The Daily Retro: Vicky Victory – WW II

Thanks to Jen for this one.

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Paper Dresses Catch On Fire

The whole concept
of a paper dress
may seem to us in
this ‘oh, so enlightened’ era
to be a pretty bad idea…

you know,
flammable,
easily torn,
kinda formless —
and
impossible to wash.

but it was a
really big thing
in the 1960’s.

Scott Paper started
the hub-bub
(the 1960’s one, anyway)
by advertising dresses
made in their patented
“Dura-Weave” process —

for a $1.25, you’d get a
“Paper-Caper” ‘optical art’
garment —
— in red or black.

Of course, you had to fill
out a coupon and wait
four to six weeks –

But then, you had your dress-
which was the total
opposite of what you’d
call ‘form-fitting’
and I’m told, at least, that it
wore much more like a
hospital gown.

You wouldn’t really
predict this thing to
sell 500,000 –
— would you?

Well, it did.

And clothing designers
(as well as other toilet
paper manufacturers )
jumped on the craze.

Hell, Gracie Slick even
mentioned em in a
Jefferson Airplane song.

The one I really remember
(I was just still a
kiddy-winky at the time)
was the “Souper Dress”
which was based on
Andy Warhol’s
Campbell Soup
Cans paintings.

After a while, though —
the nature of paper as
a clothing material
really started to be an issue,
and manufacturers came up
with something that still kinda
looked like paper but didn’t
go up in flames at the
first flash of a bulb.

Apparently, 75% rayon,
25% nylon worked
pretty good as a substitute –

and by 1970,
that was all that was
left of the paper dress craze.

Here’s a couple of examples
to wrap us up for this post.

Thanks to Jen for the
poster dress submission !

!!!! HOY !!!!

It’s Henry

This little character
may, or
may not,
look familiar to you —

I guess it really
depends on just
how many
gray hairs have snuck
their way into your
average two-day growth –

( where-ever that growth
may happen to be ) .

Just so
I’m clear about it,
that basically means
that if you’re under
age 30 or so–

you probably won’t
remember “Henry” –

…. a comic strip
featuring a little bald
mute boy that started
running in the
Saturday Evening Post
about 1932.

The comic’s creator,
Carl Anderson, was
already in his late 60’s
when he came up
with the character —

and that fact is often
used as the explanation
for why the comic
always seemed,
even to people
of the 1930’s,
to be ‘old fashioned’.

Certainly, the cartoons
do look very arcane –
with a lot of
antiquated technology,
washboards,
urban picket fences,
Model ‘A’s,
ice-delivery trucks,
and Depression-era
prices on products
like ice cream.
( 5 Cents ! )

And, since Henry
communicated mostly
with pantomime
or sign language,
it requires one to not
only understand the
strip’s historical and
societal perspective-

to make allowances for
the apparently simple,
somewhat unkind,
mischievous, scheming,
and child-like character,

but also to read very
much ‘between the lines’
to catch most of the
punchlines.

Yet, these qualities
seemed to have
actually contributed
to the character’s
huge popularity,
not only here in the
United States,
but also in Britain
and Canada.

The images on today’s post
were a part of a set of
cigarette cards issued
in the United Kingdom
in 1936 by the London
Card Company for
J. Wix Tobacco and
Kensitas Cigarettes,
and thus, are
very collectible.

( Of course, if you’re
interested in more on
the subject of cigarette
cards, you can read my
post on the subject here. )

Despite the rather out
of sync feeling of the
comic, or maybe
because of it,
I’ve always been a fan
of the single frame
versions of ‘Henry’,
and I’m hoping that
you will find them
charming and interesting
as well !

!!! HOY !!!!

.

Give Me An Old Fashioned Honeymoon

One of our favorite
occupations around
here at the Muscleheaded Blog
is sarcastically skewering
some of the sillier-seeming
traditions of previous
generations, and I very
freely admit that.

The way we see stuff,
and the way they saw stuff,

well….

the perspectives
are just so different
in so many ways –
and for so many reasons.

Society has changed,
technology has changed,
expectations and belief
systems have changed —
even the nature of how
we spend our spare time
has changed.

