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Why Aluminum Christmas Trees Were So Popular In 1950s America

This article is from Do You Remember. Click the title to hop over there.

If you think about a tacky and sad-looking Christmas tree, chances are you’ll imagine the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. However, back in the day, aluminum Christmas trees were super popular, even though they’ve definitely become dated and even tacky today.

The publication Jezebel recently interviewed Sarah Archer, author of design history Midcentury Christmas, and they chatted about the history of these aluminum trees and just why they were so popular in 1950s America.

Why were aluminum Christmas trees so popular in the ’50s?

Why Aluminum Christmas Trees Were So Popular In 1950s America
Aluminum Christmas tree / Wikimedia Commons

“Fake trees generally actually go pretty far back. What happens in the ‘50s, which is when they really burst onto the scene, aluminum’s abundance was really a byproduct of the war effort. Many of those materials were used or really ramped up—or even invented—for wartime applications. So the aluminum industrial complex, as it were, after the war was like okay, we’re ready,” Sarah says.

RELATED: Do You Remember When MTV Reunited The Monkees For A Christmas Medley In 1986?

She continues, “Alcoa was the biggest manufacturer of aluminum for the war effort and for aluminum products throughout different parts of the 20th century, but they didn’t actually make trees, although the Alcoa brand was used a lot to promote them. Most of them came from this place called the Aluminum Specialty Company, in Manitowac, Wisconsin, and they started to get really popular and they would say, “made with real Alcoa Aluminum.””

It became ‘cool’ to own retro and vintage items later on

Why Aluminum Christmas Trees Were So Popular In 1950s America
Vintage Ad for Reynolds Aluminum Christmas Tree / Courtesy of Reynolds Aluminum

Later on, she states, “There was this real effort to glamorize these. You’ll see lots of household ads from the ’50s and ’60s that show an ultra-glam housewife with an aluminum tree and a set of aluminum tumblers and a toaster and a coffeemaker. This was the wonder material of this time period. As far back as the ‘30s it was referred to as poor man’s silver. It was this cheap workaround to look refined and glam at a time when nobody could afford actual silver.”

So, they were popular and modern-looking for the time period; they had this Space Age-y look to them that faded just as fast as they popularized. By the ’70s, they faded out of Christmas style, but soon made a slight comeback through the ’80s and ’90s as people found them to be ‘retro’ and ‘cool’ again. It was starting to become ‘cool’ to own vintage things, and that trend has continued long into the 2000s as well.

Representation in popular culture

Why Aluminum Christmas Trees Were So Popular In 1950s America
Aluminum Christmas trees in ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ / CBS

Sarah also mentions A Charlie Brown Christmas, noting that if you pay close enough attention, you may see all of those aluminum Christmas trees in the background as Charlie Brown goes to search for a tree. The special was released in 1965, so it’s interesting to see how the popularity of aluminum Christmas trees in that time period was represented in popular culture.

“The main plot point is the Christmas musical, but then there’s this sidebar about the tiny sad Christmas tree that is collapsing under the weight of a single ornament, which is the tree that he chooses. And it’s in contrast to this shiny pink metal tree that Lucy thinks is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Sarah notes.

Did you or your family ever own an aluminum Christmas tree? Do you still own one for the sake of nostalgia?

This story may contain affiliate links from which we may earn a small commission.

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The post Why Aluminum Christmas Trees Were So Popular In 1950s America appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Jane Kenney

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Priscilla Presley Wasn’t Caught Without Makeup Around Elvis

This article is from Do You Remember. Click the title to hop over there.

Priscilla Presley admitted in her memoir that ex-husband Elvis Presley never saw her without makeup. Elvis was very clear that he wanted Priscilla to be presentable at all times. So much so, that she always had her hair done and makeup on.

Not only that, Priscilla admits that Elvis really molded her. He taught her to act a certain way, gave her clothes to wear, and even told her to walk a certain way! Priscilla now says that she believes Elvis thought of her as a doll and could dress her any way he wanted.

Priscilla always wore makeup around Elvis

Newlyweds PRISCILLA PRESLEY and ELVIS PRESLEY
Newlyweds PRISCILLA PRESLEY and ELVIS PRESLEY get pelted with rice, 1967 / Everett Collection

If she didn’t wear the right clothes or makeup or wanted to cut her hair, Elvis got mad. According to her memoir, he said to her, “You need to apply more makeup around your eyes. Make them stand out more. They’re too plain naturally. I like a lot of makeup. It defines your features.”

