Thursday, September 27, 2007

fake follicular follies

I may be onto a new web trend with a recent series of posts spotlighting fake facial hair options for those dashing types who require a quick physical change before heading out for a night on the town. Other sites have joined the bandwagon.

I thought this fashion statement was restricted to comic books and low-grade sports magazines...until I stumbled onto a three-page spread from a 1968 issue of Playboy, demonstrating how your clean-cut all-American guy could quickly change his appearance with fake fuzz to lure in the ladies. With these tips, would an average Joe make Hef proud?

One thing's for certain: these fake hairpieces cost more those found in the funny pages.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (1)
Left: the Zapata, to bring out your inner revolutionary or bad guy in a spaghetti western. Presumably named in honour of Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata, whose actual mustache bore a closer resemblance to a bushier version of the Britannia pictured on the right.

As for the UK-inspired gem, a hearty blast of Hail Britannia should play in the background while affixing it above your lip. This moustache should be accompanied by a fine Scotch and an English dolly bird.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (2)
"Whimsy for whiskers"?!? Checking the Bank of Canada's inflation calculator, these stylish sideburns were a pricey whim - a $350 to $600 whim. It was the price to pay until real sideburns were allowed in offices a few years later.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (3)
"Freudulent" - brand name, fab new adjective or subliminal misspelling of "fraudulent"? The model is awed by the sophistication of her friend's new Van Dyke, until it attaches itself to her lip during their good night smooch.

Forget the swashbuckling qualities endowed by the Mariner beard - it's a young Captain High Liner! All he requires now is an anchor patch on his jacket, a spiffy neck scarf and a captain's hat. She expects him to say "Arr Matey!" at least once during a charming evening at the local surf n' turf restaurant.

Source: Playboy, September 1968 - JB

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

badlands, you gotta live it everyday

Caledon Fall Colours
The fall colours were out in force in Caledon over the weekend, as I took a quick drive with a friend north of the city before going on an IKEA run. All the vehicles parked along the road? Drivers checking out the Cheltenham Badlands, an alien-looking area along the Bruce Trail. At least we didn't face Thanksgiving-style crowds, just happy children and pets.

Cheltenham Badlands (4)
From the Ontario Heritage Trust's website:
The Cheltenham Badlands is one of the best examples of badland topography in Ontario, making it an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). Around the turn of the century, land clearing and livestock grazing caused the erosion of the underlying red shale, leaving a hummocky network of exposed trenched gullies on the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment. The resulting unique topography has gained considerable public interest, attracting thousands of international and local visitors annually, including numerous high school and university students studying geology and erosion.

Concerns about soil erosion have led to the closure of a trail that passes through the badlands.

Photos taken along Olde Baseline Road, Caledon, September 22, 2007 - JB

Monday, September 24, 2007

vintage toronto star ad of the day

Vintage Ad #370: The Devil's Polyester
Satanic slacks? Some of those bends look highly uncomfortable, given how unnaturally skinny the legs are drawn. The wide bell bottoms may have been the devil's subtle form of mischief, if the wearer tripped while wearing them.

Towers was one of Canada's early discount department stores, operated by the Oshawa Group, who also ran the Food City grocery chain. Based on scant info I've read about Towers, it appears that locations included or were built next to Oshawa's grocery stores. This may explain why the Galleria now contains a Zellers (Hudson's Bay Company bought Towers in 1990 and converted many of the remaining locations) and a Price Chopper (one of the last chains launched by Oshawa Group before they were bought by Sobeys).

I don't think Towers ever set up shop in Windsor, with London being the closest location I recall. The local competition to K-Mart, Woolco and Zellers in the late 1970s/early 1980s was Sentry, a store I know very little about other than memories of hanging out its toy section. Its location in Dorwin Plaza has seen many stores come and go over the years, mostly A&P-owned grocery stores where the company often tested new concepts, including one of Windsor's last Dominion stores (which I think was called Dominion Food Fair and featured an an abnormally large selection of vacuum-packed cold cuts) and the lone Canadian branch of Farmer Jack. The site currently houses a Food Basics.

Source: Toronto Star, October 2, 1972 - JB

Thursday, September 20, 2007

vintage marvel tales ad of the day

Vintage Ad #337: The GRIT Salesboy With Purple Hair
One of the little-known inspirations for punk: Grit newspaper boys who dyed their hair purple to peddle America's favourite family newspaper. Little Jimmy used the money he earned to buy a cassette deck, on which he discovered David Bowie, the Stooges and Lou Reed.

