Scott sez, "Spotted in the January 1898 issue of The Nickell -- a poignant advertisement filled with nostalgia not just for the late 19th century -- but for the early 19th century as well.
In a half-page ad for the Graphophone, which appears to be the next step forward after Thomas Edison's phonograph, an old man listens to 'the most marvellous instrument of our age' and wistfully declares -- 'They didn't have anything like this when I was young.'
I can imagine the old guy getting all misty-eyed. I must admit I got a little misty-eyed myself."
Poignant 1898 magazine ad touts “the most marvellous instrument of our age”
Zack writes, "Ever wanted to turn your house into Pee Wee's Playhouse? Well, here's the closest you'll ever get -- a fan is selling the remnants of a J.C. Penney's department store display from the short-lived Pee Wee clothing line that includes a life-sized Chairy, an almost-life-sized Pee Wee, and cardboard panels recreating the look of the playhouse and Pee Wee's friends." The bidding's at $975 at the time of writing.
It's amazing how well those old Pee-Wee's Playhouse videos stand up. I've been re-watching the DVDs with my nearly-six-year-old this month and we're both really enjoying them. Alas, the DVDs have gone through the roof: $1400 for the boxed set (!), seasons 1-2 for $63 -- though the seasons 3-5 set is only $12.24.
Large oversized JC Penny store Display PEE WEE HERMAN 1980's I Might Ship
These "game-scented" soaps shaped like SNES cartridges are £13, available for pre-order now for 2014 delivery. They come in a replica dust-cover, are suitable for (dirty) vegans, and celebrate the following games: Donkey Kong Country; Street Fighter II Turbo; Super Mario Kart; and
The Legend of Zelda.
Super Nintendo Gamer Soap Cartridges
(via Geeks Are Sexy)
The current contest at the Vintage Ads LiveJournal Group is "Creepy Kids" and there's some pretty amazing entries. Shown here, the always-reliable noluck-boston's 1953 Van Camp's Pork and Beans ad.
The Internet Archive has a marvellous trove of scanned work from Warren Publishing, the maverick house behind such classic magazines as Creepy. The introduction of the Comics Code, following Fredeic Wertham's scientific fraud purporting to show a link between comics and crime, gutted comics for half a century. But Warren Publishing avoided the Comics Code altogether by changing formats and publishing as a magazine, bringing us such classics as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Eerie, and Help! magazine (which employed Gloria Steinem!). Here's the Wikipedia summary of Warren's amazing run:
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Zack writes, "In 1957, Nevil Shute's classic anti-nuclear-war novel On The Beach was published -- and the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) put out a heavily-condensed adaptation with art by Ralph Lane that ran in 29 comic strips distributed to newspapers. All 29 strips are collected here -- I found these through a link in an eBay auction that is selling original art to 21 of the 29 strips."
This is one of those novels that brings me to tears no matter how many times I read it -- a powerful and moving piece of minatory fiction that really does the heavy lifting of science fiction with utter brilliance. The comic strip carries some of that freight (as does the 1959 classic film with Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck), but the novel really is the best version by far.
On The Beach
The 1931 Max Fleischer cartoon Bimbo's Initiation is a miracle of awesome, fleischerian weirdness. It's the last Betty Boop cartoon that was personally animated by her creator, Grim Natwick. It's so delightfully bizarre (Leonard Maltin called it "the 'darkest of all" of Fleischer's work), and the perfect way to end the weekend.
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Steve Vistaunet's Pinterest is a treasure-trove of photos of exuberant cassette spine designs from the gilded age of the mix-tape, ranging from the hand-drawn to early desktop publishing experiments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (via Kadrey)
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Henry's Hamburgers ruled in the 50s-70s but today only one store remains. Hard to believe that a burger chain that makes you smile like that isn't a thriving concern!
Billy sez, "As far as we know THE WIGGLE MUCH comic strip ran from March 20, 1910 to June 19, 1910 in THE NEW YORK HERALD newspaper. It laid buried in time until it was partially republished in Dan Nadel's ART OUT OF TIME book in 2006. This website, comprised of microfilm scans of THE NEW YORK HERALD, is the first time most of these WIGGLE MUCH strips have been printed in a large format since their original newspaper publication over a century ago. The entire series has never appeared on the open Internet before.
The Wiggle Much
Back in 2009, Dark Roasted Blend rounded up a truly wonderful gallery of ancient, hulking computers, called The Cutting Edge of Retro Tech . Given that retro-tech only gets finer with age, it's fitting to link to it now, especially given this magnificent beast, identified as the 1968 Control Center of the JINR's (Joint Institute of Nuclear Research) synchrophasotron in Dubna, Russia. Hotcha, that is some sweet-ass control panel design
The Writer is a 240-year-old automaton in the form of a boy; created by a Swiss clockmaker, he has about 6,000 parts and is programmable. By loading stacks of metal cards, the Writer could be coaxed into writing different letters with a pen that it dipped into an inkwell; the cards also specified the pressure of the pen. The BBC Four documentary Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams produced this beautiful video of the Writer in motion, narrated by Simon Schaffer.
This 9 lb, 1-foot-diameter "multi tool" was designed as a calling card by the F.W. Holler Company of Solingen, Germany, who were seeking to make a name for German knife manufacturers in Solingen (who had a centuries-long reputation for knifemaking) among the emerging market for Swiss Army Knives. It has 100 "blades," including a .22 revolver. And a straight razor.
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In this episode of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, there's an absolutely delightful history of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion (MP3). The hosts explain how the company wrangled and wrangled for more than a decade, trying to find the right design for a Disneyland haunted house, and how the project that emerged is the synthesis of three warring styles that converged brilliantly.
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I've always been a sucker for MAD Magazine's anthologies; those fat, floppy-covered book that collected together thematically linked comics from the magazine's history. They were the perfect blend of humor and mystery (when I was nine years old, I was convinced "Spiro Agnew" was some kind of TV clown).
MAD anthologies have grown up with their audience. The latest one, Inside MAD: The "Usual Gang of Idiots" Pick Their Favorite MAD Spoofs, is a gorgeous hardcover that's definitely aimed at adults who fondly remember those old paperbacks.
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