently, it was decided they hadn't aided and abetted. Sorry Mr. Holden.


And this one sounds quite interesting, but alas, we can't get the ending to the story without paying some dough.


They even made it into Snopes.com:
About 50 or 60 years ago, Mexican vanilla farmers were competing with synthetic vanilla makers from the US and Europe. It got so bad that the Mexicans began selling synthetic as the real thing. To get away with this they had to add coumarin to differentiate it from the familiar taste of fake vanilla. Among other things, coumarin cause liver damage. The Mexicans went back to selling real vanilla (sans coumarin) about the same time the USDA banned coumarin in the early '50s.
It might be worth knowing that McConnon & Company, a now-defunct direct-sales company out here in Winona (anyone remember McConnon's?), had among its products "Extract of Vanilla, Vanillin and Coumarin" in their line until they went out of business a few years back.
And I'll leave you with the idea of putting DDT in your underwear to prevent lice. Think of that tomorrow morning when you're getting dressed.


UPDATE: Today I received the following from Leigh Griffith:
McConnon and Company was my great-grandfather's company. His name is Joseph R. McConnon. As my mother always says, they sold everything from sheep dip to makeup! Alas, my great-uncle sold the company in the 1960s.
Thank you Leigh. I'm glad you found this post.

1/17/13

A GLASS OF LITHIUM each day ought to do it


The small marginal ads in the back of vintage magazines are usually incredibly fun. Both legit companies and hucksters used the small ads to promote their products without having to pay huge ad fees. They could bombard lots of magazines at the same time with their tiny ads.

I bring you a rather dull looking generic ad from The American Magazine in October, 1936.


Now, my first reaction is what I imagine most people would be thinking. Pluto water comes from the dwarf planet Pluto which is comprised of ice and rock. So I guess you could say it's best to have Pluto water on the rocks. (I'm sorry. Really, I am. Sometimes I just have to get these things out.)

The alternative thought, well...we just don't want to go there, do we? Pluto the dog from Disney. How many jokes were there about Pluto water after Disney introduced him in 1930?

As to the actual Pluto Water:
Pluto Water was a trademark for a strongly laxative natural water product which was very popular in the United States in the early 20th century. The water's high native content of mineral salts generally made it effective within one hour of ingestion, a fact the company played up in their promotional literature. Company advertisements stated the laxative was effective from a half hour to two hours after ingestion. The water was an extremely popular product. In 1919, it took 450 railroad cars to transport the bottler’s output.
Pluto Water was bottled at the French Lick Springs, in French Lick, Indiana, a location with natural mineral springs that was also the source of a competing product, Sprudel Water. It was advertised "America's Laxative" with the slogan "When Nature Won't, PLUTO Will". The bottle and many advertisements featured an image of the devil, while its namesake was Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld; so named because of the water's origin underground.
The active ingredient of Pluto water was listed as sodium and magnesium sulfate, which are known as natural laxatives. The water also contains a number of other minerals, most notably lithium salts. Sale of Pluto water was halted in 1971, when lithium became a controlled substance. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
And direct from the planet Pluto where the dog Pluto hails from I give you the Pluto Water Spring gazebo. Available for small parties. Give your guests a parting gift that keeps on giving long after they're on their way home. Put the large 50 cent bottle in their gift tote. In fact, let's see if we can get the 50 cent bottles in this years Academy Awards gift bag. Just a thought.

1/16/13

BEECH-NUT GUM is good for your nerves


Unlike Double Mint gum, which claims to make you beautiful, Beech-Nut goes with calming your nerves as their claim to fame.

Now, I always thought riding in a rumble seat would be fun, but Beech-Nut has now given me a different perspective. And frankly, from the looks on the faces of these two I'm guessing chewing gum is the farthest thing from their minds. I think the fellow might have just swallowed his gum.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

