A Peak Into My Vintage Collection- Early 1950s Nancy Drew Books

Growing up I was a huge book reader, I read anything I could get my hands on, but one of my favorite series was Nancy Drew. Her super girl sleuth style and cool friends like George the tomboy, Bess and Ned her boyfriend had me coming back for more, time and time again. I think I must have read every book written from the 1930s-60s and to this day are part of my fond memories of my childhood.

Vintage Nancy Drew Covers

So it was with delight and excitement that when I saw a collection of 1950s Nancy Drew books for sale on Ebay several years ago, I knew I had to buy them right then and there (especially since my books from my childhood were long passed on to others to enjoy).

Today’s post will show off my books, as well as supply you with a bit of history and other vintage goodies on the Super Sleuth herself…Nancy Drew.

Brief History of Nancy Drew Books:

Nancy Drew is a fictional American character in a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer (who also created the Hardy Boys Series). Stratemeyer believed that a woman’s place was in the home, but he was aware that the Hardy Boys books were popular with girl readers and wished to capitalize on girls’ interest in mysteries by offering a strong female heroine.

The character first appeared in 1930 and was an immediate success. The 6,000 copies that Macy’s ordered for the 1933 Christmas season sold out within days. In 1934 Fortune Magazine featured the Syndicate in a cover story and singled Nancy Drew out for particular attention: “Nancy is the greatest phenomenon among all the fifty-centers. She is a best seller. How she crashed a Valhalla that had been rigidly restricted to the male of her species is a mystery even to her publishers.”

The character of Nancy Drew has gone through many permutations over the years. Despite revisions, “What hasn’t changed, however, are [Nancy’s] basic values, her goals, her humility, and her magical gift for having at least nine lives. For more than six decades, her essence has remained intact.”

The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. They have sold over 80 million copies in 25 different languages (Source).

My Collection:

Early 1950s Vintage Nancy Drew Book Covers with 1940s Style Binding (1950-53)

950s-vintage-nancy-drew-books-covers

About the Binding:

The 1940s Style binding is one of the earliest types of Nancy Drew library editions.  The front covers of most books have a line drawing based on the original Russell Tandy dust jacket art from the 1930s.  The overall style matches that of the 1946 regular editions that have the solid blue cover, large blue silhouette, and the dark blue lettering. These books were bound as early as 1950 and as late as 1953. This particular library binding is unquestionably the scarcest and most difficult to acquire of the Nancy Drew library editions (Source).

Front cover of the books:

Front Cover of Nancy Drew 1950s Books

Inside cover of all the books:

inside 1950s Nancy Drew Book

Inside image.

1950s Nancy Drew inside image

Another inside image.

1950s Nancy Drew inside image

Now that you have seen my collection lets check out some other examples of early years Nancy Drew Covers (1930s-50s):

1930s

1930s-vintage-nancy-drew
Source: Series Books
1930s-nancy-drew-vintage-cover
Source: Nancy Drew Sleuth

1940s

1940s-nancy-drew-book
Source: Nancy Drew Sleuth
1940s-nancy-drew-vintage-cover
Source: Nancy Drew Sleuth

1950s

Nancy Drew The Ringmasters Secret 1950s

nancy-drew-vintage-book-cover
Source: Series Books
haunted-showboat-nancy-drew-book
Source: Series Books

Nancy Drew in the Movies:

1938-1939 Four Nancy Drew Movies were created, starring Bonita Granville as Nancy and Frankie Thomas as Ted (not Ned! What?!).

1930s Nancy Drew Movies
Source: NY Times

And in the 1970s there was television series starring Pamela Sue Martin (also featuring the Hardy Boys). Then the last movie version was in 2007 with Emma Roberts as Nancy.  It seems from lack of onscreen exposure that Nancy is not too popular in Hollywood.

nancy-drew-emma-roberts-movie
Source: Wikipedia

The Vintage Inn Final thoughts:

Nancy Drew is an iconic fictional character that will never fade into history. She may go thru more changes on her looks and her who she is as a character (don’t we all) but in the end, she will always be the teenage girl with an eye for super sleuthing and adventure. The stories I fell in love with as a kid (and still love today).

For more reading on Nancy Drew history (and many other cool items and topics) please check out the fantastic website ‘Nancy Drew Sleuth‘.

Question time: Are you a Nancy Drew fan? Or were you a fan of other series of books? If so please share.

Liz 🙂

Vintage Photos: The Front of House Edition

Have you ever noticed when browsing vintage photos, that there are many taken in the front of people houses, front steps or front doors? If not, then you will now (one of those glass shattering moments). I personally just noticed this while browsing Flickr the other day and I thought “why have I not seen this before?” And “why the house all the time?”. Intrigue set in and off I went to see what images I could find with this setting.

1950s-house-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Here are some of the goodies I discovered…..

Doris & Phillis showing off their outstanding taste in 1940s hats. Wow!

