This year for Father's Day, I'm going to skip the vintage ads in favor of something much more unique. Here are three great pieces of Father's Day ephemera, courtesy Western Union. These telegram design templates, which comes from the 1940s and 1960s, are really something else. Funny how the image Western Union most associated with fatherhood in the 1960s was fishing. Click on any telegram for a larger image. And if you still really want to see some great vintage Father's Day advertisements, you can check them out here and here.
It sure doesn't feel much like it here in the northeast, but according to my calendar it is actually the first day of spring 2014. Since opening my windows isn't an option yet, I can at least look at some vintage spring advertisements showing other people enjoying blue skies, crisp air, and green grass. Ah, and what better way to enjoy a fine spring morning than by inhaling a deep lungful of that rich, tobacco aroma only Chesterfield can offer! Hey, buy me a radio like that and I'll swoon too. After about the sixth beer this is pretty much what everything looks like to me too. Screw the Easter egg hunt, I want one of these beauties! Now this illustration can be viewed one of two ways. I choose to think the best.
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
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
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
I think I like the idea of reading Golden Age superhero comics more than actually doing it. Compared to today's comic books, the stories and artwork often don't measure up. But man, I could look at the covers all day. So in the spirit of the season, here's a few Golden Age comic book covers with a Halloween theme. The Superman one is technically Silver Age, but I think it has the same lighthearted spirit as the other three so I included it. If straight-ahead horror comics from the Golden Age are more your thing, I've got a gallery of them too. I couldn't resist including this last one from Batman, even though it is firmly entrenched in the Silver Age and is of a much more serious tone. But how can you go wrong with a vintage Neal Adams 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
I don't know the date on this Marilyn Monroe color photograph, but I'm going with late 1940s. Regardless, it's a stunner. The reason I say late '40s is that Marilyn appears to be a little older than when she shot this series of fishing photos in 1946, but she's doesn't look to be in full 1950s glamour mode yet. As I've stated before, this is my favorite era for her. She just looks so happy and full of life.
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.