December 1941: The December to Remember

As we are healing from the over eating and family bickering we enter into December. For myself and many others from my generation (Generation Y) born during the 1980’s, December represents the beginning of the Christmas season, countdown to Christmas gifts, and days off of school for Christmas vacation. But for a few generations before us December means so much more. For some it is a chilling reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii happened on December 7, 1941 in the early morning around 8:00AM. Sailors aboard the various ships docked in the harbor were waking and beginning to start their day in paradise. Their daily duties were abruptly disrupted by the sound of explosions and fire.

The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.

The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but two of the eight were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8 ) the United States declared war on Japan.

In the wake of the attack, 15 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Stars, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Stars were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor. Additionally, a special military award, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, was later authorized for all military veterans of the attack.

The day after the attack, Roosevelt delivered his famous Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress, calling for a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan. Congress obliged his request less than an hour later. On December 11 Germany and Italy, honoring their commitments under the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the United States. The Tripartite Pact was an earlier agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan which had the principal objective of limiting U.S. intervention in any conflicts involving the three nations. The United States Congress issued a declaration of war against Germany and Italy later that same day. Britain actually declared war on Japan nine hours before the US did, partially due to Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, and partially due to Winston Churchill’s promise to declare war “within the hour” of a Japanese attack on the United States.

The attack was an initial shock to all the Allies in the Pacific Theater. Further losses compounded the alarming setback. Japan attacked the Philippines hours later (because of the time difference, it was December 8 in the Philippines). Only three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk off the coast of Malaya, causing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later to recollect “In all the war I never received a more direct shock. As I turned and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked”.

Throughout the war, Pearl Harbor was frequently used in American propaganda.

One further consequence of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath (notably the Niihau Incident) was that Japanese American residents and citizens were relocated to nearby Japanese-American internment camps. Within hours of the attack, hundreds of Japanese American leaders were rounded up and brought to high-security camps such as Sand Island at the mouth of Honolulu harbor and Kilauea Military Camp on the island of Hawaii. Later, over 110,000 Japanese Americans, including United States citizens, were removed from their homes and transferred to internment camps in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas. The Japanese planners had determined that some means of rescuing fliers whose aircraft were too badly damaged to return to the carriers was required. The island of Niihau, only 30 minutes flying time from Pearl Harbor, was designated as the rescue point.

The Zero flown by Petty Officer Saikaijo of Hiryu was damaged in the attack on Wheeler, and he flew to the rescue point on Niihau. The aircraft was further damaged on landing, and Saikaijo was helped from the wreckage by one of the native Hawaiian inhabitants. The island’s residents had no telephones or radio and were completely unaware of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The pilot’s maps and other documents had been retained by his local rescuers, and when Saikaijo realized this he enlisted the support of the only two Japanese residents of the island in an attempt to recover them. During the ensuing struggles, Saikaijo was killed, one of the Japanese residents committed suicide and the other disappeared.

The ease with which the local Japanese residents apparently went to the assistance of Saikaijo was a source of concern for many, and tended to support those who believed that local Japanese could not be trusted.


Today, the USS Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu honors the lives lost on the day of the attack. Visitors to the memorial access it via boats from the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Alfred Preis is the architect responsible for the memorial’s design. The structure has a sagging center and its ends strong and vigorous. It commemorates “initial defeat and ultimate victory” of all lives lost on December 7, 1941. Although December 7 is known as Pearl Harbor Day, it is not considered a federal holiday in the United States. The nation does however, continue to pay homage remembering the thousands injured and killed when attacked by the Japanese in 1941. Schools and other establishments across the country respectfully lower the American flag to half-staff.

Pearl Harbor was that generations 9/11. We look at 9/11 in the same way that the Americans of that era looked at Pearl Harbor. I am a huge history buff, and I can swear that I am reincarnated from someone who lived during the 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. So on every December 7th I  will always remember and honor those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. I have been on the USS Arizona’s monument and that visit only solidified my overwhelming feelings towards the sad event in history. Aboard the monument it is deafening quiet. It is so amazingly quiet that it feels like another world. You are overcome with such a feeling of loss partly because the of the large list of names chiseled into the marble wall as well as the fact that there still are the remains of sailors locked inside the vessel. It is speculated that the small oily substance seeping from the wreckage is the remains of the sailors who were untimely entombed inside the Arizona during that fateful day.

