Sheiks and Shebas

sheikie It’s one of those
unique cultural
colloquialisms
that has completely
disappeared from
contemporary
language –

yet,
for a period
of about 25 years
centered around
the 1920’s, it was
part of the
every day
vernacular
of a flourishing
‘flapper’
subculture –

the ‘Sheik’
and the ‘Sheba’.

Although these
expressions had
already come into
use by 1919,
two movies at the
turn of the decade
were certainly
influential in these
terms gaining
wide-spread
popularity :

” The Queen of Sheba “,
a 1921 Fox production
starring a very scantily
clad Betty Blythe,
and
Paramount’s ” The Sheik “,
starring Rudolph Valentino,
from the same year.

Young people coming
of age in that era were
less inclined than
previous generations
to adhere to a rigid
social code, particularly
when it came down to
their relationships;

— but the use of these
terms not only implied
more liberality of
association, but of
lifestyle as well.

Sex appeal, open
-mindedness, and
a free-wheeling
nature was a must –

and no self
respecting Sheik
could expect his
Sheba to spend
a quiet evening
at home – when
there were parties
and nightlife –
prohibition
notwithstanding.

They didn’t call it
the ‘roaring 20’s’
for nothing, you know.

A ‘Sheba’ differed
from a ‘Flapper’ in
an important way –
although some
women enjoyed
the term being
applied to them
and took to using
it themselves, it was
generally a label
used by outsiders,
(pejoratively or
otherwise),
whereas ‘Sheba’
and ‘Sheik’ were
terms people
inside the subculture
would use to describe
themselves or their
friends.

The tensions, stresses,
and economic difficulties
of the Great Depression
and the darkening clouds
of war eventually put an
end to the light-hearted
spirit of the flapper and to
their patois, but traces of
it and them are still to be
found here on the
Muscleheaded Blog.

!!! HOY !!!

Betty Blythe in ” Queen Of Sheba ” , 1921

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Trippin In The Mind’s Eye

Despite the realities
of the situation,

– ( being too busy
at work to even
think about getting
out of town ) –

my mind is spending
a couple of well
earned days at
a beach resort.

I have to say,
when I’m not
too busy to tune in….

It looks like there’s
beautiful and friendly
half nekkid ladies
everywhere, the
weather is absolutely
perfect, the sand is
cool and clean, the
water is a Honolulu-like
71 degrees, with 6-8
foot curls in case my
subconscious wants
to do a bit o’ brain
surfin.

The good part of
such a mind-deal
vacation is that you
never have to worry
about who you’re
sitting next to on
the plane, or how
lame the restaurants
are there, or carrying
the right kinda
sun-block with ya.

You can play your
music as loud as
you want, and the
people on the
next blanket never
complain or let
their kids kick
sand all over
your stuff.

The mini-bar at
the resort is always
stocked with lots
of ice cold Duvel
Belgian Ale, and
the view from the
patio is a panoramic
scene of the world’s
most stunning nude
beach.

There’s always room
in the hot-tub, and
nobody’s ever turned
it up to 130, or spilled
their pina-colada in
there.

Hey-
you want
room service?

The pretty lady who
delivers it is just the
right level of flirtatious
and accommodating
without making you
feel like you’ve
unintentionally
become part of a
nationwide vice
entrapment
operation.

The fucking hotel
elevator even works
– every time.

The nightlife
is jammin‘ !

– and they turn off the
lights and noise when
you’re ready for bed.brass

The bad part,
of course,
is that you’re
actually still
at the office
until 4 in the
morning ‘catching
up’ on work that
never really will
be caught up
upon.

And, no matter
how good your
imagination is,
the endless
nightmare
that is
Charlotte traffic
will be sure to
drive you back
to your senses
way too soon
for your liking.

I mean,
fantasy
can only
take you
so far,
ya know?

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

 

Friday Mailbag

Today’s mailbag
is all about vintage
postcard art by
Bernhardt Wall ….

Completely
off the subject, though…

You wouldn’t believe
how conflicted we are
around here when it
comes to the Friday
Mailbag.

Not that it’s
your problem.

Nope.

And we
wouldn’t
dream of
imposing
our silly issues
on you,
ya know.

You got enough
stuff on your
plate already,
very true.

Of course, if you were
to have been stashing
away goodies with
every intention of
eventually sharing
them with the massively
popular and well written
Muscleheaded Blog’s
audience….

… and, thus, you
were to find your
way clear to sending
anything in that
you think would
make a good submission,
well, we’d just figure that
was completely out of
the kindness of your
heart, and not because
we made you feel guilty
by transferring all our
doubts and hesitations
about it….

If that had
a snowball’s
chance in hell
of working,
then,
maybe
we’d take
that idea
more
seriously into
consideration, but….

Sure,
guilt is a
powerful
thing.

It would help if I
could find a picture
of me when I was a
kid looking all
doe-eyed
and needy —

but I looked,
and all I found
were pictures of
me looking very
pissed off for one
reason or another.

