Botany 500 ad, 1960

To (Well-Tailored) Arms! (Botany 500 Ad, 1960)

It took more than five decades, but Botany 500 is finally getting the props from me that they so richly deserve. Well, their advertising agency anyway.

I speak of this 1960 ad, which seemed awfully familiar when I spotted it on an eBay auction yesterday.

Botany 500 ad, 1960

Faithful readers of mine will remember this as a modified version of a recruitment poster from the Quasi-War (1798-1800), as first seen in my gallery of wartime recruiting posters.

Recruitment poster for the American-French Quasi-War

That is some damn fine design and ad copy right there, and I think it deserves to be typed out for your enjoyment.

TO ALL BRAVE, HEALTHY, ABLE BODIED, AND WELL DISPOSED YOUNG MEN who have any inclination to express their individuality, maintain freedom of thought and dress, resist the pressure to conform to mob rule, THE WILES AND BLANDISHMENTS OF FEMALES determined to dictate their choice of apparel, and the connivance of certain parties to unfairly tax their good taste by inflating the price of fashionable attire beyond the limits of REASON AND EQUITABLE PROFIT and despite all precedent and public protest: TAKE NOTICE.

Daroff, tailor, of the City of Philadelphia (The Cradle of Freedom in Menswear) offers to one and all, whigs, tories, and free-thinkers alike, INDEPENDENCE FROM COMPROMISE. Neither styles that make grown men ludicrous, nor workmanship that tries their patience. Rather, a well-tempered balance combining the much-desired AUTHENTIC NATURAL CUT with the lasting benefit of HONEST TAILORING at a fair, sensible, and equitable price calculated to GIVE SATISFACTION. BOOTLEGGERS, CHARLATANS, IMITATORS, AND COUNTERFEITERS TAKE WARNING: all Daroff of Philadelphia garments are clearly marked to prevent fraud and each and every one carries THE ‘BOTANY’ 500 LABEL as a mark of pride and a proof of QUALITY AND SINCERE INTENT. ‘BOTANY’ 500 tailored by Daroff clothes are sold only by apparel stores of HIGH REPUTE and EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN CATERING TO GENTLEMEN OF GOOD TASTE and democratic sympathies. Prices begin at $65.00 and if your local merchant is not one selected to carry ‘Botany’ 500 Clothing, write: H. Daroff  & Sons, Inc., 2300 Walnut Street, Philadelphia 3, Pennsylvania, or 200 Fifth Avenue, New York 10, N.Y. for the name of the store most convenient to you. Prices slightly higher in the West.

Actually, don’t write to that address in Philly, Botany 500 hasn’t been there in years. But still, this is a fantastic advertisement.

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 40: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Philadelphia, 1908

I’m sure this must have been an odd sight to Philadelphians back in the day. It’s a posed group photo of famed soldier and showman William F. Cody with the members of his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” traveling show. Click for the full-size version.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West in front of Wanamaker's Department Store, Philadelphia, 1908

That’s Buffalo Bill seated roughly in the middle of the picture, behind a group of Native American children. Cody started his first Wild West show in 1883, and he toured the world with it until it went bankrupt in 1913. Many people hold the belief that when Cody died in 1917 at the age of 70, it marked the end of the Wild West in America.

The rather imposing building behind the group is the famed Wanamaker’s, the first department store in Philly and one of the first in the United States. You can see some interested onlookers peering through the window near the top of the photo.

It seems likely that Cody’s show was invited to the city by Lewis Rodman Wanamaker, son of the store’s founder and a vocal proponent of preserving Native American culture. Wanamaker sponsored three high-profile photographic expeditions between 1908 and 1913 that were intended to document the way of life of the “vanishing” American Indians.

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

This 1846 Anti-Slavery Alphabet Is Fantastic

I’m currently in the middle of re-watching the excellent Civil War documentary by Ken Burns, so this particular item feels extra significant to me at the moment. It’s The Anti-Slavery Alphabet, published for an Anti-Slavery Fair in 1846 and created by Quakers Hannah and Mary Townsend of Philadelphia. The alphabet consists of sixteen leaves, printed on one side, with the printed pages facing each other and hand-sewn into a paper cover. Each of the letter illustrations is hand-colored.

