Vinyl Dynamite #30: Southern Exposure (1979)

What with all the podcasts and mix tapes, the good ol' Vinyl Dynamite posts have fallen by the wayside.  If you'll recall, the intention of these posts is to dredge up some old flea market find and throw a few audio tracks to get a feel for what it sounds like.  It was inspired by my frustration of seeing all these amazing album covers all over the internets, and not being able to know what they sound like when the needle hit the groove.

The 1979 Southern Exposure "Headin' South" record caught my attention for obvious reasons (see images below). What kind of recording artist would hit the cheesecake with such vigor as to have a half naked babe on both the front and back? Turns out it's just instrumental disco music from The Toronto Symphony and The Canadian Brass (WTF?)

Have a listen to "Love Is":


Vintage Men's Mags #14: Girlie Magazines A to Z (Part 2)

If you're not impressed with these covers, you have to at least admit the sheer volume of girlie mags from this era is breathtaking.  This is just a small slice of the mountain of decadent smut to come out of the 50s - 70s.  As usual, I have refrained from displaying any naughty bits. I fully understand the life long repercussions of a minor catching a glimpse of an areola, butt crack, or..... (gasp) dare I speak its name - a pubic hair!

Today we hit the letter "B". (This is sort of like Sesame Street for adults). The question is, can I sustain these posts to complete the alphabet? We shall see.  For now, just sit back and enjoy a gallery of Beautiful Babes. (click the images to enlarge).


Fact or Fiction? #17: Important News Regarding the Monroe Rape

Long time readers will remember my posts regarding the infamous Too Close for Comfort Monroe rape episode.  My hazy memory of the Rush's neighbor, Monroe Ficus, being brutally raped by a pack of women in the back of a van seemed to incite similar foggy memories around the country.  In fact, my little post inspired a brilliant 10 minute film on the subject as well as a contact from the lovely Lydia Cornell.

Well, it seems the most disturbing sitcom episode ever made (besides the traumatizing Diff'rent Strokes Gordan Jump rape episode, of course) is finally coming to your TV.  An anonymous tip has revealed that the episode will air on Antenna TV on June 3rd, 6:30 PM EST. At long last, the urban legend will be brought to the masses. Life is good on Retrospace right now.

Spreading the Good Word

I just wanted to offer a quick tip of the hat to the free online music magazine Pure Grooves.  As the custodian of Retrospace, I know what it means to have a labor of love, and this cyber rag has all the trademarks of a fanatical writer with an unhealthy obsession with his creation. And best of all, it features a Retrospace section in every issue. Now that's what I call digital dynamite.

The very old and very bald (his words not mine) James Murphy is a UK DJ, and the man knows his music. Go check it out.

Mini Skirt Monday #75: Minis on Vinyl

Yes, I know.  I've covered this ground before; however, it deserves another, more thorough, look.  Indeed, this is the cosmic intersection of two of mankind's greatest inventions: vinyl records and the miniskirt.  The combination of which is a veritable Krakatoa of awesomeness.

No thanks are necessary. The satisfaction I get from providing this historic gallery to the world and generations to come is reward enough.


Retrospace Podcast #17

This week we've got a douche commercial, a hippie tune by the Velvet Fog, The Walton's theme, Jed's ode to Jethro BoDine, a Gerry Rafferty closet classic, and plenty more retro audio shenanigans for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!



Vintage Scares #25: 1970s Horror Comics (Part 2)

In the previous cover gallery post, I briefly went over the back story regarding the big horror comic publishers of the seventies.  Warren had the big guns with Vampirella, Eerie, and Creepy. Skywald had some gems as well with Psycho and Nightmare.  But it was Eerie Publications that totally pushed the envelope of good taste.... and boy are these comics sleazy. The art isn't as good and the quality of writing is pretty poor; however, they are entertaining as hell if you dig this sort of thing.

None of these covers contain nudity, but they are unbelievably violent.  As you look at these covers, keep in mind that the bulk of these comics were sold to children, not adults.  They're chock full of toy and candy ads obviously geared to the junior high market.  No wonder our generation is so f****d up.

Opinions and Rants #33: Farewell Network TV. It Was Nice Knowing You.

