Category Archives: nostalgic



Gleaming, bouncing bombas to San Jose Fairgrounds

    Matt O’Brien


SAN  JOSE — There were elegant 1930s-style bombas with candy-colored paint, menacing rat rods, classic 1962 Chevy Impala convertibles of the lowriding golden age, and a car-hopping contest won by a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutless that pumped itself nearly 5 feet above the asphalt.

Decades before Silicon Valley tech companies began developing self-driving cars, this was the region’s most enduring automotive innovation — stylish lowriders that bounced up and down as they cruised along Story and King roads in East San Jose on weekend nights.

“Before the Internet, cruising was the thing to do, whether you had a lowrider or not,” said Jose Valle, 32, who calls himself “The Homeboy Mad.” “It’s bigger than San Jose history, bigger than Chicano history. It’s American history. It created an explosion of entrepreneurship.”

An annual car show at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on Sunday was a tribute to one of those entrepreneurs: Sonny Madrid, the founder of Lowrider Magazine who died in June after a two-year battle with cancer.

While most scholars have traced the roots of Mexican-American custom car culture to East Los Angeles in the mid-20th century, Madrid and his South Bay friends helped spark the global spread and commercialization of the scene while also connecting it with the political activism of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement when they published their first edition in 1977. Body shops devoted to the slow-and-low driving trend opened up across the South Bay, as did businesses that sold hydraulic kits worldwide.


“Sonny was our Yoda, our Obi Wan Kenobi of lowriding,” said Isaac Ramirez of San Jose-based StreetLow Magazine, which hosted Sunday’s event.

Early editions of Lowrider had stories about police discrimination, social justice and indigenous culture, but the magazine grew more popular — and controversial — when it began draping its cars with bikini-clad women in 1979, a tradition that continues to this day — though not at Sunday’s event.

Hundreds of souped-up vintage cars — some sizzling in the hot Labor Day weekend sun, others in warehouse showrooms — were on display at the family-oriented festival.

Crowds gathered around a gated pen to watch two hydraulically powered cars battle against each other in a hopping contest. When he was a kid, 53-year-old Pauly Cardenas remembers using yardsticks or beer bottles to measure how high a car could jump. On Sunday, he was an official judge with a special custom-made “hopstick” to decide the winner.

Some car owners prize their vehicles too much to let them bounce around. Mike Solorzano, 53, brought his glittery golden 1939 Oldsmobile on a trailer. Worth about $70,000, the car — known as a bomba, or bomb, for its rounded shape — usually stays in his Oakley garage.

“It’s all about the work, and showing it,” he said.

The music was eclectic, but loud — an elder DJ from the Impalas Club of Salinas Valley playing electro-funk on one side of the fairgrounds, as a younger DJ spun rap on the other. Families and car clubbers huddled under tents near their vehicles, eating street tacos or barbecue food. A handful dressed in the pressed-and-polished formal style of an earlier Latino era, with vests or pompadours. Most, however, wore T-shirts and shorts to beat the heat.

Longtime enthusiasts who have been lowriding since their teenage years brought grandkids to the show.

“It’s about family, kickin’ back,” said Rambo Soto, 51, of Salinas, who was setting up a picnic as he showed off a ’64 Impala with hydraulic lifts — one of several in his collection.

Margarita Mejia, 31, of Fremont dressed in a retro “chola style” for the occasion, wearing creased-up Levi’s with baby cuffs, heavy eyeliner, wristbands that resemble a spider’s web, and a coiffed or “feathered” hairstyle.

A collector of soul and funk music, she said the event was as much about carrying on a social and artistic tradition as it was about hydraulics and chrome undercarriages. She and Valle help run the 5-year-old Soulero’s Ball Revue, hosting social events that celebrate lowrider culture and art.

“We call it carnalismo, which is brotherhood,” she said. “This is the cruising capital of the world, Story and King.”

Police over the years have suppressed the cruising tradition using a 1950s-era California law that bans low-hanging cars, relegating hobbyists to their garages, body shops and fairgrounds. But judging by all the kids and baby strollers at Sunday’s event, lowriding is not going away.

“I think they’ll carry it on,” said Sylvia Bonilla, 53, who began cruising in lowriders when she was a teenager in San Jose. “My grandkids, my nieces and nephews, they all really like it.”

Contact Matt O’Brien at 408-920-5011. Follow him at

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in nostalgic



Beauty Secrets: Creating the Perfect 1940s Makeup Contouring

1940s Makeup Secrets

A detailed guide from Hollywood make-up artist, Bud Westmore, where he reveals secret makeup tricks on how to achieve real 1940’s style and glamor. How to create the perfect 1940s makeup contouring along with the correct hairstyle for your face type. Words of wisdom from one of the masters

Excerpt from Make-up & Beauty – 1940’s Guides. A compilation of vintage makeup advice ,given to women of that era.


