bring back some good or bad memories

November 20, 2019

The Woman Who Would Be Marilyn: 20 Amazing Kodachrome Photos of Sheree North in the 1950s

Born Dawn Shirley Crang in Los Angeles on January 17, 1932, North made her film début as an uncredited extra in Excuse My Dust (1951). She was then spotted by a choreographer performing at the Macayo Club in Santa Monica, and was cast as a chorus girl in the film Here Come the Girls (1953), starring Bob Hope. Around that time, she adopted the stage name Sheree North. She made her Broadway début in the musical Hazel Flagg, for which she won a Theatre World Award. She reprised her role in the film version, Living It Up (1954), starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. In early 1954, at age 22, she appeared in a live TV version of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes on The Colgate Comedy Hour, with Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra and Bert Lahr.


In 1954, North signed a four-year contract with 20th Century-Fox. The studio had big plans for her, hoping to groom her as a replacement for the studio’s leading, and increasingly uncontrollable, female star, Marilyn Monroe. Fox tested North for leading roles in two of their upcoming productions, The Girl in Pink Tights and There’s No Business Like Show Business—two films that had been offered to Monroe—while North was wearing Monroe’s own studio wardrobe. However, after her screen tests, North was not cast in either film. In March 1954, North had a brush with scandal when it was revealed that she had earlier danced in a bikini in an 8 mm erotic film. Fox capitalized on the publicity as the studio previously had with Monroe’s nude calendar posing in 1952.

In 1955, she was assigned the lead role opposite Betty Grable in How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), a role that Marilyn Monroe had refused to accept. Media attention surrounding Monroe’s suspension and North’s hiring resulted in North appearing on the cover of LIFE magazine with the cover line “Sheree North Takes Over From Marilyn Monroe”. How to Be Very, Very Popular would eventually not live up to the hype Fox had generated, even though North had appeared on What’s My Line? to publicize the film and had been asked point-blank by one of the panelists if she has been associated with Monroe. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and was a moderate box office success. Despite this, film historians, then and now, cite North’s electrically-charged dancing to “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, as the film’s most memorable scene.

In an attempt to promote North, Fox studio executives lobbied to cast her in films surrounded with popular stars. The studio had campaigned to cast her in a film with comedian Tom Ewell, hoping to repeat the success he had with Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955). Soon thereafter, the studio assigned North and Ewell to appear together in the romantic comedy The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, plotting the story of an army lieutenant whose husband tries to get her discharged. To promote the film, North posed for several publicity shots showing her legs. When the majority of the shots were released, only her legs appeared with the tagline, “Believe it or not, these legs belong to an army lieutenant”. The film premiered with much fanfare in January 1956, and became a box office success, grossing over $4 million in the United States.

In 1956, Fox signed another blonde bombshell, Broadway actress Jayne Mansfield to a contract, and began promoting her instead of North. Although Fox slowly lost interest in North, the studio continued to offer her a string of films. She was offered the leading role in a film called The Girl Upstairs, in which she would have parodied Monroe’s on-screen persona.

After North’s contract with Fox ended in 1958, her career stalled. She never became the star that 20th Century-Fox hoped for – for almost a decade, from the late 1950s through the mid-’60s she had no film work – but she nevertheless ended up enjoying a longer and fuller career than most actors and actresses can dream of.

A working actress across five decades; not too shabby for a woman who, at the start of her movie career, was (according to LIFE) “kept on ice merely as a decoy to scare Marilyn Monroe.”

Sheree North was married four times and was the mother to two daughters. She died in Los Angeles in November 2005. She was 73 years old.










The Disappearance of U.F.O. Rock Musician Jim Sullivan in 1975

On March 4, 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost. Some think the mafia bumped him. Some even think he was abducted by aliens.


Jim Sullivan was born on August 13, 1940. He grew up in the Linda Vista area of San Diego, California, where his Irish-American parents had moved from Nebraska to work in the defense industry.

A tall man, he was a high school quarterback. According to self-written liner notes on his first LP, he “grew up in a government housing project with a bunch of other Okies and Arkies,” and decided to play music after listening to local blues groups.