1940s-vintage-hat-in-vintage-image
Source: Flickr

Proud Parents-1940s (Amazing hair on this beautiful new mom)

1940s Vintage Image of husband and wife with baby
Source: Etsy

1950s Wedding Day, photos at home with mom and sis. I love all the dresses in this photo, especially the sister on the right.

1950s-wedding-photo-black-and-white
Source: Etsy

Cub scouts, on their way to a gathering.

vintage-1960s-cub-scouts-image
Source: Etsy

Three little girls all in a row.

vintage children image 1920s
Source: Etsy

Never leave home without making sure that the family is dressed to the nines.

1961 vintage family image
Source: Etsy

Three sisters during WW2, all off to do their part for the war effort.

1940s-vintage-image-of-three-women
Source: Etsy

Heading out to lunch with friends.

1940s-vintage-woman-in-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Stylish kids in training-1960s. Can I have her purse?

1960s-well-dressed-children-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

1920s fashion on display.

1920s-woman-in-cloche-hat-in-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Bob the hair and show off those ankles, it must be the 1920s!

1920s-woman-on-front-porch-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

I’m going to cheat a little bit with this last image as it’s not technically in front of the house, but I was in love with her 40s skirt and just had to share. Isn’t marvelous? True Vintage inspiration, right there.

1940s-woman-in-vintage-image-with-vintage-patterned-skirt
Source: Etsy

 

Last thoughts: I think the pictures in front of houses are popular due to the house being the central area where family and life is and therefore making the home part of the family. What do you think?

Next up in this fun little mini series “Front of Car”.

Liz 🙂

 

My favorite Vintage Online Reads & Videos for Summer 2016

The summer has gone so fast and now September is here which means that the warm days are almost gone (sad face). It’s been a wonderful summer with August ending up to be somewhat of a quiet month which has been nice. BUT it all kicks back into high gear starting this Friday. I’m off to Red Hot Blue Rockabilly Weekend right here in Ontario (Brockville), then off to a friend’s wedding outside of Quebec. We close out the fun with a mini road trip with the hubby. It’s going to be really great and I’m looking forward to it (follow the fun on Instagram).

In the mean time I have been reading some really great articles and watching some really fun videos that I would like to share with you today.

How to plan a successful underwater wedding 1954 Style by Eliza Berman

Wedding Time Magazine
Source: Time Magazine

The Vintage Girls of New York  by Harpers Bazaar. This article features a vintage friend Voon who has amazing style and I’m thrilled is featured in this article.

New Yorks Vintage Girls By Harpers Bazaar
Source: Harpers Bazaar

I’m a Vintage Clothing Dealer / Behind the Seams by Mode.com. This woman is amazing and I want to be her when I grow up (like seriously).

Toronto’s Top 10 Lost Vaudeville Theatres by Bygone Theatre

Toronto Vintage Theatre-Shea’s Hippodrome – 440 Bay St., Toronto
Source: Toronto Archives

Watch the Birdie-Scene from Hellzapoppin’ (a movie that Lindy Hoppers go wild for because of its famous dance scene). This scene features another dance legend Dean Collins dancing with Martha Raye. Band is Gene Krupa’s Orchestra with Anita O’Day singing.

Get Ready for Snoodtember! Join along with Tanith Rowan and the vintage world (including yours truly) as we celebrate snoods and a time to wear them and love them.

snoods by lilly dache 1945
From The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27 Jan 1945

While it’s not great that the world lost at MGM Musical star Gloria DeHaven at age 91, it is interesting to read what a life she lived. Thanks for the movies Gloria.

Gloria DeHaven MGM Musical Star
Source: Hollywood Reporter

And for my last share, I want everyone to see this AWESOME GIF from the recent ‘International Lindy Hop Championships’. This is so cool!

via GIPHY

Have a great remaining week and weekend friends! I’m going to be off for one week on this blog to enjoy my trip with the husband, but as stated above just follow me on social media and it’s like I was never gone.

Liz 🙂

‘LOOK’ Magazine – The Vintage Covers

Every vintage collector has at least a few magazines in their collection (especially since they are one of the easiest vintage items to come by) and The Vintage Inn is no different. I own a few but one of my favorites is the magazine LOOK . My copy is from Oct 18th, 1955 and can be seen below and I have read it from top to bottom, I just love it.

Today’s post is all about the covers of LOOK from 1937 to 1960 (so that you can have a good taste of the mag) and this is also part of ‘My Vintage Collection Series’. Enjoy.

Vintage magazine cover Look 1955

Brief History of Look Magazine

Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles. A large-size magazine of 11 in × 14 in, it was generally considered a competitor to Life magazine, which began publication months earlier and ended in 1972.
It is known for helping launch the career of film director Stanley Kubrick, who was a staff photographer. And beginning in 1963, Norman Rockwell, after closing his career with the Saturday Evening Post, began making illustrations for Look (Source).

Collection of magazine covers from 1937 to 1960

August 17th, 1937-Tennis anyone?

