Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love Life and Lipstick

This ad is surprisingly clear; 'Good for a short time only'

Locked Up for the crime of LOVE!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1950's American Slang Word of the Day #4

The definitions for the 1950's slang word of the day come word for word straight out of 'The pocket dictionary of American Slang' pub.1960 and compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner.

The 1950's American Slang Word of the Day is :

Cat. adj. Drunk. n. 1. A Spiteful woman; A malicious gossip. coloqu. 2. A Lion, a Tiger, a Leopard or any other member of the cat family. circus use. 3. A man who dresses in the latest fashions and pursues women. A dude. A Sport, one who Tomcats, one who is worldly, wise, or Hep. Probably from "Alligator", "Gator", "Gate", and then corrupted to "Cat", reinforced by "Tomcat". Mostly Negro use. 4. A Jazz musician associated with and popularized by Swing use.
Wide bop use but cool and far out musicians are not referred to as cats by their devotees. Fairly well known general use since c.1940. 5. A Devotee of Jive and Swing, a hepcat, jive and swing use 1935-1942. 6. A devotee or any member of a group that is or anyone that appreciates bop, cool, far out, or beat. Anyone who is a member of the avante garde of music, art or literature. Any Non conformist, specifically a hipster. used by members of these groups since c.1950 and fairly common general use since c.1955 mainly owing to the sensational newspaper articles about hipsters and the beat generation,. 7. A man, a fellow or guy. Any human being. 1. To court or seek women for sexual reasons. To consort with prostitutes or promiscuous women. 2. To gossip, to make disparaging remarks 3. To loaf or idle. To spend ones time idling on street corners. Some teenage street gang use since c.1950 .

Example: "Hey Chooch, that guy Paulo is a real smooth Cat. He a friend of yours?"

Clarification: "Hey Charles, that young man Paul is quite a polished and refined gentleman. Is he someone that you know well?"

A Golden Cure

I know that this particular post has nothing to do with the 1950's but it's quite interesting and I'm sharing it anyway.

"Drunkenness is a Disease and I can Cure it!"

This was the famous slogan of Leslie E. Keeley, a civil war surgeon who announced his "cure" for alcoholism in 1879.

Keeleys cure consisted of gradually tapered off doses of whiskey : eight ounces the first day, six ounces the second, four ounces the third and (by God!) none from then on. Four times a day he (the patient) gets "gold chloride" injections and every two hours he takes a "tonic".*
Knowing what I know about alcoholism, the treatment must have been rather uncomfortable. The Keeley Institute was opened in 1880 for persons addicted to the "immoderate" use of alcohol and opium. The cure treatment was centered on the the "gold chloride" injections which were of a secret preparation.

Keeley's cure became world renown.

According to a Time magazine article printed on September 25th, 1939;

" Keeley clubs flourished all over the U. S., proud Keeley alumni sported shiny gold buttons, preached excitingly confessional sermons to female temperance societies. The same article stated that " Keeley stoutly boasts that it has cured 17,000 drunken doctors since it first opened its doors." Drunken Doctors? Wow. People believed in this treatment. Bi Chloride of Gold clubs were organized by patients in 1881. They met every morning, greeted trainloads of newly arriving alcoholics, heard speeches from members and read letters from graduates filled with encouragement. Branches of the club held services, concerts and fundraisers for poverty stricken alcoholics. State governments were petitioned to pass Keeley Laws that provided funding for chronic inibriates who could not pay for treatment on their own.

At one time there were over 200 branches of the Keeley Institute across the united states and Europe. Injections of the secret concoction of gold had been administered to over 300,000 people! Reports varied widely as to the real identity of the ingredients in the gold injection. Strychnine, alcohol, apomorphine, willow bark, ammonia and atropine were among the suggested chemicals. It was proven that there was never any "gold" in the injections, but by this time the hope that he had instilled in thousands of people had done it's job. It really didn't matter that there wasn't any real gold at the end of the rainbow.

