Vintage Everyday posted this series of pictures from Life magazine in 1949 documenting the travelling show troupe of burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. In this set of photos, Ms. Lee and her fellow entertainers were in my home town of Memphis, and a few local sites can be identified. In the photo above, the large building (background left) is the old Ellis Auditorium. In addition to other old Memphis buildings, the Harahan bridge over the Mississippi River is visible in some shots. I was not able to determine conclusively what brought Ms. Lee and Company to town, but considering the downtown location, the apparent warm weather, and the carnival-like background, we here at the SSS believe her act was part of the annual Cotton Carnival.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
I do not know anything about Sergeant Spook other than what I can infer from this 1947 edition posted on Four Color Shadows. Apparently, Sgt. Spook was a ghost policeman, visible only to his young friend Jerry, with whom he solved crimes. Looks like Jerry could end up getting all the credit.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Boing Boing posted this 1949 animated short, which at 10 minutes is actually just a little longer than most shorts of the era, made by Warner Bros. for the U.S. Federal Security Agency Public Health Service. Chuck Jones directed, and Carl Stalling did the music. It provides an interesting peek into the post-war era. While its message is very serious, and some of its numbers are sobering, the cartoon is still entertaining while obviously aimed at persuading the public to support public health services. Here is So Much For So Little.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
The National World War II Museum posted a nice item on the origin of "V-Discs," the U.S. government issued phonograph recordings made exclusively for the military. As the posted noted, V-Discs arose at a difficult time in the music industry.
The music industry was actually undergoing a war of its own during WWII. In 1942, two of the most prominent musician unions went on strike against all four recording companies in the U.S.. The strike then caused a shortage of music needed for troop morale. Yet, Lieutenant G. Robert Vincent had a solution to the problem. After approval of the U.S. government, he brokered a deal between the unions, recording companies, and the U.S. government. By agreeing to not distribute any records for commercial use, Vincent was able to get the recording companies to agree to record albums for the troops to listen to while at war. More amazingly, he also convinced top-name musicians in the business to record for the albums despite the strike they were involved in.Another by-product of this venture was that artists who were under contract with different record labels could record V-Discs together, resulting in collaborations that would not have been possible under their contracts.