Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cheap Gas

I wonder what a gallon of gas cost when this picture was taken.  Five cents, maybe ten?  Yesterday, I filled up my tank at a Shell station in Los Angeles.  $2.57 a gallon, down from almost $5, just a year ago.  Tomorrow, New Year's Day, we Californians may be facing a 10 to 15 cent a gallon increase thanks to cap and trade, the free market solution to global climate change adopted by our state legislature.  Personally I've always doubted the free market approach to environmental problems.

Anyway, for those who wonder how these old glass top pumps worked.  The motorist would order gas by the gallon rather than by price.  The station operator would work the hand lever on the side of the pump until the requested amount filled the glass container.  (The lines on the pump were gallon markers.)  Then, a valve was opened, and gravity filled the tank.

Remember, don't let cheap gas lead you into bad habits.  We can all drive a little less.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Car Hop

Hmmmm....and I thought the car hop was an invention of 1950s California car culture.  Guess not, since the car on the right has an Ohio license plate.  Here's the question, when this photo was taken, did the state of Ohio issue a new plate to every car, every year?  If so, the plate's from 1949, so we have an actual date for this photo.  What really drew me to this image was the waitress's uniform.  Love the airplane design and aviator sun glasses.  So, did her boss love airplanes, or was their a tie-in of some kind?  Was this joint next to an airport or an air base?  Or, was this picture taken in Dayton, Ohio, the home town of the Wright brothers?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter In Wisconsin

Yet another example of a dealer cutting up a photo album for fun and profit!   I hate it!

Well, now that I've got that off my chest....I had some problems getting a good, centered scan on the two individual pictures.  So, to help out, the caption on the left photo, "How do you like the "Pepsodent" smile?  It's just to keep warm.  Temp. 20 below zero.  Some fun!  Come to "sunny" Wis for your winter vacation!!??"  Both excited and questioning at the same time.  She must be confused.  No doubt caused by the extreme cold.  Down hill or cross country skis?  Which would be a colder sport?

And the other photo..."The right figure is the leaning tower pose.  Alias Hampton Purdy."  It's such a unique name that I decided to give a quick Google search just to see what's to see.  I found two Hampton Purdys on  R. Hapton Purdy, born 1890 in Canada, in 1930, residing in Appleton,  Outagamie County, Wisconsin.  And Hampton R. Purdy, born 1917, also residing in Appleton.  Father and son would be my guess.  I'm thinking the photo is the son.  Of course, once asked for a credit card number, my research into Purdy, father and son, ended.

Friday, December 26, 2014

American Airlines Flagship Sleeper

For those complaining about holiday air travel, take heart, you could be flying on a DC-3, sleeper.

I was born into a world were many people could remember the very early days of the air age, and some could remember a world before there were any airplanes at all.  I can still remember a trip to the Pittsburgh airport to see jets.  They were new, and because the tickets were far more expensive than on prop planes, it was predicted that only the rich would ever fly on a jet.  The rest of us would have to settle for good old propellers.  I'm fairly certain that these planes are DC-3's.  I'd love to fly on one as an adventure, but if I could afford a ticket to France, I'd prefer a jet.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas In California

I don't know how well it reads on a computer screen, but the photo credit in the lower left corner, "LEONARD'S STUDIO, THIRD & BROADWAY, SANTA ANA, CAL"  Written below that in pencil, "Dec 25th 1925"  Let's be honest, there's a difference between playing in the snow and living in the snow.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Playing In the Great Outdoors

The title for this post was inspired by an Op-Ed  in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, The Great Fear Of the Great Outdoors, by Gary Ferguson.  A quote from the piece by an anonymous fifth grader, "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where the electrical outlets are."  Christmas will be here in a few days, and I have to wonder, how many kids will get pads, phones, tablets, video games, and how many will get trikes, bikes, and other assorted outdoor play things?  Let's hope those North Korean hackers don't collapse the American power grid.  Half the country will curl up in a ball and die, while the rest of us will go out and ride our bikes, hike in the woods, and have a grand old time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Office Christmas Party

This one's dated "December 1951" and it looks like the typical office Christmas party.  My last employer threw a party every Christmas.  He rented a hall, hired caterers and put on quite a spread.  I went exactly once.  There was an open bar, and as a non drinker, I was drafted to  drive home those of my fellow employees who had had a few too many.  Kind of spoiled the fun.

