Las Vegas, Nevada 1960

Las Vegas has changed quite a bit since 1960. The Stardust Casino is no longer in Vegas, but you can see in this film where it started out. It’s grandeur a bit more sedate than by the time it was imploded in 2007. (The film starts with an exterior of the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall)

The acts playing the lounges and the big stage in 1960 were:

Lido De Paris the big floor show all the way from..

Tony Pastor Revue

The Kim Sisters.  Here a  a few links from You Tube of the trio performing. They were fairly popular with Ed Sullivan who according to the linked Wiki article had them on his show 22 times. At this link The Kim Sisters perform an Al Jolson medley featuring not only the big show stopper “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey” but also “Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye ” and “Mammy”. Here’s a video from the Ed Sullivan Show where they perform with their mother who had was  a South Korean singing star in her own right. And here’s one more where they triple team a xylophone at the end. Oh and you can get their first album over on iTunes on which they cover The 50s classic Charlie Brown.

Tony Martinez was also on the bill. Martinez was also known or his roll on the television series “The Real McCoys”. You can catch a clip of him and his band over at YOUTUBE from the movie “Rock Around the Clock”

I can’t find much about the last act on the bill, Audre Cooper or the Happy Jesters. I’ll keep looking around for that.






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April 18, 2014 · 10:45 pm

Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan

Vacation film from Silver Springs, Florida. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m 98% that the subject here is the movie star Johnny Weissmuller, who brought Edgar Rice Burroughs classic character to life on the silver screen. Weissmuller defined the character for a generation of movie goers in the 1930s the 1940s. And still is probably the best known and well loved version of the ape man. Also Weissmuller was a five time gold medalist in the Olympics.

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April 10, 2014 · 7:16 am

Home Movie Animations

It’s great to find films where people played with their cameras and not just documenting what was going on in their lives. Here are two fun home movie animations. Very simple. The first is stop motion with some toys the other is a “The End” animated title card with a classic ending.

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April 9, 2014 · 6:35 am

Live (not quite) from the Brickyard — 1946 Indy 500

By the time Memorial Day 1946 came around, I suspect most of the country was ready for things to get back to normal after the end of the war nine months earlier. According to one news reel from the time, 175,00 people returned to the new renovated race track for the first Indy 500 since 1941.  World War Two brought with it shortages in some of the necessities of modern life, like fuel. So racing at the Brickyard halted for a few years, while the Allies opened up a can of Whoop Axis in Europe and in the Pacific.

33 drivers took their positions at the starting line of the 2.5 mile track and were waved into action by the green flag, but only 7 drivers survived (figuratively) for the checkered flag over 4 hours later.

British born George Robson in car number 16 won the race by 44 seconds over Jimmy Jackson in car 61.  Robson would never win at Indy again, he died 4 months later at another holiday race.  On Labor Day racing in the Lakewood 100 in Atlanta, Robson was in an awful wreck durning the next to last lap of the race. In a cloud of dirt from the track, Robson’s car struck a stalled car and he was thrown from his racer. Two other drivers unable to avoid him, ran over Robson and he died on the track.

Most of this film is shot from the infield, but there are a few feet of footage coming into one of the turns. And there’s some good footage at the head of a parade of cars from automotive history.

Here are a few more facts that I learned while looking up info on this race:

The race was held on a Thursday. Memorial Day used to be on the 30th of May, but some time in the late sixties/early 70s congress changed all of that and blessed us with a 3 day weekend.

This was the first Indy race that drivers used a radio transmit ion communication device to talk to their pit crews. Two drivers — Louis Tomei and Emil Andres — were able to communicate with their pit crews with a mobile radio telephone system. Raytheon came out to the track with what was basically a radio station in a box truck. A little more info can be found here with a a picture of the drivers and the Raytheon “laboratory”. The radio communication didn’t help either driver win, but one did come in 4th and the other in 26th.

Rudolf Caracciola failed to qualify after he blacked out and wrecked during his trial. Most of the press said he had been hit by a bird in the temple. But another rumor out there is that he was shot.  Rudolf was not only German, but also a member of the National Socialist Motor Corps during the war, and although he never joined the Nazi party it was close enough for a lot of Americans at the time. So did a want to be “nazi hunter” take a shot at him?  There’s no proof that either a bird or a bullet hit him, he only felt a pain in the temple before he lost consciousness. but the gun theory is fascinating. (

The pacemaker for this race was Henry Ford, II driving/riding in a Lincoln Continental V-12.

