The Null Device
Posts matching tags '1950s'
Weren't the 1950s awesome? Exhibit (a): an American high-school marriage-education textbook (from 1962, though culturally part of the conservative 1950s, before the Communists successfully fluoridated the water supply and brought about what is commonly known as The Nineteen-Sixties):
Exhibit (b): a letter written in 1956 to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover by the editor of a Catholic newspaper, concerning the moral threat posed to America's youth by a young singer named Elvis Presley:
But eyewitnesses have told me that Presley's actions and motions were such as to rouse the sexual passions of teenaged youth. One eye-witness described his actions as “sexual self-gratification on the stage," — another as “a striptease with clothes on." Although police and auxiliaries were there, the show went on. Perhaps the hardened police did not get the import of his motions and gestures, like those of masturbation or riding a microphone.
I do not report idly to the FBI. My last official report to an FBI agent in New York before I entered the U.S. Army resulted in arrest of a saboteur (who committed suicide before his trial). I believe the Presley matter is as serious to U.S. security. I am convinced that juvenile crimes of lust and perversion will follow his show here in La Crosse.
Obscure television programme of the day: Heil Honey I'm Home!. Produced in Britain in 1990, this was intended to be a rediscovered 1950s US sitcom set in Nazi Germany, and concerned with the domestic life of (a fictionalised) Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun and their neighbours, the Goldensteins. The characters are presented in classic 1950s American sitcom tradition; the Hitler character himself comes across as a loud, oafish guy, a sort of Fred Flintstone in Nazi drag, Eva Braun is a traditional housewife, and the Goldensteins are cantankerous schmucks, apparently from somewhere in Brooklyn.
Not surprisingly, the programme turned out to be controversial and was scrapped early; only one episode was ever aired, a low-quality copy of which may be seen here.
(via Charlie Stross)
Yiddish spam titles. (Well, Yinglish, to be precise, but still amusing:)
If they have the internet in the world of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, the mailboxes would probably be full of subject lines like these.
Do shiksas heckle your schmeckel?
XXX ... Yenta noshes on pisher's trayf blintz! Hot!
Take this and you'll need another bris!
Also in McSweeney's Lists: Brews to Accessorise the Modern Hipster ("I Don't Really Like This but I'm Drinking It to Get Back at My Parents and/or Friends With an Overt and Crass Display of Being Cultured Lambic", "Rummage Sale Pale Ale"), and Phrases Commonly Used By 1950s Housewives That Were Often Misinterpreted As Blatant Requests For Sex.
A gentleman in Italy has posted a set of photographs from Australia circa 1959, when he apparently lived there. The photos cover Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as they were then, as well as scenic views which could have been taken yesterday:
It's quite fascinating to look through the photos and see those places, familiar yet different. Though the frames rendered on some of the photos are a bit distracting.
Interestingly enough, the author, one Peter Forster, seems to be a fan of the Nino Culotta books (a series of humorous books written in the 1950s by an Australian named John O'Grady, pretending to be the eponymous Italian immigrant to Australia and recounting the country's customs and morés through the eyes of a slightly naïve outsider).
Barry Humphries recently gave a speech about the Melbourne he grew up in, the bourgeois middle-class culture of the suburbs of the 1940s and 1950s, and the changing landmarks of the city:
Going into the city was always a ritual I enjoyed with my mother, for it meant hats, gloves, crumbed whiting at the Wattle Tea Rooms or creamed sweet corn (undoubtedly out of a tin) at Russell Collins. We would only shop in Collins Street. Bourke Street was mostly out of bounds except for Myers and Buckleys. The upper reaches of Bourke Street were thought common and there were second hand bookshops around the eastern market -- a paradise for germs.
The boat, an Italian one, sailed from Port Melbourne to Venice, but I already had a taste for things Italian. After all, I had been to university in Carlton where the first espresso machine had frothed up my cappuccino and I had already mingled with the sophisticated crowd who hung out at the Florentino Bistro eating Spaghetti ala Bolognese and drinking Chianti. I left when Harry Ballefonte was singing his famous Calypso island in the sun and only returned in the Beatles era.
It is a sign of progress that I have been asked to address you at all on the subject of my home town. I was long dismissed as a traitor, or worse, an expatriate merely because I recognised the intrinsic bittersweet comedy of suburban life.
Two art links filched from bOING bOING: firstly, a gallery of 1950s/60s TV commercial art; a lot of it very groovy in that 50s/60s way (hipsters take note). Secondly, this gallery of contemporary Japanese op art; optical illusions which do weird things as you look at them. (Well, some of them did; others didn't have an effect on me.) (Also, the second page didn't seem to load properly in Mozilla, though Safari had no problems.)