Category Archives: 1941-1950

“Marilyn & Joe, et al.”
A 70-Year Saga

[…] This story covers the love affair of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe…. He, the famous baseball player; she, the beautiful movie star – seen in the 1950s as the perfect, all-American, love story… But alas, theirs became a star-crossed union that ended in divorce – but not completely… With the celebrity- and Hollywood-obsessed media, their story – chiefly through the twists and turns of Monroe’s career in Hollywood, with the Rat Pack, and the Kennedys (and her premature death) – stayed alive for decades… Includes a history of related books, films, photos & magazine covers […]

“Smog Conspiracy”
DOJ vs. Detroit Automakers

[…] In 1969, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brought an anti-trust lawsuit against American automobile companies for conspiring to hold back and delay the use of pollution-control technologies for motor vehicles. Called the “smog conspiracy” case, it alleged that Detroit’s then “Big Four” automakers – American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, along with the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) – had conspired for sixteen years (1953-1969) to prevent and delay the manufacture and use of pollution-control devices for automobiles. This story tracks that case, the history of the Los Angeles air pollution behind its origin, details on some of the technologies held back, case outcome & protests, also pointing to the longer story of continued automaker recalcitrance in battling clean air and fuel economy laws to the present day […]

“Firebombing Japan”
67 Cities: 1945

[…] Story about the firebombing of more than 60 Japanese cities during World War II as featured in 2003 documentary film titled “The Fog of War,” which uses historic war film footage and an extensive interview with former WWII officer and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who offers “rules of war” guidelines and “lessons” of warfare decision-making in examining the firebombing of Japan (with American city caparisons)… Story uses video clip from the Academy award-winning “best documentary” Errol Morris film to introduce topic, and adds maps, photos, related book links, and narrative analysis to raise questions about the morality of warfare decisions like the firebombing of Japan […]

“John Clymer’s America”
The Saturday Evening Post

[…] This story offers a sampling of the stunning artwork of John Clymer, an American illustrator and painter who did more than 80 covers for “The Saturday Evening Post,” one of America’s popular large-format magazines that flourished in the mid-20th century, distinguished in part by its lush cover art that captured American culture and landscapes… Clymer’s work at the Post, from 1942 to 1962, was especially noted for his Western, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific Northwest landscapes and outdoor scenes, many quite stunning… A second part of Clymer’s career is also covered, referencing his work on wildlife, frontier trappers, Western history, and Native American subjects… Some of Clymer’s art now sells at $300,000-to-$500,000 [….]

“Democrats’ History”

[…] A topics page offering a selection of stories on Democratic politicians and Democratic history, including those involving presidential campaigns and various candidates, among them: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, Bill Bradley, Jerry Brown, and others… Democratic celebrities are also featured in a few of these stories, including Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt and others […]

“Dutchman’s Big Day”
NFL Passing Record

[…] In 1951, Norm Van Brocklin, quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams professional football team, did what no other quarterback (QB) had done before or since: completing passes for a record-setting single-game total of 554 yards… His record still stands. This story also covers Van Brocklin’s career with the Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, his passing accomplishments in championship games, and his statistics in the context of other 1950s QBs… Also included is a listing of the 15 other QBs who have had 500-yard games, coming close to, but not surpassing, Van Brocklin’s record […]

“Sinatra Stories”

[…]This topics page includes links & thumbnail sketches for eight Frank Sinatra-related stories at this website: two about women he married, Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow; two about his politics during the JFK years with the Rat Pack and the years thereafter; two profiling songs and their context (“Cycles” and “Summer Wind”); another on his early years as a teen idol in the 1940s; and one his photographer role for Life magazine covering the 1971 Ali-Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden in New York […]

“Magazine History”
Selected Stories: 1910s-2010s

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 18 stories at this website that feature or include magazine-related content from the last 100 years – including selected cover art, illustrator profiles, advertising art, political stories, civil rights stories, business stories, sports stories, and more… Cover samples are typically included throughout the stories from a range of magazines – Time, Life, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Fortune, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The Saturday Evening Post, New York Magazine, Wired, and others […]

“The Babe Ruth Story”
Book & Film: 1948

[…]In 1948, Babe Ruth’s authorized biography — “The Babe Ruth Story”– was published by E.P. Dutton of NY. Ruth’s story was “told to Bob Considine,” then a famous author and Hearst syndicated newspaper columnist. Portions of the book were also serialized in the Saturday Evening Post and a film using the same title was also made and released in 1948… All of this occurred while Ruth was in his final days battling cancer with his death occurring August 16th, 1948, shortly before the general release of the film and also creating demand for the book, which became the first sports book to reach the New York Times best sellers list […]

