Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transportation Temptations: Bicycles

Recently I realized there are some common themes among the photos I collect from the internet. One of the most common subject matters within these photos are of people, famous or not, with gorgeous wheeled transportation. Because I have over 60 photos I would like to share, I decided that it would be better to split them up by vehicle type. So today I am sharing one of my favorite, albeit least frequently used, modes of transit: bicycles. At my school almost everybody rides or at least has a bike around. I do not. I love bikes and bike riding but I value my life far to much to put my self in such a vulnerable position in city traffic, for I am not a biker, I am but a person who can manage to ride a bike without falling every time. Does that make sense? It's the same a swimming, I think. I am not a swimmer, but I know how to swim. So that's my excuse for not riding. Truthfully though I am also kind of lazy and dislike exerting energy in hot weather.

Back to the point; bikes are purty. Especially old styled bikes, so that is what you're gonna get. I hope you enjoy these, too.
Middy, Ana and a mate with either a bike stolen from a child or a very, very early trick bike. If it is the latter than my g-ma was was more badass than I had thought. That also would explain my former desire to do X-Games-esque sports. 

Buster Keaton and some chick in my spot on his bike. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Artist Feature: John Miehle

I didn't learn John Miehle's name until recently, but I've known many of his images for awhile (and I'm sure lots of you will recognize some of them too). He was a still photographer for a ton of movies in the 30s and 40s, but according to his IMDb page, he was uncredited for almost all of them! I can't figure out why this was - perhaps this has to do with the different style of crediting in older films, and it didn't become standard to mention a film's still photographer until later? Anyway, he did the stills/publicity shots for a lot of really well-known and awesome films - Top Hat, Flying Down to Rio, Kitty Foyle, Stage Door, Swing Time, Follow the Fleet, Bachelor Mother, Vivacious Lady - and to point out a very obvious trend, was apparently attached by the hip to Ginger Rogers, career-wise! Seriously, go take a look at his IMDb page, and you'll see almost every movie Ginger did in the 30s, he was a still photographer for! Was she personally employing him? Anybody who can explain this, or who can say with certainty that it was purely coincidence or that they happened to work well together, let me know! Again the internet is pretty sparse with info on him.

Anyway, he did work on non-Ginger films - Rain, with Joan Crawford (some images from this displayed here), and Rope with Jimmy Stewart, for example. I've only included images of his that I saw were explicitly described as being his own, since I don't know if perhaps more than one still photographer was employed in the aforementioned films. Let me know if I've credited something incorrectly.
And now for his lovely images of beautiful people. Enjoy!
Stunning portrait. I don't normally think Joan Crawford is super beautiful, but this image is something else. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

I haven't got much time to lurk around the blogoverse over the next few days as I've got my final coming up and need to get crackin' on my final project. But, here's a photo-heavy post (seriously... a lot of photos) with some camera-taken captures of Ziegfeld Girl, from 1941.
I watched this movie months ago, and I love it. It's absolutely in my Top 5 Favorite Movies. It has a great, talented, super-beautiful-even-for-Hollywood cast (Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Jimmy Stewart, Hedy Lamarr, to name the most famous faces), and the story is fast paced and busy, following the lives of three women who become Ziegfeld Girls, played by Turner, Garland, and Lamarr. Lana Turner's character gets the most screen time, but Judy's story is also pretty well detailed. During a pep talk before all three girls' debut in a Ziegfeld show, they are told that there are many fates of a Ziegfeld Girl. I can't remember exactly what was said, but the jist was: some will make good and become a huge success; some will find they'd rather sacrifice the theatre and success for love; and some will let their fame go to their head and quickly burn out. As it turns out, each girl plays out one of these three scenarios.
Though it was meant to be set in the 1920s, the costuming was totally inaccurate, but it didn't bother me since it was still full of beautiful styles appropriate to 1941. Click on the images to enlarge... Enjoy!
Jimmy Stewart, my favorite actor, and Lana Turner, looking dramatic. 

