Thursday, November 29, 2007

IF: International Fashions

Worn proudly by pimps everywhere -- in the 70's.

For more retro fashion-for-men goodies, see Fashion ads from Ebony Magazine, 1970 - '76.

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Move Your Boogie Body

Judi Sheppard Misset & friends Jazzercise to "Move your Boogie Body" by the Bar-Kays.

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The Slippers That Got Away

They lured me in, with their sweet kitschy goodness...

And the $95 price tag meant all I could get was these photos.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Snotty French Tricks

The French are always up to something... Like this vintage hanky which has "Pour Le Rouge De Vos Levres" printed on it.

Pour Le Rouge De Vos Levres means, "For The Red Of Your Lips."

Yeah, put your lips to what I blew out of my nose here. No, no, it's fine. Would this sweet little kitten fool you?

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No Bull

In a world without men we may be free of the bull shit -- but who will lead the cows?

Photo by Corey Arnold.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Vintage Dancing Bear

Someone didn't read the fine print closely on that promotional flyer. Me? I'd have had a swell time.

And seen a possible future career.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Children of the Atomic Age

This week's Craft-Scan Friday is the bedroom of the kids of a 1950s rocket scientist -- no Beatles or football or Vietnam here. We're looking to the skies and the future!

The english-mangling caption reads:

In-orbit room for boy has atomic motifs on bedspread, rug with radiant northern lights, sleek tables. String circle, the pillows symbolize sun, moon, and earth. Plane, balloon, show the progress of flight. Setting is by Irma Bolley.

Irma Bolley, it appears, affected a generation with her string art, so it's no surprise she reproduced, as funky string art, something Dave Bowman saw in his descent into spaciness. While she did her best to interpret what a sky-obsessed kid would like, it's obviously what a kid would get if his grandma designed his bedroom using a handful of random space terms pulled from a hat. It even goes so far as to assume some important facts. For example, from the diorama, we can assume that kids who idolize astronauts drink Coca-Cola, eat uncut raw tomatoes, and snack on Shake-n-Bake pork chops. They enjoy the letter M, globes, chess, and Montgolfier. They will appreciate the opportunity to tell their friends that their afghan is decorated with an atomic diagram of beryllium. A truly geeky kid can understand the planetary symbolism depicted on the pillows, and will snort loudly while mocking less-nerdy kids who don't get it. Personally, I think the shag rug might actually be rather enjoyable, lying on my stomach with my nose an inch from that 12" black-and-white TV, even though the 'northern lights' symbolism is invisible even to my tolerant eye.

The amount of media in the room is a nice forward-looking touch, though. Not only is the space-faring child a TV watcher, they're a radio-listener and a record-player-player. Bolley also took the time to make rudimentally-accurate wooden model of the X-15, complete with external fuel tanks, to hang in the room. I admit, without a note on another page I probably wouldn't have recognized it as a real plane, but in comparison they did an adequate job of representing it. The abacus on the wall is nicely geeky, but it was probably as foreign to a kid of the 60s as a slide rule is to a kid today; although, I'd wager that once this kid reached his teenage years, having a counting/adding machine mounted above his couch-cum-bed would lead to knowing looks and innuendo. Having that, his friends might even overlook the creepy string art.

(source: McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1968-69)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

I Love The... Crusty Artist

My new favorite crusty artist is Timothy Ray. I met Timothy at the NMVA's Art Burn on Saturday and yet it wasn't until I read more about him that I discovered his inner-true-crusty-artist self.

Timothy Ray on the Herd About The Prairie buffalo event:
On the one hand, this project has been repeated so often with so little variation, that one cannot be blamed for saying “Oh, no. Not again” On the other hand, these projects are enormously popular, easily out-drawing even the most important museum exhibitions. So even though it is corny, trite, and represents a feeble effort to raise cliché to the level of kitsch, one must participate. Otherwise, if one simply opts out, he doesn’t get to make these statements.
Which I find really amusing -- mainly because I didn't dare utter such a thing when our daughter, Allie, had a part in painting a buffalo. Mommy-work collides with my true aesthetic response. It's not that I don't find her work or the other artistic bison messages interesting, or even non-art; I support the arts (nearly) as much as I support my kids. But damn if Ray doesn't speak the truth of such events & 'opportunities.'

From his Studio Crawl note we glean more about Ray's views on art:
If you're looking for ducks, cute children or fall landscapes, try someplace else. There is lots of that out there.

