The Vintage Preservation Collection #5: Scanned Books

Many sites have done a great job preserving printed materials of the past, and I'd like to point out a few. First, is the 1940s book How to Make Friends by Telephone scanned in its entirety here.

Next up is an amazing gallery of vintage romance novels featuring nurses.  You wouldn't think there'd be so damn many, but there's over three hundred! Even better, the site not only has cover images, but a description and quote from every single one.


Album Covers #13: Even More Bad Album Covers

What the internet needs now is another post about bad album covers like I need a hole in my head. Over the past couple years bad album covers have gone from kitsch to yawn inducing. Why? Because it has become a topic well traveled and, thus, lost its novelty - especially when you see the same covers over and over again.

That being said (here comes the statement which negates everything I just said), I've stumbled upon some that still manage to impress me with their badness. I feel it is my duty as caretaker of Retrospace to present them to you. In fact, "bad album covers" was the topic of one of my very first posts, and I still, somehow, get pleasure from seeing an old LP cover that's particulary awful.

So, here's another batch of bad ones comin' at you. Click images to embiggen. Don't say I didn't warn you.



I've mentioned this many times before, but it's an endless source of bewilderment and frustration for me, so here I go again: Of all the posts published on Retrospace over the past two and a half years, my "spanking post" far outpaces all the others in hits per day. Yes, a post that I put together during a lunch break (which wasn't even really about spanking in a kinky sense) remains my number one post.

You might wonder why I'm still astonished by the fact that a post with a sexual connotation would be popular. It's not that I'm naive, it's just that I put a lot of time and energy into some of these posts, and it's a bit frustrating to see that half-assed spanking post is the one that gets the most traffic.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here's a collection of vintage spanks that a I threw together in about fifteen minutes. Let's see what happens.

Note: There's 41 pictures total; although, there may be a few in there twice.

Vintage Scan #14: Vintage Textbook Defacing

Exploring Science textbook (1976)

Just a quick post: I was paging through this old science textbook from 1976 and found it riddled with graffiti. I couldn't help but laugh at some of the 70s references. For example, in the picture above:

"oh helda come over to the reegle Beagle"

Nice Three's Company reference. Whoever this vandalizing delinquent was, he deserves some recognition. So, here's a couple more.


Let's Get Physical #4: 80s Fitness Hell

Is there anything more gawdy than the 1980s fitness look? I mean, there's a certain charm to the bad fashions of the 70s, but the 80s aerobics/fitness look is pure vomit inducing, retina scalding, brain melting awfulness. I've never been a big fan of the spandex look, for men or women. Combine that with fake tans, teased hair and pastel colors, and it's almost too much for my poor feeble mind to process.

So prepare to have your mind blown and bowels turned. I present to you a plethora of images and video featuring tons of leotards, big hair, leg warmers, and firm glutes. If it becomes too much to handle, take a break, go for a nice walk, then come back and finish.  I recommend a cold shower afterwards.


Vintage Style #14: Pants!

Once upon a time, girls could wear skirts halfway up their thigh to school, but, heaven forbid, they wore slacks - they were sent directly home.  Alas, in the 1970s, for the first time in history, women wore (choke) PANTS! What the hell had happened? One day, I'm watching The Brady Bunch, and Carol is wearing slacks.... where'd the short dress go to? Honestly, they don't look as good and they can't be more comfortable.  No comprendo.

Anyway, here's a slideshow from various old catalogs, all featuring women in slacks. Some of them are straight up hideous, some not too bad.  Either way, they're fun to look at.   Enjoy!

Note: There's been some discussion on using Flickr slideshow.  Click the "4 arrows" icon on the bottom right to view the slideshow full size. Hit "escape" to return to Retrospace. If you hover your mouse over the top of the screen when it's expanded full screen, you can click forward and backward buttons.

If you know of a better image slideshow to embed in posts, I'd be interested to hear it.  This is not sarcasm - I really would like to hear it. :-)


Vintage Scares #14: Spook Shows!

Most of you are probably too young to remember spook shows.  They came in a number of varieties, from the travelling professionals to the local Knights of Columbus.  Their heyday was the 1930s, but experienced a decline by the late 60s.  Your city or town may still put on haunted houses or hay rides, but the spook show was a whole different animal.  They generally took place in a tent or rented theater, and starred a variety of showmen: generally, magicians, carnies, and hypnotists.

One thing was for sure, they were always a racket.  The "REAL DEAD BODY" was a chicken from a local butcher, the 'FREE BABY" was a baby chick, and the shrunken heads were always plastic.  If you were an adult stupid enough to believe the ads, you deserved to lose your quarter; but, if you were a kid, it didn't matter how lousy it was.  When you told your friends about it, it would be the greatest, most horrifying thing you ever saw.


