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Tag Archives: 1950s

Cheap Thrill: Junior Deluxe Editions

For years I’ve seen these colorful ’50s hardbacks known as Junior Deluxe Editions in antique and thrift stores, but I’ve never given them much thought before coming across the beautiful Flickr group devoted to them. Though the books are not particularly rare or collectible, the covers have a charming, folk-meets-modern sensibility — and they look dynamite sitting on a shelf. From what I’ve gathered, the Junior Deluxe Editions were a mail-order based program from Doubleday in which customers signed on to receive new volumes on a monthly basis. In a plan similar to the Columbia House record club, the highlighted book of the month was automatically shipped to customers unless they specifically asked to opt out. There were about 90 titles in all, issued from the mid ’40s up to 1962 or thereabouts.

My official quest began a year ago at our local VNSA used book saleorama. Surely they would have a few Junior Deluxe Editions. I didn’t find any, however, until this year’s sale on February 12th. For fifty cents to a dollar apiece, I managed to snag nice copies of National Velvet, Sherlock Holmes, Tales from Shakespeare, Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe. Even the volunteer lady who helped me check out was impressed. Coincidentally I also got a rather beat-up library copy of Bible Stories for Young Readers this week at a Wickenberg, Arizona thrift for two quarters. Score!

I set up a little Flickr set for my collection, adding to it as it grows. I suppose they’ve been an inspiration for LitKids as well (and, who knows, might serve as the background for future prints). Enjoy!





The Dangers of Having YouTube on the TiVo

After two weeks of trial and error, we have finally set up our new TiVo Premiere and digital antenna. What a relief. We can now record network programs in super sharp widescren (nice, even if the super-crisp, pixelated edges take some getting used to). We can also get Netflix streamed content and YouTube via the device. YouTube looks crappy as usual, but having it on the big screen gives us the patience to sit through longer stuff. Like 1950s TV shows, f’rinstance. We saw Burns and Allen this week, along with one episode of Mr. Adams & Eve, the Ida Lupino/Howard Duff sitcom which ran on CBS in 1957-58. Lupino and Duff were both good performers, but lowbrow comedy wasn’t exactly their forte — they’re no Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, that’s for sure. The two play married actors, like in real life, with much of the action taking place at the movie studio where they work. The one episode on YouTube, however, revolves around a domestic situation involving their characters’ mothers:

This was a frankly mediocre show, but it makes me excited to check out more old TV shows on YouTube. Any ideas? I also watched the pilot episode of Julie Andrews’ 1992 sitcom flop Julie, but the less said about that the better.

Child Life, 1959 Style

Here are a few scans of the May 1959 issue of an obscure ’50s kiddie magazine called Child Life. All three are nice examples of stylish child-oriented book illustration of the era, but the magazine didn’t credit any of the artists — so any help on the IDs would be appreciated! This mag was a birthday gift for Christopher, my 1959 baby.




Think Pink!

Today’s video of Kay Thompson’s “Think Pink” number from Funny Face is cheating a bit, since I already posted this on Facebook two weeks ago… but the whole thing is so fabulous it deserves an encore here. The effects with split screens and such were pretty advanced for 1957, and for pure visual flair you can’t beat model Suzy Parker and her animated toothpaste. While viewing just remember, there isn’t the slightest excuse for plum or puce — or chartreuse.