1950s

At some point in history our standard of dress has deteriorated to the point of no return. I blame this partly on the youth of the seventies and the baby boomers who seemed to think that they needed to rebel against everything and anything their parents stood for. Reading the paper today I was struck by the amazing comparison of British PM David Cameron next to his wife Samantha Cameron (see below). Mr Cameron looks like a well dressed banker...

Our re-runs of an Ultra Swank world are interrupted by a shrill tone from the television. ‘Howdy Dooty’ and Mom’s favorite soap opera are suddenly replaced by a Civil Defense symbol and gravely intoned warnings of the END OF THE WORLD! High above the utopian suburbs of plenty, an ever present overcast of death and despair loomed. The Cold War was a monstrous chess game played out by the Super-Powers. The stakes were life and death of the entire world....

There are few examples in advertising or pop-culture which are the idealization of American youth, affluence and style, better than the Pepsi print campaigns of the 1950’s. These magazine illustrations clearly marked out a sophisticated lifestyle and the beautiful stylish people that practiced it. The artistic style was colorful and simple with a few important details to tell the story. The setting was clearly urban, or nearby suburban, with a lot of beach and country outings mixed in. Locations might...

Nostalgic, classic, vintage and timeless. These are words that comes to mind when I look at postcards depicting roadside American attractions such as motels, diners, drive-in theaters, bowling alleys and outdoor shopping centers. It is definitely an era gone-by now and I am sad never to never really have experienced it. I am sure many of you have fond (or maybe not so fond) memories of places like these and that they now are either completely unrecognizable or demolished. If...

Scandinavian Airlines (or simply SAS), was founded in 1951, when three Scandinavian transatlantic airlines merged. In the late 1950s, SAS was the first airline to offer round the world service over the North Pole via the North Pole shortcut Copenhagen – Anchorage – Tokyo. This “polar express” became popular with Hollywood celebrities and production people travelling to Europe. SAS entered the jet age in 1959 when its first jet aircraft, the Caravelle, entered service. They did not opt for the Boeing 707...

There are numerous times in my role as the self- appointed retro cultural historian for Boston that I feel just like Gloria Swanson in 1960 standing in that classic photo taken amidst the destruction of the once splendid crown jewel of cinemas, The Roxy Theater in New York City. Boston, like so many other American cities, has been pillaged… truly stripped bare of what made it once such a vibrant and totally unique place to shop. Many highly paid city...

“Here’s to men… bless their clean cut faces and dirty little minds!” A publishing house typing pool is the seething heart of the aspirations of a cadre of working girls, marking time until they marry Mr. Right and settle down. Caroline Bender (Lange) battles her career aspirations and fear that she will morph into scary book editor Joan Crawford. It’s the original Sex in the City. Rona Jaffe’s novel, The Best of Everything, is about four girls (and their friends). The author’s...

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