Mini Skirt Monday #147: Sewing Pattern Minis

Old sewing pattern envelopes are as good a source as any for some vintage miniskirt action.  Trouble is, these particular pieces of paper ephemera are often not in the best of shape.  They weren't exactly family heirlooms - it's a wonder not all of them got thrown away.  Luckily, some have survived the passing decades without too much deleterious effect, and here they are.  Enjoy.


Opinions and Rants #43: 15 Ways Life Has Changed Since the 1970s

I know the youngsters out there will roll their eyes at this post, but it has to be said.  Things are markedly different from back in the 70s (and, to be honest, the 1980s as well).  I could easily make this a top 1,000 list and only scratch the surface, things have changed so much; however, we'll keep it  short and sweet, and in no particular order.  So, here goes...

1. Activism

We all have our opinions, but there's a deep and abiding reality that they don't really matter anymore.  The elected in DC are on the take and the populace are just spectators.  Political activism will be tolerated to an extent, but ignored.  The feeling that you can "make a difference" is gone, and in its place is an unhealthy cynicism.  Worse even, activists are often mocked and derided by the media and the brainwashed masses are only too quick to follow their lead.


Humor Mags #4: MAD Behaving Badly

Let me make this perfectly clear - every boy growing up in the seventies read MAD (and Cracked and Crazy - the Heavenly Trinity).  And let me make it also clear that these magazines weren't necessarily aimed at minors.  Looking back at my old mags, it's interesting to note how inappropriate they were for a young impressionable mind like myself.  But then.... they didn't give a shit back then.  Children weren't insulated quite like they are today.

Anyway, I've covered this ground before, so I won't rehash it.  But, paging through a stack of old MADs, I began to notice a pattern: if there was a sex scene or nude scene in a movie they were spoofing - they were damn well going to include it!

So, here's a handful of panels of cinematic naughtiness from MAD that a generation of us kids grew up on.  Be sure to read the speech balloons because they often have a humorous jab at the scene itself.  So, enjoy!


Cinema #28: 1970s Lowbrow Movie Poster Art

You can't help but love movie poster art from back in the day - especially the crazy exploitation stuff.  Here's a few of my faves with the text stripped away so you can just admire the art.  There's plenty of sites out there with the full movie poster uncropped - so don't worry.  This post, however, is just diggin' the kickassity (new word) of lowbrow art at its finest (and not so finest). Enjoy.


Vinyl Dynamite #47: Pop Abroad

When I found this, I closed my eyes and kept repeating to myself, "This isn't real - it's only a bad dream.  This isn't real - it's only a bad dream..." But when I opened my eyes it was still there.

Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that I and this record inhabit the same world.  Somehow, I must learn to accept its presence on Earth, coexist with it.... perhaps even make peace with it.

Put the needle in the groove for yourself. Press play, and learn to live harmony with Israeli Disco Fever.

Side A - Israeli Disco Fever


Cinema #27: Horror Movie Newspaper Ads

Back when people actually read newspapers, the movie section was often the funnest part of the paper to read. It was full of in-your-face announcements of the latest horror movies, beckoning you to the local drive-in or cinema. Obviously, they were inferior to the actual movie posters which had a big colorful pallet to work with; however, they definitely have a charm of their own.

In this post, I've not only gathered together a bunch of horror movie newspaper ads, but also some IMDb info just for the hell of it. Enjoy.


Retrospace Radio #43



  1. Hot Blood - Soul Dracula
  2. Philadelphia International All Stars - Lets Clean Up The Ghetto
  3. Stockard Channing  - Look at Me, Im Sandra Dee
  4. Gary Wright - Give Me The Good Earth
  5. Ranking Dread - Marijuana Soul
  6. Kiss - Almost Human
  7. Donna Lynn - My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut
  8. Syd Dale - The Riviera Set
  9. Gerry Rafferty - Where I Belong
  10. Schoolhouse Rock - My Hero Zero
  11. Bee Gees - Night Fever
Note: To download the entire episode, simply right click on the "Listen" link and save


Pancakes #9: True Pancake Confessions

It was 1984 and Greta's party wasn't going so well. She'd invited her co-workers over and the fiesta was dying a slow excruciating death.  After a particularly weird comment by Juan, there was an awkward silence that lasted nineteen painful minutes. They'd resorted to thumbing through the coffee table books.


Catalogs #31: Irresponsible 1938 Novelty Catalog

Counterfeiting is fun!