Vintage look magazine 1937
Source: Etsy

September 1938-SWING! Slap those critics Benny.

1938 look magazine vintage cover featuring lindy hop swing dance
Source: Pinterest

May 9th, 1939. According to the Etsy sellers commentary the cover features Eleanor Holm in a swimsuit and gold shoes on the cover. She and Sally Rand were feuding as to who was the best personality at the New York and San Francisco World’s Fairs.

Interesting tidbit about Eleanor: She is best known for having been suspended from the 1936 Summer Olympics team after she attended a cocktail party and got pretty drunk on the transatlantic cruise ship taking her to Germany (Source).

Vintage Look Magazine 1939 Eleanor Holm Cover
Source: Etsy

June 6th 1939-What a wonderful swimsuit!

look magazine vintage cover 1939
Source: Etsy

Happy New Year! January 2nd, 1940. Judy Garland in the most practical ski outfit ever (but it sure is cute).

Judy Garland vintage magazine cover 1940
Source: Pinterest

June 18th 1940. How do I make Joan Bennetts outfit mine? Love it!

LOOK Magazine rare 1940s JUNE 18 1940
Source: Etsy

1941- Support the troops with Army stripes.

1941 Look Magazine vintage
Source: Etsy

June 8th, 1948.  Time for some cooler clothes men. Now do they mean like bathing suit cool (as in the image) or like make you look cool in your clothes?

1948 vintage Look Magazine cover
Source: Pinterest

July 18th, 1951. Best Hat…Ever. And to answer the question…Total menace those Flying Saucers.

Look Magazine, July 18, 1950
Source: Flickr

November 20th, 1951. The stunning Maureen O’Hara

Maureen Ohara 1951 vintage magazine look
Source: Pinterest

January 12th, 1954- The Travel Issue.

1954 vintage look magazine cover hawaiian
Source: Pinterest

March 23rd, 1954-Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn 1950s vintage look magazine
Source: Pinterest

July 1960- ‘Women without Men’ (oh my!) and Marilyn Monroe on the cover.

Vintage Look Magazine Marilyn Monroe Cover
Source: Etsy

What fantastic covers! Filled with interesting and bizarre stories.

Question time: What was your favorite?

Liz 🙂

 

Behind the Scenes Interview with ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’

A while back, I received a lovely email from Tam Francis of the website ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug dress’, introducing herself and her new book. After several emails back and forth we started to realize that we were clearly kindred spirits, with many of the same hobbies and likes (Lindy Hop, 1940s, Vintage Fashion, Husbands who Lindy Hop, Love of Scottie Dogs and the list goes on and on.). I have really enjoyed getting to know Tam these last few weeks and I know you will too.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

So without further adieu lets begin my Behind the Scenes interview with Tam of the ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’.

What was your inspiration behind your latest novel the ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’? How long did it take to write?

(Liz Note about the Book: I really enjoyed reading this book and found it quite delightful, interesting and a fun read and recommend you pick up the book).

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

My husband was deployed, and I was home with two children and no family. I had been blogging my dance adventures, and a friend suggested I write a book. Sure, why not. I wanted to write about all the things I loved: swing dancing, vintage fashion, classic cocktails, retro music and lifestyle. It took about a year to write my first draft, but I didn’t really start re-writes until we moved to Texas and I joined a local writer’s group.

If you only have one sentence to describe why someone should read the book (and they really should), what would that sentence be?

If you love anything vintage, (specifically fashion and swing dance) this book is for you, and I haven’t found another that highlights all those things we love about vintage lifestyle—plus it’s an emotional roller-coaster with enough depth to carry you through, but not too heavy that you can’t read it in a weekend.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Beyond writing really cool books you are also a poet. Does your poetry carry a vintage theme to it as well, or do you write about other topics?

I’ve written a half-dozen poems about dancing and music which will appear in my upcoming short story collection in 2017, “Swing Shorts,” but my poetry chick phase was in my college days when I wrote about everything and anything—social issues to existential contemplation.

How long have you been blogging and what made you start (my reason was to share my love of vintage with like-minded readers)? Could you supply one piece of advice for newbie bloggers?

I started my blog years ago on MySpace. I would be so wound up from dancing, I couldn’t sleep, and I had all these wonderful feelings and ideas about the people and places—I had to write them down. It eventually morphed in a swing dance magazine, Swivel: Vintage Living Magazine.

My advice to bloggers or any writers is to read books on the craft of writing or follow other writing advice bloggers. My early blogs are embarrassing. There’s a difference between good story-telling and good writing. Those of us who gravitate to writing, whether it be novels, short story, blogs or poems, are natural story-tellers. It’s the learning the craft of writing that is hard. I am always on a quest to learn how to be a better writer.

And learn about SEO. Unless you want your blog to be an online diary that few read, you’ve got to understand some basic SEO stuff and basic marketing.

What was your journey into the vintage world like?

