Movie Review: The man with the golden arm

I have seen this film so many times. It is arguably the best performance Frank Sinatra ever played in his whole film career. The Man with the Golden Arm is a 1955 American drama film, based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren, which tells the story of a heroin addict who gets clean while in prison, but struggles to stay that way in the outside world. It stars Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker, Kim Novak, Arnold Stang and Darren McGavin. It was adapted for the screen by Walter Newman, Lewis Meltzer and Ben Hecht (uncredited), and directed by Otto Preminger.

It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Sinatra for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Joseph C. Wright and Darrell Silvera for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White and Elmer Bernstein for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. Sinatra was also nominated for best actor awards by the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and The New York Film Critics.


The film was controversial for its time; the Motion Picture Association of America refused to certify the film because it showed drug addiction. The gritty black-and-white film uniquely portrayed heroin as a serious literary topic as it rejected the standard “dope fiend” approach of the time. It was the first of its kind to tackle the marginalized issue of illicit drug use. Because it dealt with the taboo subject of “narcotics,” Hollywood’s Production Code refused to grant a seal of approval for the film, and it was released without the MPAA’s seal of approval. This sparked a change in production codes, allowing movies more freedom to more deeply explore hitherto taboo subjects such as drug abuse, kidnapping, abortion and prostitution. In the end, the film received the code number 17011.
Director Otto Preminger previously had released a film lacking the Production Code in 1953, with The Moon is Blue. He told Peter Bogdanovich why he was attracted to Algren’s novel. “I think there’s a great tragedy in any human being who gets hooked on something, whether it’s heroin or love or a woman or whatever.”

Frank Sinatra — who jumped at a chance to star in the film before reading the entire script — spent time at drug rehabilitation clinics observing addicts going cold turkey. The script was given to Marlon Brando around the same time as Sinatra, who still harbored some anger at Brando, since the latter had beaten out Sinatra for the lead role in On the Waterfront.

There is a very strong overtone of how it feels to be an addict in this film. Frank really plays the part well. The observation of cold turkey’d addicts was most likely the key to his flawless portrayal of such. You can honestly feel the pain and struggle demonstrated in Frank’s performance.

I was thinking while watching the movie about the concept of a modern remake of the film. There are so many modernizations of older films and for the most part, in my opinion they are needed as it helps bridge the gaps between generations. This brings the allure of having a father/son, mother/daughter experience of “I watched the original in theaters when I was your age”. This opens the door to sharing time with your children or parents watching each generations antecedent or post adaptations of the film. But with this film, specifically I do not think that a modern remake of this movie would be appropriate. Due to when it was made, the topic of drug use was considered to be controversial and rarely shown on screen prior to “The man with the golden arm”.  This film is arguably the first step into edgy film making, pushing the envelope, all the while captivating the audience’s attention with a very close to home real life situatuion.

When this film was made in 1955 we had men just coming back from being in the Korean conflict. We also had our nation’s greatest generation living in their GI Bill purchased homes raising their families the best that they knew how, though 10 years later still fighting the war. Fighting the war no longer on the beaches, bluffs, islands, coves, and or trenches across foreign evergreen war torn terrains, but rather here at home, in the beaches, bluffs, islands, coves, and or trenches within their own minds. My grand father was one of them. When he came home after serving 4 years in the European WWII theater, he drank like a fish. If he didn’t come home with a black eye, blood stained shirt, or bruised knuckles, you would wonder what went wrong. Although his drug of choice was the bottom of a bottle, most veterans of the last world war were not so lucky. Just like the Vietnam war that preceded WWII about 20% of all servicemen were addicted to narcotics even after coming state side. Most not by choice.

There are a few reasons why they became addicted. The main reason was medical resources, or lack their of. Soldiers who were injured and required relief for their wounds, were given morphine, meth, and other opiates. Soldiers who were on a pain management regiment once healed, were not weened off the drugs. Most were sent home or back to the front lines as addicts.

Drug use in World War II is easily the most institutionalized in recorded history. This was especially true for German military. The drug of choice for the German army was a methamphetamine designed to keep soldiers alert and functional for several hours/days. 35 million tablets of methamphetamine were shipped to the army and air force between just April and July 1940 alone. These meth-amphetamines were later banned in 1941 under the Opium Law but despite the ban a shipment of over 10 million tablets was sent to soldiers later that year.

The use of alcohol was also encouraged by the military. Alcohol became a crutch for many of the men serving at the time. This prevalent and habitual use of alcohol led to many otherwise preventable deaths and injuries. Production of bootlegged alcohol became a serious issue as many producers didn’t know the difference between consumable alcohol and methyl alcohol. Men who consumed spirits made with methyl alcohol became blind or succumbed to fatal alcohol poisoning.

Soldiers who experienced intense battle, became addicted to the acute adrenalin rush they would get in the heat of war battles. So once they returned to their lives stateside, it was pretty boring, and they craved that same rush. As a result vets who returned home without a drug addiction often resorted to street drugs to satisfy their need for a high.  Most users were closet users. Most men with addictions you would not know had one. This is because the drug of their choice would bring them to a mental level of which would allow them to act their normal selves. It would be the withdrawal of the drug that would change their personality. Much like during Frank Sinatra’s character’s episode of withdrawal where he told his girlfriend who he loved that he would kill her if she didn’t allow him to exit the room she kept him in to ride out his withdrawal symptoms.

