Buying a Commodore Amiga 30 years later, just to play games

Thirty years after its mostly-European heydey, the Commodore Amiga remains a cult favorite with a huge library of excellent and often weird games to discover. But what if emulation isn't your idea of fun? This guy went out and bought a real one.

The Amiga still has an active and faithful community, and it's thanks to them that it's possible to pick up an Amiga and get it upgraded and running all these years later. I also think it's a testament to how important the machine was in the UK and around Europe.

If you're looking to learn more about the booming home-brew game scene during 80's Britain then I can highly recommend "From Bedroom to Billions", it's a little low budget but seems to capture the time perfectly.

The follow-up documentary, "From Bedroom to Billions: the Amiga Years" is also a must watch if you have fond memories of the Amiga.

Interesting how buying a later, more powerful model, obliged him to further upgrade it before games were playable. The low-end 512Kb Amigas were invariably put to use as game consoles, booting right into games, the code given bare-metal access. But it seems fancier models more or less obliged users to launch games from the operating system's GUI, Workbench. And there even 2Mb wasn't enough.

If you like Workbench, though, there's a new simulation of it online. Just for fun! "OS 1.3" is the right one for the legendary A500 era. Read the rest

Antique phones lovingly retrofitted with Alexa functionality

Artisan maker Dick Whitney modifies beautiful antique phones to offer Amazon Echo functionality. His goal with the "Alexaphones" and other creations is to "combine classical design and usability with the most salient elements of your modern world." Unlike other spying smart speakers, Alexaphone only listens when you lift the handset. Absolutely stunning work.

• Secure. Alexa can only hear you when the handset is off the receiver; all of the microphones are physically disconnected otherwise, so you’re not depending on a mute button to be trustworthy.

• Speaker Compatible. Each Alexaphone comes with a 1/8" auxiliary out port, so you can connect it to your home speakers.

• The Lights Of The Future. Status LEDs are carefully made visible in a way unique to each phone, striving for minimal disruption of the original aesthetic. Know when your Alexaphone is connected, listening, and more.

• The Sounds Of The Past. On some phones we’ve been able to preserve or rebuild the antique earpiece electronics, so you’ll hear the original voice of the phone.

• Easy Setup. Just plug in the USB power cable and set up with the Alexa app.

• Uncompromised Experience. These works of art function with your Alexa app and any of Alexa’s skills.

Alexaphone (Grain Design, thanks John Park!)

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Designer turned mid-century matchbook covers into gorgeous pro-voting memes

Filmmaker and designer Helen Stickler of Providence, RI has repurposed vintage matchbook propaganda art into swell political memes supporting #VoteBlue, #GOTV, and Democrats.

She writes that she'll be posting them individually on her Facebook page until the midterm election.

I'm particularly sweet on this one:

Thanks, Margot!

Previously: Street artists leave 'Please Clean Up After Your Democracy' signs to encourage voting Read the rest

Popular midcentury CorningWare pattern is back

Is there anyone who isn't familiar with this pattern? I ran estate sales for a while and came across it a lot in the homes I was prepping.

Now, an updated version of CorningWare's Cornflower Blue pattern is back for a limited time.

The Daily Meal:

The dishes are white, with a neat blue floral pattern decorating the center of each container. They were available for 30 years, from the 1950s through the 1980s, and have now returned in an updated pattern that still looks a lot like the look many Americans grew up with.

“First produced in 1958, the iconic blue Cornflower pattern quickly became a staple in American households and for many, the pattern is synonymous with CorningWare and some of their fondest family food memories,” CorningWare said in a statement. “The collection features various-sized baking dishes, generously sized mugs, measuring bowls, a ramekin set, and mixing bowls — all featuring the charming blue flowers that have warmed hearts and homes for generations.”