Growing up, I had three networks plus PBS.  That was it.... every day.... for years.  No internet, no HBO, no DVD, no VHS, no cable channels, no Hulu, no Netflix... nada.  I was perfectly okay choosing between (A) Sonny & Cher, (B) The Brady Bunch, or (C) Sanford & Son every Friday night.  The three networks offered up stuff we liked and we were satisfied.

Fast forward to today, and I can honestly say (excluding certain sporting events) I haven't watched NBC, ABC or CBS in years.... and, quite frankly, I haven't missed them.  They were my three childhood "friends", offering me everything from The New Zoo Revue to The Powers of Matthew Star; however, I feel no loyalty to them, considering they have betrayed me.


The Retrospace Dictionary #9

drunken earthquake: when the number of stumbling drunk people has surpassed a threshold that gives the sitting spectator the impression that an earthquake is occurring


Vintage Scares #25: Horror Comics of the 1970s

In 1970, Sol Brodsky and Herschel Waldman created a line of horror comic magazines to challenge the successful Warren publications (EERIE, CREEPY and Vampirella).  They called their company Skywald, and it continued to kick total ass until 1975.  According to Al Hewetson (a.k.a Archaic Al, the creative force behind Skywald), the company was undone by Marvel which flooded the market with tons of B&W horror comics.  Skywald was literally drowned out of existence by the much more powerful Marvel.

Many of Skywald's creations were directly copied by Marvel. The infernal cycle superhero Hell Rider became Ghost Rider at Marvel, and the swamp monster "The Heap" became Marvel's "The Man-Thing". But in terms of eliciting extreme horror, Skywald could not be beat.  Nightmare and Psycho explored the genre in a more frightening, sickening and gruesome manner than perhaps any pulp before or since.  That's not to say the illustrations and writing were anything but top notch; but the grindhouse style horror certainly reflected the times.


Deep Thoughts #3: Of Butts and Boobs

What I’m about to say may not be suitable for kids; however, I have to share it nonetheless. It's not pornographic - you're kid's biology class is less explicit than this post. But it does deal with female anatomy, so be forewarned.  Some people are touchy about this stuff. Plus, the observation at the end is genuinely disturbing.

Fact: men are attracted by the physical nature of women. Just as with any other species, you can link a biological reason for each facet of the attraction. For instance, men are attracted to big boobs because healthy mammary glands means your offspring will be well fed.


Vintage Men's Mags #13: More Awesome Men's Action Mag Covers

When am I going to get tired of these action magazine covers? When they stop being awesome - which is never.

Anyway, enjoy another round of masochism, murder, misogyny, mayhem and mammaries. Click on any of the covers to enlarge.

Mini Skirt Monday #74: The Little Black Dress

It's time for a little homage to the timeless fashion staple, the little black dress. Ever since Eve rocked the fig leaf, women have had to cover their nether regions in one way or another.  Over the eons, it's been anything from bear skin to togas to the tunic, but nothing has ever come close to the LBD.

So, for those connoisseurs of cloth who appreciate a good thing when they see it, here's a gallery of black mini dresses.  Enjoy.


Comic Books #29: Sinister House of Secret Love

The whole "women running from houses" thing was pretty popular in the sixties and early seventies.  You had Dark Shadows on TV, tons of bodice ripping gothic romance novels, and overriding interest in the occult.... and this DC comic series: The Sinister House of Secret Love.

This issue is from March 1971.  It's got everything you'd expect from this genre - a dark and mysterious man, the buxom babe, the gothic manor, a hint of the supernatural, etc. It's all there.  Ann Radcliffe would be pleased.


Retrospace Now on Facebook

I've finally gone and done it.  When nearly 1 out of every 4 clicks on the internet is on Facebook, it's time to finally get on board. It seems I'm always embarrassingly late hopping on the latest trends - I was probably the last guy on earth to trade in my boom box for a CD player.... and I'm still clinging to my DVDs pretending Blu-Ray doesn't exist.  Yes, folks, it's time to hop on the Facebook gravy train.

Actually, I envision this to be a good thing for Retrospace.  Facebook will perhaps provide an easier means to comment and interact.  I have it set to automatically upload every new post to Facebook, so you'll get the same material over there, but perhaps a more involved thread of comments.