Sullivan married, and played guitar in a local rock band, the Survivors, with his sister-in-law Kathie Doran. He and a friend bought a bar near to their college, but it lost money, and in 1968 he moved with his wife Barbara and young son to Los Angeles.

While his wife worked at Capitol Records, Sullivan wrote songs and performed in increasingly prestigious clubs in the Los Angeles area. In particular, he became established at the Raft club in Malibu, where he became friends with Hollywood figures including Lee Majors, Lee Marvin, and Harry Dean Stanton. He appeared as an extra in the movie Easy Rider, and performed on the José Feliciano television show.

Jim Sullivan appeared in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.

His friends contributed the funding that allowed him to record an album of his songs with leading Los Angeles session musicians. After Nick Venet at Capitol turned down the opportunity to release the record, it was issued by Sullivan’s friend Al Dobbs on a small record label, Monnie, a label he set up for that purpose. The album, U.F.O., was released in 1969, and featured Sullivan’s songs in a style blending folk, rock and country.

The album was remixed and reissued by Century City Records in 1970, and the track “Rosey” was issued as a single, but they made little impact at the time. Sullivan continued to perform in clubs. In 1972, he recorded a second album, Jim Sullivan, released by Playboy Records. Again, however, the record was unsuccessful. As Sullivan increasingly turned to alcohol and his marriage began to disintegrate, he decided in 1975 to travel to Nashville, and try to find success there.

U.F.O. (Monnie, 1969)

Jim Sullivan (Playboy, 1972)

Sullivan left Los Angeles on March 4, 1975, to drive to Nashville alone in his Volkswagen Beetle. The next day, after being cautioned by a highway patrol officer regarding his driving, he checked into the La Mesa Motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Later reports suggest he did not sleep there, and left his key inside the room, and that he bought vodka at the town store. He was seen the following day about 26 miles (42 km) away, at a remote ranch owned by the Gennitti family. His car was later found abandoned at the ranch, and he was reportedly last seen walking away from it. The car contained Sullivan’s money, papers, guitar, clothes, and a box of his unsold records.

He was never seen again, and reports have variously attributed his disappearance to being murdered, becoming disoriented and lost, or, particularly in the light of the title of his first album, alien abduction. Search parties failed to find any trace of him. A decomposed body resembling Sullivan was later found in a remote area several miles away, but was determined not to be his.



Sullivan’s records, especially U.F.O., developed a cult following in later years, partly because of their rarity and obscurity. In 2010, Matt Sullivan (no relation), the founder of Light in the Attic Records, decided to reissue U.F.O., and made serious attempts to uncover the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance, interviewing many of those who knew him and those involved in his recordings, but revealing little new information. The album was issued on CD in 2011.

A new collection of previously unreleased demos by Sullivan, If the Evening Were Dawn, was released in 2019 by Light in the Attic Records.



30 Wonderful Black and White Photos of Rome in the Post-WWII

Rome developed greatly after the war as part of the "Italian economic miracle" of post-war reconstruction and modernisation in the 1950s. During this period, the years of la dolce vita ("the sweet life"), Rome became a fashionable city, with popular classic films such as Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita filmed in the city's iconic Cinecittà film studios.

This album from Ross Dunn is part of the Don Burns Collection that shows what Rome looked like in the late 1940s and early 1950s.










November 19, 2019

Fascinating Color Pics Capture Street Scenes of Reno, Nevada in the 1950s

Reno is a city in the northwest section of the U.S. state of Nevada, approximately 22 miles (35 km) from Lake Tahoe, known as "The Biggest Little City in the World".

Reno is known for its casino industry. It is the county seat of Washoe County and sits in a high desert river valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and its downtown area (along with Sparks) occupies a valley informally known as the Truckee Meadows. The city is named after Union Major General Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in action during the American Civil War at the Battle of South Mountain on Fox's Gap.

Reno is part of Reno-Sparks metropolitan, 2nd most populous in Nevada after Las Vegas-Henderson, both of which are part of the Las Vegas Valley. Greater Reno which consists of Washoe, Storey, Lyon counties and Carson City (the capital of Nevada), is the second largest metropolitan area in Nevada.

Here below is a fascinating photo collection that shows what Reno looked like in the 1950s.

