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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Out to Lunch

This post is for the kids. A lot of what I do is for the grown-ups, but what about the younger set? What do they get? Well, back in the 60's any self-respecting manager of an Hawiian NCO club on the grounds of Hickam A.F.B. would need to do something...or lose the non-coms with wives and kids. Kids menus in restaurants always have the things they love, but few went as far as this odd menu.
Cute enough, though I don't know why there's just a girl on the cover, or why she looks like a boy.
An astronaut meal without freeze-dried, dehydrated anything! and not even served from a tube! I'll pass.
Same goes for the Flipper Special. If the Flipper on that plate wasn't "faster than lightning" then he can't be that fresh. ( can you sing the words to "Flipper?")

Someone was willing to take a shot at Fred, but not Mr Magoo? Or Herman Munster? Talk about chicken on the menu! I think I'll try to forget this meal with a good stiff drink! The Roy Rogers was cola and grenadine syrup with a maraschino cherry. Can anyone tell me what was in the "Munsters Delight?" Hope it wasn't ketchup.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Author Bob Deakin Returns: Take a letter Maria...and read it!

(While editing some changes Blogger burped and brought this post to the top. Oh well, it's a good entry from Bob. Enjoy this re-post)

I have an open invitation to anyone (and I mean anyone!) who would like to contribute a story of something they've discovered either at a tag sale, or their own attic, basement, or garage. I have been thrilled to receive several story's in the past 2 years because, well, it means I get a night off. My friend Bob Deakin whose own site is on my list of favorites has found something within a "find" and in his own way is looking to connect, or should I say 'correct' the previous owner.

Letter to the Owner of the Nakamichi Cassette Deck
By Bob Deakin

Dear Maria Santoro,

You don't know me but I feel compelled to write you regarding the cassette tape player I just purchased at a tag sale in Bridgewater, CT. I found your Eustis, Florida name tag and address inside of it when I started cleaning the tape heads and oiling the rollers.

It's a beautiful deck. Nakamichis were some of the best decks available in the early 1980s when this was manufactured. Looks like you took good care of it and for that I thank you very much. Quite forward thinking of you to put your name on it in case it was ever stolen or lost, which I hope was not the case with this one as I intend to keep it.

The reason I am writing is because of the cassette you apparently made and left in the deck. It was a mix tape you must have made some 30 years ago and I have listened to it a number of times and am impressed with many of the musical selections. It's not every day I hear Eddy Arnold doing a soul song or Glen Campbell singing Jimmy Webb.

What does not impress me is the ebb and flow of your unruly assortment of songs. Early on Side A you follow Jose Feliciano's “Light My Fire” with Elvin Bishop's “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” These two songs could not be any more different in feel, construction, style or even time period. One is a Spanish acoustic guitar driven ballad while the other is pure blues rock.

This sequence has me puzzled.

Another combination I have a big problem with is Richard Harris's “MacArthur Park” followed by Seals & Crofts “Diamond Girl.” What we you thinking? An Irish actor singing a dramatic, lyrically confusing love song followed by an American duo know for their ultra new age religious beliefs? 

Bad segue and it detracts from the quintessentially American wholesome, sunshine feel of the Seals & Crofts piece.

Late on Side B you made the awkward decision to include Ronnie Milsap's “It Was Almost Like a Song” followed by “If Loving You Was Wrong I Don't Want to be Right” by Barbara Mandrell.

Emotional confusion anyone?

First of all the Luther Ingram version of “If Loving You...” holds ten times the emotional impact over the Mandrell version but I'll give you a pass in that Mandrell's country sensibilities work better on your tape. The two songs should not follow one another, however, in that Milsap's song laments a genuinely innocent lost love while Mandrell's song selfishly brags of an illicit affair that everyone should be ashamed of, including you for putting the two songs back to back on your tape.

I could go on but I'll keep the criticisms to a minimum. The quality of the tape was good and living in Eustis, FL in the early 80s surrounded by nothing but orange groves, pickup trucks and Richard Petty fans you must have had a lot of free time on your hands to over-think the choreography of your musical mix.

Sometimes too much thinkin' makes for bad thinkin'.

I will hold onto the tape if you don't mind but if you really want it back send me an email or a self addressed stamped envelope and I'll put it in the mail. I can even, dare I say, burn a disk of it if you want, but the audio levels of your mix are so dynamically inconsistent that I fear the audio to digital conversion will sound like crap on your home stereo, computer or whatever contraption you listen to music on these days.

I wish you the best of luck and thank you again for taking good care of this deck. I get the impression you are a nice person and I think we are – to some extent – kindred spirits in our musical tastes. The Nakamichi still works well and will sound even better with some maintenance and more sensitivity to musical selections.