That or he's sucking up to his father by matching the colour of dear old Dad's favourite business suit.

Purple tended to be a default colour for Marvel in the 1960s, as it showed up well on the cheap paper used for printing their comics, especially when contrasted with hues of green. As much as artistic license, this helps explain why the Hulk was stuck wearing the same pair of purple pants for years.

This issue of Marvel Tales is the only place I have ever seen this particular Grit ad, which is odd considering they tended to use the same spot for a year or longer. Maybe there was a temporary shortage of geeky pre-teen models.

Marvel Tales was the House of Ideas' longest-running reprint title, lasting 291 issues from 1964 to 1994. The series began as a double-sized collection of stories featuring various heroes, mostly Spider-Man, Thor and the Human Torch. This issue was the next-to-last in a giant-size format - when it switched to a normal length, Spider-Man reprints became the book's sole raison-d'etre.

Previous entry about Grit.

Source: Marvel Tales #32, November 1971 - JB

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the streets of brighton beach

While visiting Windsor over the Labour Day weekend, I wandered through a section of the city I hadn't been through in awhile, Brighton Beach. The drive was an eye-opener.

The history of the neighbourhood is covered on International Metropolis. Over the past decade, the city has purchased most of the residential lots, with the intention of building an industrial park. No progress has been made on this front, as the area is usually mentioned in plans for a new border crossing, such as this one.

Brighton Beach (2): Reed St
Most of the streets in Brighton Beach have been blocked to vehicular traffic. Most of the roads were never paved in my memory and now appear to be returning to nature. Most of the street signs have been removed, forcing me to identify roads based on memory or maps. Reed St (pictured above) is one of the few that retains its identity, though I'm guessing this is due to oversight. One type of vehicle the barriers don't keep out is the ATV, as I heard several roaming along the ghost streets.

Brighton Beach (4): Outdoor Living Room
This set of furniture at Sandwich and Broadway is as close to a living room as you will find in Brighton Beach. At least three dwellings are still standing, with the majority on Healy St.

Brighton Beach (6): Hidden Stop
Either the intersection of Healy and Reed or Healy and Dupont (no signs), looking west. For now, you can still drive a distance down Healy, as two homes remain. Note how the stop sign is nearly submerged by plant growth.

Olco No More We Also Accept Plastic Bags Wrapped Around the Pumps
Bordering Brighton Beach and Sandwich is an abandoned Olco gas station, where I worked the summer following my first year of university. It never was a particularly busy spot - I spent most of my time reading (mostly Fitzgerald, Faulkner or John Irving) or listening to Tigers games on the battered clock radio in the kiosk.

There were a few oddball customers I remember:

* An elderly gentleman that vaguely looked like George Burns who drove a battered car and only spoke in guttural profanities. Occasionally he was accompanied by a wife or daughter (couldn't tell) who appeared to have suffered some form of brain injury.

* A guy who drove an old Camaro who only filled it up $5 at a time.

* A person who believed we were a bank, as they always asked for extra money to be charged to his credit card.

Other than being shuttered and a bagged pump, the site has not changed much since my pump jockey days. I seem to have had no long-term ill-effects from breathing in the pollution from the heavy industry across the river or the time an absent-minded driver started to drive off while the gas was still pumping, drenching me in diesel. This may also explain why I was affected less by pollution than my classmates when I moved across the Atlantic to London a year and a half later. - JB

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

vintage fightin' army ad of the day

Vintage Ad #353: More Fake Facial Fuzz
Call this a sequel to last week's look at the '69 vintage of fake facial fuzz. Same drawings, same prices, but different comic book publisher and 'stache peddler. Perhaps "Man International" was a west coast branch of Honor House? Or was there a cartel of fake mustache, sideburns and Van Dyke producers that banded together to corner the market?

The only thing I know about the address is that Ed Wood spent his final years living in a squalid apartment on Yucca St, being evicted shortly before his death in 1978. From the accounts given by Wood's associates in Rudolph Grey's book Nightmare of Ecstasy, the building was full of alcoholics, battling spouses, prostitutes and gunfights.

Fightin' Army was one of the mainstays of the Charlton Comics lineup, lasting for 157 issues between 1956 and 1984. The series hit its peak with the lead feature in this issue, The Lonely War of Willy Schultz (1967-70). Written by teenager Will Franz and drawn by veteran artist Sam Glanzman, the series followed an American soldier wanted for murder during World War II, who hides out among the both Allied and Axis troops, risking being arrested as a traitor by either side. It was a far more complex, interesting series than the usual formulaic Charlton war product. Glanzman soon moved over to DC Comics, where he wrote and drew a series based on his wartime experiences, USS Stevens.