Retrospace doesn't typically go back as far as the 1930s, but this find was too good to not share.  It's the 1938 Johnson Smith & Company Catalogue of Surprising Novelties, Puzzles, Tricks, Joke Goods, Useful Articles, Etc.  (They had a way with words back then, didn't they?) What stuck out to me was the politically incorrect tone and social irresponsibility of it all.

Of course, it was a product of it's time. There's no use in wagging fingers and becoming offended by it Please take my snarky comments with a grain of salt - my shock and horror is all in fun.  And I should also mention that I didn't scan this myself, but rather found it floating aimlessly on the interwebs and thought it could find a home on Retrospace.  So here it is.


Vintage Reads #47: The Classics Remastered

I read a lot of garbage - I fully admit it.  However, I will also tell you I've read more than my share of classics.  I can appreciate both for what they are.  Without the classics, your mind lacks any meaningful stimuli; your worldview shrinks.  Nothing profound is going to come out of an el cheapo paperback thriller (although, there is something to be said for reading just for entertainment's sake).

Don't worry, I won't launch into a long diatribe about the value of reading classical literature.  You got plenty of that from your bromidic 10th grade English teacher, so I'll spare you.  But the thought occurred to me that paperbacks used to use all sorts of compelling imagery to lure their readers in.... yet the covers of the classics are often dull and lifeless.  While the action and espionage paperbacks featured ninjas and naked chicks to get their books off the shelf, the covers of classics are often sad little pastoral scenes or a boring photograph/painting of the author.  What if we used the same tactics for the Great Books?


Ads #63: Book Ads

Reference book series were extremely popular during the seventies and eighties.  Sort of the offspring of the encyclopedia salesman, commercials for reference book series were quite common.  The most iconic was the Time-Life Old West series.  Who can forget John Hardin, "so mean he once shot a man just for snoring!"

I have fond memories of receiving books in the mail. I had a subscription to a nature series and would hotly anticipate the package each month.  What would it be this month? Reptiles? Birds? or, God be praised, Sharks!


Important Things to Know #13: College of Striptease

In 1961, The Pink Pussycat College of Striptease opened its doors.  It was playfully referred to as "The Navel Academy".  Among the courses of higher learning offered were:

“The History and Theory of the Striptease”
“The Psychology of Inhibitions”
“Applied Sensual Communication”
"Elementary Bumps and Grinds"
"Controlling the Structural Components of the Anatomy"
“Dynamic Mammary, Navel and Pelvic Rotation and Oscillation”
"Fundamentals of Taking It Off"
"Methodology of Teasing, Tantalizing, and Titillating"

The Dean of the College of Striptease was Sally Marr - Lenny Bruce's mother!


The Boob Tube #40: The Babes of Star Trek (Part 2)

Star Trek had a commodity you don't see much any more on the boob tube: interesting and  important female characters who are also sizzling beauties. It was progressive and sexy.  It's hard to straddle both fences, but Roddenberry pulled it off. So often, in an effort to be PC, writers will just insert a default character known as "the strong female".  But they forget to make her interesting, unique, and three dimensional.  In my opinion, Start Trek had tons of compelling female characters, but at the same time didn't shy away from flaunting their beauty.  Call it a contradiction if you will, I call it pure dynamite.


The Boob Tube #39: The Babes of Star Trek (Part 1)

The beautiful female cargo of Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Season 1, Episode 6) was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to galactic babes on the original Star Trek.  Besides the fact that the Enterprise dress code required micro-minis for all female crew members (a topic for a Mini Skirt Monday post for sure), it seemed like every episode provided an opportunity for some sci-fi eye candy.  Let's browse through some episodes and see the smoking hot babes that await in The Final Frontier.


Humor Mags #3: Crazy Spoof Art

Cracked, MAD and Crazy all started (and often ended) their issues with a send-up of a movie or TV show.  This, of course, would require the skills of an artist who could capture the likeness of actors and actresses. Today, let's have a look at some of the works of Crazy spoof artists - we'll cover the other magazines later.

It goes without saying that the MAD's Mort Drucker is the king of them all, with 194 film spoofs to his credit.  But us 70's kids weren't so discerning, and were perfectly happy with Crazy's offerings and Mort Drucker substitutes (primarily Kent Gamble).

But this post isn't a scholarly article on the artists and their rich tapestry of caricatures.  Instead, I just like looking at their works, conjuring up images of TV/movie yesterdays.  Enjoy.