The downside is I don't know what the f**k I'm doing. What the hell is a "wall" and what are these effing "notes"? I'm sure I'll get a grip eventually, but the learning curve may take a few weeks. Plus, right now I don't have a single friend (not even my wife) and it looks pretty sad and depressing.  One stranger tried to friend me, and I inadvertently denied him.... so, I've managed to piss off the one and only person showing a remote intrest.

But I invite all of you to head on over, and let's see how this goes...

Gilligan's Retrospace

Create Your Badge

Deep Thoughts #2: Farewell to Books

I should clarify that I mean non-electronic books.  You may argue if you must. But, just like what happened in the music industry, denial will only make the transition more painful.

Of course, this will mean a fundamental change in the business itself. Currently, the author is at the mercy of the publisher: they fund the printing, distribution and marketing.  It's not a viable option for any author to put up that kind of money (and obtain the various retail connections, etc.) on his or her own.  However, the advent of the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and other book platforms has rendered the "printing" aspect of the publisher's role obsolete.


Deep Thoughts: Everything's Available

Note: This post was published last week, but Blogger erased it when they were resolving some technical issues. All comments were lost as well - which is a shame considering there were some rather good ones.  Anyway, I've resurrected it since it goes along with the next deep thoughts post.

Let's pretend it's 1982 and you want to look at a 1975 back issue of a magazine, maybe an Ebony or an Easyrider. You are basically S.O.L.  It's just not going to happen.  There's no ebay and there's no Internet, so you're just going to have to live without it.

Today, I can easily grab a back issue, and more than likely I'll find it for free online somewhere - possibly Google Books or a newsgroup or a torrent, etc.  The same holds true for books (and music, movies and TV for that matter).  It's certainly interesting to muse upon, but the real issue is how this has affected our culture and what can we expect in the near future?

For one, the past is a lot more accessible than it ever was.  The seventies are over, but the images and sounds of the decade are instantly at our fingertips.  Records long out of print can be downloaded.  Magazines that haven't been in circulation for fifty years are available as PDFs.  Movies that hit a handful of drive-ins are now arriving in millions of mailboxes in red envelopes.  You could almost say the past is more accessible today than it was in the past!

The fact that the present is marinated in the past has got to have societal consequences.  I doubt we are aware of most of the repercussions, but they are there nonetheless.  And this is only the beginning.  The floodgates have only just opened.

At Retrospace, I every so often offer a sample of an obscure song from the seventies, or maybe a scan of an old Dynamite magazine.  It won't be long before these old posts look sadly quaint.  You'll be able to get any song, movie, book, or magazine that your heart desires at the click of a button.  You'll be literally drowning in choices and selection.... and yet, we humans only have a limited amount of days and leisure hours to spend.  So, where and when is the limit?

It's an interesting thought.  I'd be interested to hear any of your comments on the matter.

Needlework A-Go Go #19

As I've said a million times, I much prefer vintage fashion images from old photographs and low budget knitting pamphlets over an old Cosmo or Vogue. Those glossy magazines didn't show how people really dressed, and they certainly didn't contain much in the way of humorously awful fashion photography.  That's where old needlework booklets are an absolute gold mine.

I'll also mention that I've started embedding my Flickr images directly, to where a click takes you to the full sized image rather than the sometimes cumbersome Flickr page. Maybe you've noticed.  Hopefully that will be an improvement in your viewing enjoyment here at Retrospace.


Magazines #22: How to Look Punk

I'm not a huge fan of punk (although I love The Ramones). I was always somewhat bothered by a culture which purported to be anarchic, yet demanded strict adherence to a dress code.  They hated the poseur disco dollies and yacht rock preppies because they were too much a part of the establishment, and therefore couldn't think for themselves.  Yet, their own culture had do's and don'ts that perhaps demanded more goose-stepping in line than any other group.

Of course, isn't that always the way it goes? A small set of blokes with spiked hair and nose rings, who truly are counter culture, turns into a formalized fashion line once it gets popular.  The same could be said of the hippie movement, grunge, rap, heavy metal, disco or, for that matter, any fringe group that got sucked into the mainstream.

Anyway, I've come across this 1977 handbook to dressing like a punk rocker (with a young Belinda Carlisle on the front) and thought I'd share.