As we enter December and head towards the day that will live in infamy, I have stories and articles of current events that are related to WWII and the Attack on Pearl Harbor. So as we learn together how WWII and Pearl Harbor is still affecting and touching aspects of our time, please help us keep the memory alive by doing a little research of your own to learn something new about that fateful day. Stay tuned as more articles are to come leading up to December 7th, 70 years after December 1941, The December to Remember.

Thanks for reading,

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Published in: on December 1, 2011 at 3:11 AM  Comments (3)  
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Living in the past: Thanksgiving tradition

We always hear the phrase “Oh, stop living in the past” of which usually is steered towards the fact that someone can not let go of a certain issue or incident. Typically the use of that phrase and the idea of living in the past is associated with a negativity. Many “retro-ist’s” and myself live in the past in a lifestyle sense. My dream has always been to live in a 1950’s house, with an interior stuck in time, and a 50’s or 40’s vintage car leaking oil in the garage. I have a good start on that dream. I live in a house built in 1951, and I have my 1955 Chrysler parked in the garage.

So when I think of why I desire these things and I believe that it is because I was surrounded by family that lived during those times. One of those influential family members was my grand mother on my mom’s side. She started me on some of my favorite traditions.  One of those traditions from my childhood of which is a tradition for many other families throughout the United States, is to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade.We would eat freshly baked Cinnamon rolls and watch the wonderful parade. If you don’t know much about the parade, here is a little history about the wonderful New York tradition.

Felix the cat in 1927

In the 1920s, many of Macy’s department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the United States parade of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.

In 1920, the isex parade (originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade and later the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes.There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then “crowned” “King of the Kiddies.” With an audience of over a quarter of a million people, the parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event.

Large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927 when the Felix the Cat balloon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons.

At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky where they unexpectedly burst. The following year they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy’s.

Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over 1 million lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941, and resumed in 1945 through 1951.

The parade was suspended 1942–1944 during World War II, owing to the need for rubber and helium in the war effort. The parade resumed in 1945 using the route that it followed until 2008. The parade became a permanent part of American culture after being prominently featured in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which shows actual footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was first broadcast on network television in 1948 (see below). By this point the event, and Macy’s sponsorship of it, were sufficiently well-known to give rise to the colloquialism “Macy’s Day Parade”.

Since 1984, the balloons have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, SD.

Macy’s also sponsors the smaller Celebrate the Season Parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, held two days after the main event. Other cities in the US also have parades on Thanksgiving, but they are not run by Macy’s. The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade (the Gimbels parade, now known as 6abc-IKEA) was first held in Philadelphia in 1920. Other cities include the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade of Chicago, Illinois and parades in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and Fountain Hills, Arizona. A parade is also held at the two U.S. Disney theme parks.

New safety measures were incorporated in 2006 to prevent accidents and balloon related injuries. One measure taken was installation of wind measurement devices to alert parade organizers to any unsafe conditions that could cause the balloons to behave erratically. Also, parade officials implemented a measure to keep the balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions. If wind speeds are forecast to be higher than 34 miles per hour, all balloons are removed from the parade.

Balloon Premiers:

2011: Sonic the Hedgehog (2nd Version), Julius (Paul Frank), Tim Burton’s “B”
2010: Greg Heffley, Po from Kung Fu Panda, Virginia O’Hanlon
2009: Pillsbury Doughboy, Sailor Mickey Mouse (4th version), Ronald McDonald (3rd version), Spider-Man (2nd version)
2008: Horton the Elephant, Buzz Lightyear, Smurf
2007: Shrek, Hello Kitty, Abby Cadabby
2006: Pikachu with Poké Ball (2nd version), Energizer Bunny, Flying Ace Snoopy (6th version)
2005: Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo, Healthy Mr. Potato Head, JoJo
2004: SpongeBob SquarePants (character), M&M’s, Chicken Little
2003: (Strike up the Band)Barney (2nd version), Super Grover, Garfield (2nd version)
2002: Kermit the Frog (2nd version), Little Bill, Rich Uncle Pennybags, Charlie Brown
2001: Curious George, Big Bird (2nd version), Jimmy Neutron, Pikachu, Cheesasaurus Rex,
2000: Bandleader Mickey Mouse (3rd version), Ronald McDonald (2nd version), Jeeves, Cassie Dragon Tales
1999: Millennium Snoopy (5th version), Honey Nut Cheerios Bee, Blue’s Clues, Petulia Pig
1998: Babe the Pig, Wild Thing, Dexter
1997: Arthur, Rugrats, Bumpé
1996: Rocky and Bullwinkle (2nd version), Peter Rabbit
1995: Dudley the Dragon, SkyDancer, Eben Bear
1994: Barney the Dinosaur, The Cat in the Hat.
1993: Beethoven (dog), Rex, Sonic the Hedgehog (first video game character in parade history), Izzy
1992: Santa Goofy
1991: Babar the Elephant
1990: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Bart Simpson
1989: Bugs Bunny
1988: Big Bird, Pink Panther, Snoopy (4th version) with Woodstock.
1987: Spider-Man, Ronald McDonald, Snuggle Bear, Skating Snoopy (3rd version), Ice Cream Cone Novelty Balloon
1986: Baby Shamu, Humpty Dumpty, Nestlé Quik Bunny
1985: Betty Boop, Ornament Novelty Balloons
1984: Garfield, Raggedy Ann
1983: Yogi Bear
1982: Olive Oyl with Sweetpea (first female character in parade history), Woody Woodpecker,
1980: Superman (3rd version, largest balloon to appear in parade)
1977: Kermit the Frog
1975: Weeble
1972: Smile (Happy Face), Mickey Mouse (2nd version), Astronaut Snoopy (2nd version, a tribute to Apollo 11)
1968: Aviator Snoopy
1966: Smokey Bear, Superman (2nd version)
1965: Underdog
1964: Linus the Lionhearted
1963: Sinclair Oil Dinosaur, Elsie the Cow
1962: Donald Duck
1961: Bullwinkle J. Moose
1960: Happy Dragon
1957: Popeye
1951: Lucky Pup, Mighty Mouse, Flying fish
1949: Toy soldier
1948: Harold the Fireman (4th version)
1947: Artie The Pirate, Gnome, Harold the Police Officer (3rd version)
1946: Harold the Baseball Player (2nd version)
1945: Harold the Clown (1st version)
1940: Eddie Cantor, one of only two balloons based on a living person or people, The Tin Man
1939: Superman
1938: Uncle Sam
1935: The Marx Brothers (after Zeppo Marx’s departure)
1934: Mickey Mouse
1931: Mama, Papa and Baby
1927: Felix the Cat (Pictured Above)

The Parade has always taken place in Manhattan, one of the Five Boroughs that make up New York City. Originally the parade started from 145th Street in Harlem and ended at Herald Square, a 6-mile route.

In the 1930s, the balloons were inflated in the area of 110th Street and Amsterdam Avenue near St. John the Divine Cathedral. The parade proceeded South on Amsterdam Ave. to 106th Street and turned east. At Columbus Ave. the balloons had to be lowered to go under the 9th Avenue Elevated Subway tracks. Past the tracks, the parade proceeded through 106th street to Central Park West and turned South to terminate at Macy’s Department Store.

A new route was established for the 2009 parade. From 77th Street and Central Park West, the route goes south along Central Park to Columbus Circle, then goes east along Central Park South. The parade then makes a right turn at 7th Avenue and goes south to Times Square. At 42nd Street the parade turns left and goes east, then at 6th Avenue turns right again at Bryant Park. Heading south on 6th Avenue, the parade turns right at 34th Street (Herald Square) and proceeds west to the terminating point at 7th Avenue where the floats are taken down. The 2009 route change eliminated Broadway completely, where the parade has traveled down for decades. The City of New York said that the new route will provide more space for the parade, and more viewing space for spectators. Another reason for implementing the route change is the city’s plan to turn Broadway into a pedestrian-only zone at Times Square. There are plans to eliminate Times Square altogether and reroute the parade down Sixth Avenue for 2011, a move that is being protested by the Times Square BID, Broadway theatre owners and other groups. The move is an effort to enforce some measure of exclusivity for NBC, the parade’s official broadcaster, by moving the parade away from CBS’s studios in Times Square.

