In 1964, Mopar unleashed their 426 Hemi-powered fleet at the Daytona 500 and swept Ford clean off the track– taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Richard Petty (NASCAR 1959 Rookie of the Year, which was amazingly the same year that his father Lee won the Daytona 500) led for an impressive 184 laps, and handily took the win.

That year an outmatched Chevy did not even compete in NASCAR. Ford attempted to debut their new SOHC 427 just days before Daytona– but not only had they failed to list the engine with NASCAR 45 days prior as required, this was not a stock engine at all. Ford was flatly denienied, but even worse than that– Mopar somehow got drug into the high-performance engine debate (many say Ford was muddying the waters for Mopar behind the scenes) that spiraled into the 426 Hemi (reportedly capable of producing 600 HP in NASCAR trim…), which truly was a stock car engine sold to the public, being banned from future NASCAR races.

This easily could have spelled the end of Mopar’s 426 Hemi– arguably the most legendary and iconic American muscle car engine ever. But what Mopar did next was surprising– they decided to turn the tables and boycott NASCAR. This was potentially a major setback for Richard Petty’s racing career, as he was on pace to win the championship that year.

As fate would have it, drag racing was becoming a huge draw– as fans gathered in fevered hordes to see the new wave of super-powered big-block Motor City madness go head-to-head on the drag strips. Plymouth and the Petty crew announced their abrupt move to drag racing– although Petty had no real serious drag racing experience. It would be an exciting, and short-lived venture that would produce a couple of badass Hemi-powered Barracuda dragsters. Unfortunately it was also a period marred by a tragedy that would affect Richard Petty forever.

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Icons James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson sharing the silver screen– ‘nuff said? Not quite. While I love the glamour, legend, and lore behind the making of “Giant” (and trust me, we’ll get to that), it rings the social bell– truly ahead of its time, during the largely superficial values of the 1950s.

George Stevens’ 1956 masterpiece “Giant” has been described as– Texas’ own “Gone with the Wind.” Star-studded, sweeping and epic– that bravely chronicles the evolution of the Mexican people from a subservient status to a people worthy of equal rights, respect and dignity through their hard-fought, slow-earned absorption and acceptance in America.  It’s a story about social change and ethnic growing pains that was told on the big screen– before the issue was thrust front-and-center in American living rooms during the civil rights movement.

America has a history of making the path to assimilation and acceptance (in this fine country of ours that I love) a downright bloody one.  Hatred comes from fear–and fear is born of ignorance.  I’ve been down that road myself– most of us have at some point.  Like it or not.  Maybe the melting pot analogy is fitting here– throw it all in, boil out the bones, cook under high heat until palatable, and serve up warm.


“In the beginning of “Giant,” the rancher Bick Benedict is always correcting his Eastern-bred wife for treatingthe Mexican servants as deserving of respect. By the film’s end, however, Benedict, played by a young Rock Hudson, comes to blows with a cafe owner attempting to remove a Spanish-speaking patron from his restaurant. Above all its themes, “Giant” is about social change. Hollywood for the first time addressed anti-Hispanic racism.‘Giant’ broke ground in the way it celebrated the fusion of Anglo and Hispanic culture in Texas– and anticipated the social gains that Mexican-Americans would make over the next generation. The movie is as much about race as it is about Texas.”

Benjamin Johnson (Author and Historian)

The Reata Ranch House (seen above in the background) in “Giant” is based on a actual Texas mansion– the Victorian era “Waggoner Mansion” that still stands today in Decatur, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. George Stevens rejected the hacienda architecture of the traditional Texas ranch house (which is how the Benedict place is described in the Ferber novel). Stevens worried that a Spanish-looking house would be alien to non-Texan viewers. via The huge façade (of the Reata Ranch house) was built in Hollywood and shipped to Marfa on flatcars. It was erected in a corner of the Worth Evans ranch, one of the more imposing holdings of the region. And it was a strange sight, its towers visible for many miles, in the middle of the plains. As it was about a half enclosure rather well constructed, Stevens left it to serve the hospitable Mr. Evans as a hay barn. via

1955– Elizabeth Taylor & James Dean in George Stevens’ “Giant.” –Image © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