If you have not seen this movie, it is a must see! Even though it is 57 years old it still addresses a situation that is still very real and large part of our civilization today.It is one of my favorite movies starring Sinatra. I believe that this was his best film. So please watch it and send me a comment and let me know what you think.

If you have an addiction to any substance or know someone who is and would like help, please go to www.drugabuse.gov   or www.drugabusehelp.com They have a number of resources and guides to help in your local area. Someone is there to help. Don’t try to take it on by yourself. You are not alone.

Thanks for reading,

Movie Review: Deuce of Spades (2010)

I am always looking for movies to watch that take place during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. I am a huge fan of movies like, American Graffiti, The Sandlot (first one, not the sequel. The sequel sucks), Deuces Wild, Red Dirt Rising, Teen Angel(1989), Cry Baby, and many more. Since I can remember I have been fascinated with anything and everything from those era’s. So because I can only be a part of the 1950’s scene by dressing the style, knowing the history, treating people with respect, kindness, and any other form of attitude that would be representative to how people treated each other during the atomic era (1950’s) this is why I watch movies that take place during these eras to help transport me into that time period. I recently was browsing the H.A.M.B. (Hokey Ass Message Board, just a forum for true hot rod enthusiasts.) and I clicked on a post that was published by an owner of a Drive in Movie theater that wanted “car movie” suggestions. These are some of their suggestions:

  • American Graffiti
  • Two Lane Black Top
  • Vanishing Point
  • The Car
  • Christine
  • Road to Boniville
  • California Kid
  • Return to Macon CCounty
  • Corvette Summer
  • Devil at your feet
  • Hollywood Knights
  • Deuce of Spades

I have heard of and watched most of those movies. Although the Deuce of spades I have never heard of nor seen. So I found it and popped it in the DVD player with low expectations as it seemed to be a low budget Independent film. Most independent films that I have seen didn’t impress me and so I was apprehensive about the plot, and the quality of cars and film locations. So I hit play. I was captivated the minute it started. It is an amazing movie, wonderful story, and amazing cars. Although the actors are not famous, the fresh new faces is a great way to keep the audience at full attention as if they had cast well known actors you could be distracted by remembering or thinking about what movie the main character was in. But since these characters are not in the spot light this allows you to focus on the story.

The synopsis via IMDB.com:

When a hot rod girl finds a mysterious letter dating back to the fifties hidden in her roadster, she is left with nothing but questions… She sets out to find the answers and retrace her deuce’s troubled past. Who is Johnny Callaway? But will learning the truth make a difference and can a broken man ever get a second chance at a happiness long forgotten? Fast hot rods, cool cats, gravity defying swing dancing and rockin’ retro music all serve as a colorful backdrop to this heartfelt, inspiring story. Discover an underground scene where counter culture is in, old school is cool and nostalgia forever reigns. Written by Faith Granger.

Now for the review:

Deuce of Spades is a hand crafted piece of art. This is a car movie, but it actually has character development, a plot, high craftsmanship, and a meaningful message which will extend its appeal far beyond the typical car movie crowd.

All the characters in this movie are fully three dimensional characters that evolve and change before the audience’s eyes. They do not fall into the stereotypical categories associated with many movie characters, and show true real-life emotion, strength, and weakness. The well thought out plot keeps the audience emotionally involved with all of the characters, while giving both the character and audience room to grow. All while the plot twists create a true need to understand the characters and know the truth about the Deuce.

The quality of Deuce of Spades is also fantastic. The cinematography is very nicely done; using lots of natural light that helps showcase all of the stars of this film, especially the cars. The scenery and locations are also well chosen, and add a realistic back drop for story development. All the vehicles were period correct and added realism to the story. I personally like the use of the TRI fives, 1955, 1956, 1957 Chevrolets, as a way to mark the passage of time.

This movie will naturally mean something different to each and every person who sees it, but it does get many messages across relating to the essence and feelings of love, rebellion, pride, passion, fear, and destiny. It is these messages along with the powerful emotions of the characters and decent acting that sets this film apart.

Deuce of Spades is much better than most of the movies put out by Hollywood, and stays with you long after the credits have finished. The meaningful feelings that this movie impresses upon an individual should be done by all Hollywood movies. Simply put; most other movies get their doors blown off by the Deuce of Spades.

So please if you get the chance, put this movie on your cue of films to watch. It is an overall great movie packed full of nostalgia, moral lessons, twists, and a feel good feeling at the end. You will enjoy this movie no matter if you like the 1950’s or enjoy the 1990’s. It is one of those movies that you just can’t help but get involved with the emotions of the characters. Here is a sneak peak of the movie. Both Videos are trailers from when the movie was being promoted. Enjoy:

Above: Faith, who is the director and also plays the kiwi hot rod girl

Please feel free to leave your comments about the movie as I am sure you will enjoy this great movie as much as I do.

Bonus videos (who remembers these?):

Thanks for reading,


We have hit the 150th post!

Today we have reached a milestone. Today’s post is officially the 150th entry that I have posted on Vividly Vintage. A lot has happened since I started this blog. I did not think that it would be this popular. I originally started this blog just to share my thoughts about all things retro and nostalgic. I have met so many great people who have visited my blog. I love the comments and feedback that I receive. And a special thank you to all of my subscribers.  Lets take a look back on the top 10 most popular articles made popular by you, the viewers.