It is not advised to view the parade from Columbus Circle, as balloon teams race through it due to higher winds in this flat area.

New York City officials preview the parade route and try to eliminate as many potential obstacles as possible, including rotating overhead traffic signals out of the way.

Things have not gone so smoothly through out the years. Here are a list of incidents:

In 1957, a Popeye the Sailor balloon’s hat filled with rain water during heavy rain, which caused the balloon to go off-course and pour water on the crowd.
In 1985, the Kermit the Frog balloon tore at the stomach. No one was injured.
In 1986, a Raggedy Ann balloon crashed into a lamppost and sent a lamp into the street. The same year, a Superman balloon had its hand torn off by a tree. Neither incident caused any injuries.
In 1993, the Sonic the Hedgehog balloon crashed into a lamppost at Columbus Circle and injured an off-duty police officer.
In 1994, the Barney balloon tore its side on a lamppost, but no one was injured.
In 1995, the Dudley the Dragon balloon that was leading the parade was speared and deflated on a lamppost and showered glass on the crowd below.
In 1997, high winds pushed the Cat in the Hat balloon into a lamppost. The falling debris struck a parade-goer, fracturing her skull and leaving her in a coma for a month. Size rules were implemented the next year, eliminating larger balloons like the Cat in the Hat. The same high winds also caused the New York Police to stab and stomp down the Barney balloon over crowd concerns. They also stabbed a Pink Panther balloon for the same reason. Neither balloon actually caused any injuries.
In 2005, the M&M’s chocolate candies balloon caught on a streetlight in Times Square. Two sisters were struck by falling debris, suffering minor injuries. As a result, new safety rules were introduced. Those rules came in handy for the 2006 parade, as balloons were lowered because of rain and high winds. The M&M’s balloon was retired after 2006, and replaced by a float saluting Broadway theatre and musicals.

There is also a symbolism that happens at the end of the parade. Santa arrives at the end of the parade to bring in the beginning of the Christmas season. It always made me feel festive once Santa arrived.

So every thanksgiving morning I celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season by baking cinnamon rolls and watching the parade. I also continue this tradition in remembrance of my grandma who passed a few years ago, and who though we rarely seen eye to eye, this is one activity that we both enjoyed.

If you wish to watch this year’s parade, it is typically on the local news channels and on at 9am. Here in California it is on channel’s 2 and 5 at 9am. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 4:30 AM  Leave a Comment  

Filming video in 35mm with this new camera

Attention indie music video directors: Your next retro-beautiful visual trend has arrived, courtesy of a little $79 film camera called the LomoKino. Stuff a roll of drugstore-bought 35mm celluloid into this thing (provided your drugstore still sells it), turn the hand crank, and you can make a minute or two of lusciously dreamy footage that’ll put Hipstamatic to shame.
Lomography, the creators of the LomoKino, claim in their press release that “the future is analogue!” They’re kidding themselves–what are you going to do, edit your LomoKino footage with tape and scissors and make it go viral from a bedsheet screening in your garage? But that bygone analogue look is still something that digital filmmaking can’t quite adequately simulate with postproduction filters–so now that you can achieve that look in all its unpredictable glory with a camera as cheap and gorgeous-looking as the LomoKino, why wouldn’t you? Here is an example of what can be shot with this great camera:

Lomography says they “designed this camera as a true compact gadget… [that] takes you straight back into the time when people left the audience screaming because a locomotive was speeding towards them on a movie screen and the movies were still a true business without special effects.” Indeed, this compact little piece of retro eye candy will no doubt be irresistible to the Wes Anderson wannabe in your life. But its compact size and appealingly physical mechanism (it’s a hand crank, remember?) offer tons of opportunity for creative experimentation. And it even comes with a little mini-projector so you can view your developed footage without resorting to digital conversion. The future isn’t likely to be analogue, but maybe the LomoKino can fulfill a parallel niche of its own, one where home movies are personal and intimate again, and instead of seeing your clips polluted with idiotic YouTube comments, you can just watch them with the people you care about. Imagine that.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 12:09 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Covenant of Consecration