Bonny Granville explains her make-up secrets in 1946 –



1940s MAKEUP, new and gay and dashing, is the magic that gives a girl an extra sweetness to your lips, your cheeks, your eyes; that gives you glamour. “And,” says Bonita Granville, ” if you have makeup know-how you needn’t spend a long time each day at it.”



“Of course,” she goes on, “screen makeup is another matter. A much more expert matter. It involves the cameras’s searching ye. But, just among us girls, and don’t tell the boys how we do it, the makeup that gives you fresh, clear loveliness, is basically a pretty simple matter!”


We asked Bonita to explain and here in substance is what she told us. Bonita never powders directly onto her skin and advises you not to, no matter whether you have a dry or an oily complexion. Instead, use either one of the popular cake makeup which gives your skin that quick velvet texture draws attention away from any tiny lines or blemishes; or else spread a light foundation cream evenly over the face and throat.

Over your foundation blend your rougewith care. Never use very much, just enough to accent your natural color. If you want to make your face look shorter, apply the rouge in a horizontal fashion across the cheeks. If you want to lengthen a too-broad face, dot and blend the rouge in a more vertical fashion up the cheeks.Now you are ready to dust on the powder!



Be generous here. Pat on a plentiful amount and brush away any excess with a soft tossie, or a facial brush. be sure to match the shade of your face powder with the changing color of the skin. If you have tanned this summer, but your skin is now fading rapidly back to its natural pink or pale tone – then use a lighter powder. Pu away that dark powder till next summer!


Before you apply your 1940s lipstick, blend a little foundation cream around your mouth. Smooth it in particularly well if there are any little lines, for it will help make these invisible. Now on perfectly dry lips outline the shape of your mouth – just a tad outside the natural line for that 1940s look. Fill it in with a lip brush and allow the color to set for a few minutes while you attend your eyes.

Bonita finds that her lipstick stays on longer if she dusts some powder over her lips and then blots them with a tissue.


  In the 1940s eye makeup for daytime she is conservative. She mascaras ever so lightly. And she has a trick for it that is well worth knowing: after applying her mascara in the usual way brushing gently up and out, she allows or almost to dry, then brushes over with a dry brush to separate the lashes. The comes the clever little trick. She applies a second coat of mascara to the lashes at the corner of her eyes to give her that “big-eyed look.”



Her brows are natural so she leaves them alone – just a a brush over with Vaseline.

Her brows are natural so she leaves them alone-just a brush over with Vaseline.

“But,” says Bonita, ” if your brows need darkening, then use an eyebrow pencil very lightly in feather strokes before applying Vaseline.

“If you follow these simple rules – you will look so glamorous!” enthuses Bonita.

”But it doesn’t end with your makeup – your crowning glory so to speak is your hair, and only a girl knows how to make the most of her mane. I would certainly also recommend painting your nails in a color near to your lip shade – and then you have real glamour!”


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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in nostalgic






My Little Margie

premiered on CBS as the summer replacement for I Love Lucy on June 16, 1952, under the sponsorship of Philip Morris cigarettes (when the series moved to NBC for its third season in the fall of 1953, Scott Paper Company became its sponsor). In an unusual move, the series—with the same leads—aired original episodes on CBS Radio, concurrently with the TV broadcasts, from December 1952 through August 1955. Only 23 radio broadcasts are known to exist in recorded form.


Set in New York City, the series stars Gale Storm as 21-year-old Margie Albright and former silent film star Charles Farrell as her widowed father, 50-year-old Vern Albright. They share an apartment at the Carlton Arms Hotel. Vern Albright is the vice-president of the investment firm of Honeywell and Todd, where his bosses are George Honeywell (Clarence Kolb) and Todd (George Meader). Roberta Townsend (Hillary Brooke) is Vern’s girlfriend, and Margie’s boyfriend is Freddy Wilson (Don Hayden). Mrs. Odetts (played by Gertrude Hoffmann on TV, Verna Felton on radio) is the Albrights’ next-door neighbor and Margie’s sidekick in madcap capers reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel in I Love Lucy. When Margie realizes she has blundered or gotten into trouble, she makes an odd trilling sound. Michael Richards of Seinfeld cites this as the inspiration for the occasional odd vocal utterances of his character on the program.

Other cast members include Willie Best, who plays the elevator operator, Dian Fauntelle, and silent film star Zasu Pitts. Scottish actor Andy Clyde, prior to The Real McCoys, appears in the 1954 episode, “Margie and the Bagpipes.”