As a young girl, I had always had a fascination with the past, and was drawn to the fashions of the 1920s-1950s. I watched old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies and my heart filled with the beauty and glamour of the era. I started seriously buying vintage in the 9th grade from thrift shops and yard sales. I loved the hunt as much as the find. In my early days, I mostly gravitated toward either 1950s or 1920s. I hadn’t yet developed an eye for the other eras.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress
Tam and her husband have passed on their style to their kids

I see that the 1940s is represented pretty well on your blog, is this your favorite vintage era? And why (and if not, then tell us about your fav era)?

If I had to pick only one, I would say, yes, the 1940s is my favorite. I NEVER get tired of listening to the music, and set against the backdrop of the war, there is always this heightened sense of tension and immediacy to life. But there are specific things I love about the 1920s, 30s and 50s. It’s wonderful to have the choice to dress any vintage era we like, isn’t it?

I’m a mood dresser. Fashion reflects my state of mind or daily intention. Some days I feel sassy and want to show the world I’m in charge, I don a fitted two-tone 40’s suit—like when I’m going to a Town Hall meeting or advocating for something to the school board.

Some days I feel romantic and languid and wear a flowery 1920s dress. Other days, I want the world to know I’m a capable, cute 50s-style housewife and or pert teacher. And of course, there’s the nights when I use all the tricks of late 1930s glam to imbue myself with unique style and confidence.

Does anyone else make your fashion choices this way?

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

You’re a Lindy Hopper like me, how did you fall in love with the dance that would become one of the main “characters” in your new book?

I had ALWAYS wanted to learn how to dance. Just like in the book, I was at a show when I was knocked out by this couple decked out in vintage, swinging around the floor. I’d only ever seen dancing like that in movies. I found out where they took lessons, started going, and never stopped. At first, it’s like a drug. You can’t get enough dance. I read about it, found old movies with Lindy, collected big band music and created scrapbooks of “vintage inspiration.” It become and integral part of my identity.

Lindy Hop Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Favorite Lindy Hopper past or present?

I know it’s cliché, but I adore Frankie Manning. I was lucky to meet him and interview him for my magazine. He was always so generous and filled with love and love of dance. He was truly an inspiration.

As far as style goes, I try to emulate the 40s style of Jean Veloz and Jewel McGowan.  They’re both old-timers you can see in many of the bobby soxer movies. Jean is still alive and dancing, and that is an inspiration, too.

 bill nye the science guy
Tam with Lindy Hopper Bill Nye the Science Guy

I’m a romantic at heart, tell everyone how you met your husband?

We both worked retail in the shoe department—he in men’s, me in women’s. In the stock room,  I would glimpse this cool looking guy who was dressed in vintage suits, black and white shoes, and even a fedora when he left for the night.

After watching (okay sort of spying on him) for weeks, I got the nerve to talk to him. I asked him, “Where’d you learn to dress so cool?”

“Old movies,” he’d replied.

We went on to talk about 1930s and 40s movies, big band music, and vintage fashion. I told him I was taking swing dance lessons and did he want to check it out. He did! He was a natural. We became dancing fools in love. Our courtship consisted of vintage fashion quests, old-movie watching, and lots and lots of dance.

When he joined the Navy and went to boot camp, I thought that was it. We’d drift apart, but our feelings for each other grew. When I went to see him graduate in Chicago, he asked me to marry him. That’s a whole long story for another time! But I will say it was delightfully spontaneous, romantic, and vintage-esque!

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress
Tams homecoming with her husband

Teaching Lindy Hop with your husband, must have been a blast (and a lesson in working together and patience I’m sure). What did you love about the teaching process?

When we first moved to San Diego—Navy stationed us there—we were some of the first Lindy Hoppers in town and one of the few couples who stressed the “vintage” aspect of the dance.

We are a good match and a bit comedic. I like to think we’re a little like Gracie Allen and George Burns in our repartee. My hubby gets very focused on small details and often would stop the class to help someone who was struggling. I would keep track of how antsy the other students were getting and keep us rolling forward.

We both have our way of expressing the rhythm. My hubby is a numbers kind of man. I like to use sounds and positions to teach. It makes for a perfect match since everyone’s learning style is different, too. We cover all the bases and make sure to keep it really fun.

I love sharing the love of dance and the history of it. Plus, some days I’d be tired or crabby and think “Ah, hell, I don’t want to teach tonight.” But by the end of the night I was refreshed and the negativity drained away.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Favorite vintage item in your home and why?

Non-clothing? It might have to be my vintage kitchen table. When we first moved to Texas, I was looking for a bed for my daughter at an antique store and I saw this table and totally geeked out on it. I seriously started sweating. My husband was in San Diego, getting our house ready to go on the market, and I bought it without him seeing it. But he loved it.

I love to cook and am in the kitchen a lot. Every time I look at it, I get a thrill. It is so damn vintage and in my mind, represents all the good things about the past that I love.

awesome vintage kitchen table
The awesome vintage kitchen table

Coolest vintage event you have attended to date?