“We were working on’Giant’, and we’re out in the middle of Texas. It was a scene that takes place just before Dean discovers oil on his land, where Elizabeth Taylor comes by and he makes tea for her. It’s the first time Dean has ever acted with her. But even though we’re out in the desert in Marfa, there are a thousand people watching us film behind a rope. It’s a scene where Dean has a rifle on his back. He brings her in and makes her tea, and then, suddenly, he stops. And he walks a couple hundred feet away to where these people are watching us, and in front of all of them, he pisses– facing them, with his back to the set. Then he comes back in and does the scene. So, later, we’re driving back to Marfa, and I said, ‘Jimmy, I’ve seen you do a lot of strange things, man, but you really did it today. What was that all about?’ He said, ‘It was Elizabeth Taylor. I can’t get over my farm-boy upbringing. I was so nervous that I couldn’t speak. I had to pee, and I was trying to use that, but it wasn’t working. So I thought that if I could go pee in front of all those people, I would be able to work with her.'”  –costar Dennis Hopper via

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bettie page cheetah bunny yeager stairs

(Lt.) Photographer Bunny Yeager & Bettie Page (Rt.) 5′ 10″ Bunny Yeager in her modeling days

The pairing of pinup Bettie Page and shutterbug Bunnie Yeager was a deadly one-two punch combining beauty and brains. It was Bettie Page’s trademark black baby bangs, blue eyes, and red lips that are seared on our mind’s eye– but Yeager deserves a lot of credit for the photographic talent behind many of Page’s most memorable shots. Together they undoubtedly created some of the most iconic, influential, and titillating pin-up images ever that paved the way for the countless female models, actresses, artists and performers that would follow.


Photographer Bunny Yeager


Bunny Yeager


Bunny herself knew from an early age that her life’s desire was to be a model, and set out by studying the “come hither” poses of classic painted pin-up art, and snipping pictures of sexy screen sirens Betty Grable, Jane Russell, Rita Hayworth, etc., that were hoarded away in her growing collection of scrapbooks. Right after high school Bunny Yeager made it official. “I took a modeling course from an agency with the finest reputation in Miami,” she recalled.

Soon Bunny Yeager was Florida’s most stunning and sought after model. “I was never a pinup model,” she was quick to point out. “I did not pose for men individually like Bettie Page did.” Bunny made a name for herself as a fashion influencer as well– designing and donning her own two-piece bathing suits. “All the other models were wearing one-piece Jantzen and Catalina suits. I made my own and am beginning to think I invented the bikini, after the French did it.”


Famous Jungle Bettie / Bunny Yeager shoot. Bettie Page made the leopard print costume herself.


Famous Jungle Bettie / Bunny Yeager shoot.  Bettie Page made the leopard print costume herself.


It was 1954 when Bunny Yeager, now married, decided to make the switch and get behind the camera. Her own formal modeling experience and creativity gave Bunny a sensitivity, insight and eye that no male photographer could touch. Female models instantly found themselves comfortable working with her, and appreciated the refreshingly caring and honest approach.  It was this same year that Bunny met the baby-banged beauty who will forever be hailed as the gold standard of saucy pin-ups– Bettie Page. Up until that time Bettie was working with the likes of Irving Klaw, and anyone else who would pay, posing for pictures that were exploitive and fetishist at best, and pornographic (by 1950’s puritanical standards) at worst.

The union of Bettie & Bunny was short, but sweet. The famous Boca Raton-based Jungle Betty shoot, and Bettie Page’s 1955 January Playboy Playmate Christmas pic, are two notable highlights of their epic partnership. Bettie Page soon drifted away– posing periodically for a few more years here and there, before disappearing almost entirely from the limelight. The tabloids sizzled with sensational speculation on Page’s mysterious disappearance.  Bunny Yeager recalls the day she witnessed firsthand the shift in Bettie Page’s priorities–

“It was in the Florida Keys that one night she saw a neon cross on top of a little church, and was drawn to it to go inside. From that day on, she got religious and decided to give up posing.”

A slew of Bettie Page pics after the jump–

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When I’m feeling roadworn, forlorn, or the subject of scorn– nothing takes me to my happy place faster than great old pics of guitar porn.  I came across the below Stones’ porn pic sifting through the internets and became mesmerized by the artfully haphazard array of axes.  You can almost smell the sweat, smoke  and stale beer as you gaze at the overturned cans, ash, and listing guitars.

The late ’60s – early ’70s was an epic time for the Rolling Stones, and Rock & Roll as a whole.  It was a time I largely missed (being born in 1970), but feel like I experienced, partially at least, vicariously through my mom.  She was a music junkie, went to Woodstock, worshipped Janis Joplin.

Because of her we had stacks of records, taller than me as a kid, right at my fingertips. Aside from the epic music itself that I soaked-up, the album artwork and liner notes were pure magic, and heavily influential to this day– forever etched into my psyche.  I remember hearing “Paint it Black” crackling on the turntable– the sound of Brian Jones on the sitar lulling me into a sedated state of wonder.  Today I appreciate the Stones more than ever– as through the decades they’ve proven again and again that a band like that only comes around once or twice a generation in terms of musicianship, influence, and longevity.  And the icing on the cake is the epic tales of their early days and ways of excess.

