Year: 2013

Vintage Photo of a Late 1940s Bobsleigh in Lake Placid, New York

Vintage Photo of a Late 1940s Bobsleigh in Lake Placid, New York

Photography, Sports
The 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi are nearly upon us, so let's do some winter sports. This outstanding vintage photo is not actually from the Olympics, but it's close enough. According to the auction I snagged it from, this was taken in Lake Placid in 1949. If that's true, then this image was shot at the 1949 FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid. The FIBT (aka IBSF) is the organization that oversees bobsledding and skeleton. The bobsleigh shown does display the Olympic rings and the 1948 date, so it's likely that this was also used in the prior year's Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. (For a full-size version click here.) Two things that stand out to me immediately are the leather helmets that resemble nothing so much as repurposed football helmets of the era, a
Is This Blue Bell Potato Chips Bag the Coolest Thing Ever?

Is This Blue Bell Potato Chips Bag the Coolest Thing Ever?

Ephemera
If I didn't know any better I'd swear that this vintage Blue Bell Potato Chips bag was designed rather recently, and by someone with a real love for retro styling. In fact, this may just be the most perfect example of mid-century packaging graphic design I've ever seen. Let's take a look and then review why this is so great, shall we? The Blue Bell logo is strong, and I love how it incorporates the clapper into the product description. (Not sure what "smoky flavored" is supposed to mean, however.) To further the bell motif, there are musical notes for "fresh" and "crisp," which is just great. So very mid-century. The yellow portion of the bag design appears to be somewhat Googie-influenced, even if subtly so. Although I had no knowledge of the "10 cents" graphic when I des...
The Naughty Springmaid Girls of Esquire Magazine

The Naughty Springmaid Girls of Esquire Magazine

Ephemera
Back in February I shared a cheesecake-filled gallery of advertisements for South Carolina-based Springmaid Fabrics, most of which featured racy illustrations of women and their poorly-concealed panties. What I didn't know at the time was that two of those ads actually first appeared as front covers for Esquire magazine. It's always interesting to me to see how illustrations like this get re-purposed for things like magazines, ads, or album covers. The first piece, "Protect Yourself" by Frederick Smith, depicts a trio of comely young lasses waiting backstage at a skating show. Here is the original work: (via South Carolina State Museum) Smith's illustration was first used by Esquire for their April 1946 cover, like so... (via Esquire) ... and was picked up by Springmaid Fabr
Uh Oh SpaghettiOs, Pearl Harbor Day Edition

Uh Oh SpaghettiOs, Pearl Harbor Day Edition

Advertising, Funny Stuff
You'd think that by now companies would have learned how to effectively manage their social media presence. You'd be wrong. The latest corporate gaffe comes courtesy everybody's favorite canned, sauce-drenched, pasta-like product, SpaghettiOs. OK, so let's talk about this for a second. While I'm all for remembering the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, the jovial nature of this image doesn't really fit the solemn tone of the day. Really, SpaghettiOs, if you can't be bothered to alter your mascot so it doesn't have its tongue sticking out and a goofy smile, maybe just stick with a text message? Anyway, here's a few more tragedies that we might expect SpaghettiOs to commemorate in the future. First is the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln: And for a more cont...
Football Friday: Thanksgiving’s Best NFL Teams

Football Friday: Thanksgiving’s Best NFL Teams

Football Friday, Sports
Thanksgiving turkey and the National Football League -- one of the finest traditions in all of American sports. And, as it turns out, one of the longest-lived as well. Since the NFL's inception in 1920, at least one game has been played every Thanksgiving, and since 2006 three are played. Most fans associate the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys with the now-dubbed Thanksgiving Classic series, and for good reason. The Lions and Cowboys have played the most Thanksgiving games ever, with 72 and 44 respectively through the 2012 season. Following behind are the Green Bay Packers (34), Chicago Bears (31), and Arizona Cardinals (23). Of these five teams, however, only the Cowboys and Bears sport a winning Thanksgiving record. Here are the ten NFL teams with the most wins and highest win...
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
Congrats to Lexus on the Most Obnoxious Holiday Commercials of All-Time

Congrats to Lexus on the Most Obnoxious Holiday Commercials of All-Time

Advertising
Lexus, a perennial contender for the most annoying holiday commercials of the year, has roared back to the top of my Most Hated Christmas Commercial list in 2011 for all-time after being temporarily dethroned in 2010 by the Hyundai Hipsters. Incredibly, they've found a way to amp up the obnoxiousness even more this time by playing cutesy with their stupid "December to Remember" jingle. If you haven't seen this spot from 2011, get a barf bag handy: Look, I don't normally encourage class jealousy or class warfare, but this is just fucking ridiculous. Who exactly does this campaign appeal to, if not privileged, upper-class white people without an ounce of shame? At least this year's Acura holiday ads try to be funny. If it makes you feel any better, feel free to sing along with
Golden Memories of Radio, Part 1 — Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and Amos ‘n’ Andy

Golden Memories of Radio, Part 1 — Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and Amos ‘n’ Andy

TV & Radio
In which we journey into the distant entertainment past, through the magic of old radio shows preserved on vinyl... The sun set on the Golden Age of Radio roughly two decades before I was even born. By the 1970s, the warm glow of  the living room radio dial had long been washed out in a cathode ray bath. I'm not going to lie and say that I feel I missed out on a special time in American entertainment -- I'm more of a classic TV man -- I have to admit there is something compelling about what is now known as Old-Time Radio. So, inspired by a recent 75th anniversary broadcast of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, I decided to blow the dust off a radio time machine I've had for years -- my six-record collection called Jack Benny Presents the Treasury of Golden Memories of Radio. It was iss
It’s a Ford Falcon, Charlie Brown

It’s a Ford Falcon, Charlie Brown

Retrotisements
Several years before classic TV specials such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown secured the place of Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters in the hearts of millions of Americans, Charlie Brown and his friends came to life to sell cars. In 1959, Ford Motor Company secured licensing rights to the Peanuts for use in a series of color TV commercials for its cars and the intros for Ford-sponsored The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. The first spots appeared in January 1960 and marked the first time that Schulz's creation had been animated. Here's one of those early show intros: While that show left the air in June 1961, the Peanuts' association with Ford was just getting started. The gang's most high-profile (and memorable assignment) was to he