The target audience for this book, as you might expect, was children who the Townsends hoped would adopt an Abolitionist point of view. History tells us, of course, that it would take more than 20 years and a bloody Civil War for the Abolitionists’ dream to become reality.

All images courtesy the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1846)

Johnny Unitas 1962 Topps football card (#19, Baltimore Colts)

Retired NFL Jersey Numbers: AFC South

Football Friday at The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Since it’s the off-season I thought I’d start a fun project involving NFL history. So I’m going to go division by division and post galleries of football cards (when available) featuring all NFL players who have had their jersey numbers retired by their teams. This week it’s the four squads of the AFC South — the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.

Previous galleries: AFC EastNFC EastAFC North, NFC North

Houston Texans (0)

The Texans have yet to retire a number in their decade-plus of existence. If I had to bust out my crystal ball, wide receiver Andre Johnson (#80) is a potential future candidate. He holds a number of team records (some by a sizable margin) and is poised in 2013 to become one of the NFL’s top 20 receivers ever for career receiving yards.

Indianapolis Colts (7)

To date, no Colts who played in Indianapolis have had their jersey number retired. In fact the most recent Colt on this list is Johnny Unitas, who was traded away after the 1972 season.

#19 — Johnny Unitas

Johnny Unitas 1958 Topps football card

#22 — Buddy Young

Buddy Young 1956 Topps football card

#24 — Lenny Moore

Lenny Moore 1956 Topps football card

#70 — Art Donovan

Art Donovan 1959 Topps football card

#77 — Jim Parker

Jim Parker 1965 Philadelphia football card

#82 — Raymond Berry

Raymond Berry 1961 Topps football card

#89 — Gino Marchetti

Gino Marchetti 1959 Topps football card

Jacksonville Jaguars (0)

Although not officially retired, the number 71 worn by offensive tackle Tony Boselli, the Jaguars’ first-ever draft pick, has not been worn since his retirement in 2002. According to team officials the number has been “taken out of service.”

Tennessee Titans (6)

This list is made up entirely of players who got their start as a member of the Houston Oilers. Bruce Matthews did play in Tennessee, but spent the vast majority of his amazing career in Houston.

#1 — Warren Moon

Warren Moon 1989 Pro Set football card

#34 — Earl Campbell

Earl Campbell 1979 Topps football card

#43 — Jim Norton

Jim Norton 1968 Topps football card

#63 — Mike Munchak

Mike Munchak 1989 Pro Set football card

#65 — Elvin Bethea

Elvin Bethea 1970 Topps football card

#74 — Bruce Matthews

Bruce Matthews 1990 Fleer football card

Dick Butkus 1972 Topps football card

Retired NFL Jersey Numbers: NFC North

Since it’s the off-season I thought I’d start a fun project involving NFL history. So I’m going to go division by division and post football card galleries (when available) featuring all NFL players who have had their jersey numbers retired by their teams. This week it’s the four squads of the NFC North — the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings.

Previous galleries: AFC EastNFC East, AFC North

Chicago Bears (13)

#3 — Bronko Nagurski

Bronko Nagurski 1935 National Chicle football card

#5 — George McAfee

George McAfee 1948 Leaf football card

#7 — George Halas

George Halas 1952 Bowman football card

I couldn’t find a card from Halas’s playing days, but how could I leave off Papa Bear?

#28 — Willie Galimore

Willie Galimore 1959 Topps football card

Galimore was killed in an automobile accident on July 27, 1964 in Rensselaer, Indiana at the age of 29 with teammate Bo Farrington.

#34 — Walter Payton

Walter Payton 1975 Topps football card

#40 — Gale Sayers

Gale Sayers 1971 Topps football card

#41 — Brian Piccolo

Brian Piccolo 1965 Topps football card

Piccolo died of cancer in 1970 at age 26, and was famously portrayed by James Caan in the made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song.

