Monday, November 26, 2012

The very, very best of Little Lulu

When we get the chance to look back at things we enjoyed as children, things like comic books, for example, we're often disappointed. Comics that seemed clever to our childhood eyes might seem simplistic or corny or even insipid when we're adults. Happily, that's not the case with Little Lulu.  I loved the comics then and I still do.  John Stanley, who wrote and drew Little Lulu from the late 1940s through the late 1950s, infused his stories with genuine wit.  These were probably were at their peak in the early 1950s when each was a thick fifty-two pages and boasted more elaborate covers and lengthier stories as seen below.

As per Wikipedia, John Stanley's writing style has been described as employing "colorful, S. J. Perelman-ish language and a decidedly bizarre, macabre wit (reminiscent of writer Roald Dahl), with storylines that were cohesive and tightly constructed, with nary a loose thread in the plot. He has been favorably compared to the legendary Carl Barks, and cartoonist Fred Hembeck has dubbed him "the most consistently funny cartoonist to work in the comic book medium". Captain Marvel co-creator C. C. Beck remarked "The only comic books I ever read and enjoyed were Little Lulu and Donald Duck."

In the last decade or so, Stanley has become more appreciated and much of his work has been reprinted, much of it in expensive hardbound, boxed volumes.

My personal favorite is this story of degradation, humiliation and revenge originally published in August, 1951. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tifton, GA modern motel

On the way to St. Petersburg, FL from Louisville, KY in July, 1970, my father took this shot of us at a modernist motel in Tifton, GA, just off I-75.  My mother felt she could rely on Holiday Inn for cleanliness and cost, so that's probably what this was.  I have no memory of it at all.  Note the Poloroid case lying on the ground.
A little sleuthing on the internet turned up these shots taken forty years later of the same motel on the Modern Phoenix site, looking a little forlorn but surprisingly unaltered.  I was able to find it on Google maps.  The address is 1008 8th St. W, Tifton, GA 31794, and was most recently a Budget Inn, but it appears to be closed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How the 1960 Ford Falcon was styled

The Falcon eventually looked like this in its debut in the 1960 model year.  As the September 1959 Motor Trend explains, Falcon (originally called XK Thunderbird, then Lavion, then Astrion) was originally conceived as a smaller, cheaper Thunderbird (after Thunderbird spread its wings and fins and grew into a personal luxury car).
Here the quad headlamps are very close to the 1958-1960 Thunderbird...
...while the rear profile design (top) is a bit like the 1960 Rambler. The rear design on the left would eventually find itself used (more or less) on the 1962 Mercury Comet.  The design on the right, however, is like a finless 1958 Thunderbird.
As explained in the article, the Ford designers were very much in love with the vertical grille (above and below) which was of course, used on the ill-fated Edsel.  Note the double-Cyclops stacked headlights on the European-like design below.  Surely no one thought that would be approved.
A variation on rear end, above, right, would later turn up on the 1961 Thunderbird.
 Aside from the quad headlights, this design for the grille was getting closer.
Curiously, Motor Trend tells us the top sketch on this page was rejected, but it's the closest to the design that made the final cut.  The design at the bottom recalls the 1962 Mercury Meteor.