1. To all who currently serve and or have served our country, this is for you. (click here to view this article)

In this article I just decided to write a thank you to all veterans world wide. It was chosen as the top freshly pressed on wordpress.com which ended up giving me huge amount of traffic that day. A total of 2196 visitors came to Vividly Vintage on November 11, 2010 with a total of 56 comments. It was fun watching the traffic stats rise so far from my normal amount of visitors. Thank you for all who came to my site that day, as it was special to me because it memorialized my family members (Both my grand fathers and my Uncle Larry). It was the memorial that they should of had when they were alive, although it was still great to see them memorialized in this way.

2. Norconian Resort Supreme, California’s most beautiful unused resort (Click here to read this article)

The article on the Norconian Resort Supreme was an instant hit with the viewers and it even allowed former employees of the resort that were at there when it was used as a military facility to get in touch with each other in the comments. It made me feel good as I was bringing old friends together again; one of the things that was unexpected that the blog provided for both myself and the readers.

3. Hat Works By Paul (Click here to read this article)

pauls_hats51

“In a time where traditions have disintegrated, where people avoid eye contact on the streets and where heads remain barren and cold, four women have set out on an adventure to revive tradition, to unify the people, and to “Bring the Hat Back.”

Hat works by Paul is a local business that makes hats in the old style and sells them. When I wrote about them, I had not started my “Retro Retailers List” at that time. Although it was articles like this that led me to the idea of the retro retailer concept. Which after I started my list, readers flocked in by the hundreds which inspired me to dedicate one whole week to just retro retailers.

4. Playland at the beach (Click here to read this article)

I have always been fascinated with Playland. I can and listen to stories of visits to playland all day that my Grand Father tells. I got so many comments on this article that are from people that have happy memories of the beach side park. It was especially nice to read a comment that was written by a lady named Gail, she wrote:

“Met up with some girl friends that I have known since I was in 2nd grade; I am now 61. Thought we’d all get together to cheer up one of us that was just diagnosed with cancer, and the Playland at the Beach was in our topic of conversation. We all grew up in South San Francisco, not too far from Playland, and spent a few birthday parties at the Fun House. We all sat around and laughed today about our experiences; the ride that really brings laughter to me was the record! Thanks for putting this on the net.”

Her comment was so touching it brought tears to my eyes. I really never thought an article that I would write would bring so much joy to one person. Just made me feel great. Made me thankful that I started this blog. If it can bring one person joy, it is worth it to me.

5. Rosie the Riveter (Click here to read this article)

My grandmother worked in the factories in Oakland helping build planes. I never got the chance to talk to her about it unfortunately. When I wrote this article I had found photos that were from the Library of Congress. Color photos of the factory workers during WWII. These photos are amazing.

6. “Aluminum Overcast” B-17G WWII Veteran (Click here to read this article)

Jeff and I had the chance to visit and tour a B17 named “Aluminum Overcast” It was so amazing to see. When we boarded the plane, we were instantly brought back into time. You could hear big band music being played in the cockpit, it was like I was back in 1942. This giant of a plane, looks so amazing when it is in the air. It makes you wonder how something that big can stay in the air.If you ever get the chance to view this great plane, you should for sure tour it. When we were aboard, we got to talk to the pilot, get into the nose, and see how cramped that it was for those brave souls that flew over the clouds during WWII.

7. Retro Retailer #2 (Click here to read this article)

Even though this is the second retro retailer, it became popular for some reason. I believe because of some of the retro items that I highlighted and showcased. Either way this was the first Retro Retailer article that became popular and it also was the one that inspired me to continue with more. Finding these retailers is not the easiest thing in the world though.

8. Bonnie and Clyde (Click here to read this article)

I originally wrote this article because I wanted to showcase and share the location of the Bonnie and Clyde Car. Which turned into a history lesson on who the couple was and how they became a part of history. For some reason, it is one of the most searched topics on my website. I am not sure why but it is. It is for sure an interesting part of history.

9. Tear Drop Trailers Rise in Popularity (Click here to read this article)

I wrote this article to learn more about the tear drop trailers and how to build one. I want to build one to go with my 55 Chrysler. I found so many different styles and vintages. They were so popular in the 30’s thru the early 60’s then it went somewhat silent. I noticed after writing this article that there is a rise in popularity. There are companies that are popping up that are making new versions of the old style tear drops. As well as there are clubs that are growing in size in camping out in these tear drops. Sounds like fun.

10. 1951 L.A. Architectual masterpiece “Shusett House” planned to be demolished (Click here to read this article)

It was a sad day for architecture enthusiasts of the modern style. This wonderful example of 1950’s Hollywood Style luxury was unfortunately torn down because “the owner decided the house did not suit his needs” It has since been completely removed. Sad.. it was a beautiful house and an awesome example of 1950’s architecture.

____________________________________

So that concludes the top ten articles from the 150 that I have posted. Thank you all so much for visiting my website, commenting, and subscribing to the site. It is not easy to find material to write about but with readers like you, it makes it fun to find things to write about. I hope to make it to the next mile marker with even more interesting, intriguing, and captivating articles. I have a FLIP video camera and I have yet to use it. So that is one thing that is in the near future for future articles. Thank you so much for your loyalty as readers. If there is anything that you wish to share with me that you feel that I think I can write about, please email me at skrach@vividlyvintage.com

Thanks for reading,

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Retro, Vintage, Passe, Nostalgic, items living new lives

We have all seen the shows on TV such as American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Cash and Cari, and Antique Roadshow. All show Retro, Vintage, Passe, Nostalgic, items being bought and sold which I find very interesting.  I record all of these shows with my DVR. We all watch these shows and we find ourselves interested in the history of the items and enjoy learning about the life of the items. What we don’t think about is where it goes after the sale. In shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars we can often spot items that they have purchased in previous shows in the background on their shelves and display cases. But that doesn’t mean that these items stay on those shelves and collect dust. At some point they will sell and be on their way to a new home. That is what I find interesting. I can spend hours and hours and hours in antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales looking for items that I wish to rescue. I really have a problem haha. I never have collected items to make money. Otherwise it would not be as fun. Most if the items I have were either from my family, or things that I purchased to use or display. Rarely to I buy an Item that I do not plan to use. For example I own a ton of old vinyl records and even though they are really old and fragile, I still play them as they were originally intended to be. I take care of each of my items and I would never compromise the condition, but I do use my items. I have old cameras and I do use them from time to time. I used most of them during my time in my photography class in High School. On these shows each one has a different items that they buy and sell, but they have one thing in common, they all save Retro, Vintage, Passe, Nostalgic items and allow them to live another life, instead of being thrown away after not being noticed at an estate sale, or someone not knowing the value of that item. Everything has a value to someone. I have seen collections that range from simple common PEZ Dispensers to Maytag washing machines. So before you throw out anything, please check ebay to see if they have the item listed so you can see the demand, and also the cost of the item. Although even though there is only one listed on ebay this may not mean that there is a demand for it. As well as if there is a few of the item listed and one is selling for $1000 and the others are selling for $20 this does not reflect a true value. Just like auto auctions that are televised their prices are inflated. For example, I have seen a 1976 Ford Pinto sell on the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction on the Speed Channel for a jaw dropping $12,650. Which is outrageous. Especially for a car that sold new for just under $2000 and was meant to be a fix to the gas crisis, just like Toyota Prius’s are today. You can view the Pinto here “The 12,000 Pinto”

If you don’t have cable or have not see either of these shows, I will explain what each show is about.

Pawn Stars: (synopsis from Wikipedia) An American reality television series on the History Channel, produced in Manhattan by Leftfield Pictures. The series is filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it chronicles the daily activities at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business operated by patriarch Richard Harrison, his son Rick Harrison (who opened the shop with his father in 1988), and Rick’s son Corey, who has worked there since childhood, and who is being groomed to one day take over the shop. The show debuted on July 26, 2009, and it usually airs on Mondays at 10pm Eastern Time. Two new episodes usually premiere in an hour block on Mondays. Reruns can be seen on History as well as Lifetime, which added the show in December 2010.

The series depicts the staff’s interactions with customers, who bring in a variety of artifacts to sell or pawn and who are shown haggling over the price and discussing its historical background, with narration provided by Rick, Corey, and Richard, who is known as “The Old Man”. The series also follows the interpersonal conflicts between Richard, Rick, Corey, and Corey’s friend Austin “Chumlee” Russell, another employee of the shop. One reviewer referencing these conflicts described the show as a version of Antiques Roadshow “hijacked by American Chopper’s” Teutul family. TV Guide has offered a similar description, calling the show “one part Antiques Roadshow, a pinch of LA Ink and a dash of COPS“.

Numerous local experts in a variety of areas also regularly appear to appraise the items being sold or pawned, one of whom, Rick Dale of Rick’s Restorations, is the star of the series’ first spin-off, American Restoration, which premiered in October 2010

American Pickers: (synopsis from Wikipedia) The show follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who have known each other since junior high school as they travel around the greater Midwestern United States as well as the eastern and southern U.S. in a Mercedes Sprinter, buying antiques and collectibles. They work with Danielle Colby-Cushman, who runs the office of their business, Antique Archaeology, from their home base in Le Claire, Iowa and attempts to track down potential sellers.

Wolfe and Fritz explore people’s homes, barns, sheds, and other outbuildings, and other places where they have collected antiques and collectibles. They call upon casual collectors, hoarders and, occasionally, people who have inherited overwhelming collections of apparent junk. Wolfe, who has been “picking” since age four,  has a particular interest in antique motorcycles, old bicycles and penny-farthings, while Fritz has a fondness for antique toys, antique oil cans, and old Hondas. They have purchased old advertisements and commercial signage, film posters, a rare 15-gallon visible gasoline pump, and a Piaggio Ape (similar to a Vespa Motor Scooter) that one of their friends told them is probably the only one of its kind in North America.

Photo Copyright: http://www.TVguide.com

Cash and Cari: A new reality series Cash & Cari, featuring antiques and collectibles enthusiast Cari Cucksey. For those of you who love potentially valuable old things, Cash & Cari is probably the show for you. The series, which premiered on January 2nd on HGTV, follows Cari Cucksey as she digs through her client’s basements and attics in the hopes of finding items of value. The episodes will follow her search for treasure and her attempts to sell the things she does come across at estate sales.