1969 pic of the Rolling Stones’ guitar/bass lineup– appears they were hard on everything then.


Brian Jones (on his Fender Telecaster) throwin’ some heavy, funk vibe — way pre-Lenny Kravitz. There’d be no Rolling Stones without Jones, who was undoubtedly the most versatile musician ever to bless the band, and easily rivaled Mick Jagger for sex symbol status.  Jones also had a very eclectic taste in guitars– amassing a very enviable collection.


“YOU’RE WELCOME TO SWIM” #1 — Keith Richards and Brian Jones together in happier times– poolside at the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida on the day that Keith and Mick wrote “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”  Today this hotel is the headquarters of The Church of Scientology. Later Keith would “rescue” or “steal” Anita Pallenburg from under Jones’ nose, depending on how you look at it– and added insult to injury when both he and Anita (as well as Mick Jagger) were noticeably absent at his funeral. — image by Bob Bonis


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Steve McQueen– ironically displaying his signature, perfect balance of allegiance and rebellion.


“I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”

–Steve McQueen


Steve McQueen personified the “anti-hero” in Hollywood at a time when the emerging counterculture in America was challenging the very definition of what a true “hero” is.  Maybe a better way to look at it is– heroism is an act.  To live an idealistic, heroic life without fault is ultimately impossible.  We all struggle with aligning our beliefs and goals in life with what is truly right.  The fact is there are grey areas that we have to be honest about.  We saw the good and bad in McQueen, and loved him anyway– in fact, we loved him for it.  He was honest about who he was.

We all know McQueen raced cars and motorcycles, but his story goes a lot deeper than that.  His father abandoned him and his alcoholic mother when he was just six-months-old.  Steve locked horns with his new stepfather, whom he called “a prime son of a bitch”.  He struggled with dyslexia in school and was partially deaf.  The young McQueen soon fell in with a street gang, and ran away from home at 14, joining the circus for a short time, and was eventually turned over to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino Hills, California.  McQueen later worked in a brothel, on an oil rigger– and was even a lumberjack. When he was old enough he enlisted in the U.S.M.C., went AWOL and spent 41 days in the brig.  McQueen decided then and there to embrace the Marines’ discipline and beliefs and better himself. He did just that and later saved the lives of five other Marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through ice into the sea.  In 1950, McQueen was eventually honorably discharged.

After the Marines, McQueen used his G.I. Bill to study acting at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. He brought home extra dough by competing in weekend motorcycle races at Long Island City Raceway.  His big break came in 1958 when he landed the role of the bounty hunter, Josh Randall, in Wanted: Dead or Alive.  Steve McQueen became a household name, and his image as the anti-hero was forged through his character’s detached, mysterious, and unconventional ways– like carrying a sawed-off Winchester rifle, the “Mare’s Leg”, instead of typical six-gun carried by other gunslingers. Hollywood soon came calling, and the rest is history.

All this from a kid born into what many would consider a throw-away life.


“When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.”

–Steve McQueen

A young Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen in a studio still shot from The Great Escape.


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You Wanted the Best , YOU GOT THE BEST! The Hottest Band in the World — KISS!


Circa 1973 — Kiss band members applied their own makeup for this photo shoot, which produced the shot used on the cover of their debut self-titled album in 1974. — Image by © Joel Brodsky

I still remember when I was first introduced to KISS. It was 1978, my buddy Joey Bello was a little more ‘progressive’ than I was, and he was all about ’em– had the album covers tacked to his bedroom wall, could lip-synch all the songs, and wanted to be Paul Stanley somethin’ bad. So, Joey and I would hang out and he was pushin’ hard for me to be a KISS convert too, except I just wasn’t really feelin’ it.  Oh, I tried. I agreed to be Gene Simmons to his Paul Stanley, and I genuinely liked a couple songs– but I just didn’t get that into it, man.  The KISS stage lasted a couple months (if that) for me–  I thought, is this all there is? Makeup, blood, and tongue?  Yeah, they were groundbreakers and all, but something seemed to be missing.  I remember feeling inside like it was a classic case of ‘style over substance’– even if I couldn’t quite articulate it at the time.

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ohio river danny lyon

“Crossing the Ohio River” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

In the 1960s & 70s, writer and photographer Danny Lyon made a name for himself covering the Southern Civil Rights movement, and  went on to give the world 3 incredible works– The Bikeriders, in which he chronicles his travels as a member of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, documenting the large-scale demolition of our country’s greatest city back in 1967, and Conversations with the Dead in which he photographs and writes about Texas inmatess in 6 different prisons, Billy McCune in particular, over 14 months time. Danny Lyon’s images are iconic, and he is considered by many as the gold standard for motorcycle photography to this day.

