From Shorpy


Oh for heaven's sake. Oh for heaven's SAKE.


And that’s about a third of what fell - and continues to fall, as of this writing. Last year was unseasonable: shorts and barefeet and grass, I believe, by this time. This year, I’m shoveling the driveway TWICE and my wife’s car got stuck trying to go up the hill. The mood around town is somehow both depressed and murderous. Please do not say “but you live in Minnesota, what do you expect?” This April’s snowfall will exceed the snowfall for the previous ten Aprils.


In times like these you need comfort wherever you can get it. Since my wife wasn’t going to be home for dinner, and daughter did not like anything I proposed making, and I wasn’t exactly keen on any of the possibilities either, and since daughter suggested - with that little coy just-kidding tone kids use when they really hope you’ll take them seriously - that we have breakfast for supper.

I thought this was a capital idea. I’d even use that box of emergency hash browns, because no one else would. Yes, a box. Like a grade-school milk container. Fill with water, wait, dump it on a hot griddle. I wrecked some eggs, added some cheese, nuked some bacon, and daughter made pancakes. All the basics. The Thanksgiving of Breakfasts, although to be a true ToB it would have a cinnamon roll. Pancakes do not qualify as the bread portion, because syrup is poured over them. If syrup is poured over an object, you are entitled to another bread portion which may have frosting, or jam. Except it’s not frosting if it’s a bread portion; it’s icing.

It was all delicious and we felt much better. The dog got bacon. Things were quite festive, as they say in December. When it looks like this.

Then my wife came home and said “well, I made it home without an accident, but -”

“You’re stuck in the driveway.”

She nodded. I went outside and shoveled out the car. Last year on the 18th of April i was wearing shorts and went barefoot on new grass. Now I’m shoveling the driveway, which had about six inches of new snow. Got the car out. Sighed.

The sirens went off. They’re testing the sirens today. Tornado sirens in a blizzard. I thought: this year is snakebit.

This is a bad year. I mean, I’m doing okay, but 2012 was a pretty good year. This year is just a mess all over the place, from the small things like weather and house contrusions to the death of an old friend to the general sense of nervous, aimless, uncertainty in the world beyond. It’s like an orchestra whose members collectively lost the melody halfway through the first movement but everyone plays on, hoping it’ll come together again.

Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps it’s the weather. Perhaps it’s the truth.


Yes, there's the big new update today. You have to read the entire page to get to it. Sorry. There's so much! So much! It's unbelieveable how much stuff there is.

Some Odds and Ends not posted the rest of the week:

About that hole opened up in the wall: I hate those guys.



From an ad for today's modern luxury trains, a 1937 bar car. I just get a pang right here when I think about missing things like this.



I don't miss train travel, though. Long, long, long. Getting up in the middle of the night to get out of the sleeper car, put up the bed, use the bathroom, then put the bed down and try to get back to sleep. But one overnight in one of these trains . . . Yes.


From a mid-50s Lineolum ad: it's a completely different world. For one thing, it's in color. But it's so much more abstract. Everything got abstract after the war.



The new abstractions trumped the old streamlining, completely and utterly: it's as if the entire design ethos of the 30s was made not just irrelevant but childlike by the realities of war. Now they look like the symbols of a future that actually happened - perhaps because it did - and the post-war abstractions appeal not so much on their own merits, but because of the connotations we read into them.

Ah, but what was the style in between? What were the Forties like? I have a site up on the 20s and 30s, and there's the 70s site in Institute - all of which I'd pull together into something called the Decades Project or The 20th Century: the Definitive Collection of something pretentious like that. But three decades isn't enough. Need to do the Forties some time.

Oh! Wait! Hold on.



Yes, it's an old site, but it's been redone, resized, doubled, and folded into The Forties, a new site which will hold all the stuff I post about that particular decade. Right now it's just Patriotica and a bare-bones music site; the ADS goes to the preexisting Microfiche ads site, and Movies goes to B&W world. But more to come.

Link down at the bottom. But first: marvelous music.








Sorry, I ran out of music cues from the CBS Library, used in the Couple Next Door.

Hah! Kidding. By the way, if you've had problems hearing the clips, I've made some tweaks. Previous edition here.

Sprightly with a towel-snap stinger on the end:




Happiness that sinks into the soft familiar chair:




Alls-well-that-ends-well again:




This one I love. It’s for an episode about finding a bird’s nest on the new house construction site. It was obviously filed under BIRDS, but it’s meant to indicate the beauty of an early morning ruined by urban sounds like car horns.




Let me step back from the music for a few moments. One of the subplots in "The Couple Next Door" - they're all subplots - concerns the husband's reaction when one of his friends publishes an article in the local paper. The husband fancied himself something of a writer, so the idea that the rather crude and seemingly superficial friend should best him - well, it's insulting. Eventually he decides to try to write something, and like all writers, ends up doing something that seems connected to writing. That counts, doesn't it?

He wastes his time figuring out which books he should put in his study, and discusses the fruits of his cogitation with his wife - who isn't listening at all, really. I bring this up for one reason:

Listen to the assumptions in this 1958 domestic comedy.



You can listen to the entire show here. But if you're new to the show, I recommend this episode - with Margaret Hamilton as Aunt Effie. A subplot concerned Christmas Card selection in August, and culminated in this 12-minute play. Peg Lynch's freakout at the end is a marvel of radio hiliarity.


Now, another show. Not to say we're done with the Couple Next Door cues; I don't doubt there's another 50 to come. No, this is library music that seems to be identified with a particular show, although I've heard it elsewhere. It's for "Tales from the Black Museum," a peculiar show from the 50s starring Orson Welles. During one of his fallow times. The show used the same actors over and over, told rather straightforward "mysteries" without much mystery at all. Welles' remarks lift it above the usual B-level show; even though he's phoning it in, he phones things in very well. (Emphasis on in just to amuse those who get the reference.)

It uses the same music cues every ep, often reusing them in the same episode - in fact, without the music cues, the shows would be devoid of momentum or drama.

After interminable amounts of introductory back-and-forth, it opens thus:




Then the entire theme, which could be removed for a commercial. If they had any.




It had some nifty quick linking-music cues. Number 1:




Number 2:




Number 3 :



Number 4:



Number 5:



The theme for panic, or the investigation reaching a fever pitch. This one gallops on for another 15 seconds, but it's always obscured by dialogue.




And the end. Never have trumpets mocked and razzed the guilty with such contemptuous derision.





Finally, an ad, extracted from a 1958 show. Tums!






Man, does she sell those things, or what? Listen how she lingers on the product name, then adopt just a hint of a pouty little-girl tone when she has to sing "Tummy," then goes all show-tune towards the end, then SHOUTS! the word Tums before the announcer comes in.


So, click on Bogie below to head off to the start of the new Forties site.

And remember this when I shame everyone into buying the book for $1.25 next week. (BTW: recent donors will get the book free of charge.) Have a grand weekend!












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