Keeley had managed
to change the the American collective of thought that Alcoholism was the product of weak will, sin or just plain lacking in morals.

Friday, January 29, 2010

1950's American Slang Word of the Day #3

Our 1950's American Slang Word of the Day is"

Jungle. n. 1. a hobo camp and rendevous, usu. a clear space in a thicket (for fuel) near a railroad (for transportation), and ideally also near water and on the outskirts of the city. 2. a gathering place for the unemployed of a city often near the dumping ground and usu. equipped with homemade shacks or huts for those with no place else to live. 3. Any busy crowded working district in a city; the business pursued in such an area, esp. if characterized by keen competition and a lack of ethics.-s. 1. open country; woods 2. Rural districts, the sticks.

Example: "Bob's been staying in a van in the Jungle, last I heard anyhow."
Clarification: "Robert has been living in a van down by the river, last I heard anyhow."

Twilight Zone: "Nothing In the Dark"

"You see. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning."

photo from the twilight zone museum

Of all the Twilight Zone episodes, this is my very favorite. I become so absorbed in the acting of both Gladys Cooper and a very young Robert Redford, that I actually get tingles. I get TINGLES all over. Gladys plays the part of Wanda Dunn. She is old and absolutely horrified at the prospect of death. She has kept herself locked away in an old tenement house for years, forgotten by everyone but a grocery delivery boy whom she leaves a list and money for every week. Gladys plays the part of Wanda in such a way that you can actually feel her terror and empathize with her fear of dying. You can't help but want to reach out to her and cradle her in your I a wacko because I get so into old twilight zone episodes? I don't think so, I'm not the only one who appreciates them and the wonderful legacy Rod Serling left behind for us. Anyhow..
Wanda is alone as usual and suddenly she hears a gunshot and a police whistle. Startled and frightened by the noise she carefully peers out the door and sees a handsome young police officer (Robert Redford) lying on the cold ground in the lightly falling snow. He calls out to Wanda and begs her to help. He tells her he has been shot and that unless she helps him he will bleed to death and die. Wanda is terribly afraid to venture outside the safety of her apartment and explains that she knows he is trying to trick her, that she just can't help him. She has not removed the chain lock from the door and tells him she will close the door if he moves.

He pleads with her that his name is Harold Beldon and he needs a doctor and he doesn't understand why she wont help him. Wanda say's that she doesn't have a telephone. "I can't unlock the door...You can't ask me to do that, I know who you are!" she cries.

