A N N O T A T I O N S
PASTELOGRAM is named in honor of the poet Marianne Moore, who was
commission- ed by Ford Motor Co. in the 1950s to come up with names for its new mid-priced car.
Among her suggestions: “Pastelogram,” “Turco- tinga,” “Silver Sword,” “Resilient Bullet,” “Utopian Turtletop”
and the especially cryptic “Mongoose Civique.” Ford declined to use any of these and instead went with “Edsel.” The rest is history.
FUN A LA MODE
WE’VE HAD LOTS
of requests asking
the Curator: “You’re so darn modest, we don’t know much about
you. How about posting a picture or some biographical info? And
have I told you about the time I was abducted by aliens?” Well, you get the idea. So here’s a little about our
The old Patent Office applications in the PatentRoom
are a soft- serve lesson in history. New on the menu:
The early aircraft designs on view at AdventureLounge
will take you back, though maybe not all in one piece.
of Josh Agle.
Martinis, girls, guns. Think James Bond meets Jetsons at a
tiki bar in Palm Springs.
L I N K A T O R I U M
CAR MANUAL PROJECT
KITTY GIRL VINTAGE
1950s CARS IN NORWAY
RAY PATIN STUDIOS
PALACE OF CULTURE
KING OF THE ROAD
BROCHURES ON EBAY
FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2006
Some Enchanted Evening
Is there anything that says
romance like a nice quiet candlelight
dinner for five?
They didn’t call it the Swinging Sixties for
nothing. (Note that the tapers are on a
Lazy Susan. Talk about spinning some wax. Please, no twirling.) Home of
William R. Shaws, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1960. Plus
two, three more.
Reconditioned for Performance
Volume trade-ins on ’58 Chevies
make possible bigger selections and bigger savings. Late model OK
Used Cars with fewer miles on the speedometer mean more miles of
shipshape performance . . .
Baseball, Apple Pie, Etc.
Enthusiasm, optimism and good
will are fine. But when promises are made in writing and signed as
are our OK Used Car warranties, your assurance rests on facts . . .
We’ve been putting in some new equipment this week and have the skinned
knuckles and frayed nerves to prove it. And who are we doing it for? That’s
right, you. Because without you we would dry up and blow away — empty,
desiccated husks drained of hope and the will to live. Without the Eizo
24-inch Calibration Color Monitor. We would also be network cardless. Not to
mention French art paperless. But we have these things. Because we have you.
We heart you.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2006
Pontiac Launches a Trim Traveler
Come aboard a 1959 Pontiac and
see why this rakish new automobile has been sailing away with the
honors this year. Anchored or in action, she’s a trim car. The
Wide-Track Wheel design gives her a sleek, slender, harmonious
appearance. She’s balanced, not top-heavy like conventional
“narrow-gauge” cars. She’s a much discussed car, respected, admired
and owned by a new smart set tuned to a different kind of automobile
perspective. These are tasteful Americans fascinated by the clean,
fresh lines; spirited men and women inspired by the good solid
feeling of this road-hugging beauty. Your Pontiac dealer has several
in port, shipshape and ready for you to take on a cruise this week.
Give him a call . . .
Regarded by the automotive press as the year’s best-looking car,
the 1959 Pontiac is being pitched here
to the sailboat-owning, conga-playing, beard-wearing crowd — beatniks with
money. Keyed to an exhibition at the Detroit Public Library, there was a March 13 article in the New York Times about mid-century car ad art, and the
various methods employed to make the product look sleeker than it actually
was. Headline: “When Cars Sat for Portraits, the Truth Was Often Stretched.”
Excerpt: Art Fitzgerald and Van Kaufman were renowned for images promoting Pontiac’s “Wide Track” feature — a low stance and a wider placement of the wheels — in works that portrayed visibly distorted versions of the cars. The measure of their mastery was not that they exaggerated the shapes but that they did it so subtly. Such manipulation was common. In some cases, the show’s curators said, skilled specialists took photos of cars, sliced them up and separated the pieces ever so slightly to produce an elongated image for painters.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2006
Chevy’s New and Chevy Shows It
Chevy goes ’em all one better for
’57 with a daring new departure in design (looks longer and lower,
and it is!), exclusive new Turboglide automatic transmission with
triple turbines, a new V8 and a bumper crop of new ideas including
Ford and Plymouth fielded all-new, radically changed cars for 1957 while
Chevrolet had to make do with a face-lifted and slightly stretched version
of a design in its third and final year. Yet it’s the Chevy that people
remember. With retro styling and tribute models popular in Detroit (PT
Cruiser, Mustang, Thunderbird etc.), here’s our idea for a
1957 Chevrolet 50th anniversary
Fresh Prints of Bel Air
You’ll feel a very special kind
of pride the day you park a 1957 Chevrolet in your driveway. Maybe
you’ll even find yourself looking out the window now and then, just
for the pleasure of seeing it there. And when the neighbors drop by
to “look ’er over,” you’ll be prouder than ever. They’ll want a ride
around the block to see if Chevrolet is as sweet, smooth and sassy
as it looks. That’s how people become happy Chevy owners . . .
