Vintage Photo Wednesday

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 41: Superman Balloon at the 1940 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 41: Superman Balloon at the 1940 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Last year I shared a cool vintage photograph of a Mickey Mouse balloon from the 1934 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so this year I'm back with another fantastic floating icon. This shot from the 1940 Macy's parade marks the debut of the famous Superman balloon. His debut was given its own article in the November 22 edition of The New York Times, entitled "Superman Struts in Macy Parade -- His 23-Foot Chest and 8-Foot Smirk Delight the Throngs Lining Sidewalks." This is yet another example of something from pop culture achieving an enormous amount of popularity in a very short time. Consider that Superman had only just debuted in in April 1938 in Action Comics #1. So within just a few years, the Man of Steel had his own comic book, his own radio program (The Adventures of
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 40: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Philadelphia, 1908

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 40: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Philadelphia, 1908

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I'm sure this must have been an odd sight to Philadelphians back in the day. It's a posed group photo of famed soldier and showman William F. Cody with the members of his "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" traveling show. Click for the full-size version. That's Buffalo Bill seated roughly in the middle of the picture, behind a group of Native American children. Cody started his first Wild West show in 1883, and he toured the world with it until it went bankrupt in 1913. Many people hold the belief that when Cody died in 1917 at the age of 70, it marked the end of the Wild West in America. The rather imposing building behind the group is the famed Wanamaker's, the first department store in Philly and one of the first in the United States. You can see some interested onlookers peering thro...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 39: M3 Tank and Crew Using Small Arms, Ft. Knox, Ky., 1942

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 39: M3 Tank and Crew Using Small Arms, Ft. Knox, Ky., 1942

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Now here's a peach of a color photograph from the World War II era. It captures a training exercise for the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Here we see six soldiers aiming their firearms at an unseen target, all the while in the shadow of a Medium Tank M3. Note the rather unique offset turret indicative of the M3 tank, which was discontinued at the end of 1942 in favor of the iconic M4 Sherman. Click for a larger version. I'm no firearms expert, but the soldier in the front left looks to be holding a Thompson M1 submachine gun with drum magazine.
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 38: Late 1950s Ford Dealership in Newark, New Jersey

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 38: Late 1950s Ford Dealership in Newark, New Jersey

Vintage Photo Wednesday
It's difficult to remember for many, but once upon a time Newark, New Jersey was a thriving city and a point of pride for the state. And while I'm not going to claim that the Hagin & Koplin Ford dealership was the jewel of Newark, it sure made for a damn gorgeous photo. (via Alden Jewell) As urban car dealerships go, this is a beauty. While the main showroom building is pretty nondescript, it's the signage that really makes this shine. The big, bold usage of the Ford crest -- first introduced in 1950 -- with its neon adornments is of course the first thing to strike the eye. I especially love how the crest was integrated into the building itself, something that must have cost extra to build. The cars on this lot have been identified as 1959 models, so this photo was likely tak...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 37: Smokin’ Outside the Pool Room

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 37: Smokin’ Outside the Pool Room

Vintage Photo Wednesday
From St. Louis in May 1910 comes a scene you won't see much of anymore. The photo description from the Library of Congress reads as follow: "A Pool Room Branch (Chouteau & Manchester). These boys were playing pool and smoking in the pool room while waiting for papers. The smallest boy is 9 years old and sells until 9 P.M." Click for a larger version. Photo credit to Lewis Wickes Hine. For another shot from the same session, check out this Shorpy page. I love the smirk on the dapper gentleman standing in the doorway. His face pretty much says, "Yeah, I'm watching these young kids smoke, what of it? As long as I get my paper on time I'm fine and dandy."
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 36: A Day in the Life of Chicago, 1953

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 36: A Day in the Life of Chicago, 1953

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Here's a delicious slice of life from the 1950s for your viewing pleasure. More specifically, a day in the life of Chicago in 1953. I found this set of vintage Kodachrome slides on eBay, and they're a beaut. It appears to me that the photographer took in a Chicago Cubs game at venerable Wrigley Field and also spent some time hoofing around the Friendly Confines as well. The auction puts the location of the street scenes as Maxwell Street, for what it's worth. First up is the baseball game. I can't tell for certain who the Cubs are playing, but only one National League team in 1953 wore red caps at all -- the Philadelphia Phillies. The sign in front of Wrigley is advertising tickets for the three-game series from June 23-25, so I think it's reasonable to guess these photos were shot duri...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 35: New York Horsecar Scene, 1910s-1920s

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 35: New York Horsecar Scene, 1910s-1920s

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I'll admit that this one has me a bit puzzled. What I can gather is that this is a shot of a horsecar in front of a building owned by the Hartford and New York Transportation Company. The company operated steamboats, barges, skiffs, tugboats, and other water craft and carried passengers between New York and Connecticut -- making frequent stops along the Connecticut River. In 1906 the company was taken over by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. All this is to say that I can't really nail down a date for this very nice photo. Click for the full-size version. The main clue for dating offered here is the horsecar in the foreground of the photo. Horsecars -- which differed slightly from horse-drawn trolleys -- were pretty much phased out of New York City by 1917 or so, w
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 34: Dick’s Drive-In, Seattle, 1955

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 34: Dick’s Drive-In, Seattle, 1955

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Courtesy the Seattle Municipal Archives Flickr feed, here's a neat shot of a rather ordinary scene. It's Dick's Drive-In Hamburgers on Broadway East. This was taken in 1955, not long after this location opened. Dick's started right around the same period that McDonald's started to take off with their franchise model. Click for a larger version. This location is still open today, and it certainly doesn't appear as if things have changed all that much. There are more trees and the prices are higher, of course, but you can't expect hand-dipped malts to cost 21 cents forever.
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 33: Papier-mâché Cow in Australia, 1944

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 33: Papier-mâché Cow in Australia, 1944

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I have no reason for sharing this photo, other than the fact that it's so random and so odd that it must be seen. It comes to us via the Australian War Memorial's collection, and shows a rather unique scene from the Australian home front. This odd photo was shot on February 29, 1944 by the Herald Newspaper in Melbourne, Victoria. Here is the description, which makes no note of the priceless expression on the face of the woman walking by the car: A papier-mache cow, used for milking demonstrations at the Werribee experimental farm, being tied on to the luggage carrier of Mrs. Mellor's car for transport to the farm. Mrs. Mellor is a Field Officer in charge of the Women's Land Army Mont Park training depot.