I woke around 3:30 this morning to let the dogs out for a minute. When I got back into bed I turned on Turner Classic Movie channel thinking I'd fall back to sleep with a comfortable old movie. "Bachelor in Paradise"was on, circa 1961 with Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Paula Prentiss and the guy who played Gidget's Father in the TV series "Gidget". For a little over an hour, I was riveted, in spite of this being a "B-Movie" it was a fascinating feast for these old eyes.

The story was set in one of the very first residential tract-home communities in the San Fernando Valley. Lana played a Real Estate Broker who owned one of the tract homes which she rented to Bob Hope who played A.J. Niles, an author of Kinsey-type studies, sent by his manager to suburbia to write a similar book about the sex lives of middle America. Yes, sex had been invented by 1961. Anyway, A.J. Niles found plenty of sex being had in the peaceful subdivision of "Paradise Village", but that wasn't what compelled me to stay awake and watch the movie. It was the LOOK, designs, materials and color schemes. This movie epitomizes that unmistakable 50s-60s, mid-century modern, space age aesthetic when women dressed like the wives of astronauts, and as mentioned in my previous post (All Stirred Up), everyone drank martinis.Strangely, I found myself looking at the decor with disdain. Everything seemed cheap, mass produced, tacky and cheesy looking. But that's my 2010 eye. I'm sure back then, it was all fabulous.

Then I remembered the way we dressed in the 70s and decided that the magical man-made fabric of Polyester must have been a product of the same sick sense of style. It's no wonder we needed drugs and alcohol to get us through those decades. Or maybe bad taste was the product of a gigantic hangover we were all suffering from then.

Go back just nine years before that and watch a film like "The Bad and The Beautiful", 1952 and see what a difference a decade can make in the minds and the taste of a culture. Oh well, at least we got the martini part right, right?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Keri,
    I love your perspective because you throw us a curve once in a while. I had never thought of those times as "cheap" and "tacky" but all your have to do is watch an episode of the currently popular Mad Men to know you are right on. One thing those times had though was a family closeness I don't see today. Sitting down to dinner together and other forms of communication seem to have gone by the wayside. I have a grand daugther that is so engrossed in her i-pod that I feel as though I must make an appointment to visit with her. Of course todays family, for the most part does not have the luxury of a stay at home Mom.

    Your Those Faces blog brings one word to my mind. Elegance. It seems to have been a trait more valued then than today.


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