School Daze #7: Yearbook 1978

Note: I've erased the last name of all the students.  I also am not giving the name of the high school.
For seventies nostalgia it doesn't get much better than old yearbooks.  It's a front row seat to what teen life was really like back in the day.  I dig the "student life" section as well as the parades of popularity (i.e. Most Handsome, Biggest Flirt, etc.).  Best of all is when the seniors are allowed to write a brief message by their portraits.  That's when things get really interesting....



Comic Books #43: Archie on Acid

A fellow blogger, Ripplin, scanned an Archie comic for me a few weeks ago, and I'm still scratching my head.  It's not just bizarre, it's not just intentionally quirky..... it's..... well, f***ed up.  I'm sorry, but there's no other word for it.

Perhaps as a result of widespread drug experimentation, comedy got a bit surreal in the latter half of the sixties. Think about Laugh-In, Monty Python, and Casino Royal - the humor was derived from being ironic and unusual.... even The Monkees and kids shows like H.R. Puffinstuff often ventured into the eccentric.

That being said, this one seems to push the envelope to the point where I'm convinced lysergic acid was involved in some form or fashion.  It's so bad it's nearly unreadable, but I can imagine it would make for an interesting read whilst under the influence.  Like I Am the Walrus, I'm sure this is littered with hidden meanings, but I'm just too straight to understand any of it.  If anyone out there is currently tripping, please interpret this for us!


Let's Get Physical #11: Fitness from a Catalog (Part 3)

In this last of three parts we'll look at some full page scans from vintage catalogs.  I'll refrain from my usual expository on the awful state of American fitness this time around.  Just sit back, relax and enjoy.

Let's Get Physical #10: Fitness from a Catalog (Part 2)

For the past three million years, storing calories as fat has been a life saver.  For the past handful of decades, it has been a bitter pain in the ass.... and a multi-billion dollar industry.  In every 1970s Sears, Montgomery Ward and JC Penney's catalog you're guaranteed to find pages upon pages of "answers" to our weight problems.

Little did they know that these devices would do precious little toward solving our dilemma.  Indeed, compared to the 70s, we are significantly fatter.  One statistic puts us at eating 15 pounds more sugar a year than an average American in 1970.   There's simply no comparison between restaurant portion sizes today and, say, 1975.  We eat way more and exercise way less. A bad trend by anyone's measure.

Well, you can't fault Sears and Penney's for trying to make a buck on the crisis.  Here's a continuation from the last post with another load of "answers" to our body issues.  Enjoy.


Let's Get Physical #9: Fitness from a Catalog (Part 1)

There is no other market where Americans are more vulnerable than health and fitness.  We're a First World Nation, so we are subsequently going to be prone to vanity.  Unfortunately, in the U.S. French Fries and soft drinks are sold by the bucket and available for pennies on every corner. We also spend a lot of our time completely stationary at our desk and in our cars.

You do the math:  Hundreds of millions of people with lots of money all wanting to look trim - while at the same time bombarded by fattening temptations and saddled with stationary lifestyles.  What these people need is something that will promise them the good looks they so desperately crave packaged as a quick and undemanding solution.

Well, look no further than in JC Penny's and Sears catalogs from around the 1970s. Sure, there's always been and always will be hucksters peddling their snake oils to a gullible public. However, the vintage catalogs hold a special place in my heart for being so damn amusing. See for yourself...


Teen Magazines #2: Super Teen (August 1985)

Well, folks, it had to happen.  It was only a matter of time before my stack of 1980s teen magazines found its way to Retrospace.  Mind you, these are not my childhood magazines - I swear on Charles Nelson Reilly's grave, I never the stuff.  Back in '85, I was more into Hit Parader and Circus.... but that's neither here nor there.  The fact of the matter is, I've got a huge stack of these rags, and they are fun as hell to read. So, let's dig in!


Mini Skirt Monday #118: Leg Crossing

“Girls with their legs crossed, girls with their legs not crossed, girls with terrific legs, girls with lousy legs, girls that looked like swell girls, girls that looked like they'd be bitches if you knew them. It was really nice sightseeing, if you know what I mean.
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

As a sort of follow up to the "Upskirt Prevention Pose" Miniskirt Monday post, here's yet another camera-safe posture for ladies in minis: the legs crossed pose.

