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Edith Head on Paris Frocks (Photoplay Magazine, 1938)

A telegraph from Hollywood costume designer Edith Head (1897 1981) to the editorial offices of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE listing various highlights of the 1938 Paris fashion scene. Not surprisingly, it reads like a telegram:

"Paris says:

Long waistlines, short flared skirts, fitted bodices, tweeds combines with velvet, warm colors...
Hair up in pompadours piles of curls and fringe bangs.
Braid and embroidery galore lace and ribbon trimmings loads of jewelry mostly massive.
Skirts here short and not too many pleats more slim skirts with slight flare."

The great Hollywood modiste wrote in this odd, Tarzan-english for half a page, but by the end one is able to envision the feminine Paris of the late Thirties.

Recommended Reading: Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer.

Click here to read about physical perfection during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The Forgotten Men and the NRA (Literary Digest, 1935)

"A long program of suggested remedial legislation lies ahead of the 7,500 representatives of the people who gather this year in the halls of Congress and of all but four State Legislatures. The NRA (National Recovery Administration) will come under the closest scrutiny. As the old year waned, the NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act)was being attacked and defended."

Click here to see a chart concerning the U.S. urban murder rate between the years 1926 - 1936.

The Wunderkind: Orson Welles (Direction Magazine, 1941)

The attached magazine profile is from a short-lived but much admired American magazine containing many sweet words regarding the unstoppable Orson Welles (1915 - 1985) and his appearance in the Archibald McLeish (1892 1982) play, "Panic" (directed by John Houseman, 1902 1988).

1941 was another great year for the "boy genius" who seemed to effortlessly triumph with all his theatrical and film ventures. At the time this appeared in print, Welles was filming "The Magnificent Ambersons", having recently pocketed an Oscar for his collaborative writing efforts in "Citizen Cane". Highly accomplished and multi-married, no study of American entertainment is complete without mention of his name. The anonymous scribe who penned the attached article remarked:

"No pretentiously shy Saroyan courtship of an audience about Welles! He really loves his relation to the public. He doesn't flirt with it."

Elsa Schiaparelli Recommends...(Photoplay Magazine, 1936)

"Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 1973), Paris' leading fashion authority of the 1930s tells how to dress inexpensively and yet look smart as a star.":

"Cheap jewelery should never be worn unless it happens to be something that you positively know suits you. Pearls, including cheap ones, are always in good taste."

"Women can learn from men and improve their 'chic'. A man wouldn't think of wearing a tight shoe or one that didn't harmonize with his suit."

Babe Ruth's Record (Gentry Magazine, 1952)

Compiled four years after the Babe's death, the attached list will provide you with a compilation of all the various, assorted "mosts" that Babe Ruth racked up during his baseball career:

Most home runs, lifetime..................................714
Most home runs, American League..................708
Most home runs, World Series.........................15
Most home runs, season..................................60
Most years leading in home runs......................12

Victory and Paris Fashion (Vogue Magazine, 1919)

The Paris Victory Parade celebrating the end of the 1914 - 1918 war was a long awaited and much anticipated fashion event and Mme. Parisienne was not going to miss it for all the crepe de Chin in China.

This VOGUE correspondent contrasted the Paris that existed a short time earlier, the gray, deserted Paris with the Paris of the 1919 Victory Parade and notes how eager the natives were to recreate that mirthful, lighthearted Paris of 1913 that they all remembered so well. Their efforts paid-off and social Paris was back with a vengeance:

"While the people are enjoying these magnificent fetes, social life becomes more madly joyous than before. One no longer knows where to go or which invitation to accept. Dinners, balls, lunches at restaurants, all these gatherings demand a continual renewal of costumes of distinction, all of which contributes to keep the great makers on their mettle."

There is a great sense of joie de vivre throughout the article, but it very rapidly becomes a laundry list of who-wore-what-where.

Liberace Arrives (Collier's Magazine, 1954)

Attached is a five page interview with the always demure and introverted pianist Liberace (b. Wladziu Valentino Liberace: 1919 - 1987). When this article first appeared on the pages of COLLIER'S MAGAZINE, no living performer was selling more records than he was, his television program was nearing its second year and American women had not yet figured out that he was gay. Life was good.

From Amazon: Liberace: An American Boy

How a Southerner Overcame his Racist Past (Coronet Magazine, 1948)

The attached is an historic article that explains the lesson that so many white Americans had to learn in order that America become one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

There can be no doubt that many ragged, dog-eared copies of this middle class magazine must have been passed from seat to seat in the backs of many buses; perhaps one of the readers was a nineteen year-old divinity student named Martin Luther King?

The Link Between Sex and Happiness (Pageant Magazine, 1961)

"Ever since Sigmund Freud came right out and said in public print that sex is important to happiness, people have been wondering: How important?"

So begins the attached article by the noted psychiatrist Edrita Fried, who expanded upon her introductory sentence by clarifying that Freud never taught that this happiness was entirely dependent upon sex. In the four pages that followed, Dr. Fried illustrated the issue of sex and happiness with assorted case studies from her own caseload, concluding that:

"The achievement of happiness and true sexual fulfillment makes strange demands on us... but no sensible person would say they are too great for the reward they offer."

Somewhat recent surveys on this same topic were conducted by the Social Indicators Research Journal, their findings can be read by clicking the title link above.

Who Are the Italian Fascists? (The Literary Digest, 1921)

"There have been other 'Fasci' before the present, for the word, derived from Latin 'fascia' (a bandage), means any league or association. Thus, the association of laborers and sulfur-workers, that caused the agrarian agitation in Sicily in 1892, were called Fasci... the essence of the word being the close union of different elements in a common cause that binds them all together. Each 'Fascio' possesses so-called 'squadre de azione' (squadrons of action), composed of young men who have mostly served in the war. Each of these 'squadrons' has a commandant, named by the directing council of the particular Fascio."

In Milan there existed a general committee that supervised all these yahoos, but by enlarge, each local Fascio was free to do as they saw fit within their own domains. The earliest 'Fasci di Combattimento' were created in 1919 by Mussolini, who at the time enjoyed some popularity as the editor of the Il Popolo d'Italia. The Fascists saw the destruction of Italian socialism as their primary job.

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