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The Ballad of the Rad Cafes: London’s Coffeehouse Culture from 1959

2-is_coffee_house_london_1959
 
Before coffee houses were homogenized into interchangeable Starbucks, and sucked dry of atmosphere and character, the espresso bar was a meeting place for Beats, musicians, writers, radicals and artists. Each coffeehouse had its own distinct style and clientele, and provided a much needed venue for the meeting of minds and the sharing of ambitions over 2-hour long cappuccinos.

It was the arrival in London of the first espresso machine in 1952 that started this incredibly diverse sub-culture, which became a focus for writers like Colin (Absolute Beginners) MacInness and pop stars like Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde, who frequented the famous 2-i’s cafe. This beautiful, short film serves up a frothy serving of London’s cafe scene in 1959, long before Starbucks ruined it all.
 

 

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Paris: City of Fashion 1950-59
03.08.2012
05:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
History

Tags:
Paris
Fifties
British Pathe

Paris_City_of_Fashion
 
Paris: City of Fashion is an elegant little featurette from British Pathé, which looks at a variety of women’s fashions from the 1950s, posed against the boulevards and avenues of the gorgeous City of Lights. Watching it makes me feel I should be Cary Grant wandering around markets on the lookout for a Swedish 4 shilling, an “Hawaiian Blue” or a “Gazette Moldar”.
 

 

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What Makes a Good Party: Educational film from 1950

50s_party
 
It was my birthday, I was to have a party, but what the hell do I know about throwing parties? You go to a party, You get drunk at a party, You take drugs, get buzzed then wasted at a party. You listen to music and meet interesting people with whom you have mediocre, consensual sex at a party. No, you never, ever throw a party.

“Think of the mess,” You tell yourself. “You don’t clean-up, that’s not You, that’s what friends and neighbors are for. You are a born guest.” But I still had to throw a party.

So, I looked for tips, asked around, shoe-shines, bar flies, and shadowy figures who smoked cigarettes in car parks. Then I googled it, and lo, there it was What Makes a Good Party?. I thought, I know this - alcohol, drugs, sex? No, I was wrong. What makes a good party is charades, conversation, dancing and a big smiley sing-song around a piano. Now you know. So, don’t flick ash on the carpet, use the coaster for your drinks, and brace yourself for small-talk. You still want to come to my party? No? It’ll be fun. We can do Twister.
 

 

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: ‘Back for Christmas’

hitchcock_presents_xmas
 
Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Back for Christmas, based on John Collier‘s story of a man who plans to murder his wife, and bury her in the cellar. Collier’s short story was originally printed in the New Yorker magazine in 1939, this was the story’s first TV outing, there were 3 different versions made for radio, including one with Peter Lorre, and was latter remade for Roald Dahl’s series Tales of the Unexpected in the 1970s.

Collier wrote dozens of stories, many of which were successfully produced for various radio, TV and film productions - including “Green Thoughts”, the basis for Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors. He also contributed to such screenplays as the Humphrey Bogart / Katharine Hepburn movie The African Queen and the play based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories” I Am A Camera. Towards the end of his life, Collier jokingly said of himself:

“I sometimes marvel that a third-rate writer like me has been able to palm himself off as a second-rate writer.”

Hitchock’s version of Back for Christmas stars John Williams as Herbert Carpenter and Isobel Elsom as Hermione Carpenter, and was first broadcast in March 1956.
 

 
Part 2, after the jump…
 

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Vintage Fashion: Swimming Caps from the 1950s
09.30.2011
06:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
History

Tags:
Fifties
Swimwear
Path

image
 
There is a wonderful richness of color to Pathé‘s news reels that is sadly lacking in our digital age. A warmth of lipstick reds, and oil painting hues, that is quite difficult to resist. This is a 1950’s fashion show of swimming caps against a Punch and Judy background, so beautifully surreal it could have been lifted straight out of a David Lynch movie.
 

 
Via the Pathé Fashion Archive
 

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