All posts by vintageeveryday

Benny and Betty Fox – Famous Sky Dancers in The 1930s and ’40s

Before the Illinois State Journal and the State Register merged into one newspaper, there was a spirited battle for newspaper subscribers. The State Journal was the most prolific at staging spectacular stunts in the community in hopes of boosting its circulation numbers.

Enter Benny and Betty Fox, the famous death defying ‘sky dancers.’ They were billed as a brother and sister act but actually were not related. And Betty was not always the same person nor was she actually named Betty. Benny chose the name for his partner because he liked the sound of it.

Whoever she was, she was willing to put her life in Benny’s hands while they danced on an 18-inch wide disc, atop a poll 100 feet in the air. The Journal sponsored their visit to the city on at least two occasions in 1937 and again in 1946.

On October 6, 1937, they did six performances throughout the day from the roof of the Journal building at 313 S. Sixth St. The last performance at 8 p.m. was lit by four powerful floodlights.

Every inch of space available on the street in front of the Journal building was taken by people watching the stunt that evening, the paper reported. “Streets, windows, roofs and fire escapes all through the downtown area were jammed for the night show.” The Journal enthusiastically (and unbelievably) estimated the crowd at 100,000.

Betty and Benny Fox warm up on the roof of the Illnois State Journal building, November 26, 1946. They lived on the edge and thrilled crowds with their death defying aerial stunts throughout the 1930s and ’40s. They made at least two appearances to Springfield. file/The State Journal-Register
A little closer to earth, Benny and Benny Fox pose for a photo, October 6, 1937. file/The State Journal- Register
Betty and Benny Fox warm up the crowd gathered on the street before their performance on the Illinois State Journal building at 313 S. Sixth Street, September 25, 1937. file/The State Journal-Register

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Advertising of Computers for Kids in The Early 80’s

Advertising of computers for kids in the early 80’s

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Adam West and Burt Ward in “Batman,” 1966

Batman, often promoted as Batman: The Movie, is a 1966 film based on the Batman television series, and the first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics Batman. Released by 20th Century Fox, the film starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. The film includes most members of the original TV cast, with the notable exception of Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

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Sophia Loren at Home in Italy, 1964

Sophia Loren in Italy, 1964 taken by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt

Sophia Loren on her bed in her Italian villa, 1964
Sophia Loren in her Italian villa, 1964
Sophia Loren picks roses at her Italian villa, 1964

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Batman and Robin, c.1943

Batman is a 15-chapter serial, released in 1943 by Columbia Pictures. The serial starred Lewis Wilson as Batman and Douglas Croft as Robin. J. Carrol Naish played the villain, an original character named Dr. Daka. Rounding out the cast were Shirley Patterson as Linda Page (Bruce Wayne’s love interest), and William Austin as Alfred the butler. The plot involved Batman—as a U.S. government agent—attempting to defeat the Japanese agent Dr. Daka, at the height of World War II.

Below are some of interesting black and white pictures of Batman and Robin, c.1943

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Life in Central Park, Summer 1961

New York’s Central Park has been around, in various incarnations, for roughly 150 years. In that time it has been hailed as a masterpiece of landscape design; has served as a punchline in jokes about muggings and violent crime; provided the setting for key scenes in countless books, plays and movies; and remains, for New Yorkers and for millions of visitors to Gotham every single year, one of the world’s great urban wonders — 800 acres of tree-lined paths, public plazas, open fields, gardens, ponds, lakes, bridges, performance spaces, a castle on a hill, arguably the world’s greatest museum and a small, quite charming zoo.

Here, a series of photos life in Central Park from 1961, taken by photographer Leonard McCombe.

Dancers in Central Park, 1961
Unicyclist in Central Park, 1961
Warming up before a soccer match, Central Park, 1961

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Interesting Old Photographs

A collection of interesting black and white retro photos.

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A Car That has Everything, 1952

Louie Mattar, who turned his 1947 Cadillac into a how-to guide for four-wheeled DIYers everywhere. As LIFEtold its readers in a March 1952 article, “A Car That has Everything,” Mattar was “a San Diego garage owner with a big imagination.”