There is so many shows that I really get into but these are the main shows that I watch regularly. Some of the items that drop into their hands are amazing. Items that range from a book from Sir Isaac newton’s personal library, rare toys, antique firearms, and vintage collectibles. I am very happy that they have shows like this that help engage the younger generations into items that are Retro, Vintage, Passe, and Nostalgic. Older items are now considered “cool” to the younger crowds to where typically these items would be considered old junk. Although on the flip side of that, just like the auto auctions, it drives the prices up as people think that because they have an item that is similar to an item shown on either one of these shows that its worth a million dollars. So it does make things a little harder to afford, although again on the flip side of that, it does make my items worth more too. So if you get the chance to see these shows you can catch these shows at the following times and channels:

(Click on a show below to view their website for more info)

American Pickers: History Channel – On Mondays @ 6:00 PM

Pawn Stars: History Channel – On Mondays @ 7:00 PM & 7:30PM

Cash andCari: HGTV (Home and Garden TV) – On Monday’s (check HGTV for times)

I hope you all enjoy these shows while they are on. As we all know that the interest with Retro, Vintage, Passe, and Nostalgic items does come and go just as these shows will eventually be out of the spotlight of the public’s interest.

Thanks for reading,

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Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 12:59 AM  Comments (1)  
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Predicta TV Reproductions by Telstar


I ran across this website while looking for material to write about. I have always been a fan of the Predicta futuristic styled Television Sets. My first TV that I can remember from my childhood (being born in the 1980’s) was a RCA and it was in a wooden console. Those as you look back look so dated to that time period and very few products have the actual flair to keep up with the times. Although, a lot of the 1950’s style products do, whether it be appliances, furniture, lighting, and or art. I believe that it is because of the influence of the US Space program, interest in space exploration and the future that inspired designers to look to the future for styles. I for one can only imagine the amount of intrigue that must have been going through the heads of both children and adults alike during that time period. With so much unknown and so much at stake, it really was an exiting time.  During this time the styles of household items took an interesting stylish turn.


The Philco Predicta is a television made in several models by the Philco company in the late 1950s. It is arguably the most iconic television set in existence and is to most people the “classic” 1950s TV set — although with its trademark detached picture tube, it couldn’t be more atypical of an early television set.

Many Predictas were produced for the Holiday Inn hotel chain, but the design was considered too radical by everyday consumers, and many sets languished at television dealers. Slow sales, lack of a color model and very poor reliability eventually drove Philco into bankruptcy and sale in 1960.

Due in part to their outrageously 1950s styling and rarity of working examples, they are now highly sought-after collectibles. They have been featured many times in movies, TV, and music videos. Telstar acquired the rights to the name and now produces brand new sets with larger, color screens and modern internal electronics.


So if you are interested in purchasing a “new but old” TV set, you must direct yourself to their website (www.predicta.com) and pick one out and contact info@predicta.com

All I know is I want one! I need one in the worst way!

Thanks for reading,

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Bring’n in the new year swing’n

Just a small bit of the fun. Aboard the USS Hornet. This was the last dance around 1:00am and I had the great idea of taking video of it. I have plenty of more videos I will try to get uploaded. I am now a new owner of a Flip video camera so lots of great footage to come. Here is just a taste of the new year festivaties. I hope you all had a safe, fun and joyful new years.

Thanks for reading,

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Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM  Comments (2)  
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The legend who hates water

I have always loved W.C. Fields quotes, but it has only been recently that I discovered his acting and strange antics. He was known for his comical quotes and philosophy. Here are some of my favorite quotes from W.C.:

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
W. C. Fields

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.
W. C. Fields

Anyone who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.
W. C. Fields

Children should neither be seen or heard from – ever again.
W. C. Fields

Don’t worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live.
W. C. Fields

I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.
W. C. Field

I like children – fried.
W. C. Fields

I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.
W. C. Fields

I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes.
W. C. Fields

I never drink water. I’m afraid it will become habit-forming.
W. C. Fields

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.
W. C. Fields

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.
W. C. Fields

Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.

W. C. Fields

If you do not know who W.C. Fields is, here is a little bit of his background.

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields created a comic persona: a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children, and women.

The characterization he portrayed in films and on radio was so strong it became generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the movie-studio publicity departments at Fields’s studios (Paramount and Universal) and further established by Robert Lewis Taylor’s 1949 biography W.C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes. Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields’s letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields’s book W.C. Fields by Himself, it has been shown that Fields was married (and subsequently estranged from his wife), and he financially supported their son and loved his grandchildren.

However, Madge Evans, a friend and actress, told a visitor in 1972 that Fields so deeply resented intrusions on his privacy by curious tourists walking up the driveway to his Los Angeles home that he would hide in the shrubs by his house and fire BB pellets at the trespassers’ legs.

Early years

W.C. at age 15

Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield in Darby, Pennsylvania. His father, James L. Dukenfield, was from an English-Irish Catholic family that emigrated to America from Sheffield, England in 1854. James Dukenfield served in Company M of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War and was wounded in 1863. Fields’s mother, Kate Spangler Felton, 15 years younger than her husband, was a Protestant of German ancestry. The 1876 Philadelphia City Directory lists James Dukenfield as a clerk. After marrying, he worked as an independent produce merchant and a part-time hotel-keeper.