Mini Skirt Monday #145: Pumps

For those who care...
Pumps are one of the most popular styles of women's shoes, and they're also one of the most difficult to define. In their most basic form, pumps have closed backs, and low-cut fronts that hit closer to the toes than they do the top of the foot. A classic pump has a seamless vamp, and is without laces, buckles, straps or ties, but it's very common to see the classic pump silhouette enhanced by an ankle strap, t-strap, or mary jane strap. Pumps can have open toes, peep toes, pointy toes, round toes, almond toes or square toes, and they can have heels of any height.

Note that some of these may not quite qualify as "pumps", but going with a "heels" theme would open it up to sandals, loafers, platforms, etc.  And we wouldn't want that, would we? No, sir.


The Boob Tube #38: Comedies

Many of you are already aware of my strong feelings toward Darrin Stephen (and I'm referring to both Dicks here - York and Sargent).  Why in the name of all that is holy did he not just let Samantha do her little witchcraft?  No, she had to do the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning all by hand..... and why? Because Darrin said so.

Sure, Darrin brought home the bacon, but he was an abject failure at his job.  Without the help of Samantha, Darrin would have been collecting unemployment before the first episode was over.  And guess what? It was often the witchcraft that got him out of the jam.

Did he have religious objections? Was he worried that this was black magic and may invite demonic spirits into the Stephenson home?  If so, then why did he marry a practitioner of the dark arts?  Perhaps I'm over-thinking things as usual - but I stand by my claim that Darrin is a certified douche.


Catalogs #30: Selchow & Righter Games

I enjoy playing Words with Friends and Draw Something - games you can play without ever being in the same room.  Long distance gaming via apps and Facebook has its value, I guess; however, there's no replacing the intangibles of playing together.

Physical board games have by no means gone extinct.... but with the advent of digital media, we all see the writing on the wall.  In 1978 and 79, however, if you wanted to play a game, you were stuck like it or not with actual human beings.  Here's a few Selchow & Righter Games catalog pages from those years.  Enjoy.

Artful Conceptions #19

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then horror illustrators are the biggest flatterers of any genre - especially when it comes to European horror.  Every time I see a foreign horror novel I get a feeling of déjà vu. A feeling that I've seen that cover somewhere before. Indeed, it's so common I've seen a few sites devoted to cataloging the repetitions.

Well, this fits nicely into our Artful Conceptions category where we track repeated patterns in pop culture imagery.  Let's look at a few examples...


Vintage Men's Mags #37: Cheesecake Curios

Most skin rags were done on a shoestring, and that meant setting up shop in their own living rooms.  There was no budget for a Malibu beach shoot or money to pay airfare to shoot on location.  Nope.  You worked with what you had.... and what you had often meant utilizing anything on hand for props.  There are literally thousands of examples of this - some mildly amusing, others downright mysterious.

In Men's Mag post #36 we looked at the rather unoriginal prop - the couch.  This was sort of the default.  Once the photographers got tired of that they moved on to the bed and chairs.... after that, things get interesting. Time to start bringing in the Hummel figurines and globe (see image above).  We've looked at cuddly toys already, but there's plenty of other stuff on the shelves to immortalize in a cheesecake photo shoot.  Let's have a look.


Just for Laughs #1: Monster Party

Those of my generation will remember the common gag in many a monster magazine and Cracked magazine in particular where speech bubbles were inserted into a frame from an old horror/sci-fi movie.  Indeed, there were whole magazines devoted to this brand of humor (i.e. For Monsters Only, Cracked Monster Party).  The jokes themselves were usually rather weak - but it didn't matter.  We loved them anyway.

So, in honor of a type of silliness that is much missed, we at Retrospace are bringing back the Monster Party.  Enjoy!


Twisted Impressions #16

In my explorations of pop archaeology sometimes I strike gold, sometimes it's a dud, and sometimes.... well, sometimes I don't know what the hell I've found.  Odd and interesting pictures that really don't belong anywhere, yet still must be shared.

I find that these sorts of images are best tasted without context - it magnifies their strangeness.  I'd rather just show you a picture of a woman in a bikini strangling a mime than attempt to explain it and ruin its mystery.

So buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride.

Vintage Style #37: 1980s Vogue

There was a Xanadu clothing line? Who knew? The movie can be enjoyed now for its kitsch appeal, but at the time it was considered a woeful mistake - despite the awesome ELO and ONJ soundtrack. A Greek Muse inspires a guy to open a roller disco? It doesn't exactly have "blockbuster" written all over it. Still, this clothing line is an interesting find.  Here's some more pages from early 80s Vogue magazines I think you'll enjoy...