Flying A Service Station

Flying A Service Station

Harolds Club

Harolds Club

Harolds Club





30 Stunning Color Photos of Betty Grable in the 1940s and 1950s

Betty Grable, byname of Elizabeth Ruth Grable, (December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973) was an American actress and dancer who was one of the leading box office draws of the 1940s. She starred primarily in musicals with formulaic plots that embraced her wholesome, good-natured screen image and featured athletic dance numbers which showed off her shapely legs.


Grable was set on the road to stardom by her mother, who enrolled her from an early age in dance and music classes and in 1929 moved with her to Hollywood. Only 13 years old, Grable lied about her age and landed chorus girl parts in several Hollywood musicals. She sang and danced in films throughout the 1930s but did not make much of an impression until 1939, when she was a hit on Broadway in Cole Porter’s musical Du Barry Was a Lady. She was then called back to Hollywood by Twentieth Century Fox, and in 1940 she had her first blockbuster success with Down Argentine Way. That film was followed by such hits as Moon over Miami (1941), Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943), Pin Up Girl (1944), and The Dolly Sisters (1946)—the success of which helped pull Fox out of debt.

The splashy Technicolor musicals in which Grable starred were immensely popular and provided audiences with escapist entertainment during World War II. The famous pinup photo of the leggy, blonde, bathing-suit-clad Grable, back to the camera, glancing over one shoulder, did not contradict her persona as the girl next door and became an icon of the era. Indeed, American servicemen voted Grable their favorite pinup, and her image could be seen adorning the sides of bomber planes.

Grable ranked among the top 10 box office stars for 10 consecutive years (1942–51); she held the number one spot in 1943 and was the highest-ranked woman in 7 other years. At the height of her fame, her famous legs were insured for one million dollars, and she became not only the highest-paid star in Hollywood but the highest-paid woman in the United States.

In the mid-1950s, however, Grable’s movie career declined in tandem with the decrease in the popularity of the conventional, backstage musicals she specialized in. She then headlined shows in Las Vegas, Nevada, sometimes appearing with bandleader Harry James, to whom she was married from 1943 to 1965. She also starred in the road companies of hit stage shows and was one of the most popular repacement stars of the long-running Broadway musical Hello Dolly!










Iconic and Intimate Portraits by Jerry Schatzberg

For over 50 years, celebrated photographer and filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg has captured some of the most iconic portraits of famous figures of a generation, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Fidel Castro and Andy Warhol. Schatzberg’s portraits are notably identified for their narrative feature, as he always left his subjects to their own devices in order for their characters to fully come through into his shots. Here are some of Schatzberg’s striking portraits, taken mostly in the 1960s:

Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, in army fatigues, gestures as he speaks emphatically during a press conference held soon after the Cuban revolution, Havana, Cuba, 1959.

Close-up profile of American lawyer (and future politician) Ted Kennedy, Boston, Massachusetts, 1962.

With buildings reflected in the window, Roman Polanski holds the brochure for the first New York Film Festival, New York, September 1963.

Low-angle view of Elia Kazan, New York, 1964.

Jane Fonda in a cowboy hat, checkered blouse, and jeans dangles a gun in her right hand as she stands in front of a black background, New York, October 1964.




45 Glamorous Photos of Silvana Mangano in the 1950s and '60s

Born 1930 in Rome, Italian actress lived in poverty during the World War II. Trained for seven years as a dancer, she was supporting herself as a model.


In 1946, at age 16, Mangano won the Miss Rome beauty pageant, and through this, she obtained a role in a Mario Costa film. One year later, she became a contestant in the Miss Italia contest. The contest that year became a springboard for a pool of potential actresses, including the winner Lucia Bosé, Mangano and several other future stars of Italian cinema such as Gina Lollobrigida, Eleonora Rossi Drago and Gianna Maria Canale.

Mangano signed a contract with Lux Film in 1949. Though she never scaled the heights of her contemporaries Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, Mangano remained a favorite star between the 1950s and 1970s, appearing in Anna (1951), The Gold of Naples (1954), Mambo (1955), Theorem (1968), Death in Venice (1971), and The Scientific Cardplayer (1972).

Mangano died of lung cancer in Madrid, Spain in 1989 at the age of 59.

Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of young Silvana Mangano in the 1950s and 1960s.










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