Stamped on the back, "FINER CANDID PHOTOS, 615 W. FULLERTON AVE., BErkshire 7-2788."  Had I purchased this photo here, in southern California, I would assume that Fullerton Ave. would be the one in Fullerton, California, but It came in an envelope of prints I bought from an eBay seller from Phoenix, Arizona.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hooray For Hollywood (And Berlin)

Take a look to the right of this post and you'll see an advertisement.  I'm not happy about that.  I'd prefer to live in a world where we weren't all trying to sell something.  I have no interest in commerce.  I don't want to be an entrepreneur.  My heart doesn't go pitter-pat when the people whisper the name Steve Jobs in hushed, reverential tones.  But, the fact is, I'm about to turn 60, and my income is half what it was when I was forty, and an extra $100 in my pocket from ad sells,  every twelve to fourteen months, helps a lot.

Anyway, I went down to LACMA, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this afternoon, visited the galleries (Free to L.A. County residents after 3 o'clock) and hung around and saw a couple of movies.  These were the hand outs, they're photographs, and if I am going to have ads, they might as well be for something I like.

The top one is a postcard advertising an exhibit of movie costumes, sponsored by the The Motion Picture Academy.  Yes, that Academy, the one with the awards.  A couple of decades ago, the museum bought an old department store, next to their property, for what was supposed to be an expansion.  Somehow that never happened, and the building is now going to be used for a movie museum managed by the Academy.  Since that deal was announced, they've been curating shows at LACMA.  In addition to the costumes show, they've also got one dedicated to silent and early sound era German cinema.  That's were the second image comes in.  It's the program for the movies I actually saw, The Shop Around the Corner, and The Doll, both directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

For the record, my favorite Lubitsch film, Ninotchka, with Greta Garbo.  And my favorite Hitchcock, Notorious with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

And if anyone out there in blog world is going to be in L.A. this Tuesday, the museum is showing Gone With The Wind, on film, for free.  It's actually kind of racist, but hey, it's beloved.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Doll

I completely baffled by this one.  Who would give their kid such a creepy doll?  I can imagine some little girl opening this up on Christmas morning, and then, running, crying from the room.  And the nightmares it would induce,  it borders on child abuse.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fair Weather

Written on the front, bottom border of the print, "On the rocks in fair weather."  I bought it in L.A., so this has to be the pacific Ocean.  I've seen lots of rocks like this one, but which beach, I haven't a clue.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Myself and Marcia

Not myself, myself.  Wrong age, wrong gender,  wrong country.

Written on the back, "To Kim, Love Val, NZ, 1966.  Myself 19 yrs, on the left, and my sister, Marcia (25 yrs)."  I can't think of an explanation for NZ other than New Zealand.  But, why would a friend feel the need to identify herself in a photograph?  If Val is expressing a certain level of affection for her friend Kim, wouldn't Kim already know what Val looks like?  I think I have an explanation, other than a slight touch of OCD, for that.  When I was in grade school, coincidentally, around about 1966, our school entered into a pen pal program.  We were all given the name and address of someone in a foreign country.  I can't remember who I drew or their home country, but I can remember that the correspondence lasted no more than a few letters, which was pretty much the way it was for everyone.  I think Kim and Val might have been the exception, the grade school pen pals who kept writing.  It also explains how this photo ended up in southern California.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Less Than Grand Keerbergen Hotel

It's a long story, but after years of working in photo labs, after an extended period of unemployment, and barely avoided homelessness,  I ended up a member of The Screen Actors Guild.  The funny thing is, when I was a printer I saw 80 to 100 movies a year.  As a member of SAG, I'm lucky if I see 25.  The sad fact is, most of us in the movies, can't afford to go to the movies.  Anyway,  these photos reminded me of the best movie I've seen, so far, this year.  The Grand Budapest Hotel.  The man looks like a concierge.  Too, the second photo reminds that the concierge of the hotel, Gustave H, offered exceptional service to older ladies.

Written on the back of the second photo, "Keerbergen, Juin 1965."  Keerbergen is a  town in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium.  As of 2007, it had a population of 12,500 people.  And yes, it does have a hotel.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Got to admit, this post would never had occurred to me if I hadn't been listening to all news radio this morning.  Flash, today's date, December 13, 2014, can be written as 12, 13, 14.  Now, I don't buy into the whole numerology thing, but a lot of people do.  It seems that numerical coincidences like this mark big days for weddings, lottery ticket sales, and casino gambling.  In short, Las Vegas wedding chapels and strip casinos are doing turn away business today.  No idea when this picture was taken, but I'm hoping for January 23, 1945.  In other words, 1, 23, 45.  I was born ten years latter on January 23, 1955.  Close, but no cigar.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Snow Shoeing