Oh, he's so damn wise. He describes the reason why I avoid many art shows. I've got cute kids at home. I collect ducks. Fall happens for many months -- every year. With art, I want something new. Something... else.

It can't be wrong to covet an artist's work for his personal crusty-factor; it's like the living artist's statement.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Crazy Cat Cutouts

I found this classy ad in the February 1959 issue of Home Craftsman -- get yourself 110 different jigsaw patterns:
Have Fun - Make Money selling these amazing NEW UNUSUAL Novelties, Gifts, Lawn Figures...Animals, Bar Implements, Door Markers, Plaques, Wall Shelves, etc. Easy...Trace, saw out, and paint. $1 brings you these EXCITING and DIFFERENT 110 fill size BIG patterns. Order now!
When they say UNUSUAL, EXCITING, and DIFFERENT -- they mean it, if the rest are anything like their best examples from the ad. Stepping away from the cute and homey patterns that usually came in jigsaw pattern books , these are right out of Mad Magazine: A wacky buck-toothed cat, tongue lolling out, saliva splattering off it? Was this supposed to be for Grandma to put up in her garden, or Mom to hang over the kitchen sink? It has a very grubby, loose style associated with underground comics (or "comix" if you're not a square like me). There's something very familiar about these two examples, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Is there anything remotely cute or endearing about this duck? He's got some headband with leaves or feathers in it, leaning forward menacingly...and I like him. These two examples have some life to them, something that separates them from the generic style in most ads. They're not sweet, they're not traditional -- they're art. It's too bad the illustrator isn't named in the ad: the address for this "Trans Plans" company isn't some fancy office building -- according to Google Maps it's a residential area in Yonkers, sandwiched between Lincoln High, Yonkers Raceway, and Hillview Reservoir. It'd be easy to make a joke about drawing crazy comics while living in mom's basement, but, well, that's where some of the best comics came from.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

How the 1950s Saw Themselves

In 1958, RCA Camden released "Hits of the '50s", just 1/5 short of the actual decade's end. Not that they were missing much -- the hits for the rest of the decade echoed what's on this record: light popular music, with just a touch of rock-and-roll. This is a 'cover' album in the traditional sense, new versions of popular music performed by B-list musicians rather than the one who popularized the song. The Honeydreamers, Connie Haines, Dave Martin and the Strollers, they had names outside of this album, and are a step above a studio band. The songs are actually pretty good: Peter Ricardo's version of the Banana Boat Song takes from the Tarrier's version, and is a bouncy alternative to the rather somber Bellafonte version.

However, the cover is excellent:

That space helmet kicks ass -- remember, in 1958, sending a person into space was still a sci-fi fantasy. Once we started popping people out of our atmosphere, space helmets stopped looking like this one, opting for a more stark, aviation style.

The antenna on top is a classy Googie, Jetsons thing -- with radio and television dominating the world, everything in The Future would need an antenna, even your head (they were actually pretty close). Back in the fifties, though, putting airtight plastic over a kid's head was preparation for their spacefaring futures -- their flying cars were only a few years away. Until then, though, Dad dons his porkpie hat, mom wears her opera gloves, everyone hops into the Volkswagen to drive it to the farthest star. Make sure the canvas roof is closed, though. That cloth sunroof, incidentally, warranted a credit on the back of the cover: Volkswagen Sunroof supplied by Fifth Avenue Motors, New York City. The photographer's name, the models' names? Nowhere to be found.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

When Clowns Scare The Snot Out Of People

I wouldn't have the nerve to bring a clown towards my face -- I usually shield myself from them because they scare the snot out of me. Which, in theory, means a clown hanky would hold, literally, a certain sense of poetic justice, right? But this one has "moveable bead eyes", which means it would be looking at me -- able to make eye contact even! :shudder:

Not to mention the pains of the whole nostril-to-eye dealio.

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Susy (Is) Wong

From a 1962 Today's Woman Christmas Ideas magazine (page 142) comes this Susy Wong Doll pattern:

'Cuz nothin' says, "Merry Christmas, female children!" like your very own handmade brothel doll.

The World of Suzie Wong, by Richard Mason, was published in 1957 and the Paramount film (starring William Holden & Nancy Kwan) was released in 1960. (My copy of the book, shown here, is a 1960 paperback printing whoring the movie.)

Hard to even imagine that Fawcett Publications could be ignorant to the connection...

Going from Suzie to Susy won't make a Wong right.

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Too Excited

I'm listing in the store, and as per the usual I get all excited over the junk inventory.

