The mood was light when I got downtown.  There was a rally on the Gummint Plaza's lawn:

Then it moved to the other side of the building, where there's more fencing. The USBank building across the street put up black boards around the bottom floor. I don’t know if they intended for them to be used to blow off steam, but someone had chalk, and the messages went up in nice pastel colors.

That's the shot you'll probably see on the news. The next one, maybe not:

Nice untouched wood!

It was covered with a big F bomb an hour later.

A speaker was talking about the Reconstruction era with a microphone and a portable speaker.  Some guys set up a table for their merchandisee. I CAN’T BREATH shirts and hats. Buttons, too.

By 2 PM it had thinned out, because jury selection was pushed off a day. Te press was waiting for someone to come out and talk.

One of the reporters was smoking; his microphone livery indicated he was from France.

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I watched “The Odd Couple,” because Amazon or Netflix or someone said hey, here it is. It’s been a few years. Why rewatch it at all? I loved it as a kid, and thought it was hilarious. Had the soundtrack, which contained some of dialogue; memorized it. In fact I won a local radio call-in contest on KQWD by correctly identifying a segment of dialogue, and also by being the tenth caller.

It’s also the music. The theme is so familiar we don’t really hear how interesting it is, how tied to the times the instrumentation is. Neil Hefti was XX, and of course did the Batman theme. But he also did adult-easy-listening swank albums that had the same chiming harpsichord-esque keyboards, and then there’s the echoey strings, also a sound of the era. Why is this jaunty comic mocking music playing over scenes where Felix is trying to kill himself?

Did Times Square strip clubs really have this sax-driven music in 1968?

I've always hated this stuff. I  don't know why. Perhaps because it's the sleazy inheritor of the 50s / 60s TV-Movie fake rock sound.

The first act isn’t as funny anymore. Two good lines in the poker scene. As always, I’m wondering about this guy:

No backstory, no development, just a sweaty New Yorker. It’s like they had a million of these guys. Saw action in the war, didn’t talk about it, came home, got a job, now he’s running a dress factory, has troubles you wouldn’t believe. Died in 1978 and was buried in a coat with wide corduroy lapels.

Not the actor, the archetype.

What I love is the inadvertent documentary.

The original is much wider, I should not; this thing wasshot in ultra-wide Todd-AO superpanovistavision, or something.

In those days there were stores with Party Goods and Toys.

The restaurant scene is probably a set.

For the first time I noted a few details, probably because they’ve passed from the scene.

The creamer!

They sat on the table all day. We had that exact same item at the Valli. Every restaurant in America had them. The lid was floppy and loose and didn’t fit.

The basket of crackers, including the Famously Inedible Rye Crackers.

Also the sugar container, which was always crusty around the aperture; the lid never fit well either, due to the aforementioned crust.

A day later I saw this ad on Reddit, and it brought back not only the Embers, but the restaurant conventions of the day.


That table. The rounded corner, the printed pattern.

Later this year I’ll be rolling out the Fifties site, and I don’t know if I’ll start with ads, or the Interiors section. The problem with the interior ads - commercial linoleum stuff is the absolute best - is you don’t know how much of the world looked like the ads. It may be that cheap local commercials are our best source of the truth, in the end.




It’s 1938.

A Petty girl rooting for whatever team wins - they’re both peachy! The “double” refers to the extra layer of cellophane, which keeps the Old Golds apple-fresh.

I’ve no idea whether people bought a new pack and it was already stale. Perhaps they want you to think of yourself as a leisurely smoker who wants that extra later of cellophane to keep ‘em fresh when you pick up the pack in a few days. But you know you’ll burn the whole 20 in a day.

"It’s the Flavor.”

Also the 40% intoxicating spirits, but mostly the Flavor! It’s . . . as solid as a horse!

The top Schenley brand, I think. A wedding of different scotches.

The artist: Harry Beckhoff had a distinctive style people recognized from his Colliers covers and other ads. I recognized it off the top, and I’m in 2021.

Sigh. I miss ships.

American Republics line was a division of a cargo company that began with a single ship making the US-Brazil run.The “Good Neighbor” name came from the FDR policy towards South America, of course.

The Uruguay was our old friend the SS California. The Brazil was the Virginia from 1928 to 1938. The Argentina was originally the SS Pennsylvanian. They all served in the war, returned to civilian service, and were scrapped in the early 60s.

“That batch of corn mash was poison! What’ll we do?”

“Take it out, say it’s now the famous dry whiskey.”

There’s a man who was seriously taxed by sweet whiskey, and is experiencing exactly what he wished to find.

I love this: a piece of ordinary home party-gear, immortalized because it made it into an ad.

Those cocktail-wiener ceramic pigs were quite common, I’m sure. How many survive, and how many slumber deep in landfills, who knows.

No man wants squalling infants for his feet

That’s the most surreal illustration you’ll see today.

Last and certainly not least, a reminder that while we all still have whiskey and Old Golds and ships, there are some things in the magazine of 1938 that modern eyes see differently.

It's the AND HOW that really completes the different meaning.

That will do for today, I hope. See you around.




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