Beautiful 1949 San Francisco Seals Baseball Program

In the fall of 1949, just four years after the end of World War II,  the U.S. and Japan were on their way to rebuilding the bridges that had literally and figuratively been burnt since 1941. One of the first steps on that road to friendship was a goodwill tour bringing American baseball to the Land of the Rising Sun.

In October, a man named Lefty O’Doul was responsible for organizing a baseball tour featuring the team he managed at the time — the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The tour was a huge hit and contributed at least some small part to Japan’s passion for America’s pastime.

Just one of the many pieces of ephemera from the Seals’ Japanese tour is this fantastic game program. Here are a few images from that program, including the gorgeous front and back covers.

1949 San Francisco Seals Baseball Program

Front Cover – English

1949 San Francisco Seals Baseball Program

Welcome Page

1949 San Francisco Seals Baseball Program

Front Cover – Japanese

For more of your vintage program needs, make sure to visit The Press Room!

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The Stranger (1946) poster detail

GFS Home Movies: The Stranger (1946)

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 of Harper, Connecticut; a place that seems infinitely more appealing to hide than Venezuela. Not that I’d know anything about that.

The Stranger (1946) posterAfter a near-fatal encounter with Meinike, Wilson happens upon prep school teach Charles Rankin (Welles), who is set to marry the daughter of a Supreme Court justice. Once Wilson’s suspicions about Rankin are aroused, he ever so slowly begins the draw a net around him. That’s about as much as I want to touch on the plot.

While The Stranger is one of Welles’ more successful box office outings, I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed by it. We’re asked to make a few too many leaps in regards to the character of Mary Longstreet Rankin (Loretta Young), Rankin’s increasingly distraught new bride.

I also had trouble swallowing just how easily Mr. Wilson was able to ingratiate himself to just about everyone in Harper within a few days of his arrival. Essentially, Anthony Veiller’s screenplay was just a bit too lazy and convenient for my liking.

That said, there are enough high points in the movie to make it worth seeing. Welles — whose charisma pulses from the screen decades after the fact — has always been one of my favorite actors and he doesn’t let me down here. The choice of Edward G. Robinson as his nemesis was a brilliant one; his breezily sardonic style the perfect counterpoint to Welles’ almost primal masculinity. I also got a kick out of Billy House’s turn as Mr. Potter, the town’s jovial town clerk/drug store owner/busybody.

Behind the camera, there are some flashes of brilliance in Russell Metty’s cinematography, and I enjoyed Bronisław Kaper’s scoring.

There are two scenes in The Stranger that are worthy of further examination. The first takes place during a dinner at Judge Longstreet’s house. When the topic of Germany’s post-war reform is raised, Welles delivers a scathing, thoroughly convincing excoriation of the entire German nation, stating in so many words that nothing short of full extermination — of a kind not unlike the one they practiced in World War II — would silence their warlike nature once and for all.

The second takes place later in the movie, when Wilson confronts Mary with the truth about her new husband. To convince her about the extent of Kindler’s crimes, he shows her film footage of newly liberated concentration camps. I was both surprised and impressed that Welles included actual footage — although he spared us some of the more brutal scenes — of camps in the movie. I wonder how much of Loretta Young’s reaction was real, given that the footage was still so new and raw.

Despite being a bit uneven in places and little ragged in the plot department, The Stranger packs enough punch and boasts enough star power to make it worth seeing.

M3 Tank and Crew Using Small Arms, Ft. Knox, Ky., 1942

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 39: M3 Tank and Crew Using Small Arms, Ft. Knox, Ky., 1942

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.

M3 Tank and Crew Using Small Arms, Ft. Knox, Ky., 1942

Photo credit: Alfred T. Palmer, Office of War Information, June 1942.

I’m no firearms expert, but the soldier in the front left looks to be holding a Thompson M1 submachine gun with drum magazine.

Vintage photo: Papier-mache cow in Australia, 1944

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 33: Papier-mâché Cow in Australia, 1944

I have no reason for sharing this photo, other than the fact that it’s so random and so odd that it must be seen. It comes to us via the Australian War Memorial’s collection, and shows a rather unique scene from the Australian home front.

Vintage photo: Papier-mache cow in Australia, 1944

Why yes, I am tying a papier-mache cow to my car. What of it?