“Athletes Advertising”
Selected Stories: 1900s-2010s

[…] This “Topics Page” offers thumbnail sketches and links to 14 stories at this website that include history about famous athletes who have lent their name and/or image in print, radio, and/or TV advertising on behalf of various products or marketing efforts. Among those included are: Olympics star and pro golfer Babe Didrikson; football stars Frank Gifford and Sammy Baugh; 1930s aviatrix Elinor Smith; baseball stars Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and others; soccer legends Pelé, Zidane and Maradona; and 1930s tennis star, Ellsworth Vines […]

“Falter’s Art, Rising”
Saturday Evening Post

[…] In 2014-2015, a painting for a ‘Saturday Evening Post’ magazine cover illustration by artist John Falter came up on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ TV program, valued at between $200,000 and $250,000… Falter’s work, and that of other ‘Saturday Evening Post’ illustrators, has been rising in value in recent years… This piece explores Falter’s work for the ‘Post’ and some of the sales of those paintings in recent years […]

“The End of the World”
Skeeter Davis: 1963

[…] In early 1963, a song by country singer Skeeter Davis with the title “The End of the World” was doing something that no other recording had done then or since then – making its way into the Top Ten of four of the nation’s music charts… This story covers the history of that song, the biography of Skeeter Davis, and the success of some of her country and pop music hits… Includes photos & music sample […]

“The Saddest Song”

[…]“Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber might also be called “Adagio for Tears” since it is known for evoking very powerful emotion and sadness among its listeners. Used in film scores from “Elephant Man” to “Platoon,” Barber’s Adagio has also been used at prominent state & celebrity funerals, such as those for FDR, JFK. Grace Kelly & others – also played following 9/11. Electronic dance and trance DJs have recorded versions as well… This piece looks at the history and reception of “Adagio for Strings” and its related choral version, “Angus Dei”[…]

“Civil Rights Stories”

[…] This “topics page” lists 14 stories at this website which include civil rights-related content. Among stories listed are several related to civil rights & music; civil rights & television; civil rights & art; and civil rights & politics – stories which include performers & artists such as: Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Sammy Davis, Jr., Norman Rockwell, Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, Martha & the Vandellas, U2, and others. Also listed are stories on Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama, and others with sections on Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King […]

“1930s Super Girl”
Babe Didrikson

[…] Mildred “Babe” Didrikson, received her Ruthian nickname for her sandlot baseball heroics in the late 1920s… But baseball was the least of her talents, as there was little in athletics she couldn’t do. Babe Didrikson would become a standout track & field sensation at the 1932 Summer Olympics, and thereafter, in the 1940s and 1950s, a golf superstar & multi-tournament winner who helped change the women’s game for the better…Her story, and death by cancer at age 45, is told here with period photos and numerous source links […]

“The Yogi Chronicles”

[…] Yogi Berra, the famous Hall-of-Fame, New York Yankee baseball player, in addition to becoming a sports celebrity of his day, also became something of cultural icon know for his “famous sayings” – sparking a bit of cottage industry in book publishing… Berra’s story not only captures the baseball aura of his times, but also shows how his sports popularity seeped into popular culture in a novel way, as Yogi Berra’s celebrity is now in its eighth decade […]

“Empire Newhouse”

[…] Advance Publications is a sprawling media empire of leading magazines, newspapers, cable TV and websites owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York. In recent years the Newhouse/Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest privately-held companies in the U.S. This article dips into the 90 years of Newhouse empire-building history, with some focus on the newspaper and magazine parts of the story, celebrity and political issues, and the Newhouse publishing and media impact on America culture…[…]

“Baseball Stories”

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 14 baseball stories at this website, including in-depth profiles and photos of Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Christie Mathewson, Lou Gehrig, and others […]

“The U.S. Post Office”

[…] A series of 1950s Saturday Evening Post magazine covers are presented by artist Stevan Dohanos, who offered several Post Office and U.S. mail-related scenes from American communities and everyday life… These serve as indications of the importance of the local post office and U.S. postal system in American culture and local communities for both mid-20th century America and beyond, offering some relevance to the current debate over the proposed closing of some 3,600 post offices across urban and rural America […]

“Rockwell & Race”

[…] In 2011, Norman Rockwell’s painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” depicting a famous 1960 school desegregation scene in New Orleans, was displayed in the Obama White House. This article explores that painting and other Norman Rockwell civil rights paintings, as well as related history on magazine cover art dealing with African American and civil rights topics during the late 1950s and early 1960s […]

“Reese & Robbie”