Other Resources:

1946 Indy 500

News Reels: 1946 Indy 500

News Reel: 1946 Lakewood 100

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Filed under Automobiles, Outdoors, racing

…falling like bags of wet cement.

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I don’t know what I’m looking at with this set of slides. What at first seems to be an invasion, I think is more likely war games possibly at Okinawa. The later slides reveal the outcome of an aerial cargo delivery gone horribly wrong. These Jeeps look wonderfully mangled, yet no sign of explosion. The people around them don’t seem too concerned, just kind of curious and in some cases kind of bored.

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Filed under War Front

Vans at Le Mans

I am NOT a car guy. That is I don’t know a manifold from a tail pipe. But I do appreciate a cool automobile design when I see one. In 1967 this collection of trucks, vans and cars were found outside the Le Mans Cathedral in Le Mans, France. On the far left is a Peugeot J7, but next to it is a Citroën H-series. How do I know this? Well, a Google search for “old french vans” turned up a picture rather quickly. These vans were made by Citroën after the war (WW2 )and into the 80′s. What I like about the design is first the corrugated panels on the front and side of the vehicle. The other thing I like about it is it looks like what it’s built for. It looks like it’s got a job to do and is serious about that work. It doesn’t look mean, but it doesn’t look to fun loving either. This van is definately cast as “dad” in a French cars movie. That Truck on the far right is a Citroën as well and I swear I’ve never seen a more French looking truck in my life. Loot at it and tell me it doesn’t look like Captain Renault (Claude Raines) from Casablanca. You don’t think so? Okay maybe it doesn’t look exactly like him, but kinda. Sorta. Listen all I’m saying is if I cast a cars version of Casablanca, this would be the vehicle playing “Louie”. I don’t know what car is playing “Rick”. I haven’t really thought this through.

If you want to read about the world’s largest collection of the Citroën H-series vans you can read about it over at in an article written by Jason Torchinsky.

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What is this and who’s responsible?

Example of a comic foreground

A comic foreground at Italian Swiss Colony winery in Asti, California. Circa 1966

I’ve seen these in places like amusement parks, fairs, museums and other places where mirth is encouraged and rarely in places where mirth is reviled like funerals, sentencing hearings and airport TSA checkpoints.  And  in all the years I’ve seen them, I’ve never thought that this thing has a name. It was always that thing made of plywood and with a picture painted on it and a hole strategically placed where a head or face might be in the painted picture. You know, one of those. You know, it usually has a picture of a woman in an old fashioned bathing suit and a strong man holding a dumbbell above his head. A man would put his head in the hole a top the woman’s body and a woman would do likewise in a hole above the strongman’s neck. Then hilarity ensued with photographs being taken and shared with friend and foe. A total blast. Anyway, when I went to label this slide I wasn’t satisfied with my accurate, but  cumbersome name. After a few variations on a theme in the Google search box, I finally found the name for these things. It turns out they are called “comic foregrounds” or “passe-tetes” as the French like to call them.  What’s cool about them is the man who invented them or at least held a patent on a version of them for a while, was a man by the name of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. Cash as he was known to his friends and now me, worked a lot of jobs in his career but mostly worked as a painter and illustrator. So as if the comic foreground wasn’t enough of a cultural contribution to the world, this man is responsible for something far greater to the world of the comedic visual arts. According to my sources (listed below in form of links) Cash worked for an advertising firm Brown and Bigelow and was hired to produce advertising calendars. Over the course of 10 years, he painted sixteen oil paintings of dogs doing things that dogs have no business doing. And in several of those anthropomorphic images those dogs were playing poker. The man responsible for comic foregrounds is also the man responsible for one of the greatest memes of the 20th century.  Not only is it art, but one of those things that has a permanent place in our national comedic reference canon, right next to the rubber chicken and the spit take. So the next time you stick your head through one of these, thank old Cassius for not only the incredibly adorable photo you are going to have of your kid or spouse, but also for the one piece of art that defines a man cave better than any other.

Information sources:

Oh and while researching this I stumbled across this app for the iPhone:

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January 8, 2013 · 7:15 am