1949 FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid

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

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.

1949 FIBT World Championships in Lake Placid

(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, and the decidedly rickety, beat-up looking bobsled. Because the full sled wasn’t captured in the shot I can’t tell if this is for a 2-man or 4-man crew.

Unfortunately I have no way of knowing who the men in the sled are. Not that may teams competed in Lake Placid in ’49 but there are no marks to give away the identity of this crew. The Swiss flag stamp could very well be because, as I mentioned above, this banged up contraption competed in St. Moritz the year before.

In any case, I always love looking at color images from the 1940s and earlier and this is a beauty.

Blue Bell Bar-B-Q Potato Chips

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

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?

Blue Bell Bar-B-Q Potato Chips bag

  • 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 designed my logo, I appreciate the similarity. But just for the record, I was inspired by a few different old logos.
  • That’s some phenomenal design work on the family right there. And as a very nice, subtle touch, note the recursion on the bag of chips the little girl is holding.

Seriously, if you can’t have fun eating chips from a bag that looks like this then I don’t even want to talk to you.

According to what I’ve been able to find on the internet, the Blue Bell Potato Chip Company is still around. Or at least some company called Blue Bell and located in Bend, Oregon is. If anyone reading this is affiliated with them, I would be eternally grateful if you could hook me up with one of these vintage chip bags or anything that resembles it.

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How to Kill Two Birds, c. 1948, by E. Simms Campbell

The Naughty Springmaid Girls of Esquire Magazine

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:

Protect Yourself, c. 1946, by Frederick Smith

(via South Carolina State Museum)

Smith’s illustration was first used by Esquire for their April 1946 cover, like so…

Esquire magazine cover, April 1946

(via Esquire)

… and was picked up by Springmaid Fabrics a few years later:

Vintage Springs Cotton Mills/Springmaid Fabrics ad

The second work is called “How to Kill Two Birds” and was drawn by E. Simms Campbell. Here’s the original…

How to Kill Two Birds, c. 1948, by E. Simms Campbell

… the ad…

Vintage Springs Cotton Mills/Springmaid Fabrics ad

… and the February 1948 issue of Esquire, which varies ever so slightly if you look at the man on the left.

Esquire magazine cover, February 1948

(via Esquire)
SpaghettiOs Pearl Harbor

Uh Oh SpaghettiOs, Pearl Harbor Day Edition

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.

SpaghettiOs Pearl Harbor Twitter

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:

SpaghettiOs remembers the Lincoln assassination

“Sic Semper SpaghettiOs!”

And for a more contemporary tragedy, the death of Family Guy pet dog Brian Griffin.

SpaghettiOs remembers the death of Brian Griffin

Actually, I could see Family Guy doing this.