Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcoming a New Year

   The greeting card companies have capitalized on most of our holidays and gotten the public accustomed to sending greetings on those days. In at least one case, a holiday was created (Valentine's Day) just to be able to sell cards. Given this, it's unusual to find a holiday that people used to send cards on, but do so no longer. Such is the case of New Years. One hundred years ago, it was customary to send cards welcoming the New Year but Hallmark has little in this category. Let's end the year with a selection of these cards.

With Facebook, it's no longer possible to forget old acquaintances!

Mary found that pulling her New Year's sled with pigs wasn't really as good as with reindeer.

We hope that child labor will be exploited to produce wealth for you in the New Year!

It figures that the French really know how to welcome the New Year.

Since most people's wealth got flushed away last year it seems fitting to have the model pose with a giant toilet seat.

That child looks too young to drink.

I think the moon has had enough. He's starting to look a bit sickly.

Welcoming 1908 with a distinctively floral theme.

The New Year Baby speeds in on on one of those newfangled velocipedes.

In case you had any thoughts of laying back and taking it easy this coming year.

The New Year twins come up with a novel solution to Global Warming; covering the North pole with optimistic affirmations to block excessive solar radiation.

Parade of the New Year gnomes (sponsored by Travelocity)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paying For the War

   One of the biggest criticisms made about our country's military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan is that they were essentially funded on credit. Americans were told that the best thing we could do was to go on being busy consumers, borrowing and spending to keep the economy going. Unless there was a family member in the military, most people were not affected by the war.    
   This is not how it was in the past. In World Wars I and II, Americans were asked to ration, conserve resouces and help finance the war by investing in war bonds.
   War Bonds are basically debt securities issued by our government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war. They generate capital for the government and, as an additional benefit, make civilians feel involved in the country's efforts. Some of the best artists of the day were drafted to make the public appeal. Here are some examples of their efforts.

Poster artists were obviously appealing to human emotion to get their message across.

Army, navy and civilians cooperate in December 7, 1943 bond drive.

Artists used powerful graphics to emphasize the importance of action.

Al Jolson, Elsie Janis, Mary Pickford and many other celebrities made public appearances promoting the patriotic element of purchasing Liberty Bonds. Here, Charlie Chaplin is hoisted into the air on the arms of Douglas Fairbanks to plug Liberty Loans in 1918.

If even our poorly-paid soldiers can afford it why can't you?

Striking artwork visualizes where your money is going.

"Crushin' the Prussian" - Some slogan-writer got a bonus out of that one.

Keep 'em dying!

When a job needs doing, send in the mothers!

Five members of the Corps of Engineers motor pool buy bonds at Detor Jewelry Store in 1943.

The dark, evil hands reaching for the wife and baby - you can't get much more subtle than that.

During World War I, America was filled with new immigrants who were also asked to support their new country.

Woman singing on a grandstand at a Liberty Loan rally.

Employees were asked to invest 10% of their weekly income into bonds, much like a tithe.

Official Francis M. Kadow bagging war bond orders.

How can you turn her down?

Even Santa was drafted to make the pitch.

War Bond Booth No. 2, sponsored by Bata Shoe Company 1943

After convincing people to buy bonds in the first place, they also had to persuade people to keep on doing so.

It's important to remember that the money spent on war bonds was an investment, one that would be paid back after the war.

Oahu County Boxing Committee purchases $10,000 worth of war bonds.

Classic art.

Bring Back the Movie Palaces

   Visitors to today's multiplex cinemas are being deprived of the full movie experience. Tiered seating and Dolby sound don't really makeup for the lack of architectural embellishment in the average mall movie theater. The movie theater was once a place to fully escape the real world by spending a short time in a fantasy environment. Copying the eleaborate opera houses of the pre-film era, the movie theater used murals, scrollwork and chandeliers to create an exotic atmosphere of style and elegance. Here are some examples of some of our cinematic palaces.

Gaiety Theatre, Strand, London 1809 - Opera houses favored outthrust stages and numerous boxes

Opera House Proscenium

Interior of Lexington Opera House, 1898

Metropolitan Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, Nov. 28, 1937

RKO Keith's Theatre - Many movie theaters were created by converting an opera house.

The smell of hot buttered popcorn and the sweet taste of Milk Duds are as irresistable today as in the past. Most modern theaters make most of their profits from the concessions so it costs a lot more to satisfy those cravings.

Five Flags Theater Dubuque, Iowa

Roxy Theater, New York

Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood - Possibly the most well-known theater in America because of the famous footprints in its courtyard.

Grauman's Egyptian Theater, Hollywood - Not too many people know that Graumann's has another themed theater just down the street.

Rex Theater, Hannibal MO - Not every community could support an elaborately-decorated theater and people had to settle for a much more modest facility.

Loew's Theater, Louisville, Kentucky

Radio City Music Hall interior

RKO Keith's Theatre - Syracuse, NY

Men's Lounge - RKO Keith's Theatre

Theatre Row, Broad Street,  Richmond, VA

Lobby of Fox Theater, Visalia, CA

Warners' Theater before the premiere of Don Juan with John Barrymore. New York, Aug. 6, 1926

Pacific's Cinerama Dome Theater - By the 1960s, theaters were were being designed in a more modern style.