Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
On this Friday before Christmas, I wanted to again post one of my favorite holiday cartoons. Although some of the imagery in this film seems a bit dark for a holiday cartoon, the message is always relevant. This short was released in 1939, when Europe was either on the brink of or already at war, many in the U.S. were not interested in reliving the horrors of World War I, and the Japanese had not yet attacked Pearl Harbor. From the Internet Archive, here is Peace On Earth.
I'll be taking a break for a week, but I'll back in the new year.
I'll be taking a break for a week, but I'll back in the new year.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Swing and Beyond tells of how, on an "excessively hot" afternoon in the Summer of 1945, singer Mel Torme drove to Bob Wells' house in the San Fernando Valley. He walked into the house, and found the following words written on a pad resting on the piano:
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
When Wells appeared, Torme asked him about the little poem. It was so hot, Wells said "I thought I’d write something to cool myself off. All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather." Torme said "This might make a song." A year later, Nat King Cole recorded "The Christmas Song," and the rest is musical history.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Vintage Everyday posted this list of the top Christmas gifts sold by Macy's in 1948. Lots of apparel on the list, including shirts, ties, nylons; as well as items like pearl necklaces, whisky and music.
Friday, December 15, 2017
More than 15 years before Rankin Bass screened their animated version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on television, Jam Handy released this animated short of the same story directed by Max Fleischer. From the Internet Archive, here is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
In 1937, Sir Malcolm Campbell set a new world water speed record of 129.50 mph in his Bluebird K3 hydroplane, and the following year, he broke the 130 mph mark at 130.91 mph with the same boat. Hemmings Motor News reported that now, 80 years after the vessel's last record, it has returned to the water. After a 20-year-long restoration by current owner Karl Foulkes-Halbard, the Bluebird K3 managed a speed of 52 mph in a test on Bewl Water in Kent, U.K., in early September in Kent, U.K.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Dull Tool Dim Bulb posted this series of four drawings with watercolor from around 1940. The artist was a Ms. Lucy Moose, and these portraits show men in various poses. Aside from being well dressed by today's standards (such attire would have been common for many men back then), all these gentlemen appear to be pretty relaxed. Not a lot of action here. These guys are just hanging out.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Here is another find from the Nashville Flea Market in October. Straight from the New Deal, this is a metal National Recovery Administration (NRA) sign. The NRA (no, not the National Rifle Association) was a federal agency created during the New Deal to help the country recover from the Great Depression, and businesses would hang these signs to show that they were participating in NRA programs. It appeared to be original, and I have not found any reproductions available. The asking price was $75. Interestingly, I found another such sign in similar condition at another booth for $80. I had not seen even one, much less two, of these signs prior to this occasion.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
As a time traveler, "Whiz" Wilson has a unique approach. He does not just handle whatever problem he finds in the present time with the tools available, nor does he jump back in time to prevent the problem from arising. Instead, he jumps to the future, borrows advanced weaponry, and returns to defeat his foes with technological superiority. Pappy's Golden Age Comic Blogzine posted this story from 1941.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Here is a set of publicity photos of Marlene Dietrich, posted on Vintage Everyday, taken during the filming of No Highway In The Sky in 1948. One of my favorite films, in addition to Ms. Dietrich it starred James Stewart, Jack Hawkins and Glynis Johns. Ms. Dietrich played a glamorous movie star (typecasting?) who becomes intrigued by a sincere but eccentric aviation engineer played by Stewart, who believes the aircraft in which they travel will crash at a specific time.
Monday, December 4, 2017
The Star of the Month on TCM for December is Lana Turner, with her movies playing every Tuesday. With the holidays upon us, there are plenty of chances for seasonal cheer with some favorite films, and I noticed a series of World War II films on Friday, December 8, including Casablanca and This Land Is Mine. Full schedule here.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
I'm adding a new series to the blog: Finds. Occasionally, I get the chance to hit the odd antique store, estate sale or flea market. Whether I buy anything or not, I often see some pretty interesting items from the Swing Era, and I often learn something new when I do. Case in point: this 1940 RCA Victrola Wireless Record Player I found last month at the Nashville Flea Market. Yes, you read that correctly - "Wireless" record player. This unit has no speakers, and other than a power cord, no cables or cords to connect it to any other device. How do you hear the music? This device sends the audio from the record, via its own internal radio transmitter, to any nearby AM radio tuned to that frequency. Yes, well before Bluetooth and Mr. Microphone, folks could hear their music transmitted wirelessly from one device to another. Prior to finding this item, I had no clue that such things existed. Apparently they were manufactured by several companies from 1939 to 1942.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Friday, November 17, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Tune into the Swing Shift Shuffle tonight for our WEVL Fall Pledge Drive Special entitled "Recurring Themes." In modern popular music, it would be very unusual for one top recording artist to release a song, and then have another top artist release the same song within a relatively short period of time. Such an occurrence was not unusual in the 1930s-1940s, however, as many different artists would record the same song, usually with different arrangements, and sometimes even writing lyrics to transform an instrumental hit into a vocal. Tonight, I'll be playing popular songs from the Swing Era recorded by various artists in different styles, often not the performers most associated with the song today. Tune in, swing out and make a pledge to WEVL for our Fall Pledge Drive. As an appetizer, here is Artie Shaw and His Orchestra performing "In The Mood," a song primarily associated with Glenn Miller.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Well, the poster says it all, which is what a poster should do. Don't miss the Rhodes College Swing Dance Night, next Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center. Free lessons with the Red Hot Lindy Hop at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted on Rivet Head, this Kodachrome photo gives us a nice color look at some Bonneville Salt Flats racers in the late 1940s. The featured racer is a classic "belly tank" car, made from a war surplus auxiliary aircraft fuel tank.
Friday, November 3, 2017
This cartoon is another variation on a standard theme from the era. The family pet is on its last chance. Any more noise, messes, trouble, etc., and out it goes. Then a cute little animal, or trio of animals in this case, show up to cause havoc. The family pet struggles to protect the newcomer, while taking the blame for its damage. Warner Bros did it. MGM did it. Here, from the Internet Archive, is Famous Studios' version: Hector's Hectic Life.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Happy Halloween from Yvonne DeCarlo, courtesy of Film Noir Photos. Considering that one of Ms. DeCarlo's most famous roles later in life was Lily Munster in The Munsters, this image from earlier in her career seemed even more appropriate for Halloween.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Friday, October 27, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Streamline recently reviewed the 1939 version of Raffles, the story of an upper class cricket player, A.J. Raffles, whose nighttime persona is "The Amateur Cracksman," a brilliant jewel thief. In the title role, David Niven manages to play cricket, hit all the high society parties, steal jewels, elude the police and give away the loot to those who need help. The 1930 version of the same film starred Ronald Coleman in the same role. I have seen both films, and both are enjoyable.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Well, this is what I get for not paying attention. I just found out that the 2017 Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival is going on right now through October 29. There are events going on every night this week, including art shows, lectures, jam sessions and movies all over town celebrating one of the biggest musical talents to come out of Memphis. Check out the site and see if you can join in the fun.