DARN RIGHT there's a new novel - the long-awaited (I hope) second volume in the Mill City series. And it's cheap - cheap as life itself in the blood-soaked forties!

That's the sort of dialogue you won't find in this book. You will find a pell-mell plot that rattles and swerves and hits you in the kisser now and then, narrated by a newspaper photog who's teamed up with a cigarette-mooching reporter who sees angles the cops can't - or won't.

It's yours for a song.

 

 

 

       
   

   
   
   
   

 

 

   

What is the Institute? A good question. It began as a repository for odd things I scanned - and by “scanned,” I mean I took pictures with a video camera, and used a frame grabber to get the images. Cheap scanners didn’t exist.

As time went on, anything that was “vintage” or “retro” and could be gently mocked went into the Institute.

HERE'S the main page. At present, the Institute contains these sites:

The Gallery of Regrettable Food. The classic from 1997, it spawned two books. You know: this stuff.

Interior Desecrations: bad interior design of the 60s and 70s.

The Gobbler: the Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin.

The Art of Art Frahm: the effect of celery on underwear elastic.

The 70s: a brief account (only 100 pages so far) of the worst decade ever. Also linked in the 20th century project.

The Permanent Collection of Impermanent Art: what if we treated advertising illustration with the same pretentious analysis we use for museum art?

Comic Sins: a small name for a huge site. It contains:

Advertising in Comics. Arranged by genre, of course, for all the anal-retentive types out there.

Covers: an ongoing site, updated Tuesday. There are lots of sites on the web that post old covers, and this without question is one of them.

The Funny Pages. A study of old newspaper and magazine cartoons. Contains several subsites:

Lance Lawson, a short-lived Minneapolis you-solve-it strip

Mr. Coffeenerves, a real bastard

Jerry on the Job, a 1920s gag strip that used the flip-take a bit too much

High-Pressure Pete, another obscure 20s strip

Worst Comics Ever. In my opinion. Includes a bad Spirit someone was kind enough to show to Will Eisner.

Abian Wallgren: his WW1 soldier comics.

Caspar Milquetoast: an appreciation.

Gluyas Williams: also an appreciation.

King Features: the entire 1949 line up of artists and strips. More than fifty!

Miscellaneous comics.

Wisconsin Vacation Adventures. Hi ho, it's off to the Dells. (Plis the Ozarks)

Gentleman Jim: story of a Canadian Meat Man.

Stagworld! Ooky old men’s mags. Closest thing this site comes to for NSFW.

Compupromo: promotional art for the old calculating machines.

The Nervine Joke Book. 1920s hardy-har compendium.

East is Red, Butt is Numb. Postcards celebrating Chinese Opera. Really.

Dorcus Collection: Unfortunate men’s fashions.

Story of Bread: 1949 Promotional Brochure about the wonders of bread.

Meet the Dayalets! Creepy undead vitamin illustrations.

Dateline: Kennel Dogs in newspapers.

Bad Publicity. No such thing? Think again.

 

   

This site began as a dumping ground for ideas that didn’t fit anywhere else. It’s grown to rival the Institute in size. The main index page is HERE. The sites are:

1961 Monkey Wards: Almost every color picture in the catalog, with more than 130 pages.

A week in TV Guide. Every page of a 1967 issue, embedded with links to YouTube residue.

LA 1962: Every page of a dining guide, embedded with links and pictures to whatever remains from the last days of the post-war world.

LA 1941: An earlier version of the dining guide.

Big Tiny Little: his life in album art.

The SS Lurline: an old cruise ship brochure.

Migny: a 70s Paris hotel brochure.

A Girl in NYC: She sent a friend a letter in the 1920s.

Postcard Portfolios: The art of the souvenir brochure

Missing: ads from people looking for long-lost friends in the 1940s

1960s Hardware Circulars. That about says it, no?

Goodbye to Telegrams: the forgotten art of telegrams.

Short History of Swimsuits. Old news-service photos of bathing beauties.

The Letters from the Antique Store. A tale told in ephemera.

Hotel Stationery. Engravings and current views, if possible.

1953 Buick: a gorgeous brochure for the year’s models.

Labels and Caps. Just that.

Radio promotional books. So far, just WNAX.

XMAS in 1960s women's mags.

 

   

 

The American Motel. The great signs of the days before the chains changed everything. Ongoing through 2012 - the site’s being overhauled with new postcards, larger sizes, and many more Google Street View pictures.

Coffee and Chrome: old restaurant postcards.

Small-Town NODAK: Google street views of old, tiny downtowns on the edge of America.

 

   

 

I keep forgetting about this site. It’s a salute to wavy lines in tiny pictures! It’s odd to forget something like this, because it has approximately 13 bazillion pages.

Curious Lucre: the money of other lands. I won’t break them out by nations, but there’s about 50.

The Gallery of Corporate Allegory. The art of Stock Certificates.

First-Day Covers: lots of vignettes of people, places, and events celebrated by the Postal Service. That’s not as dull as it sounds.

 

   

Cities Old and New. Some of these sites are new; others are in need of a refresh. We have:

Minneapolis. It has old views, present views, and the U of M. Currently undergoing a site-wide overhaul.

New York. Old postcard views of office buildings and hotels; a look at Times Square; some of my shots.

Ghost Ads. Faded pictures painted on brick walls.

Main Streets. Bygone town centers before the malls emptied them out.

Main Streets at Night: neon!

Malls of Yore: 1960s mall postcards.

Modern Churches: modernism applied to religious structures.

 
 

 

   

I’ll get around to all of them eventually, I hope. For now there are four.

The Twenties. Ongoing at present; magazines covers, and a rather significant selection of movie ads from Film Daily magazine, and some spicy - but SFW - publications.

The Thirties.

Sears 1934: 100 pages from the catalog, scanned, color-corrected, and annotated.

Magazine ads. I don’t know how many, exactly. Over 200.

Bygone hooch. A site devoted to brands that have passed from memory.

A kitchen brochure. What things looked like.

Magazine covers.

Music. Playlists of the hits of each year.

The 1933 World's Fair. Yeah, we need another site about this - but it has some stuff you might not have seen.

The Forties.

The 70s A site in the Institute, with lots of brown horrors. We have:

The Ice Follies. Three years of programs.

The Faces of Match Game. Says it all.

The Faces of the Price is Right. The hairstyles!

Search. My favorite show when I was a kid.

Sears 1973: a small selection of fashion.

Radio. PSAs and beautiful music from early 70s airchecks.

Dorcusella: lingerie from the early 70s

 

 

   

Mass Media, seen through two particular filters.

Black and White World. As the title suggests: the visual media before color.

The Jazz Age.

Hard & Snappy: the 30s.

Film Noir.

Forties dramas and musicals.

Fifties morality.

Monster Movies!

Bug-Eyed Monsters: early sci-fi

TV, including Perry Mason.

The Disney Project.

Oswald and other early shorts.

A rather comprehensive collection of Cartoon Titles.

Small Films: Movies from buzz.mn & lleks.com. Additional 80s KTCA films viewable at my YouTube site.

   

LISTEN Selections from Old Time Radio; library music no one was ever meant to think much about.

The Diner My old KSTP AM-1500 radio show is back in podcast form. Over eighty half-hour episodes available - with some original shows from the 90s as well.

Bleatophany. Remixes and compositions.

 

   

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