RELATED: These 8 Pictures Show How Elvis And Priscilla Presley Were Truly The ‘Best Friend’ Couple

She continued, “He taught me everything. How to dress, how to walk, how to apply makeup and wear my hair, how to behave, how to return love-his way. Over the years, he became my father, husband, and very nearly God.”

ELVIS PRESLEY and PRISCILLA PRESLEY
Newlyweds ELVIS PRESLEY and PRISCILLA PRESLEY toast each other after the ceremony, 1967 / Everett Collection

They divorced not because she didn’t love him, but because she got sick of the rules. Priscilla wanted to be her own person and grow up in her own way. She realized how much she lost herself. She admitted, “I did not divorce him because I didn’t love him. He was the love of my life, but I had to find out about the world.”

It really gives you a different side of Elvis! In conclusion, listen to Priscilla talk about how much Elvis controlled her in this interview:

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The post Priscilla Presley Wasn’t Caught Without Makeup Around Elvis appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Lauren Novak

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Pat Benatar Then and Now: 40 Years of Her Rocking Life from 1980 to 2020

This article is from Do You Remember. Click the title to hop over there.

There was no question that Patricia Mae Andrzejewski was going to pursue her dream of a life in music. Well, after four Grammy Awards, a dozen albums, nearly four times as many singles, and decades of touring, one would have to say that Patricia — more popularly known as Pat Benatar — had fulfilled that dream and then some.

“I didn’t set out to be a solo artist,” she writes in her autobiography, Between a Heart and a Rock Place. “My dream was to be the singer in a rockin’ band, like Robert Plant was to Led Zeppelin or Lou Gramm to Foreigner. I wanted a partnership, like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had — an unrelenting back-and-forth between talented musicians. The sound I heard in my head was raucous, with hard-driving guitars speeding everything forward. I was a classically trained singer with a great deal of musical knowledge, but I had no idea how to make that visceral, intense sound happen. I had to evolve.”

RELATED: 7 Fascinating Things You Probably Never Knew About ’80s Pop Star Pat Benatar

pat-benatar-in-concert
(YouTube)

Benatar also had to believe in her own dream. In a discussion with Ernie Manouse of InnerVIEWS, she explains that while she was studying so that she could go to Julliard, she began to panic. “Just because everyone says I’m a really great singer for a kid and all that, why would that translate into the big pond?” she asks rhetorically. “So I think at that point I thought I would be more practical and would go to college and teach school. Which is ridiculous. My kids go, ‘Mom, you would be the worst teacher.’ I have no patience whatsoever. But [music was] in there and it’s like breathing. I can’t imagine not doing it ever.”

Self-Confidence

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PAT BENATAR, portrait c. 1982

One point she made in the interview is that the doubts she expressed had nothing to do with insecurity. “It was never, ‘Oh, I don’t think I’m good enough,’” she laughs. “I thought I was absolutely good enough. I just thought the probability of it happening was just numerically ridiculous. It just didn’t make any sense that out of all the people that were trying — and there were so many people that were really great — the question is, ‘Why?’ … It’s not being immodest. It’s just that I’m an implementer. That’s my real gift that I have. It’s not so much that I think I have great talent, but I really know how to put one foot in front of the other.”

pat-benatar-album-collage-1
(Chrysalis)

Doing so began on January 10, 1953, when she was born in Brooklyn, New York to a mother and father who were, respectively, a beautician and a sheet-metal worker. The family would move to Lindenhurst, New York (located in Suffolk County on Long Island). At the age of eight, having discovered a passion for theater and music, she began taking voice lessons and performed her first solo at Daniel Street Elementary School. Needless to say, she was hooked. Musical theater became an important part of her time at Lindenhurst Senior High School, one notable credit being as Queen Guinevere in the school production of the musical Camelot.