[…] A Brooklyn, NY “baseball sculpture” of Brooklyn Dodger players Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese dedicated in 2005, commemorates Reese’s “arm-around-the-shoulders” support of black player Robinson on the field during racial taunts and fan heckling at a 1947 Cincinnati Reds game….This story covers Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in major league baseball, the sculpture’s genesis, Brooklyn Dodger history, and more […]

“Strange Fruit”

[…] In 1939, blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday performed a song that was unlike any other that had come before it — a song titled, “Strange Fruit;” a song about the lynching of black people… “Strange Fruit” was not popular fare, but eventually, with Billie Holiday’s voice and presence, it permeated mainstream culture in an unsettling way, becoming a song of protest and a song that got attention […]

“Babe Ruth & Tobacco”

[…] Baseball great Babe Ruth and his wife Claire are shown in a 1938 Los Angeles Times newspaper ad for White Owl cigars. Ruth’s involvement with other tobacco advertising – cigarettes, pipe, and chewing tobacco – is also covered, with some advertising samples & photos. Ruth’s throat disease is also discussed…[…]

“Al Jolson & Luckies”

[…] In 1928, Al Jolson, fresh from the fame of appearing in the first talking motion picture, “The Jazz Singer” of 1927, also began appearing in American Tobacco Co. cigarette advertising for their Lucky Strike brand… American Tobacco, and other tobacco companies, would soon make film-star and celebrity advertising of cigarette brands a staple in their tobacco promotion campaigns through the 1930s, 1940s, and beyond… This story covers some of that history […]

“Legs: Cyd Charisse”

[…] From the late 1940s through the 1960s, a classically-trained dancer named Cyd Charisse helped bring a new style of dance to Hollywood film during the Golden Age of the MGM musical. Dancing with partners such as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and others in some of the most famous films of that era, including “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Band Wagon,” Charisse brought grace, beauty, and sensuality to dance in a way not often seen on film before that time, making her an audience favorite then and something of a Hollywood dance icon today […]

“The Sound of Money”

[…] In April 2009, a European entertainment company named Imagem Music, shelled out an estimated $250-to-$300 million to acquire the rights to the Broadway legacy of music legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein — plus their New York organization covering some 12,000 songs, 900 concert works, 100 musicals, and 200 writers…This story covers that deal, and also the success, cultural impact, and history of R&H productions in America and elsewhere […]

Ava Gardner

[…] Hollywood film star Ava Gardner is profiled from her “country girl” roots in North Carolina to her discovery in New York City, her film roles, and her love affairs with other notables, including Artie Shaw, George C. Scott, Spanish bullfighters and others, but especially Frank Sinatra (separate sidebar)… Includes photos, film posters and magazine covers […]

“Rosie The Riveter”

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.     “Rosie the Riveter” is the name of a fictional character  who came to symbolize the millions of real women who  filled America’s factories, munitions plants, and shipyards during World … Continue reading “Rosie The Riveter”

“Slingin’ Sammy”

[…] Sammy Baugh had come out of the college ranks from TCU as an innovative “passing” back, then a rarity in professional football. Baugh’s professional career would be played entirely with the Washington Redskins over 16 years, where, with the forward pass, he helped revolutionize pro-football, adding to its excitement and drama, and winning the moniker, “Slingin’ Sammy” […]

“Sixteen Tons”

The top song in America during late 1955 and early 1956 was a tune about coal mining — a song about the hard life and poverty of being a coal miner. Its title was “Sixteen Tons” and it was made popular by a singer named Tennessee Ernie Ford. The song had actually been written in the 1940s, its verse grown piecemeal from oft-heard phrases….

“The Sinatra Riots”

[…] In the early 1940s, as radio and recordings were making singers more broadly popular, it became clear they could also draw huge, adoring crowds to their live performances. And one of the first modern “teen idols” to do just that was a young singer from Hoboken, New Jersey named Frank Sinatra […]

“Steinbeck to Springsteen”

“The Grapes of Wrath” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by John Steinbeck in 1939. Not only was this book a landmark social commentary in its day and a major publishing success, it became an award-winning and profitable Hollywood film, and also inspired at least two rounds of music — one by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and another by Bruce Springsteen in the 1990s […]

“Babe Ruth Days”
1947 & 1948

…On April 27th, 1947, more than 58,000 fans packed Yankee Stadium to honor former New York Yankee baseball star Babe Ruth… It was 20 years since he had set baseball’s most revered record — hitting an unheard-of 60 home runs in one season — and it was more than a dozen years since he had been an active player… Still, on this Babe Ruth Day, the fans loved him…