Claude Dukenfield (as he was known) worked at the Strawbridge and Clothier department store and in an oyster house, before he left home at age 18 (not 11, as many biographies have said). At age 15, he had begun performing a juggling act at church and theater shows, and entered vaudeville as a “tramp juggler” using the name W. C. Fields. He soon was traveling as ‘The Eccentric Juggler’, and included amusing asides and increasing amounts of comedy into his act, becoming a headliner in North America and Europe. In 1906 he made his Broadway debut in a musical comedy, The Ham Tree.

Fields embellished stories of his youth, but his home seems to have been a reasonably happy one. His family supported his ambitions for the stage, and saw him off on the train for his first stage tour. His father visited him for two months in England, when Fields was performing there in music halls.

Fields was known among his friends as “Bill”. Edgar Bergen also called him Bill in the radio shows (while Charlie McCarthy called him many names). Fields played himself in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, and his ‘niece’ called him “Uncle Bill”. In one scene he introduced himself: “I’m W.C., uh, Bill Fields.” When he was portrayed in films as having a son, he often named the character “Claude”, after his own son. He was sometimes billed in England as “Wm. C. Fields”, due to “W.C.” being the British slang for a water closet. His public use of initials was a commonplace formality of the era in which he grew up. “W.C. Fields” also fit more easily onto a marquee than “W.C. Dukenfield”.

Fields and alcohol

Fields’s screen character was often fond of alcohol and this trait has become part of the Fields legend. In his younger days as a juggler, Fields himself never drank, because he didn’t want to impair his functions while performing. The loneliness of his constant touring and traveling, however, compelled Fields to keep liquor on hand for fellow performers, so he could invite them to his dressing room for companionship and cocktails. Only then did Fields cultivate a fondness for alcohol.

A memorable quote regarding alcohol is attributed to Fields. He allegedly said he never drank water because “fish fuck in it.” Fields expressed his feelings to Gloria Jean (playing his niece) in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: “I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, Dear. She drove me to drink. That’s the one thing I am indebted to her for.”

On movie sets, Fields kept handy a vacuum flask of mixed martinis, which he referred to as his “pineapple juice”. One day a prankster switched the contents of the flask, filling it with actual pineapple juice. Upon discovering the prank, Fields was heard to yell, “Who put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?!” (A variation of the story substitutes “lemonade”. However, a young Phil Silvers, who appeared with Fields in Tales of Manhattan, witnessed a similar incident on the set; in his 1973 autobiography This Laugh Is on Me, Silvers confirms that “pineapple juice”, not “lemonade”, was the euphemism Fields employed.)

In 1936 Fields became gravely ill, his health worsened by his heavy drinking. Fields’s film series came to a halt while he recovered; he made one last film for Paramount, The Big Broadcast of 1938. The comedian’s all-around cussedness kept other producers away, and Fields was professionally idle until he made his debut on radio. By then Fields was very sick and suffering from delirium tremens.

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Here are some great videos of W.C. Fields doing what he does best, making people laugh at the simple things:

He really was a national treasure. He was very brutal and anti water. He really had his routines down. I really enjoy watching his juggling and his other stage acts. Some of it is truly amazing.  I am sure there are alot more videos on youtube so if you like what you seen on here, check out youtube to see what else is out there. He is truly something everyone can enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

Dinner and a movie

When you hear the word Drive In, you think of two things.

1: Drive in Movies

2: Drive in car hops

Growing up I remember the local foster freeze’s, Union city drive in movies, and the capitola drive in movies.

Most of the Drive in movies are gone now, with expensive ticket pricing, large in door seating theaters that have a concession stand menu larger than the menu at Mc Donalds establishments.  Going to the drive in movies was a very unique experience. There is only one theater that I know of that is still in operation, it is located in Capitola CA. As you may know from reading my blogs, I love diners too. Diners with out door parking spaces that you can state your order via a little speaker box and then wait for your food arrive via the girl on roller skates. I have always thought that it would be fun to own a diner or drive in. I am sure that if I was able to have a car hop diner, the liability would be if someone fell while delivering food on their roller skates.

Sonic Burger is a business that has been around since the early 1950’s and is still open today. It is a decent size franchise chain. The next car hop/drive in that I am going to talk about is not a chain but rather the simple mom and pop shop eatery called “Heights Drive In”

Here is the story about the conservation effort from a couple who are really keeping the nostalgia flowing.

Residents in and around Dearborn Heights who are longing for the good old days of the drive-in, car hops, good food and great milkshakes have a new “home.”

On Tuesday, Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko will join city officials, local business owners, and members of the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) for the grand opening of the Heights Drive-In, located at 5152 S. Beech Daly. The long-ago home of another drive in, the building was recently purchased by the husband-wife team of Ben and Nicole Walling who, through major interior and exterior renovations, are bringing the restaurant back to the era when drive-ins were “the place to go.”
“It’s great to see this long-time landmark brought back to life” Paletko commented. “Many of us have fond memories of heading down Beech Daly and spending time at the drive-in. A lot of us are now looking forward to many more enjoyable visits there.”
A classic car owner himself, Paletko was particularly pleased to learn the restaurant will play host to some classic car shows this summer. “I’ll be there” he said. In addition to traditional dining room service, the restaurant also features curbside service by car hops for those who long for the “good old days” of drive-in service.

