In the fall of 1949, just four years after the end of World War II, the U.S. and Japan were on their way to rebuilding the bridges that had literally and figuratively been burnt since 1941. One of the first steps on that road to friendship was a goodwill tour bringing American baseball to the Land of the Rising Sun. In October, a man named Lefty O’Doul was responsible for organizing a baseball tour featuring the team he managed at the time -- the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The tour was a huge hit and contributed at least some small part to Japan's passion for America's pastime. Just one of the many pieces of ephemera from the Seals' Japanese tour is this fantastic game program. Here are a few images from that program, including the gorgeous front and back cover
The storytelling device of the Nazi hunter in search of German war criminals scattered to the four winds after World War II has been around so long, it's hard to imagine a time when it was really fresh. And so it must have seemed especially visceral for audiences to watch Orson Welles' 1946 film noir classic The Stranger, released just 17 days after the first anniversary of V-E Day. The central plot of The Stranger concerns Mr. Wilson (the ever-brilliant Edward G. Robinson) of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and his hunt for the infamous Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler. Wilson releases a German prisoner and confederate of Kindler, Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne), in the hopes that he will lead him to Kindler. Before long the story shifts to the bucolic New England town o
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.
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.
In modern times, comic book superheroes tend to view armed conflict with a healthy dose of skepticism regardless of which side they're on. But that wasn't the case during World War II, when costumed do-gooders from Superman all the way down to the lowliest nobody of a crime fighter eagerly signed up to wallop the Axis powers on behalf of Uncle Sam. And hey, if they had to deal in period racism to get the job done, who were we to question that? So just in time for Memorial Day, here's a gallery of vintage WWII-era Golden Age comic book covers showing our heroes fighting the Nazis and the Japanese on behalf of Uncle Sam. Many of these images were sourced from the excellent Digital Comic Museum -- check 'em out!
Since it’s the off-season I thought I’d start a fun project involving NFL history. So I’m going to go division by division and post football card galleries (when available) featuring all NFL players who have had their jersey numbers retired by their teams. This week it’s the four squads of the NFC East — the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins. Previous galleries: AFC East Dallas Cowboys (0) The Cowboys do not officially retire jersey numbers, opting rather to induct players into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. The Ring, which began in 1975, is made up of the players listed below (as of the end of the 2012 season, in order of induction). Sorry, no cards for the Cowboys, since they insist on being so different. #74 -- Bob Lilly #17 -- Don
Outstanding panel from True Comics issue #47 (March 1946) showing a scene from the Trinity atomic bomb blast in New Mexico on July 16, 1945 (artist unknown). Less than one month after this successful detonation, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. With this test, the Atomic Age began.
Thanks to the new focus of my Vintage Photo Wednesday series on New Jersey, I'm learning some really interesting things about my home state. For instance, the town of Roosevelt -- located roughly 20 miles east of Trenton -- was established as Jersey Homesteads in 1937 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's many New Deal initiatives. So you can probably guess where the name came from. Here's an excerpt on the history of Roosevelt from Rutgers University: In early 1933, Title II, Section 208, of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) created the Division of Subsistence Homesteads, the purpose of which was to decentralize industry from congested cities and enable workers to improve their standards of living through the help of subsistence agriculture. Jersey Homesteads was uniqu...
As part of a larger story in its August 17, 1942 issue on strife within between Detroit's car makers and their labor union member workers, Life magazine captured some excellent photographs of Motor City manufacturers in the midst of wartime production. The pictures, taken by staff photographer William Vandivert, captured a rare moment in modern American history -- when the nation's vast commercial manufacturing muscle was flexed to produce machinery (planes and bombers) for World War II. Seen here are images from Ford, Chrysler, and Chevrolet plants in Detroit, Michigan. Click on any photo for a larger version. (more…)