Bank Teller by Day, Singer by Night

pat-benatar
Fort Lauderdale, FL: Pat Benatar performing at Revolution; Digital Photo by JR Davis-PHOTOlink.net

As noted above, she was thinking of attending Juilliard, but ultimately decided to study health education at Stony Brook University. Not surprisingly, that didn’t take. She dropped out and married high school boyfriend Dennis Benatar, who was part of the U.S. Army. In 1973 they ended up in Virginia, where Benatar spent her days working as a bank teller. She’d quit that job, though, so that she could spend her time in pursuit of a singing career and found a gig with a lounge band named Coxon’s Army. Things really started to heat up for them, when Pat, whose marriage to Dennis would end in divorce at the end of the decade, decided in 1975 that she wanted to head to New York to improve her odds.

pat-benatar
Fort Lauderdale, FL: Pat Benatar performing at Revolution; Digital Photo by JR Davis-PHOTOlink.net

She actually continues the story on her official website, nothing that one night in 1975 she “decided to try open mic night at Catch a Rising Star. She was 27th in line to go on and didn’t hit the stage until 2:00 a.m. Benatar’s rendition of Judy Garland’s ‘Rock a Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody’ sent the crowd reeling. Hearing the room explode, the owner of the club, Rick Newman, rushed in to see who could possibly be commanding such a response from the room. He watched the rest of the performance, and when the band was finished, Newman approached Benatar and demanded, ‘Who are you?’ Thus began their relationship as manager and artist; a working relationship which would continue for nearly 15 years.”

Lady in Spandex

pat-benatar
Pat Benatar, portrait c. 1983

As if she didn’t have enough going on, in 1976 Benatar also did some acting, playing the role of Zephyr in Harry Chapin’s futuristic off-Broadway rock musical The Zinger. Flash forward to Halloween 1977 when she’d dressed up as a character from the sci-fi cult flick Cat Women of the Moon and went with some friends to Café Figaro in Greenwich Village. She decided to enter the club’s costume contest and won. Then the group stopped by Catch a Rising Star, where she ended up performing in part of the costume — which garnered a standing ovation. Coming to the realization that Pat Benatar wearing spandex was a winning combination, she did the same thing again the following night and received a similar reaction. “As the nights went by,” the site continues, “the outfits were tweaked a bit, the spandex was modified and the signature look that everyone came to know was born.”

pat-benatar-album-collage-2
(Chrysalis)

Things continued to progress in 1978 when she was not only performing but recording jingles for Pepsi Cola as well. Then, headlining at New York City’s Tramps nightclub, she was seen and signed to a recording contract by Terry Ellis of Chrysalis records. Producer and writer Mike Chapman introduced her to up and coming guitarist Neil Giraldo and they ended up working together perfectly. First as musicians and then as husband and wife, the two of them ultimately getting married in 1982 and still together to this day, the parents of two children.

A Quick Discography

pat-benatar
PAT BENATAR PERFORMING ON “GOOD MORNING AMERICA’S: 2003 SUMMER CONCERT SERIES” AT BRYANT PARK IN NEW YORK CITY 7/11/2003; PHOTO BY:HENRY MCGEE/GLOBE PHOTOS, INC

Benatar’s first album — In the Heat of the Night — was recorded and released, paving the way for followups Crimes of Passion (1980), Precious Time (1981), Get Nervous (1982), Live from Earth (1983), Tropico (1984), Seven the Hard Way (1985), Wide Awake in Dreamland (1988), True Love (1991), Gravity’s Rainbow (1993), Innamorata (1997) and Go (2003). From those albums came hit singles like “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Fire and Ice,” “Shadows of the Night,” “Love is a Battlefield,” “We Belong,” “Invincible,” “Sex as a Weapon” and others, most recently 2017’s “Dancing Through the Wreckage.”

pat-benatar-album-collage-3
(Chrysalis)

In between, there was a hell of a lot of tours. Her first one took place between 1979 and 1980 to promote In the Heat of the Night and Crimes of Passion, and they continued pretty steadily through the 1980s and 1990s. Oftentimes Benatar and company appeared with other artists like Hall and Oates,  Fleetwood Mack, REO Speedwagon, the Steve Miller Band, Loverboy, Journey, Cher, Rick Springfield, Cheap Trick, John Waite, and Melissa Etheridge. In 2019 she went on the road with the 40th Anniversary Tour — all those years later and still rocking.

Timing is Everything

pat-benatar
Pat Benatar at the VH1 Divas Duets concert held in The Grand Theatre at the MGM Grand.
(NV); Photo by: Tom Lau/Loud & Clear Media/STAR MAX Inc.

