Twentieth Century

The Mimi Award

The Wikipedia entry for MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED tells us:

A long-running feature of Mechanix Illustrated was "Mimi," a shapely young woman dressed in skimpy overalls with blue and white vertical stripes; and, in the early sixties, a matching railroad engineer's cap (later discontinued). She was in a picture holding, standing beside, sitting on, lying on or just in the picture with a new product each month. Each "Mimi" held the job for a year. Their names were never given except for the announcement of a new "Mimi" in the January issue. One Mimi did, however, hold the job for a few years in the sixties. An actress from Southern California, she left to live in Hawaii, and a readers' poll was conducted to choose a replacement from a short list. The readers' choice only lasted a short while, and was replaced by one of the runners-up. "Mimi" was discontinued with the change to Home Mechanix.

Ten more Mimi's after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 09, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Hobbies and DIY, Magazines, Technology, Sex Symbols, Twentieth Century

Max Patkin, Baseball Clown

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 26, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Humor, Sports, Twentieth Century

The Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and/or Ambassador

Before looking at these charming ladies, let us ponder the name of this worthy organization: "Aquatennial." The water/wet years? The most common word with this suffix of course is "centennial," which is derived, so Merriam-Webster tells us, from the Latin "centum" and the English suffix "-ennial," which is basically "annual." The suffix is not "-tennial," because the "t" comes from "centum." So even if "the wet or water years" made sense, it would have to be "Aquaennial," which of course is a hideous-looking neologism.

All that aside, this organization, founded in 1940, is still going strong. But you can't call the winners "queens" any longer, just "ambassadors." It's nice they kept the tiaras, though, which are not in evidence among ambassadors at, say, the U.N.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 13, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Regionalism, Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, Streams, Swamps and Other Bodies of Fresh Water, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

Commercial Telegraph Codes

I was randomly browsing old publications online when I ran across this ad. Thinking about the topic of Communication Codes, I found it hard to believe we had never covered it at WU. But apparently not.

In telecommunication, a commercial code is a code once used to save on cablegram costs.[1]...These codes turned complete phrases into single words (commonly of five letters). These were not always genuine words; for example, codes contained "words" such as BYOXO ("Are you trying to weasel out of our deal?"), LIOUY ("Why do you not answer my question?"), BMULD ("You're a skunk!"), or AYYLU ("Not clearly coded, repeat more clearly.").

Here is a page linking to many digitized volumes.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 02, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Technology, Codes, Cryptography, Puzzles, Riddles, Rebuses and Other Language Alterations, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

Feminine Hygiene Ads 70s, 80s, 90s

Maybe nearly 500 of these ads is a little excessive for one playlist? See what you think! Here's the first, below, and the rest are here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 21, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Advertising, Hygiene, Women, Twentieth Century

Train Robberies

Are train robberies an extinct crime? The Wikipedia page for the topic does not list one later than 1999.

Here's one from early in the 20th century that I found interesting.

Two booking cards from Spokane, WA police. One is for Charles McDonald, who is listed as a "miner," age 27, 5 ft. 9.5 in. and weighing 151 lbs. Arrested Oct. 25, 1907 for the crime of train robbery. Includes Bertillon Measurements for more detailed identification. Plus tattoos, scars, moles, etc.

Second card is for Ed Smith, alias Geo. Frankhauser. Also listed as a "miner," age 30, 5 ft. 5 3/4 in., 135 lbs. Arrested the same day as his compatriot. Same Spokane police card.

Frankhauser and McDonald pulled off one of the most daring train robberies, truly worthy of the "Wild, Wild West," although they accomplished their heist in the 20th century. The pair took up residence near Rexford, along the Northern Pacific line that the Oriental Limited regularly traveled. They surveyed the line, and decided on their spot. September 9, 1907, when the engineer and fireman took over the engine, two men came out of the darkness and ordered them at gunpoint to follow directions and they would not be hurt. They ordered the train to proceed at 40 mph until they reached a pre-selected location. The train was ordered to stop, while Frankhauser went to a cache and took out a small black bag. They had the fireman knock on the baggage car door and ask to come in. When the door was opened, the baggageman was ordered out, and the dynamite from the bag was used to blow the safe - and half of the car. They found nothing, so they decided to try the mail. Here, purely by accident, they stumbled on four small packages in a mail bag. They were addressed to the Old National Bank of Spokane and contained an estimated $40,000. But their mistake of tampering with the mail brought down the wrath of the postal inspectors, who would not let them get away with the robbery.

While the train was ordered to stay for 10 minutes, the pair escaped into darkness. They partied throughout the Northwest, posing as mining promoters. They sometimes "bought out" a bar for the night and had private parties for selected "friends," including "working" women. Eventually, a man by the name of Jesse Howe became suspicious, and alerted the Spokane police, who were waiting at the end of another party.

They obtained saws in the Kalispell jail, according to Frankhauser, and hid them in strapped to their ankles. When they were transferred to Helena, the guards found McDonald's saw, but Frankhauser managed to hang on to his. They spent two months sawing the bars on the windows. When they finally made their break March 21, they got over the wall by piling the bloodhound's doghouses on top of each other.

They were spotted by two women while coming over the wall, but managed to get ahead of the searchers. The two remained on the run for months, following the Missouri River north. They lived by taking what they needed from farmhouses and cabins (some occupied, others not). When the sheriff spotted them in Fargo, they split up. Frankhauser took a job for the Northern Pacific, but was arrested while going to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. He claimed he never saw his friend again. He was tried in Helena and sentenced to life in prison at Leavenworth, KS.

According to some newspaper reports, he escaped from Leavenworth. Others say he died there. One report indicates that another train robbery occurred in Benecia, CA that looked a lot like the work of this pair. This time they reportedly caught up with McDonald, but his buddy was still on the run.

Whatever the truth, it has the "feel" of another Butch and Sundance story. [See also "The Criminal Record: Stories of Crime and Misadventure from a Century Ago," Vol. 5, Issue 4 (April 2010).]

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 07, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Crime, Scary Criminals, Twentieth Century, Trains

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 31

Love Jan Zrzav├Ż's look!

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 04, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, Europe, Russia, Twentieth Century

Les Djinns Singers

Les Djinns were a French choir with a distinctive singing style, composed of sixty girls[1] between the ages of nine and eighteen years, conducted by Paul Bonneau. In 1959, the French government organized a 'Master School' for the instruction of girls in musical subjects in order to ensure a supply of performance talent for the country's radio and television industry. The Master School set a course of study where the girls followed a curriculum of standard academic subjects in the morning hours, then musical courses in the afternoons consisting of scales, vocal techniques, harmony and choral vocalizing. Upon graduation, each girl was accepted into Les Djinns.

Within six weeks of the group's founding, Les Djinns were awarded the Gran Prix of the Academy of Records in France, and their popularity began to proliferate with stage appearances in France and tours in other European countries. Eventually a total of 88 tunes were recorded, including a Christmas album and an album of American favorites sung in French, and released on the ABC-Paramount label. One Les Djinns single recording, "Marie Marie" (1960), made it onto the Top 100 list.

The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 01, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Crowds, Groups, Mobs and Other Mass Movements, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Music, Europe, Twentieth Century

Mystery Gadget 89

This was not a mere statue, but served a purpose. What did it do?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 21, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Domestic, Twentieth Century

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