Bob Deakin

P.S. I mean no disrespect but next time leave more than one second between songs. A more dramatic pause makes for better listening and the music search feature requires at least two seconds to work properly.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Women can Fly?!? Airline tickets are $1?!? This I gotta see!

I have to admit, I do have a lot of scraps of paper. Some of it is meaningless and was only kept because it merely tagged along with other scraps of paper I have found. Some of it I knew would be interesting if I could locate the back-story.

In the 30's air-flight was a still a novelty. It was new and developing. Anyone with the will to dare could get a license, learn to fly, and maybe even buy a plane.  It wasn't for the poor, more for the rich and adventurous.  There were many small airfields that cropped up as this new technology grew into business opportunity.  Crop dusting, fire watching, mail transportation, and even flight training were viable trades created by the advent of flight. There were many opportunities for somebody with ideas and a plane and there were also folks looking to experience flight first hand.

These are 2 sides of the same ticket (Pardon the color shift.) which came from a very beat up scrap book at a Danbury, CT estate sale. Every so often I will find one of these sentimental compendiums and curse the family for not keeping it, and also curse the owner for the concrete-like glue that damages these paper gems.  Regardless, the ticket face above was proof for the holder that they had experienced the thrill of a lifetime, or at least the experience of the century. More exciting than this thrill was that patrons of the Interstate Airways Corporation,  on any given day, could have been the passenger in a plane piloted by...a female! (Please excuse the intonation that women can't or shouldn't fly...I am still working on the sarcastic font called "Sar-talic" which would clearly indicate the sarcasm intended.) This one little ticket led me to the most interesting lady...
Read the (back) story I "landed" from this Hartford Currant article written in 1996:

Time Clouds Early Aviator's Story

Why Did Mary Louise Sansom Stop Flying?

November 08, 1996|By BARBARA A. NAGY; Courant Staff Writer
Aviation was little more than a sport in the early 1930s when Mary Louise Sansom, wearing goggles and carrying her cocker spaniel Bomber in the back seat of her biplane, was flying out of Brainard Field.

The first woman in New England to earn a commercial pilot's license, Sansom ran an air transport service at Brainard, flew stunts at shows in Hartford and Springfield and raced her plane occasionally in national meets.
A collection of her trophies, awards, newspaper clippings and flight logbooks -- plus a pilot's license signed by Orville Wright -- will go up for auction at the Algonquin Hotel in New York Wednesday as part of R.M. Smythe & Co.'s annual autumn autograph sale.

The collection provides a peek into Sansom's personal world -- the death of her first husband in a fiery 1930 crash at Brainard, a second marriage to another pilot, her management of Interstate Airways in Hartford and her associations with her idol, Amelia Earhart, and other aviators.
The items also open a window on the role that women -- Sansom and scores of others -- played in the development of U.S. aviation.

But at the same time, they raise puzzling questions about why she suddenly stopped flying and left Hartford. Sansom would be 94 if she were still alive, but nobody at the auction house or among old Hartford colleagues seems to know.< ``She liked flying. She loved flying,'' said Abraham Banks of Newington, an Army Air Corps veteran whose commander was Sansom's second husband. ``She flew as much as she could.''

Sansom was not as much of an activist as Earhart, who traversed the country on lecture tours that promoted commercial air travel, pacificism and women's abilities as pilots.
But Sansom helped popularize air travel in Connecticut. During the half-dozen years she was based at Brainard, Sansom ferried politicians, thrill-seekers and business people around the state, giving many their first airplane rides. She spoke regularly to civic groups as an aviation proponent and set several regional flight records.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1902, Mary Louise Moore arrived in Hartford from New York in 1929 with her first husband, Milton H. Moore. He learned how to fly in the skies over Hartford and taught his wife while he ran a flight school at Brainard. The Moores were the first husband-wife team to qualify as pilots in the state.

Then, in May 1930, the motor on Milton Moore's single-engine plane failed while he was giving a visitor from Washington a lesson. While his wife watched, Moore and the visitor crashed nose-first into a road outside the airport.

The student was killed instantly.

Moore unclasped his safety harness and tried to escape, but the plane burst into flames. He died of burns that night at Hartford Hospital.

Mary Louise Moore took over the business at Brainard, and five months later became the first woman in New England to be awarded a commercial pilot's license. It allowed her to carry paying passengers.
She hired Frederick P. Sansom, another pilot, to help her with the business. Sansom, coincidentally, was the rescuer who had pulled Milton Moore from the charred wreckage of his plane.

The two were married in the summer of 1931 and kept working together at Brainard. She developed a friendly rivalry with another woman at the field, Edith Descomb, who, with her husband, ran a similar service from another hangar.

