Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brrrriinnng! Retro Crosley Phones on Sale!

I'm a little disheartened by the trend of dumping your land line phone in favor of just having a mobile phone. If more people adopt this trend, then what will become of these fabulous retro Crosley telephones? Don't you want one in your retro abode? I know I sure do. Just look at this beauty.



Crosley has been manufacturing phones, radios, record players, jukeboxes, and other fun things for the home since 1920. The company was founded by radio pioneer Powel Crosley, who is often referred to as "The Henry Ford of Radio."

I found a great selection of Crosley phones on sale until August 1 on OneWayFurniture.com. Although, doing a quick search for the suggested retail prices on Crosley's actual site reveals that some of these "sale" prices are not that different than the suggested ones - however, a lot of these colors are no longer available from Crosley directly. All phones come with modern features wrapped in a shiny nostalgic package. Check out the OneWayFurniture site for all models and prices and let your fingers do some walking!

Monday, July 28, 2008

15 Things You Didn't Know About Everyone's Favorite Neighbor






















He's been parodied and poked fun at as much as he's been idolized, but there's no denying that Mister Rogers is an icon of children's television. Growing up in the 70s, I watched my three favorite PBS shows in this programming order: Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and The Electric Company (remember Rita Moreno belting out "Heeeeeeey yooooooo GUYSSSSSS!!!"?) But I will admit that I didn't appreciate Mr. Rogers as much as I can now as an adult. After a certain age, his show was far too babyish, his patient, dictated banter a bit too slow, and even as a cat lover, listening to a cat puppet say nothing but "Meow meow meow meow meow meow!" became a bit annoying. To be fair, I did nickname my last female feline Henrietta Pussycat.

But then I came across this interesting article on CNN today, "15 Reasons Mr. Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever." I don't want to spoil the best tidbits, so you'll have to click through to the article to be surprised. Fred Rogers rocked. When I was through I thought to myself, "Yes, pal, I would be your neighbor anytime."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thank You For Being Our Friend

I know we all know it by now, but I couldn't let this week go by without posting a tribute to the late Estelle Getty, who passed Tuesday at the age of 84. The Golden Girls was one of my favorite 80s shows and probably one of the last truly funny sitcoms that didn't feature bratty kids or middle aged parents. The show was started to address older television viewers and Ms. Getty's fiesty character Sophia will live on in TV history. RIP, Estelle Getty!

Here's a nice tribute of Sophia's best one-liners:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Separated by a Past Life: Retro Couple #2

I think it's maybe just the eyes, but there's always been something about George Clooney that reminds me of Clark Gable.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's a Wonderful World: Rare Performances of Louis Armstrong Released on DVD

Louis Armstrong is the only singer that I can tell was smiling when he recorded his songs; it simply radiates out from his signature rumbling vocal cords. Now you can also see Satchmo smiling as he sings on Louis Armstrong: Greatest Performances of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's which was released on DVD in May.



The DVD features 17 rare filmed appearances from 1933 to 1963 featuring Armstrong and includes many guest appearance including Bing Crosby, Jackie Gleason, and Gene Krupa. It's selling for $12.99 on Amazon.com.

Take it, Satch!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Movie to Keep You Spellbound! (Well, not really.)

I've been catching up with Hitchcock movies lately, as I previously only had two of his most well-known gems, Psycho and The Birds, under my belt. One that I watched recently and had never heard of is Spellbound, which came out in 1945, starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.



Bergman plays a psychoanalyst at a mental hospital (back then they were known as looney bins.) She's a bit too serious and the male doctors accuse her of being too intellectual and not very expressive. Then one day the new head of the hospital, Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck), arrives and turns out to be surprisingly young and good-looking. He and Constance fall in love. However, Edwardes has his own problems: whenever he sees a white object with black lines on it, he pretty much freaks out. And as Constance soon finds out, Edwardes is not the man he appears to be. He turns out to be suffering from a severe case of amnesia.