#42 — Sid Luckman

Sid Luckman 1948 Leaf football card

#51 — Dick Butkus

Dick Butkus 1974 Topps football card

#56 — Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt 1989 Goal Line football card

#61 — Bill George

Bill George 1960 Topps football card

#66 — Clyde “Bulldog” Turner

Clyde "Bulldog" Turner 1951 Bowman football card

#77 — Red Grange

Red Grange 2006 Donruss football card

Detroit Lions (6)

#7 — Dutch Clark

Dutch Clark 1935 National Chicle football card

#20 — Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders 1990 Pro Set football card

#22 — Bobby Layne

Bobby Layne 1954 Bowman football card

#37 — Doak Walker

Doak Walker 1951 Bowman football card

#56 — Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt 1959 Topps football card

#85 — Chuck Hughes

Hughes, who played in Philadelphia and Detroit, never saw much action at his wide receiver position — he caught a total of 15 passes in his pro career in fact. His number was retired because on October 24, 1971 he collapsed during a game against the Bears and died from a blood clot that completely cut the circulation to his heart. To date, Hughes is the only NFL player to die on the field during a game.

There are no football cards bearing Hughes’ likeness that I’m aware of. There are photos of the scene on the field after he collapsed, but I’m not really interested in sharing them. They’re out there if you want to look.

Green Bay Packers (5)

#3 — Tony Canadeo

Tony Canadeo 1951 Bowman football card

#14 — Don Hutson

Don Hutson Goal Line football card

#15 — Bart Starr

Bart Starr 1963 Topps football card

#66 — Ray Nitschke

Ray Nitschke 1963 Topps football card

#92 — Reggie White

Reggie White 1996 Pro Line football card

Minnesota Vikings (6)

#10 — Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton 1965 Philadelphia football card

#53 — Mick Tingelhoff

Mick Tingelhoff 1971 Topps football card

#70 — Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall 1977 Topps football card

#77 — Korey Stringer

Korey Stringer 1995 College Choice football card

Stringer died in August 2001 from complications brought on by heat stroke during the Vikings’ training camp in Mankato, Minnesota. He was 27.

#80 — Cris Carter

Cris Carter 1991 Pro Set football card

#88 — Alan Page

Alan Page 1972 Topps football card

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    "Conan dubbed-scene com", "Conan Barbarin dubbed-scene com"
Y.A. Tittle 1963 Topps football card (#14, New York Giants)

Retired NFL Jersey Numbers: NFC East

Since it’s the off-season I thought I’d start a fun project involving NFL history. So I’m going to go division by division and post football card galleries (when available) featuring all NFL players who have had their jersey numbers retired by their teams. This week it’s the four squads of the NFC East — the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.

Previous galleries: AFC East

Dallas Cowboys (0)

The Cowboys do not officially retire jersey numbers, opting rather to induct players into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. The Ring, which began in 1975, is made up of the players listed below (as of the end of the 2012 season, in order of induction). Sorry, no cards for the Cowboys, since they insist on being so different.

#74 — Bob Lilly
#17 — Don Meredith
#43 — Don Perkins
#54 — Chuck Howley
#20 — Mel Renfro
#12 — Roger Staubach
#55 — Lee Roy Jordan
#33 — Tony Dorsett
#54 — Randy White
#22 — Bob Hayes
#43 — Cliff Harris
#70 — Rayfield Wright
#8 — Troy Aikman
#88 — Michael Irvin
#22 — Emmitt Smith
#88 — Drew Pearson
#94 — Charles Haley
#73 — Larry Allen

New York Giants (11)

#1 — Ray Flaherty

Ray Flaherty (#1, New York Giants)

Flaherty, whose #1 jersey was the first number retired in NFL history, played before the era of modern football cards.

#4 — Tuffy Leemans

Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans (#4, New York Giants)

Same goes for RB Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans.

#7 — Mel Hein

Mel Hein 1955 Topps football card

I couldn’t find any Giants cards for Hall of Famer Mel Hein (who retired in 1945), but this 1955 Topps showing him from Washington State is very nice.

#11 — Phil Simms

Phil Simms 1989 Score football card

#14 — Y. A. Tittle

Y.A. Tittle 1963 Topps football card

#16 — Frank Gifford

Frank Gifford 1956 Topps football card

#32 — Al Blozis

New York Giants 1942 game program feat. Al Blozis (#32)

Blozis only played for two full seasons for the Giants, 1942 and 1943. After a lengthy attempt to join the U.S. Army, he was finally inducted on December 9, 1943. In January 1945 his platoon was in the Vosges Mountains of France scouting enemy lines. When two of his men failed to return from a patrol, he went in search of them alone. Blozis never returned. He was first listed as missing, but in April 1945 his death was confirmed. His jersey retirement, therefore, was a posthumous honor.

