Snow Glorious Snow!

Vintage snow photos

So, it’s Boxing Day and I’m sitting here (eating chocolates) waiting for it to snow. Apparently we are due to get snow tonight, but I fully expect to wake up in the morning and see cold grey drizzle rather than a beautiful white blanket covering everything. We didn’t have any snow last winter at all, so I’m even more excited than usual about the prospect of snow. I keep peeking out through the curtains and all I can see is darkness and wet pavement, so I’m not getting my hopes up too much.

In the meantime I thought I’d share some great vintage photos of snow through the years. These photos teach us quite a lot: 1) that people used to keep the trains running even through snowfalls deeper than the trains themselves (take note British train companies who stop running when we get ‘the wrong kind of leaves on the line’), 2) that people have always loved playing in the snow, and 3) don’t play snowballs with over-competitive Princetown students. Have you seen the state they got into..?!

If you have got snow wherever you are in the world then enjoy and don’t forget not to take your snowball fights too seriously! ;)

Above: Officers of the Fleet Air Arm during WW2 embarked in HMS VINDEX help to clear snow from the carrier’s flight deck by making an outsized “snow ball” whilst she is on Atlantic convoy.

Vintage snow photos

A resident struggles to walk in a blizzard in Manhattan, New York. February 1969

Vintage snow photos

Princeton students after a freshman vs. sophomores snowball fight in 1893.

Vintage snow photos

Ready for a snowball fight, Nebraska, c. 1910. I think the little girl on the left it going to win, she’s definitely got her game-face on…

Vintage snow photos

“Winter – Fifth Avenue” by Alfred Stieglitz, 1892

Vintage snow photos

Snowball fight on the steps of the FL capitol 10 February 1899

Vintage snow photos

Stormy day, St. Catherine Street, Montreal, QC, Canada 1901

Vintage snow photos

A snow blockade in southern Minnesota, US in 1881. On March 29, 1881 snowdrifts in Minnesota were higher than locomotives.

Vintage snow photos

Children playing in snow, Central Park (New York, N.Y.)–1910-1920.

Vintage snow photos

“Terminal,”, 1892 New York

Vintage snow photos

Brooklyn 1888

Vintage snow photos

Soldiers having a snowball fight with Soviet tanks in the background, 1944.

Vintage snow photos

Blizzard of March 1888 – Frozen Fountain, Woodland Cemetery


Image source and copyright: 1, This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.

2, This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made as part of an employee’s official duties.

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, This media file is in the public domain in the United States.

11, This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

13,This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bewitched!

10 Things You Didn't Know About Bewitched!

I remember rushing home from school as a child and watching re-runs of Bewitched on the TV. I absolutely adored it, along with I Dream of Jeannie. Here are some facts about Bewitched that you might not know:

  1. We’ve all tried to twitch our noses like Samantha, right? The trick to doing it was that Elizabeth Montgomery didn’t actually try to wriggle her nose, she twitched her top lip which moved her nose.
  2. The original Darrin, Dick York (pictured above) was replaced by Dick Sargent (below) because of his recurring back problems. When the new actor joined the ratings dropped significantly. I only ever saw episodes with the original Darrin I think…
  3. There is a statue of Samantha in Lappin Park (Salem, Mass) which was erected June 15, 2005 You can see the statue and the unveiling here. What do you think? Does it do her justice?
  4. In the late 1970s there was a spin-off series called Tabitha, based around the grown-up life of Samantha and Darrin’s daughter. The series wasn’t a success. Many fans were disappointed that they didn’t use the original actress in the role, despite the fact that she would have been too young at the time.
  5. In 2002,Bewitched was ranked #50 on “TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time“, it was also the longest-running supernatural-themed sitcom of the 1960s–1970s and was way more successful than rival shows ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘The Adams Family.
  6. A couple of the storylines from Bewitched were stolen directly from I Love Lucy*: one of which was the chocolate assembly line episode ‘Samantha’s Power Failure‘ which was copied from “Job Switching“.
    *or would they argue that it was an homage to I Love Lucy…?
  7. Montgomery was pregnant three times during the filming of the series. The first time they covered up this fact by doing mostly close-ups and head-and-shoulder shots, but the second and third time the pregnancies were written into the script.
  8. When they were casting the role of Tabitha, both Helen Hunt and Jodie Foster were considered. I’m not sure though whether this was for the role of Tabitha in Bewitched or in the spin-off seriesTabitha
  9. The set of the Stephen’s house was re-used in lots of different TV shows, including as Doctor Bellow’s house in I Dream of Jeannie, the 1969 Jerry Lewis movie Hook, Line & Sinker and in a Fruit of the Loom Christmas ad.
  10. On 4 April 1968 the transmission of Bewitched (the episode “I Confess”), was interrupted to announce the assassination of Martin Luther King

Above: Main cast photo from the premiere of the television progam Bewitched. At top is Agnes Moorehead as Endora, the mother of Samantha Stephens. Left is Dick York as Darrin Stephens, and right is Elizabeth Montgomery as his wife, Samantha.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Bewitched!

Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha and Agnes Moorehead as her mother, Endorra, from the television program Bewitched, 1966.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Bewitched!

Cast photo of the Stephens family from the television program Bewitched. Dick Sargent (Darrin), Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) Erin Murphy (Tabitha), David Lawrence (Adam). 1971

Image source and copyright: 1, 2, 3, This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice. Info source 1, 2.

1960s Models: Jean Shrimpton

1960s Models: Jean ShrimptonJean Shrimpton is one of the best-known models of the 1960s and was an ‘it girl’ and icon of Swinging SIxties London. With her slim figure and coltish long legs she represented a real departure from the more grown-up sophisticated models of the 1950s.

After finishing a modelling course at the Lucie Clayton Charm Academy (famed for being the place where they teach you how to get out of a Jaguar E-Type without flashing your knickers at the waiting photographers) she became quickly popular as a model. This was in 1960 when she was just 17. Continue reading

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cary Grant

Cary Grant

For me Cary Grant will always be the ultimate leading man. Sophisticated, debonaire and witty (not to mention a bit of a goof-ball at times) he was a Hollywood icon millions of women fell in love with. He acted alongside the greatest leading ladies from 3 decades of Hollywood, from Greta Garbo to Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.

Here are some things about him that you might not know…

  1. Cary Grant was christened with the slightly less sophisticated name of Archibald Alexander Leach. When his career first started on Broadway he worked under the name Archie Leach but was told to change it when he went to Hollywood. He suggested the name ‘Cary Lockwood’ which was rejected by studio bosses and he eventually selected Cary Grant because the initials CG had proved lucky for both Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.
  2. He was expelled from Fairfield Grammar School aged 14  for sneaking into the girl’s toilets.
  3. The character of Cary Grant during the filming of the hugely succesful The Awful Truth in 1937. When asked about it he was quoted as saying: “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”
  4. He received more money from the movie ‘To Catch A Thief’ than the writer and director Hitchcock did. Grant received more than $700,000 while Hitchcock received less than $50,000.
  5. Cary Grant was an advocate of taking the hallucinogenic drug LSD. He was introduced to the drug (which was legal at the time) in the early 1960s by his then-wife actress Betsy Drake and claimed it brought him inner peace.
  6. He believed that celebrities should keep out of politics and refused to be drawn on his political beliefs, speaking out for the only time after Robert F. Kennedy was shot calling for tighter gun control in America.
  7. Grant retired from acting at the age of 62 when his daughter Jennifer was born.
  8. In the late 1960s, Cary Grant accepted a position on the board of directors at Fabergé (as in Fabergé eggs). They believed that any products associated with him would be instantly successful.
  9. He was listed as the second Greatest Male Star of All Time behind Humphrey Bogart. I’m not sure why, IMHO Grant was a million times better than Bogart and I’m sure their positions should have been reversed!
  10. Despite his enormous box-office success he never received any major awards. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor (Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart) and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, but never won. However he was awarded an honororary Oscar in 1970 “for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues”

Continue reading

Movie Monday: Grand Prix (1966)

Grand Prix movie 1966It was a total coincidence that I watched Grand Prix on the same weekend we heard about James Garner’s death. It is a movie I’ve meant to watch for a long time. I spent this weekend pretty much immersed in motorsport, with my son karting at Buckmore Park all day on Saturday plus it being a Formula 1 weekend, so this movie was an extension of a very petrol-fueled couple of days!

Don’t be fooled by the movie poster, which is very reminiscent of The Cannonball Run, it’s nothing like that. While The Cannonball Run is admittedly one of my all-time favourite guilty-secret movies, Grand Prix is an amazingly shot beautiful movie and a totally different beast. Although James Garner has always reminded me of a serious Burt Reynolds somehow…

I always knew motor racing used to be a lot more dangerous than now, I still remember where I was the day that Ayrton Senna was killed. It was one of those ‘where were you when…’ shocking moments that sticks with you. I remember exactly what I was doing as I watched the crash, just like I did when Challenger exploded, Princess Diana died and The World Trade Center was hit.  All moments which seem frozen in time by the sheer horror of what has just happened.

Even though I know a fair amount about the history of motor racing and the terrible fatality rates of the 50s and 60s, I still found this movie shocking because it showed how blasé everyone used to be about the deaths both of spectators and drivers.

There were various races during this movie where drivers were seriously injured or killed, sometimes along with members of the crowd and yet the races continued unaffected. I knew this happened but it was still shocking to watch, especially since this movie was filmed at the time it was set, so the real F1 drivers who took part in the movie were out facing this kind of danger every time they stepped into a car.

Grand Prix 1966

Remember all the fuss about Keira Knightly’s Chanel optical illusion dress a few months ago? Well this lady in the crowd first wore that look 50 years ago!

The movie centers around the championship battle between James Garner, an American F1 driver who loses his driving seat after causing a terrible crash with his teammate, Brian Bedford* as his injured teammate fighting to return and Yves Montand who plays an old French champion. The movie is as much about the women in their lives and how they coped with living with men who diced with death constantly. Continue reading