I'm a Loafer, Not a Fighter


 I (Gee) am gracing the blog yet again (two in a row, what the netherworld?!) and I would like to put this post up for all of you who wish to wear heels all the time, but know better. I know I would love to wear gorgeous forties and thirties heels and wedges every second of everyday, but sometimes it really just isn't possible or logical.

Now that I am living in true redneck country (the South Carolina low-country is like New York compared to this place) I am treated even more differently for dressing the way I do. My whole family laughed when I came out of the house in a shirtdress and heels to go to a baseball game... they don't seem to understand how casual that is for me.

Anyway, since this occurrence I have done my darnedest to be "casual" more in line with their standards. OK, not really. I just have been wearing my oxfords and loafers more often than my heels, though my grandmother found a way to criticize those as well. Now she is obsessed with buying me new loafers. I haven't found any that don't look like they came from my mom's closet though...
So this one is dedicated to her, in hopes that she comes to accept that I dress the way I do and that I really am not that weird.


Gracie here. More family photos that just make me sad and jealous. But mostly sad.
Ana in an adorable hat I really wish she'd kept.
Ana in the 40s.
Ana again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Dancing on a Rainbow

Here's my favorite musical number from Stage Mother, 1933. I TiVoed it off of TCM a few months ago solely because I saw Maureen O'Sullivan is in it, not expecting too much since the TV's short "info" description wasn't very good, but I actually really liked it!
I love the intro to this - the choreography is pretty (Maureen's) and eye-catching (the showgirls'), and the ominous storm bit is great.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

State Fair (1945)

Gracie here (finally)! I rented State Fair (1945) from Netflix a few weeks ago not expecting a whole lot since I added it to my queue on a whim, but I ended up really enjoying it! Though I could have done without the oddly prolonged hog-love subplot. Here are some shots I got of it with my camera since Macs don't allow screenshots for DVDs.

If you're wondering, she's not punching him in the face. I just liked her top a lot. 
All of the peasant tops in this film just made me love them more. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artist Feature: J. C. Leyendecker

Here are some beautiful illustrations from J. C. Leyendecker, the man responsible for creating the Arrow Collar Man and over 400 magazine covers from 1896-1950. The peak of his career was in the 1920s, and he would become a chief source of inspiration for (and friend of) Norman Rockwell. Unlike the other artists we've featured so far, there is considerably more information available on Leyendecker. I just used his Wikipedia page for the brief little introduction above.

I just love this one! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

McCall's, 1936 - 1937 (October-March)

Still more archive images! Mostly clothing illustrations, but this time there's also an advertisement and beauty article. These were from the fall/winter, as you can tell from the clothing, so these will be more appropriate outfit inspirations for those in the southern hemisphere - but for the rest of us, it's still nice to look!
This is the ad, but I can't remember what it was advertising. I just really liked her hair.
The wonderful and adorable Eleanor Powell, and (supposedly - ha!) her beauty routine.  I like the title to the article - as if there is ever a week without your face..?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stars That Were Dads

In honor of Father's Day, here are some pictures of handsome leading men that were also dads.

Gene Kelly with wife Betsy Blair and their daughter.
Dick Powell and (third) wife June Allyson with their kids. 
Buster Keaton with sons.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Deep Purple

Here's a song, from 1939, that I absolutely adore. When I first heard this song/saw this musical short, something about it perfectly seized upon my imagination and my aesthetic longing for Romance (in both the capital and lowercase "r"sense of the word), and I was consumed with an obsession for a few weeks. While I have since cooled off on my fervor for this song, I still love it. Not only is Artie Shaw and his Orchestra a wonderful match with Helen Forrest's honeyed voice, but the video accompanying it is great. After a bit of Helen and Artie doing their thing, it segues into a nighttime garden scene and tells a little story that is both beautiful and melancholy.

A funny thing I have to add: Gracie mentioned to me that TCM recently played this short in between movies, and she was at her grandmother's house when she saw it. So she sat down and was watching it with her grandma, and they were both sitting in silence when the guy comes on with his cravat-ed dapperness. Her grandma turned to her and was like, "If you ever find a guy in a top hat, hold on to him."