Chevrolet Division of General Motors, Detroit 2, Michigan.
This rendering of the Chevy Bel Air by Bruce Bomberger is available as a
50th-anniversary print in the Gift
In 1952, adventurous eating could
entail heating up a can of Spanish rice. Or if you wanted something
really exotic, chili con carne or maybe even tamales. The muchacho
in the sombrero was painted by Nat “El
Full of Beans
Another of Nat White’s li’l
gargoyles. The slogan here was “Every Meal a Picnic,
Every Picnic a Frolic.” Which of course equates to every meal being
a frolic. Whee.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2006
And if we’re all out of Mommy, a
nice steaming plate of Daddy will do.
From 1953, yet another of Nat White’s squinty-eyed little
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2006
Eager to Please . . . That’s Chevy!
The sweet, smooth and sassy
Chevrolet looks as high-spirited as a colt in clover. And the
lively, lighthearted way it responds to your touch makes for the
happiest driving you’ve ever known. If your heart’s been giving you
a nudge each time a new Chevy glides by, better face it! Put the car
through its sweet, smooth and sassy paces at your Chevrolet dealer’s . . .
Chevrolet Division of General Motors, Detroit 2, Michigan.
This Sunday-supplement illustration
contrasts the fins and exhaust of a fighter jet with its counterparts on a
’57 Chevrolet. The dummy scoop under the car’s fake exhaust port (actually a
backup light) was modeled after the front
air intake on a P38 fighter, whose tailfins and radiator vents
were famously copied on the 1948 Cadillac.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2006
≈ I Think
We’re Being Followed
Chevy’s velvet-smooth vitality
and road-leveling ride put more pleasure in your driving. And its
smoothly sculptured lines and fine finishing touches give you more
to be proud of. That’s the beauty of a Chevrolet. Its gay, graceful
styling promises a lot of pleasure. And it sure lives up to its
promise! The closer you look at it, the more you find to be proud
of. You begin to see what we mean by sweet, smooth and sassy . . .
One of the rarer ’57 Chevy ads, destined for newspapers rather than
magazines. There probably aren’t many color examples
Doing the Continental
On the following pages, you will
see the Lincoln Premiere, the Lincoln Capri and the
magnificent new Continental Mark III — cars so new, so advanced,
that a completely new plant was built to produce them. These
motorcars are so gracefully proportioned, you may have difficulty
realizing that the sedan, for example, is the longest, lowest, most
spacious of all time (more than 19 feet). It’s so low and
snug-to-the-road, you’ll be astonished by the roominess when you
step inside . . .
The 1958 Lincoln, a car whose visage could scare small children and startle
horses, was a challenge to portray in two dimensions. Many an art director
careless enough to have it photographed from the wrong angle was turned into
a pillar of salt. To play it safe, the lead
illustration for the sales brochure showed a black car on what looks
to be a very foggy night. The design, a departure from the baroque styling of Cadillac, was maybe too far ahead of its
time. Lincoln spent the next two years backpedaling to a more conventional
look, with mixed results. The 1960 model, the final iteration of John Najjar’s design before the Kennedy-era Continentals, could be summed up as
Asian Mae West gets origami bustle.
Built Stronger to Last Longer
The designers of the 1948
Ford truck catalog probably wanted the cover
to say Buy Me, but what they got instead was
Take Me to Your Leader.
Another of Nat White’s urchins.
This time the little guy is actually
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2006
1958 Continental Mark III
Continental you select, you will discover in full measure why
ownership of this superb automobile is one of the satisfactions of a
lifetime. You will find it a supremely restful car to ride in —
regardless of terrain. And with every known power assist, you will
find it a supremely easeful car to command . . .
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2006
The Joy of Good Eating, 1953
You thought we had run out of
Demonic Tots? Heh heh. From the brush of illustrator Nat White,
here’s the first of the latest litter of
Pork-N-Beanie Babies. Stay tuned.
The Slides of March
For St. Patrick’s day we have a
special treat — five vintage photos from the Emerald Isle! And by
Emerald Isle of course we mean lush, verdant Hawaii. These are
scanned from slides sent in by Plan59 friend Tom Munoz in
California, where he found them in a thrift shop. Two pictures are
from the 1959 volcanic eruption on Kilauea, which over a period of
days buried the village of
under 50 feet of lava and ash. The remaining photos seem to
be from California and Canada. Traveleze
fans take note.
TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2006
Sweet, Smooth and Sassy
Trips never seemed so short —
or roads so smooth — as they do in this beautiful traveler. It’s
sweet, smooth and sassy, with a new velvety V8 power and a
sure-footed way of going that’s Chevy’s alone! Cars with Chevy’s
born-to-the-road build are hard to come by these days. In addition
to designing a car that’s just plain good to look at, Chevrolet
engineers didn’t forget that a car’s first obligation is to ride,
and ride well.
