Category Archives: 1950’s

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI AND ‘HOWL’ AT CITY LIGHTS BOOKS! (DIVA)

VIA  DIVA

‘Howl’ at City Lights Books. You can view this bundle in the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive collection area. Silent KPIX news footage of City Lights Books in San Francisco, produced in 1957. Includes scenes of Lawrence Ferlinghetti arranging copies of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl and other poems’ in the store window, as their advertised pocket book of the week.  Also features brief views of Columbus Avenue and Ferlinghetti smoking a pipe and adding other books to the display outside.

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NEW BOOK ON THE BEATS! (ALLEN GINSBERG PROJECT)

VIA THE ALLEN GINSBERG PROJECT

The Best Minds of My Generation – Very pleased to announce a new Allen Ginsberg publication (due out in April)  from Grove Press – “A Literary History of the Beats” –  (“A unique and compelling history of the Beats, in the words of the movements most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures”), edited, (as judiciously and informatively as ever), by Beat scholar, and our good friend, Bill Morgan.

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NAT HENTOFF, JOURNALIST AND SOCIAL COMMENTATOR, DIES AT 91 (NY TIMES)

BY ROBERT D. MCFADDEN VIA NY TIMES

Nat Hentoff in 2009. Credit Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times

Nat Hentoff, an author, journalist, jazz critic and civil libertarian who called himself a troublemaker and proved it with a shelf of books and a mountain of essays on free speech, wayward politics, elegant riffs and the sweet harmonies of the Constitution, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

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THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR T!

“Come On And Dress Me, Dress Me, Dress Me In My Finest Array,
Cause In Case You Haven’t Heard, Today Is Doe-Me-Doe Day!” 

The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T

By Brian Kramer

“The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T” was the first Dr. Seuss film that was ever made and it was a live action feature, believe it or not. It wasn’t “The Grinch who Stole Christmas,” as most people think. And it is also the only feature film Dr Seuss ever wrote.

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ARCHIVE PHOTOS SHOW 1950S L.A. LIT UP BY ATOMIC BOMB TESTS! (TIMEOUT)

BY BRITTANY MARTIN VIA TIMEOUT

If you were in Los Angeles in the early 1950s, you might have become accustomed to ‘early sunrises’ around 4 or 5 in the morning. Those ‘sunrises’ were flashes on the horizon from atomic blast tests hundreds of miles away in Nevada. Photographers would scramble to rooftops around Downtown and the San Fernando Valley to capture images of the events and one, on April 22, 1952, was even broadcast live on local television stations in L.A. A collection of these images, bathed in eerie glow appears on Amusing Planet.

While it seems pretty crazy by contemporary standards, back then, seeing the sky light up from a nuclear weapon detonation was a fairly commonplace event. There were 100 known atmospheric tests completed at the Nevada Test Site, each resulting in massive mushroom clouds.

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1950-60S STREET PHOTOS OF NYC AND CHICAGO BY VIVIAN MAIER!

VIA DEMILKED

In 2007, historian and collector John Maloof found a box with thousands of black and white photography and film negatives by Vivian Dorothea Maier. Only in 2011, two years after Maier’s death, was her forgotten talent acknowledged by the public, as her works started travelling through exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe and a book of her photography works was published. Born in New York City, the photographer spent a portion of her life living in France and later returned to the U.S., were she worked as a nanny for forty years. Although she traveled and photographed many places worldwide, most of of her newly-found vast collection of photographs focuses on Chicago and New York City life in the 1950s and 1960s.

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ORIGINAL HIPSTERS: THE STYLISH TEDDY BOYS OF THE 1950’S!

enhanced-buzz-wide-28469-1375120910-11Associated Newspapers / Rex / Rex USA

“The Teddy Boy look” began in 1950’s England when young men wore clothing inspired by the dandies of the Edwardian era. They were originally named “Cosh boys” until the Daily Express shortened ‘Edwardian’ to ‘Teddy’ for a headline in 1953, changing history. Saville Row tailors encouraged the trend by making the 40’s Zoot suit drape jackets with velvet collars and pockets. They also fashioned the drainpipe pants which Teddy boys often wore— the leg hem always a bit too high to better expose their socks. Hair was combed back on the sides with a molded quiff in the front. The British shoes, Creepers,  actually came out of Teddy Boy culture, as “Creeper” was another nickname due to a slow shuffle dance they vibed out to called ‘The Creep.’

Teddy Girls wore drape jackets, pencil skirts, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, cameo brooches, espadrilles, and coolie hats. They were also the first teenage girls to rock jeans. They often made their own clothes, as they couldn’t afford (and probably didn’t like) department store clothes.

Record players were spinning jazz until 1955, when rock and roll, became the preferred choice of Teddy Boys.  Unfortunately, some Teddy’s started gangs, attacking rival gangs, and in one historic incident, they attacked a West Indian community. Pick up the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, to learn more …

– Amy Haben

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WATCH BEATNIK CLIP FROM THE 50’S CULT FILM, “HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL!”

philippa_fallon_1

Still From Film: “High School Confidential”  Director: Jack Arnold (1958)

“Tomorrow is a drag pops, the future is a flake.”

In 1958’s cult movie “High School Confidential”, the beautiful brunette actress Phillipa Herron, glides on stage at a coffee house snapping her fingers and reciting a groovy poem.  Actor and writer, Mel Welles, wrote the quirky lyrics of her tale.  Watch clip below:

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THE LOST WORLD OF BENZEDRINE! (THE ATLANTIC)

BY ALAN JACOBS VIA THE ATLANTIC

Favored by artists and mathematicians, the drug powered a great deal of innovation in the 20th century. A 1939 Benzedrine inhaler ad from Smith, Kline and French – photo: Wikipedia

Someone really needs to write a history of the influence of Benzedrine on American culture. For a period of about twenty years, from the 1930s to the 1950s, a good bit of American artistic and scientific energy was generated by this lively amphetamine, which was originally created by Smith, Kline, and French in 1928 as a nasal and bronchial decongestant. Soon enough people discovered that it had pleasant, useful, and energizing side-effects, which led to its use by all sorts of people who needed to boost their creative energies.

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JANE JACOBS: SAVING GREENWICH VILLAGE! (BOWERY BOYS)

VIA BOWERY BOYS

The story of Jane Jacobs, the urban activist and writer who changed the way we live in cities and her fights to preserve Greenwich Village in the 1950s and ’60s.  Washington Square Park torn in two. The West Village erased and re-written. Soho, Little Italy and the Lower East Side ripped asunder by an elevated highway. This is what would have happened in New York City in the 1950s and 60s if not for enraged residents and community activists, lead and inspired by a woman from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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