Two Roadside Diners, 1950s

It could it be the tepee marquee, the torpedo propane tank, the matching blue car and sign-lettering, or even the trailer park across the street, but the real "roadside" here is the erstwhile prehistoric pictograph of the bison on the wall. And none of that endangered 90% Buffalo Meat crap, either...

I did notice those old soda bottles in the window, and ran a pass pushing the scanner limits. How many can you identify? RC Cola? Crush? Sprite? (Somewhere outside Yosemite, California, 1955)

Here's proof that the East Coast is just as much a player in the roadside diner department. Although less flashy than his West Coast competitor, the Jack Frost has a style all it's own. The subtle lettering on the marquee, the aztec brick pattern nod to Deco, and the outdoor seating next to the staircase all create distinctive charm that is "Jack Frost."

Which is evident as the husband sits safely in the car taking pictures while the wife gathers the deserts. Somewhere in Pennsylvania, 1953

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Flyboy at Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hi 1950

Still thinking about Honolulu & Waikiki — these slides came from a pilot's collection who toured and photographed various places in the Pacific and Asia. Here, he catches up with what appears to be a miniature Jimmy Buffett while literally on shore-leave at Waikiki beach.
Love this shot looking north towards the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The beach is narrow here, but there's plenty of room to chill under those graceful palms!

A real nice, almost travel-brochure perfect shot of the two boats visible in the background of the middle photo. This shot made me look for the Arthur Lyman records, dig out the blender for tropical drinks and retire to the lanai instead of finishing a web-site project. I did just get a new copy of Tiki magazine yesterday, too - and I don't even remember subscribing!

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Royal Hawaiian Hotel graphics, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu 1956

Colorful tropical graphics punctuate the mood created for the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in this playful promotional piece. Really, what's not to love about late 50s Hawaii? There's so much for an artist and photographer to draw from...

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (or Pink Palace of the Pacific) was built by the Matson family in 1927 for passengers on their cruise ships, and is considered an icon of the glory days of Waikiki beach. The Matsons sold the property to Sheraton (along with several other hotels in Honolulu) in 1959.
Today, it seems imposed upon by the towering structures around it, but holds it's ground with character and style as one of the most significant early hotels of Honolulu. Mahalo!
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Indian Tourist shops - Cherokee, NC 1958

Don't these shops bring out the kid in you? Bet there's a cool peace pipe or even an Indian blow-gun in Tahquette's!
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Route 66 — Welcome to Arizona, 1956

This vacation slide features the artistic welcome you get entering Arizona on Route 66, the famous road that once connected Chicago with Los Angeles before the interstates. Are welcome signs still this cool anywhere? The saguaro cactus and pines are stylized just right, as is the landscape. Wonder why the Grand Canyon didn't make the graphic cut?
And speaking of... this is slide is labeled "Fireplace on balcony of Desert View Watchtower." They say you can't photograph the grandeur of the Canyon, but this one kind of gave me vertigo as I was previewing it. I think the woman in this Kodachrome may also feel it — it looks like the gentleman is helping her away from the edge.
Forty-eight stars fly on Old Glory as we enter The Painted Desert Inn. Built in 1924 of petrified wood and other native stone, it operated privately for 12 years. It became part of the Petrified Forest National Monument in 1935, supplying Route 66 travelers with meals, souvenirs, and lodging. Although remodeled and stabilized over the years it fell into disrepair, and when facing the wrecking ball, a concerned public prevented its demolition in 1975. It is now a visitor's center and National Historic Landmark — not to mention pure Americana of the highest order. Way to go preservationists!

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Steel Pier, Atlantic City, 1953

Here's a threefer documenting a couple's 1953 visit to the shore in Atlantic City.

Dressed in their best pajama/beach-wear, they stroll past a '49 Ford Woody and a '52 Seafoam green Super Rocket 88 Sedan. Duck's Real Estate sign shows the location as Atlantic Ave. Wouldn't you buy a house from Duck?Here on the Boardwalk, you may wonder why you're in the mood for a Ballantine. Could it be the 200ft. sign behind you?? And whateryer doin on the boardwalk in yer trunks??? Getouddahere.

Lots of stuff going on here - I especially like the fact Louis Prima is here. I first heard him in the movie "The Jungle Book" as the ape that sang "I Wanna Be Like You!" I still to this day like his voice and chops. I also wonder when the diving horse retired... Anyway the whole beach experience in Jersey sure looks different than in Florida... more about that later!
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Holland-America Line Theater Program, 1970

An island dancer shakes her maracas while accompanied by congo and trumpet under the moonlight and stars on this program cover by French poster designer Jan Lavies for "Going French." Going French was the crew show during the 10th Around-the-World Cruise on the S.S. Rotterdam. The Rotterdam, launched in 1958 and once the "Grande Dame" of the seas, was a groundbreaking design, with features found on cruise ships today. She was retired in 2000.

