Monday, November 9, 2009

Three kings of the 60s, Nov 1967

Contrary to the copy this kit, sadly, was forgotten.

View this item in is holiday historical context here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good call Freeman-W, Jan. 1964

So a couple months after the Kennedy assassination, the Freeman-Washington Insurance Agency admen stuck a wet finger in the blowin' wind, divined the decade's oncoming turbulence, and fast-tracked a campaign touting their riot coverage.  Sure, riot coverage appears to be a joke here.  Prior to the 60s, riot-incurred damage would have most likely been a mere speck on the old actuary table, statistically safe from ever being paid out on a home owner policy.  How many home owners considered such coverage necessary by 1970?

No doubt sometime around 1968 insurance companies began to fear the tipping point was fast approaching where payouts were no longer offset by fear-mongered sales.  Of course, by then who needed funny print ads when the nightly news could promote sales for free?

For a more sober look at this item in historical context, click here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Plus ça change, Apr. 1963

A Mr. Gibbs recently found Mr. Salinger's supply of spectacles and, on a lark, passed them out around Scandinavia.

View this article in historical context here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Too sweet by half, Sept. 1923

Last August 17 our seven-year old boy became one of the 40 kids in the U.S. diagnosed with diabetes each day.  Having the autoimmune type of diabetes (Type 1, or Juveline Diabetes), his body no longer produces the insulin needed to take sugar from his blood to be used or stored.  Now our family acts as his pancreas; we constantly check and log his blood sugar readings, his carbohydrate intake and administer the insulin shots he needs throughout the day. 

While injecting insulin is not a cure, it is far, far better than the alternative faced prior to its introduction in the early 1920s.  While its delivery systems are becoming refined, and similarly, its chemical efficiency, the basics of successful Type 1 diabetic maintenance apparently have not had a "miraculous leap forward" since the Jazz Age, let alone a cure.  Always closer, but a cure is due, tout de suite.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

There's always legal room for jello, Feb. 1920

Apparently, alcoholic jello shots were legal during prohibition since one couldn't "drink" them and they hadn't been invented when the laws were passed. However the jerk doctor who did invent them during the dry years wouldn't share.

To see this Popular Science article in historic context (and a lot about the science and pitfalls of do-it-yourself distillery), click here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Motown's Burning Bush, May 2004

Kevin Pyle sent this to me a while back and reminded me it was too cool not to share:  The Metro Times Century of Sound -- a Detroit music family tree.  It's no surprise the tree looks more like fire given the number of hot names aflame, each flicker crackling another to higher, brighter, smokin' heat.

Just look at all the great stuff here in this small sample:
  Andre "Baconfat" Williams is not far from the MC5, Brownsville Station, Grand Funk, Iggy Pop, Ted Nugent, Seger, Mitch Ryder as well nugget-hatchers the Woolies, Unrelated Segments and ? and the Mysterians...Rationals, well, I don't need to name 'em all off.

Find the whole thing at the paper's website here.

Don't forget to read other music-related items at MangMade Records, too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So It Seems, Aug. 1952

While we're getting a few things sorted out, check out this Monday Cartoon Day post from The Fabulous Fifties blog which I wish to share and place here for safe keeping when I have time to circle back. It features a collection of Lou Cameron's So It Seems newspaper strips which, as noted there, have an EC Comics flavor to them (and apparent similar use of the LeRoy lettering system). I'm downloading and looking forward to receiving a hardcopy of Alter Ego #86 for
Around the same time Kurtzman started Mad, comic artist Lou Cameron did
a short-lived satirical newspaper strip called
So It Seems. The titles
seems to be a parody of the many 'interesting facts' panels that were
around, such as
Ripley's Believe It Or Not and John Hix Strange As It
Seems, but it was more of a 'statement and sample' series, along the
lines of those that were later done for the magazine

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Well blown me down! Popeye controversy, 1992

From the Mike Lynch Cartoons blog:

In 1992, London, who, at that point, was both writing and drawing the strip for six years, introduced a Home Shopping Club storyline for Olive Oyl. Thus begins the below controversial and, so far as I understand, final three weeks of the Popeye strip under London's direction. They're scanned from copies of proofsheets, so the quality is not great.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Charlie Brown, wishy-washy blogger, Mar. 1970

We have previously discussed the progression of fandom into the blogosphere (or the genesis of the latter in the former depending on your perspective). In this Sunday Peanuts strip we find good ol' Charlie Brown dipping a toe into the proto-blogging scene with a fanzine dedicated to his idol, the never-seen baseball player Joe Shlabotnik.

Shlabotnik can be viewed as Charlie Brown's alter ego, should Charlie Brown's future-self luck into playing big league ball despite ineptitude that rapidly reels back whatever distance a hopeful heart may take him.