"You're not going to help me?" he says as she begins to shut the door, "You're going to let me die? I don't understand! HURTS! it HURTS!" he begs, struggling for breath with every word. Wanda is obviously torn. She is afraid to open the door but she can't let this young man die. She sobs quietly, "It isn't fair, It isn't fair!" as she carefully slides the chain lock open.
She carefully reaches out to Officer Beldon and is shocked and surprised when she touches him and comes to the realization that she still lives.
With renewed vigor she struggles to help him rise and guides him inside. Some time has passed and we find that Wanda has nursed mr. Beldon enough that he feels much better.  She hums happily to herself while she prepares Tea for him and busies herself with setting it up. Harold says "Now listen, you should try and get some rest. Really, I feel much better. When the Doctor gets here, he can take me off your hands." Wanda casts her eyes down ashamedly. "You didn't call the Doctor?" he asks her, and she shakes her head like a little child caught in the act of a bad deed. "Why not?" Harold asks. "I haven't got a telephone." She tells him.  She goes on to explain that there are no neighbors either and that they've all moved away, "Trucks came and took away their furniture, first one and then another." She justifies her reason for not finding a telephone with the fact that she couldn't take the chance and let the Doctor in anyhow, because "He might be Him..." Officer Beldon questions this and she explains that she has been in this tenement house for years, never going outside because she believes that "Mr. Death" is waiting for her.  He is trying to get in.  "He's clever." she says. "He knows I'm on to him."  He comes as a different person all of the time.  She tells Harold that a long time ago she saw an old woman knitting on the bus in front of her. A young man got on the bus too and the old woman seemed upset with his presence. She dropped her yarn and their fingers touched when he picked it up and held it out to her, the young man got out at the next stop. By the time the bus reached the end of the line, the old woman was dead.  She goes on to tell Harold that she has seen Mr Death since, several times. " Every time I knew someone who died, he was there. Once he was a young soldier, a salesman, a taxi driver..."  Officer Beldon tries to reason with her and tells her she shouldn't live like this. Wanda says "If I don't live like this, I wont live at all."
While they sit together Wanda talks to him about her life. Gladys plays such a perfect part during this scene especially. She says "I'm old, but I don't want to die. I'd rather live in the dark than not live at all." tears glisten in her eyes and my heart swells up to huge size.
Suddenly the demolition man comes to the door and Harold talks wanda through her fear of opening it. She opens it and she is so overcome by her fear of him that she faints.
Finally Wanda awakens with the gentle coaxing of the Demolition man. He tells her he is going to demolish the tenement and that she has to leave. She tells him she cant go. He explains that the place is falling apart so badly that he is surprised it still stands.  He feels sad for her but can't help that it is his job. He says that if she isn't gone when he comes back to do the job, he will get the police.
She suddenly realizes that Officer Beldon IS a police officer. "Explain to him, tell him the reason I can't go out there." she asks Harold who doesn't answer. The Demolition man asks her what she is doing. "Mr. Beldon is a police officer" she says, but demolition man isn't phased and leaves her with the warning that she better get her stuff and leave.
Now Wanda knows what has happened. "YOU...!" she says. "He looked right at you and didn't see you!!"she cries. Harold tells her to look in the mirror. Wanda sees that he is not reflected in the mirror. "You tricked me!" she says angrily.  Now this is my all time favorite scene of just about any movie, television show, play....ever. Harold explains to Wanda that he didn't come to hurt her. "Am I really so bad, so frightening? You've talked to me, you confide in me. Have I tried to hurt you?" he asks her. "I had to get you to understand". He stands up and takes a gentle step towards her. "It isn't me you're afraid of. You understand me. what you're afraid of is the unknown." Wanda looks frightened but harold is prepared for this. "Don't be afraid." he tells her, holding his hand up. "But I am afraid!" Wanda answers. "The running is over." Harold tells her and looks at her firmly yet with understanding in his eyes . "It's time to rest." He smiles at her and extends his open hand to her. "Give me your hand." he tells her and here is where my eyes actually start to well up and I get the lump in my throat. "But I don't want to die!" Wanda cries, her tired face showing all of the years of fear in the lines. "Trust me." the young man whom we now know is Mr. Death says gently to her. Wanda shakes her head and swallows hard. "NO....No!"she walks backwards, away from him. Now the part comes where I go from tears welling up and a lump in my throat to tears spilling over and a wracked sob escaping my lips; "Mother....give me your hand." he says, nodding at her and reaching out. (tears are flowing down my cheeks by this point) Wanda reaches out and carefully places her tiny, wrinkled, old hand into his which he gently folds around hers.  He smiles at her kindly. There, you see!" he tells her. "No shock, no engulfment, no tearing asunder...what you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper, what you thought was the end...the beginning." Wanda looks at him with wonder in her eyes. "When will it happen?" she says. "When will we go?"  "Go?" He answers. "Look." he tells her and motions toward her bed.

Wanda sees her body lying dead yet peacefully on the mattress. "We've already begun." he tells her when she looks up at him. Now he leads her out the door and lovingly offers her his arm which she takes and they walk together into the beyond.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1950s American Slang word of the Day #2

The 1950s American Slang word of the day is:

Scene. n. 1. any locale, place or room where cool music devotees gather to hear musicians play. some cool use. 2. Any place where cool people meet, specifically any event which a cool person attends. common cool, far out and beat use.

Example: "Lets cut and run Petey. Like, this is not the scene, hepcat!"