#40 — Joe Morrison

Joe Morrison 1965 Philadelphia football card

#42 — Charlie Conerly

Charlie Conerly 1959 Topps football card

#50 — Ken Strong

Ken Strong 1935 National Chicle football card

#56 — Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor 1984 Topps football card

Philadelphia Eagles (9)

#5 — Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb 2003 Topps football card

#15 — Steve Van Buren

Steve Van Buren 1950 Bowman football card

#20 — Brian Dawkins

Brian Dawkins 2005 Upper Deck football card

#40 — Tom Brookshier

Tom Brookshier 1961 Topps football card

#44 — Pete Retzlaff

Pete Retzlaff 1960 Topps football card

#60 — Chuck Bednarik

Chuck Bednarik 1958 Topps football card

#70 — Al Wistert

Al Wistert 1951 Bowman football card

#92 — Reggie White

Reggie White 1989 Pro Set football card

#99 — Jerome Brown

Jerome Brown 1990 Fleer football card

Jerome Brown played five seasons for the Eagles before his death on June 25, 1992, following an automobile accident in Brooksville, Florida. He was 27 years old.

Washington Redskins (1)

#33 — Sammy Baugh

Sammy Baugh 1948 Leaf football card

The Redskins have not officially retired any jersey numbers since Hall of Fame quarterback Slingin’ Sammy Baugh retired in 1952.

1960 Republican National Convention

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 9 — Republican National Conventions

As the GOP prepares to party in Tampa and nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to take on Barack Obama this November, I thought I’d take a look at Republican National Conventions gone by. Here’s a selection of vintage photographs from GOP pow-wows starting with 1908 and ending with 1976.

1908 — Chicago (William Howard Taft)

Republican National Convention, Coliseum, Chicago, June 16, 1908

Republican National Convention, Coliseum, Chicago, June 16, 1908

1912 — Chicago (William Howard Taft)

California Suffragettes - Isabella Blaney, Mary Willmarth, and Jane Addams

California Suffragettes – Isabella Blaney, Mary Willmarth, and Jane Addams

1916 – Chicago (Charles Evans Hughes)

1916 Republican National Convention, Chicago

1916 Republican National Convention, Chicago

1920 — Chicago (Warren G. Harding)

Republican National Convention, 1920

Republican National Convention, 1920

1936 — Cleveland (Alf Landon)

1936 Republican National Convention - Alf Landon Supporters

1936 Republican National Convention – Alf Landon Supporters

1940 — Philadelphia (Wendell Willkie)

1940 Republican National Convention

1940 Republican National Convention

1944 — Chicago (Thomas E. Dewey)

1944 Republican National Convention

1944 Republican National Convention – Thomas E. Dewey Supporters

1948 — Philadelphia (Thomas E. Dewey)

National Councilman John E. Jackson attending the Republican Convention.

National Councilman John E. Jackson attending the Republican Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

1952 — Chicago (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois

Attendees at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois

1956 — San Francisco (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Attendees at the 1956 Republican National Convention, San Francisco, California

Attendees at the 1956 Republican National Convention, San Francisco, California

1960 — Chicago (Richard M. Nixon)

1960 Republican National Convention

1960 Republican National Convention – Scene after Nixon wins the nomination.

1964 — San Francisco (Barry Goldwater)

Supporters of Barry Goldwater waving signs at 1964 Republican National Convention.

Supporters of Barry Goldwater waving signs at 1964 Republican National Convention, San Francisco.

1968 — Miami Beach

1968 Republican National Convention

NBC News correspondent John Chancellor interviewing California Governor Ronald Reagan.

1972 — Miami Beach

1972 Republican National Convention

(L-R) Sammy Davis Jr., David and Julie Eisenhower, Tricia and Ed Cox attending the 1972 Republican National Convention.

1976 — Kansas City (Gerald Ford)

President Gerald Ford's supporters at the Republican National Convention, Kansas City, Missouri

President Gerald Ford’s supporters at the Republican National Convention, Kansas City, Missouri

Movies That Defined My Youth, Part 3

Waaaay back in 2007 I looked back at five flicks that made a big impact on me during my formative years. The next year I ran through four more. And today I drag out another five. Let’s reminisce!

