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Tag Archives: 1960s

Flickr Friday: Groovy ’60s Greeting Cards

Greetings and apologies for the site outage over the past week (did anybody even notice? I wonder). My website has been moved to a new web host, and there was a significant delay in transferring the MySQL system data that holds the backup info for this very blog. But now it’s done, and I’m relieved. What this means for you, dear reader, is that the weblog will load much smoother and there won’t be any tech difficulties in posting comments and such. If you’re reading this, please don’t hesitate to say “hello” in the comment field!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the two marvelous vintage greeting cards I found on our recent thrifting jaunt in Palm Springs. Both of these are likely from the late ’60s, and are printed with a day-glo pink color that my scanner couldn’t quite pick up. Our first card is actually kind of lovely, since the cartoon illustration was printed on yellow ocher-colored paper using bright silk screened inks. This was produced by a company called Velvetone and the cartoon is signed “Camden,” otherwise I can’t find any info on it. Can you tell what it says inside?

a big THANKS!

Our next card is from a maker called Reed Starline. I originally thought was a vintage Hallmark (the goofy cartoon looks similar to a lot of older cards that Hallmark has been re-printing lately). Again with the day-glo pink, although the cartoon looks more Mad magazine-y:

*PICTURE OF ME GOING HOG WILD OVER YOU

Little Miss Moffitt

In honor of my Vidal Sassoon: The Movie review getting published at DVDTalk, here’s a cute short of model Peggy Moffitt parading around in some mod, mod ensembles designed by Rudi Gernreich. In the Sassoon film, Vidal Sassoon and designer Mary Quant talk a bit about Moffitt and her amusing propensity for “acting out” whatever fashions she tried on (like in this film!). What a cool chick.

Christopher tells me that he met Moffitt and her husband, photographer William Claxton, at an L.A. function in the ’90s. He didn’t know who she was at the time, however — he would have gotten an autograph if he did!

Book Review: Lifestyle Illustration of the ’60s

The decade of the ’60s seems to conjure up a lot of images of femininity to me — slinky James Bond gal, mod miniskirted model, Donna Reedy housewife, hippie chick, California beach bunny. All of those archetypes, and many more, are on full display in Lifestyle Illustration of the ’60s, a brick-like volume of vintage magazine illustrations expertly selected by Rian Hughes. Sure, there are some men pictured within these pages, but since the illustrations come from various popular British women’s mags of the era (Woman, Woman’s Own, Homes and Gardens, Woman’s Journal to name a few) they tend to focus on the fairer sex rendered in every color of the rainbow. The women are generally seen in swooning, romantic poses with body language and facial expressions that hint at some intrigue or outside danger (what is the trench coated beauty on page 322 looking at?).

What most impressed me about this book is how craftily the illustrators worked with white space and printing techniques to make a visually stunning statement. The artwork is presented in chronological order, reproduced in graphic layouts that punch up the often stunning color palettes the artists used. The earlier examples are more conservative subject-wise, with prim ladies emoting in billowy dresses, but the art is surprisingly daring in technique. As the ’60s move along, we see wilder colors and looser, more artfully sketch-like renderings, until 1966-67 brings on a mod, Carnaby Street influence with a graphic punch. Cartoons, collage, surrealism, revival and psychedelic styles all get their due, but by 1969 we’re back in the realm of glamorously swooning ladies rendered in washy paints. Some things never change, it seems.

This book focuses solely on British publications, which honestly let me down a little, but many American artists of the era are represented here with quality work by the likes of Coby Whitmore, Andy Virgil and Lynn Buckham. One of my favorites from that period, Bob Peak, is represented only once — a striking image of a kissing couple dominated by the black space between their profiles. Wow!

Lifestyle Illustration of the ’60s is available at Amazon.com, of course. I got my copy at discount seller Edward R. Hamilton for much cheaper, however. Fiell is set to release a companion volume, Lifestyle Illustrations of the ’50s, later on this month.

It’s a Mod, Mod World

Just a note to say that I’ve posted my little piece at Joyce Compton News & Notes about the Marian Marsh/Warren William Pre-Code flick Under 18 and Joyce’s brief appearance in it. Please check it out!

Today’s video comes via The Video Beat, an online retailer of offbeat ’50s and ’60s video. This is French Ye-Ye singer Sylvie Vartan in a Japanese commercial for a mod clothing purveyor called Renown. Dig that groovy Op Art:

What Shall We Eat?

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General Foods’ Home Meal Planner from 1961 was a booklet that Christopher found on the Free pile at his workplace. It outlines how to plan your meals smartly and efficiently — involving lots of General Foods products, of course. Amongst the tips and recipes are some wonderful typography and illustrations depicting a perfect housewife preparing meals for her nuclear family. For dealing with something as mundane as meal planning, the whole thing is incredibly elegant and Betty Draperish. Several images from the booklet were scanned and posted in my Cool Vintage Illustration flickr set.

Speaking of Betty Draper, we’re finally getting into Mad Men. Seemingly everyone I know was raving about the show when it first premiered, and I subsequently checked out an episode. It was … just okay. Beautifully crafted with a committed cast, but also cold, excessively dour and (worst of all) having a smug, revisionist attitude about the ’60s. I decided to give it another try when Amazon had a sale on the DVDs last year. Although the first few episodes still have that annoyingly smug tone, both of us were soon wrapped up in the drama and storylines. There were still a few so-so episodes from that year, but now we’re halfway through the second season DVDs and there’s a noticeable improvement in the acting and plot development. Can’t wait to check out the following two seasons — what an enthralling drama.

Anyhow, let’s indulge in something that Betty Draper would obviously find quite handy (whenever she isn’t fretting about her heel of a hubby):

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Lulu’s Back in Town

album_lulutosirI’m going for an all-’60s month on eMusic, with Lulu’s To Sir With Love the latest acquisition. This brief (32 minutes) album was given punchy production and arrangements by, respectively, Mickie Most and future Led Zepplener John Paul Jones. Lulu has a throaty voice with the kind of carefully enunciated phrasing that seems better suited to musical theater than peppy ’60s music (witness the LP’s goofy closer, “You And I”). Despite that, she’s adorable and the album is a good showcase for her versatility. Everybody knows the beautiful title cut, of course, but there are a few other tracks worth noting, including the jumpy Neil Diamond-penned “The Boat That I Row” and “Best Of Both Worlds,” a plush ballad in the Dusty Springfield mold. Honestly, the thought of somebody else covering stuff like “Day Tripper” and “To Love Somebody” fills me with dread, but Lulu (along with those brassy arrangements) manages to make them her own. This album also contains the oft-sampled “Love Loves To Love Love” and “Take Me In Your Arms and Love Me,” a cover of a somewhat obscure Gladys Knight & The Pips tune. Merely a notch better than the typical album of 1967, perhaps, but real cute all the same — Lulu knows how to bring the groovy.