Mini Skirt Monday #33: Modeling the Mini

Here's a little collection of fashion photographs from 1968-1972 featuring mini-skirts. No well known celebs or super models in this gallery - only local zero-budget fashion pages. If you're a fan of the miniskirt or just enjoy looking at nameless babes who are now in their sixties (SHEESH! I'm getting old), read on. Otherwise, skip to the next post.... I won't take offense.


Beatles Covers #6: Ten Great Covers

There's really no way to write a decent post covering all the great Beatles covers - even a top 20 list wouldn't satisfy me. So, instead I'll just continue to periodically post on Beatles covers, and hopefully in ten to twenty years, it'll be fairly definitive.

In the meantime, I'd like to just list ten Beatles covers in no particular order that I happen to enjoy. Beatles music is almost sacred to me, so I take no cover version lightly, and I'll refrain from choosing the obvious ones like "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Joe Cocker and "Come Together" by Aerosmith.


Twisted Impressions #4

This vintage German hosiery ad gives me the chills. I'm sure it was unintentional, but for God's sake, did no one proof this ad? Did it not occur to anyone in the process that this looks really disturbing at first glance? This next one I think was intentional...

image source

Vintage Business #5: The Secretary

Job Voyager is a cool program that plots the popularity of a job over time. You can see the secretary position had its heyday beginning prior to the 1950's and kept climbing until 1970, when it went into free-fall off a cliff.

Our boys had come back from WWII and found women infiltrating the workforce; subsequently, Rosie the Riveter became Rosie the Stenographer. The meteoric rise of the secretary was born. Mad Men recreates this alien office world, so foreign to us today that it almost seems like it belongs on the Sci-Fi Channel (Err, umm, excuse me - Syfy Channel. Whatever). Who cares about the plot - it's just fun to watch what the office environment was like five decades ago.

Men could smoke at their desks, women had to go to a special lounge. If a woman got pregnant, she was expected to quit - no exceptions. They were expected to dress to the nine and do the bidding of the males in charge no questions asked. Changing careers to something more profitable and less demeaning was often not an option - universities preferred to accept veterans, and the number of female collegians dropped sharply.


Twisted Impressions #3: Cordless Vibrator.... (ahem) I mean, Massager

Yes, this massager (wink. wink. nudge. nudge.) is perfect for soothing those aching muscles. Its "deep" "penetrating"  action (could they be less subtle?) is sure to provide relief from poor circulation and nervous fatigue.  The massager measures seven inches long about the length of a penis and is safe and sanitary. As an added bonus, the massager can be used with oils and creams (nudge).  Order now, and we'll ship it to you in a plain wrapper so that your mailman won't know you just ordered a vibrator for your convenience.

(the advertisement is from a magazine published in the 1950's)

If you're interested in this massager, you may also be interested in this next item...

.... for massages, of course.

Opinions and Rants #19: You Win, Chinese Spammers. I Give Up.

I fought the good fight, but I'm down for the count. I tried to be patient and just delete the Chinese spam, but now it's just getting ridiculous. Time that I could be spending writing a good post is spent deleting Chinese spam. So, I give up and will have to moderate comments.

I don't know about you, but I like to see my comment on a post immediately. I hate to have to wait for comment moderation because I could have really effed up my comment (I don't proofread my comments), and I'd like to see it.  Plus, it's just nice.

I haven't had near as much time to comment on other blogs that I follow in the past few months. It's a give and take: you only have X amount of time in a day to spend blogging. Do you want to spend it commenting or posting? There's often not time to do both.

Anyway, to all you Chinese spammers who now force me to do comment moderation, I wish you all the worst in whatever shitty business you are trying to promote. Thanks for nothing.


Vintage Business #4: Service with a Scowl

The convenience of online banking is great, but if, dear God, you have to actually visit the establishment, pray for death.  The lines, the ineptitude, the rudeness.... actually, it's a lot like every other service industry in the country. Can you even imagine a smiling mini-skirted stewardess making sure you're comfortable in coach? Hell, no. You're packed like sardines and lucky to even looked at by the grumpy heavyset flight attendant.  At the rental car, the hotel, the restaurant - it's the same old thing.


Ads #29: False Advertising

You mean, I can have 300 attractive females at my disposal for one lousy buck? Hot dog!  I can't wait to hook up with these farmer's daughters, grieving widows, and lonely nurses. Where do I send the check?..... Hey, wait a minute. This sounds too good to be true. This wouldn't by any chance be a scam, now would it?