Better Off Dead (1985) — There is not one part of this movie that isn’t 100% awesome, even more than 25 years later. This Savage Steve Holland masterpiece was perfectly cast and written, which makes its more surreal vignettes feel like integral parts of the movie instead of just absurd asides. It never really sunk in when I was a kid that this was a pretty dark film. Hell, the lead character (John Cusack as Lane Meyer) spends most of the it trying to kill himself. Over a breakup. Fortunately he fails and gets to see an Eddie Van Halen-esque hamburger wailing a Frankenstrat to “Everybody Wants Some!!”? Genius.

Cusack reportedly told Holland that Better Off Dead was, “the worst thing I have ever seen. I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me.” I wonder what he said to the guy who directed Martian Child?

Stand By Me (1986) — Hey, more John Cusack! Well, with or without him, is this not one of the greatest movies ever? And fellas, how many of you said to yourself as you watched this, “man, my friends suck compared to these kids”?

Rob Reiner could do no wrong in the ’80s, and it certainly helped that he had great source material to work with here (Stephen King’s short story “The Body”). All I know is that between him and the cast, I was absolutely transported to Castle Rock, Oregon in the summer of 1959. I felt like I was in that clubhouse playing cards and looking at nudie magazines. And I was there when Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern busted their asses to find that dead kid’s body.

I really wish I had skipped out on that last part. Still, great movie and another one I cherish to this day.

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Well that wasn’t so scary: GFS goes to the opera

Like most people my age, my main exposure to opera has been through Bugs Bunny cartoons like “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “Rabbit of Seville”.  The genius of those shorts was that they took high art and made it into something even attention span-challenged American kids could enjoy.  But I imagine they spurred a greater interest in opera for only a very few.

So it was for me.  I always thought of opera as something other, unattainable and likely too difficult to enjoy.  I can hang with a foreign film once in a while, but the thought of watching people singing in Italian or German while wearing tights was too much to take.  I guess I always just regarded it as Broadway with more elaborate costumes and different languages.

Classical music was a different story – while I still haven’t grasped its many forms and intricacies, at its heart its just music.  And I love music.  But opera?  Sorry man, I just don’t have the time.

No, not that Othello

But I decided to make time last week, and so I headed to Philly to catch the closing night of the Opera Company of Philadelphia‘s production of Otello.  I had no idea what to expect, and even less idea if I’d enjoy myself.  Lo and behold, it wasn’t bad at all.  In fact it was pretty damn good.    What changed my mind?

First off, let’s address the language barrier.  Otello is sung in Italian, which makes sense since it was written by the great Giuseppe Verdi.  Now you might have an idea of the story if you’ve read Shakespeare’s Othello, on which the opera is based.  But that doesn’t mean you can follow everything.  That problem was solved by a long, rectangular screen above the stage that flashed the English translation of the words.

I had mixed feelings about this at first.  At first I was a little sad that modern opera audiences seemingly need to have their hands held in such a manner.  But then again, understanding what the performers were singing most definitely allowed me to become more engaged in the story.  And ultimately that’s what any art form is supposed to do – draw you in and allow you to become invested.  So rather than just focusing on the sets or the singing, I could connect with the story.

Speaking of the singing, that was the second thing to win me over.  Now I wasn’t surprised in the least that an opera staged by a reputable production company had good singing, but I was thoroughly impressed by the performances I heard.  In a world overrun by soulless, auto-tuned melisma, hearing real professionals practice their craft is refreshing.

This Otello

In particular, Mark Delavan’s Iago and Clifton Forbis’ Otello were the kind of commanding, powerful vocal performances you just can’t get from most forms of music.  Norah Amsellem’s (Desdemona) soaring soprano took a little while to hit its stride, but really shone in the final act.

I came away from Otello wondering why it took me so long to finally dive into opera.  Really, once you get past any cultural bias you may have against it, it really is just another form of entertainment – not all that different from live music of movies.  In fact it’s a pretty compelling blend of the two.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the venue.  I saw Otello at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music, which opened its doors in 1857.  It’s a beautiful structure, and contributes greatly to the atmosphere of a performance.  If you have the chance to visit Philly, try to see the structure.  And if you can catch a performance there, even better.  One word of caution – if you buy cheap seats like I did, make sure to take the elevator.