Anybody who is under a certain age will not remember how mall department stores once ruled the retail roost. Before their peak and then eventual decline in the 1980s, these massive shopping cubes, which often went by a single name moniker (Alexander’s, Dalton’s, Gottschalk’s, etc.), were the place to buy everything from clothing to books […]
ApexUSA is a stab into the darkness, an attempt via ad images to locate the exact point in the 20th century when America reached its cultural peak.
Is a LIFE ad for Pullman coaches really indicative of what was going on in America in 1937? Isn’t that a distorted view? Yes. But a serious, tight-lipped historical account would be equally distorted. Pick your distortion.
This is not a yearning for the past. As time goes by, you gain some things, lose others. There are no answers here. Only evidence.
Honeysuckle Lane. It sounds too good to be true, too mid-century-modern-suburban, like Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane or a David Lynch dream. But it did exist in the imagination of two Southern California brother developers, two famous MCM architects, and it still does exist today. And it promised a new kind of building that would never […]
What to call these men who, in decades past, did fearsome things for a purpose and did so with utter aplomb? While dangerously close to yes men, the term yestermen works for me. He’s the man who saves the woman from falling off of Mt. Rushmore–all without taking off his tie. The polar opposite would […]
Recently, I read an Associated Press assessment of how the American suburbs are no longer “your father’s suburbs of the 1950s and 1960s” and have become educated communities with vibrant arts scenes, and where Brazilian grocers and Vietnamese nail salons reside joyfully next to one another. Civic leaders in the city of Shawnee and county […]
So what happened here. How, in the span of 19 years, did we go from this to that? The first image is from a beer ad dated October 31, 1949. The second image is from a tick spray ad dated August 9, 1968. Most people might actually be more familiar with the 1949 image. It’s […]
This 2008/9 commercial for Van de Kamp’s fish is another indicator of a cultural shift. Yes, the kid is a mouthy, disrespectful brat–kids are kids, and they have always been kids*. So that’s not the point. Point is that in this commercial we’re saying, “The kid is right!” No longer is there an authoritarian voice, […]
At some point in the mid-1960s, we start to see non-centeredness. This ad for Chevrolet “OK” Used Cars from 1968 is a prime example. The green box has been added by me. What’s at the center? Usually, the most important information is at the center of the image. But here we’ve got a bored kid […]
Stop reading this article. Are you titillated by the word raping? My website analytics indicate so. This has article has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with mysteries and neural pathways, so if that’s your thing, read on: Somewhere: 1966 My search for this elusive song began in 1981, when I was […]
What about antiquity in ads from the 1960s? There is a point in advertising when we shift from forward-thinking (or even present-thinking) to thinking backwards. This Oldsmobile ad from April 11, 1969 is hardly the most prominent example of this, but it’s a start.
Popular Mechanics April 1935. It doesn’t get much better than this. I could write a dissertation about the Popular Mechanics style circa 1930s, but I will spare you. Suffice to say this is complete balls-out, muscular journalism. Contrast with this mis-directed, faux-humble ad from 1968 which practically says, “We’re nobody.”