Ahhhhhh,
sweet memories.

!!! HOY !!!

Our (Their) Navy

Hiya.

There have been
an awful lot of
changes made
since I served
in the United
States Navy ,
and even more
so since World
War II.

But you know,
some things
never seem to
change…

… and that applies
even if you’re talking
about another
country’s Navy
altogether.

The French
Navy, for instance.

One of the oldest
and finest Naval
forces in the world,
the French Marine
Nationale
counts a
number of ‘firsts’
among their achieve-
ments –

The first catamaran
style landing craft,
the first seaplane,
and the first seaplane
carrier, for instance.

Not to mention
the snarkiest slogan –

( all Navies have
certain expressions
that are specific to
them ) –

If a recruit calls a
deck officer
Mon Capitaine“,
he will inevitably
receive the retort :
” In the Navy there
is My God and my
ass, but no
my captain‘! ”

Before WW II,
the French artist
Charles Millot,
a veteran of the
Great War —

( and known in
the postcard world
by his alias Henri
Gervese )

— created a series
of comic postcards
called ” Our Sailors “,
lampooning the
day to day life
of enlisted men
in the French
Navy.

It’s interesting
just how many
parallels a
modern American
Sailor can find
in these….

Ok, so maybe
we didn’t have
the bright red
pom-pom
on our hats…

But the
various
cards in the
series still do
demonstrate
a good deal
of humor about
the military
routines,
traditions,
rituals,
and boondoggles
as they have
and still are
being practiced ;

from:
liberty boats,
seabags,
swabbies,
uniform inspection,
pretentious know-
nothing O-gangers,
to
chow lines,
rack rotations,
marching parties,
polly-wogs,
mid (night) watches,
general quarters,
monotony,
weapons training,
military protocol,
and mail calls.

These cards,
as they appear
today on the post,
are mostly in French..

(although,
of course
it’s easy to see
what’s going on
in them for any
former sons of
Neptune )

but the series
was also issued
in English, and
they were much
appreciated in Britain,
by denizens of the
Royal Navy
particularly.

There were other
series by different
artists on the same
general subject as
well, and we’ll
feature those as
we find ’em.

But, somehow
these cards by
Henri Gervese
sing just the
right chord for
me, and I’m happy
to share them
with you.

.

!! HOY !!

        

The Posters of Jean Carlu

It’s not just
postcards
around the ole
Muscleheaded Blog,
ya know…..

We’re also crazy
over for vintage
poster art-

– especially those
related to La Belle
Époque, Art Deco,
Cubism, and
World War II
subjects.

If it’s got to do
with graphic
design or art,
well, we’re
probably into it.

Today’s topic is
all about what
the French call
‘affiche’ ;

— and specifically,
about one of
their best
and brightest
poster designers –
Jean Carlu.

Born in  1900,
in the Île-de-France
region of Northern
France; in a town
called Bonnières-
sur-Seine, Jean
grew up in a
family of architects –
but decided early
on, while attending
the Ecole de
Beaux-Arts,  that
his interests lay
more in the
printed image –

— and he won his
first professional
job as a poster artist
in a Glycodont
advertising contest.

He was chosen as
“Designer of the Year”
by none other than
the world famous
graphic artist Leonetto
Cappiello himself.

Tragically, that
same day he
lost his right
arm in a traffic
accident-

but he dedicated
himself to relearning
to draw with his left,
and soon he was back
at his easel; and a hint
of that missing hand
would appear in several
of his forthcoming works.

Much of his designs
between 1918
and 1925 were
in the rapidly
evolving Art
Deco style, and as
the decade played out,
he focused more on
encompassing cubism
in his designs.

His posters for theatres
like Pigalle, museums
and attractions like
Aquarium de Monaco
and the 1937 Paris
Exhibition were very
popular ;

– as were the designs
for elite French
wine labels, like
Chateau Mouton
Rothschild in 1924
and adverts for beer
like Spatenbrau.

His poster work
can be considered
in three general
perspectives:

1: Style Art :
Including
Cubism,
Surrealism,
and Art Deco.

2: Innovative Technique :
Including Photo-montage
and Dimensional Layering.

example

3: Propaganda :
Since he had lived
through the devastation
and death of World War
I, he was originally
inclined toward the
European disarmament
movement in the early
1930’s …..

— but as Hitler
geared up for aggression,
Jean Carlu found himself
creating more patriotic
and propaganda art –

including several
posters encouraging
the United States
to render aid to
the Allies, and even
‘increase production’
posters for the American
market …

— and he lived in
the United States
from 1940 to 1953.

After 1953 he returned
to his native France,
and created dozens
more memorable works,
much having to do with
travel, like his posters
for Pan American
World Airlines and
Air France.

He died in the late
1990’s; leaving a rich
legacy of stunning
color and powerful
line in hundreds of
affiche designs
from his 70 year
plus career.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Friday’s Mailbag

Hey Hey
It’s Friday !