Source: Fightin' Army #87, September 1969 - JB

Monday, September 10, 2007

a day in the life of a turbinator

Turbinator (1)
On strolls near the Annex, I often wander by the back of Central Tech. The dumpsters often provide good photo opportunities, with a strange assortment of well-used instructional aids, worn-out furniture and the odd toilet.

The most recent discovery: the Turbinator.

Turbinator (2)
Feel free to insert your own Terminator/Turbinator joke.

As for what these chairs might have been used for, a quick Google search makes me suspect they were used for hairstyling, as eBay had a few 1950s-era salon model Turbinators up for grabs.

Turbinator (3)
A pair of Turbinators sat by the dumpsters. The idea of taking them home briefly crossed my mind, until I thought of the vermin that may have crawled in, the marks they might make on my living room floor and the practicality of trying to stuff them into the official Warehouse mobile transport unit. Besides, the classroom chair looked like it needed the company.

Other odd item seen that night: a child-size Jeep, which appeared to be from the company's AMC days.

All pictures taken behind Central Tech, August 30, 2007 - JB

Friday, September 07, 2007

first sign of the campaign

Warehouse Election Central

First Roadside Election Sign!
While driving back to the Centre of the Universe (TM) on Labour Day, I came across the first candidate sign not sitting in close proximity to a campaign office or left over from someone too lazy to remove one from their window from the last election. This candidate also appeared to be the only one I saw on my drive to have jumped the writ gun, with several signs sitting by the roadside around St. Thomas.

Going by this sign, it appears John Tory will emphasize his name over the party brand. We saw how well that worked for Paul Martin in the last federal campaign, though his signs missed the crucial "Your ______ Candidate" portion. The toxic stench of Mike Harris lingers over the PCs, which may explain why the early Tory radio ads skip over his party affiliation (680 News loves playing them).

Design wise, I like the white bars setting off the leader name and the party website. I suspect I would extend the bottom white bar to the edge of the sign to balance the top bar, with the PC logo incorporated into the bar or buried elsewhere.

Photo taken at Sunset Drive and Wellington Road, St. Thomas, September 3, 2007 - JB

Thursday, September 06, 2007

goodbye kira, hello charlie

Charlie (1) Charlie (2)
Charlie (3) Charlie (4)
Just over a month ago, readers were introduced to the newest member of the family. Recently, Amy discovered that Kira had pulled a trick on her...and was actually a male cat. Hence a name change to Charlie.

He had grown considerably since the last time I saw him and definitely much more active, speedily roaming the house. He seems to like shaking hands with his paw and licking any exposed part of the body (usually feet). The speed at which he moves caught me off guard, though it may also be due to lingering weariness around animals still stemming from my fear-of-dogs days.

I think the little guy is going to win me over.

All pictures taken September 2, 2007 - JB

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

vintage metal men ad of the day

Vintage Ad #285: The Look You Want - When You Want It!
Another fine personal grooming product from venerable magazine advertiser Honor House. If you wanted to remove hair instead of add it, Honor House could also help you. Another previously spotlighted ad demonstrates there must have been a high demand for false facial hair pieces in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

For me, unless I require several disguises for anything vaguely theatrical/Halloweenish, these items would be totally unnecessary, since I can grow any of them in a week or two.

I'd be curious to see the suggestions offered up in the free guide for wearing these pieces "naturally". I suspect dim lighting is involved, so that your date cannot fully make out the seams or adhesive. Even that might not prevent their date from suddenly sprouting a 'stache after a good-night kiss.

Metal Men was part of the DC Comics lineup for most of the 1960s, created as a last-minute emergency fill-in for the company's main anthology, Showcase. The series revolved around a team of robots based on metals, whose creator often had to fend off the lovey-dovey feelings shown by Platinum. Written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito for most of its run, by the time this ad appeared, it had fallen into the hands of artist/writer/editor Mike Sekowsky. The tone shifted from light-hearted fare to robots on the run from humans who feared them, forcing the team to disguise themselves as humans with then-hip professions (model, protest singer, etc). The change didn't work and the series bit the dust at the end of '69.

Source: Metal Men #38, June-July 1969 - JB