Camp Hollywood, which is still ongoing and in its 19th year. Holy Smokes! I was at the first one. (yikes I feel old). Then there was also this event called Swing Camp Catalina that brought instructors from all over the world to beautiful Catalina Island (which makes an appearance in the sequel: The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress Hops the Atlantic). The island itself is magical, but the historic ballroom made you really feel like you’d time-travelled. It was enchanting to dance there.

Camp Hollywood

You live in Texas, tell everyone why Texas would be a cool vintage destination to visit?

visit texas vintage sign

I can’t speak for all of Texas, but my little town of Lockhart is adorable with a vintage square and the BBQ Capital of Texas. Plus, we have the oldest, continually working library in the state, as well as the most photographed courthouse.

But that’s all sight-seeing stuff. If you want to do dancing and vintage, you’d have to go to Austin a mere 30 miles up the road from me. They have an amazing swing scene and Austin is the live music capital of the world!

There are so many great swing band. My husband and I love to go to the Continental Club and hear, Continental Graffiti or Hot Club of Cowtown! And anywhere White Ghost Shivers are playing, we try to go. Not only are they fun to Shag, Bal and Lindy to, but they put on a hell of a show, reminiscent of 1930s vaudeville.

There are two very old (Western) dance halls, one is the Broken Spoke. We go there when they have Western Swing bands like Big Sandy or Billy Mata. It’s pretty rough and a little seedy, but has a nostalgic vintage cowboy feel. The same goes for Gruene Hall (pronounced green). It’s one of the oldest continuing operational dance halls in Texas, located in Gruene, TX.

In downtown Austin, we also like to patronize the old Driskill Hotel and have heard some great band there as well. The joint oozes vintage ambience and is supposed to haunted.

And did I mention the shopping? SoCo (South Congress), as the local’s call it, it ripe with vintage, thrift, and unique stores for a day or two of eclectic shopping.

You collect vintage patterns, do you also sew like many other vintage enthusiasts out there?

Absolutely. I’m trying to drop a little weight—Texas beer and BBQ snuck up on me—but will get back to sewing as soon as I do. I found that I couldn’t afford all the beautiful vintage I wanted, so, I started sewing it. Plus in comes in handy when you rip seams dancing.

Your bio at the very beginning says “Tam Francis is the girl in the jitterbug dress, writing vintage romantic short stories and novels with a cocktail in one hand and a pen in the other”.  Name that cocktail in your hand.

Lavender Lemon Drop! Want the recipe? I just made my own lavender bitters from my home-grown lavender, too! It’s my latest fave.

lavender lemon drop drink

Okay here is a tough question (and last one).Cary Grant or Gene Kelly?

Oh My! Are you kidding? I LOVE Gene Kelly (got to interview his brother Fred for the magazine years ago), and Gene is one hell of a dancer and that cute butt. Seriously, best butt EVER! (Is that rude of me to say?) But Cary Grant is my kind of handsome with a nice balance of humor. The way he jumped around in Indiscreet (1958) makes me think he’d be an excellent Lindy Hopper and my man has got to hop.

Thank you Tam for such a wonderful Interview, it was a pleasure getting to know more about you and I look forward to visiting Texas some day soon. And don’t forget to check out my Interview that Tam did on me, HERE.

Find Tam:

Liz

 
 

 

‘Lets Dance’-Port Dover Summer Garden Dance Hall

There is a little town 2 hours SW of Toronto called Port Dover, known for their famous ‘Friday the 13th’ Biker get together. However between 1921 and 1979 Port Dover had a Dance Hall that people made the trek to Dover every summer for….Summer Garden was its name.

Today’s post is for the Blog Series I started in 2013 from a book I read called “Let’s Dance: A Celebration of Ontario’s Dance Halls and Summer Dance Pavilions” by Peter Young.

Port Dover Summer Garden 1920s

Summer Garden was actually 3 halls overs the years. The first one was built-in 1921 by Ben Ivey and named by his mother (the opening night band was a 12-piece singing syncopated group from Detroit-Charles Cody). Erected on series of wooden supports which had been sunk many feet into the sand below the water (as seen in above image), it was unfortunately demolished by a huge storm (the storm took out its legs) in the winter of 1929 (source).

Ellen and Fred on beach, Port Dover August, 1923
I wish the below image was able to be larger, as it shows a lovely couple ‘Ellen and Fred on beach in Port Dover 1923 with the First Summer Garden in the background. Source: Archives of Ontario

Summer Garden # 2 opened for business by Ben again in May 1929 (Featuring Emerson Gill on opening night) and was wisely located further up the beach. Built in 19 days by volunteers it lasted 3 years before it was burnt to the ground while the townspeople stood by and cried (source).

Summer Gardens 2 Port Dover

Here is a song by Emerson Gill I imagine was played on opening night.