Being an American and attending school starts you off with the basics. Learning manners, telling time, basic math, basic social skills, how to appreciate both lunchtime and recess, and how to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Every morning the same routine since first grade, arrive in class, sit down, bell rings, and we recite the Pledge of Allegiance. As I look back now on the earliest days of my scholastic incarceration career, the pledge was just a bunch of words that we were forced to memorize. We were never instructed on the meaning, the history of, or the reason why we recite it every day before the start of class. If you ask any student from 1st grade to 5th grade, chances are they know very little about the Pledge other than how to recite it. A lot of phrases that we frequently say, tend to be overlooked as to what they really mean and or why they are structured the way they are. For example the phrase “if worst comes to worst” means if the worst possible situation will happen..”  but if you think about it, how can worst come to be worst? shouldn’t the phrase be “if best comes to worst”? well this is one phrase that we as english speakers say many times through out our life time but very few of us take the time to analyze it and question why it is structured and stated this way. The same is with the Pledge of Allegiance. We recite it but most of us do not pay attention to what we are saying nor know the history behind the pledge while reciting the 119 year old Covenant phrase.

44 Star Flag (1891-1896)

But the way that we recite it is not how it was written in 1892. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion (a children’s magazine) on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

In its original form it read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

48 Star Flag (1912-1959)

In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist nuclear threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration.

50 Star Flag (1960-Present)

Today (2011) it reads:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Section 4 of the Flag Code states:

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.”

The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who authored the original Pledge, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag.

At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

(excerpt from The Youth’s Companion, 1892)

Shortly thereafter, the pledge was begun with the right hand over the heart, and after reciting “to the Flag,” the arm was extended toward the Flag, palm-down.

An American classroom of students saluting the Flag

Nazi members saluting the Fuhrer (Adolf Hitler)

Adolf Hitler in full salute to his people, during WWII

During World War II, it was noticed that the salute resembled the Nazi salute, so it was quickly changed to where the right hand resides over the heart throughout the articulation.

An American classroom of students saluting the flag and reciting the pledge.

So when you hear the Pledge of Allegiance you now should have a better understanding about it’s words and its meaning. It is interesting how it has evolved through out the years. Even today the passage “under god” is being questioned if it should be an integral part of the pledge as now in current times could possibly be offensive to non-believers of the man upstairs. In my opinion, this nation was founded under the belief of god so I think it should be included regardless just as the “In God we trust” should be a static part of the dollar bills. If you don’t like it, start your own country :). Hopefully this has given you some insight and some info that you may have otherwise not known about our pledge. The other item of our nation that is also overlooked is our national anthem. But that will be another story for another day. For now, I hope you enjoyed learning the history and background of our Pledge of Allegiance. I am proud to be an American and can honestly say I understand the meaning of the pledge. God Bless America!

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on August 27, 2011 at 7:30 AM  Comments (1)  
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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,


NEW WEBSITE: Pop’s 55.com


Hello all!

I have started a new website so I can post progress that will be completed on my 55 Chrysler. You can check the site out by clicking the image above or by going here:

www.Pops55.com

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 12:41 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Disneyland footage via youtube

I am going to Disneyland in about 12 days. I love everything about Disneyland. But most of all I love the history. I love bringing people who have never been to Disneyland as it is so much fun seeing them eyes wide open mouth open with awe and no words to say as they soak it all in. This trip we have four people who have not been to Disneyland. So this will be a very fun filled trip. As their tour guide through Walt’s Magic Kingdom, I will ensure they will get a history lesson as well as one of the best time’s of their lives. Disneyland is a magical place. It gives you a feeling that you will not experience anywhere else. I have been to many theme parks and the only one that urges me to come back is Disneyland. The feeling you get when you cross under the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad and enter town square is completely indescribable. It is something that keeps you coming back for more. I am always looking for old footage from when Disneyland was fresh and new and for the longest time there was only footage from opening day. When I searched for new footage that had been recently posted since my last search I came across these videos. So here are the construction update videos along with a Main street tour. Enjoy.

