Ads #47: Booze Dudes

Check'm out. He's the new man - not a square like your parents. Every chick at that party wants to be in his circle. He's hip, sensitive, a self-styled intellectual.... and he will shag the hell out of any woman that gives him the go-ahead.

Take note of him, because the ultra-stud has been a part of alcohol advertising for a long, long time.  The Dos Equis 'Most Interesting Man in the World' is just a satirical shadow of decades of booze dudes that have gone before him.  Now, we have only irony... then, we had the real deal - nothing tongue-in-cheek going on whatsoever.  They were there to drink your spirits, shag your women, and look good doing it.


Retrospace Podcast #26

Are you ready once again for the quickest fifteen minutes of your life? Buckle up, listeners, for 900 seconds of pure audio dynamite.


Vinyl Dynamite #37: Charlie's Angels

If you're a 70s-phile like myself, then you are doubtless a fan of the many glorious TV theme songs of the decade.  Television themes were serious business back then - a hard thing to comprehend today when most shows don't even have a theme to speak of (thanks, Seinfeld).  Sure, they're fun for nostalgic reasons, but I think the fact that many of us still love the themes to WKRP, Taxi, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show demonstrates that they were actually pretty good songs in their own right.

Indeed, some quality musicians and singers were involved in those old TV themes: Donny Hathaway on "Maude", Jack Jones on "The Love Boat" and Quincy Jones on "Sanford & Son", for instance.  And sometimes they actually wound up selling well and would be covered on countless EZ Listening and disco albums.  Ever heard the Sammy Davis, Jr. version of The Mary Tyler Moore theme song? A classic for the ages.

Anyway, here's a few examples of some versions of the Charlie's Angels theme....

Charlie's Angels Theme by Donna Lynton

This one is my favorite - a disco version WITH LYRICS.  You read that right.  You didn't know the Charlie's Angels Theme had lyrics did you?   But unlike the M*A*S*H* theme which has depressing wrist slitting lyrics ("Suicide Is Painless"), this is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Charlie's Angels Theme by The Ventures

I love how The Ventures try to give this tune a little pizzazz with some funky guitar shenanigans.

Charlie's Angels Them by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra

Normally, I don't care too much for Mancini covers.  They're usually tight and flawless, but not exactly anything to write home about.  This time he nails it.  Funky and disco-tastic - perhaps better than the original...

Charlie's Angels Theme, Original

And finally, we have a Mel Tillis song.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with the TV show, but it bears its namesake, so I thought I'd include it.  Lyrics: "Charlie acted so unwise, walking out on paradise. And I'm holding Charlie's angel tonight.  I'm in heaven while I'm holding her tight...."

Charlie's Angel by Mel Tillis


Album Covers #19: Vinyl Super Studs

I used to wonder - "Who is the coolest person to have ever lived?"  After seeing the Johny Tolengo album cover, I wonder no longer. Question of the Ages: Solved.

However, this doesn't mean there aren't a plethora of studly hombres worthy of our attention.  The vintage vinyl universe is bursting at the seams with super studs.  For me, the pinnacle of album cover coolness is the classic Boz Scaggs album Silk Degrees. (Amazon link: Silk Degrees) The Boz sits coolly at the edge of a park bench - stoically at one with his inner awesomeness......  But what's this? The feminine hand of a young vixen beacons his company.  Will Boz give her a moment of his precious time? One can only speculate.

Not all album covers display this level of subtle coolness. In fact, more often than not, it's brazen machismo to an absurd degree.  So, let's all get down on one knee and pay homage to these old-school vinyl super studs. Enjoy!


Vintage Reads #34: Archie Campbell's Bedtime Stories for Adults

Many of you will remember Archie Campbell from Hee-Haw, and he was a regular at the Grand Old Oprey,   Decades before 'Blue Collar Comedy', guys like Campbell and Grandpa Jones were selling the country comedy shtick to southern audiences.

I'm not big on the Jeff Foxworthy and Cable Guy thing, but Archie Campbell is okay in my book.  I dig that old school comedy delivery of punch line after punch line.  I get bored of the modern day comedians' constant desire to shock and offend, their need to insert religious/political opinions, and their incessant self deprecation.  There's something to be said for just a nice set up and delivery. I can do without the comedians' personal baggage - just give me the jokes asshole. Quit trying to be Bill Hicks.