Not letting any of this get Ben down he stood tall and erected Summer Garden # 3, on May 24th 1932.

Summer Gardens 3 Port Dover

In 1936 Ben passed the management torch to his son Don, who would go onto become somewhat of celebrity to those who visited the Garden. He was known for managing the ballroom with Ivey League class — wearing a white suit and ever-present red rose and everyone called him ‘Pop’ (source).

Don Ivey Summer Gardens Port Dover
Source: Lets Dance by Peter Young

With high energy and an octagonal dance floor, it was the place to go to get down. If you couldn’t afford the cover charge, the walls of the dance hall were so thin, you could stand on the beach and take in the concert (source).

A favorite of Servicemen during WW2 stationed at nearby flying schools, dancers travelled far and wide for a day at the beach and night of dancing. Bands in the 40s included Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa.

Port Dover Summer Gardens Big Band Poster
Source: Lets Dance by Peter Young

There is a great quote in Peter Young’s book from Margo Kerber who went to Gardens during the 1940s.

“We’d take the trolley in Galt for a weekend in Port Dover and the Friday and Saturday night dances. You couldn’t wait to get back the next weekend. One of my friends is happily married to the boy she met then in Dover”.

Dance of the Roses

The Famous ‘Dance of the Roses’ was a dance that became Don’s baby and the highlight of the summer dance season. With the walls covered in roses and the best big bands playing the night, it was the Biggest Dance Affair in Port Dover.

1950s and on, saw bands like Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks, Guess Who and Lighthouse play the venue, all who speak with great fondness of the venue.

With high energy and an octagonal dance floor, it was the place to go to get down. If you couldn't afford the cover charge, the walls of the dance hall were so thin, you could stand on the beach and take in the concert (source).
Note: Don Ivey is to the Left in this picture in the White. Source: oocities.org

1969-1972 Summer gardens

Summer Garden Guy Lombardo and Lighthouse - Port Dove
Source: PBase

January 8th, 1979 the fun ended as the Summer Gardens was torched by an arsonist and once again burnt to the ground. It was sadly never rebuilt and now is a summer garden picnic area where families enjoy ice cream and picnics.

Summer Garden Farewell

The night is chill, the ballroom deserted
The sound of dancing feet is gone
The sound of music has faded away
There is no sound of voices, they have disappeared
There is no laughter
Farewell, dear old lady Summer Garden.
There are tears I cannot hide, so I smile and say as the flames die
Smoke gets in my eyes…

– Don Ivey, January 9, 1979. (Source)

I recently visited Port Dover for the first time and while I could not find this picnic area personally (I don’t think I looked hard enough), I did take the picture below and day dreamed that this was the view that many dancers saw while taking in summer air, after a night dancing to some of the biggest bands in the world.

Port Dover

Other ‘Lets Dance’ Posts: Kenwick on the Lake, CNE Tent, Palace Pier

Liz 🙂

Time to get Tikified!

Tomorrow night the Toronto Vintage Society is hosting our 4th annual Tiki Lani Lanai Party right here in Toronto and we cannot wait! It’s going to be chalked full of what we do best…fun! 3 Surf bands, Burlesque, Limbo Contest, King & Queen of Tiki and so much more. If you live in Toronto join us at the Caddy.

Toronto Vintage Society's Tiki Lani Lanai Party

In honour of the party I wanted to share some of the fun items for sale that you can take home to Tiki up your decor, yourself, or maybe for your very own Tiki party. Whatever it is, have fun with it and get TIKIFIED!

Bali Hai Restaurant, Shelter Island in San Diego, California.
Source: Flickr

Obviously one needs the perfect shirt for all those summer Tiki parties you will be attending, so here is a couple that I really liked.

Vintage 1940s Rayon Hawaiian Shirt.

Vintage 1940s Rayon Hawaiian Shirt
Source: Etsy

This next shirt is a pricey option but 100% worth it because it’s so different. A 1940s Vintage Hawaiian Dress shirt by Nani Co. of Hawaii. Hand painted and dyed, with real coconut buttons, with a seamless pocket. Beautiful.

1940 Silk Hawaiian Shirt
Source: Etsy

And ladies who like a good Tiki dress, here are some lovelies to choose from.

A 1950’s Vintage Alfred Shaheen.

1950's vintage Alfred Shaheen
Source: Etsy

A stunning Hale Hawaii label late 1940s Hawaiian dress (This is a dream dress).

Hale Hawaii label late 1940s Hawaiian dress.
Source: Etsy

Now normally one would not need cufflinks to wear to a Tiki party BUT maybe you want to bring your love of Tiki to the office? Then these Pineapple cufflinks would do the job.

Pineapple Cufflinks Men's Cufflinks
Source: Etsy

Here is another Tiki Accessory to take with you everywhere you go, the Tiki Brooch.

Tiki Drink Pin, Tiki Bar, Tiki Mug
Source: Etsy

Another fun one (this is personal favorite).