I'm thinkin', yes. Major scam. Take a look through men's magazines from the 50's and 60's, and they're loaded with this type of false advertising.  It makes me wonder how many dollar bills actually went in the mail to these frauds.  Kid's comic books were filled with similar rip-offs like Sea Monkeys and X-Ray Specs; the men's mags were no different - just geared toward grown men. Let's take a look at a few.

I love this one! Judging by the expression on this guy's face, I think he may have just learned the hard way that you can't really make a healthy living with a foosball franchise. He seems to be crying bitterly, and perhaps stabbing himself at the same time. A hard lesson learned, indeed.


Vintage Style #8: 1980s Fashion

Far too much time is spent marvelling at the jaw dropping fashions of the 1970's; however, the 1980's deserve equal time.  They could be every bit as awful, and oftentimes worse.  Take for instance, the bedazzled sweaters and sweatshirts shown above. My eyes!!

I wonder if those shoes are L.A. Gear, and I think those are acid washed jeans. Never has so much 80's radness been condensed into a  400 x 267 image. It's almost too much to take in at once.


Vinyl Dynamite #19: Skateboardin' USA (1976)

I don't think many people today realize that skateboarding was every bit as much a phenomenon in the 1970's as roller skating. Certainly, Dogtown and the Z Boys and Lords of Dogtown helped bring awareness to its history, but I think most associate skateboarding's ascention to mainstream popularity with the 1980's.  Tony Hawk certainly brought unprecedented attention to the sport, and the whole alternative music scene embraced it; however, it was big first in the late 70's.

Today's vinyl dynamite is Skateboardin' USA by Sneakers & Lace. I don't know if they ever recorded another album, or what ever became of them. However, this LP is a fantastic example of capitalizing on a trend and actually doing a good job with it, rather than just churning out crap and hoping people buy it just because of its association with the skateboarding trend.

Fact or Fiction #13: The Joyce Drake Mystery Unraveled

From retrospace

Recently, I received an anonymous email in response to my post The Mysterious Mrs. Drake about the infamous Joyce LP. In case you're not familiar: the Joyce record has become the poster child for bad album covers around the world; however, the identity of Mrs. Drake has been a bit of an enigma.  Perhaps, we now have an answer:

It is Joyce Drake. She is my aunt. Yes, she is a pastors wife in Sealy, TX and she knows. Considering that album was made in 1983, there is nothing bad or super funny about it. Everyone looked like that in the 80's. There are too many lame people making fun and trying to find out who she is. Recently her album was featured on a segment with Jeff Bridges on the Ellen show. Instead of wasting your time on sites such as this, how 'bout sending Ellen an email requesting Joyce be on the show. At least then you can see the person behind the album.
I have a few thoughts in response to this message...


Bad Songs #2: "Love Is All Around" by Sammy Davis, Jr.

This is the Sammy Davis, Jr. I remember, not the serious vocalist, but the hep cat from the 1970's with the Nehru jacket and plenty of bling who brought down the house when he was a guest on a variety show. Sammy recorded a lot of crazy stuff in the 70's when he went to MGM records - some good, some bad.... real bad.

 Here's a couple examples of the bad - Sammy Davis, Jr. kickin' it primetime with TV theme songs. Sammy could sing the Declaration of Independence and it would sound groovy and swingin' - so, I don't want to knock these songs too much. They probably fall into the so bad it's good category, or so dire it's amusing. Take your pick.

"Love Is All Around" (The Mary Tyler Moore Show)

and here's another one for good measure....
"You Can Count on Me" (Hawaii 5-0)

I love the Mary Tyler Moore theme song, the Hawaii 5-0 theme song, and Sammy Davis, Jr. However, I also love baked beans, tuna fish and vanilla ice cream, but that doesn't mean they go good together. Cheers!


Sex Sells #12: More Sexual Innuendo in Advertising

I wonder if you can identify the sexual innuendo going on in the advertisement above. If you're having trouble seeing it, you may need a little training in innuendo identification. The good news is that I'm here to help. See if you can spot the not-so-subtle innuendo in the following ads from years gone by.  Good luck!

While horses are a time honored symbol of verility, that's not the primary innuendo in this watch ad. I think the only way Timex could've been LESS subtle would to have put a real dick in the ad.  I'm just sayin'.