Beech-Nut baby food was the only baby food I would eat. Finicky from the beginning.
Beech-Nut's roots go back to 1891, to the Mohawk Valley town of Canajoharie, New York. Raymond P. Lipe, along with his friend John D. Zieley and their brothers, Walter H. Lipe and David Zieley, and Bartlett Arkell, founded The Imperial Packing Co. with the production of Beech-Nut ham. The product was based on the smoked hams of Raymond and Walter's father, farmer Ephraim Lipe. The company's principal products were ham and bacon for the first seven years. David and John Zieley sold their shares to the Lipe brothers in 1892.
The company was incorporated as the Beech-Nut Packing Company in 1899. In 1900, the company's sales were $200,000. Engineers from Beech-Nut patented the first vacuum jar with a design that included a gasket and top that could remain intact in transit and became a standard of the industry.
During the first 25 years of the 20th century, the company expanded its product line into peanut butter, jam, pork and beans, ketchup, chili sauce, mustard, spaghetti, macaroni, marmalade, caramel, fruit drops, mints, chewing gum, and coffee. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
The illustrator of this ad was Willaim Meade Prince (1893-1951). His archives are at the University of North Carolina where the following appears:
William Prince, born in Roanoke, Va., and raised in Chapel Hill, N.C., was a successful magazine illustrator in the 1920s and 1930s. He was head of the Art Department at the University of North Carolina during World War II and produced drawings and posters in aid of the war effort.
The Southern Part of Heaven, his boyhood memoir, was published in 1950.
Actress Lillian Hughes Prince, William's wife, appeared in many stage productions in and around Chapel Hill, particularly with the Carolina Playmakers. She also played Queen Elizabeth in Paul Green's The Lost Colony, 1947-1953, and acted with the touring company of Howard Richardson's Dark of the Moon, 1945-1946. The couple had one adopted daughter Caroline, who returned to her birth parents in 1941.
The bulk of the collection is correspondence, mostly between the Princes, much of it during their courtship. Also included are professional letters relating to William Prince's career as an illustrator and writer and to Lillian Prince's stage career; journals and diaries of both Princes; drafts of two unfinished books by William Prince; collected material, including a scrapbook about The Southern Part of Heaven and three scrapbooks about Lillian Prince's stage career; financial material; and photographs of family members and friends, stage productions, and William Prince's book and magazine illustrations. There is also a small group of materials relating to the purchase of land by the Order of Gimghoul at the University of North Carolina in the 1910s.
The Addition of 2004 contains photographs, correspondence, and other papers. Photographs are primarily of William Meade Prince and Lillian Hughes Prince; they include photographs of the Princes with their adopted daughter, Caroline. There are also letters from William Meade Prince to Lillian Hughes Prince written during their courtship, letters to the Princes from Caroline, and other items. (SOURCE: UNC)
To read more about Prince and see more of his work visit the following links at Today's Inspiration: here, here, here, and here. To see more of his work visit Google images here.

1/15/13

SHIRLEY TEMPLE hawking a radio


It was 1936 and the Shirley Temple movie "Poor Little Rich Girl" was coming out. So here we have Shirley doing a little promo work to get some buzz going for the movie. I imagine this image ended up in a lot of scrapbooks. I'm guessing a lot of little kids, and even women, were keeping scrapbooks about Shirley.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)

Back when a radio was a piece of furniture, not something you tune into on your computer or iPod.

1/14/13

CHEWING GUM for purely medicinal purposes


In July of 2009 I ran a piece about a Double Mint gum ad from a 1934 magazine. Take a look at it, but be forewarned, this ain't YOUR Double Mint gum. This is your grandma's Double Mint or maybe your great-grandma's gum.

Wrigley's wasn't just using sex to sell gum, they were using medical theories. What? You never thought of gum as a beauty aid? Wrigley's did and continued to do so as per this example from the May 1937 The American Magazine ad. Obviously they were toning the blatant sex down and hoping for something a bit more elegant than carnal.


Now, I have to wonder how they came up with this campaign. It was the 1930s; tough times. When I think back on people chewing gum in the '30s I think of gun-mols in old movies who said "soitanly" instead of "certainly," and they cracked and popped their gum. Was this gum chewing stereotype a threat to gum companies? By the time these ads were running the son of the original Wrigley was in charge of the company and he seemed willing to push advertising limits to keep the company name in a good light.
1891–1932: William Wrigley Jr.In 1891, 29 year-old William Wrigley Jr. (1861–1932) came to Chicago from Philadelphia with $32 and the idea to start a business selling “Wrigley’s Scouring Soap”. Wrigley offered premiums as an incentive to buy his soap, such as baking powder. Later in his career, he switched to the baking powder business, in which he began offering two packages of chewing gum for each purchase of a can of baking powder. The popular premium, chewing gum, began to seem more promising than the actual baking powder. Thus, in 1893, Wrigley launched his classic chewing gum brands, including Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, and Doublemint. All three brands have stayed relevant for over 100 years, continuing to satiate the customers of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum to this day.