Descomb was more flamboyant -- and more successful. She would cajole passersby with a megaphone and, once she had made a sale, jump in her plane and take off. By 1933 she claimed to have sold tickets for 53,000 rides.

Sansom kept at it.She reported to her friends at the Ninety-Nines -- a female pilots' group founded by Earhart -- that she was on hand every day at Brainard to fly when the weather was good.
``Male passengers show no concern that a woman is at controls,'' she joked. ``Some even appear delighted . . . after the trip is over and our feet once again [are] on terra firma. Of course, it could be that they had not expected to get down intact.''

Sansom developed an interest in racing and won several prizes. She placed fourth, for example, in a 1933 women's invitational run by the Ninety-Nines. Her prize was $50 and a silver-fox fur piece.
The photos to be auctioned Wednesday include one of Sansom at the height of her racing career. She is standing confidently in front of her plane, smiling warmly and clutching the huge trophy that marked her first-place finish in the 1933 Meridien Air Races. Sansom is wearing her best flying outfit -- jodphurs, a white silk shirt, dark tie and leather skullcap with goggles pulled up on her forehead.
Sansom also tried stunt flying, performing at different New England airfields nearly every Sunday in the summer of 1932.

During a show in June 1933, for example, Sansom broke a New England record for flying loops. She managed 397 in four grueling hours over Agawam, Mass., before nearly running out of fuel. Friends offered Sansom smelling salts when she landed, newspapers reported, but she waved them aside. All she wanted was a cup of coffee and a rubdown.
By the late '30s, Sansom's interest in flying seemed to have waned.
There is no obvious explanation. Sansom's last race was in the mid '30s, and her log books end in 1942.

James W. Waechter, a spokesman for the auction house, has been sifting unsuccessfully through newspaper and aviation archives for clues. He would not provide information about the two people who put up Sansom's memorabilia for auction, but he said they have no additional information about her.
Two major events in Sansom's life may have set her on a new course.
First, a raging Connecticut River washed away her hangar at Brainard during the Great Flood of 1936.
Second, she and Fred were divorced.
Fred Sansom told friends he was tired of working at Brainard while Mary flew off to air shows on weekends. He also wanted children, and his wife did not, said Mike Sansom of Cape Coral, Fla., Fred's son by a second wife.

Mike Sansom said the family is well aware of Mary Sansom's fame. He even has a collection of newspaper stories about her. But they have no idea what she did or where she went after the divorce.
Hartford area pilots who flew from Brainard in the '30s remember Mary Sansom, but did not know her well enough to keep tabs on her.
Pilot Mary Goodrich Jenson of Wethersfield -- now in her late 80s -- lost touch with Sansom decades ago, but believes she remarried, settled in California for a while and developed a love of fine art. She never did have children.

Waechter suspects Sansom died a while ago, since her trophies and scrapbooks are not being auctioned by her estate. Bob North, a volunteer at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks who started flying in the mid-1930s, did not know Sansom. But he suggested that other interests in her life may have lessened her passion for flying.
Still, that is hard to understand. In those days, aviation was not only fun, it was glamorous.
``If you walked into a bar or something like that, you'd see people looking at you,'' North recalled. ``He's a pilot,'' he recalled them whispering.
``You'd get questions, `What's it like. How come you got interested in it,' '' he said.
``It's a very fascinating hobby and it sticks with you,'' North said.
But did it stick with Mary Louise Sansom?
Her trophies, old photos and pilot's license are intriguing. But they are silent.

 It's a great article that raises a question that was maybe never answered. I will have to search out some of the Connecticut museums to see if there is more on the history of Interstate Airways and Mary Louise Sansom. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More: Before and After from 1927

Click for a larger image
SO, according to this you can eat what ever you want and and live an unhealthy life - all you need to do is wear the Imperial Health Brace because "Correct posture assures good health." Let me just step up on my 1930's Soap box ( because, on a modern soap box I would fall right through) and say that the reason people are in poor health is because they can't afford to eat properly, and the food the can afford comes out of a meat tube or microwave from McD's and Tacky Bell.  Sad but true.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gadgetland 1958! The Tag Sale Inventory of Tomorrow!

The catalogs of "Kitsch of the Kitchen" have been around for a long time. They are a good example of of how to market cheap stuff that most people really didn't need.  These catalogs with their cute titles and sometimes humorous descriptions made for an entertaining read. How do I know they were successful? These items were targeted for that select M.A.G.M. demographic (Mom, Aunt, Grand-Ma). Take a look and see if you don't recognize something you own, grew up with, or have seen at a tag sale.