That doesn’t mean that
most of the things they
liked/did were wrong,
misguided, or nonsensical-
just different –

but it does give us
the opportunity to compare
life then and now-

and of course,
to point out the more
cornball or off-the-wall
aspects for us to have
a little sarcastic
jollification with.

Hey-
it’s all in fun, man.

We have, along the way,
unfortunately,
seem to have lost a taste
for an awful lot of the
really good things, too —

And today, we look at
one that has lost a lot
of ground recently ,
one that I have a great
deal of respect and
admiration for- –

The old fashioned honeymoon.

Of course, I speak from a
very fortunate perspective –
when I got old enough
to actually go on
a honeymoon,
we as a society had already
accepted the very sensible
idea of ‘trying on a shoe first
before subjecting ourselves
to the potential anti-blisses
of a wedding night surprise.

Any taboos or inhibitions
that might have been an issue
would have been exposed
clearly enough for ya both
before the ceremony,
so as not to find yourselves
ball and chained
(if you’ll pardon the
underlying pun)
to somebody who just
wasn’t into what you were.

The truth be told,
that little pre-marital
benefit made a honeymoon
much MORE enjoyable —

and the sheets probably
didn’t have to be changed
after the first night, either.

You could just relax
and do your thing —
as much or as little
as you wanted, and
concentrate on building
the real intimacy a couple
needed to make a
marriage work…

— spending quality
time together,
concentrating on hopes,
desires, and dreams-
and not on performance
anxiety and unrealistic
expectations.

And, in the late 70s’
and early 80’s, the large
world-class honeymoon-resorts
were still in full bloom —

— in places like Jamaica,
The Catskills, Miami Beach,
Hawaii, Niagara Falls,
and my favorite —
the Pocono Mountains.

On a recent trip to
Eastern Pennsylvania
to visit my sister, I had
driven close enough to
one of those old famous
Honeymoon places in
the Poconos,
called Penn Hills,
to notice that it was closed,
overgrown, and
totally abandoned.

That really depressed me —
we had stayed there for
a couple days in the early 80’s,
during a couples retreat,
and it was huge, with
wonderful amenities,
a gigantic pool, a large
community dining room,
and some very cool room
features as well,
like heart shaped
mini-pools and saunas-

Ever see the Dita Von Teese
picture of her lounging
in a giant champagne glass?

That picture was taken
at Penn Hills sister
honeymooner site,
Cove Haven –
which I loved, and which is
still open, albeit struggling.

And, Penn Hills offered
a smaller version of that
glass right in your suite.

Sure, it’s kitschy —
corny if you will.

But I love stuff like that.

Notice I said something
earlier about
‘community dining room’ —

that was another one
of those charming aspects
of the old fashioned honeymoon –

You were expected to
come out of your room
once in a while and
socialize with other
honeymooners —
— like taking communal meals–
and there were also all kinds
of group activities and sports
to encourage this.

I’m sure younger readers
won’t totally get this,
but it was all about
preparing a newlywed
couple to learn how to
be a successful and
happy one.

Seems weird, I guess,
but for decades, that’s
how it was done….
and those decades had
marriages that lasted
about 4 times longer
than the average ones
today.

Now, I know a lot of
my regular readers are
waiting for the other shoe
to fall —

some kinda reference to
crazy hot group
sex in the recreation
center hot tub
or something –

— but today,

I’m about as
serious about this
subject as I can be.

Really.

Bring Back
The Old

Fashioned Honeymoon,
I say.

As long as you
make sure that
the shoe fits, first.

!!! HOY !!!

.

It’s Her Prerogative

a1Here’s an interesting piece of history,

direct from the Muscleheaded Post Card collection.

If you grew up in the United States before 1990,

— you probably remember the junior high school tradition of the ‘Sadie Hawkins Day’ Dance.leapy

Girls are encouraged to invite guys to dance with them —

instead of the usual arrangement —

—- and I do remember it produced some surprising matches.