Let's stop right here. Someone with a mistaken identity gets the boss job. The boss develops a romantic relationship with one of his subordinates. Only in Holly-oh, wait, never mind. It happens today, too.

Anyways, with the use of dream analysis Bergman and Peck set out to unravel his personal mystery. Can I just say that Gregory Peck sure was a hottie? I guess I'm so used to seeing the older side of Peck in movies like Moby Dick that I was unaware of what a pretty boy (man) he was when he was really young. Hottie alert!





There are some really unintentionally funny scenes in the movie, a victim of Hollywood's idea of effective film making at the time. The first is when Peck and Bergman kiss for the first time; Hitchcock shows a close-up shot of her face, and then his face, and then a close-up shot of her lips, and then his lips, and then when they zero in on each other to play sucky face we see a series of doors opening. Ah yes, my love! Your kiss has opened up all of the doors for me! And of course, the music swells to an eardrum popping level during this erotic moment. Actually, it swells all throughout the film - if they gave out Oscars for "Most Overused Examples of Unnecessary Background Music", Spellbound would be a shoe-in. If you closed your eyes, you'd still know when an intense moment was taking place.

Then there's the pivotal skiing scene that takes place towards the end of the movie. This past winter, I tried both downhill and cross country for the first time. Peck and Bergman are clearly doing downhill, as they hike alone to the top of a mountain (some ski resort. Where's the gondolas? And they're the only two up there!) But wait, as they make their descent they lean forward and zoom cross country style in a straight line down the mountain. And of course, we see the quintessential, "realistic" movie making technique of putting actors in front of a blue screen while a fake background scrolls behind them. Faster and faster Peck and Bergman go down the mountain, all the while perfectly parallel with each other, and standing straight up despite the fact they must be going 85 MPH. It's here where Peck has his memory jogged; as a child, he accidently killed his little brother while sliding down some stairs and pushing him into spiked railings.

Then his memory completely returns; it's a miracle! He remembers that his name is John Ballentine (rhymes with Valentine), and for a brief while the lovers are happy. But then Ballentine is arrested for murder.

If Hitchcock had ended the movie here, I would've been satisfied. Why? It's more realistic that way - good-looking guys who are too good to be true usually ARE too good to be true in real life. Life doesn't always work out the way we'd like it to. You don't always get the boyfriend that you want. Tough break, sister. But of course, this is Hollywood. Hitchcock had to go and ruin it for me with a twist and tack on a happy ending.

One of the more interesting scenes in the movie was the dream sequence conceived by surreal artist Salvidore Dali. It's typical Dali, with walls made out of eyes (creepy), a man with his face covered up, and a giant flying bird. Dali's scenes originally ran 20 minutes long but producer David Selznick hated most of his ideas and cut them down to five minutes or so.

Spellbound did keep me spellbound, though - with some of its badness. Proof that Hitchcock's best days were clearly still to come.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mad for Ad Age's Mad Men Ad

The June 23, 2008 issue of Advertising Age has this really cool section on the back that's all one long advertisement for the cable show "Mad Men", disguised as a vintage 1960 issue of the magazine. I thought it was well executed, and you can view all of the pages here. You can see how much (or how little) it cost to buy groceries and other necessities in 1960, read headlines that tout how well the automobile industry is doing, and look at some vintage ads. Oh, the good ol' days.



Not having cable I haven't seen the series "Mad Men" yet but will try to check out a few episodes on DVD. The clothes alone - especially seeing men in suits - is enough of a draw for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Go Retro Video of the Day: Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)

Yah, gotta love those big band swing jams. If this song doesn't make you want to get up and dance you need a soul transplant. I agree with the poster who says this is the best version of the song available of YouTube. It's a nice pictorial tribue to Benny Goodman and his orchestra as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Separated by a Past Life: Retro Couple #1

This is the first in what I hope is a recurring new feature on Go Retro: the retro separated at birth (or separated by a past life) couple. I'll be pairing up a famous person of today with their retro lookalike. Believe me, I've found quite a few couples. This is gonna be fun!

