All the vintage Hallowe'en masks


Brechtbug's Halloween Costumes Vintage Photos collection is a triumph, and arguably what both infinite scroll and the Internet were invented for.

1949 chart shows difference between high- and low-brow taste

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This chart from a 1949 issue of LIFE will help you determine if you are high-brow, upper middle-brow, lower middle-brow, or low-brow. I like wedge iceberg lettuce salad so I am lower middle-brow. (via TWBE)

Paperback cover model Steve Holland: mercenary, cop, crook, and hot nerd

Eric Bradley of Heritage Auctions sent me an item about a paperback cover model from the 1960s and 1970s named Steve Holland.

In the 1970s, if you were an artist who wanted to portray masculinity on a paperback cover, there was only one man to choose as your model: actor Steve Holland. And we almost mean that literally. You can't get away from the guy. Do you like pulp reprints? Holland modeled for both Doc Savage and The Avenger. Do you prefer "Executioner"-style men's adventure vigilantes? Holland was both the Sharpshooter and the Penetrator (among others!). Why would you want to use anyone else than the firm-jawed, deep-set-eyed Steve Holland? The guy just radiated machismo! We can't fault artists for using him again and again, the man is just so darn manly!

As luck would have it, this week's Heritage auction has a 28-book lot of which every single one depicts Holland on the cover. Put on your steeliest glare and click here.

Compilation of 1950s game show opening titles

Matthew says: "[Here's} a video I put together featuring the opening titles for 20 different American game shows of the 1950s. Unfortunately, I was unable to get copies of 50s game shows from other countries. Most of the shows featured in this video were legit, a few of them weren't. Most of these aired live, so expect the occasional technical fault. The episodes excerpted in this video can be viewed in their entirety on the Internet Archive"

Low-cost housing. Saint Louis, Mo. 1936

From Shorpy, a photo taken in March 1936. "Low-cost housing. Saint Louis, Mo." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration.

Highly-desirable stuff from 1976 issue of Boys Life

I'll take one of everything, please. See Big. (Via Suddenly, Flaming Turkey Wings)

1915 photo of newsboys in Los Angeles

May 1915. "Nine-year-old newsie and his 7-year-old brother 'Red.' Tough specimen of Los Angeles newsboys." Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine. -- Shorpy

Front Page Detective cover: "LSD, A New Religion"

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What an utterly fantastic cover for the July 1967 issue of Front Page Detective magazine, up for auction on eBay.

True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969 (Gallery)

Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson have lovingly compiled a picture book about crime magazines from the mid-20th century called True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969. It's loaded with exceedingly lurid, attention-grabbing magazine covers and illustrations.

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the “Dickbooks,” referring to a popular slang term for a detective.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however. When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the “detectives” turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts, and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Cover lines shouted “I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,” “Sex Habits of Women Killers,” “Bride of Sin!,” “She Played Me for a Sucker,” and most succinctly, “Bad Woman.”

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime and punishment over five decades. With texts by magazine collector Eric Godtland, George Hagenauer and True Detective editor Marc Gerald, True Crime Detective Magazines is an informative and entertaining look at one of the strangest publishing niches of all time.

See more images

Kitten being carried on back of doll (1914)

Photo by Harry W. Frees.

Vikki "The Back" Dougan - 1950s It Girl

In the 1950's Vikki Dougan appeared on the cover of Life, on countless LP sleeves, in the pages of Playboy, and in magazine ads for grooming products. Deanna of Kitsch-Slapped, who posted a ton of photos and a bio about Dougan says, "you may not recognize her from the front, but you likely recognize her backside — hence her nickname, 'The Back.'"

Looking Back At Vikki “The Back” Dougan (A Biography)

Vintage vinegar valentines: mass-produced insult cards

Valelelel"Vinegar valentines" are insult greeting cards popular in the 19th and early 20th century. Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix shares a fine selection of these snarky missives. "Happy Valentine’s Day, I Hate You"

The history of how-to

A tour of old technology user manuals. Highlight: A Volkswagen repair guide that urges you to bond spiritually with your vehicle.

Kinetic energy, as illustrated by Disney

This is the difference between low kinetic energy (top) and high kinetic energy (bottom), as illustrated in the 1956 Disney book Our Friend the Atom. It may be useful in visualizing some of the ideas presented in my recent feature on space radiation.

From Fresh Photons, a fantastic blog chock full of science pictures.

Via David Ng

The best weird and wonderful Christmas videos you ever did see!

It's Christmastime, and if there's anything that can unite a nation, even one that doesn't universally love the holidays, it's a collection of wonderfully weird vintage Christmas videos. And even if you don't like the holidays, you'll probably still enjoy these strange (but fun) attempts at whimsy and festivity.

The video is freakish not for the video itself, but for how freakishly progressive it was when it was made -- in 1913!

Read the rest