It doesn't matter what it is really, but I have to stop and enjoy it while listing it. I rationalize that buyers want to know all about it, but really it's just because I love stuff.

When playing What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls I coincidentally drew the heart-shaped personality card shown here. It reads:
You get too excited
Bad for: Surgeon, Lawyer and Astronaut
Yeah, well, I don't want to be any of those things anyway. I don't want to be anything which has a threshold of 'too excited.'

But the reason I'm telling all of you this is that the posts might just be coming all fast-and-furious like. Just one vintage magazine could keep me here for 24 hours -- and maybe you too, huh.

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Plug In And Turn On To... Flavored Candles

This Hollywood Fudge Candle, © 1971, made by Control Tower, Hollywood, Calif. is a brown candle on wooden sticks with a paper label to further enhance the frozen-treat look.

Packaging reads:
Artificially Colored, Scented, Quiescently Poured Candles

Ingredients: Artificial flavoring (except banana and root beer) a variety of flickering, far out, absurd flavors.
More proof that the 70's were a confusing time - a fudge flavored candle? And nowhere does it say that this candle should not be ingested. Nor does it state that you ought not put the lighted candle in your lap...

I guess that's why ControlTower is no longer around. Even with such a cool tag line as "Plug In And Turn On To Bright Ideas" (What?! No, "man" at the end of that?)

The 70's were indeed a kinder, gentler time. I guess with all the drugs, no lawyers were really needed.

But still, with all the far out drugs, should flavor-tempting home decor be left near guests with munchies?

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pageant Dolls

Barbies depicting all the pageantry of um, pageants -- from fabulous exotic locations, like Kyrgyzstan & Nebraska.

Amazing how many are blonde, huh.

NiniMomo says, "Barbie® dolls are the copyrighted works of Mattel, Inc. They are being recostumed, republished, and sold in this instance only with the express written permission of Mattel." I guess that explains the boxes.

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Baby's Bottle Of Doom

Baikinange brings us this gem for the Save The Baby files:

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Future Hauntings

When at the Trash or Treasure event for CQ, students from Studio One guilted me into an interview which has now been posted.

In it you get to see more of me than I'd like. Not only do I discuss that ugly little sad folk art piece and my boudoir chair, but I threaten my children -- publicly:
"I keep telling my kids if they get rid of my stuff when I die, I will haunt them. So they are not allowed to get rid of it."
So I guess if I haunt them, I'd legally be without a leg to stand on. And, if the chair is one of the items they get rid of, I won't even be able to sit on that. But I don't suppose either of those things matter to ghosts.

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Where Disney Goes, Smileys Always Follow

Together, forever.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Slow Moving Mondays

And don't you just wish your boss would modify your workload.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Practical Polly's Wonder Woman Sweater

OK, I've mocked enough string-crafts, so I have to point out something completely awesome -- like this knitted jumper from Practical Polly, done up Wonder-Woman style! If only there were more sweaters knitted in superhero styles, kids might put up with the itchy, uncomfortable clothes. Unless it was Aquaman...that'd be doubly sucky (I had aquaman underoos, which was the start of my downfall). But a batgirl mask (you know, like the one from Ghost World?) - that would totally collapse the universe in a black whole of awsomeness...wholly farking woot, they've got those, too! (bonus points: space invaders sweater)

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Craft-Scan Friday: Talk To The Zombies

This week's Craft-Scan Friday looks innocent, but that's what they want you to think.

A young lady keeps her squirrel-chow in a frog's-head macrame bag. What's so wrong with that? Of course she's going to be wandering the woods like a sweater-wearing Snow White, singing to lure woodland creatures close enough to taste her wares. Not so:

This, it turns out, is a formerly-deceased squirrel. Now, I've seen my share of deceased squirrels, and none climbed trees. No, this formerly-deceased squirrel is now un-deceased, his paws bent and battered, his ears crushed from years in his crypt, his backbone bent in an uncomfortable pose -- now a minion of the walking dead, stalking the forests in search of tasty, tasty squirrel brains.

There IS the possibility that's the food in the girl's hand is zombie- squirrel- chow, spooned from the finest squirrel's skulls. This would make the girl their friend, not foe: Snow Sweater, Friend of the Zombies; her soleful tune (the only lyric: "brains") causes zombie critters to line up behind her, following her to a hazily-lit clearing where they'll sway to the music and await their handful of cerebral matter. It'd be cute, if it wasn't so terribly, terribly unholy.