Co-owner Nicole Walling, a 15-year veteran of the food industry, comes with extensive restaurant management experience. Backed by a master’s degree in restaurant management, she worked in several restaurants throughout Michigan before deciding to – along with husband and former GM employee, Ben – open their own place.

“We like to cook” she commented, “and we have some great recipes of our own we have added to the menu.”
The menu includes a variety of items, ranging from the simple to the complex.
“Our day starts with breakfast, which we serve until 11 a.m.. The rest of the day we have everything from home-made chili, to fried chicken, to a great selection of burgers, to deep-fried hot dogs and polish sausage. Since we are using our own chili recipe,” she grinned, “We don’t call them chili dogs. In here, they’re known as Walling Dogs. We also have a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich that is the best you’ll find, along with a big selection of ice cream products — ranging from inexpensive things like pre-packaged drumsticks and other novelty items, to full-service ice cream parlor items, like sundaes and a 24-ounce milkshake. We’re hoping the restaurant – in addition to providing regular meals – will be a place neighborhood families can visit in the evenings for an ice cream treat.”
The restaurant will soon have outdoor benches that will allow customers to stop by and enjoy their ice cream in the open air.
In addition to designing a menu with a wide range of offerings, the Wallings also kept their selections attractive to the cost-conscious.
“We know it’s tight out there” she explained. “And because of that, we made sure our products were affordable. We want to make sure even those on a tight budget can come in, have a good meal, and enjoy themselves.”
While the Wallings are bringing back the “old-time” flavor of the drive-in, they have also added a few modernizations, including televisions and free WiFi service for their patrons.

The Heights Drive in is open seven days a week: Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is located at 5152 S. Beech Daly Road, just north of Van Born.

Like I had mentioned earlier, I remember the Union City drive in’s like it was yesterday. The entrance had these golden arches that always reminded me of Mc Donalds. They had closed down in 1998 and after being leveled and torn down, they placed a huge strip mall on the former drive in location. The strip mall is ironically furnished with a 25 screen movie theater. Here is a little bit of the history of this wonderful drive in.

Gone but never forgotten…

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Before Union Landing came along, it was the home of the Union City Drive-In Theatre.

Located at Alvarado and Highway 880, The Union City Drive-In was a source of pride for our city when the curtain first rose in l966. Its six screens were more than any other nearby theater had, and its huge, red and white marquee served as a massive welcome sign to the city.

In March 1998, after 32 years, the Drive-In closed. The event was marked by a farewell gala billed as “The Last Picture Show”; showing classics including the l957 movie “I was a Teenage Frankenstein.” The theme for the evening was the 50’s heydays of drive-in theaters. Local classic car clubs brought their cars to set the mood. Other shown that evening were: “Rio Bravo” with John Wayne and Dean Martin, “Go Johnny Go” with Richie Valens, and “Invasion of the Saucer Men” a B movie from 1959.

union city drive-in2.jpgClosing the Union City Drive-In was like destroying the American dream. Watching a movie in a car under the stars in Union City is now history. A mix of high land prices and commercialization drove the Union City Drive-in out.

This photo of the top Union City Drive-In was captured by Alex Vosicka, on the 22nd of August 1998.  All aspects with the exception of 1 screen and a lot of memories, had been totally bulldozed into the dumpster of Oblivion.

When I went down south to LA, I noticed that there are still a few of the Drive in movies plex’s still around. Most of them are utilized as flea markets, and or other business’s like used car sales. In the mid west and east coast some of the old drive in’s are just abandoned.. which is sad. I think that it is really sad to see an establishment that once brought happiness, laughter, and an escape from everyday life, just sit there and slowly be dilapidated and eventually unusable. Here are a few shots of some that are in need of repair and or need some love and tlc.



Movie theaters, drive in movies, and car hops are a great piece of Americana. When you see any kind of old building, don’t say “what a dump”. You should look into saving these road side icons. The kids of today are going to be asking what drive in movies were, and if we do not save them it will become an extinct attraction that the kids of today won’t be able experience.

Thanks for reading,

Local finds and inharentance

Store located at: 16716 East 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94578-2404 (510) 276-8591‎

So we have aquired a new slot machine. It’s a bally’s 5 cent machine that you can bet 5 lines to up your odds of winning. So we now have a total of 7 machines. 6 slot machines and 1 pachinko machine. All we are missing is a juke box (which I am on the prowl for) and a pool table (which we have no room for)

Before we got the new nickel machine, we paid a visit to one of the 2 local slot machine / game room stores.  We didn’t find a slot machine that we wanted. I was chatting with the owner of which is maybe in his 50’s, and at one time was in the Bay Bomber’s Roller derby team.

Anyhow upon a conversation about different things that I collect, he brought out 2 boxes. It was a Polaroid Land Camera Model 95, the first commercially sold self developing camera system. These cameras were manufactured and sold between 1948 and 1953. The early first 300,000 cameras had a spring arm with a red marker located directly above the lens which was used to find the center of the photo scene or subject you wish to shoot.  The first 300,000 had the spring arm, all others after that had a solid metal arm. The kit i bought from him came with the flash gun, bulbs, light meter, old unopened roll film, 3d glasses, and the original boxes for all.

I went back the following week, and took a more detailed look around. I bought a bunch of 78 rpm record albums. I got some super old ones with Benny Goodman, Nak King Cole, and Jimmy Durante. While browsing around, I seen this really odd looking camera. Almost looked like a spy camera.