Wise words, granny, wise words. We're totally on the same page here. And Gracie told her as much. 

This song was actually first published by Peter DeRose as solely a piano composition in 1933, and it was a major hit, being played by the likes of Paul Whiteman. It wasn't until 1938 that lyrics would be penned by Mitchell Parish, after steady sheet music sales for the past five years proved the song had staying power. This probably only increased the song's popularity, as it was covered by tons of major musicians and continued to be covered into the late 70s and still hit the Top 20 charts. 
Here's another version, by Larry Clinton and his orchestra, sung by Bea Wain. I don't love it as I do Artie & Helen's version, but I still do like it. 

- Emily

Recently Acquired

I really love seeing original content on other people's blogs - you know, outfit posts, hair posts, thrifting finds, or just random photos other bloggers have taken. I'd like to have more of this original content in my posts, but I am recently having camera issues, and (not so recently) photogenic issues. The former means that my Nikon D90 is acting up and is completely unreliable, the latter that I simply don't seem to photograph well. Add to this the lack of a self-timer or camera stand (I've tried finding places around the apartment I'm subletting to set it, but there really isn't a very good spot), and outfit posts especially become difficult. Ah well, they will happen eventually.
Anywho, in an attempt to post some me-made pictures, here are some recent finds. The brooches are all from a vintage fair that happens every Sunday in Boston, and the shoes/galoshes are all from different places.
As you can see, I have several pairs of vintage slippers and vintage galoshes - but no regular vintage heels (besides the first shown, which are a wee bit tight and fragile)! And this is not for a lack of trying. I'm starting to wonder if all the size 8 foot-ed women of the 30s and 40s only saved their non-everyday shoes.
Hope you are all enjoying the start to your weekend!
A gramophone. I've gotten a lot of wear out of this one so far. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Artist Feature: Leo Fontan

Leo Fontan, a French painter, is an artist I've recently discovered and am quite mad about. His illustrations/paintings are just gorgeous, simple yet full of eye-catching details, and have a whimsy and often a sense of mischief that I love. If you look him up on Google images, you will find that he appears to be a "leg man" - I swear about 1/3 of the images were these stocking-clad leg portraits he's done! Anyway, I gathered up some other ones because his people portraits are his best, I think! From what I could find, he was born in France in 1883, and died in 1965. Apparently he started losing his eyesight towards the end of his life, but he continued painting. And no wonder! This was pretty much all I could discover, there was only a French Wikipedia page on him.

Subtitle translated reads "Queen for a Day".

Okay, I took French for 8 years but I'm not sure about this translation - Title: "Honeymoon".
- "I am sure that you don't love me anymore"
- "But why, my dear?"
- "Ah well... one couldn't dispute this since this morning!
... this is all with high-school level training in French, so take it with a grain of salt. 

Translated, the title and caption read "Blue, White, Red" - "The Cockade of Mimi Pinson".

McCall's, 1934-1935 (October-March)

More archive images to set you swooning and sighing! I know I feel a little light-headed, but that may just be because I had to rush out the door this morning without eating breakfast...

The bib grows up indeed! I wish I owned a bib or two...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart

Two features begin in one week! Gee and I have also decided to do a recurring feature on songs that we really love. I know that this won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I also know that I like reading other blogger's music posts who have similar taste, so maybe a few people will enjoy these. I've actually discovered some favorite artists through other blogs, so hopefully this will do the same for at least a few people out there! The music I love is very dear to me and I would love to help keep the wonderful tunes of the past alive!

So, the first song: "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" performed and sung by my absolute all-time favorite, Judy Garland. The first is from 1938, and the second from 1935.