So here is the first. I was watching PBS' old Anne of Green Gables series from the 1980s when it suddenly occured to me that Anne Shirley looked remarkably like Clay Aiken! Big bro and little sis...or maybe Clay wants to play Anne next after his Spamalot gig is over. He's been growing his hair long enough to braid.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hydrox Redux

In 1964, Sunshine thought their Hydrox cookies were good enough to be served on a silver platter...



Pop Quiz time! What is the name of the original cream and chocolate sandwich cookie? If you said Oreos, you're WRONG-O!

Hydrox cookies - yep, the correct answer - are set to return to grocery store shelves by the end of August for a limited time. This year marks the 100th anniversary since they were invented. It took more than 1,300 telephone inquiries, 1,000 petition signatures and countless online board postings to entice Kellogg to bring them back.

The Hydrox story is a bit sad in that its thunder was stolen by a competitor who eventually convinced the public that their version was better. The whole saga is a little involved (you can read all the details if you like on this Hydrox tribute site), but the gist of it is that Hydrox cookies were created in 1908 and sold under the Sunshine company. Nabisco, a much larger company, developed their Oreo cookie in 1912. Hydrox eventually lost market share and fell out of favor due to Oreo's popularity. Many fans were sad to see Hydrox discontinued. They're said to be larger and better tasting than Oreos.

I've pulled some vintage Hydrox ads from the tribute site, circa 1951, 1957, and 1972 respectively:



I didn't know that Alfalfa was a child model!



And this boy with his sleeping bag and Sunshine goodies...I doubt we'd see that ad run today, with child obesity being such a major problem in today's society. Not that Mr. Sunshine himself and his 50 inch waistline cares. Chips Ahoy, potato chips, HiHos, Krispy crackers, and Hydrox...part of a complete, nutritious pajama party breakfast!



By the way, Kellogg's is running a contest for Hydrox fans. You can submit an essay to the new Hydrox site and win one of three prizes including a trip to NYC.

Now I don't know about the taste, but as a marketing person I firmly believe that Hydrox was a victim of an unfortunate brand name. Oreo for a cookie name is much more pleasing to the ears than Hydrox is. Who come up with the unfortunate name Hydrox? Sounds like Botox...or like something you'd use to clean your bathtub or toliet. "Who, who, who, who's that kid with the Hydrox cookie" does not a good memorable commercial jingle make.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kellogg's Vintage Items....They're GRRRREAT!

I was in Northampton, MA over the fourth of July weekend, visiting one of my favorite stores in the area called Faces. I picked up some cute vintage Kellogg's cereal bowls and mugs on sale featuring their iconic Corn Flakes rooster.



So I did an online search to see if there were any other kitchen items that might match them and much to my delight, the Kellogg's Store is full of retro kitchen accessories and collectables. There are lots of items that feature my little red rooster, as well as plates, bowls, and mugs covered with vintage cereal box designs. There's also a Kellogg's cookbook of over 200 classic recipes using Kellogg's products, some dating back to the 1920s, and figures of vintage characters, such as Tony the Tiger:





I like these cool things better than most flavors of Kellogg's cereal. Check out more items at the Kellogg's Online Store.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Go Retro's Retro Hottie of the Month: James Cagney!

Just to clarify, James Cagney, admitedly, doesn't do much for me. However, I'm picking him as the Retro Hottie of the Month in honor of my cousin, Cheryl. Family rumor has it as a teenager, Cheryl kept a huge - nearly lifesize - poster of Cagney from Yankee Doodle Dandy in her room. She had a thing, apparently, for guys who shove grapefruit in their girlfriends' faces. This one's for her! And to all of you good little Yankee Doodle boys and girls out there, I hope you have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday and that you don't play with any explosives. GoRetroGirl has been on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N this week but I promise to return next week with more retro posts and goodness!

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