Clarification: "You and I should stop what we are doing and run away, Peter. This is not the place where cool people spend their time, my non-conformist friend."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ex Con Husband

Revealing Romances; I supported my husband

My Dad in some really killer pants and my Aunt Kathleen in a sweet polyester knit; Circa 1966

My Grandfather (Robert McCormick) and smoking friend, shore leave from the SS Saratoga, circa 1945

Monday, January 25, 2010

1950's American Slang of the Day #1

Todays 1950's American slang phrase is:

"Lace (one's) boots" : To put (someone) wise. 1. To inform someone of anothers personal attitude, feelings or ideas; To warn, caution or advise someone. 2. To inform someone of a group attitute, basic concept or point of view, esp. in order generally to enlighten the person or make the person more alert, receptive or hip. Fairly common student and young adult use. In both instances, the person put wise is generally considered of inferior intellect, experience or sensitivity to the speaker. 3. equal to "wise up".

Example: "Somebody needs to lace that boys boots up real tight!"

Clarification: "A person besides myself should enlighten that young man about the rules around here in such a way that he should never forget them."

photo from Square America

I've decided to post an American slang of the day from here on out. I found this great book during one of my thrifting forays; "The pocket dictionary of American Slang". It was published in 1960 and compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner. It took ten years to prepare so a large majority of the 'substandard' language published within was at the height of its popularity during the 1950's. I'm going to open the book with my eyes closed and point to a word or phrase every single day, unless I break a leg or a tooth or something, and post it here.

The highly colored, many flavored words and expressions of every sector of our national life--
the Beat generation, Madison Avenue, the underworld, prizefighters, teenyboppers, addicts,
astronauts, soda-jerks and hobos.

Vivian Vance, A Treasure Uncovered

Listen, for those of you who really do Love Lucy and everything about the show,  (I Love Lucy) there is a GREAT story regarding the beautiful Vivian Vance and a found archive consisting of a scrapbook, tons of photos, memorabilia, etc.  You’ve got to go check it out!  While you’re at it, dig some of the other consistently cool stuff that the ‘In Crowd’ over at I'm Learning To Share!  posts.

The beautiful Vivian Vance

Heed My Warning!

Heed My Warning!

1958 True Secrets magazine

Sound too good to be true? Of course it does..." With a name like National Health it's gotta be the real thing, right? ad: Modern Confessions 1967

When I was a little girl I used to dream of wearing the long, sheer peignoirs (among other things) in these ads. I assumed I wasn't supposed to be looking at the ads considering the fact that they came from my parents bathroom and not the regular pile of household junk mail; ie, Lilian Carter catalogs, so I actually hid them under my mattress! My babysitter found a Fredericks of Hollywood there one day and used it as blackmail against me for what seemed like an eternity.

I wish I'd known this before I decided to quit..

Ladies Home Journal 1956

"May be used secretly for Whiskey, Wine, Beer, Gin, etc."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Thursday Stuff

Troubled by "double chin-itis?"

I thrash about on the floor trying to squeeze into a "Spanx". Someone would probably have to call an ambulance after I got this thing on!

Don't let skepticism delay you!

Trouble Making Grandma

"Trouble Making Grandma" True Story 1954

Every little mother will love her!

I wonder who won these things

Not a cheap tape recorder

Flatters where it matters

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Imagine...24 exclusively different styles exquisitely fashioned by Flavio,
The newest styles such as "The Dancing Waves", "The Oval look" and "The Kennedy Cut"!
                                  I probably would have ordered this back then! I'm confused a little...see the shape that is cut out for the head to fit in? Are your bangs supposed to be all fixed up before you place the "hairstyle" on to see how it looks?

ads n stuff

Twilight Zone Wednesday: The Fever

I asked 16 people yesterday (while I was out running errands) what television series came first to their mind when they think about the 1950's.  12 of them said "Twilight Zone". Funny thing is though, Rod Serlings Twilight Zone wasn't truly shown in the 50's. but the 1960's. The original run began October 2, 1959, two months short of 1960. There were 156 sweet episodes.  I've decided that from now on, every Wednesday I will post a recap of a Twilight Zone episode starting with my first ten favorites. The reason I've chosen"The Fever"as my first post is because not because it's my first favorite but because it was the first one I remember ever seeing as a kid which stirred within me a taste for the "fifth dimension" which has only grown stronger over the years.