Prior to the time
of Charlie Brown's writing of the premiere issue, Shlabotnik had been sent down to the minor leagues and was presumably working at a car wash to supplement his income.

Substitute the word "print" with the phrase "upload" and the strip remains eerily hip and relevant 40 years later. Upon further reflection, given Charlie Brown's ink-pen disability, he no doubt would have been similarly challenged in sending a blog post to his PC's printer. Perhaps the strip remains technically timely and no change is necessary after all.

Charlie Brown dutifully details Shlabotnik's momentary lapses into mediocrity from his slavish dedication to sucking. As a fan operating as a niche journalist or historian, he pursues a true calling in publishing facts no one else cares about lest they be forgotten or misspelled. Misspelled like the autograph Shlabotnik once wrote on the ball he had hit into a superfluous bloop single. "I guess he was pretty excited about that bloop single..."

Hope springs eternal.
Good ol' Charlie Brown.

Yep. Eerily relevant 40 years later.


View this comic strip in its historical context here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Billy, Billy, Billy, suh-WING, Billy! Aug. 1977

Dear Lord, could one ever get as happy as Billy Carter during the first year of his brother's presidency?  We're guessing the lucky reporters who got the gig following him around ran a close second.  Not only would they get to share in his amusements, they got to share his reckless pearls with the readers as well. 

And in popping these pearls, like peanuts, they couldn't stop at just one:  he's drinking peanut likker 'steada beer cause he can't find the damn bathroom; Jimmah would be a better president if'n he'd listen to him; and Bert "If-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" Lance -- dipped in corruption colors at the time -- was the best man in Washington, bar none.  Barring none would also include his brother, of course.  Aw, hay-uhl.  Did Ah say that? 

Look at that smile, would you?  And that's even knowing when his wife sees him huggin' and kissin' wif Miss Peanut Lolita he'll "probably catch straight damn hell!"

See this article in its historical context here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

John, I thought you said "MASSAGE," Jan. 1963

AP Wirephoto shot of Hubert Humphrey
saying "hotdog!" before the wind was taken from his sails and his blood stopped rushing.

The sea of black in the image gives one the impression of a "swinging" Humphrey, snapping his fingers while riding the Kennedy wave with his own "rat pack."

But alas, it is actually Speaker of the House John McCormack gesturing -- and not for the Madame of the House as Hubie was hoping for, but rather the cold shower of the press. Looks like George Smathers knew it was too good to be true: "Old Jawn" would never treat anyway.

See this article in historical context here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nix, nix on the Nixon kix, Nov. 1962

Here's the Associated Press dutifully reporting the infamous "won't have Nixon to kick around anymore" concession speech from Nixon's failed California gubernatorial run in 1962--including some shadowy, up-lit rapid fire photos.  Nixon really gave the press hell and it is funny. 

He takes them to task about covering his "flub" but not Brown's on the final day of the campaign.  Well come on.   Brown misspoke saying a Republican candidate was on the straight Democratic ticket, you said you were running for "Governor of the United States."  That's hilarious with no explanation required.

No doubt, some newsmen miss him everyday.

Click image to enlarge or view in its historical context here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

J'accuse, Jan. 1947

Now this is some crackerjack photojournalism.
  How could you not sell newspapers with story-telling pix like this? 

We have been told how newspapers used to stage events like this but it would never fly today.  Journalism has come too far and a reporter's objectivity is sacred.  Modern, conscientious reporting ethics would never countenance running something that didn't accurately reflect the news in its natural order of events just to make more money or manipulate an audience to advance a cause.  Heavens no.

All canards aside,
even today's tabloids don't run this kind of drama, either.  Cops video crews notwithstanding, do they even allow photogs into emergency rooms to cover the police beat anymore?  This item has all the makings of a beat photog installed at the area hospital, known by cop and nurse (not to mention some victims) alike, working the situation to register the highest degree of impact for the shot.  And maybe, just maybe, he got a little help from his friends.

Check it out.  Jimmy Wood, looking a lot older than his reported 21 years, is shutterbugged while literally fingering the knife man who slaughtered his big brother Logan on a streetcar.  Fredo in turn gives the textbook "Ah, ya mudder..." protest response.  Oddly, the casual detective type guy in the center is actually being held in custody, too. 

This is damn exciting stuff.  This single still black and white image is much more, uh, arresting than would be the hand-held video camera footage of a similar event today.

