Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here's an odd item I just found floating around Ebay- Carl Perkins on Sun Records-78 R.P.M. pressed in the Philippines. I wonder how many people in Manila were diggin'
on Southern Rockabilly back in the mid-fifties. Does anyone out there have further info on this item???
Planning a cocktail party? Here’s a hot tip from Dr. Diablo- order yourself some cocktail demons to adorn your libations-this will give your guests something more to yak about aside from the usual French New Wave Cinema, Blue Note Records, and Egon Schiele dialogue. Add a little pizzazz to your party for only $5.50 per box.
When I found this website I thought I was dreaming. A company named Telstar has been making brand new Predicta television sets, based on the original designs that Philco manufactured in the 1950s. There are about eight different models and they can also be ordered with custom finishing. One big difference is that the screens are larger and Color! They also work with remote, cable, and DVD players. I’m not sure if they’ve made the leap to HDTV yet, but it was mentioned in their f.a.q. section. This is unbelievably cool.
Check Out Their Website!
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
What can be said about Henri Salvador that hasn’t already been said?
In a nutshell, he was a unique talent as a songwriter, singer, guitarist, and performer.
His career spanned over seven decades, covering a wide pallet of music including jazz, cabaret, novelty, and early rock n’ roll. In fact it was Salvador who first introduced rock n’ roll to France. Born in French Guiana, Salvador moved to Paris at age twelve and began his performance career by age sixteen. His popularity was huge in Europe, but he remained a well kept secret to the American audience for most of his life. I discovered his music purely by accident and was hooked immediately. Salvador was 90 years when he died in 2008.
Order Henri Salvador CDs From Amazon
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Undoubtedly the best Rock N Roll movie of the 1950’s, “The Girl Can’t Help It” starred Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, and Edmond O'Brien, and was filmed in color, with strong direction, plot line, and acting. It also featured an amazing roster of artists including Little Richard, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Julie London, and more.
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Who remembers Speedy Alka-Seltzer? He was the official mascot for the Alka-Seltzer ad campaign as early as 1951, and became symbolic with the product for over a decade in print ads, radio, and especially television.
Before Barbie there was Lilli- a sexy cartoon character found in a German newspaper called Bild. It was intended for adults, and became so popular that the publication began manufacturing the Bild-Lilli doll which was sold at news stands, cigarette kiosks, and a few toy stores. In 1956, while visiting Europe, Ruth Handler (founder of Mattel toy co.) discovered the Lilli doll which sparked the idea of manufacturing the doll en masse, targeted for children. The result was Barbie, debuting in 1959.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
(photo:Gjon Mili; bassist-Oscar Pettiford)
There is no doubt that Art Tatum is the greatest pianist that ever lived. If you’ve never heard his music, go get some a.s.a.p. This particular David Stone Martin illustration is interesting as a real study of his minimalistic drawing style as you can see from the Gjon Mili photo that it was taken from.
Who remembers the scene in Pulp Fiction when Bruce Willis’ character had to retrieve his watch before making his big getaway? The watch was hanging from a 1950’s ceramic kangaroo on the bedside table. I was told that the actual prop used for this belonged to Quentin Tarentino, and that it was one of the only items he had from his father. I was just cruising the web in search of info about these kangaroos and found that someone out there has created a Pulp Fiction ceramic kangaroo caddy page. There’s a whole back story, more pictures, and they are also for sale. Pretty cool huh?
Check It Out Here
In 1949, RCA Victor unveiled the 45 r.p.m. record to the world as an answer to Columbia Records’ 33 1/3 L.P. (1948). The competition was fierce, and the new 45 was only playable on its own special player. As a promotional strategy, RCA licensed the patent to any company who wished to manufacture the new design, hoping to elevate the popularity of the new format. For the next nine years, over a hundred different designs and models of this machine were made in various cabinets and carrying cases.
Phil Vourtsis has been collecting these for a long time, and in recent years wrote a comprehensive book with the complete story, photos of all the various models, advertisements, schematics and repair info, etc. Kudos to you Phil-Five Stars!
Order The Fabulous Victrola 45 Book From Amazon
Monday, January 26, 2009
Cutting edge animator Allen Mezquida has come through once again with another hilarious episode of Smigly, this time lampooning the world of independent film festivals.
The voice of Smigly is none other than yours truly, as is the opening & closing theme.
Thanks for the gig Allen!
Subscribe To The Allen Mez YouTube Channel
Kenny Werner’s book “Effortless Mastery” has saved my artistic life more than once already. It delves into methods of shedding the toxic belief systems that have been instilled in us as artists since our childhood, and also provides great methods of tapping into the creative mind space that can seem so elusive. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is creative and artistic. Thanks Kenny-Five Stars.
