Vintage Photo Wednesday

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 32: Marilyn Monroe Goes Fishing, c. 1946

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 32: Marilyn Monroe Goes Fishing, c. 1946

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I love this set of vintage photos featuring the lovely Marilyn Monroe doing some fly fishing, circa 1946. These three images were shot on color safety by Andre de Dienes (1913-85), and capture Marilyn before she had fully transformed into the blonde bombshell that captivated America in the '50s and '60s. In fact, she had barely transitioned away from her given name of Norma Jeane Mortenson at the time of this photo session. The Marilyn we see here is not a star, but just a really pretty young woman full of life. That's how I like to remember her. (Click for the full-size version of each picture.)
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 31: Classic American Cars (1930s – 1970s) Part 1

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 31: Classic American Cars (1930s – 1970s) Part 1

Vintage Photo Wednesday
One of my favorite past-times is combing the vast archive of press wire photos on eBay. I've found all sorts of neat things there, but one of my current obsessions is old automobile press photography. So here is the first of what I hope will be many galleries featuring ten classic American cars, mainly from the mid-century period. Apologies in advance if I get some of the years or models wrong -- I can only go off what the original auction listed. Also, those marks you see on some of the photos are original editorial markings, so you know these are 100% real! For much more detailed looks at classic American cars, check out my ad galleries for the 1970 Dodge, 1975 Chevrolet, and 1982 AMC lineups. (Click on any picture for the full size.) If anyone can tell me what the model is
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 30: Two Guys in the ’50s and ’70s

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 30: Two Guys in the ’50s and ’70s

Vintage Photo Wednesday
I've written about how much I miss the old Two Guys department store. I consider it a vital piece of my New Jersey upbringing and heritage, and I know others feel the same way. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this pair of old photographs. The first one comes from the golden age of Two Guys -- 1952 to be precise -- and is an interior shot from an unknown location. It shows the arcade/play area located by the entrance and cart return. Just 10 cents gets you a ride on the Rally Traffic Police Bike or the Tooner Ville Trolley! The next photo is in glorious color, although it has considerably less visual interest for store enthusiasts. This is an aerial shot taken above the Hackensack Two Guys in November 1974. Just about the only thing definitively marking this is a Two ...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 29: The ’34 Pittsburgh Pirates Warm Up Their Bats

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 29: The ’34 Pittsburgh Pirates Warm Up Their Bats

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Opening Day of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is just a few weeks away, so I'll depart from my usual fare and try to bust out some hardball pics between now and then (as I did last year with this gallery of baseball clubs from the late 19th to early 20th centuries). Here's a neat one via the old Acme Newsphotos company. It shows members of the 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates squad lighting a fire with their baseball bats. The original caption was "Heavy Hitters of the Pirates." From left to right are Charles "Red" Lucas, Gus Suhr, Larry French, Harold "Pie" Traynor, Freddie Lindstrom, Paul Waner, and Lloyd Waner. Despite a lineup featuring six future Hall of Famers (all of whom but Burleigh Grimes are shown here) the '34 Pirates finished two games under .500, good for 5th place in th...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 28: Albany Street Ads, 1948

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 28: Albany Street Ads, 1948

Vintage Photo Wednesday
While looking for material for a possible St. Patrick's Day theme post, I found this outstanding vintage photograph taken in Albany, New York on August 31, 1948. I don't know the local street name, but it appears to be in a downtown area where state routes 32 and 9W run nearby. I can just make out an actual street sign name in front of the Phillips Hardware sign, but can't tell what it says. Any idea? There are so many great things to look at here I don't know where to begin, but I suppose I'll start with one of the biggest items in the picture -- the billboard for Beverwyck Beer & Ale, which makes the oddly specific claim of being the "first truly great beer and ale in 8 years!" (Click the image for a larger version.) Long-time Albany residents should know the Beverwyck n...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 27: Franklin Township Deli, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 27: Franklin Township Deli, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday
We return to New Jersey for this week's vintage photograph, specifically Franklin Township. This shot, taken in February 1936, depicts a woman in front of a small grocery store/delicatessen. She's either fixing a tattered awning or taking it down, I can't be sure which. This is from the days before big supermarkets were a common sight. A few brand names figure prominently in this scene -- Coca-Cola and White Rose Tea. Everyone knows Coca-Cola of course, but fewer know about White Rose. It is a rather large independent wholesale food distributor in the New York/New Jersey metro area and has been in operation since the late 19th century. They got into the tea business in the early 1900s. Below the display window it's all about tobacco. I see a sign for Granger Rough Cut (pipe tobac
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 26: Rocket Ship Prize, 1954

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 26: Rocket Ship Prize, 1954

Vintage Photo Wednesday
This week I take a break from my New Jersey-centric photos to feature a pair of really cool images from Life magazine. They were taken in Washington, D.C. by noted Life photog Yale Joel in 1954, although I've been unable to determine when or if they actually ran in the magazine. From what I can gather, some lucky boy won a contest involving a rocket ship. I'm not sure what he did to win it -- dress up and send in a picture or write an essay perhaps. But the rocket rolled into town on the back of a trailer, and quite a crowd turned out to see it. I'm guessing this is the kid who won the contest, all decked out in his space jumpsuit and homemade helmet. Looks like a Timmy or a Johnny. The photo description page says this about this spectacular shot, which could only have com...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 25: Calco Chemical Company, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 25: Calco Chemical Company, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Here's a snowy scene from the 1930s -- it's the parking lot of the Calco Chemical Company building, located near the Raritan River in Bound Brook, New Jersey. This was shot in February 1936. Calco was founded in 1915 as a manufacturer of "coal-tar intermediates required to make synthetic dyestuffs." I have no idea what that means, but it sounds nasty. In any case, Calco was acquired by the American Cyanamid Company in 1929 (you can see that designation underneath the main sign). Astute readers will recognize that name from one of my lovely Thanksgiving advertisements. I don't know exactly when this facility was closed for good, but according to my research it had been completely demolished by 2002 at the latest. Related articles Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 23: Going to the...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 24: Holland Tunnel Opening, 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 24: Holland Tunnel Opening, 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Here's another tunnel-related vintage photo for you. Although the source (New York Public Library Digital Gallery) doesn't note the year, I'm going with 1927. Take a look and you'll see why. (Click for a larger version.) The reason I'm going with 1927 is because the Holland Tunnel, which connects Manhattan with Jersey City, opened in November 1927. I don't imagine that these unnamed officials, decked out in their late '20s finery, would be taking pictures and shaking hands across the border in the middle of construction. Or maybe they did, who knows. Update: An astute reader identifies the two men shaking hands as New York and New Jersey governors Al Smith and A. Harry Moore, respectively. Thanks! Related articles On This Day In 1927, The Holland Tunnel Appears On The Cover