In reality, I'm sure the photo was taken on a fall day, taxidermied squirrel wired to the tree, with this phrase repeated over and over "act like you're feeding the squirrel, honey, hold the nuts by its mouth, a little lower, you're feeding him, honey, pretend you're feeding him..." They theory was, of course, that a girl talking to a dead squirrel would sell latchhook kits of owls in love and needlepoint ladybug sunglasses cases (yes, that's what the tiny thing at the bottom is), because, hey, if it looks like we know what a real animal looks like, our cartoony animals will be more valuable. "Buy our latchhook, I've seen a squirrel!"

When it comes to dead things, however, times were different in the 1970s. Dead bodies were often used as marketing materials. This put numerous zombies out of work, no doubt, who almost certainly echoed the sentiment of the string-art mouse pictured on the right-side of the image:

Unfair indeed.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something Fishy I Can Blame On The Simpsons

I just discovered The Fish Police. First the comic book was news to me.

Now I discover I missed the animated TV series.

Adapted to the cartoon format in 1992 as an attempt by CBS to compete with the success of The Simpsons by creating cartoons adults in the prime time evening slot, starring a wonderful cast:

* John Ritter as Inspector Gill
* Hector Elizondo as Don Calamari
* Edward Asner as Chief Abalone
* Jonathan Winters as Mayor Cod
* Tim Curry as The Sharkster
* Robert Guillaume as Detective Catfish
* Buddy Hacket as Crabby
* Megan Mullally as Pearl
* JoBeth Williams as Angel
* Frank Welker as Mussels Marinara/Doc Croaker
* Georgia Brown as Goldie
* Charlie Schlatter as Tadpole

But the series was very short-lived. According to Toonopedia:
Despite the star-studded cast, Fish Police failed to reel in viewers. Six episodes were produced, but the plug got pulled after only three had been aired. The rest appeared only in a few overseas markets.
Another reason to hate The Simpsons. Sure, if it weren't for them, maybe Fish Police the TV series wouldn't have been made; but the too-high rating expectations CBS had was unrealistic for a new show. (And don't get me started on how few episodes shows get before they are cancelled -- it drives me nuts.) Plus I just don't like the Simpsons.

Guess what collection-obsession's on my horizon?

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Lady, Lady, Lady: It's All For You

Hearkening back to a time when a show was a show and a broad was a broad, LADY, LADY, LADY: "It's All For You" is a high-octane homage to the female-fronted music-variety television specials of the 1960s. Three unique lady vocalists, Yana Chupenko, Angela DiCarlo and Lizzy Yoder, are the Valkyries at the center of the storm, and will present a combination of original songs and old favorites, with comic transitions, glamorous costume changes and electrifying man dancers. Directed by Adam Dugas, LADY, LADY, LADY is an evening of explosive visual and vocal entertainment that will leave audiences shivering with delight.

November 18, 2007, at The Zipper Factory.

For more info on the the performers and the performance, see

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1977 JCPenny Catalog Could Be Worth A Can Of Crabmeat

On October 12th of this year, Johnny Virgil blogged about his latest archaeological find, a 1977 JC Penny catalog. Here's a snippet:
In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys.

As does your search for chest hair.
Very amusing stuff.

So amusing, in fact, that the post was emailed to friends in one of those forward-flash-fires which was the equivalent of stat counter Viagra. Virgil hopes the increased traffic will win him another award, saying, "And if you have a free second, vote for me over here. I won this once before, and the prize was $50. Now it's a coupon for $25 worth of seafood or something. I should make a sign that says 'I will work for crabmeat.'"

I hope he wins.

Not just because that post is just the stuff we dig here at Kitschy Kitschy Coo, but I've spotted a few others I love. Like this one about an ad for Soloflex. Or, rather, his comments on the model in it:

In fact, I'd be willing to bet you a hundred bucks that if you tried to take it away from her right now you would find yourself waking up in the hospital with no recollection of how you got there.
Hey, Virgil, Kitschy Kitschy Coo's keeping an eye on you.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Creatures From The Kids Bath

Finding living things in the kids' bathroom isn't unusual, so why not work with it?

Officially called Sden, Otto, Rondo Bathroom Accessories, these critters are designed to make personal hygiene fun, and keep the bathroom a bit cleaner.

Each gift boxed set includes two Sden (toothbrush covers), one Otto (floss dispenser), and one Rondo (toothpaste cover).