The Whittaker Micro 16 is smaller than a pack of cigarettes at 71 x 51 x 23.5 mm (2 ¾” x 1″ x 2″) yet this all metal subminiature is heavy at 238g (8 3/8oz). Made in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California by the Wm. R. Whittaker Co. Ltd from 1947 into the ’50’s. The firm was owned by William and Robert Whittaker and had been a maker of aircraft parts. The camera was designed to fit into a cigarette wrapper and profit from the mystique of the Kodak-X matchbox camera. Hundreds where sold it police departments and detective bureaus throughout the United States.

The Whittaker Micro 16 was a subminiature camera for 16mm film cartridges. It was sized like a deck of cards. .It was made by Wm. R. Whittaker, Ltd. in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California since 1946. It had a built-in reflecting type viewfinder. An optional sports finder was available. Detectives liked that camera since it could be hidden in an empty cigarette wrapper.

They also made accessories for the Whittaker Micro 16 camera such as a flash, carrying case, and film frame viewer:

My Grandfather gave me his old 8mm Movie camera made by Yashika. Alot of our old home movies were filmed using this camera. This is my second movie camera. The other I bought on ebay some time back, which you can view the article here:

1950’s Kodak Movie Camera (Ebay Find)

Here is the Movie Camera that my grandfather gave me:

Here a the photos from above plus more detailed shots:

If you have any old cameras and would like to get rid of them or sell them please contact me at Skrach@VividlyVintage.com

Photographers are still using these old medium format cameras. You just can’t get the patina that these cameras give the photos without using a program to make the photos look vintage. If you need any info on any older cameras please email me. I may be able to help you with using the camera, and or finding film, parts etc.

I am always looking for old cameras. I am on the hunt for movie cameras made by DeVry. Yes the same devry that is a tech school. When DeVry first started the company was making cameras. They were the first to make a movie camera with sound intregrated. If you know of any cameras please email me also.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 8:58 PM  Comments (2)  
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The Rocketeer Flies again

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The late, great Dave Stevens drew comic book characters that rocketed right off the page. I was reminded of that when I got a look at a very special new book from IDW Publishing that has just gone on sale and will be available for pick-up at Comic-Con International in San Diego in July. Here’s the cover to this massive, black-and-white hardcover edition called “Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition“…

The Rocketeer is a superhero created by writer/illustrator Dave Stevens. The character first appeared in 1982 and is a homage to the pulp heroes of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jet pack that allows him to fly. His adventures are set in 1938 Los Angeles, and Stevens gave them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men movie serial, the syndicated Commando Cody TV series (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page.

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In 1991, The Rocketeer was released as a feature film by Walt Disney Pictures and was directed by Joe Johnston. Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens has a small cameo in the movie. He is the German test pilot who is killed when the Nazis’ version of a rocket backpack explodes during its take-off sequence. This is a part of the smuggled black-and-white film footage showing the Nazis’ top secret rocket backpack tests.

I seen the movie that was made in 1991 and I was mesmerized by it. Looking back, I can see the reason — Steven had a polished storytelling and stylized, retro flair that made his comics look very different than the cosmic spandex stuff that Marvel and DC was churning out in 1982, and more than that there seem to be a sort of spirited joy and humor in every panel or every page. Like raiders of the lost ark, this was a hero from a simpler time, but for me that only deepened the allure.

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Stevens died in 2008 after a grim battle with leukemia. He was only 55. His career as an illustrator took him well beyond comic books and often intersected with Hollywood — he worked in comic strips (he inked Russ Manning’s work on “Star Wars,” for instance), animation (he did storyboards for Hanna-Barbera’s “Super Friends” and “The Godzilla Power Hour“), and film (he was part of the storyboard art team for “Raiders of the Lost Ark“).

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The original issues of the comic was in vivid in color, but this new edition really lets devoted fans of Stevens see his original artwork on the page in a way that makes it even more impressive. The original uncolored artwork was scanned in color here, allowing readers to see the paste-up work. The definition of talent is when the impossible is made to look easy; this new archival collection makes it easier for devotees to see a bit of the labor that was needed to make these breezy adventures flow with such charm.

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“The Rocketeer” made it to the film screen in 1991 in a Walt Disney film that starred Bill Campbell, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton and the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly, who certainly delivered on the Stevens glamour-girl ideal. Stevens was a big fan of pin-up icon Bettie Page and his female characters were always informed by her as well, I suspect, by the Max Fleischer version of Lois Lane and the women who inhabited Will Eisner’sThe Spirit.”

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“The Rocketeer” film was beloved by many (I’m a fan myself) but not a great commercial success. Still, the director of the film, Joe Johnston, had worked as art director on “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and his flair for vintage action heroes left an impression on people; in fact, right he’s in London doing pre-production on “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which he will direct. The movie will be set in the 1940s and everyone involved would be smart to revisit the work of Stevens and his rollicking “Rocketeer” — it’s still a high-flying, heroic success story with a retro soul.

This is a great series and would love to see a new movie of the Rocketeer. I have always found myself super attentive to movies set in the era of innovations, the 1930’s and 1940’s. And this one being a vintage air plane related series grabbed me even closer. If you would like to get a copy of the new reissue you can go to: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 10:48 PM  Comments (1)  
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