Order Effortless Mastery From Amazon
Visit Kenny Werner’s Website
For the past 20 years, Derek Yaniger has been honing his craft as a fine artist, focused on retro tiki, hot rod, & beatnik cartoon culture. He’s worked for Cartoon Network, Marvel Comics, also magazines such as Car Kulture Deluxe, Barracuda, and Atomic. His book Wildsville: The Art of Derek Yaniger is a very cool item, a definite must for the mid-century enthusiast.
Visit Derek Yaniger's Website
Derek Yaniger Tiki Mug Page
Order Derek Yaniger's Wildsville Book From Amazon
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I have the cover for this L.P. but the record is missing. Supposedly this release of the James Brown Think! L.P. was recalled because of the white baby on the cover, then re-released with a different cover design. I’m not sure how true this is, but a friend of mine who is a James Brown completist says the baby cover is worth a helluva lot more than the re-release. Does anyone have any more info about this???
Saturday, January 24, 2009
A classic from photograher Richard Avedon, Paris,1949. Dorian Leigh was one of the top rated models of her time, with a career spanning from the late forties into the sixties. She was probably the first model to receive public attention and name recognition. Her youngest sister was 50's fashion icon Suzy Parker.
This book is a real page turner to say the least. I couldn’t put it down for a solid week when I got it home from the book store. Written by T.J. English, Havana Nocturne is a fascinating, well researched chronicle of the parrallels between the mob’s rise to power in 1940’s Cuba, and Fidel Castro’s eventual overthrow of the government. Five Stars
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Out Of The Past, starring Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum, and Kirk Douglas, is one of the quintessential film noir classics. It has all the best qualities of noir- great plot twists & payoff, beautiful chiaroscuro cinematography, music score by Roy Webb (one of my favorite film composers), not to mention top notch acting & directing (Jacques Tourneur).
“In 1991, Out of the Past was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
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In 1948, Columbia records unveiled the 33 1/3 r.p.m. record to the public. One year later, RCA Victor introduced the 45 r.p.m. single.
For more than fifty years before that, music recordings only existed on 78 r.p.m. (r.p.m.=revolutions per minute). By 1958/59, the U.S. had phased out the 78 format for good, but it still went strong for at least ten more years in countries such as Africa, India, South America, The Philippines etc. As the Beatles gained international notoriety by 1963/64, these countries released many singles by the Fab Four on 78’s. Over the years, these pressings have gained a great deal in value and are highly sought after by Beatles completists.
Check out this ultra cool website dedicated The Beatles At 78!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Just moments ago, I was researching 50’s double entendre cocktail napkins, when I came across (almost literally!) this Great blog called Kitschy Kitschy Coo. It’s a very cool and often times hysterical hodge podge of all things retro/kitsch. I highly recommend it-Five Stars!
I just found a crazy cool website dedicated to micro cars, specifically the BMW Isetta. This car has always fascinated me, especially the three wheel, front end/door concept. Take a look at the website and all the great examples/variations of theses unique vehicles!
“The car’s origins were in Milan, Italy at the scooter and refrigerator company of Iso SpA, run by Renzo Rivolta. Called Isetta, or "little Iso", the car was a startling, totally unconventional design that caused a furor at its introduction in Turin in November 1953. From this influential debut grew a number of licensed branches worldwide, the main one being BMW in Germany.”
Read Full Article/View More Pics At Microcarmuseum.com
On this episode of Vinyl Meltdown (show # 17), I brought in a stack of 1950’s Pop 45’s found in the 50 cent boxes at the swap meet. If you’re a fan of John Waters, you’ll definitely appreciate the kitschy, campy sensibility of this music.
It’s highly crafted, syrupy, saccharine, sentimental Sputnik Era Pop- The Reason Why Rock n Roll Was Born!
Click Here To Listen
For years now, Bret Primack, aka “Jazz Video Guy”, has been a champion of Jazz music for all the right reasons. He’s known as the very first Jazz blogger since 1997, and has amassed an incredible amount of jazz footage. This particular segment highlights an extremely rare Lenny Bruce television special from 1959, featuring Julian “Cannonball” Adderly, Philly Joe Jones,Teddy Kotick, and Bill Evans (now available on dvd).
Order Lenny Bruce And The Jazz Stars DVD
Visit Planet Bret
Visit Jazz Video Guy YouTube Channel
Barbara Steele is probably the most famous of all scream queens, having worked in many classic horror films since Mario Bava’s “Black Sunday” in 1960.
My personal favorite of hers is Fellini’s“8 ½”.