You might say this post has it all: vintage babes, miniskirts, and of course those beautiful gams.  As the wise sage, Redd Foxx, once said: "A girl's legs are her best friends... but even the best of friends must part."


Teen Magazines #1: 1985 Summer Movies

Curious what the teen magazines were saying about summer movie releases in 1985? Me neither.  But, it's fun to look, for sheer nostalgia's sake.  For instance, I'd forgotten all about Mare Winningham...... then again, I think I'd forgotten about her the minute I saw her.  what a cast of 80s teen icons in St. Elmo's Fire.... and then there's Mare.

The last I saw C. Thomas Howell was in The Hillside Strangler (2003) and, holy lord, he looked absolutely horrible.  I don't know if it was for the role (i.e. Charlese Thereon in Monster), or he's really let himself go.


Fumetti #2

Well, I've already rambled on about my feelings regarding adult fumetti, so I'll spare you another speech.  In the last post we presented a gallery of horror themed fumetti covers - this time we'll look at other genres as well.

As you will recall, these covers are not for you kiddies.  Go outside and play Jarts or something.  The adults are talking, and we've got important business to discuss.  We're lookin' at the simultaneously beautiful and awful artwork of Italian comics.  Buckle up.


Fumetti #1

No. Fumetti is not a pasta - although, fumetti with scallops and red sauce does sound quite good.  Fumetti is just the Italian word for "comic" ("fumetti" literally means "puff of smoke" which resembles the speech balloons found in comics).

But I'm not here to talk about Italian Aquaman comic books - I'm here to talk about the brand of 70s - 80s Italian fumetti that can best be described as "twisted and depraved to an incomprehensible extent".  These are comic books that would make Caligula feel uncomfortable.  Even the Marquis de Sade would feel guilty and ashamed after reading these things.  Alistair Crowley would say they are "just wrong"..... do you get my point?

And yet, your old pal, Gilligan, loves these sick little bastards from Italy.  Truth be told, they were actually rather popular, and have a fairly large cult following to this day.  Sure, the stories and illustrations were perverted and debased, but there's something worthwhile in this "trash" if you give it the benefit of the doubt.


The Vintage Home #15: 1965 Interiors

Herein are scans from the book Interior Decoration A to Z (1965).  I could chat on endlessly about how amazing these are, but I'll let the images speak for themselves.  Suffice it to say, my eyeballs hurt from the bursts of color and each picture reminds me of a groovier version of my grandparents' house.

Of course, if this were my grandparents' house it would be covered in plastic.  I don't know if grandparents still do this, but once upon a time you could count on senior citizens covering every sofa and chair in the "nice" living room with plastic! I'm cool with protecting your stuff with home insurance, but I draw the line with that sweaty sticky Saran Wrap.

But I digress.  On with the scans!

Viva VHS #6: Caballero Video Catalog

So, I came across this adult video catalog and thought it was worthy of sharing on Retrospace.  First of all, there's no nudity whatsoever; however, the content is (obviously) adult oriented, so it's not something I'd recommend for you kiddies.  I can't find a copyright anywhere, so I haven't a clue of the year.  It would appear to be from the late seventies or early eighties, but I'm no expert.

So, go ahead and download if this is your bag.  I actually found some of the titles downright amusing - I highly recommend it.  I've posted a few covers below to give you an idea what you're in for.  Enjoy.


Mini Skirt Monday #117: B&W Fashion Photography

"What a great many people still don't realize is the Look isn't just the garments you wear. It's the way you put your make-up on, the way you do your hair, the sort of stockings you choose, the way you walk and stand; even the way you smoke your fag."
-- Mary Quant, (1966)

If you've spent any length of time on Retrospace, you know I'm not much of a high fashion connoisseur.  Most of my fashion posts are either low-brow needlework pamphlets or amateur photographs.  Yet, the miniskirt had its moment in the sun during the late sixties, and to not have a Miniskirt Monday post with professional fashion shots wouldn't be doing the subject justice.  So, here it is.

Rather than bombard your already overworked CPU with a million fashion shots, I figured we'd take it easy and limit this round to black & white photographs only.  So, sit back and enjoy the minis!


Bad Songs #16

"A Little Chunk of You" by David Wilcox (1977)
By '77 folk music had long overstayed its welcome. "You made me love you, when I didn't love myself" - Blecch. 

"Julie Argoyne" by Mick Softley (1970)
At what point did Anglo Prog just stop trying? Here's your answer.  He sounds like a crazed leprechaun.

