It’s So Dreamy ~~ The 1953 Lincoln XL-500

It's the Chicago Auto Show in 1953, the dream car Lincoln XL 500 is presented for the first time.
It's the Chicago Auto Show in 1953, the dream car Lincoln XL 500 is presented for the first time.

It’s the Chicago Auto Show in 1953, the dream car Lincoln XL-500 is presented for the first time.

Advanced sports car styling is combined with practicability and dignity In Ford Motor Company’s experimental design model – the XL-500. Newest in the continuous flow of models constantly being developed by the Company’s engineer staff, the XL-500 offers a glimpse of what is ahead in automotive styling and mechanical features. First public appearance of the model will be in the Lincoln-Mercury exhibit at the Chicago Automobile Show, March 14 – 22.

Lincoln-Mercury News Bureau Press Release, March 12, 1953

Designed to fit comfortably four adult passengers, the XL-500 has a scarlet fiberglass body and all-glass roof. (March 1953 Press Release)

1953 Lincoln XL-500

1953 Lincoln XL-500

Less than 57 inches high, it has arched rear fenders which permit the frame to ride closer to the road. (March 1953 Press Release)

1953 Lincoln XL-500 - Sideview

1953 Lincoln XL-500 – (Side-view)

The XL-500 had push-button transmission in the steering wheel.

LINCOLN XL-500 - Push Button Transmission On Steering Wheel.

LINCOLN XL-500 – Push-Button Transmission On Steering Wheel.

The XL-500 also featured a radio telephone and dictaphone, an electronic calendar, and a power-operated hood and decklid.

1953 XL-500 - Yelephone and Dictaphone

1953 XL-500 – Telephone and Dictaphone

Three separate bumpers protect the rear section…(t)he main rear bumper protrudes from the body deck, the two other vertical bumpers integrated from each of the tail light assemblies.
(March 1953 Press Release)

1953 LINCOLN XL-500 Rear Bumper

1953 LINCOLN XL-500 Rear Bumper

Scarlet fiberglass body with scarlet and white leather seats: The Lincoln-Mercury exhibit at the Chicago Automobile Show, March 14 – 22, 1953:

Scarlet fiberglass body with scarlet and white leather seats.

Scarlet fiberglass body with scarlet and white leather seats.

1953 Lincoln XL-500 with Benson Ford and William Clay Ford and XL-100 with Henry Ford II

1953 Lincoln XL-500 with Benson Ford and William Clay Ford, and XL-100 with Henry Ford II

Black and white photos via Chuck’s Toyland. Color photos via Kustom Kingdom.

Check Out The ‘Sexy Spectacle Trends’ Of The 1950s


Today women can wear glasses proudly thanks to the color and subtlety of modern design.

In some of today’s fashion circles vintage is in. 1950s-60s eye wear is particularly popular, either as wearables or simply as collectables. Images and advertising that feature the legendary ‘cat eye’ look are sometimes reposted and reblogged hundreds of times on sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.

This 1960 Ray Ban advert is particularly popular:

Ray Ban - How to enjoy the style

Ray Ban’s color and modern design, 1960

Below are two entertaining videos from the British Pathé vintage fashion collection that showcase some of the fantastic designs introduced during the 1950s. The first is a tutorial demonstrating ‘how glasses can be fashionable and glamourous, (with) tips on choosing the right pair of specs in terms of frame colour and shape for a woman’s face.’ The second takes the viewer into a class for models at the Lucy Clayton school where they are learning about the available styles and designs of glasses and how to wear them. It’s all great fun.

Seven Minutes Of Terror, or How Ed Sullivan Sent A Shock Wave Across America


From 1948 until 1971, Sunday nights were vaudeville nights on televisions across the U.S.. For twenty-three years Americans tuned in to CBS for Ed Sullivan’s ‘really big shooo…‘ From circus acts to ballet dancers, from ventriloquists to opera singers, from Elvis Presley and the Supremes, to the Beatles and The Doors, from classic vaudevillians to Broadway musicals, The Ed Sullivan Show meant variety.

Still, no one was prepared for the night of May 27, 1956. Scheduled to appear on the show were entertainment favorites like singer Kate Smith, and ventriloquist Senor Wences, as well as The Haslevs (tumblers & trampoline artists). Pretty normal fair for Sunday night – it would turn out to be anything but.

A Short Vision human meltdown.

… I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated…It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner. – Ed Sullivan, 27 May 1956

After referencing the first test drop of an H-bomb the week previous, and giving a subtle hint of what was to come to the parents who might have been viewing the show with their children, Sullivan introduced the animated short film, A Short Vision. The live television audience were then shown the horrific vision of a nuclear apocalypse created by husband and wife team, Peter and Joan Folde:

A Short Vision (1956) | BFI National Archives

Needless to say, the airing of the film sent a shock wave across the country. The next morning the news and entertainment media enthusiastically covered the event and the reactions from the public. The New York World-Telegram and Sun reported that, (f)or some it was ‘seven minutes of terror.’ For others it was ‘the best piece of anti-war propaganda ever shown.’

With how tightly television is controlled these days, it’s highly unlikely that such a stunning surprise would ever be allowed to jump out at viewers today. The images played over and over again on September 11, 2001 were/are indeed ghastly, but that event was an unpredicted disaster. What occurred during The Ed Sullivan Show in May of 1956 was a grim warning about the all too predictable horror and destruction that awaits the world with the release of that Thing.

The Quirky And Entertaining Vintage Art Of CB Radio’s Golden Age


The citizens band radio service originated in the United States as one of several personal radio services regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These services began in 1945 to permit citizens a radio band for personal communication (e.g., radio-controlled model airplanes and family and business communications). There were two classes of CB radio: A and B. Class B radios had simpler technical requirements, and were limited to a smaller frequency range. Al Gross established the Citizens Radio Corporation during the late 1940s to manufacture Class B handhelds for the general public. (The) Ultra-high frequency (UHF) radios, at the time, were neither practical nor affordable for the average consumer. On September 11, 1958 the Class D CB service was created on 27 Megacycles, and this band became what is popularly known today as CB.