While Plymouth and Ford were fielding dramatically new longer-lower- wider
models for 1957, Chevrolet had to make do with a short-tall- narrow design that
was in its third and final year. With the addition of pointy fins, a new
grille and 2½ inches, the result was an automotive icon — probably the only car from the
1950s that most anybody can identify half a century later. Sweet
smooth and sassy, the ’57 Bel Air.
FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2006
Cocktail Hour in the Pink
Even people with a fancy for the
most modern homes have one old-fashioned trait in common with
conservative friends: they insist on reliability in things
mechanical. Motorola agrees heartily — you’ll see the TV repairman a
lot less than your non-Motorola friends will. One reason is
Motorola’s exclusive Golden Tube Sentry . . .
Dancing in the Moonlight
The wonders of Stereo Hi-Fi are
so apparent that the initiate is likely to be swept off his feet the
first time he hears a test ping-pong game over this modern sound
miracle. Audiophiles tell us, however, that our Motorola Stereo
Hi-Fi is as superior to the ordinary kind as the cantilever house in
the picture is to a seaside cottage . . .
It has the cozy charm of a parking garage, but we like it anyway. From 1961,
two more architectural fantasies from Motorola’s “lively art of electronics”
campaign. The artist’s signature, “Bertels.,” might be an abbreviation for
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2006
Finer in ’47!
Spring’s smartest styling .
. . inside and out! Any way you look at it, today’s Ford is by
far the smartest car in the
low-priced field . . . newly styled instrument panel
with big new dials . . . new body colors . . .
new front end appearance . . . new stainless steel body
molding . . . new hood medallion . . . new
heavier bumper guard . . .
TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2006
You Ride First Class on Concrete!
Cleveland’s Memorial Shoreway
East is designed to keep traffic moving smoothly now — and years
from now. A vital link in the non-stop, Seattle-to-Boston Interstate
90, the Shoreway dramatizes how the new 41,000-mile Interstate
System will not only simplify cross-country travel, but also make
driving easier every day for those who live and work in the city.
Interstate pavements must be especially durable . . .
Starting in 1956 with the passage of the National Interstate and Defense
Highways Act, a years-long battle between the forces of Darkness and Light
was played out across the pages of Life, Saturday Evening Post and other
mass-circulation weeklies. The forces of Darkness — the asphalt lobby —
emphasized smoothness, lack of glare and thump-thump-thump as well as low
first cost. The forces of Light — the concrete lobby — pitched the
durability and skid resistance of cement, and the fact that concrete roads
are brighter at night due to their lighter color. That last selling point is
something we see played up in this illustration
from a 1960 ad for the Portland Cement Association: A night sky over a
strangely luminous roadbed and a caption that reads, “Light-colored concrete
gives you far better visibility at night than any dark surface. Your
headlights do more for you . . . the pavement edge is always
Beautiful Cypress Gardens
From 1968, a
snapshot showing your webmaster,
his sister and Mom and Dad at Cypress Gardens on a family trip taken
to cheer up our grandmother after her husband died. Nice picture,
Imp in Imperial
publicity still for Chrysler’s
Imperial. Hello, little man.
SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2006
Meet the Thunderbird
When the Ford Thunderbird was
first exhibited, it created a veritable sensation. No personal car
before it ever combined such long, low, exciting lines, such
comfortable and attractive interiors with the jet-like
responsiveness of Trigger-Torque Power and the road-hugging
cornering of Ball-Joint ride. And, quite naturally, thrilling
attributes of the Thunderbird are reflected in all Ford cars for
1955 . . .
From the opening pages of the 1955 Ford brochure, Form FD-7524 printed in
October 1954, boy with rod meets girls
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2006
On the Air for MEAT
Actor William Bendix of the radio
(and later television) show “The Life of Riley” makes an
appearance in this 1945 ad for the
American Meat Institute,
along with a co-star named Frank.
THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2006
Bold New Chieftain
Meet the big change in the
low-price field — the bold new Pontiac Chieftain. This completely
new kind of car is the result of planning as bold as the car itself.
First, the engineers went all-out to perfect scores of revolutionary
advances to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Pontiac and General
Motors. Second, they determined that Pontiac’s new Chieftain Series
would be priced right down with the lowest. The Chieftain is unlike
any other car in its class . . . even to Air Suspension,
Fuel Injection and Tri-Power Carburetion (extra-cost options). Why
not be among the first to own this straight-from-tomorrow newcomer
to the low-price field?
Pontiac shared its underpinnings with the better-looking Chevrolet in 1958,
two designs that lasted for just one year. The result was a rather
strange-looking automobile with a
rocket motif along the side and jet-tube taillights that would reappear for
The Slippery Slope
You’ll munch delicious
chicken in just 25 minutes! New improved Swanson TV Brand Frozen Dinner . . .
with buttered potatoes and mixed vegetables . . . all
cooked and ready to heat on its individual tray. No work before, no
That was in 1956. Fifty years later, here we are. Or aren’t.
PREVIOUS POSTS (FEBRUARY 2006) • SITE © 1999-2019
LEGALESE. Trademarks on these
pages are the property of their respective owners; their
appearance does not imply endorse- ment of, or by,