The "old" cruise ship underwent restoration in Poland and Germany and in 2008 was returned to the city of Rotterdam. She is scheduled to open to the public on July 27, 2009 as a combination museum/hotel. Bon Voyage!

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The Lettering Studio portfolio, 1970

Here's a neat little brochure used for promotion from The Lettering Studio, 404 Park Ave. South, New York, NY - 1970.

Back in the day, you had to sketch your logo or letterforms out first, then turn it over to professional typographers for layout, photo manipulation, effects, etc. It must not have been cheap, either. These guys have a Park Ave address. Now go play with your Macs, everyone...

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Florida Roadside Fantasy, 1964

A blissful couple stops to smell the flowers on a beautiful oceanside drive in Timewarp, Florida. What's missing from this Florida Attractions Association tri-fold brochure? Condos, hotels, parking garages and T-shirt shops that block the entire view of the water... but hey, it's PROMOTION.

Actually, there are world-class beaches in Florida, you just have to poke around (don't look at me — I ain't tellin'). This scene must be south of the Sarasota-Daytona frostline, because of the healthy colonnade of Royal palms lining the drive (smooth green trunks at top). Just look out for those 20 ft.-wide Detroit-Iron cruisers on the strip. Seriously, those kids in the back of that Griswold-mobile have more room than I did in my first apartment. American excess and roadside attractions together always make for a good promotional piece.

Detail of the interior of the car pictured above. (Actually, this is "borrowed" from a Bruce McCall book titled Zany Afternoons. I fell in love with his "Nostalgia for a Future That Never Existed" illustrations from National Lampoon magazines in the 70s. He currently illustrates for the New Yorker and is still publishing books. Very similar in style to the above work - gouache and hyperbole.

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Caneel Bay Plantation, 1956

Ahhhhh... Tropical atomic paradise in the Virgin Islands! In the early 50s, Laurance Rockefeller began buying tracts of land in St. John, starting with the old Caneel Bay plantation. He then developed a new type of small luxury resort that would have little impact on the environment. It opened in October 1956 (this is the original brochure) and was built of native wood and stone. I do admire the intimacy and minimal use of concrete.

Nice script font up above there...

How refreshing to look at pictures of the hotel today and see virtually the same paradise pictured in the original promotional material. They even use the same logo! This is where some of the Corona beer commercials have been filmed. The Caribbean mid-century landmarks seem to be less threatened than our friends in Hawaii.

The hotel rooms have been redecorated to look more Thomas Kincadian and British colonial than the Eames/Eichler modern pictured here, but overall it still looks like a great place to sit out a break from work!! I'd spend time on that open terrace at night with the stars, some steel drums, a tropical boat drink, myself...

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Grand View Ship Hotel, Lincoln Hwy, PA 1953

A passenger waits in a no-nonsense black 1947 Dodge Custom Sedan with suicide doors and russet interior in front of the famous landmark Ship Hotel, 17 miles west of Bedford, PA on US 30. Looks like a pretty dramatic view of the Allegheny mountains; apparently you can SEE 3 STATES and 7 COUNTIES! I wonder if you had to use that ginormous Dr. Seuss telescope to do so. Other activities include weighing yourself, steering the hotel to ports unknown, and dropping provided anchor.

Unfortunately, the Grand View burned down in 2001 after existing for years as a shadow of it's once-proud self. The postcards on this site show the lifespan of this bit of roadside Americana as well as some fantastic interior views.

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Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, 1963

Here's a brochure and receipt from this icon of modern architecture and interior design. Completely imagined by Arne Jacobsen, it contains his famous Swan and Egg chairs that were designed just for this project. It was the first skyscraper in Denmark, and echoed the modern steel structures being built in the US at the time. Still looks pretty cool to me... how'd you like to spend a night there for only $34.20?

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Everglades Wonder Gardens, 1952

I was surprised to find this relic of Roadside Florida still alive! Founded in the 1930s by two colorful brothers on the banks of the Imperial River on US 41 in Bonita Springs, it was one of many Florida theme parks with flamingos, gardens & gators.

A sign out front reads: "We have early 1930s animal housing which enables guests to get up close and personal to each exhibit." Another way of saying these old enclosures are crazy dangerous. Looking at the tiny tiled wall in the gator pit above, well... we get the point. As a kid at these attractions, all I could ever think about was what would happen if I fell in. Pretty much kept me on the path, if you know what I mean.

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Atomic Ranch, Florida 1964

These were taken from a brochure for planned communities in Port Charlotte, Port St. Lucie and Port Malamar, Florida. Wonder what the neighborhoods look like today?

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