Vintage Style #20

click images to view full size
This is what I love about the seventies - no one seemed too worried about being low key.  It's not as if we were color blind, we knew we were blowing your mind with a palette straight from the bloody bowels of hell. Check out the guy in the image above. He's rockin' a lemon yellow shirt, black sweater vest, white belt and madras pants.... literally, a cavalcade of bad, and yet he is loving life.  Whether you love it or hate it, you've got to admire the chutzpa.


Twisted Impressions #9: A Couple Lobby Cards

Close your eyes kids. What happens in the next frame is gonna get a little graphic.  This must be a movie-still from the unrated director's cut.  Obviously, Lemmon is the receiver, but who's the giver? [spoiler alert] Answer: the great James Cagney, like you've never seen him before.  Rumor has it that both Paul Lynde and Rip Taylor auditioned for the part, but the director thought Cagney had more flair.

Vintage Scares #24: Creepy Found Photos

Is there anything creepier than an old found photo, and there's something going on in the picture that just doesn't seem right.... maybe even a bit sinister?  Take for example the photograph above.  What the f**k is going on here? These nice ladies are singing to the children when up walks a limping grotesque figure dressed in black.  Can we assume he is going to try and kill them all?

Magazines #21: Personal Romances (Sept 1974)

Here's some more dynamite sharity for your magazine rack.  Personal Romances was a nice trashy rag once commonly found in grocery store lines and the bedside tables of grandmas across the country.  Tawdry and full of half truths and outright lies, these magazines are a beauty to behold nearly forty years later.  Take a look at some of the pages below and download the whole issue.  Enjoy!


Beatles Covers #11: The Rad Four

During the sixties and seventies, you could hardly find an album without a Beatles cover on it.  But by the 1980s, it became increasingly rare to find one.  I guess it was due to more expensive royalties and the fact that Beatlemania was far, far in the rear-view mirror. It also wasn't helped by the Bee Gees' miserable Beatles cover abomination, Sgt. Pepper.  It's amazing that anyone ever tried to cover a Beatles song again after that train wreck.

Most cover songs in the eighties tended to be woefully ironic (i.e. Devo's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and The Flying Lizards' "Money (That's What I Want)") rather than serious adaptations. Here's a few sincere Fab Four covers from that era, some good and some bad. I believe The Jam's cover may have been released in the late seventies, and PM Dawn's in the early nineties, but who cares.  Enjoy.


Pulp Pages #1

"You Gave Me Another Man's Sex Disease!", "Wild Sex Games for Uninhibited Lovers", and "Married to a Wife Beater" are just a few examples of the tawdry, lewd, and sensationalist headlines from you mom's (or your grandma's) favorite rags: the romance magazine.

You don't see many of these any more in the supermarket checkout line, but they were once hugely popular.  It was journalism from the sewer: dredge up the dirtiest worst nightmares or filthiest sexual fantasies of your average housewife and, bingo, you've got yourself a story.  Never you mind that every word is a lie; that's not important.

And you thought men's magazines were raunchy, get a load of some of the articles scanned from some of these wonderfully awful romance rags from yesteryear...

Vintage Men's Mags #12: Girlie Magazines A to Z

For guys that we consider paragons of virtue and morality, the Greatest Generation sure did read a lot skin mags! For that matter, so did the generations before and after - it's as American as apple pie (er, maybe that's a bad cliché to use - Jason Biggs comes to mind).  But you get what I'm saying.  I would be remiss in my duties as the caretaker of Retrospace and not reserve a special place for girlie magazines.

Don't worry, there shall be no nudity on Retrospace.  Nipples, butt cracks and pubes are the devil's works and shall never taint the face of this blog (er, um. maybe "taint" was a bad choice of words too; it makes me think of.....  never mind). In fact, these old rags are tame compared to what you'll find in a Cosmo, GQ or even People magazine these days. But if I happen to let a naughty bit through, I'm counting on you to inform me of the offending N, BC and P (see above) so that it can be quickly deleted never to tempt a man again and lead him into eternal damnation.