Ads #38: Children

"This young man is 11 months old - and he isn't our youngest customer by any means.  For 7-Up is so pure, so wholesome, you can even give to babies and feel good about it...."


Vinyl Dynamite #25: Sell the Sizzle!

How to Get Appointments by Telephone

Check out this cultural artifact from 1961 - a whole record devoted to getting appointments by telephone (or 'selling the sizzle' as the back of the LP proclaims). It's hilarious to listen to the glorious telephone described as an "Aladdin's lamp", as if this new technology only needed to be harnessed for money to start pouring in.

I actually started to get a little stressed out listening to the part about itemizing every wasted second to determine how many appointments you could've made in that time. Geesh! Mona Ling don't play! Listen to a selection for yourself.


Trivia Newton-John #17: $125 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

The folks over at the amazing CSN Stores have graciously offered a $125 gift certificate as the prize for this edition of Trivia Newton-John. First of all, you know CSN kicks ass simply due to the fact that they're following Retrospace, and, second of all, they have some truly amazing stuff.

I am not receiving any compensation from CSN for this contest; I'm doing it because (1) I want to reward Retrospace readers whenever possible, and (2) because I truly believe they are a top notch business with quality products. I mean, I could do a lot with 125 bucks at this store - there's definitely a bean bag chair with my name on it, and there's some killer table lamps I could use.

So, many thanks to CSN and let's get on with the contest. Below are 10 screen caps from 10 different movies. The first person to leave a comment naming all 10 movies correctly gets the prize.  Remember: You have to name all ten to collect; nine right doesn't cut it.


Cinema #12: Movie Theater Marquees


I can't help it. I'm oddly fascinated by pictures of old movie theater marquees. As you know, I'm not real into the gilded age of cinema - those 20s-30s movie houses that looked like Liberace's boudoir.  I'm more of a drive-in or 42nd Street kind of guy.... and any vintage photo of these places is right up my alley. Most of them are long since abandoned or converted into flea markets or evangelical churches - which makes these images all the more interesting.

In the early 80s, NYC began its clean up of Times Square and 42nd Street. The grindhouse was vanquished in favor of The Gap and The Lion King on Broadway.  Indeed, a once unique, if not seedy, cinematic hub has been officially Starbucked.  It's a pity, but, to be fair, most of these NYC movie theaters had converted to hard core porn before the renovation started - thus, they were on their way out without the help of the city planners.

Whether it's a grindhouse or a main street cineplex, what made them special was they each had character. Each town had a connection to their movie house. Whereas, nowadays, we just want them big and prepared to play loud, obnoxious THX sound, preferably in 3-D.... and when that theater gets "super sized" by another down the street, just cast it aside like yesterday's news.


Catalogs #5: Green Stamps

Remember The Brady Bunch episode where the kids try to cash in their green stamps? The boys want a boat and the girls want a sewing machine. The Solomon-like Mr. Brady decides to settle the dispute by having the kids build a house of cards - the team that knocks the house of cards down is SOL. 

I remember those stamps all too well. They were immensely popular during the 60s and 70s. In fact, the S&H catalog was the largest publication in the U.S. and produced three times more stamps than the U.S. Post Office! As early as 1980, the green stamps were over, and didn't rebound until the green rewards program on the internet.

Little known fact: The inspiration for the names "Starsky and Hutch" came from S&H green stamps (Sperry and Hutchinson)..... just thought you needed to know.

I can't help but wonder if green stamps could ever have a place in our debt oriented society.  Everyone puts things on plastic - it's all about instant gratification, rather than saving up for something as mundane as a toaster or bath towel.

Anyway, I've got an old green stamp catalog from 1975 and thought I'd scan it in for posterity's sake.  I imagine a lot of you reading this post don't even know what a green stamp is - so, consider this a lesson in 1970s history. Enjoy!

Vintage Reads #8: Awful Books

These books may be awful, but I'd love to have every one of them. Alas, most of these come from other sources that I've thrown on Retrospace Zeta over the past year or so, and not my own collection.


Mini Skirt Monday #52: Miniskirts on Album Covers

Consider this post a Part 2 to both my previous post on cheesecake album covers and a much earlier Miniskirt Monday post on album covers. I'm proud to say this post contains many more examples of mini-skirted babes on records than did ye olde Mini Skirt Monday #16.    Yes, if nothing else, I'ver certainly learned to go overboard with eye candy in the past couple years.