See this article in its historic context here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tiny Comeback, Sept. 1974

Pick a role for which Tiny Tim should make a comeback:  an overexposed freak-as-punchline who got married on The Tonight Show in front of 40 million viewers in 1969 or singer of songs playing ukulele the next year at the Isle of Wight festival before an audience of 600,000?  Either way, four short years later his waning celebrity was worth a magic night for some in a little Dearborn Heights, MI bar called The London Bridge.  Falling down, no doubt, much the same as Mr. Tim's popularity.  To think it all happened only a few miles from my house.

Click the image to enlarge or view the article in historical context here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Carter country, Sept. 1976

Candidate Jimmy Carter allowed many a hot (and easily justifiable) flip through the wild side with an interview in Playboy magazine.  This afforded many of us equally satisfying portions of titillation and righteousness with a side order of sharing the lusting in our hearts.  And then there were the pictures of girlies what ain't got no clothes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reagan lays it out, Nov. 1976

The great communicator makes the "morning after" post-election predictions, including his upcoming role.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Man and God and like sports, man, Apr. 1976

Lakeland Florida's Ledger must have been considered mighty progressive to not only keep someone this hirsute on the editing staff, let alone have his photo in the byline in 1976.

And then to turn a few pages further and realize the same paper is sponsoring, as a public service, an appearance by conservative leader William F. Buckley on "Understanding Freedom," running full page ads for several days. 

Thus may our Bicentennial year be remembered.

Sandy Good family fun, Mar. 1976

Just how long did these people clog our nation's courts and news outlets?  To be sure, there can be no question that Manson Family business made for news of cinematic quality.  For better or worse, it was more of the grindhouse variety one would find at the drive-in.  As such, it was rich enough to produce quite a few sequels with new storylines, kind of like a proto-Friday the Thirteenth franchise for newspapers.

Apparently the Sandy Good and Susan Murphy case of malicious letter writing and talk radio media blitzkriegery was the next installment, quickly following "Squeaky" Fromme's assassination attempt on President Ford the prior year.  In fact, Squeaky returns from prison in a cameo role as unindicted co-conspirator and witness for the defense, while Good performs a dual role as poison pen femme fatale as well as, Charlie-like, her own defense attorney.

This production was not entirely the disappointment one expects as descending  sequels usually progressively get worse the longer they get churned out, especially when it has devolved to becoming a vehicle for raising awareness of environmental issues rather than the famed "Helter Skelter" revolution.  However, one must bear in one's year-2009-mind that pollution concerns were fresh and new while the old grievences that had made the Family a household name had become played out by 1976.

But a Manson Family newstory rarely fails to electrify when it comes to courthouse turbulance.  Misses Good and Murphy, two swinging chicks in their 30s and quasi-nun's habits (adding unexpected Edith Head-type costume values) are provocative during the proceedings, with verbal and literal courtroom pyrotechnics making for another hot courtroom drama.  Yet again we leave the story in typical terrorist tale fashion:  another unsettling ending in which the accused roils with the wrong kind of regret.

ALSO:  The pharmacist with the apparent herpe just above his eyebrow would like us all (and future girlfriends) to know Herpes has now become a common venereal disease.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Now more than ever, Feb. 1976

Saying anything more would waste precious time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CBS gives M*A*S*H unit the runs, Jan. 1976

Here we have a tasty Al Hirschfeld-flavored serving of the gang from M*A*S*H , captured as they were cooking up the series' fourth season, on the cover of the TV Week magazine insert from the Ocala Star-Banner.


(It only tastes vaguely like Hirschfeld, but the actual spice went uncredited.)

When one inevitably asks "Wha' for?" regarding the li'l wooden sign pointing the swinging surgeons in the direction of "Tuesday," the inside page of the TV listings explains:


If this is true, the IMDB lists of original airdates are pretty trustworthy for those losing sleep over the matter.

Whatever Igor was serving may not have agreed with them, but TV audiences followed faithfully, right to the final, solemn trip to the latrine.

See this article in its historical context here.

She makes it look sew easy, Sept. 1975

Julie Nixon Eisenhower threads her way back into the American quilt and our hearts with wholesome, sensible fun.  Good Republican fun.  Thankfully they didn't needle her with any questions about her dad.  Only about Watergate...Salad.


The most popular sewing kit AND recipe:

See this article in its historical context here.

Read and hear more about Julie and David Eisenhower (and Al Capp) here at MangMade Records.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Early phone sex, Oct. 1975

Any phone enthusiast would agree you would be getting screwed paying $129.95 for a refurbished pay phone. But wait! Pay the equivalent in 2009 dollars -- $526.39 -- for some real depravity. Hell, it looks like they even replaced the durable stainless steel handset tether with the usual grub-grabbing, quickly-knotted vinyl coil job.