My Little Margie

finished at #29 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1954-1955 television season[1] and, even more impressively, at #6 in Nielsen’s radio estimates for the 1954-55 season.[2] Despite this success, the series was canceled in 1955. Gale Storm went on to star in The Gale Storm Show which ran for 143 episodes from 1956-1960. Zasu Pitts joined Gale Storm in this series too, originally entitled Oh! Susanna.

Watch “(1952) My Little Margie The Missing Link” on YouTube


Fashionable Hairstyle Trends of the 1940s

Glamour Daze (pompadour) featured by actress Linda Darnell

The vintage dancer (the double victory roll)

1945 long hair with bumper bangs

The vintage dancer (1945 long hair with bumper bangs)

(Sleek back with a large chigon) featured by actress

1943, hair gathered and waved with some curls on top, rolled under into a chigon on the bottom(1943, hair gathered and waved with some curls on top, rolled under into a chigon on. bottom) The vintage dancer


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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in nostalgic



Remembering America’s Drive-in Movie Theaters

Remembering America’s Drive-in Movie Theaters

On this day in 1933, eager motorists park their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey.

Park-In Theaters–the term “drive-in” came to be widely used only later–was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, a movie fan and a sales manager at his father’s company, Whiz Auto Products, in Camden. Reportedly inspired by his mother’s struggle to sit comfortably in traditional movie theater seats, Hollingshead came up with the idea of an open-air theater where patrons watched movies in the comfort of their own automobiles. He then experimented in the driveway of his own house with different projection and sound techniques, mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, pinning a screen to some trees, and placing a radio behind the screen for sound. He also tested ways to guard against rain and other inclement weather, and devised the ideal spacing arrangement for a number of cars so that all would have a view of the screen.

The young entrepreneur received a patent for the concept in May of 1933 and opened Park-In Theaters, Inc. less than a month later, with an initial investment of $30,000. Advertising it as entertainment for the whole family, Hollingshead charged 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person, with no group paying more than one dollar. The idea caught on, and after Hollingshead’s patent was overturned in 1949, drive-in theaters began popping up all over the country. One of the largest was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York, which featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid’s playground and a full service restaurant, all on a 28-acre lot.

Drive-in theaters showed mostly B-movies–that is, not Hollywood’s finest fare–but some theaters featured the same movies that played in regular theaters. The initially poor sound quality–Hollingshead had mounted three speakers manufactured by RCA Victor near the screen–improved, and later technology made it possible for each car’s to play the movie’s soundtrack through its FM radio. The popularity of the drive-in spiked after World War II and reached its heyday in the late 1950s to mid-60s, with some 5,000 theaters across the country. Drive-ins became an icon of American culture, and a typical weekend destination not just for parents and children but also for teenage couples seeking some privacy. Since then, however, the rising price of real estate, especially in suburban areas, combined with the growing numbers of walk-in theaters and the rise of video rentals to curb the growth of the drive-in industry. Today, fewer than 500 drive-in theaters survive in the United States.


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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in nostalgic


“The Penguins – Memories Of El Monte”


“Memories of El Monte”

is a metasong released in 1963 by the Penguins featuring Cleve Duncan. It was written by Frank Zappa and Ray Collins before they were in the Mothers of Invention. The song was first released as Original Sound 27.[2]


In 1960, Art Laboe released one of the first oldies compilations, Memories of El Monte, a collection of songs by bands that used to play at the dances Laboe organized at El Monte Legion Stadium in El Monte, California.[3]

At some point in the next few years, Ray Collins visited Frank Zappa at his house at 314 W. G Street in Ontario, California (34.070685°N 117.653339°W).[4] Frank told him that he and a friend had thought of writing a song entitled “Memories of El Monte.” Ray had been to the dances at El Monte Legion Stadium and had played there with tenor saxophonist Chuck Higgins. Ray sat down at Frank’s piano, played the “Earth Angel” chord changes and immediately came up with the first lyrics for “Memories of El Monte.”


Frank Zappa took the song to Art Laboe, who loved it. Laboe came up with the idea of adding a section that named doo-wop groups and having the Penguins impersonate their songs.[3] The song functions as a de facto advertisement for the collection Memories of El Monte when it references songs on the compilation.

“Memories of El Monte” was recorded at Paul Buff’s Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California in 1963.[5] The song was copyrighted on February 20, 1963.[6]



The Hats Men Wore In America – What Happened?

The Hats Men Wore In America – What Happened?

 So many hats, so many heads…Pinterest

Who Killed Men’s Hats? Think Of A Three Letter Word Beginning With ‘I’
By Robert Krulwich

A hundred years ago — and that’s when this picture was taken, in 1912 — men didn’t leave home without a hat. Boys wore caps. This is a socialist political rally in Union Square in Manhattan. There may be a bare head or two in this crowd, but I think those heads are women’s.