Today’s kinda a weird
topic for us around here
at the Muscleheaded Blog
being generally considered
sinners and heathens and all.

Actually, I had to ask
somebody that was
familiar with it-

how this whole thing
worked –

– cause I personally
had never
experienced it.

I went to a parochial
school, and our religious
classes were part of the
daily curriculum.

We went to church on
Sunday, sure, but we
didn’t have to go early
for Bible class, and
until I started to
collect postcards,
I had never heard of
such a thing as a
Sunday School
‘reminder’.

Personally, I don’t
know what would be
worse, since if missed
my classes, that means
I skipped school-

– and we’d have a gruff
old Mother Superior
banging on the front
door of my house PDQ.

Resistance is
futile, sinner.

But for some reason,
these cards seem even
more invasive than that.

Maybe it’s the
guilt-trippy tone –
– the ‘you let us all
down’ kinda thing….

And I’m told that it
was a way of a guy’s
pastor of ratting you
out to your parents
that you had opted to
go fishin’ instead of
draggin yourself to
Sunday School.

My buddy remembers
getting one from his
church – and his sister
was apparently on their
send-one-every-week list.

Funny, she’s the type of
girl who’d be sending
them out now.

Anyhoo…

They were a big
money maker for
the postcard publishers,
and were thought to
really improve the
attendance of the
classes that used them.

There were several
types sold…

one called a “Rally Day card”,
which was used primarily in
New England…

A 1905 book called
“How To Conduct
A Sunday School” explains:

“(Rally Day) is used as a
means of rallying the forces
again for the work of fall
and winter. When a general is
preparing for a battle he is
said to rally his forces.
When a sick person begins
to recover it is said of him
that he his rallying. When a
bookbinder brings together
in one place the different
sections of a book to be
bound into one he is said
to be rallying the book.
All of these phrases may
be applied to the Sunday
school work; we are rallying
our forces for the great
campaign of the fall and
winter.”

Another were
“Attendance Committee”
notices –

– they seem pretty harsh
and demanding in tone,
and were used a lot
in the South, and were
the kind my buddy’s
sister got.

Still others were of the
“Look At How Much
Fun You’re Missing”
theme.

And of course, you
had the more generic
“We noticed you
weren’t there, Sunday” type.

All in all, they seem
anachronistic
and patronizing,
but then again ,
maybe if you grew
up with them, they’d
just be another relic
from the past;

although I’m informed
that some churches are
still using them.

Just think of the postage
they woulda wasted on me.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Plymouth Valiant – 1st Generation – 1960-1962

valiantThe Plymouth Valiant,
built by the Chrysler
Corporation for the
U.S. market between
1960 and 1976, never
received much attention
from critics or auto
fanatics – despite
Road & Track calling
it “… one of the best
all-around domestic cars. “

(not to be confused
with the Australian
made ‘Chrysler Valiant’)

Today’s post deals
with the
“first generation”
of Valiants –
manufactured
from 1960-1962.

Originally planned as
a stand alone brand
and ‘compact car’
competition for the
Rambler, Corvair and
the Volkswagen Beetle,
the first generation
Valiant debuted at the
International Motor Show
in London in 1959 and
introduced a brand new
6 cylinder overhead valve
engine, called the
“Slant 6”, which, in
it’s several versions
(170 c.i. standard,
225 c.i. optional)
earned a reputation as
sturdy, dependable, and
easy to work on; even
after aluminum blocks
(challenging in
several ways)
were made available
(as options) around
1962.

1960 saw
2 body styles
for Valiant –
a four door sedan
and a station wagon,
available with either
2 sets of seats or three.
(The third was rear facing.)

A popular option was the
all-new Torqueflite A-904
automatic transmission,
(with push-button control
on the driver’s panel )
but a 3 speed manual was
standard.

There were several trim
packages available in
the early Valiants,
usually delineated
V-100 and V-200;

— the V-100 a base
trim level with little
ornamentation,

— the V-200 ‘Signet’
as a fully dressed
model with chrome,
stainless steel,
and brite-dipped
aluminum trim.

In 1961, two-door
variations of Valiant
were added to
the line-up –
a hard top and a sedan.

Buyers found the Unibody
construction of the
Valiant created better
handling characteristics-

– this led Chrysler to
release a “Hyper-Pak”,
a tuning package for
upping the performance
so the car could run in
stock car racing; upping
the compression ratio in
the 170 c.i. slant six, &
a single four-barrel carb
adding horsepower
to 148.

The 1962 models
brought certain
cosmetic alterations,
like rounded tail lights,
and a flatter grill,
but the real changes
came by way of mechanical
changes in the alternator,
starter, new gear boxes
and gear ratios, and the
new high-visibility
dashboard – which was
wildly popular .

Next time:

Second generation
– 1963 -1966
Third generation
– 1967 – 1973
Fourth generation
– 1974 – 1976 .

!!! HOY !!!