1932–1961: Philip K. WrigleyAfter the death of William Wrigley Jr., his son Philip K. Wrigley (1894–1977) assumed his father’s position as CEO of the successful Wrigley Company. Philip is most well-known for his unusual move to support US troops and protect the reputation of the Wrigley brand during World War II, in which he dedicated the entire output of Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint, and Juicy Fruit to the US Armed Forces. Philip launched the “Remember this Wrapper” ad campaign to keep the Wrigley brands on the minds of the customers during times of wartime rationing. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
I can't find anything online about how this campaign came about, but I did find this wonderful article from the Northern Territory Times in Australia on November 27th, 1928. It's a hoot!

1/13/13

Would Shirley Temple MAKE IT TODAY?


I ask you, honestly, would Shirley Temple even have a chance today? Personally I don't think she'd even be able to get an agent interested in her. She wouldn't fit the rather skanky mold of young "stars" these days.

I simply can't imagine what she'd have been like had she been part of the culture of the '90s and the 21st century. I think she'd have still turned out to be a good and decent person thanks to her parents constant interest in what surrounded her. She certainly wouldn't have turned into a Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus. But you do have to wonder how she would have been changed by our current culture.

Click here to see a vintage Shirley Temple paper doll from my collection.

1/12/13

BERTA and ELMER HADER, Hansel and Gretel, 1925


Paper doll collectors should be acquainted with the names Berta and Elmer Hader. They created some really lovely paper dolls for magazines in the 1920s. They are highly collectible and hard to come by.
Berta Hoerner (1891-Feb. 6, 1976) and Elmer Stanley Hader (Sept. 7,1889-Sept. 7,1973) were a husband-and-wife team that illustrated more than 70 children's books, about half of which they also wrote. Their most notable contribution to children's literature was in 1949, when they won the Caldecott Medal for The Big Snow. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
This image, a peek-box set, is from the June 1925 Pictorial Review. Oh my the smile I had when I saw this. Into the "'buy" pile immediately.



To read about the Haders and see more of their work, including purchasing reproductions of their original paper dolls, visit their official site. Oh to have some spare cash handy!

1/11/13

Surprised by MAXFIELD PARRISH


Usually when perusing vintage magazines at an antique store I'm skimming so fast that most of the magazine is a blur. Only if I come upon something that ignites a visual spark do I slow up. Well, lucky me! When I opened this February 1921 issue of The People's Home Journal (which has a wonderful "all hail comrades!" sound to it) I was stunned by what I saw. A Maxfield Parrish on the inside back cover. This immediately went into my "I'm not leaving the store without this one!" stack.


Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The People's Home Journal, February 1921)

1/10/13

Time to RUN AWAY FROM HOME: Part 5


Okay, I'm going out on a high note here. I'm going first class on a Matson Liner back in time to Hawaii. Join me if you wish. It's a heavenly trip!


To see more about cruising aboard a Matson Liner click here.

And don't forget to not follow my newest and most boring blog, Tattered and Lost: Traveling with Charlie. The site where nothing exciting will ever happen. I'm not kidding.

1/9/13

Time to RUN AWAY FROM HOME: Part 4


Hey mister! I'm talkin' to you bub! Don't get enough of feeling like you're the king of your castle? Need to feel like a king on vacation? Well, apparently Florida has a crown waiting for you...in 1954. Yeah, sorry, but you'll have to do some time-traveling if you want the joy of being King of the Fishes.

Just imagine, Florida without the amusement parks.




As to the copy in the little coupon saying "Cool in the Summer!" I think it's probably all relative because I've never heard of someone from California going to Florida in the summer and saying, "Wow! The weather was so cool and refreshing!"

1/8/13

Running away IN CALIFORNIA with HEULL HOWSER


California is a little less golden this week because of the death of Heull Howser. His name won’t mean anything to those outside our state, but for Californians who love this state he’s the guy who showed us why our state is so spectacular. 

Heull took us to places we’d already been and made them new again. He took us to places we’ll never go to and made us sorry that we’ll miss them. And he took us to places we then traveled to and made us feel like we were walking in his shoes, discovering the place for the first time with his voice in our ear saying, “Oh my gosh! Isn’t that amazing?” even if it was just a view of a river canyon or an old house. Just last fall I finally visited the Fern Canyon in Humboldt County because of the show he did about it.

I had been thinking of sending him a letter about the photo I purchased of the camel in the cavalry. I could imagine him doing a show from the little museum in San Pedro near where the photo was taken and then traveling to Benecia to see the camel barn where the camels were housed before being sold. I can hear his voice getting excited just by the idea of the history of the camels.

I’m saddened by his passing. He was one of those people who was genuinely excited by the little things in life. He had a smile that brightened the entire sky over the state. It really is very sad that he’s gone.