  I will be taking orders for these items....just as soon as I get the time machine going again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Truth in Advertising - neither then nor now

First, I have to apologize for the gunshot hole in the middle of this add from 1922, but you do notice the company is in Chicago...bang! bang!  Second, I gotta ask my mom someday....so how did you make it to age 5?  Odds are she was never strapped into one of these death traps. Of course, without one of these, I guess the only other option (until I find an ad for another similar contraption) would be to hold baby in mommy's arms. I still think that would be better than strapping the kid into something that looks like a coffin. Comfy baby? I think not.

The more things change the more they stay the same.....

So, let's all concentrate....Well? Which is it?  Credit goes to my wife for not only buying this, but pointing it out to me as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Love New York - A September 11 anniversary - UPDATED

I need to do a "shout out" to artist/cartoonist Michel Kichka. He was gracious enough to give me permission to use his cartoon below and in the process gave me 2 others. I will thank him by posting him as a "Guest Cartoonist" over at Toonage.  Go take a look, he has depicted the tragedy of September 11th in a very poignant way. 

It's strange how traumatic events continue to screw with your perspective. The World Trade Center attack after 10 years still seems like yesterday, if only for a second. Icons of my youth, whether they were places, or people, living or demolished, linger like a good song. I can't remember all the words or the notes, but the melody or the "hook" is still there, fresh as ever. Every now and then I like to look at images of the towers, but I can no longer watch another impact clip, or listen to any of the newly released recordings of the mayhem that day.. I hope whatever memory you have of the World Trade Center is a good one. I wrote all I ever wanted to about that day in a post 2 years ago...accompanying it was an eerie promotion piece I had discovered at a garage sale. The post is here if you want to take a look.
Whenever I am looking through the things I unearth and I see even the slightest depiction of the WTC or any era of New York before the new millennium, I will hang on to it. This post card I found features a playful caricature of New York around the time of one of the most successful ad campaigns of its day. The "I love New York" campaign, rejuvenated the Big Apple at a time when it really needed to dust off its image in the late 70's. This card has a lot of great pop-culture in-jokes for the period and detail which may be unreadable. I have tried to add it at as large a size as possible. Forgive me if it bogs your system down.
Click for a much larger version...I hope.
If you look closely, you can see way in the back is the World Trade Center.
The artist is Michal Kichka. He is a top notch cartoonist from Belgium now living in Jerusalem and his most recent work can be seen here. Thank you for creating this piece Michel!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guests of the Video Martyr Blog stayed at the grand "Gray's Motor Village"

There are a million of these postcards out there, because there were (and are) a million Motor Hotels, better know as "mo-tels" out there.  This one was worth posting because someone had taken almost all the "free" stuff from the desk stand and saved it from a vacation they took a long, long time ago.

As a kid, I remeber driving by many of these places...each one looked, even at 50 mph like their postcard. A veritable oasis is a time before urban sprawl, and a certain relief from vinyl car seats that stuck to your skin because air conditioning was either a "luxury option" or too weak to reach the kids. "That pool has a slide! Oh! Can we stay there!?" The eventual response was, "Don't worry, we'll be there soon."  Where "soon" meant another hour and 45 minutes.
Someone did a nice job with the artist's rendering of the main building on the matchbook cover. But the matches were even better.
Unfortunately, there is no high diving board that I can see, and I am pretty sure the bathing beauty that just hangs in mid-air is a myth as well, too bad. Fortunately, Gray's Motor Village was easy to get to from anywhere.
 Do you remember the ones you drove by as a kid?  Did you stop? Did you ever get to see if it was as good as it seemed from the road?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Indian Chewing Gum from 1930.....I have reservations about chewing it

Nope, you never know what you are going to find if you look long enough and hard enough. This has happened to me before... While helping a family member clean out a house, I got to use my picking skills to find what hadn't been found.  I had already been rewarded by this house after exploring some cabinets that had been painted shut in this earlier post. The attic, although empty and cleaned, can still hold secrets untold thanks to all the nooks and crannies. With a flashlight, a small pry bar (we're talking small), and an open mind I began searching.  In a house like this, 100 years old or more, I figured there had to be something left behind or hidden - there always is. 
Sitting almost in plain site on top of a plank of wood, near an old door was a card. Which really didn't look like anything. Years of coal dust and asphalt bits were everywhere and this little card was unreadable. Unfortunately, one side of the card still is.
  Maybe because this side was facing up the other side was spared somewhat.  Oh well, I can't complain about a card that has been in an attic since 1933. Goudey Indian Chewing Gum were different from any other collector card series because they featured scenes from "romantic America." Buffalo Bill, William S. Cody, Sitting Bull and all numbered with a description on the back.  In a sneaky way they would skip numbers in the 192 (or more) card series so collectors would go a little crazy buying more packages to try and complete the set.