The big ugly unfriendly supermarket decided to bring some seasonal joy to the entrance area. Nothing lifts the spirits like floating bulbous floating leaves! It's interesting how the iconography for Thanksgiving has diminished, mainly because you don't see Pilgrims anymore. I think the Pilgrims have been ushered off the stage. Lousy colonialists. I mean, literal colonialists! We used to call them that without approbation. (shudder)

It's almost a test at this point: AI, or b-grade commercial illustration?

It's the latter. I bought a 1959 gas station calendar for the illustrations, which are generally banal and workmanlike. The artist had a long and successful career, and his peculiar brand of inertness would characterize romance-novel covers in the 70s and 80s. I feel bad for criticizing him, since he meant well, I'm sure, and I can't draw. But when has that ever stopped anyone for carping and sniping.

Here's the thing that caught my eye, aside from his expression:


This is what we call a Cultural Literacy Test. There are two componants.

The second is the red-white-and-blue item at the bottom. People under a certain age - and I don't know what - probably don't know what it is. Or, if they do, don't know the brand. And that's fine. These things come and go, and no generation can be expected to remember all the commercial signifiers of gramp's time.

It's a clever touch, because it's the same sponsor for the 1959 calendar, and that was probably an illustration fromn 1958.


The most important componant in the Cultural Literacy Test is the top.

I think anyone over . . . 55? 60? will get this in an instant. We grasp the angle right away, because our brain assembles the red-and-white / black rectangle object by instinct, so that means we're looking down, at an angle. We know what the red thing is. Given the genre here - calendar art loves things that just happened that give you a mild wry smile - - we deduce the dilemma.

By the way, I've been working on many Bleat redirects for the first day of the year in 2024, and today I got the brilliant idea - no idea why - to use "calendar art" as a prompt. Minimal instructions.

"Calendar art for November 1959 in the style of Norman Rockwell"












I watched Fiddler on the Roof the other night. It had been a while. One of my favorite scores. You have to wonder: when it played in Fargo ND, was this the first exposure a lot of the audience had to Jewish tonalities?

And speaking of which: “The music for the film was conducted and adapted by John Williams from the original score by Jerry Bock. Williams also composed additional music and an original cadenza for Isaac Stern. The score was orchestrated by Williams and Alexander Courage."

So Fiddler on the Roof, technically, is part of both Star Wars and Star Trek. The movie soundtrack has so much more punch and grandeur than the Broadway version, and that Isaac Stern cadence at the end of Tradition . . . well.

Also: “Before Topol was cast, Orson Welles, Anthony Quinn and Marlon Brando were all considered.”

Brando. As Tevye. Nah. In fact, it’s good they didn’t cast anyone we knew. Topol was so good. He inhabited the role without any preconceptions. We didn’t see Zero. I love Mostel, but Topol had such gravely heft and gruff charm.

Topol also confused Americans, as it was the name of a toothpaste marketed to smokers.

The village of Anatevka, by the way, was really Boiarka, which isn’t so nice to sing. It’s in the Kiev oblast.

Pan left, and you'll see it's not exactly the shtetl anymore.

Anyway, I have yet to watch the second half. The depressing half. Hard to think of a musical that had such a downbeat conclusion. Although it could've been worse:

Aleichem's stories ended with Tevye alone, his wife dead and his daughters scattered; at the end of Fiddler, the family members are alive, and most are emigrating together to America.

And then? There was a one-man play about Tevye's subsequent life in America.






It’s 1954.

For some reason I didn't have any copy for this segment. I don't understand how that possibly could've happened. So I raided the MISC section of the 1950s ad site, which hasn't been posted yet. I say this to warn you that some day, possibly in 2026, these will be rerun. Full disclousure and all that.

Travel gear designed for people who travel? That's an innovation that must have shaken up the entire industry.

It's dovered in Koroseal. Marvelous Koroseal!

The rest of the ad. I had to include this, lest you go to your grave not knowing that the line is Perpetually Matchable.



My first house in Minneapolis had sheets of that stuff covering the back porch. It lasted forever. Eventually, through, a piece cracked when some storm damagfe fell on it, and I had a horrible time replacing it.

I didn't know what to call it.

Now I do.



If that's the 1954 conception of a college freshman, you can sense the expectations placed on a young fellow heading off to learn his trade.

Wherever they go, I think she's going to have a lot more fun than the guy on the other side of the ad.

I suppose that words as a slogan because "Mow" rhymes with the final vowel in REO, unless youn want people to think REO was pronounced ROW and they've been saying it wrong ll these years,

Note the names: the one of the bottom left is the DeLuxe Runabout.

A product of that romantically named lingerie company, INDUSTRIAL RAYON.

The headline refers to his watch. Doesn't matter - it'll alienate every man before they get to the clarification.


Doesn't matter - it'll alienate every man before they get to the clarification.

Now two ways to chip in!


That'll do! Enjoy your Tuesday.



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