For those people outside California who choose to stick with their one dimensional view of the state I recommend you take a look at the archive Howser has left of the people and places in this state that prove how wonderfully interesting and diverse it is.

Huell Howser Productions

1/7/13

Time to RUN AWAY FROM HOME: Part 3


Choice number 3 in our Run Away Adventure!

So far we've tried plane and ship. If those didn't strike your fancy, how about the train; specifically the Sunset Limited on the old Southern Pacific Line?

I rode the line several times, but it was always at night so I saw very little. Only once did I have a private room which was quite nice, though amazingly small. It was sufficient for me with a convertible couch, toilet, and sink. I was sick at the time, so I really didn't get to take advantage of much of anything.

Now, sadly, there was no real dining car when I rode the train. It was a snack car with a microwave. I sat up for hours one night eating microwave popcorn and talking to a friend while others sat at a nearby table playing cards. Elegant dining with great service it was not. But then, we're going back in time so the heck with how it is today.

What I really love about this ad are the illustrations; wonderful 1950s modern.

Click on any image to see it larger.



Sadly, as in yesterday's vintage ad, people of color were always relegated to service positions, never as patrons. Jarring to the eye now, it's actually good these ads exist to remind people of our history. Though the railroads offered good jobs for African-Americans, it's heartbreaking to think that they were relegated to only certain positions. People today need to remember how far we've come and how, without vigilance, we could slip back to the old days.

And now, how about taking the train even farther back in time. I give you 1937.


1/6/13

Time to RUN AWAY FROM HOME: Part 2


Choice number 2 in our Run Away Adventure!

Perhaps air travel is not for you. You find airports and flying tedious and unpleasant. How about a ship? With a ship once you set food on board you are where you're going to be. You know where you'll sleep, eat, and party for the entire vacation. The excursions off the ship are just the bonus. The getting from point A to B is the trip.

Let's step back in time once again to November 1954 thanks to National Geographic. A cruise of the Pacific awaits you aboard a ship in the American President Lines. Not one of those hideous behemoths that set sail today, but a real cruise ship with style. Today's ships look like ugly cheap consumer items where more more more is the mantra. In the old days it was less less and just enough.


(SOURCE: National Geographic, November, 1954)

Now, there is one drawback to cruising in 1954 which might make this not right for you. You can't wear flip-flops to the dinner service. Obnoxious behavior is frowned upon, not celebrated. You had better pack some boring clothes that aren't particularly comfortable. And learn to love martinis.

If you're female don't expect men to be willing to carry on lengthy conversations with you about politics, finance, or anything else they deem outside your purview.

And when you see a guy wearing an eye patch on the high seas...don't ask him where his parrot is.

Click here to see two vintage American President Line post cards.

1/5/13

Time to RUNAWAY FROM HOME: Part 1


I don't know about you, but I think it's time to run away from home. I mean, really pack a bag and get out of Dodge!

Oh sure, the only time I ran away I got no further than outside the front door. My mother took my threat as a challenge and said, "Okay!" as she grabbed a paper bag. She told me to put seven days of underwear in the bag and I could take one doll. I was stunned. Who runs away and takes underwear? Plus, I had a lot of dolls, my favorite being Rosie who I'd had since I was around four. She told me I couldn't take Rosie so I had to choose second best. I have no idea which doll I chose, but I do know they did not have a change of underwear.

I was determined to leave with the idea of heading to Ala Moana Shopping Center, which in my mind seemed like a great place to take up residence. I grabbed my bag and stomped down the stairs to the front door. My mom and dad said, "Goodbye!" then shoved me out the door and shut it behind me. Reality quickly set in as I stood there crying before going around the house and coming in the back door. I never ran away again; not that I didn't think about it a lot.

So grab a paper or plastic bag, your choice, and stuff in seven days of underwear unless you go commando. I will now offer some time traveling travel adventures. It's up to you to choose. Just know, once you're out the front door and on one of these trips there's no back door to sneak in.


Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: National Geographic, November, 1954)

I should probably warn you that some people in the past dressed like dorks. There's just no other way to put it. Families wore matching outfits. My family wore matching shirts so I remember all of this very well. And if you ever visit Awkward Family Photos you know that in some sections of society this is still an uncured disease. But hey, if a dorky outfit puts a "bounce in your step" why not?

Oh, and if you do find a travel agent willing to book you a flight on TWA...better make sure they don't look like Rod Serling. If you don't know who Rod Serling is you're definitely not up for one of these adventures, underwear or no underwear.

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