"Maggie, the Baby Is Crying" by Vernon Oxford (1978)
Country music "woe is me" at its worst.  Someone should tell Vernon his kid is crying because of his lousy singing.


Vintage Business #12

I'm sure I've posted some of these photographs on Retrospace before; after a while I lose track of what I have and haven't posted.  Regardless, these images are worthy of a second look.  These are snapshots of the paleolithic era of the modern office - full of electronic dinosaurs, dwarfing the tiny office workers.  I'm sure these massive whirring behemoths could now fit inside your back pocket; but back then, they were state of the art.

It's interesting to note that the miniaturization of technology was largely unpredicted.  Most imagined highly evolved computers such as H.A.L., but no one could have predicted that H.A.L. would one day fit in your purse.  Those of you that never got to experience a room full of these electronic leviathans will never, perhaps, comprehend the change.  It wasn't just size, it was noise - these suckers were loud.


The Boob Tube #30: TV Star Special 1978

1978 was probably my biggest year in terms of total pop culture immersion.  I couldn't tell you who anyone is on the cover of People magazine in the past ten years; but, in 1978 I was balls deep in the Hollywood who's-who.

Initially, I planned on scanning some of the text from this tabloid jewel, but upon reading it, I discovered it was pure unadulterated garbage.  "Did you know Shaun Cassidy was a good bowler?" "Did you know Kate Jackson enjoys the feel of soft cloth enveloping her slim frame?" Gag.  Suffice it to say, it's probably best we just stick with the pictures.


Vintage Style #29: Chick Slacks

I'm not a huge fan of the slacks look for women (as you may have guessed).  The problem began in the mid sixties - before then, women never wore pants.  The Capri got a heavy lift from Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and with the coming of Women's Lib, pants were fair game for all women.  Of course, who can complain about the skin tight jeans that became popular in the mid seventies.... but this post isn't about jeans. We're talkin' slacks.

The term itself is rarely used anymore.  "Slacks" is basically synonymous with "pants" or "trousers" (another rarely used word). I could easily have titled this post "Chick Pants", but the pants of the seventies just seem to fit the term "slacks" so much better.


Mini Skirt Monday #116: Amazing Technicolor Stockings

The sixties were nothing if not colorful.  I guess it was a reaction to the drab colors of previous decades - or maybe it was some development in textile dyeing process.  Who knows.  I'm certainly too lazy to find out.

Anyway, for this post I've got a mixed bag of girls in miniskirts sporting stockings, hose, and tights in every color of the rainbow.  It was trendy during the psychedelic sixties, but by 1970 this fad was dead on arrival. For a brief magical time both the miniskirt and loud colored leg coverings converged - and this is a post about that beautiful moment.  Sure, the style popped up again in the eighties, but only to a small extent.

A significant percentage of non-professional photography during this period was black and white. Thus, tracking down a goodly number of photos for your viewing pleasure was a bit of a challenge. However, I still managed to scrounge up a healthy amount of images ranging from the sixties to the eighties. Enjoy.


Ads #51: Embarrassment Tactics

Coming from a guy dressed like Mr. Furley, there's no room to talk, buddy.  She's an attractive gal, and you're pleasant looking at best.  Be thankful for what you've got. My advice: Spend a little less time staring at her slight faults and a lot more time pedaling, son!

One of the surest marketing tactics is the "embarrassment factor": the fear that, because you didn't buy this product, you will be shamed or rejected.  It's a strong instinct in humans - the desire to fit in and not be an outcast is hardwired into our genes.  We can't help but fall prey to these advertisements that strike a chord on a primal level.  Buy our stuff or you will be shunned!


Tech #15: Big Inventions

One of the greatest inventions since the printing press has to be the portable audio player.  For years, the only way to listen to recorded music was either your home record player or the infamous ghetto blaster. Now you can shut out the world and retreat to your little capsule of sound. Sweet, sweet escape.


Vintage Reads #36: How to Protect Yourself from Crime

I recently acquired this little gem: How to Protect Yourself from Crime (1975) by Ira A. Lipman.  The book itself was only moderately interesting, and I'll post a few of the illustrations here.  While lackluster in content, it got me thinking about The Question of the Ages: whether the 1970s experienced worse crime than we know today.

