Tag: nostalgia

Having attended college in San Marcos, Texas, I was fortunate enough to live just a couple of blocks from the legendary Aquarena Springs, famous for its live mermaid show, while the park was still operational.

I even had the pleasure on several occasions to sit in its submersible auditorium and witness the underwater ballet of breath-defying swimmers, performing the same subaquatic stunts that made the park nationally famous when it opened in the 1950s. Having friends in the show, I even got a couple of unauthorized behind-the-scenes tours and got to meet the famous Ralph the Diving Pig, the world's most celebrated swimming piglet.

I regret never taking the opportunity to work their myself, but at least I can say I'm still friends with a couple of genuine merpeople.

Sadly, the show was closed for good after my alma mater, Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State), purchased the property in the '90s and turned the park's focus to ecological preservation and education. The underwater theater itself, long out of use, was finally demolished last year. Maddeningly, they don't even use the name Aquarena anymore. ... Continued

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Back in the 1950s, General Electric sponsored a campaign encouraging folks to upgrade their houses with fully electrical appliances. Houses with an electric clothes washer and dryer, an electric refrigerator, electric waste disposal and all-electric heating earned the title of Gold Medallion Home and sported a fancy metal plaque with the designation.

On one of my past road trips, I came across an original metal sign advertising the movement with its "Live Better Electrically" tagline. Having recently dug it out of my closet, I decided to follow the sign's advice and upgrade it with a bit of lighting.

Doing who knows what, I stumbled across this wonderful excerpt from a 1970 issue of the British magazine Drive, chastising trailer designers for the garish colors in which they choose to paint their products.

The author recommends ditching the drab colors that he calls "depressing as tombstones in a dog's graveyard," and offers a few guidelines, as well as some distinctly '70s palettes.

There are few words that could adequately describe the awesomeness of what I consider one of the most beautiful toys I've ever seen.

An unnamed reader of Motoblog, an Italian Web site geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts, sent in pictures of a Vespa rocking horse he built for his nephew, Diego. Mind you, it isn't a refashioned scooter built from scrap Vespa parts, but a work of art built to scale and handcrafted from fiberglass and metal.

Diego, don't you ever, ever sell that thing. Except to me.

While on the road, I always try and remember to pick up a postcard or two every place I stop. And though I've got more than I can count by now, my favorite remains this art deco number I picked up a few years ago at Carlsbad Caverns.

With minimal colors and organic, yet uncluttered lines, it portrays the majesty and scale of New Mexico's grand cave formations in a style that's unmistakably 1930s.

What I discovered much later was that this design was just one in a larger body of work commissioned by the Works Project Administration. From 1935 to 1943, the Federal Art Project hired artists to create numerous cultural and public-safety posters, which included several works encouraging citizens to visit the country's National Parks and natural wonders.

In a tangential activity that took up most of my afternoon, I perused the "By the People, For the People" archive at the Library of Congress, which holds more than 900 of the 2,000 WPA posters known to exist. ... Continued

The Haunted Lamp has just posted their second installment of vintage neon illustrations from a rescued 1950s sign catalog.

Apparently, the catalog includes specifications for building each sign. As noted, "The giant chicken is to be executed in clear fiberglass and lit from within."

Anyone else ever discover such a catalog? I'd love to see it!

Check out these eerily beguiling images mined from a 1958 catalog on neon-sign design, which I spotted over at The Haunted Lamp.

As one visitor put it:

What happened to design? What happened to style? What happened?

Yeah, future ... let's hear it!

A series of photographs taken of Marilyn Monroe before her rise to stardom, which have never before been seen by the public, were discovered just last month filed away in the archives of Life magazine.

The photos depict a more innocent-looking Monroe, free of the formulated, glamorous image for which she would later become famous. At the time, she was better known as a model; her biggest film role so far was a small part in The Asphalt Jungle.

The photographs were discovered by Dawnie Walton, deputy editor at Life.com, as she was looking through the company's digital archives. Upon further investigation, Walton found that the photos had been stored away and forgotten in a New Jersey warehouse.

Life photographer Ed Clark spent the afternoon photographing the 24-year-old model and actress in what is believed to be Griffith Park, Los Angeles, sometime in 1950. ... Continued

Since discovering Christine Berrie's vintage-camera drawings, I haven't been able to stop browsing all her other illustrations.

Among my favorites are her pencil drawings of microcars, like those seen earlier at the Roadside Resort, as well as her vintage radios and images from Coney Island.

Subjects are scattered in various categories at her Etsy shop, which offers limited-edition prints of her work, so I recommend spending a few minutes browsing.

And while you're at it, I also suggest checking out more of her work at her official site, where you can catch a montage of even more of those wonderful microcars.

As a collector of vintage cameras, I absolutely love illustrator Christine Berrie's pencil drawings of these 19 old shooters.

The limited-edition print, made available at Etsy, is was up for sale at the amazing price of $35 — a steal, natch, since it quickly sold out thanks to her sudden exposure at Neatorama.

But wait! She still has other camera prints for sale!