50s Inspired Tropical Brooch,Pineapple Pin,Hibiscus Pin,Tiki Brooch
Source: Etsy

No Tiki closet or party is complete without the Vintage 1940s/50s Resort Hat, pictured below. I have seen at least 1 person a year wearing this hat at the Tiki party pool parties at VIVA.

1940s-50s Resort Hat
Source: Etsy

Well I am super bummed out now, I found my dream fascinator way to late. This would have been the perfect accessory for my outfit while I MC the event tomorrow night. Who does not love a flamingo on one’s head (a fake one of course lol)?

Flamingo fascinator, tiki
Source: Etsy

This next item is so cool, I just had to share it! It’s a Tiki Lurex Turban (AND the brooch is removable). Love it!!

Tiki Time lurex turban // Vintage style turban
Source: Etsy

Having at least one Tiki/Hawaiian purse in your collection is a must, like this cute 1950s wicker purse.

Wicker woven hawaiian 1950's bag
Source: Etsy

I don’t have kids but I want this for someone’s baby that I know. An Easter Island Bib.

Moai Baby Bib, Tiki, Easter Island
Source: Etsy

Having Tiki artwork on your walls is always a good way to instantly get that Tikified look and a good artist to look at for inspiration and images is the artist ‘Shag‘.

Here is a greeting card with a ‘Tiki Band’ that you could frame and put on your wall.

SHAG Rare "TIKI BAND" Greeting Card
Source: Etsy

Tiki Bosko is another very famous artist, who has created (and still creating) everything from Tiki mugs, masks, poles and so much more.

Tiki art by Tiki Bosko
Source: Tiki Bosko
Tiki Mod by Tiki Bosko
Source: Tiki Bosko

Polynesian Pop an original illustration by Mookie Sato.

Polynesian pop, Tiki Mug Poster
Source: Etsy

And of course you need a Tiki mug or two in your home to complete the look. My ‘Internet friends’ (I call them this because we have never met lol!) have some super Tiki mugs for sale on their website ‘The Greaser & the Doll’.

Holualoa Tiki mug
Source: Greaser & the Doll

Mai Tai Tiki mug (I love a good Mai Tai).

Mai Tai Tiki mug
Source: Greaser & the Doll

And now friends, you have been TIKIFIED! Do you feel a bit more Tiki now?

Have a great weekend and make sure you follow me on Instagram to not miss all the adventures from tomorrows party.

Liz 🙂

 

 

 

My Favorite Vintage Images-July Edition

I don’t think I can stress enough, how much I LOVE Vintage Images from the 1930s-1950s. Sometimes it’s just crowds of people or just a lone individual that catches my eye, but you can be sure that whatever I’m saving and sharing (with you!) they are a wonderful moment in time.

Now friends lets see what goodies I have found this month:

Cute and stylish kids alert! I love the contrast between the two friends. I wonder what the design is on the skirt? I see balloons I think…

Kids in Saddle shoes and jeans and poodle skirts
Source: Flickr

The following photo was taken in May of 1956 at a New York photographic trade show by photographer Frank Larson

1950s woman at a trade show
Source: Frank Larson Photos

Can I help take those dresses off your hands? Oh and the car too?

1950s woman in front of 50s car with 1950s dresses
Source: Pinterest

Recently Toronto hosted the Great Gatsby Garden Party, these ladies from 1920s Toronto would have been wonderful inspiration for that day.

1926 Toronto Fashions for women
Source: Toronto Archives via Pinterest

Lets dance on the street! Or pretend we are flamingos.

1940s girls vintage image
Source: Flickr

If your in need of perfect examples of women in the 1940s rocking pants, then look no further then this image.

1940s women's fashion
Source: Flickr

These 2 gorgeous women remind me of Barbie, especially the friend leaning up against the car.

1950s women in swimsuits
Source: Flickr

Well this looks like an exciting party. What do you think is going on here? Pants and saddle shoes party?

1940s vintage image and saddle shoes
Source: Flickr

Janet always had the best handwriting and therefore made her the best secretary for their monthly meeting (or so I think that is what is happening here).

1940s vintage image
Source: Flickr

And there friends are some of many favourite images this month, did you have a fav from above?

Liz 🙂

 

 

A Peak Into My Vintage Collection- a 1949 Stocking Dryer

Last week I started a new series called Vintage Travel To Do List‘ and this week I’m introducing another series ‘A Peak into my vintage collection’. This series will showcase the various items I have in my home that I have collected over the years. Clothes, household items, pictures etc. I have lots of vintage goodies that I would love to share with all of you.

Today’s item was purchased from my friend Shermy, It’s- A 1949 Pearlescent Pastel Green Stocking Dryer in its original box & with the original hardware. This item will one day end up in my dream washroom but in the mean time its on display in my 1920s vintage bookcase.

1949 Vintage Stocking Dryer

The dryer was created exclusively by the Donaco Plastics Company a USA Company. 1 minute installation, the gift with a purpose, for home and travelling and in 5 beautiful pearlescent pastel colors. And the whole dryer was only $2.95, Fantastic!