Crime statistics are notoriously difficult to quantify.  Many incidences are not reported, and with thousands and thousands of individual sheriff's offices and local PDs, it makes it nearly impossible to get good numbers - especially as far back as the seventies, before data was entered into any sort of database.


Ads #50: Love Dolls

Is there anything more disturbing than a guy with a life size inflatable love doll? I don't have a clue about current men's magazines, but vintage men's rags were overflowing with blow up babes - so, there must've been a market.

The ad above is one of my favorites.  Are we to believe that this doll is going to look this lifelike? And check out the text: ".... you can put me in the car as your traveling companion.... or even hold me in your lap and tell me all your secrets." Here's some free advice to all you fellas out there - if you're whispering secrets to a blow up doll, you've officially hit rock bottom.  Time to buy a Tony Robbins tape and make some life changes.



Mini Skirt Monday #115: The Upskirt Prevention Pose

One drawback for women during the heyday of the miniskirt was the constant danger of giving a guy an eyeful every time you sat down.  Even worse, sitting for a picture could easily become an unseemly memorial to your undergarments.  God knows, the skirts of the early seventies were short enough standing fully erect - sitting they became shorter, and without proper coverage you were exposed for the whole world to see.

Thus, the Upskirt Prevention Pose: that almost reflexive action of placing hands over the danger zone when seated.  Sure, women still exercise it today, but in the early seventies it was epidemic.  If you were a girl in 1972 and forgot for a brief second to assume the position - BAM! - a tragic upskirt for all within the cone of sight.  Heaven forbid, someone has a Kodachrome.

So, this post is a reminder of something most ladies don't have to worry about anymore.  Let this be a testament to their diligence and tireless duty to observe the Upskirt Prevention Pose.

RIP Richard Dawson

Donna Summer and Robin Gibb.... now Dawson? Our seventies icons are hitting that age where, I imagine, it won't be long before we start hearing of more seventies heavyweights passing away.  I don't intend to reflect every time we lose a childhood hero - my philosophy has always been that Retrospace should be about keeping their spirit alive rather than contemplating their death.

That being said, Dawson has been a personal hero since I was a wee lad.  Like Dino and Frank, he was the epitome of cool; suave, intelligent, witty, and personable.  In fact, I posted on Dawson back in 2009 extolling his unrivaled coolness.

I enjoyed him on Hogan's Heroes, but it was on The Match Game that he shined.  Of course, you can't forget his hosting of The Playboy Roller Disco and Pajama Party on ABC (With musical entertainment provided by Chuck Mangione and the Village People).

Combine that with the fact that he was married to Diana Dors and released a psychedelic album that would've made Syd Barrett proud, and you're talking about one major league badass.  When you consider he was a boxer and a British Merchant Marine, Dawson goes off the charts into the stratosphere of cool.

Here's to you Mr. Dawson.  Cheers.


Vinyl Dynamite #39: Richard & Willie

This is easily the most offensive content I've ever put on Retrospace, but I simply couldn't resist any longer.  Me keeping this from you would just be wrong..... there would always be this thing between us, and sometimes it's just better to get it out in the open - no matter how upsetting it is at first.

In 1975, ventriloquist, Richard Sanfield, put out an album that would make even the most resilient comedy fans do a double take.  This is the stuff of Bill Cosby's nightmares. Granted, it's not a whole lot more offensive than some of Richard Pryor's stuff; however, when combined with the album cover, this one easily takes the prize for tastelessness.

In fact, the cover really has no business being on Retrospace at all.  If you want to see it, click here. I won't stop you.... but don't say you haven't been warned.  And truth be told, we probably wouldn't be talking about this LP today if it weren't for its near legendary status as one of the worst album covers of all time.

Look, I'm no politically correct pantywaist that's worried about ruffling feathers.  I wouldn't be putting this out there if I was.  However, I respect the fact that some things just aren't for everyone.

So, what's the allure? Well, it's a combination of things.  First, the album cover has achieved a bit of notoriety over the years, and I'm always excited to hear what lies behind tawdry vinyl icons such as this. Second, it's a great immersion into the seventies, with lots of pop references. And third, it's actually kind of funny - picture Richard Pryor mixed with Dave Chappelle. If you can get past the repeated use of the N Word, you might actually catch yourself laughing.

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Note: Fans of Arrested Development will no doubt be reminded of Gob's equally offensive ventriloquist dummy, Franklin.