Despite Judy's seriously over-plucked eyebrows (she looks like a china doll!), you can see how adorable she was at the start of her career and you get a taste of her magnetism on stage. The funny thing is, this is actually not that good of an example of the typical Judy performance, she is rather held-back and reserved, not overly expressive in this video. I'm sure that has to do with the director or someone behind scenes in the film, because Judy loved to put on a performance, both in technical skill in belting tunes out, and in emotional expressiveness. Still, even in this toned-down performance, she manages to tug on my heartstrings (as she sings about her heartstrings). And the lyrics are simple but wonderfully sweet.
And here's the 1935 radio version, which I recommend for two reasons: first, it changes half-way through into a swing version, which is my favorite version of this song. Secondly, as the description for the video says, this is the version Judy sang on the radio while her father was in the hospital, and she sang with extra effort knowing her dad was listening. Pretty much every other adult relationship she had at the time was toxic or would soon become so (always the adult's fault. She was just a kid, and she was constantly used and/or abused - her mother, managers, perhaps Louis B. Mayer, etc) and her father was the one person she felt she could trust and who actually loved her. So what gives this song an extra heart-wrenching quality is that her father died in the hospital the day after she sang this, before she had a chance to see him again. She was only 13. I imagine she had some very sad/emotional associations with this song whenever she was requested to sing it in the future. Anyway, here it is:
- Emily

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If You Say, "I'm Just Too Thin!" - McCall's, 1934-35

More from the archives, an article from McCall's in 1934-35 (I'm almost positive, it was with a bunch of other images from these years) that is a favorite of mine. Besides the funnyness factor in the somewhat contrived storyline and the obvious pattern promotion (hey, it was a McCall's magazine, it makes sense), this peek into the past is especially interesting considering the current societal debates on body ideals. It's crazy when you consider that the girl, shown in the "Before Makeover" picture, wouldn't pass modern designers' standards, and they would most likely require her to lose more weight before hiring her. But I won't go into a "modern beauty standards" rant, its all been said....

Anyway, the "After" picture is lovely (but I don't think the "Before" is that terrible), I do love her dress and hat and gloves... okay, everything. I've enlarged both the "Before" picture and the "After" picture for easier viewing.
By the way, I realize that I didn't photograph the rest of the article, but if I remember correctly, it ended quite soon on the new page anyway, so you aren't missing too much.

Click to enlarge and read the article!

Before clothing makeover. That hat is a little awkward and elongating with that outfit, but for goodness sakes, there's nothing that should make her go "When I look in the mirror, I could die of mortification - I'm so thin!"

- Emily

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Artist Feature: Harrison Fisher

Born in New York in 1877, Harrison Fisher worked from the turn of the century until his death in 1934. And that's pretty much all I know about him. I'm not too interested in doing a bunch of research, I'm content to just admire his illustrations. Here are a few favorites:
"The Evening Hour" - I'm pretty sure this is my favorite of all. The best part? This was done for Cosmopolitan. Now I know this would never happen today, but come on, isn't this so much better than the stock photos of pretty but forgettable-looking people straddling each other in their underwear (Cosmo's illustration of choice nowadays)? This illustration leaves more to the imagination, but I wouldn't say it's prudishly subtle - I mean, with that image, and that caption, you get the idea. But its lovely to look at at the same time!

I just love this - I can't settle on what adjective describes it best, it can be two totally different things, depending on how you look at it. Romantic or humorous? Dark or whimsical? Beautiful or beautiful? 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Artist Feature: Charles Gates Sheldon

Greetings Blogoverse!
We’ve decided to start a series on illustrators and painters and photographers whose work we really love and admire. Most of them will be posted over the next few weeks, but from time to time as we discover/are reminded of new artists, we’ll add more. Hopefully this doesn’t bore you – but I think these artists will have wide appeal to the vintage crowd, after all, all the ones we’re featuring are vintage aged or antique! 

So here’s the first artist: Charles Gates Sheldon. I don’t know much about him (he hasn’t a Wikipedia page! Gasp!)… He was born in 1889 (one site says 1894?), died in 1960 (another says 1961!). The height of his fame as an illustrator was around the 20s and 30s, and he painted a lot of female celebrities and magazines covers, but he did work before and after those times. And that’s about all I know, besides that his portrait illustrations were stunning. Here are a few of my favorites, below. 
The wonderful Katherine Hepburn.
Gorgeous Jean Harlow.