Here's a selection of jokes from Campbell's 1968 book Bedtime Stories for Adults.  No need to worry about it being for adults, though - even by 1960's standards, it's absolutely filth free. Enjoy.


Mini Skirt Monday #108: 100% Pure Minis

We've gotten pretty creative over the years with these Mini Skirt Monday themes.  This time we're going back to the basics.  Consider this the acoustic version of Miniskirt Monday - "Miniskirt Monday Unplugged" if you will.  No fashion ads, no album covers - just a chick and her mini.  Enjoy.


Twisted Impressions #14

If this water ski ad doesn't make you giggle (or at least smirk sardonically), then you may need to loosen up a bit.  It's healthy to have a little residual immaturity - a part of you that still enjoys a well timed fart, or an unintentional sexual connotation. 

If you find the picture above childish and lame; I suggest you move on to more serious posts. However, if you still possess that Inner Idiot, then I suggest you read on - I've got five more for you.  


Vintage Reads #33

From the back cover: "But she soon learns she must choose between her plan for revenge and Dick." (insert Beavis and Butthead laughter)

My wife informed me that she used to read these books when she was in high school.  I can't even comprehend a moment in my life when I would have been able to force myself to read a single page of this garbage.  But then, these books weren't designed for the likes of me. Oddly enough, my daughter picked up the book to mock its cheesiness, and now can't put it down.  It's power over the teenage girl mind has not weakened over time.

But enough of this 'girly' stuff, let's take a look at my reading list...


Ads #46: Comic Book Ads

I remember Hugo well - in fact, he still haunts me with his cold dead eyes.  This ad brings back a lot of great memories..... but more than that, it makes me wonder WTF my problem was.  How could I enjoy this creepy homunculus as it were the greatest toy ever created?

Hugo always looked like he might, at any second, come to life and coldly glide towards you with intent to kill. God knows how he'd do it - maybe he'd rig a shiv by attaching a sharp piece from a Spirograph to a Lincoln Log or something.  And yet, me and a generation of boys my age loved this adorable toy freak.  Of course, things were different then and we were much easier to please.

So, let's have a look at some other ads from comics that will, hopefully, spark some memories. Enjoy.


School Daze #6: Yearbook Photos

I have tons of old yearbooks and have been tempted to post on this topic for several years: however, I've never really know what to say about these old photographs.  "Hey, doesn't this guy look stupid? Hey, look at her funny hair." That sort of thing gets old quick, so I've refrained from covering this subject completely.

Plus, were you to see my own yearbook photo, you would wonder how I had any room whatsoever to talk. To give you an indication - all my high school yearbook photographs feature a massive mullet that would make Richard Dean Anderson green with envy.  Suffice it to say, I have no business criticizing yearbook photos of anyone.

Mini Skirt Monday #107: The School Dance

The complex web of cliques and vast hierarchy of popularity come together on full display in high schools across the country just a few times per year - at the dance.  There, every school's underlying caste system is paraded in all its glory to the tune of Journey, Styx, or whatever teen-anthem-makers are on the radio. Depending on where you happen to fit into this complicated system, this can be the greatest or worst moment of your life. I've lived on both sides of that equation, actually.

At least during the early seventies, guys had something to hold onto.  A wonderful constant that made it all better - the miniskirt.  I mean let's face it, your date may have never returned from the punch bowl and you may dance like a retarded stork, but there's a gym full of miniskirts as far as the eye can see, so it can't be all bad.

So, once again, here is another collection of photographs for your viewing pleasure.  Even those of you who are not fans of the mini, may appreciate the memories.... whether they be good or bad.


Catalogs #20: Sears 1981 - Pocket Bedazzlement

In my nearly four year quest to scan and document the fashions and pop culture of the 1970s (and spillover into adjacent decades), I have taken a few moments to engage in scanning a few pages from a 1981 Fall/Winter catalog.  Specifically, the children's apparel portion.  

It won't take you long to recall what was the prevailing fad of the time: designs on pockets. Certainly not a high water mark in fashion history, but insanely popular nonetheless.  Check out some more pages of pants pocket bedazzlement, with a few striped tube socks and iron-on t-shirts thrown in for good measure. Enjoy.