Comic Books #18: The Racist South

I've lived all over this country, and I think I speak with some experience when I say that racism exists every bit as much in the North as it does in the South. Don't get me wrong, prejudice is alive and well in the rural South - but no less than it is in rural Wyoming or Colorado. Caucasian dominated urban areas like Seatle and Salt Lake City may give lip service to equal rights, but one wonders how these same folks would hold up in Selma or Atlanta where they have to put their money where their mouth is. The South gets a bad rap, I think.

However, that reputation was earned. The racism prevalent in the South in the 1960's and earlier was disgraceful. It wasn't all that long ago, and for many the memory is fresh.  It will take awhile to rebuild an image founded in cruelty and hatred toward their fellow man. I stumbled across this 1961 campaign flyer for the election of George Wallace as Governor of Alabama called "Stand Up for Alabama". It's pretty horrifying.


Mini Skirt Monday #32: Minis on Campus (Part 3)

In the United States miniskirts came on college campuses around 1968; before that, they were few and far between. The mini reigned supreme until the early 70's, when the dirty hippie look took over and the miniskirt was vanquished.  However, there were miniskirts a plenty in high schools for a year or so longer.

Let's take a look at mini skirts from this time-frame in places of higher learning. From sorority houses to the science club, there were mini-skirts up the yin yang. Guys back then didn't know what to with themselves, I'm sure. Even the radio & electronics club was infiltrated...


Vintage Men's Mags #2: Sweaty Perverted Nightmares in Print

For the past few years, there seems to be a weird cult of manhood in the media (i.e. The Man Show, MANswers, Spike TV and certain commercials which seem to relish stereotypical guy things like barbecues, bimbos and booze). This is all well and good, if you like this sort of thing, but this is sissy stuff compared to those post-war men's action magazines.

These mags were gritty, revolting, sweaty, homoerotic, brutal, twisted, oversexed trash.... and I love 'em! This was reading material for "real" men; let your wife read her sissy magazines - you've got serious man stuff to read. Sex starved cannibal queens, crazed nazi whores, and nympho pirates.... You name your perverted nightmare, these old mags had it covered!


Getting Some Much Needed R&R

That's right. I'm taking a break from the daily grind and heading down south for some rest and relaxation. I might schedule a post or two to publish while I'm gone, but I generally don't like Retrospace up and running unless I'm there to hover and obsess over it continually.

I really need the break. My job is mind numbingly stressful. I'm not one of those guys that's livin' the dream following his passion - I'm not a sculptor, professional skier or food critic. I'm smack dab in the middle of the rat race, have been for well over a decade, and it's a bitch. So, I'm gettin' out.... for a week.

I probably shouldn't complain too much, considering a lot of people are out of work these days. Retrospace has been a great sanctuary for me in the late hours each day, so I'm sure to be back posting by Monday of next week. Ciao!


Important Things to Know #5

I'd like to take a moment to thank the Retrospace research team (pictured above) for all the hard work they do here at Retrospace on a daily basis. (Well, except for Clarke (far left), he's a constant nuisance and needs to be let go.) A big thanks to the team for compiling yet another list of Important Things to Know. Good work, gang!

Anthony Perkins lost his virginity to Victoria Principal.

Sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer was trained as a sniper when she lived in Israel, and can assemble a submachine gun blindfolded.

Jesse Jackson performed the ceremony at Casey Kasem's 1980 wedding.

In 1978, on his way to a job interview with the Seattle Humane Society, Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson ran over a dog.

CHiPs star, Erik Estrada wears a piece of his first son's umbilical cord in a locket around his neck.

The Tonight Show theme was written by Paul Anka, and he gets 200 bucks every time it's played.

James Garner got a Purple Heart for being shot in the ass while jumping into a foxhole in Korea.


Cinema #8: Snow White Meets Deep Throat (Part 1)

When I look through old newspapers during porn's golden age, I am constantly amazed at how the X rated films are advertised right alongside the mainstream movies - even family oriented pictures. This is something you simply do not find in papers today. Of course, nearly all the adult movie theaters have closed down. Regardless, the sight of seeing a Disney film pictured right next to a hardcore sex flick still blows my mind.

Consider this a sort of part II to "70's Porn Chic", a previous post on Retrospace. I think it's the perfect way to illustrate the sexual permissiveness of those days.