Whaddya know! The illustrator of our blog header! (Not specifically for us - I wish! - but you know what I mean.)

More Vogue in the Mid-Late 30s

Here's more from the fashion magazine archives. This set is also all from Vogue, circa the mid-late 1930s. Click on the images to get the highest resolution.
Enjoy the loveliness!
Oh, the prettiness. I adore both of these. I had to make this smaller so it wouldn't be overlapping with the sidebar...
Look at that second the the right one! Isn't that such an interesting shape? 

*Drool*... the black and white ones on the nearest pair of feet.

Dramatic, feminine, and full of little details... of course I love this one!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Bit About Weddings

I love weddings. Or the idea of them at least. I actually have only been to one wedding in my life. I was 7 so I sort of hated it. Anyway, I now appreciate them because they are one of the few times large groups of people get together and have to dress nicely, and that makes me really happy. Also, there are some really pretty weddings so I am really excited to go to any weddings in the future (my cousin just got engaged so I will going to at least one soon).
Anywho, I was snooping about in my Grandma Ana's stuff and found her wedding album so I took some pictures of the photos. She was married in '52 I think... and must have gotten knocked up pretty quickly since my mom had two older brothers, and she was born in '55.
... anyway...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Have to Have Hats

Here’s another photo-heavy post. After doing a post on shoes, I felt that I must do one on hats, in order to honor the special place they have in my heart. Hats are the only accessory that can compete with - or, dare I say it, outweigh - my love for vintage shoes. Unlike shoes, which play a more practical role in everyday life, hats aren’t exactly necessary. But, as the title of this post says, I simply must have them. I love them. The right hat can complete any outfit, can change the mood of it, can flatter or disguise certain features. Hats can be serious, plain, feminine, or frivolous, though I tend to favor the latter two categories of hats. And they’re just freakin’ awesome, to put it inarticulately. People today seem to really notice hats – for better and for worse. Many times I’ve worn the same outfit in public, without a hat and with a hat, and when I wore it with the hat, the nice comments (and the rude stares/stinkeye) increased manifold. I suppose this is because nowadays hats simply aren’t done, unless you wear a doo-rag/baseball cap or are British nobility at a wedding or day at the races. But this shows just how polarizing modern hat styles are – they’re either extremely casual or very fancy. There’s not much of an everyday nice-casual presence of hats. How I wish this wasn’t the case.

I don’t own many hats that I like to wear out (not the right era – I got a huge lot for nearly pennies of Craigslist last winter, but I couldn’t see most of them before I got them, only to realize they were mostly 50s and 60s. Poo.), but I’ve got 3 or 4 I’m very fond of, mostly from vintage shops. I’ve also gathered pictures of hats I pine for over the past year or so – the folder in my iPhoto is currently hundreds strong. Below I’ve shared a few (ahem... twenty-five) that I do wish I could miraculously find during my next visit to my friendly local antique or vintage shop.

What type of hats do you like? Do you have a particular era of millinery that makes you weak with materialistic longing?

Note: I don't know the sources of many of these pictures! I've just collected them over time via Google images and other blogs. If I took someone's original image, let me know and I'll give credit/remove it!

Especially the top red one!
Carole Lombard. I love this one!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vogue, Mid-Late 30s

Here are some more images from my school’s archives of old magazines. Again, sorry for the weird quality of a photographed page instead of a scanned page. I’ve got a lot more to upload, but I want to space out the hundred or so images over a few posts so as not to hit you with a photo overload. This set is all from Vogue – in my eagerness start looking through the books and photographing them, I forgot to mark down the exact issues I was flipping through! But I remember the Vogue I grabbed (I took one Vogue and three McCall’s, and within each book there are anywhere from two to five issues bound together, depending on how thick they are) was from the mid-late 30s, so there’s a point of reference for you.
I'm just nuts about this one. I love the repetition of scalloping and the overall styling of the suit. 

A cute advertisement.

Another advertisement. This time for comfy heels that will help your feet last all day at the fair.