During the 1960s, the service was popular among small businesses (e.g., electricians, plumbers, carpenters), truck drivers and radio hobbyists. By the late 1960s advances in solid-state electronics allowed the weight, size, and cost of the radios to fall, giving the public access to a communications medium previously only available to specialists. CB clubs were formed; a CB slang language evolved alongside 10-codes, similar to those used in emergency services. – wikipedia

These early days of CB Radio might well be referred to as the medium’s ‘Golden Age.’ There was a real fellowship shared with the participants as well as a kind of etiquette that was lost after the booming popularity that occurred in the 1970s. Until the 70s, CB users were required to purchase a license and obtain a call sign – because the bandwidth was limited, CBers would wait for an opening on a frequency to start new conversation. The Golden Age of Citizen’s Band Radio ended with a cacophony of noise created by a selfish public who cared nothing about the rules – written and/or implied – that made the medium fun and enjoyable.

Fortunately, there is one aspect of those more innocent years that remains – the CB QSL cards. QSL cards are usually postcard sized identifiers users send to others that they contact and communicate with. Not only do they give the receiver an idea of the distance of their signal for that time, they are also nice mementos that can be kept or traded as a hobby. Major broadcasters around the world, as well as amateur HAM radio operators, still send these out today. They’re usually very slick computer printed graphic designs. The mid-century CB QSL cards stand out for their creativity and the fact that they were designed by hand – each one a bit of American folk art, if you will.

Below are some examples of this curious, and endearing, part of communications history. Each one has the user’s call sign. Most of them have the location as well as their nicknames/handles. You’ll notice that couples feature big and families name mum, dad, and children – as well as pets. The ‘Philip’s Code’ numbers 73s and 88s also appear frequently – 73 is short for ‘best regards’ and 88 represents ‘love and kisses.’

Major h/ts to The Pie Shops Collection as well as for preserving these neat bits of Americana and presenting them for all to see. To check out more just click on their names – some of them can be considered somewhat risque so consider them NSFW. The images in this post can be considered ‘safe.’

Spiderman - Amherst, Nova Scotia
Kilowatt & Little Mama - Corning, Arkansas
Casper, Evil Spirits & Venus - Flat River, Missouri
Charles Lloyd - North Baltimore, Ohio
CTM-113: Good Time Charlie & Irish - Niagara Falls, New York

Battle For The Net


If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

A Rare 1940 Lone Ranger Collectable – This Is One Serious Acquisition


Some of the really neat things about early-to-mid 20th century radio and television programs came in the forms of promotional items related to the shows and their characters. The Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring immortalized in the 1983 film classic, The Christmas Story, quickly comes to mind. At times sponsors went all in with merchandise and contests as illustrated with the famous Ralston Rocket Clubhouse in this earlier post. For collectors today, these promotional items are precious gems to be searched out and acquired.

Hake’s Americana and Collectables is perhaps the best source for finding a lot of these treasures. Currently Hake’s has a very rare item available in a post auction sale. It’s a 1940 Lone Ranger prototype secret compartment ring designed by Orin Armstrong of the Robbins Co. which specialized in premium rings. Originally intended as a premium offering from sponsors of the program, an inconvenient design flaw kept it from mass production. The one currently listed at Hake’s is only the fourth ever seen by the auction house.

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake's)

This prototype ring has a base with star and chevron design identical to the Lone Ranger National Defenders look-around ring. The same design was used as early as 1939 by Orphan Annie as the Mystic-Eye Detective Ring. (Photo and description via Hake’s)

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver.

Mounted on the top of this prototype ring base is a 3/8” tall crisp real photo (without dot pattern) of Silver. (Photo and description via Hake’s)


Mounted on the underside of the removable secret compartment is a matching glossy real photo of The Lone Ranger in mask and hat with tiny text on his bandana consisting of a copyright symbol and ‘1939 The Lone Ranger, Inc.’ (Photo and description via Hake’s)

The listing says that the miniature glossy photos of The Lone Ranger and Silver inside the top ‘are an added attraction to the secret compartment feature.’ For today’s collectors they just might be the deal maker. Seasoned collectors might not be too surprised by the price of this scarce find, but it could come as a shock to others. It’ll cost $1,725.00 to add this to your treasured belongings. Hake’s previous sales have been between $2300 and $3200.00, so this price is actually a deal. You can find the entire listing here.

Salvador Dali – The Dream Designer (Spellbound, 1945)


Who better to design a dream sequence for a 1945 Hitchcock psycho-thriller than Salvador Dali? Eyes, curtains, scissors, playing cards (some of them blank), a man with no face, a man falling off of a building, a man hiding behind a chimney and dropping a wheel, and wings – psychoanalytic cues all and fab fodder for Dali’s surrealistic vision.

Still From the Dali Dream Sequence - Spellbound, 1945

Still From the Dali Dream Sequence – Spellbound, 1945 (via Unkee E. on flickr)

Below is a video of the scene featuring Gregory Peck as Dr. Anthony Edwardes/John Ballantyne, Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Peterson, and Michael Chekhov as Dr. Brulov. Dr. Peterson and Dr. Brulov are attempting to assist Ballantyne in recovering his lost memory by interpreting a dream that haunts him.

Spellbound is a film that could well be termed an endorsement on the healing virtues of psychoanalysis. While some aspects of the methods seem outdated for today, Hitchcock’s use of this makes for an abosrbing story. If you would like to watch the film in its entirety you can find it on YouTube here.