Found Photos #5

I love nothing more than a good found photo. I'm a scientist by trade, and so I guess it's not surprising that I like to reason what's going on in a photograph using often subtle clues. The one above is the bar upon which all found photos should be judged - it is the high water mark among lost and anonymous vintage images.  The personal dynamics going on here could fill a book.

Take for instance the couple in the foreground.  They seem like an average looking pair; perhaps a potential relationship caught at its moment of conception.  They stand too far apart to really know each other well.  Their choice in checkered clothing, lack of noticeable jewelry and their plain haircuts suggest like minds.  In stark contrast are the couple in the back.  She is an absolute knockout, posing as if on the cover of a fashion magazine. He, on the other hand, is just straight up uncomfortable.  The Tetanus Rictus grin, the awkward limbs, the pained stance..... he will not be hooking up with the girl to his right.  Not now. Not ever.

Opinions and Rants #32: Food TV Hell

I hate The Food Network.  That's not to say I hate cooking shows - I loved The Frugal Gourmet (before he was wrongfully accused of molesting an intern).  I also liked The Cajun Chef and even The Galloping Gourmet - and, of course, Julia Child.  These shows actually showed you how to cook - they were fun, but also instructional.  Today, we don't get instruction from The Food Network. We get reality shows and genuflecting at the altar of Almighty Food.

Shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" just revel in the splendor of food. Oooooo, doesn't that look deeelish! (ugh) They look like their having full-on orgasms when they taste a freaking reuben! It's a sandwich for chrissakes.  I might be interested in learning how to cook it, so as to eat it myself; but, I damn sure am not going to sit and watch you wet yourself over it.

Admittedly, during the daytime, The Food Network actually is okay.  The shows seem to make an attempt at education.  However, in the evening it all goes to hell. Sadly, these are their most popular programs, and so the real blame lands on the stupid f***ing public who seem to lap this garbage up.  Justin Wilson and Jeff Smith would be woefully out of place on Food Network primetime, I'm sad to say.


Album Covers #16: Sax Sells

When I think of top selling albums of the sixties, my mind instantly thinks of names like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. However, I'm completely neglecting the first half of the decade where the bulk of the top selling albums were by guys like Sergio Mendez, Al Hirt, Herb Alpert, Bert Kaempfert, Andy Williams and Henry Mancini.

Indeed, the target consumers during the fifties and sixties wasn't the Boomer generation - there wasn't a whole lot of disposable income in that age group yet - parents didn't lavish their kids with everything their heart desired back then. Rather, the intended market was a generation back - those swingin' bachelors and those hip dads.  Back from the War, they purchased their hi-fi's en masse, drank martinis, chain smoked, and liked their cheesecake.


Comic Books #28: M.A.R.S. Patrol

The M.A.R.S. Patrol, as their acronym makes clear, are tasked with both attacking and rescuing.... and evidently patrolling as well.  And all this is apparently a "service".  They perform the services of attacking, rescuing and patrolling..... whatever. I need to learn to let it go, not think too much and just enjoy the comic. I also need to let go of the fact that they're Marines, but they each dress in primary colors.... and the title of every comic includes the words "Total War"; although, I have absolutely no idea what that pertains to.  I mean, they go on missions, but there isn't a war..... it makes about as much sense as "Johnny Quest: Total War".

Mini Skirt Monday #73: Minis in Your Lap

Looking at the definition of miniskirt in the Urban Dictionary makes me realize that this American culture is just not ready to handle the miniskirt.  Most of the definitions correlate the mini with being a slut.... how truly sad.  This pathetic mentality is either due to an increasingly Puritanical sensibility or a deep and abiding sexism prevalent in our culture.... or both.  How sad that a hemline above the knee can cause such disdain.

Well, not here.  At Retrospace the mini skirt is heralded as the symbol of all that is good and wonderful in the world. Today, well counter those anti-miniskirt bastards with pictures of minis getting the love they deserve.... in a lap.  To all those haters out there, show the mini some love.


When Two Races Unite

Believe it or not, it wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court made it illegal to make interracial marriages a crime.   Some states already had opened the door, but most of the country still clung to the notion of "racial purity".

In 1960, there were approximately 25,000 black husbands with white wives, and 26,000 white husbands with black wives.  Ten years later, the number of black husbands with white wives nearly doubled, but the total actually went down for white husbands with black wives.... that doesn't make sense to me.