And for the last video, this was a special treat for guests visiting the park around its 55th anniversary of which I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones. At the Main Street Cinema they had color footage from opening day July17th 1955.

Also some very sad news came last week when word that Wally Boag had passed away. Wally was one of the greatest entertainers of Disneyland. He also is the voice of the Masters of Ceremonies “Jose” the parrot at the Enchanted Tiki room. He inspired many people to hone their craft in the entertainment business including Steve Martin who had started his career in Disneyland first as a paper boy handing out the Disneyland News paper and then as a clerk working in the magic shop on Main St. Steve Martin being an avid twitter user had posted this via twitter “My hero, the first comedian I ever saw live, my influence, a man to whom I aspired, has passed on. Wally Boag.” Wally Boag didn’t work alone. He had a stage cohert name Betty Taylor. Oddly the following day, June 4, 2011, Boag’s long time partner at the Golden Horseshoe Revue, Betty Taylor, had passed also. So now they are playing on the great stage in the sky. Thank you to you both Wally and Betty for a wonderful era of entertainment history in Disneyland. To help memorialize them and their craft here are 3 videos of them performing at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland Disneyland.

Wally was very light on his feet..

So that concludes this post about Disneyland and it’s wonders via youtube. I hope you enjoyed watching these wonderful pieces of history. Please comment on the poster’s page of each video and thank them for saving and preserving these wonderful videos.

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on June 6, 2011 at 12:43 AM  Comments (1)  

MemoryLane.com a sneak peak into the past

MemoryLane.com is a website that I seen a commercial for on cable. Memory Lane is a resource of vintage photos and videos, retro magazines and articles, as well as information on events and activates that happened through out the 40’s thru the 90’s. United online Inc.  launched MemoryLane.com, which it calls “the largest archive of nostalgic content on the Internet.”

The website allows visitors to relive the past through 60 years of Americana with over 100 million pieces of content dating from 1940 through 1999. Visitors can search the site for a specific type of content or choose any year or decade from the 1940s through the 1990s to experience the sights, sounds and memories of that era. In connection with the launch, the name of United Online’s subsidiary Classmates Online Inc. has been changed to Memory Lane Inc.

MemoryLane.com’s growing collection includes vintage magazines, historic newsreels, classic sports highlights, movie trailers, song samples and cover art from memorable albums, timeless photos, and the most extensive catalog of digitized high school yearbooks online. Here is the commercial that was brought to my attention.

Classmates.com is in joint partnership and supplies memorylane,cm with yearbook photos and info from across the United States. The site is relatively new but managed to already have over one hundred million photographs in its data base and that is not counting the other files.

So whether you are looking for photos, music, magazines, and or other retro, vintage, passe’ information this website should give you what you are looking for. Retro and vintage is coming back. I still want to open a store that sells vintage retro new and old items for the retro and vintage enthusiast or “retro-ist” as I call them. I also have been thinking of a career change. I think I want to leave my bodywork, fabrication, and restoration skills  as a hobby and not as a career. I am looking into maybe going back to school and getting a degree in something or a certification of some sort.

One idea that I have is being a barber and opening a retro style barber shop. Hot towels, pomade, tunes coming from a jukebox, and the sharp sound of a straight razor shaving the five o’clock shadows from a gentleman face. Ithought it might be fun to create a barber shop where people can come in, hang out, get a haircut, get a clean shave, and a small shoulder massage as they used to include with the price of a haircut back in the day.

Who knows, I am not sure which path I want to go down, but I am sure once I know which one I want to go down it will be the best one. I do not need to be rich to be happy. I am just looking for a job that will allow me to pay my bills and have a little spending money each month to where I can live comfortable. But who knows, I may find another path along the way.  I am sure everything will work out in the end. If you want to see memorylane.com for yourself  just click on the link below:

www.memorylane.com

Thanks for reading,

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Valentines Day weekender in Napa

We decided to take to Napa Valley Wine Train. Really neat experience. The hotel we are staying in reminds me of a 1950’s motor lodge. Small, quaint, and romantic. I have video, photos and tons of fun stories to share. I will write a detailed article once we get back. Have a great weekend everyone! Skrach and Vividly Vintage is in Napa!

Thanks for reading,

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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)

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“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.

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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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