I absolutely LOVE the Twilight Zone. I watched every single episode of the series as a kid and have continued to do so, over and over again, as an adult. I own the collection now which happens to be one of the coolest gifts I've ever purchased for myself. I can watch an episode of Twilight Zone that I've seen ten times already and get sucked into it just as I've never seen it before.

There's something about the Twilight Zone that makes it a perfect thing to me.

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man

It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infininity 
It is the middle ground between light and shadow

between science

and superstition, 

 it lies between the pit of man’s fears

and the summit of his knowledge.

This is the dimension of


It is an area which we call...

the Twilight Zone" 

One of my many favorite episodes is "The Fever".  Franklin, a Grumpy old S.O.B. goes out of his way to make sure every one feels just as crappy as he does, especially his doting and loving wife, Flora.  Flora wins a trip to a Las Vegas Casino and is obviously excited with the whole idea. Franklin on the other hand, makes damned sure that Flora knows what a stupid idea the whole thing is and sets about pissing on her parade.  A drunk gives Franklin a coin and pushes him to use it in a slot machine, which, of course, Franklin does. He wins a nice, shiny bunch of Silver Dollars! Flora is pleased and excited for her husband who, in true jerk form, tells her that they are going to keep the money and not spend it back like the rest of the idiots who get sucked into gambling. As they leave the game floor Franklin hears the machine call out to him..."Franklin!"

Franklin and Flora go to bed for the night but Franklin can't sleep worth a damn. The stack of winnings in his mind is growing ever taller. He tosses and turns but finally gets up and grabs the money. Flora awakens and asks him what the deal is, of course, Franklin justifies his actions. He must go downstairs and dispose of the "tainted" money they're carrying.  It's 'highly immoral" and the only way to get rid of it is to send it back from whence it came. "Oh Franklin." Flora says, her B.S. radar sounding obvious in her voice, "You don't really think......." but its quite clear Franklin isn't listening.

Time passes and Flora heads down to see what in Gods name Franklin is up to since he hasn't made an appearance back at the room. Franklin is in bad shape. He is sweating, shaky and extremely worked up.  Flora is clearly horrified by the change in Franklin and obviously concerned about his health. Flora begs Franklin to leave the machine and come upstairs with her and he will have none of it. He becomes mean and tells Flora that he "Hates a Shrew!" that she is giving him "Miserable luck!" Finally after many hours he is about to break down physically. He begs for water and explains to Flora that the machine is bound to pay off soon. The people surrounding him are taken back by his obvious mania. Morning comes and Franklin has lost all but one silver dollar...which Franklin pushes into the slot with anticipation. The machine stands silent, mocking him. Franklin loses it and pushes the machine to the ground.  He screams that the machine has deliberately stolen his dollar and that it owes him. Several men have to control him and remove him from the casino.
Flora tries to calm and soothe her husband while he lies in bed. He explains to her that the machine was "ready to pay off but it deliberately broke down so that it wouldn't have to!" he says. 

"It's not even a machine Flora, it's an entity." he begins to shout,  "It's a thing with a mind and a will of its own. It deliberately broke down, it deliberately broke down!! That, that thing! That monster, that thief! It, it took my last silver dollar Flora! It stole my last silver dollar and broke down!" Flora stares at her husband in disbelief. Suddenly Franklin hears a familiar voice..."Franklin!" the machine speaks to him, "Franklin!" Franklin leaps up in horror and realizes that the machine is following him now. Flora begs Franklin to relax but now he sees the machine in the mirror. "Can't you see it?" he cries.  Franklin backs away, horrified by the machine and breaks through the window; Flora screams as her husbands body falls to the parking lot below.
In the end the slot machine rolls past Franklins broken body and spits out a lone silver dollar which falls next to his outstretched hand.


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