“If ‘The Wild One’ were filmed today, Marlon Brando and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would all have to wear helmets. I used to be afraid that when (Hells) Angels became movie stars and Cal the hero of the book, the bikerider would perish on the coffee tables of America. But now I think that this attention doesn’t have the strength of reality of the people it aspires to know, and that as long as Harley-Davidsons are manufactured other bikeriders will appear, riding unknown and beautiful through Chicago, into the streets of Cicero.” –Danny Lyon

Danny Lyon The Bikeriders

“Cal, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66


"Route 12, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Route 12, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1963

from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon

“Racer, Schererville, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"From Lindsey's room, Louisville" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1966.

“From Lindsey’s room, Louisville” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Field meet, Long Island, New York" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Field meet, Long Island, New York” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66.

"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from the Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from the Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"Broken gear box spring, New Orleans" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Broken gear box spring, New Orleans” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Torello Tachhi's back, Loudon, New Hampshire" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Torello Tachhi’s back, Loudon, New Hampshire” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Seventeenth Annual World's Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Seventeenth Annual World’s Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon

"Corky at home" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Corky at home” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Jack, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Jack, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

New York Eddie's, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“New York Eddie’s, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa

“Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Memorial Day run, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon   --circa 1965-66.

“Memorial Day run, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Cal, Springfield, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Cal, Springfield, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Big Barbara, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Big Barbara, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Chopper, Milwaukee" fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Chopper, Milwaukee” fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon, ca. © 1965-66

Four boys, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1968.

“Four boys, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1968

"Three young men, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Three young men, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico" from The Paper Negative by Danny Lyon  --1975.

“Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico” from The Paper Negative by © Danny Lyon, 1975

"Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1962.

“Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California” Pictures from the New World by © Danny Lyon, 1962

"New arrivals from Corpus Christi" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“New arrivals from Corpus Christi” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

"Hoe sharpener and the Line" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“Hoe sharpener and the Line” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

"Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago" from Toward a Social Landscape by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago” from Toward a Social Landscape by © Danny Lyon, 1965







Ray Weishaar hog boys harley

Harley-Davidson “Hog Boys” racer Ray Weishaar taking good care of the team mascot.

The term “HOG” has been affectionately associated with Harley-Davidson for decades.  It’s a workhorse term for the iconic motorcycle company that serves many purposes. Harley-Davidson is identified as HOG on the NYSE, they coined H.O.G. as an acronym for “Harley Owners Group”, and Harley-Davidson even attempted to trademark “HOG” IN 1999– and lost when it was ruled that “HOG” had become a common generic term used for large motorcycles, and therefore was unprotectable as a trademark.

All that said, the ones originally responsible for the “HOG” handle were a roughneck group of farm boys that rode for the H-D racing team  back in the 1910s-1920s who’d take their little pig mascot on a victory lap after every race their team won– giving them the name “Hog Boys.”  They deserve a great deal of respect– more than one paid the ultimate price and left it all on the track for the sport that was their life– racing motorcycles.  These guys also had their careers interrupted by our great country’s call to serve in WWI. More than likely, many of us today cannot begin to fathom the depth of their personal commitment and sacrifices.


ray weishaar harley davidson hog

Ray Weishaar was undoubtedly one of the best known motorcycle racing stars of the 1910s and 1920s. He rode the board and dirt tracks of the country for the Harley-Davidson factory racing team. Ray Weishaar is seen here with the famous team Harley “hog” mascot on the tank of his bike.

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Sonny Barger aboard his 80-inch Harley stroker with high bars and long tailpipies, 1959. This bike design was considered pretty progressive for its time.

Ralph “Sonny” Barger, long considered the Godfather of the Hells Angels MC (having  started the original Oakland chapter) is definitely an original “one percenter” if there ever was one.  There’s a lot of very interesting history behind Sonny and the Hells Angels that I can’t post, so if you’re itching for more, check out his books.  Here’s a little collection of pics, along with some of Sonny’s personal accounts on his life and times, and the history of the club– and be sure to check out the vintage Hells Angels video at the end of the post.

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Vintage Roller Derby Girls

As a kid I recall catching glimpses  of old Roller Derby matches on t.v. and being absolutely fascinated by what I saw. Tough as nails gals, some pretty and some just pretty rough– speeding around the track pulling hair, throwing elbows, and sending each other flying around, and even off the track. All I know is I wanted more. The sport is still alive and well today, but these vintage skaters possess a magical naivete and quality that just can’t be replicated. Count me as a fan.


Vintage Roller Derby Girl

Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites.

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