Vintage Men's Mags #24: French Fantasies

Perhaps it began as tall tales told by GI's who painted a picture of France as a den of iniquity, a land of beautiful women with no inhibitions (not like these prudish gals in the States).  According to our young servicemen, France was an entire country of enchanting prostitutes, burlesque beauties and saucy exhibitionists.  

How this all began is anyone's guess.  France has always been associated with love & lust, so I guess a transition into a mythical Pleasuredome wasn't a far stretch.  Certainly, places like the Weimar Republic were more worthy of being called bastions of debauchery; however, they had long since lost their luster, whereas France still retained its titillating allure.

If France was ground zero for vice, then it is only natural that the playboys and swingin' bachelors would gravitate in that direction. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find a men's magazine that didn't hop on that French bandwagon in at least a few pages - if not the entire issue.  I'd like to share with you some covers of men's rags that illustrate my point.


Opinions and Rants #38: Soul Music Erosion

Okay, get ready. I'm not only going to sound like a disgruntled old codger, but I'm also in danger of sounding a bit racially insensitive.  However, I've been loving the hell out of some old Soul Train episodes that have been airing, and I just can't keep it in any longer.... Black music used to be so much better. There, I said it.

Granted, all music IMHO used to be so much better. But, the case of R&B and soul just seems particularly tragic.  A lot of my feelings on this issue I'm sure come from the fact that I'm not African American, and thus am just hopefully confused.  I can understand why rock music has all but died; however, the loss of anyone comparable to Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder or Isaac Hayes just leaves me scratching my head. Why?

A few points:

1.  The Vocal Group Performance

The standard routine of matching wardrobes and synchronized dancing was the norm since before The Temptations.  Groups like The Spinners and The Jackson 5 were nothing short of captivating. Now, you only see this among boy bands, as lily white as the wind-driven snow.  This type of performance is a time honored method - it's effective and compliments the vibe perfectly.  What happened to this style? Was it hijacked by white money making machines like New Kids on the Block and The Backstreat Boys, or was it just abandoned?

2. The Ghetto Blues

Every black artist from the seventies had as its center the plight of the ghetto. Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City", The Spinners "Ghetto Child" and Mayfield's "Little Child Runnin' Wild" are among my favorites.  You got the impression that they were delivering a message, one steeped in a reality felt by a majority of black audiences.

Now, all I freaking hear is about how much money an artist has.  You're rich? Good for you. But who really fucking cares?

3. The Voices

Whether it's the sharp synchronized perfection of the Temptations or the breathtaking emotional vigor of Al Green and James Brown, the voice mattered.  It wasn't that showboating melisma displayed on American Idol - this shit was real.  When Barry White and Isaac Hayes said they wanted to make sweet love, you knew they meant it.  My favorite voices of all time (of any race or style of music) are Roberta Flack and David Ruffin. You could easily add PhilippĂ© Wynne and Aretha and not hurt my feelings a bit.

What happened to these voices? What happened to the messages from the ghetto? What happened to those vocalists, dancing in unison decked out in their funkiest finery?

Don't tell me there's still vestiges still out there, if only I'm willing to look hard enough. I'm sure there are.  But the point is, it's gone from the mainstream - it's become relegated to the fringe.  And that, to me is a shame.  Hip hop has a place in the tapestry of African American music history; however, the feeling I get is that, in its climb to prominence, it killed and buried the styles of black music that I loved.

Is there anyone out there that can set this 40+ year old white man straight? I'd love to hear it.


Twisted Impressions #13: Distracted Eyes

Dear God, don't put those boobs in this poor boy's face and expect him to act natural! He may be in a wheelchair, but he's not dead for chrissake!..... And don't think for a second that this man on bended knee is any less distracted.  Sure, he looks to be full of compassion and caring; but there's only one thing he's caring about right now - make that two things - and they're just inches from the tip of his nose.

Not all of us can be as firm and resolute as the next guy....