As far as Benatar is concerned, her success was in no small way due to the timing of her arrival on the scene. “You have to remember where the country was at this point,” she stated to InnerVIEWS. “This was 1978, ’79, 1980. The women’s movement was in full force. We were the daughters. We were the first generation of young women who grew up indoctrinated. Now we were adult women. We were going to put this into practice. This was not on paper anymore. In my house, where I grew up, my father worked two jobs, sometimes three jobs. When he came home from work, he ate his supper, we watched a little TV together, we did our prayers. That was it. The man worked. He didn’t do a lot of stuff around the house. All I ever remember is my mother and grandmother painting the house, rolling along, doing all that kind of stuff.

pat-benatar
Pat Benatar, portrait, c. 1985

“So in my world,” she adds, “there was no way that women were not the same as far as I was concerned. And possibly superior as far as I was concerned. So that’s how I went into the world. I remember the first couple of times when people looked at me like I had two heads when I told them what I wanted to do. They would say things like, ‘Women can’t sell out Madison Square Garden and can’t be on the road.’ … It never occurred to me that it couldn’t be done, which was great, because I was so naïve — when you’re blind, you have no fear.”

neil-giraldo-pat-benatar
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at “FOX & FRIENDS” All American Concert Series. (NYC); Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/starmaxinc.com

Now, a little over 40 years from the time she began pursuing the dream, she can look back at a lifetime of both success and failures, with two great kids and a rock and roll marriage that has stood the test of time like few have. And she remains philosophical about it all.

pat-benatar
(YouTube)

“I’ve nothing left to prove, which is probably the most liberating feeling in the world,” Benatar writes in her memoir. “I’m not holding on for dear life, trying to recapture some fleeting movement that’s long since evaporated … I have been a singer, a lover, a businesswoman, a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, and, yes, sometimes even a rock star. In my journey, I tried my best to honor all of these things. In the end, I suppose that’s all that’s really required … I am exactly where I want to be.”

Life, like love, can be a battlefield, but Pat Benatar stands victorious.

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The post Pat Benatar Then and Now: 40 Years of Her Rocking Life from 1980 to 2020 appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Ed Gross

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An Episode Of ‘Maude’ Tackled One Of America’s Most Controversial Subjects

This article is from Do You Remember. Click the title to hop over there.

In the early 70s, abortion was one of the most controversial subjects around. The country was on the precipice of Roe vs. Wade, which ruled to protect women’s abortion rights in 1973. Before this could occur, however, the Bea Arthur sitcom Maude boldly took on this polarizing topic.

Maude, created by Norman Lear was a spinoff of his wildly popular sitcom All In The Family. Even before the show tackled abortion, Maude pushed the envelope. The main character and show’s namesake was loud and wild, the antithesis of idyllic TV housewives like Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson. The incentive for Lear to tackle the subject of abortion came from a group called “Zero Population Growth.”

“Maude’s Dilemma”

“Zero Population Growth” was, according to the producer of Maude, Rod Parker, offering a “$10,000 prize for comedies that had something to do with controlling population.” Many comedy shows chose vasectomies as their avenue, but not Maude.

RELATED: The Real Reason Bea Arthur Walked Away From ‘The Golden Girls’ 

No, the already envelope-pushing series took it one step further. In a two-part episode titled “Maude’s Dilemma”, the 47-year-old Maude unexpectedly becomes pregnant. After grappling with her choices, Maude finally decides to terminate the pregnancy.

Cold Feet And Backlash

At the last minute, CBS executives refused to pay to tape the “Maude’s Dilemma” episodes. So, Lear told them that if they didn’t, CBS would have to find another show to fill the time slot. The episodes finally aired to huge ratings and plenty of backlash. Bea Arthur remembered “The amount of mail was incredible. I can`t call it hate mail, although there were a few that said, ‘Die, die,’ but most were intelligent people who were deeply offended, and very emotional about it.”

It was to be expected that the millions of Americans who saw the episode would have strong feelings about it. Although Lear fought to air the episode, his goal wasn’t to make people angry. Rather he wanted to get viewers thinking and feeling. “I enjoy stirring feelings,” he said, “even negative feelings because I think that is what theatre is about.” Maude certainly achieved this goal.