“When he bought a brand new Cadillac four years ago, the extra equipment his dealer offered was not enough and Mattar started to add a weird assortment of things that other motorists can only dream of.

Doing most of the work himself, he put in a shower, coiling the pipes from his 50-gallon water tanks around the exhaust manifold for the hot water. A pumping system was crammed under the hood. Next to the taillight went a drinking fountain and under the dashboard a tape recorder and a bar with spigots for whisky, water and soda. In the back seat he put a washing machine, a stove and even included a kitchen sink. All this took four years to do and cost Mattar better than $14,000.”

One additional note: Later that year, in Sept. 1952, Mattar’s ultra-tricked-out Caddy set a world endurance non-stop record (since eclipsed) when three drivers, working in shifts, traveled round-trip from San Diego to New York and back — 6,300 miles — in one week. It later traveled — virtually non-stop, due to Mattar’s innovations that allowed it to refuel while driving, etc. — from Anchorage, Alaska, to Mexico City. Today, Mattar’s wild ride is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

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Bizarre Tobacco Advertising from 1920s-1930s

In the 20th century smoking became fashionable and prestigious, it was promoted by advertising and the first movies.

In the late 19th – early 20th century due to the emancipation of women smoked masse. Fashionable image free glamorous beauty in a short dress without a corset, leading a bohemian lifestyle, very well with the cigarette.

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London in The 1920s

London’s growth accelerated during the 18th century, and it was the world’s largest city from about 1831 to 1925. This growth was aided from 1836 by London’s first railways which put small countryside towns within easy reach of the city. The rail network expanded very rapidly, and caused these places to grow whilst London itself expanded into surrounding fields, merging with neighbouring settlements such as Kensington. Rising traffic congestion on city centre roads led to the creation of the world’s first metro system — the London Underground.

Of course during World War II the Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe killed over 30,000 Londoners and flattened large tracts of housing and other buildings across London.

So what was London like during the 1920’s, after the boom times when it was the world’s largest city, but before the great depression and WWII? The photos below may give some clues, more pictures here.

Victoria Station
Horses and Carts
Tower Bridge

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Interesting Old Portraits of People Posing With Their Vintage Cameras

The quality and portability of cameras these days would be quite astonishing to photographers from back in the earlier days of photography — the days in which you needed both hands and a strong back to work as a photojournalist. Here, an interesting collection of old photographs of people posing with their vintage cameras.

Photograph shows boy with homemade “Kodack” camera pretending to photograph little girl with doll, 1907.
Unidentified photographer with camera from the early 1900s.
In 1939, when star college quarterback Davy O’Brien visited Washington to receive a prestigious award, he paid a visit to Presidential Secretary Marvin H. McIntyre at the White House. To demonstrate his passing technique to McIntyre, O’Brien grabbed a camera from a news photographer nearby and pretended to use it as a football.

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Soviet Fashion from 1920s

Soviet Fashion from 1920s

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Zookeeper Feeding Bears at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, 1900

Photos of zookeeper feeding bears at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, 1900

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The Streets of Cairo in Coney Island from 1890s-1900s

Although many know this tune (there are surely hundreds of regional interpretations), few know of its origin and its importance to the New York City midway and sideshows of the early nineteenth century. Best known as “The Streets of Cairo,” it is oftentimes connected to visions of Arabia and Egypt, to snake charmers, belly dancers, and other mysterious notions of Near East mysticism.

Although not quite “a place in France,” there were certain locations in New York where the fabled song came to life. “The Streets of Cairo” sideshow was constructed on Surf Avenue, Coney Island, after the success of the Algerian Village at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.

Show at Coney Island with a man “levitating” a woman on stage, ca. 1908.
Crowd wandering through the “Streets of Cairo” show with camels at Coney Island, ca 1896.
Arabian Acrobats demonstrating acrobatic feats on the roof of Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre, ca 1908.

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Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

A funny and interesting collection of manipulated photography before photoshop

Nude Woman on Man’s Necktie, 1911
Man Daydreaming about Love, 1910s
Group of Thirteen Decapitated Soldiers, 1910

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