Since I just posted on the subject of chicks on album covers, I won't bore you with any further words on the subject.  Suffice it to say, records and miniskirts (two of my favorite things) go hand in hand, and I am more than happy to bring them together on Retrospace. Enjoy!

Sex Sells #18: 120 Cheesecake Album Covers

Way back when, I published a post on the topic of cheesecake album covers and, well, I figured it was worth covering again. The recent Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring Lady Gaga in a bra and panties proves (as if we need proof) the adage that ‘sex sells’ is alive and well.

Interestingly enough, most of the records that employed the ‘sex sells’ approach in the 60s and 70s were NOT pop and rock artists, but rather easy listening LPs and compilation LPs. Why would that be?

I think reason number one is that rock musicians felt they were “above it” – the use of sex to sell their art was tacky; the music should stand alone, and shouldn’t need a woman on the cover to sell it. And, truth be told, it probably wouldn’t have. A Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Zeppelin or Floyd album isn’t going to move off the shelves any quicker with a hot chick on the sleeve.

You can look at it in terms of brand loyalty: kids will buy the newest Who or Skynyrd album regardless of how it’s packaged. In contrast, the newest Enoch Light instrumental LP is going to need some extra help. Thus, the cheesecake album cover was born.


Magazines #6: CREEM Magazine

The always awesome Retro Hound has posted the entire 1984 CREEM Magazine 15th Anniversary issue for your reading enjoyment. You can download the entire issue here via Rapidshare. Thanks Retro Hound for your contribution to the ever growing collection of vintage goodness. Vintage sharity is aways a good thing, especially when it's got images like this - gotta love that 80s fashion.

Ads #37: Horrible Hygiene Ads

Good Lord! Her first day with Stayfree Maxi Pads and she's sticking her ass in his face? Just a thought: he goes up the hill first.  The ad ends with "Too bad he forgot to pack the lunch".  Maybe he didn't forget, he just lost his appetite.


Foxy Ladies #13: The Women of Buck Rogers (Part 2)

Here it is, folks. The second part to my concise encyclopedia of babes from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Fans will notice that I don't include any from season two, which was total crap. Erin Grey was still there, but the sexy mojo was DOA by season two. That's okay, because, as you'll see, there's plenty to keep us happy in season one. Enjoy!


Foxy Ladies #12: The Women of Buck Rogers (Part 1)


As big a place as the Internet is, there still isn't a complete gallery of space babes from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (imagine that). So, I took it upon myself to fill this glaring void in the blogosphere, and compile this database (Wikipedia, I'm talkin' to you - link here asap). Each stone cold fox is listed with (1) the actress' name, (2) her character, (3) the episode(s) she appeared in, and best of all, a picture or two.  Some entries have an item of trivia.

So, here's the first installment of perhaps the most important reference collection on the Internet: The Women of Buck Rogers. Enjoy!


Vinyl Dynamite #24: One on One Soundtrack

Seals & Crofts started out as quality musicians and songwriters. "Summer Breeze" is one of my favorite songs of all time - the feeling it evokes is overwhelming for me. No song brings back memories so vividly.  The duo rode the wave of the Singer-Songwriter explosion at the beginning of the seventies, exemplified by James Taylor. By the end of the decade, Seals & Crofts had become, well, sort of a joke. They began on par with James Taylor and ended up more like Christopher Cross. What happened?

Fans of Freaks and Geeks may remember that Seals & Crofts were the favorite band of the prudish Milly. Indeed, their lame reputation was well earned. Their music had lost its edge, and their Unborn Child album angered many pro-choice listeners.

Then there's this album. I found it at Peaches in New Orleans, and had to grab it. It's an amazingly bland album, but almost impossible to find. Plus there's this photo on the back cover - I couldn't pass it up. (click to enlarge)

Fads #14: Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

"Man those cats were fast as lightning."

Karate was the big thing in the 1960s and Ninjas were huge in the 80s; but it was Kung Fu that kicked ass and took names in the 1970s. I couldn't even begin to cover the pop culture output of the genre in that decade - that's for an entire blog to deal with.  A single post simply can't do it justice.  

Before I wax on any further, let Carl Douglas set the background music....

No doubt, a big factor in Kung Fu's rise to prominence was the undeniable charisma of Bruce Lee.  He was only in four films before his untimely death at 32; but in that short time, he was able to bring the genre to the mainstream.  The fad was further encouraged by the fact that African Americans embraced it. Something about an outsider rising up against the establishment with his bare hands struck a chord in the black community. There's hardly a blaxploitation hero that doesn't demonstrate their Kung Fu moves.


The Vintage Home #5: Catalog Scans

I've scanned about 30 pages from a couple catalogs from the 1970s - all from the home decor section. Herein you will find stunning bouquets of floral prints, shag carpet in bathrooms, bean bag chairs, and tons of wood paneling. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Mini Skirt Monday #51: Asia!

Time for another round of vintage miniskirts. This time we're lookin' at minis from Asia - specifically, China, Japan, Hong Kong, etc. Indeed, the Asians deserve the most respect for their contributions to the miniskirt fashion, not only because of their Gung-Ho embracement of the style during the during the 60s and 70s, but most importantly because they invented it!

According to Cultural Encounters on China's Ethnic Frontiers (1995) by Stevan Harrell:

The earliest known culture to have females wear clothing resembling miniskirts were the Duan Qun Miao, which literally meant "short skirt Miao" in Chinese. This was in reference to the short miniskirts "that barely cover the buttocks" worn by women of the tribe, and which were "probably shocking" to observers in medieval and early modern times.

So, without further ado, heres a gallery of minis from the originators. Enjoy!


Important Things to Know #8: How to Louse Up a Date

The first two Comic Education posts have been pretty heavy handed - the dangers of drugs and the threat of nuclear war. Let's lighten things up with a 1948 guide to dating titled "How to Louse Up a Date". It was published over 60 years ago, but I think it is as accurate today as it was then. I'm not copying the article  verbatim here, just duly noting the sage advice from generations past.

Rule #1: (Pictured above) Keep your freaking paws to yourself until the time is right. Guys that can't keep their filthy mits to themselves are either horribly desperate or a smarmy lush (or both). In due time, fellas. In due time.


Vintage Wheels #9: Free Wheeling Travelin' Men

Get a load of this guy's hair! A comment on my Flickr page called it "King Charles Spaniel hair" - I couldn't have said it better myself.  And please note that this is not a hair product advertisement - this is for freaking car wax!

Opinions and Rants #27: God Bless the Rich

I was reading this 1967 editorial by William F. Buckley, and it struck me.... you know, we just don't take time to thank the rich enough. As Tiny Tim said, "God bless them, every one." Indeed, the billionaires need our prayers and blessings too.  So, next time you have a moment, take the time to thank a rich a person.

For instance, the President of Nike makes $13,846 per weekday, while his laborers in Vietnam make less than one dollar a day.  Let's us thank him for the blessings he has bestowed on the Vietamese people. Without him, they would have nothing.


Important Things To Know #7: Secret Identities

I find it interesting that many of our beloved authors and illustrators were not always the family friendly guys we thought they were. Many artists we thought were wholesome, were responsible for some explicitly adult oriented material.

Take for instance Al Hartly, the man responsible for converting the Archie comics to Christianity.  Prior to becoming "born again", Al was responsible for the sex comic The Adventures of Pussycat.


Catalogs #4: Bed & Bath Babes

Let me start by saying that all these images are rated G; they're pretty tame by all accounts.  I just find it interesting that in nearly every catalog I paged through from the late sixties and seventies had a woman in a state of undress in the bed & bath section. 

I can understand the rational for it - you want to show the products in use the same way you'd show the clothing.  Also, you don't want to be too realistic and show some pasty heavyset man on the throne; a young woman in a bubble bath is probably a much better option.

Therefore, I'm not sure this really qualifies as an example of the "sex sells" principle; however, it's definitely treading the grey area between benign product presentation and cheesecake sales tactics.  Either way, they're interesting to look at if only for the vintage decor. Click the icon below and enjoy!  (Don't forget, you can click the icon with four arrows to view full screen - and hit "escape" to return to Retrospace.)


Vintage Style #13: Flagg Bros. Pimpwear

In the 70s, blacks in the larger cities and college campuses no longer had to fear expressing themselves.  For the first time, blacks were able to publicly proclaim their roots and dress as they wanted to dress, and if the honkies didn't like it, they could kiss their black ass.  Subsequently, afros got big, music got funky, and fashion got wild.

Blaxploitation certainly perpetuated stereotypes, but, perhaps more importantly, it employed a lot of black people, and it was a brilliant form of self-expression that was from the heart, with no significant contamination from those jive turkeys in the Hollywood establishment. It was gritty, but then life in the inner city was often gritty.  Believe it or not, almost every blaxploitation film ends with a very responsible and empowering message (i.e. the pimp leaves a life of crime in favor of the straight and narrow life).