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The post An Episode Of ‘Maude’ Tackled One Of America’s Most Controversial Subjects appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Erica Scassellati

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New Book On Jimi Hendrix Addresses Misconceptions About His Mysterious Death

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Jimi Hendrix has long been lumped together with other popular musicians such as Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin who died at the young age of 27. Members of the 27 Club are often associated with dangerous lifestyles and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Although we mourn their tragic deaths, there is a stigma surrounding these famous people.

Philip Norman, author of the new book, “Wild Thing: The Short Spellbinding Life Of Jimi Hendrix” challenges the notion that Hendrix caused his own death through substance abuse.“He was 27 and a rock star, so it was just assumed that he drunk and drugged himself to death, like the other members of the 27 Club have done,” Norman stated. The truth is a little more complicated.

Vulnerability And Exhaustion

The Rolling Stone reported that Hendrix passed away in 1970 after taking nine sleeping pills and choking on his own vomit. A “suicide note” was also mentioned, which turned out to be a poem several pages long. Rather than wanting to harm himself, it seemed that Hendrix just desperately needed some rest.  “He was so exhausted after working so hard in the previous four years, achieving incredible fame in Britain, then the rest of Europe, and finally back in America where he originally couldn’t succeed due to segregation,” Norman continued.

RELATED: Why Billie Holiday Was Targeted For Her Drug Addiction 

Hendrix worked himself ragged and no one was making sure he was healthy. After returning from another exhausting tour, Norman explained that he “fell into the clutches of a young German woman named Monika Dannemann.” He alleged that this woman and Hendrix had a casual sexual relationship. This led Hendrix to the Samarkand Hotel in London where Danneman was staying.

Hendrix Death At The Samarkand Hotel

Norman discussed in his book that Danneman claimed Hendrix asked her for something to help him sleep. “She gave him a very powerful sleeping tablet called Vesperax. Each tablet was really a double dose that had to be broken in half,” he stated. The next morning she claimed to have found a ten-tablet pack of Vesperax that seemingly had nine pills removed. However, Danneman was reluctant to call an ambulance because there were drugs in the hotel room.

Danneman was on the phone with a mutual friend, Alvinia Bridges, trying to get Hendrix’s doctor’s phone number. Then Hendrix started to vomit and choke. “I screamed and said, ‘Turn him over, turn him over,” Bridges recalled to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “But obviously she was panicking and she didn’t turn him over.” By the time Hendrix was taken to a hospital, it was already far too late. In his book, Norman hammers home Hendrix’s vulnerability and the crushing fatigue of his music career. Most importantly he stated that Hendrix’s tragic death was, “A totally avoidable accident.”

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The post New Book On Jimi Hendrix Addresses Misconceptions About His Mysterious Death appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Erica Scassellati

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Actress Abby Dalton Of ‘Falcon Crest’ Dies At Age 88

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  • Actress Abby Dalton has died at the age of 88.
  • She was best known for her role in ‘Falcon Crest.’
  • Dalton was also an Emmy-nominated actress who rose to commercial fame quickly.

 

It has been reported that actress Abby Dalton, who is best known for her role in Falcon Crest, has died at the age of 88. There was no cause of death immediately released. Dalton got her start in 1957’s Rock All Night, which is about a group of hostages taken captive by two criminals at a club.

Her commercial success came quickly as by 1959 she was starring in Jackie Cooper’s Hennesey television series, which earned her a 1961 Emmy nomination for outstanding performance in a supporting role by an actor or actress in a series.

Remembering Abby Dalton

abby dalton dead
FALCON CREST, Abby Dalton, 1981-90 (1981 photo), © Lorimar Television / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Not only did she hold starring roles in The Joey Bishop Show and The Jonathan Winters Show, but she also had film roles throughout the ’80s and ’90s. These films include 1976’s A Whale of a Tale and held a role in the 1989 film Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force. It’s important to note that a lot of her work was mostly dedicated to television.

RELATED: Primetime Soap Stars Of The 80s: Where Are They Now?

However, it was in 1981 that she claimed the role she would later be best known for, her role in Falcon Crest. We last saw her not in a film or TV role, but a voice role, in the upcoming book Deconstructing the Rat Pack: Joey, The Mob and the Summit by Richard Lertzman. She is survived by husband Jack D. Smith, her children Matthew, Kathleen, and John, and her grandchildren. May she rest in peace.

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The post Actress Abby Dalton Of ‘Falcon Crest’ Dies At Age 88 appeared first on DoYouRemember? – The Home of Nostalgia. Author, Jane Kenney

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