This odd photo was shot on February 29, 1944 by the Herald Newspaper in Melbourne, Victoria. Here is the description, which makes no note of the priceless expression on the face of the woman walking by the car:

A papier-mache cow, used for milking demonstrations at the Werribee experimental farm, being tied on to the luggage carrier of Mrs. Mellor’s car for transport to the farm. Mrs. Mellor is a Field Officer in charge of the Women’s Land Army Mont Park training depot.

Captain America #1, March 1941

A Gallery of World War II Superhero Comic Book Covers

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!

Action Comics #63, August 1943

Action Comics #63, August 1943

Captain Marvel Adventures #10, May 1942

Captain Marvel Adventures #10, May 1942

The Black Terror #12, August 1945

The Black Terror #12, August 1945

Human Torch (1940) #5, Summer 1941

Human Torch (1940) #5, Summer 1941

Captain Midnight #2, November 1942

Captain Midnight #2, November 1942

 

Captain Marvel Jr. #12, October 1943

Captain Marvel Jr. #12, October 1943

Batman #30, August/September 1945

Batman #30, August/September 1945

Fighting Yank #4, June 1943

Fighting Yank #4, June 1943

Captain America #1, March 1941

Captain America #1, March 1941

America's Best Comics #10, July 1944

America’s Best Comics #10, July 1944

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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.

Jersey Homestead Garment Factory Bus, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 23: Going to the Garment Factory, 1936

Thanks to the new focus of my Vintage Photo Wednesday series on New Jersey, I’m learning some really interesting things about my home state. For instance, the town of Roosevelt — located roughly 20 miles east of Trenton — was established as Jersey Homesteads in 1937 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s many New Deal initiatives. So you can probably guess where the name came from.

Here’s an excerpt on the history of Roosevelt from Rutgers University:

In early 1933, Title II, Section 208, of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) created the Division of Subsistence Homesteads, the purpose of which was to decentralize industry from congested cities and enable workers to improve their standards of living through the help of subsistence agriculture. Jersey Homesteads was unique, however, in that it was the only community planned as an agro-industrial cooperative which included a farm, factory and retail stores, and it was the only one established specifically for urban Jewish garment workers, many of whom were committed socialists.

That factory (emphasis mine) was in fact a garment factory, and is documented through numerous photos available from the Library of Congress. While the factory and the co-op ultimately failed to last through World War II, it nonetheless is a fascinating glimpse into my state’s past.

So today’s photo, while it doesn’t show the factory, shows a group of people (presumably workers and their families) on their way to the factory on opening day. It was taken in August 1936. Click for the full size.

Jersey Homestead Garment Factory Bus, 1936

A few fun details to point out:

  • The make of this moving truck is Studebaker.
  • I love the pioneer theme on the homemade “Jersey Homesteaders” sign.
  • The H. Levinson moving company was located at 808 Blake Ave. in Brooklyn, New York. This is confirmed by the “B’N” abbreviation and the telephone number (DIckens 2-4173). DIckens 2, aka 342, was the Brooklyn exchange number starting after December 1930. The company does not appear to be in existence anymore.

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Note: The LoC entries all cite the location of Jersey Homesteads as Hightstown, but I’m not entirely certain why. The two towns are close together, but all the history of Jersey Homesteads I’ve seen make no mention of Hightstown.

Detroit car makers produce for World War II (1942)

Time Capsule: Vintage Detroit Car Maker World War II Production Photos

As part of a larger story in its August 17, 1942 issue on strife within between Detroit’s car makers and their labor union member workers, Life magazine captured some excellent photographs of Motor City manufacturers in the midst of wartime production. The pictures, taken by staff photographer William Vandivert, captured a rare moment in modern American history — when the nation’s vast commercial manufacturing muscle was flexed to produce machinery (planes and bombers) for World War II.

Seen here are images from Ford, Chrysler, and Chevrolet plants in Detroit, Michigan. Click on any photo for a larger version.

Detroit car makers produce for World War II (1942)

The exterior of the Chevrolet Gear and Axle plant, the union car on the street.

Detroit car makers produce for World War II (1942)

Ford aviation plant workers constructing a B-24 heavy bomber.

Detroit car makers produce for World War II (1942)

The assembly line at the Chrysler tank arsenal changing over from M3 to M4 while the line continues moving.

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