The films also popularized the flamboyant fashions that were beginning to become popular in urban areas. The August 1972 issue of Ebony summed the trend up pretty well:

From the beginning to mid seventies, no brand embodied this philosophy as much as Flagg Brothers (Eleganza was pretty good too, I should add). I'm talkin' ermine collars, big ass heels and pearl handle canes.  So, enjoy a slideshow of 29 super fly Flagg Bros. advertisements from the 70s.... Your welcome.

Obscure Grooves #6: Radio Jingles

Remember back when all radio stations had a DJ, and he or she didn't have Cumulus Radio or Viacom choosing their play selection? Back then, you knew the voices on the air like old friends, and Johnny Fever or Venus Flytrap never let you down.  But the stations weren't just identified by their genre and their "on air personalities".... they had varied and rather interesting sets of jingles and station identifications.

Well, someone out there (God knows who) put together over 200 of these little ditties from the 1960s and 70s. Not something I'd necessarily want to listen to more than once, but rather interesting nonetheless.  You can download the zipped file HERE. It's divided into about 40 or so individual mp3s, each file containing several jingles.

Listen to a few samples:

Jingle A
Jingle B
Jingle C
Jingle D
Jingle E
Jingle F

(when you click the link, click "open" to play or "save" to download to your computer)


Magazines #5: TEEN Magazine July 1969

Check out another complete issue of TEEN magazine from June 1970. Just download from Rapidshare and unzip it. Before you download, take a look at few selected pages from this issue to decide if this looks to be something you're interested in. Enjoy!



Mini Skirt Monday #50: Fifty Minis!


Well, it's the 50th Mini Skirt Monday post, and I guess that kinda calls for a celebration. How about I drink a glass of wine while you read this post? On second thought, make that a Schlitz.

Anyway, this week we're forgoing any sort of theme and just going with miniskirts. So, if your up for it, check out 50 miniskirt images (hopefully, your browser won't crash). Enjoy!


The Vintage Preservation Collection #4: Horrifying German Catalog

I thought I'd seen it all. Through my many years of vintage exploration, I've seen the very depths of fashion atrocities.  I've seen high-waisted acid-washed mom jeans, and I've seen nut-hugging crochet pant suits... but I've never seen anything like this! You've got to admire that German ingenuity - they took horrible American fashions and fine tuned them to the absolute limit of awfulness.

Thankfully, Wandering Stan saw fit to scan a 1973 catalog and post it on Flickr.  I took the liberty of making a slideshow from it. Clicking on the images will direct you to his photoset; clicking the "4 arrow icon" on the bottom right will expand the slideshow to full screen.  Don't say I didn't warn you.


Vintage Men's Mags #6: A Bevy of Beauties to Blast You Right Out of Your Easy Chair!

Well, folks, you can thank me later. I have, just for you, no less than 275 vintage girlie magazine covers for your viewing enjoyment.  All of them are completely SFW and contain no nudity or kinky stuff, Scout's honor. These are magazines primarily from the 1950s and 60s, before things got heavy.... present day covers on Cosmo are much, much more explicit.

Download the zip file here from rapidshare.  The mosaic below was made from a sample of the collection.

The 1940s through the 60s were truly the glory dayz of the men's mag.  The number of different titles available is simply amazing. Within this 275 selection you have Tiger, Adam, Rugged, Cavalcade, Escapade, Carnival, Satan, Night & Day, Hit Show, Stare, Jest, Jem, Bachelor Party, Hi-Life, Knight, Knave, Gaze, Ogle, Play, Plush, Mr., Duke, Dude, Rogue, Sir!, Gala, etc., etc.

Vintage Scan #13: 1977 Science Textbook

I recently came across an old science textbook and immediately fell in love with the photographs throughout. Each page features distinctly seventies children in distinctly seventies environments.  A beautiful thing to behold.

Today's textbook illustrations are much better than they used to be. Many of you may remember that all the old textbooks were low on informative illustrations and graphics, but full of pictures of a melting pot of children doing God knows what. My son's science book is brimming with amazing pictures and lush illustrations; whereas, my old science book had pictures of crap like kids blowing bubbles or kids watering plants.

Thirty years later, I actually prefer the old textbooks; however, at the time, they were less than exciting. And it was the same for all subjects, from math to social studies -page after page of bell bottomed kids in hush-puppies.

But take a look at that picture above. Damn! It's no wonder I love the seventies - it was a decade like no other.  Even the science book photos make you do a double take.  (This is actually from a section on how your lungs expand and contract.)

Take a minute to enjoy some more images from this 1977 grade school text. The "seventies-ness" will take your breath away.