Visit The Barbara Steele Website
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Eldon Dedini’s career as a cartoonint and illustrator began in 1942 for Esquire magazine.By the mid-forties he was hired by Univerasl as a storyboard artist, staying for a few years until he was hired by Disney as story artist for several Donald Duck shorts, also "Ichabod and Mr Toad" , “Mickey & The Beanstalk”, etc. During this time, Dedini continued his work for Esquire, moving to the New Yorker in 1950, and finally Playboy in 1960, where he contributed an incredible amount of material with a very indentifiable look.
Order "An Orgy of Playboy's Eldon Dedini" Book On Amazon
You may not know Daws Butler by name, but you definitely know his voice like an old family friend. He was a prolific character actor who provided the voices of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, Cap’n Crunch many more. Butler also worked closely with Stan Freberg as a writer and performer.
Check out his website! dawsbutler.com
(photo by Walter Sanders)
Marshall W. Stearns was a professor of English Literature at Hunter college, also founder and executive director of the Institute of Jazz Studies. His books, “The Story Of Jazz”, and “Jazz Dance:The Story Of American Vernacular Dance” are great examples of early jazz studies and analysis. Even though these books were written more than fifty years ago, they still contain some very pertinent info and insights, also serving as a very interesting time capsule.
Order The Story Of Jazz From Amazon
Order Jazz Dance:The Story Of American Vernacular Dance From Amazon
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've been seeing this poster around the streets of Los Angeles, and know that it's been making the rounds in Manhattan as well. Does anyone know who the artist is???
Pioneer industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes opened an industrial-design studio in 1927, designing a wide pallet of products including commemorative medallions, radio cabinets, cocktail shakers, and this eight wheeled teardrop-shaped automobile.
Some years ago I found this set of three Coleman Hawkins 78’s on the Asch Label, with cover art by David Stone Martin. It set me back a whopping three whole dollars. When I got home and opened it up, I noticed that the inner cover was autographed by Hawkins personally.
Another great day in the vinyl cemetery.
John Rawlings was an extraordinary photographer who had a prolific career for Vogue Magazine. This photo appeared in the March 15, 1943 issue, and proves just how far ahead of the times Rawlings was in his concepts and techniques.
View More John Rawlings Photos
Order John Rawlings-30 Years In Vogue From Amazon
This great bank heist-gone-wrong film from 1959 features Harry Belafonte as a down & out dead beat dad who plays the vibraphone in a local jazz combo. Directed by Robert Wise and starring Robert Ryan, Shelly Winters, and Ed Begley, Odds against Tomorrow is a classic film noir from the tail end of the era.
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View Film Clip
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Monday, January 19, 2009
The first issue of Playboy Magazine came out in 1953. It featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover and it wasn’t dated just in case it had to serve as the second issue as well. Sotheby’s auction house took in over $40,000.00 in recent years for a copy that was autographed by Joe DiMaggio.
In the early 1950’s, Speedy West burst upon the scene with his crazy groundbreaking steel guitar sound. Along with guitarist Jimmy Bryant, the duo recorded a nice body of high quality work for Capitol Records, also appearing regularly on the Hometown Jamboree television show, and backing up Tennessee Ernie Ford on hits such as Sixteen Tons. If you’ve never heard Speedy West, hold on to your seat- you’re in for a real treat!
Watch Speedy & Jimmy on YouTube!
Order Speedy West CD From Amazon
In 1935, heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey opened his world famous bar and restaurant on the site of the old car barn across from Madison Square Garden. He could be found there most nights of the week for nearly forty years, holding court with other famous figures, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. Sadly this great Broadway institution was closed in 1974.
I just began reading Pal Joey by John O’Hara and can’t put it down. It reminds me quite a bit of Damon Runyon in its literary style and humor. Add this classic to your reading list right away-Five Stars
Order Pal Joey Book From Amazon
Order Pal Joey DVD From Amazon
View 1957 Pal Joey Trailer
Sunday, January 18, 2009
1885-As the gilt-edged society of Tuxedo Park developed its own social schedule, some new names began to appear. For example, there was James Brown Potter, one of the founders of Tuxedo Park, who was elected to membership in the Tuxedo Club at the organizational meeting held at Delmonicos, in New York City in November 1885. According to the archives, Mr. Potter was introduced to the idea of the Dinner Jacket by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII.
The first Autumn Ball, held at the Tuxedo Club in October 1886, is marked as the official first appearance of the Dinner Jacket. Then, it is said Griswold Lorillard and his friends startled the people attending the Ball by wearing a scarlet satin lapelled Dinner Jacket, without tails, while all others were attired in the traditional white-tie and tails. And thus was born the elegant garment forevermore to be know as the 'Tuxedo.'
The actual word Tuxedo has origins from the Algonuin Indians dating back to the 1700s.
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