The Library of Congress/via flickr

Here’s another rally, Union Square again. This time it’s an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. A hundred years have passed. Same place. Same kind of crowd. But this time: hardly a hat.

“An Occupy Wall Street gathering in Union Square, Nov. 17, 2011.” Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Flip back one more time. We’re back, I think, in Union Square, with Emma Goldman arriving by car. She’s another socialist (this isn’t an essay about lefties, it’s about hats) and there she is, the only woman in a sea of men wearing a sea of hats.

Wikimedia Commons

So what happened? Why did guys stop wearing headgear in midcentury America?The turning point, most people say, was John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Before Kennedy, all presidents wore top hats on their first day at work. Kennedy brought one, but hardly ever put it on. Fashionistas say Kennedy, one of our most charismatic presidents, made hats un-happen. And, chronologically speaking, after JFK, guys everywhere, even balding ones like astronaut John Glenn, went topless.

Astronaut John Glenn (left) and President John F. Kennedy inspect the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule on Feb. 23, 1962, which Glenn rode in orbit. At right is Vice President Lyndon B. JohnsonVincent P. Connolly/AP

But I am the son of a hat designer. And my father, Allen S. Krulwich, had a different explanation. The president who de-hatted America, he thought, was Dwight Eisenhower.In the 1950s — and this was one of Ike’s grand accomplishments — he built a vast highway system across America. Interstates went up everywhere. Cities extended roads, turnpikes, highways, and suburbs appeared around every major city. People, instead of taking a bus, a tram, a train to work, could hop into their new Chevy or Ford and drive.Before Eisenhower, many more people used public transportation. After Eisenhower, they used a car. That, my father thinks, created the critical Head-To-Roof Difference.

A person of average height standing in a bus, tram or subway car has, roughly, three feet between the top of his head and the roof.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

If he chooses to wear a hat, (which depending on the hat can extend his height 3 to 18 inches), there is still lots of room above him. So he keeps his hat on.<Now imagine the same person, sitting in the drivers’ seat of his car. The Head-To-Roof distance is much narrower, so narrow that to stay comfortable, a man would feel it proper to remove his hat.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Until cars became the dominant mode of personal transport, there was no architectural reason to take your hat off between home and office. With Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system came cars, and cars made hats inconvenient, and for the first time men, crunched by the low ceilings in their automobiles, experimented with hat-removal, and got to like it.

Yes, there may have been other motivations; Kennedy had great hair; so did the Beatles, fashion was changing wildly at the time, but if we are looking for a president to blame — and my father, whose business suffered in the 1960s and 1970s — wanted to blame someone, I’m going to stand with him: I blame Ike, because Ike built the highways that created the cars that lowered the roofs that crushed the hats that changed the fashion that ruined the business that supported the Krulwiches.


Question posed on with an analytical. response *****

QUESTION: Why/when did most men in the United States stop wearing hats every day?

One Response:President John F Kennedy made it fashionable to not wear a hat.  His wife wore pill-box hats. This is one of the first instances of hats being discussed in mainstream news.
There were 3 networks, there were a handful of public opinion molders. They decided to make a news issue of Kennedy not wearing a hat, and the nation soon followed.

Nobody knows exactly why, but I’ll hazard a few guesses:

  1. Movies. Actors don’t wear hats very often, as it obscures their faces, and their faces are how they make a living. Movies became commonplace very early in the 20th Century, and were far more widely viewed than stage plays. This trend is only amplified throughout the century, as more men decide to focus their efforts on an actor-inspired hairdo rather than a well-made hat. This in turn inspires actors to focus more on their hair than their headgear. You’ll notice the parallel trend that, as hats lose prominence in society, so men’s hairstyles become the focus of their self-expression.
  2. Indoor work. The 20th Century saw the decline of agriculture as the main livelihood of the American man. Factory work became more common, and so did office work. The invention of air conditioning in the 1920s meant that even summer leisure time could be spent indoors. Indoors means going hatless, and the more time spent indoors, the more comfortable someone becomes with leaving their head bare.
  3. Cars. Though this applies more to mid-century cars which were fast and had low ceilings for aerodynamic (and aesthetic) purposes, it applies to older cars like the Model T, as well. Wearing a hat is difficult when you’re going 45 miles per hour in a convertible. It’s also difficult when the roof of your car is 4 inches above your head.

Just because people started noticing the hatless trend in the 50s and 60s doesn’t mean that’s when it started. Also, the 1980s and 90s were sort of the low point for men’s hat wearing, and even then it wasn’t extinct (especially if you count baseball caps). Nowadays the trend of wearing hats is returning, slowly, and the future of men’s hat wearing looks bright, as exemplified by the Fedora Lounge, the success of custom hatters, and celebrities like Pharrell who have brought hats back into the foreground of men’s fashion.


Posted by on December 11, 2017 in nostalgic



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