Laughing Squid posted these incredible photos of a 1960s “Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Identification Kit.” Apparently the kit, manufactured by Winston Products for Education, was used in schools to teach kids about the dangers of drugs. In all honesty though, this kit showcases drugs a little like a candy store. It also reminds me strongly of the work of visionary painter Paul Laffoley. It’s a work of art!
Another gem from the BBC vaults via Adam Curtis’s blog: The Rock and Roll Singer, a documentary from 1969 that follows down-on-his-luck American rock and roller Gene Vincent for the first four days of a low budget English tour:
Gene Vincent had been a massive star only ten years before, but now much of that had gone and he takes you into a very British world of small dance halls on the Isle of Wight, cheap hotels where he has to tell the woman on the desk that he will be sharing with his roadie, and a rehearsal room in the basement of a pub in Croydon - where the walls are lined with old mattresses, plus a fantastic touring van.
It is just a wonderful film, full of long hand-held takes - and at the end you watch a man completely exhausted by his performance backstage in a tiny dance hall, and he really doesn’t want to do it any more. But then the promoter comes up from the darkness and leads Vincent like a child, by the hand, back onstage to do an encore.
Less than eighteen months later Vincent died - because an ulcer burst in his stomach.
Okay, I ain’t gonna lie…dummies scare the living shit out of me! Remember those commercials for Magic? (*shudders*) To add salt to my open wound, Public School blog posted a demented photo-essay titled Vaudeville Ventriloquists Dummy Portraits. Click if you dare.
Let’s start with the painting, for that was the sign something ominous was about to begin.
In East Germany during the Cold War, you didn’t join the Stasi, the Stasi asked you to join them. This is what 19-year-old Hagen Koch discovered when the Stasi approached him and said, “We need you to help secure our country’s peace.”
Koch arrived in Berlin on April 5th 1960, to a city without a wall, without barbed wire, without division. He had been chosen for a specific job and was soon promoted to Head of Cartography.
It was a warm day in August 1960, when Stasi Private Hagen Koch arrived at Checkpoint Charlie and started painting a white line. No one took much notice, which was understandable, only in the following days would the enormity of Koch’s actions become apparent. For unknown to Berliners and the West, Koch was marking the ground for the building of the Berlin Wall.
Years later, Koch said the Wall was not against the West but “against the population of East Germany.”
It was also the first sign that East Germany’s so-called “Workers’ and Peasants’ Socialist Heaven” had failed, and marked the start of the slow and difficult demise of Soviet bloc Communism.
Further, the creation of the Berlin Wall led to a standoff between Russia and America that nearly caused World War Three.
How the Berlin Wall nearly led to War and how holidays brought it down, after the jump…
RCA Victor introduces “a miracle,” their Orthophonic, high-fidelity, home stereo sound system.
Bob Banks, one-time RCA Victor marketing manager of radio sales and their Victrola division, narrates this short film introducing the RCA’s new “living stereo” records and stereophonic hi-fi gear. The year was 1958, ground zero for the birth of the “space age bachelor pad” as my pal Byron Werner so famously dubbed it.
The demonstration utilizes left and right-hand sections of orchestra married together to create the fullness of “living stereo” and gives you a stereo stylus’s POV as it travels across a record groove (“a canyon of sound!”). If you are a vinyl fan, it’s pretty fun and informative.
Narrated by the legendary John Peel and based on music writer Peter Frame’s extensive rock and roll family trees, this 1995 documentary features some tasty interviews with members of The NY Dolls, Patti Smith, Blondie, The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Jayne County and more.
If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of that New York punk rock.