Saturday, December 14, 2002

Paper Dolls

I loved Betsy McCall paper dolls when I was little; my mom had lots of old magazines (and I mean old, going back to when she must have been pretty young) and the Betsy dolls were a big favorite of mine. She even let me have the ones out of her new issues to cut out. Years later, I found the older Betsy pages in vintage magazines at sales and so forth, and really fell for the late 50s ones—I even own a handful now. These pages were, in fact, the original inspiration for the Action Girl Activity Page series of paper dolls. All the Betsy outfits would have little stories and details for every outfit, and to me they seemed just like comics. Anyway, I've been slowly trying to clean up my bookmarks (it's way out of hand) and I found this link I'd forgotten about, to a huge collection of Betsy strips pages (see, there I go again, I keep typing "strips"!) My favorites are right around 1959, although all the 50s ones are great. Someday I'd like to get mine in order and maybe track down some more!

And thanks to sharp-eyed Bill, here's a couple of Christmas Betsys!!

Friday, December 13, 2002

Oh, Christmas Tree

silvertree.jpgWe haven't had a full-size tree since we moved two years ago. For about 6-7 years we had a nice big, artificial white tree which I loved. But after we moved we had a little cat destruction and…no more tree. Right now I've got two tabletop trees (one pink, one silver) but I was hoping to get a full-size again this year, so I've been looking around. Because our house is decorated in a sort of—cartoony interpretation of mid-century modern is probably the best way to describe it—a couple of people have suggested the classic aluminum tree to go with the 50s-ish look. Now, while I think they're pretty, I'm not a big fan of any tree without lights. But I thought I'd look at a few. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, contrary to popular opinion (and most eBay sellers), the aluminum tree is a 1960s icon, and didn't even exist in the 1950s! There's a great history of the tree at Bill's Antique Christmas Light Site, which even includes a copy of the patent, and as it turns out, the very first Evergleam aluminum tree went on sale in December of 1959. So, you learn something new every day. A little research through my own 50s magazine collection shows that for the 50s look, artificial trees came in white and green…but both live and artificial trees were often heavily flocked in any and every color you can imagine. For me personally, finding out that even the modern aluminum trees still can't have lights on them makes me think that white is once again the way to go. Oh, but one last silver tree link: the Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum is actually only one of many museums I came across devoted to the silver tree, but this is the only one with pictures online. Check out the "growing process"!

In comic book news, I found this really interesting interview with Toshio Maeda, most famous (or infamous) here for creating the Urotsuki Doji (Legend of the Overfiend) stuff. It's part one of a series, which I will be checking back for. This one was particularly interesting because he makes several comments about the American comic industry, some perceptive and some showing that it's not just the American public that thinks adults don't read comic books.

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