From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–
Our Grandparent’s generation got it right, man– the fully loaded, properly-appointed basement bar. via here
Like a lot of us affected by the ongoing economic instability, I’ve had to tighten the purse strings a bit lately. Simply put– I’m spending more time at home, and less dough on going out. That said, my penchant for enjoying a stiff drink with friends has inspired me to bring back something my Grandparent’s generation held sacred and all had– the basement bar. Let us be clear before anyone reads on– this is not about having an additional fridge stocked with Corona you bought from Costco, a jumbo bag of chips, and a few crappy bean bags that reek of stale beer from your frat house days. That’s the JV approach, and not an atmosphere where anyone serious about drinking and socializing wants to hang. In short– it is not a bar.
Can I pour you a tall, stiff one? Does anyone wear a tie at home anymore, let alone in their basement? Circa 1965– via here
The home bar craze started post WWII, as more Americans realized the dream of home ownership (late 1940’s to early 1970’s being my unofficial Golden Years). As families migrated more and more to the suburbs, they found themselves enjoying entertaining at home. Probably because as first-time home owners, they truly busted their asses to get into a house– saving every nickel (they’d never even consider defaulting on a mortgage), and when they finally settled on their dream house, they were truly proud of it, and wanted to show it off to friends and family alike. Also restaurants and bars were still largely urban back then. It would be many years before the suburbs were teaming with every silly “TGI– what is that ridiculous friggin’ costume” restaurant/bar franchise. The other great thing back then– the “politically correct” culture of today was not around to stop grownups from socializing– sans kids. Back in the day, entertaining the children was what the TV upstairs was made for. With the kiddies safely locked away watching Rawhide, the adults were free to to enjoy top-shelf spirits, Chesterfield smoky treats, and boozy, adult conversation in the privacy of their own homes– truly paradise on earth.
Circa 1949– Glamour gal, Eileen Howe, having a drink on New Year’s Eve in Samuel Spiegel’s home bar. Photo by Peter Stackpole for LIFE magazine.
According to William Goldman, when he first wrote the script and sent it out for consideration, only one studio wanted to buy it, and that was with the proviso that the two lead characters did not flee to South America. When Goldman protested that that was what had happened, the studio head responded, “I don’t give a shit. All I know is John Wayne don’t run away.” Goldman rewrote the script, “didn’t change it more than a few pages, and subsequently found that every studio wanted it.”
William Goldman said that many young people saw the super posse in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ as a metaphor for the government and authority during the years of anti-war protests. He said his students said the similarity lay in the relentlessness by which both “would hunt you down.”
Carol Doda was a powerful pioneer that took the profession of stripping out of the shadowy margins of American society and gained worldwide fame as a topless dancer in the 1960s and ’70s. “San Francisco history is made up of characters, and Carol certainly was one of those, ” said Charlotte Shultz, chief protocol for San Francisco. “She changed Broadway and made news around the world. People said, ‘Only in San Francisco,’ and we didn’t mind people saying that.” ~VIA SFGATE
Bo Diddley was a singer and guitarist who invented his own name, his own guitars, his own beat and, and with a handful of other musical pioneers, rock ’n’ roll itself. In the 1950s, as a founder of rock ’n’ roll, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and a few others reshaped the sound of popular music worldwide, building on the template of blues, Southern gospel, R&B and postwar American vernacular culture.
In an interview aired on TCM, George Kennedy discussed how Joy Harmon’s iconic car washing scene was originally scheduled for half a day, and how that shoot ended up taking 3 days. Kennedy laughed and said, “Somewhere…there’s 80,000 feet of film with Joy Harmon washing that car!”
When Joy Harmon filmed the scene in which the men watch her wash her car, she had no idea how suggestive it was. It never occurred to her until she saw it in the theater. “I just figured it was washing the car. I’ve always been naive and innocent,” she said. “I was acting and not trying to be sexy. Maybe that’s why the scene played so well. After seeing it at the premiere, I was a bit embarrassed.”
In 1972, Kenny Roberts was a youthful 21 years old AMA Rookie of the Year. An immensely talented and thoroughly analytical rider, Roberts was already three years into his professional racing career, and two years into a factory Yamaha contract. However, he was still not much known outside of the USA. Roberts went on to finish 2nd in the AMA Grand National Championship that year, his first season as an expert class rider.
“Rita Moreno knew how to make her cheating boyfriend jealous long before the age of social media. The task is simple; just a three-step process. First, date screen legend Marlon Brando. Second, find evidence of his affair (what would be the first of many). Third, get asked on a date by Elvis Presley and accept. While this seems like a page of Old Hollywood fan fiction, this was, in fact, Moreno’s life.” –From the pages of Vanity Fair.
“He’s worth idolizing. He’s extraordinary. That was a really interesting period. I wasn’t supposed to have kids, and I’m the oldest of nine and had mothered all of them, so I wasn’t ever in a mode where I was looking to settle down and raise a family, so that definitely changes the gene pool you’re dipping into.”
“The 1991 Martin Scorsese-directed thriller Cape Fear may seem an unlikely candidate for documenting the use and influence of the King James Bible, But its central character, Max Cady, as played by Robert De Niro, wielded biblical verses like weapons.”
“She (Gloria Pall) was quite openly in touch with her sexuality, and that was an incredibly dangerous thing to do. We don’t have too many stories for that time that illustrate that, and Gloria’s does.” ~R.H. Greene