1949 Vintage Stocking Dryer

End the Clutter.

50s Midcentury Vintage SafTdri Seashell Hosiery Drying Wall Mount Decor
Source: Etsy

Here is a pretty Yellow One. What colours would have to be in your washroom to have this bright of a yellow though?

Vintage SafTDri Seashell Hosiery Dryer 1950s
Source: Pinterest

A Donaco Box. I have not been able to find any information about this company, so if someone does know something about them, please share.

Donaco Plastics Company Vintage box
Source: Ebay

They seemed to have also created a Malibu Sea-Shell Towel Holder (this advertisement was inside the box). Actually it’s called a Towl Holder. Is that a spelling mistake?

1949 Vintage towel holder vintage advertising

Here are some real life examples, aren’t they equally as adorable?

Malibu Sea-Shell Towel Holder
Source: Pinterest
Vintage Towel Holder Donaco Plastic Malibu Sea Shell Delux Pearlescent Bathroom Towel Holder
Source: Etsy

 

And there is my first vintage collection share, stay tuned for many more items in future posts.

Friends…What is a favorite item in your collection?

Liz 🙂

 

Vintage Travel To Do List: Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

I have started a collection of “Vintage Travel Destinations/Locations” that I would like to visit at some point in my life, over on Pinterest. This collection is slowly growing but one of those places is the ‘Grand Hotel’ on Mackinac Island, Michigan (US), seen above. It’s right out of something from the Great Gatsby and has a history that goes back to 1887.

For today’s post I’m just going to share some of the history with you, stunning images and a cool tidbit about a certain famous female swimmer from the 1940s.

Vintage Mid-Century Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Brochure
Source: Pinterest

Brief Overview of the History of the Hotel: The Grand Hotel has a marvelous page filled with a much more detailed history on the Hotel (then what I will supply you) which you can read HERE.

July 10th, 1887: Grand Hotel opens, billed as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrive by lake steamer from Chicago, Erie, Montreal, Detroit, and by rail from across the continent. It took only 93 days to complete and rates are $3 to $5 a night.

1890’s: Grand Hotel’s Front Porch – longest in the world (880 feet in length)—becomes the principal meeting place for all of Mackinac Island, as well as a promenade for the elderly and a “Flirtation Walk” for island romantics. Grand Hotel Manager James “The Comet” Hayes invites an agent of Edison Phonograph to conduct regular demonstrations of the new invention.

Turn of the Century: The automobile finds its way onto the island. Grand Hotel supports an island-wide ban. A law is passed, but not strictly enforced until the 1930s (there are still no automobiles allowed to this day on the Island).

1919: Hotel rates are $6 per person.

1935: A radio salon where patrons can listen to Jack Benny and other popular programs is added.

1957: Michigan Historical Association selects Grand Hotel as a State Historical Building.

1980: Somewhere In Time, filmed at Grand Hotel and starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, is released (there are events at the hotel celebrating this very popular romantic movie. The next one is in October).

1989: The U.S. Department of Interior designates Grand Hotel a National Historic Landmark.

There are also 5 suites in the hotel named in honour of former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.

Five U.S. Presidents — Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman — have visited Grand Hotel.

Images of the Grand Hotel:

Grand Hotel and Golf Course, Mackinac Island, circa 1915.
Source: New York Social Diary

 

Grand Hotel Menu 1890 Mackinac Island
Source: Wikipedia

Postcard showcasing the famous porch from Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Vintage Postcard
Source: Pinterest
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Interior of the Grand Hotel (it’s Fancy!):

The Dining Room

The dining room at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Source: Joeybls Photography

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor Grand hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Grand Hotel

Woods Restaurant

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

The Lobby

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Entrance to the grand ballroom…oh my…..

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Joe Braun Photography

Some of the Hotel Rooms & Suites:

Grand Hotel Mackinac Islands Rooms
Source: Historic Hotels

Since the only vehicles allowed on the Island are emergency vehicles and in winter snowmobiles, the only way to reach the dock from the hotel is via horse-drawn Carriage.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island carriage
Source: Wikipedia

Now which famous swimmer from the 1940s & 50s has a tie to the hotel? That is…

Esther Williams in This Time For Keeps’, 1947:

On site there is a pool called the Esther Williams Swimming Pool (5000 gallons) . It was named this because she filmed the movie ‘This Time for Keeps’ with Jimmy Durante at this hotel.

Full image of the scale of this massive pool.

Esther Williams Swimming Pool Grand Hotel
Source: Style blue print

Visiting:

The hotel is only open between May & October, so if you would like to book just head to their website and begin the fun. And please take loads of photos!

Dear friends, would you visit the Grand Hotel? Or maybe you have? If so please tell me all about it.

Liz 🙂

P.S. Stay tuned for more “Vintage To-Do List” as this is a new series I’m starting.