It snowed in the mountains of southern California.  If my tires weren't on the bald side, if I had remembered to take the chains out of the trunk of my last car before sending it to the junk yard, I'd spend my weekend snow shoeing.  Of course, I'd leave all the gear behind.  Let's see, rifle, giant frying pan, bucket, blankets, and who knows what else.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Waiting For Snow, Not Godot

Those of us in sunny southern California are waiting for a big winter storm that should bring between two to three inches of rain in L.A., and two to three feet of snow in the local mountains.  Not anywhere near as much as central California and the high Sierra will get, but hey, we'll take what we can get.  I don't know how well this photo will read on people's computers, but take a look at the building on the right.  It looks like the snow is up to the roof, and that these two people might be standing 15 feet above the ground.  Now that's what we need to break the drought, at least for a year.  I'm always amazed that Cal doesn't have water use restrictions in wet years.  We can, after all, pump surplus water into our depleted water tables.

Dated, "Feb 25, 1931."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Waterbury Paper Box Co. Wedding Album 3

Again, bridesmaids or not?  There are so many explanations it's not practical to list them all.  The photographer clearly liked to use flowers as a prop.  And were these taken in a studio or on location?  The top photo looks like it has a painted backdrop.  The second photo, probably, though it might be a painted wall in a house.

Click on Waterbury Box Co. Album in the labels section at the bottom of the post to see all posts from the album.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Waterbury Paper Box Co. Wedding Album 2

Are these two ladies  bridesmaids?  Not all of the photos in this album are of weddings, so it's not possible to tell.  I know the person who assembled this album didn't need labels, but I could use them.

Click on Waterbury Box Co. Album in labels to see least everything already posted.

The Waterbury Paper Box Co. Wedding Album 1

I'm getting a backlog on photo albums, so I guess it's time to start another one.  I'll be following my usual practice.  Each post will be of a single album page, if there's more than one photo per page, I'll scan the page first, to show position, then each individual photograph.  If there's only one photo, I won't bother.

This album is too big to fit an entire page on the scanner.  Despite that limitation, I haven't had to break up any pages into sections.  Most of the photos in this album are 8x10 contact prints, so most of the album pages only have one photo. The majority of the pictures look like they're from the 1920s. but there are a few that aren't of that period.  Many of the photos have slight indentations around the edge of the print, indicating, that at one time they were in frames.  I suspect that this album was put together at a date well after all the photos were taken, which accounts for the mixed eras.  While some of the photos were glued to pages, most use photo corners.  A couple of pages don't have photos, but do have corners.  Weather those photos fell out, or were removed, I haven't a clue.  

There are enough pages in this album, that I won't be posting them one right after the other.  I'll post a few, move onto other things, then at some point in the future I'll put up a few more.  As far as the title of the album goes, as cheap Carny fortune tellers like to say, "In time, all will be revealed."  Really, the title of this album comes from a couple of prints near the end of the album, so be patient.  It is a virtue, as they say.

All posts will be tagged, Waterbury Box Co. Album in the labels section at the bottom of the post.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Too Many Twins

One, two, three sets of twins.  Perhaps, one set of fraternal twins as well.  Let's hope that twins ran in this family, and there are a few cousins going on here.  I know there are women out there who are still having ten or more children, but the era of really big families seems to be fading.  It's just too expensive to raise large families these days, and most women want lives that go beyond full time, multi-decade child rearing.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Square Format Thursday!

Alright, to start with, there's no such thing as square format Thursday.  Fact is, after 1300+ posts, it's getting harder to think up good titles.

 My first thought, when I saw the old woman's head resting on the man's shoulder, was The Incredible Two Headed Bi-Gender Monster.  But after I scanned it into the computer and blew it up, I noticed her hand on his waist and figured they were probably a couple that had been together for fifty years, and that didn't seem so monstrous.   And that big, blown out, white blob in the second photo, well, I'm not sure, but I'm thinking a cake, so The Office Party seemed like a safe, though, boring title.  What to do?  Collecting old photos is easy, titles are hard.  Much like death and comedy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One Big Happy Family

I don't know about other collectors of old photos, but I always have doubts about what I'm told by the people who sell them.  When I get a lot like this, I ask if all the photos are from the same source.   The dealers, of course, can intuit that I'm interested in buying images from the same family, so they tell me that, of course, all the same big family.  I know that sometimes they're telling me the truth.  I also know that sometimes they're just telling me what they know I want to hear.  I think I see a family resemblance, and at least one man who's in two photos, but that could be wishful thinking.