Iron Crystal Magnified – The Atomium

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Construction of the Atomium

Construction of the Atomium, the Belgian pavilion for the World Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgium, 1957. Photo by Dolf Kruger.

Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (59 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.  – geheugenvannederland.nl

(via Dequalized)

What’s The Ultimate SWAG For A 50s Beer Convention? A Surival Kit, But Of Course!

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Hamm’s Beer company knew how to treat their employees right. Nothing says we care more than a convention survival kit that contains everything one could need to get over those intense employee/management meet-ups. The images of this neat little memento below are provided by Collector’s Weekly. The packaging is super – a tiny suitcase complete with cool illustrations and graphics.

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit, c. 1950s

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit, c. 1950s

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit circa 1950s - Front

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit c. 1950s – Front

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit circa 1950s - Back

Hamm’s Beer Convention Survival Kit c. 1950s – Back

Mourning the Death of Gwen Stacy: A Lovely Account From Pop Smart Guy, Gregory L. Reece

Gwen Stacy
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Below is an excerpt from a a post by Gregory L. Reece dated May 5, 2014 on his WordPress blog, ROKFOGO. The essay also appeared in PopMatters the same year. It’s a lovely recollection of how nine year old Gregory learned about the death of a female comic book character he had come to love, Gwen Stacy. To read the post in its entirety you’re encouraged to click here.

In one issue of Marvel Comics or another, I must have run across an ad for an LP record called Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero. I’m sure I ordered it by mail. I can’t imagine where I would have gotten it, otherwise. The album, released in 1975, had a great cover by John Romita that remains one of my favorite Spider-Man images of all time.

The back cover contained pictures of the band: Power Man on bass, Silver Surfer on keyboards, Conan and the Barbarians on strings, Captain America on percussion, Black Panther on electric guitar, the Mighty Thor on trumpet, the Hulk on drums, handclapping by the Falcon, and background vocals by the Fantastic Four! I must have played the album a million times on the console stereo in my parents’ living room, belting out the songs and pretending that I was Spider-Man, superhero and rock star! I was, and still am, totally hooked.

It was from the album that I first learned the fate of Gwen Stacy. It is why I mourn her death to this day.

The comic book rock opera was narrated by Stan Lee and told the story of everybody’s favorite wall-crawler in a series of rock-and-roll songs, including “Gwendolyn”, a 50’s do-wop-style anthem to Peter’s love.

Gwendolyn, may I come closer, and hold your hand?

You are the answer to all my dreams.

Gwendolyn, please.

I love you so.

(Marty Nelson)

Then, in “Count on Me”, Peter sings one of the most hilarious choruses in rock music history. (It makes me laugh every time that I hear it, now. This was not the case in 1976. Then, it seemed like a profound declaration of love.)

You can count on me,

To help you see,

That every side has another,

Every hero has a lover,

Every land has a sky above her,

And, if you want, you have me.

(William Kirkland)

Halfway through the album things take a dark turn, beginning with Peter’s fevered dream about Doctor Octopus and his plans to take over the world. (This is a certifiably crazy song. Doc Ock sings to an adoring crowd of supporters who shout back at him: Hey La! Doctor Octo, Doctor Octo, Doctor Ocotopus!) (John Palumbo)

Then, without warning, the voice of Stan Lee breaks the news:

Terrifying as that dream is, it is only a whisper to the harsh voice of reality that Peter Parker is about to hear. His pulse is pounding. The Green Goblin suddenly appears without warning! Tingling with anticipation, Spider-Man would be more reluctant to fight the emerald fiend if he could foresee Gwen Stacy’s body falling, as it will, out of his spider reach. Play with the fear! Roll it around on your tongue! Savor the fateful, fascinating flavor! Spider-Man’s mind is in motion. The stage is set! The cards have been dealt! He is now no more than a puppet in the shadow of his own destiny. The battle that took place high atop the bridge was destined to be the most fateful one of all. As the Green Goblin flies away, battered and weakened, a bruised and exhausted Spider-Man raises himself up to find that the only victim proved to be a girl named Gwendolyn. His hopes and dreams of love are gone. He kneels beside her lifeless body. Ignoring the approaching police sirens, Peter Parker whispers gently in her ear as the echoes of his words carry him to her, reaching for her, trying to bring her back to share life with him again.

Then, a gentle acoustic guitar segues into the next song: “A Solider Starts to Bleed.”

Dear lady, hold this sleep.

My dreams are yours to keep.

I fall behind this mask of insufficient tears.

A solider lost to fears.

(Terence P. Minogue and John Palumbo)

Then, back to Stan: “He’s a hero if you will, a hero whose dreams have turned to nightmares, who walks in step with tragedy and death. But still he perseveres. For such is the haunting fate of Spider-Man!”

This is how I learned of Gwen Stacy’s death. This is how I came to understand the veiled references to her in then-current issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I couldn’t believe it. This was too much to bear. The Gwen Stacy who had traveled fearlessly to the Savage Land sporting a red bikini died as a result of Spider-Man’s battle with the Green Goblin. Peter, who had touched me when singing about his love for Gwen, broke my heart, still breaks it, when he sang about her death. And Stan Lee, Mr. Excelsior!, delivered the news. (Stan’s voice, to this day, brings a tingle to the back of my neck. When I hear it, I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and listen. He hasn’t delivered any news like this again, but I am always waiting for him to break it to me.)

