Classic Hollywood #94 – Lana Turner, Stephen Crane & Frank Sinatra

Lana Turner, Stephen Crane & Frank Sinatra At The Stork Club 1943Lana Turner Stephen Crane Frank Sinatra Stork Club photo International News 1943

Nation’s Heart Throbs in Gotham

Two of the three persons at this Stork Club table probably account for more of the male and female heart throbs in America. Lana Turner takes care of the male faction while Sinatra the singer accounts for the fairer sex. In center is Stephen Crane who is fortunate enough to be Lana’s husband and personal heart throb. (October 9, 1943) Photo: International News

From the look of this press photo it seems film star Lana Turner (1921-1995) and singer Frank Sinatra have more chemistry than Turner and her husband Stephen Crane. Quick romances do not always lead to satisfying marriages. Lana Turner eloped with bandleader Artie Shaw in 1940 when she was just 19-years-old. The marriage lasted four months.

Only three weeks after meeting merchandiser and tobacco heir Stephen Crane, 21-year-old Lana Turner married him on July 17, 1942. In December of 1942 the couple announced they were expecting a child.  Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #112 – Cortlandt Street 1908

Cortlandt Street – Spring 1908

Detroit Publishing Cortlandt Street 1908 New York City

Cortlandt Street 1908 via Detroit Publishing Co. collection held at the Library of Congress. (click to greatly enlarge)

Our view made by the Detroit Publishing Company is looking east from the corner of West Street along Cortlandt Street towards Broadway. Unlike some of their photographs, this one is copyrighted 1908 and that can be  confirmed by advertising in the background.

The street is named after one of Dutch New York’s leaders Oloff (Olaf) Stevense Van Cortlandt. Continue reading

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Five Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Were Cover Versions

 Original Songs Made Popular By Other Bands

Badfinger photograph

Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland

There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.

First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.

Hanging on the Telephone

Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”

The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song  after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.

The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says,  “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me  unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”

The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.

Without You

Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including  Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.

Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.

But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.

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Garbage Pail Parenting 1970s Style

Keeping An Eye On Your Child

photograph by Ricardo J Ferro St. Petersburg Times 1970

I was trying to think what people would say if they saw a scene like this in a park today.

Would they call the police? Would they confront the woman? Continue reading

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Worst Product Design & Print Advertisement Of The 21st Century

What Are They Selling?

Phallic perfume bottle ad Donna Karan

There is subliminal advertising. Then there is the advertising trying to be subliminal, yet it’s not. It’s a step above subliminal, painfully obvious and the equivalent of blunt force trauma.

It hits so hard that if you turn the page without stopping, you will stop and say “wait a second, what did I just see?” And then turn back a page to double-check.

No, this product shown above is not from the Adam and Eve sex catalog.

I’m not quite sure which magazine this ad appeared in possibly Vogue or an in-flight magazine.  It ran sometime in the early to mid-2000s.

When I saw it, I tore it out, saying to myself this has to be a joke no one would believe this.

Donna Karan phallic perfume ad

Donna Karan Phallic Perfume bottle ad text (click to enlarge –  no pun intended.)

But it’s real. I folded it up showed it to a few friends. Then I saved it in my shoebox full of oddities with the funny poem, the wooden nickel and a mood ring. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #111 – Grand Central Depot 1875

The Original Grand Central Depot 1875

Grand Central Depot 1875 Our 1875 view is looking north on Fourth Avenue to 42nd Street. The street is packed with activity including horse drawn omnibuses, delivery wagons and pedestrians.

This albertype photograph prominently shows the first Grand Central built by railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Designed in the Second Empire style by architect John B. Snook, the depot was built between 1869 and 1871.

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The “Prince” Who New York’s Prince Street Is Named After

Was New York’s Prince Street’s Name Derived From Royalty?

Prince Street Bromley & Robinson 1879 Atlas of New York

Some of the original names given to the streets of New York when under Dutch and English rule have survived to the present day.

Many streets owe their name to local landmarks or the aristocracy and heroes of 17th and 18th century New York, including Delancey Street, Duane Street and Houston Street named after James De Lancey, James Duane and William Houstoun. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #110 – Bootblacks By City Hall Park During An Historic 1863 Moment

A Group Of New York Bootblacks At City Hall Park – July 1863

Bootblacks and other child workers New York City Hall posters theater advertisements 1863

A group of eight bootblack boys line up near City Hall for this stereoview photograph.

Taken by the pioneering stereoview firm of E. & H.T. Anthony of 501 Broadway, the view is entitled, “Brigade Of De Shoe Black, City Hall Park.” There is no date attached to the photo, yet, the timing of this photograph is of historical significance. How do we know?

The fence behind the boys is covered with broadsheets advertising several theatrical productions.

From the information on the advertisements we can narrow down the date the photo is from. Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #93 – Rudolph Valentino & His Brother Alberto

Rudolph Valentino Brings His Family Over To The United States – 1926

Rudolph Valentino and brother with family 1926 SS Leviathin

The Screen Sheik Brings His Family

Rudolph Valentino, popular screen actor, arrives from Paris on the S.S. Leviathan after his divorce. He was accompanied by his brother Mr. Alberto Guglielmi whom he will introduce in the movies. Rudolph also brought his nephew Jean and his sister-in-law Mrs. Alberto Guglielmi. (February 14, 1926 ) photo – Keystone

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Hints For Visitors To New York City In 1964

28 Handy Hints From 1964 For Visiting New York City

The Westsider World's Fair special issue 1964A 1964 issue of The Westsider Magazine contains a list of hints for visitors to New York.

The World’s Fair held in Queens would attract millions of people from around the globe. What important things would a visitor need to know? Continue reading

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