I promise these ads are not cut and pasted next to each other.  If you question their authenticity, I encourage you to dig up the movie listings in these theaters - you'll see that these are completely legit. Scout's honor. So without further rambling, here's a gallery of vintage newspaper ads with X rated films side by side with mainstream Hollywood films.  Enjoy!


Vintage Scares #11: More PSA's from Hell

Wanna see a young boy get electrocuted while his sister screams in horror? Well you've come the right place - public service announcements in the 1970's were often hardcore. Here's a few chilling and strange examples.


Comic Books #17: If an A-Bomb Falls

During the height of the Cold War, citizens went about their daily lives as normal, all the while conscious of the fact that a nuclear warhead could turn their bodies to dust at any moment. They had every reason to believe this was not an "if it happens", but rather a "when it happens" scenario.  Rather than crawl into a dark corner somewhere in the fetal position and spend your final days weeping and gnashing teeth, Americans lived life as normally as possible - as if the total annihilation of the human race was not just around the corner. They say that while a fourth of the European population was being wiped out by the Black Death, very little was written about it - Boccaccio's Decameron makes mention of it, but it very rarely made its way into paintings and poetry. Like the people of the plague, the people of the Cold War carried on as it had before the threat of complete planetary extinction.

However, they did take precautions. They built bomb shelters, had drills, stockpiled food, and so forth. Looking through this old comic book, If an A-Bomb Falls from 1951, is an interesting glimpse into the Cold War mindset. Much like another comic book on nuclear war preparation I posted on earlier, the advice seems to border on insanity. For instance, if an atomic bomb is about to drop on your city, make sure you pull the drapes, turn off the stove, and take the trash out (?)

Hey, Isn't That?... #5: The Fury.

I recently watched the 1978 film, The Fury. You'd think that a film starring Kirk Douglas and John Cassavetes and directed by Brian de Palma would be automatically awesome. You'd think wrong.

Part horror, part sci-fi, part crap, this movie had me bored to death. The one thing that kept me going, though was the constant stream of cameos by actors before they became famous.

Notice the shirtless dude on the left? That's Jim Belushi. He's barely in it for five seconds and has no lines. I'm told that he initially had a bigger part, but couldn't get his act together and the director demoted him to an extra. David Letterman made fun of him for this one time.


Retro Quote #8: The Hubris of Phillip Michael Thomas

"There are only a few who will be the Fords, the Edisons, the Carnegies, and I think I'm in that number."
- Phillip Michael Thomas (12/9/1985)

I ran across this quote while reading a 1989 issue of People (1974-1989: Our First 15 Years) and nearly choked. It's amazing how these actors think they're immortal demi-gods when they're on top, only to find out the hard way that fame is almost always fleeting.

After Miami Vice, Thomas made some good money by sueing The Psychic Friends Network after he was replaced by Miss Cleo. Other than that, he really hasn't done much.

The Decade of Decadence #2: Porn Chic

A few months ago, I published a post called "When Movies Were Gratuitous" which dealt with the fact that movies during the 1970's routinely contained explicit and gratuitous nudity.  By 1984, sexual content, especially the gratuitous kind, declined sharply.  That post had some very long, in depth comments which tackled the issue of why this occurred which really made me reflect on the subject further.

You might ask: Isn't there better things to do with your time than wonder why films show less T&A? Sure. But if you're a regular reader of Retrospace, you know there's a certain pleasure in looking at trends and cultural climates of the times. It's a history lesson in popular culture - and the great thing about studying the past is that it sheds light on aspects of the present day. Plus, I like to get inside the times, read the newspapers, watch the movies, browse the catalogs - not just read dates and lines in a textbook.  And like it or not, if you want to get inside the 1970's, you're bound to get a little dirty.


Sex Sells #11: When Computers Were Groovy

Sometime in the late 1970's, computers stopped being sexy, cool and exciting. Companies began marketing them as family computers, as toys for kids, or for drab utilitarian purposes at work. Where once you had go-go girls lounging all over the hardware, suddenly you had guys like Bill Cosby and Bill Bixby as spokesmen. Boooooring.

Nowadays, we are so far removed from the computer's early days, we can't imagine them being groovy chick magnets. They are so integrated into our lives that computerization goes almost unnoticed.  I've posted on this topic before, so I'll try not to repeat myself any more. It's a subject I find fascinating. Here's a few more artifacts from when computers were groovy.


Time to Celebrate

I like to give myself a self congratulatory pat on the back when Retrospace reaches certain milestones. Four hundred followers warrants a little self-love I think. Thanks to everyone that drops in. As I've said before, I enjoy writing posts nearly every day, but it would quickly get old if it wasn't shared with others who might also appreciate it. Seeing that Retrospace gets over twenty thousand visitors each week is certainly positive reinforcement. So, thanks to all of you, and I hope you'll keep dropping by!.... Yay, Retrospace!

Vinyl Dynamite #18: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty

Everyone's familiar with Steve Miller's famous line, "Some people call me the Space Cowboy. Some call me the Gangster of Love", but how many are familiar with who Miller is referring to? Johnny Guitar Watson was released his album Gangster of Love back in the 1950's and was extremely influential to a number of artists including Miller and Sly Stone. Notably, Frank Zappa stated that "Watson's 1956 song 'Three Hours Past Midnight' inspired me to become a guitarist".

In the 1970's, Johnny Guitar ditched the blues and went straight up funk and soul, subsequently, becoming an influence to another generation of artists including Snoop Dogg, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Mary J. Blige. His gold teeth, broad-brimmed hats, fly suits, designer sunglasses, and ostentatious jewellery made him one of the most colorful figures in the West Coast funk circle (quote source). In fact, it is believed that Watson became an ACTUAL PIMP!! (source: Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke (2005)).

Here's another little known fact: The famous "Bow Wow Wow yippi-yo yippi-yay" popularized by Parliament Funkadelic then later Snoop Doggy Dogg was actually the catchphrase of Johnny Guitar Watson!

Watson claims to have invented rap music with his 1980 song "Telephone Bill". The verdict is still out on this one, as well as his claim that Jimi Hendrix was merely his copycat, saying: "Those things Jimi Hendrix was doing, I started that shit." Regardless of whether these claims are true, Johnny Guitar Watson was a legend whose influence was profound in the world of music.

I'm proud, therefore, to offer his 1977 album as the Retrospace Vinyl Dynamite selection in its entirety. This album is about as funky as it gets (his earlier LP, Ain't that a Bitch (1976), wasn't too shabby either). I love every groove on this record, and if you're a fan of 70's funk and soul, I'm sure you'll feel the same way. I apologize for the incessant crackling - the  record is pretty scratched. Call me overly sentimental toward records, but I personally like to hear the crackle of the needle on vinyl.

Download the entire album via Rapidshare here

Side 1
01. Funk Beyond The Call Of Duty
02. It's About The Dollar Bill
03. Give Me My Love

Side 2
04. It's A Damn Shame
05. I'm Gonna Get You Baby
06. Barn Door
07. Love That Will Not Die

Or just sample a track:
"It's About the Dollar Bill"


Mini Skirt Monday #31: Minis on TV

The early to mid-seventies were primetime for minis to make their appearance on the Boob Tube. Since it was considered the "In Fashion" at the time, mini skirts were popping up all across the dial. Okay, maybe not Little House on the Prairie, Grizzly Adams or The Waltons... but you get my meaning.

Let's take a look at some mini-skirt sightings from television starting with The Pat Paulsen Half Hour Comedy Hour.  Many of you may remember Pat from his appearances on The Smothers Brothers and his numerous runs for the presidency.  He had a short lived show of his own that wasn't too shabby. One recurring skit involved Pat as a Mr. Wizard type character who instructs a young miniskirted lass and her idiotic boyfriend in the miracles of science. Inevitibly, the boyfriend wound up electrocuted, frozen solid, or drowned by the  experiments; meanwhile Pat was making the moves on the young bimbo.


Comic Books #16: More Pre-Code Nastiness

If you listen to radio talk show hosts, you might think that the popular culture has gone to the dogs - images of sex and violence have never been so prevalent. Our 21st century culture is one of filth compared to the clean and pure days of our forefathers. Well, I've got one thing to say to that - WRONG!

If you've learned anything from Retrospace, it's that the we don't have a monopoly on sex and violence today. In fact, these subjects were much more mainstream in the 1970's.  Also, men's magazines and pre-code comics could often be more graphic than anything you're likely to see today. Comics prior to the 1954 Comics Code were straight up harsh - there's no other word for it.

In this installment of Pre-Code Nastiness, I'd like to place comic panels alongside the corresponding Comics Code Authority guidelines that they violate. Enjoy!

Note: This stuff is probably safe for work; however, your co-workers will think you are a psychopath.