Females, as we all know,

— tend to use different attraction/selection criteria for mating than males,

which makes the dynamic all the more interesting.

claraI remembered reading that the Sadie Hawkins dance was named after a cartoon character in the Lil Abner comics,

— starting in the late 1930’s.

Apparently, in the comic strip,

single women had the option of pursuing and marrying a single man of their choice, on a single day in November each year.

Here’s the original strip from 1937 explaining how it all started.

sadiehawkins

Of course, this isn’t really where the idea originated.

It’s actually drawn from several much older Celtic traditions, from at least 800 years ago–

which gave women the prerogative to propose marriage–
leapday
— but only during leap years, which only occur every four years.

( 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, etc)

In some places, this was narrowed down further
to only one day in those years —

February 29–
the ‘extra day’ —
the Leap Day.

A totally accurate picture of how and where this tradition, “The Ladies Privilege”, developed is clouded by time and mythology —

leapyear

Oral tradition has it that it was invented by Ireland’s Saint Patrick,

as a way of marrying off nuns who had tired of their cloister,

leapdays…….. or single women who had no desire to become a nun.

Several writers refer to a 13th century Scottish Law,

written by the guardians of Queen Margaret,

(who was only 5 years old at the time)

providing specific penalties for turning such a proposal down —

1912It would cost the man a fine of:

one pound, a rose, a kiss, and a pair of leather gloves.

In the 16th century, single women were encouraged to wear pants during leap year,

—- at least according to a play popular during the time.

And in the 19th, it’s said that red petticoats became de rigueur attire for ladies wishing to celebrate the Leap Year with a conquest.

All we know for sure is that it’s an old tradition,

—- and underwent a renewal of popularity around the turn of the 20th century.leap

Interesting postcards from that era,
on the Leap Year theme, abound —

Usually they are done in a tongue in cheek style indicating that while the tradition still existed,

— it was not practiced in any serious way.

No longer did a man have to pay a fine–

but it was still considered to be a bringer of bad luck,
and not to mention,
very bad form,
to turn down a lady’s proposal during leap year.

leapThe best a man could hope for,
it appears,
is to keep a very low profile,
in order to keep his bachelorhood intact for the entire 366 days.

Overall, it’s a pretty interesting and amusing theme…

Everybody seems rather desperate,
to either ensnare,
or escape.

But there’s also a whispered nuance of sexuality to some of the cards,

and even a secret thrill of implied female dominance, perhaps.

quesAnd looking back,

I can’t help but wonder……

Did the tradition of the Leap Year Ladies Privilege itself had any real effect on society at large ?

Well, frankly,

I doubt it.

The revival of interest in the tradition died off around the time women received the right to vote in the US,

—- and it’s little remembered today,
except in the Sadie Hawkins tradition.

dontshootBut it could be argued that a few of these postcards had an undertone that served the purposes of the anti-suffrage movement —

—  in projecting a society that would be out of kilter, full of obstreperous females and weak, emasculated males.

There were certainly cards issued during that era that were much less subtle in expressing that very fallacious, but prevalent idea —

tug— that granting women suffrage would lead to social disintegration.

But as far as these Leap Year cards were concerned, their main function was entertainment, and not social propaganda.

I do know that many famous couples started out with the lady proposing —

Including Queen Victoria of England, who described the scene in her dairy:

mineatlastAt about half past 12 I sent for Albert; he came to where I was alone, and after a few minutes I said to him, that I thought he must be aware of why I wished him to come here, and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (to marry) ; we embraced each other over and over again, and he was so kind, so affectionate… I told him I was quite unworthy of him and kissed his dear hand.”

Zsa Zsa Gabor claimed that she had proposed to every one of her nine husbands, stating:

” A woman has to make up a man’s mind “.girl

Pink,
Halle Berry,
Elizabeth Taylor,
Jenny McCarthy,
Brittany Spears,
Heather Mills,
and Jennifer Hudson are other women who have taken the lead in proposing marriage —-

It’s just no big deal, anymore.

Why should it be?

Men lose nothing by letting women do what makes them happy —

Hell, along the way,
they might end up making us happy, too.

Ya never know.

And it is certainly fun to see
these old cards and understand
the context in which they were a part.

charlie