Occult #13: Another Satanic Possession in Archie Comics

Who can forget the post I did not too long ago on the devil possession story in a Josie & the Pussycats comic?  The post received tons of traffic, due in no part to my 'expert' commentary, but rather the sheer unbelievably insane nature of it all.  An Archie comic depicting a very graphic demonic possession? Really?

It wasn't just that an Archie comic character's soul was being tortured by Satan that made it so chilling.  It was the wording of the panels: "Josie's face contorted into a mask of indescribable evil." It's as if William Peter Blatty or Malachi Martin took over the writing. but the illustrations were still in that lighthearted Dan DeCarlo style.... which made it all the more disturbing.

Well, imagine my surprise when I rolled across another Demoniac themed Archie story.  This one is from a Sabrina comic called Chilling Events in Sorcery as told by Sabrina (1972).  Naturally, one can expect some supernatural themes in a Sabrina comic, so no surprises there.  However, you'll soon see that shit gets outta hand quick like.

I'm sorry, but the words "unclean and depraved" do not belong in an Archie comic.  Once this girl puts on the jewel, it becomes abundantly clear that this comic book chick has been possessed by the "Father of Lies, Prince of Darkness, Bringer of Death" or whatever infernal name you want to call him.  But, as in the Josie story, she is finally saved by the power of The Bible.

Now, we all know there was a line of Christian Archie comics (Spire comics); however, this ain't it. This has no relation to those Spire Archies - this is a normal Archie comic influenced, once again, by the popularity of The Exorcist and the prevailing occult fanaticism of the day.

For those interested, I've posted the story in entirety below. (click to enlarge)


Fads #19: Fur Coats!

It's probably incorrect to call the fur coat a fad considering it's been around since we were living in caves. However, it's definitely a mode of fashion that has seen its day.  And what is unique about it is that its fall from grace was not due to the typical capricious tastes of Western consumers, but rather a social stigma originating from the treatment of the animals that are made in its creation.  So, while the fur coat itself may not qualify as a fad given its millennial longevity, the condescension towards it definitely would.

Not so long ago, getting your wife a mink coat was tantamount to a diamond ring.  It was expensive and showy - a status symbol not unlike dad's Cadillac.  Then, somewhere along the way, an awareness about the animals used to make it started to erode its place at the top.  Eventually, this awareness turned into aggression and multi-million dollar campaigns against it.  The fur coat as a symbol of elegance and pride was thhhhrpt (fart noise).


Vintage Gams #1: Guys 'n' Gams

As you know, Retrospace deals mostly with the 1970s, with a bit of spill-over into the adjacent decades. The 40s and 50s are pretty much off the table here at Retrospace; however, I think it's worthy to note the great appreciation for gams back in those days...... actually, I think "great appreciation" is not an appropriate description for how men viewed the female leg.  "Batshit crazy" may be more apropos.

Indeed, with Miniskirt Monday posts being the most popular Retrospace topic, it's seems only fair and just to provide a shout-out to our fellow leg-men that have gone before us. And how better to do that than dish up a generous serving of images featuring men among gams upon gams. Enjoy!


Vintage Style #26: Terry Turn-Ons

This little number comes to us from 1978, but it may as well come from another planet it so foreign to our sense of taste.  What was it that prompted Boomers to don mustaches and slip into a skin tight polyester blend unitard? On the one hand, it's utterly masculine with its ability to expose every ripple and crease of the male anatomy.  On the other hand, I could easily imagine Kate Jackson wearing this on Charlie's Angels.


Vintage Men's Mags #23: Naughty Humor Comics

The naughty humor comic panel is a lost art. It used to be an integral part of any men's rag - from Playboy to GQ to Cavalier. When these magazines started going hard core, men lost interest in these fun little illustrations. They became quaint reminders of a less explicit time.

There was skill to doing them right. Take the illustration pictured above - it takes only a moment to figure out what's going on here.  The military bag and the stripes on the sleeve are clues that this is a service man coming home for leave.... and he's only too anxious to take his lady to the bedroom pictured on the right.  The kids can wait.

Sure, it's probably not that different than a Family Circus or a Marmaduke - but with an adult oriented "Benny Hill" brand of humor.  But they were a lot of fun nonetheless, and when done right (a la Bill Ward, Dan DeCarlo, Bill Wenzel, etc.) they were fantastic.