Being that today would be Lucille Ball’s 101st birthday, and yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, as well as a milestone in space exploration with Curiosity’s landing on Mars, I’d say it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate the legacy of midcentury Americana!
So here’s to Lucy’s humor and style:
And to Marilyn, the smart and vulnerable actress pegged as America’s ultimate sex icon:
And to the ground control crew at JPL and the most intelligent minds and courageous adventurers dating back to NASA’s founding in 1958:
Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida
Grandma and Grandpa Snail brought this postcard of Surf Rider Hotel in Waikiki back from Hawaii, where Grandpa Snail worked for extended periods as a civil engineer. A young Uncle Snail seems to have practiced addressing it. “Boat-Mail 2¢ Air-Mail 4¢”
I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to show off this postcard! Unearthed at The Leechpit, an all used, one-stop punk shop in Colorado Springs, this perfectly retro postcard features the Big Dipper swimming pool–the largest in Las Vegas, at the time at least–at the Stardust Hotel.
Speaking of Las Vegas…
Mama Snail procured the two Liberace portrait postcards from Las Vegas’ Liberace Museum. She says it’s run by diligent elderly ladies, his most devoted original fans, who shoot daggers from their eyes if you utter a word about his being gay.
And now, I give you the current king of kitsch:
Charles Phoenix is as much a serious archivist and wellspring of knowledge on midcentury cultural history as he is a comedic, charming showman, so don’t let the sequined Hawaiian shirts and Yankee Doodle suits fool you that he’s making fun of rather than with! His humor is completely appreciative, not at all hipster-catty, making his engagements perfect for older audiences as well as young. He started out as a “histo-tainer,” writer, retro chef, L.A. personality and “your personal tour guide” by organizing his massive collection of Kodachrome slides (other people’s!–found at flea markets, antique shops, dumpsters, etc.) into slideshows, weaving detailed and hilarious narration for them at revival houses throughout Los Angeles. While continuing to screen slideshows, he has added authorship, emcee of events from ice cream socials, to rollerskate-capades to puppet shows, and performance art tour guide to his repertoire. Much like Janet Klein (see the post ‘Now Presenting: Janet Klein And Her Parlor Boys’), I admire Charles Phoenix for finding a way to turn his talents and the things he loves into his job–what he does with his life.
When I saw him at a fundraiser event for The Bob Baker Marionette Theater (www.bobbakermarionettes.com) last weekend, the generous Mr. Phoenix said he has a whole stack of postcards (of course he does!) that I am welcome to dig through! Until then, here are the bedazzling postcards he’s published for his slideshows and books: