Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving: Upside Down Turkeys? and Navy Cooks

According to a Navy chef in 1956, the best way to roast your turkey is upside down.

Not one housewife out of a hundred really knows how to roast that Thanksgiving turkey, so says the Navy! They always roast it upside down, with the breast sticking up. The right way to do it is to turn the bird over and keep the meaty breast and legs out of the drying heat at the top of the oven. That way the meat is more succulent and tender.

Amazing Vintage Color Photos of Cabaret’s Dancers at the Moulin Rouge, late 1950s

Here's a series of amazing color pictures made by LIFE photographer Loomis Dean in the late 1950s, featuring cabaret's dancers at the Moulin Rouge. It is there that where countless men and women down through the decades have enjoyed extravagant (and cheerfully risqué) song-and-dance numbers while soaking in the atmosphere of an entertainment mecca. It is there that the energetic and, for many, scandalous cancan dance found its highest and most popular form of expression.

20 Funny and Cute Vintage Thanksgiving Postcards

A collection of 20 funny and cute vintage Thanksgiving postcards. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bette Davis & a Turkey, ca. 1934

Marilyn Monroe Reads Joyce’s Ulysses at the Playground, 1955

During the 1950s, the pioneering photojournalist Eve Arnold took a series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The now iconic photos generally present Monroe as a larger-than-life celebrity and sex symbol. Except for one. In 1955, Arnold photographed Monroe reading a worn copy of James Joyce’s modernist classic, Ulysses. It’s still debated whether this was simply an attempt to recast her images (she often played the “dumb blonde” character in her ’50s films), or whether she actually had a pensive side. (Her personal library, catalogued at the time of her death, suggests the latter.) But, either way, Arnold explained years later how these memorable photos came about:
“We worked on a beach on Long Island. She was visiting Norman Rosten the poet... I asked her what she was reading when I went to pick her up (I was trying to get an idea of how she spent her time). She said she kept Ulysses in her car and had been reading it for a long time. She said she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it — but she found it hard going. She couldn’t read it consecutively. When we stopped at a local playground to photograph she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her. It was always a collaborative effort of photographer and subject where she was concerned — but almost more her input.”

Portrait of Marie Prevost in provocative dress, ca. 1918

Image of comedy film starlet Mary Bickford Dunn, aka Marie Prevost full-length, standing, facing right, in provocative dress, ca. 1918. Photograph by Nelson Evans.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

20 Vintage Photos of Women Telephone Operators at Work

In the early days of telephony, through roughly the 1960s, companies used manual telephone switchboards and switchboard operators connected calls by inserting a pair of phone plugs into the appropriate jacks. Each pair of plugs was part of a cord circuit with a switch associated that let the operator participate in the call.

Before the advent of automatic exchanges, an operator's assistance was required for anything other than calling telephones across a shared party line. Callers spoke to an operator at a Central Office who then connected a cord to the proper circuit in order to complete the call. Being in complete control of the call, the operator was in a position to listen to private conversations. Automatic, or Dial systems were developed in the 1920s to reduce labor costs as usage increased, and to ensure privacy to the customer. As phone systems became more sophisticated, less direct intervention by the telephone operator was necessary to complete calls.

Telephone switchboard 1880s.

Women operators working at the Bell Telephone Company exchange in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1897.

Pacific Telephone & Telegraph operators, ca. 1900.

A Telephone Exchange operator in Richardson, Texas, ca. 1900.

Telephone switchboard operators, Salt Lake City, ca.1914. During this period, only young women (not men) were hired for this type of work at a Salt Lake City, Utah company.