Okay. I know that the album is melodramatic. I know that this should not make me want to cry. But it does. It did when I was nine years old and it does today. This was the first time that I had experienced the death of a comic book character. Such deaths have happened with too much regularity over the years, so that the deaths have been cheapened, become gimmicks to sell magazines. Gwen’s death has always seemed different to me. It is the only one that I have ever really cared about. The only one that ever made me cry.

Something You Won’t See Often – An Excellent Condition Gendron Pioneer Line Bicycle w/ Side Car

Gendron Pioneer Line Bicycle with Side Car
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Gendron Wheel Company was founded in 1872 by Peter Gendron (born Pierre Gendron 1844-1910) in Toledo, Ohio. While originally only producing wire wheels for baby carriages, by WWII Gendron had expanded its manufacturing to include doll carriages, coaster wagons, pedal cars, bicycles, tricycles, playground equipment, and other ‘juvenile conveniences of every kind.’

After becoming a subsidiary of the American National holding company in 1927, Gendron produced part of their bicycle line under the trade name, Pioneer. Which brings us to this super item on auction by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate at Invaluable online.

It’s a c. early-1930s Gendron Wheel Company children’s Pioneer Line bicycle with Side Car, complete with saddle bag, gloves, tools, water jug & bell! The condition of this bicycle and side car is amazing – probably the best that it can be found almost anywhere.

Gendron Pioneer Line Bicycle with Side Car, and Accessories

Gendron Pioneer Line Bicycle with Side Car, and Accessories

Rear View With Saddlebag, Springy Leather Seat, Bell, and Side Car Wind Screen

Rear View With Saddlebag, Springy Leather Seat, Bell, and Side Car Wind Screen

The Bendron Wheel Co. Pioneer Emblem

The Bendron Wheel Co. Pioneer Emblem

One Pint Knapp-Monarch Co. Baby Therm-a-Jug

One Pint Knapp-Monarch Co. Baby Therm-a-Jug

Bicycle Toolkit in Leather Pouch - In well-used vintage condition

Bicycle Toolkit in Leather Pouch – In well-used vintage condition

A Cool Pair of Junior Leather Riding Gloves

A Cool Pair of Junior Leather Riding Gloves

A Junior Jack - Loads of Fun, Operates Just Like A Big Jack

A Junior Jack – Loads of Fun, Operates Just Like A Big Jack

The current bid on this swell collectable is $900.00. A recent eBay auction of another Gendron Wheel Co. Pioneer Line bicycle with Side Car in far less win-some condition sold for $1,200. The auction goes live on April 22, 2015 at 2 PM EST, so if you’re interested in placing a bid you’ll find the listing by clicking here.

Bicycle Safety: Don’t Be A Monkey, Right?

One Got Fat Title
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In an almost fairy tale manner, this [1963] film depicts a group of monkey-like youngsters riding bicycles to the park for a picnic and pictures the violation of various bicycle safety rules. As the youngsters are eliminated one by one because of rule violations, only one arrives at the park for the picnic. Narration: Edward Everett Horton (TV’s Fractured Fairy Tales)

Just looking at screenshots of a few of the characters is enough to give any sensitive child nightmares for a week. (Images via Charm and Poise)

One Got Fat : Screenshot
One Got Fat: Screenshot
One Got Fat: Screenshot
One Got Fat: Screenshot

The Textbook World Of René Bresson

A Corner In The City
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Le Français par l'image [The French In Images] (c. 1964)

Le Français par l’image [The French In Images] (c. 1964)

Le Français par l’image is an elementary schoolbook published in France c. 1964. The illustrations are the work of French artist René Bresson. Bresson’s recognizable creations were found in numerous French textbooks in the 1950s and ’60s. The ageless charm of his works are found in their innocence and simplicity. Below are some examples of Bresson’s textbook world as seen in Le Français par l’image. If you would like to view some more visit patrcia m’s flickr page by clicking here.

The Return - the pictorial begins in the schoolyard where the parents gather their children for the first day of a new school year.

The Return – the pictorial begins in the schoolyard where the parents gather their children for the first day of a new school year.

Bresson’s illustrations of the four seasons:

The wind and rain of Autumn.

The wind and rain of Autumn.

The winter snow.

The winter snow.

The Spring Garden

The Spring Garden

The Summer Beach

The Summer Beach

Bresson’s illustrations of social gathering places:

The Hairdresser and Barber Shop

The Hairdresser and Barber Shop

The Post Office

The Post Office

The Department Store

The Department Store

The Village

The Village

Bresson’s transportation illustrations:

The Train Station

The Train Station

The Airport

The Airport – notice the classic Lockheed Constellation aircraft on the runway right-center.

The Shipping Port

The Shipping Port

On The Open Road

On The Open Road and In The Friendly Skies

And the last few for this post, Bresson’s family gathering illustrations. The most idyll of them all:

The Dinner Table

The Dinner Table – notice that sis and dad are the only ones waiting for mom to sit down to eat.

The Evening Ritual

The Evening Ritual – when the only electrics were lighting and the radio.

Yule - the toy aircraft are pretty cool.

Yule – the toy aircraft and Citroën-like toy car are pretty cool.

A lazy day at the river.

And to wind it all up, a lazy day at the river.