If you're feeling nostalgic, you can buy this limited-edition retro pattern until 2019 through its parent brand Corelle.

photo by goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento) Read the rest

Pre-internet analog Dash Buttons

Back in the day, before Amazon and even before the internet, dash buttons took physical form in Reddilist, a handy little wall hanging for the kitchen or pantry with tabs for Instant Vi-Tone, Frostade, or Johnson's Glo-Coat. Read the rest

Very short films about very small sculptures made from scraps

Lydia Ricci's From Scraps project repurposes bits of refuse into tiny sculptures of objects that have often fallen out of wide use. She also made some very short films with some of the objects: Read the rest

Grace Jones ominously asks: Do you know where your children are?

In many markets, 20th-century TV stations ran PSAs right before the local evening news reminding parents that they should probably know where their children are. This 1979 gem from Grace Jones may be the best one. Read the rest

Weird and funny vintage photos of the Easter Bunny

Intrepid vernacular photography collector Robert E. Jackson curated a delightful selection of creepy, fun, and funny vintage photos of the Easter Bunny. More at Flashbak.

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Christmas movies from before 1918

Nothing evokes yuletide wonder quite like huddling around a modern Christmas family classic such as Die Hard or Eyes Wide Shut. But did you know that there are christmas movies more than a century old? Keep the holiday flame going through Boxing Day with the Nitrate Diva's pick of ten pre-1918 xmas films. Embedded above is James Williamson's joyous and celebratory 1902 The Little Match Seller, just a few minutes long. Read the rest

Artist turns vintage Louis Vuitton luggage into marvelous Star Wars sculptures

Wow, these Star Wars-inspired sculptures are really mind-blowing.

To make them, artist Gabriel Dishaw of Indianapolis, Indiana marries junk with upcycled 1970s Louis Vuitton luggage.

While the thought of tearing up vintage Vuitton may make some gasp, certainly no one deny the end products are pretty spectacular.

Dishaw was recently featured in the Indy Star about his SW/LV pieces:

One time, while he was vacationing in northern Michigan, a pile of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage in a store called out to Gabriel Dishaw.

He spotted junk-art potential in the suitcases' every detail: the golden emblems that dance across the chocolate background, the zippers, the handles, the drawstring from the dust bag.

So he purchased one, took it apart when he arrived back home in Fishers and began building Darth Vader helmet sculptures. After he posted his progress on Instagram, @gabrieljunkart, people began asking to buy them.

"People were like 'Oh my God, these are my two passions — Louis Vuitton and Star Wars,'" Dishaw said.

He had no idea people who were fans of both brands even existed.

Prices for the pieces start at $2500, though I believe all the ones shown here have already been sold.

Keep tabs on Mr. Dishaw's latest work on his Instagram.

(Bored Panda) Read the rest

Disneyland to offer 'After Dark' events in 2018, starting with a 'Throwback Nite'

Starting on January 18, Disneyland will be offering a series of after-hours events called Disneyland After Dark.

The first one is called "Throwback Nite" and it taps into early Disney nostalgia:

Step back in time to the ‘50s and ‘60s for a taste of the classic after-dark experience at Disneyland. Come dressed in your best to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth under a million twinkling lights, swinging to the tune of the bands and enjoying your favorite rides in the cool moonlight ‘till the clock strikes 1 a.m.!

Original attraction posters of Disneyland experiences from yesteryear welcome you as you commemorate the evening with special photo locations... Live music and dancing bring the bygone era to life throughout the park, and the sky lights up with an exclusive showing of “Fantasy in The Sky” fireworks. Guests will receive a commemorative lanyard and a vintage-inspired park map that will highlight the special experiences taking place throughout the evening.

It sounds to me like a nighttime, sanctioned version of the popular Dapper Day, ie. it sounds like fun!

Tickets go on sale at Disneyland.com to the general public on December 7 and on November 30 for annual passholders of the resort. Read the rest

Watch 'The Dream Called EPCOT' promo video from 1980

Here's a rare historical gem from Walt Disney World's history: the 15-minute long promotional video for Walt's utopian EPCOT Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow).