And get this - in another ten years, the number of black men marrying white women nearly doubled again; meanwhile the number of white men with black wives was only 1,000 more than before it was decriminalized in 1960!


Foxy Ladies #18: The Gals of Radio Control Modeling Mags

Radio Control Model Magazine (6)

We all know about the lovely ladies who graced the covers of such manly car and bike magazines as Easy Rider, Hot Rod, and Lowrider.... but there was another type of magazine that gave those macho muscle car magazines a run for their money - The radio control airplane magazine.

Yes, nothing says "girl magnet" like a remote control helicopter.

So, let's take a look at some RC mags through the years.  It's actually kind of interesting (and humorous) to see these ladies of the sixties and seventies and their planes - the styles, the fashions, the photography... I can't think of a better way to spend the next few minutes.

Vintage Style #20: 1970s Lee Ads

1975 Lee advertisement

In the mid seventies, Lee began a series of magazine ads all featuring a dude in front of a simple background of one bold color.  I'm not sure how successful the campaign was, but given that it lasted to the end of the decade, it probably worked pretty well.

They are memorable ads without being controversial or overtly sexual.  It was all part of the company's master plan to break out from the work clothes business and into fashion conscious casual styles.  Today, Lee makes its clothes in sweatshops in India and spends 40 million per year on advertising; however, it owes a large part of its success to these ads in the seventies which transitioned their image from work overalls to JC Penney leisurewear.

Here's a few more ads from this series.  Keep an eye out for Beau De Labarre, Vinnie Barbarino's replacement on "Welcome Back, Kotter".


The Retrospace Dictionary #8


awkwardtropolis: a room full of people all feeling an immense amount of awkwardness


Vintage Wheels #11: Deep Thoughts on Oil

car show girl

My grandfather drove a gigantic Cadillac; a literal Leviathan of the road.  The thing probably got 5 miles per gallon. He didn't care.  Nobody cared until the oil crisis in the seventies.  All of a sudden you saw economy cars littering the parking lots of America: AMC Pacers, VW Rabbits, Bugs, Chevettes and dare I speak its name.... Gremlins.  Most were ugly as sin, but they were better on the pocketbook than those gas guzzling El Dorados.

Nowadays you find cars with names like Prius and hybrids like the Insight.  It's all very "green" and Earth conscious, and less about saving dough.  I mean, people in the 70's drove crap like the Mercury Bobcat because they were strapped for cash... not because they wanted to.  Today, poor folks aren't buying the Prius', they're riding around in used and abused gas guzzlers.... the Cooper is out of their price range by a mile.

So, what's my point? My point is that I'm really curious about what's going to happen when this whole oil thing hits bottom again (which it inevitably will) in regards to our rides. Here's a few possibilities.


Beatles Covers #10: Ticket to Ride

Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen once said he'd been trying his entire music career to recreate "Ticket to Ride"; of which he called the greatest pop song of all time.  I can honestly say that it would be impossible for me to judge this song given that I have heard it thousands of times over the course of 40 plus years.  It has gone beyond being simply "overplayed" for me; it has reached a certain level of physical integration where I cannot view it without absolute bias.

Probably the most famous cover of the song is The Carpenters' melancholy version; however, there's been covers o'plenty over the years - some good, some godawful. Here's a compilation of "Ticket to Ride" covers for your listening pleasure...

(and here's a couple samples from the track list)

Alma Cogan - "Ticket To Ride"

Cyril Stapleton & His Orchestra - "Ticket To Ride"


Mini Skirt Monday #72: Minis in Plaid

One day someone is going to start a kickass vintage miniskirt blog and put Retrospace to shame.  Until then, I continue to carry the torch of being The Bestest Place for Old School Mini-Skirts on the Internets. Yes, it's a gimmick to attract tons of traffic, but it's also a noble cause, a task I bear with great humility and dedication.  Sure, these posts take five minutes to create (and that's including a four minute snack break), but that's beside the point.  The point is, if you want vintage minis, Retrospace has got you covered.
This time, the theme is "plaid minis".  I will appreciate any comments except those that point out that a particular mini is technically madras and not plaid.  Don't think too much, just enjoy the minis.