When last I checked on the Google instant search results for soon-to-be former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann -- during her failed bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination -- she wasn't looking too good. And now that she has announced she's not going to seek re-election to her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, I thought I'd see if her image has improved over the last few years. Nope. It seems that in addition to still being crazy and hot, Bachmann is now a racist. That's a shame. We'll always have the corn dog at least.
The icon that was to be known as Mr. Potato head was born in the early 1950s when Brooklyn-born inventor George Lerner came up with the idea of inserting small, pronged body and face parts into fruits and vegetables to create a "funny face man" toy. After Lerner sold his idea to Hasbro -- then known as Hassenfeld Bros. -- Mr. Potato Head was officially introduced on May 1, 1952. The original toy kit cost $0.98 and contained plastic hands, feet, ears, two mouths, two pairs of eyes, four noses, three hats, eyeglasses, a pipe, and eight felt pieces resembling facial hair. By the mid 1960s, stricter government safety regulations meant that the plastic accessories could no longer easily puncture real food, so Hasbro introduced the all-plastic Mr. Potato Head in 1964. They also introduced
Sadly, we know all too well that the list of wars in which American soldiers died hardly stopped at 1898 (Spanish-American War) or 1917 (World War I). Nevertheless, this day we remember their bravery. This Memorial Day poster really is a lovely piece of work and I'd love to know who illustrated it. (source)
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!
I came across this photo of the Who that I haven't seen a ton in the past. I'm not a superfan so I'm not certain when this was shot, but I'm guessing it was 1965 or '66. I'd love to know what those kids were thinking watching them pretend to play. At least they could've given Roger Daltrey a microphone.
Sometimes the coolest photos from Life magazine were crammed into incidental articles in the back of an issue. Take, for instance, an article on coin-operated machines -- "Brave New Machines" -- from the March 17, 1947 edition. The original images, taken by staff photographer Wallace Kirkland, showcase beautifully designed machines that would now probably fetch hundreds or thousands of dollars on the antiques market. But in '47 they warranted little more than small pictures tucked into the very back of the magazine. Here they are in their original splendor. Click on any image for the full-size version.
Credit for introducing me to this fantastic cover goes to one of my favorite record shops, Princeton Record Exchange, which recently posted it on their Facebook page. It's a joint effort between legendary jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham and multi-instrument star George Duke, 1976's "Live" On Tour in Europe (Atlantic Records, SD 18194). And boy is it ever strange. If you weren't too skeeved out to keep reading, that's Billy Cobham on the left and George Duke on the right. Credit for this illustration goes to Jim Warren, who is no stranger to freaky cover art involving hands. That all said, this is a pretty damn good album, so check it out if you can. Just keep your eyes closed.
Recently a visitor to my View-Master gallery wrote in and asked how I scan my reels and get them ready for publication. So as a public service I'll go through the steps I take to get an image from a reel to you. Note that I don't profess to be an expert in this area, and by no means do I claim to have the best technique. I also tend to make things much more complicated than necessary, so keep that in mind. So here is my humble guide to scanning View-Master reels and getting them cleaned up. The Hardware For my reel scanning I use an Epson Perfection 1660 Photo Scanner. It's a rather old model -- at least a decade -- but does the job. If memory serves it came with plastic photo scan adapters, but they have long since been lost. See that opaque strip in the middle of the lid's un...
Has it already been a year since my last gallery of vintage Mother's Day ads ran? Where does the time go? Well, I'm back with another 10 classic advertisements to commemorate that most special lady in our lives -- mom. Of course, the usual suspects are here -- flowers and chocolates -- but I think this year's gallery manages to mix things up a bit. I think this is the first time I've seen a Mother's Day champagne ad after all.