The Disney Parks Blog writes that they pulled it out of the "video vault" for Epcot's 35th anniversary:

This film, which offers a look inside WED Enterprises during the “Imagineering” of EPCOT Center in the 1970s, originally ran on a loop in the EPCOT Preview Center at Magic Kingdom Park. The purpose of the film was to introduce a new kind of Disney theme park to guests, showcasing exciting experiences they could have in the park’s Future World and World Showcase areas. The film offered sneak peaks at attraction models, renderings and animation for The Living Seas, Horizons, World of Motion, CommuniCore and Spaceship Earth, as well as early construction footage. It also offered a first-listen to some of the fun music composed for this new park, including songs like “It’s Fun to Be Free,” “Universe of Energy” and “Listen to the Land.”

As a bonus, here's the TV opening special for EPCOT which aired on October 23, 1982 (the park opened on October 1st of that year). It's hosted by Danny Kaye:

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The voice actors behind the Peanuts gang (1968)

This is a photo of the voice actors behind some of the animated characters in the Peanuts gang. Notice that all the kid roles are actually voiced by children.

Kristy Sproul of Voice Chasers, a voice-acting forum, writes:

The original image had appeared in the February 10-16, 1968 issue of TV Guide to promote the upcoming Peanuts television special, He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown. While some of the voice actors in that photo originated their characters in the first Peanuts special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, it wasn't the case for all of them.

We were able to get our hands on an original copy of that very issue, featuring the Smothers Brothers on the cover, and were pleased to find it not only included the full staged picture of the cast in the recording studio (with animator Bill Melendez, the voice of Snoopy), but it was also accompanied by a full, two-page spread with a small bio of each of the voice actors in the photo. Coverage on voice actors, especially those that were not celebrities, was extremely rare back in those days.

Unfortunately the voice of Charlie Brown, former child actor Peter Robbins, landed in prison in 2015 after a run-in with the law.

Also, and I'm sure you all know this, the voice of the grownups in Charlie Brown's world was actually the sound of a trombone. Wah, wah.

(Vintage LA)

images via Kristy Sproul of Voice Chasers Read the rest

Crazy-cool vintage Aloha shirt: Tikis wearing Shriner fezzes

Check out this sweet mid-century Aloha shirt. It's got tikis wearing red Shriner fezzes. I bet it would have some stories to tell, if it could.

If you look closely at the fabric, you'll see the acronym of "aaonms." That stands for the "Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine," the official name of the Shriners.

Looking this sharp comes with a price. This particular Hawaiian shirt, size unknown, is selling for $225 at Etsy shop vintagedame. An XXL one goes for $485 at the Hana Shirt Company. They report it is a "Hawaii Shriners Convention" shirt. Read the rest

Terrific longread on the origins of Wham-O

Jake Rossen takes a deep dive into the iconic American novelty toy company Wham-O and its storied history. Read the rest

This rare 1950s typewriter hammers out musical notations, not letters and numbers

Here's something you don't see every day: a typewriter that hammers out musical notations. Made for use with music staff paper, the Keaton Music Typewriter was first patented in 1936 by San Francisco's Robert H. Keaton for use by composers, arrangers, teachers and students.

The original model had just 13 keys but Keaton's second patent for this "music typing machine" was granted in 1953 and included 33 keys.

If you've got a spare $12K, you can pick one of these little beauties up from Etsy shop WorkingTypewriters (back in the 1950s they sold for $225).

The seller writes:

Estimates are that there are less than 20 machines on there, maybe even as few as 6...

The Keaton Music typewriters were produced in two batches, this one stemming from 1953 and has the more elaborate keyboard. They were made with the idea that musicians would be able to quickly and precisely write out their compositions. A typewriter for music. It didn't work as well, typing music is more laborious than typing words and it never really caught on.

Watch the video to get a feel for how challenging this "typewriter for music" is to operate.

Read the rest

Vintage isochrone maps show 19th-century travel times

In the late 19th century, travel times became a thing of fascination as modes of transportation improved by leaps and bounds (e.g., Around the World in 80 Days, published in 1873). Great thinkers of the day like Francis Galton even devised isochrone maps, which showed how long it would take to get from a central point to other points of interest. Read the rest

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