Say, why don't we get back to the government-run phone business?
Looking back, the U.S. home phone market was about the closest thing we had to putting some of that Soviet magic in our lives.

"No, my new phone doesn't ring. No. You see, I'm the ding-a-ling!"

See this post in historical context here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Zine: no phobia here, 1965

Web-based information sharing and discussion (particularly the kind found in blogs) may be considered the natural descendants of the 20th century fandom phenomena and its use of fanzines as network hubs connecting enthusiasts of various pastimes. Articles and images--original or lovingly swiped--as well as trade/sell lists, opinion and reader comments abound in these grassroots do-it-yourself publications. Much of fandom's etiquette and jargon would be familiar to blog readers of today.

Even the worst-executed early fanzine can be fascinating, if only to admire the effort involved for its day in getting a work self-published purely for the love of its content and desire to share it. Zines largely were not very slick until the 70s when the latest reproduction technologies came with lower cost and easier access (...and some even then...). The always wonderful Golden Age Comic Book Stories blog has an excellent, image-rich post regarding one particular, well-crafted comics fanzine from the 1960s-80s, The Rocket's Blast and The Comicollector.

"My tie and pipe are social expectations, not affectations. Seriously."

Here we find the zine sharing a 1965 article (apparently from Long Island's Newsday) about some very early comic collectors before the average person could conceive of a time where this kid's stuff would become valuable, let alone culturally relevant. Bless 'em.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Complaining about the All-Star game is time honored tradition, July 1977

from The Electronic Press Box (dig the cool title graphic)
by Seymour Rothman

How often does Diogenes come up in sports writing today? How often does he come up in any newspaper today? Take Mark's Fidrych's word for it, not very often.

See this article in its historical context here.

The booty didn't bother Coody, April 1971

When was the last time we've seen golf coverage this revealing? Who could have imagined this would be the end?

See this article in its historical context here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Al Capp gives Walter Cronkite the Bird, July 1971

In noting the passing of newscaster icon Walter Cronkite, we present a little something that may have otherwise been lost in the tributes gushing through the media this weekend. In July of 1971, a time Brit Hume has recently referred to as Walter Cronkite's "heyday," Al Capp winged newspaper readers through a sequence referencing the CBS Evening News anchorman in his comic strip, Li'l Abner.

Cronkite was a legend in his own time and, even by 1971, beloved as well as controversial. Vice-President Spiro Agnew vocally considered him among the nattering northeast elite liberal press. Archie Bunker -- a "pinko." To Middle America, he was "Uncle Walter."

Capp had long been a national celebrity himself and, by the 70s, known as an outspoken right-wing establishment figure who had in recent years parodied the "lefty" likes of Joan Baez and Johnny Carson in his work. Here Cronkite gets off easier than most, a mere mock in a bird christened the "Water Kronkitingale."

It was also pretty
well established that the once-"beluvvid" Li'l Abner was running out of high-octane plots and running mainly on counter-counter-cultural fumes. Here, Daisymae is on a journey to find a treasure to attract a date for a familiar Dogpatch character archetype named "Dateless" Brown. First, they must get their itinerary from the equally subtly named "Crooked Miles," each using her best assets (click to enlarge):

I won't give away all the details, but the gals must follow an insistent divining rod in the form of a twisted piece of barbed wire. Now that the table's been set, dig in:

No word if these strips LAID AN EGG or even caused a FLAP with Mr. Cronkite. One could go on a limb to argue satirist Capp was making a broad metaphorical comparison of the dreadful birdsong to Cronkite's nightly newscast warbling. Close examination, however, does not reveal the birds' affinity for their left wing over their right. Most folks probably figured it was simply a CHEEP laugh and ploy to draw attention to an aging "comical strip" (safe bet).

And that's the way it...
well, you know.

To view this sequence in historical context, click here.

For more MangMade Al Capp business and his controversial radio show, click here.

Mommie (ugh) Dearest, Sept. 1971

Speaking of old broads''s a 66-ish Joan Crawford showing off her (gulp) pins. Christina! Bring me the AXE!

See Joanie in historical context here.

(Can we get a, uh, hey hey, ummm, hey? Didn't think so.)

True-Life Pyschic Crime Mystery, Dec. 1943

Image how big this flick would have been in the film noir 1940s featuring a box office bonanza-drawing cast including Marlene Dietrich and Ginger Rogers. Throw in a swami, a jewel thief and hey hey hey! Well maybe their roles wouldn't have been big enough to fool with, but they give this newspaper story legs!

Check out the unashamedly titled story Mystery: Why Is Super-Gem-Peddler-Flato So Flat? from The Milwaukee Sentinel - Dec 19, 1943. It's truly a cautionary tale of not taking one's "Aura" seriously.