Found via Tad Too Much Tan For Taupe, where she notes special offers available at Retromodern:
register for Privileges program and you can get the free Alessi Diabolix bottle opener free!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

1970s Dekotora - Crazy-Ass Japanese Semis

In 1975, trucker movies (starting with Truck Yarou) were all the rage in Japan, starting a craze called Dekotora -- putting as much crap on your truck as possible. These photos are from the January 1980 Popular Mechanics magazine:

The Popular Mechanics article does give credit to a series of trucker movies that started in 1975, but doesn't name it. The magazine calls these truckers "members of Japan's Utamaro Kai", crediting the name and origins to Kitagawa Utamaro, an 18th century Japanese arist "who liked to paint women and insects." Hopefully they mean likenesses -- you can only put so much paint on a spider before it gets angry. The trucks are done up in a modernistic style combining the classics with modern crome and power.

Are they still doing decotora to their trucks today? Of course they are!

(Photos credited to Joan Mann; article by Victor Chase and Milton Mann)

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Monday, November 5, 2007

A Documentary Of Their Own

I spotted the news of the Rockford Peaches reunion over at Tom McMahon's blog, but was hoping after the event there would be more news, more photos and perhaps even a site for the latest documentary; but no such luck. Even the Midway Village & Museum Center's exhibit info is rather slim (bummer), but check it out anyway.

The Rockford Peaches, you may recall, were the team in Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own, with the character of Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) loosely based on Dottie Green. And while some, such as former baseball player Doris Sams, say the film was "about 30 percent truth and 70 percent Hollywood," I think you should see if reel life was that different from real life.

If you're a fan of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, go see the official website of the AAGPBL,which sadly has no info on the recent event in Rockford, Illinois, but does give some details on the history of A League of Their Own.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Cheeto-tinis, Anyone?

Britney & her Cheeto-tini is just one of Doodle Whore's creations.

Found via SpreeMail.

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Happiness Is A Mean Charles Schultz Mash-Up

Ever since I wrote about my dislike of Peanuts, I've been thinking of -- and searching for -- Happiness Is A Warm Puppy.

My sister had this book when we were young girls. At one point, likely during a family car trip when we were suffering from some sibling-induced variant of road-rage, a page was ripped. Not out of the book, but clean in half -- horizontally, so that the page remained securely bound. Soon we discovered that with the way the book was designed, we could do this with all the pages, therefore mix & matching characters' bodies -- and the text on the pages. It was like a very primitive mash-up.

That was the one true joy Charles Schultz brought me.

Like Schultz said, "Happiness is one thing to one person and another thing to another person."

I've had no luck finding the book, and given my uncanny ability to visualize the last place I've seen something, I fear it was pitched long ago.

But right now, I'm craving that book.

Perhaps I'll need to buy a copy, tear the pages, and present it to my sister at one of the many family holiday gatherings. We'll share a memory. And more than one giggle.

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Craft-Scan Friday: Got Your Ears On, Good Buddy?

Don't let its resemblance to a CB radio fool you -- this is NOT an actual radio, nor is it a CB radio cozy (as the wifey first assumed). This is an imposter CB radio straight out of the 1970s, when knitters turned to the citizen-band world by storm, filling the airwaves with their purls of wisdom.

This plastic-canvas needlepoint project, probably intended towards kids and their interests, is actually a "handy catch-all" box. So, as Grandma browsed this month's copy of McCall's Needlework and Crafts, she'd run across this ad and have an epiphany: "Billy loves CB radio -- this kit is the perfect birthday gift!" Billy's eyes will widen upon tearing away the giftwrap, and all other toys -- the Stretch Armstrongs, the Creepy Crawlers -- will be tossed aside in preference of the fabric-and-plastic faux CB radio. Well, mostly because he knows mom will never look for his pot inside the CB radio. It's the perfect cover!

Knitting Corners must've sold a brazillian of these, because they're still around -- no website to speak of, but they're listed as a knitting source in the same address, no less! We're tempted to order one, not because we need a place to hide our pot, but because we're tired of the static we get on our CB radio. According to this ad, the perfect solution to squelching static is to remove the radio altogether. How handy!

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Some Like It Kitsch

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Snot Funny

Is it just me, or is the idea of blowing your nose on a snail yucky?

Naturally I have no problem blowing my nose on children. How many times have children -- not even just my own children -- covered me in their snot?

Meh. It's the circle of life.

(If those are, in fact, children -- they look like lawn gnomes come to life; hence their fear of garden snails, their sworn enemy.)

Vintage hanky via eBay.

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