Welcome to That's My Era. Vintage collectibles for nostalgia enthusiasts of almost every time period. Everyone has their own "era," right? Pretty sure you'll find yours here!

Be sure to check out our shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/thatsmyera

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

you're so gangsta

apparently i'm still fighting off the tireds this week and on my way in to work this morning found myself thinking about '30's gangster pictures (probably because i felt really tough dragging my tired ass into the office today... so gangsta!)

i thought a little coverage on two of the most famous gangster impersonators (aka actors) from the '30's through '40's might be in order...

first off, edward g robinson. eddie was a very unlikely gangster, as far as i'm concerned. he was a man of pretty insignificant stature (fancyspeak for short) and his voice was rather cartoonish. in fact, did you know that eddie's gangster persona was even immortalized in a cartoon?

here's eddie in "little caesar" circa 1931:

and here's eddie as "rocky":

next up, james "you dirty rat!" cagney. cagney pulled off the whole gangster thing very well and yet whenever i watch him i feel like all he really needs is a hug. i think this video footage from "white heat" proves my theory. here's cagney dining at the prison hall when he finds out his mother has died...

i'd like to know what your '30's gangster name of choice is. mine is pegs mcgillicutty. pegs = my legs (on a good day - actually, never mind, on any day) and mcgillicutty is just an awesome last name; almost as evocative as "teagarden." please note that your gangster last name must begin with "ma" or "mc" - as in malone, mcgillicutty, mcgillivray, mcsweeney... you get the picture. and maybe my girlfriend can explain why all the '30's gangster last names seem to be scottish-like in origin...? a coincidence? i think not. you don't want to tussle with a scot... trust me!


finally, i leave with you with the song that inspired this post's title. chromeo, (an electro-funk outfit from montréal), take us out! (as in i'm going to bed now... ya, i know... so gangsta)

PS: this is a great '30's gangster "starter kit": Tough Guys Collection

Monday, February 27, 2012

desi & doris, revisited...

many weeks ago now i posted on how i'm the '40's/50's love child of desi arnaz and doris day. this is a true story! now that i'm adding "personal renderings" to my blog, i thought i would share a picture of yours truly so that those who may be curious to know what desi and doris's love child looks like, can finally get the visual they've been waiting for! (insert tongue in cheek here).

so, let's do the math again shall we?

Doris (aka "Margaret")


Desi (aka "Herman")



yep, it's me.

please note that i'm not a children's illustrator. rather, i am a child illustrator. which is to say, i draw like a child. also a true story! and this concludes today's rather personal post. now that i'm recognizable to the world i may have to step out wearing shades and a bowler hat so as to remain inconspicuous...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

it's personal!

welcome to yet another edition of "it's personal" sunday here at that's my era. i was busy pondering my earlier post today and was thinking about wolverines and whether they actually get the blues... or was jack's song about the fact that he bought his girl a coat made of wolverine fur and that gave him the blues because he felt bad for the wolverine? would jack, were he alive today, have been a member of PETA?


today's show n' tell sunday consists of my baby blue starburst/sputnik lamp. her name (why do i have a feeling you know what i'm about to say?) is LAMPY. of course! mind you, i've never told her that my other vintage lamps are also called "lampy." i figure what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

presenting... lampy!

and yes, she is so a "she." think of how fierce she'd look on the red carpet at the oscars tonight. she would so win for best lighting and special effects because that starburst/sputnik is a special effect if ever i saw one...

jack teagarden!

first of all, is this not the hottest name? if i were ever to legally change my name this would be my top choice. i'd want to be called by my last name all the time though so maybe i should just legally change my first name to teagarden.

but enough about one of my narcissistic fantasies... onto jack!

jack teagarden was a jazz trombonist known affectionately by his peers as the "father of the jazz trombone." basically peers are saying that this guy literally birthed out the jazz trombone. i buy that. if you've ever heard him play, you'd believe it too.

i grew up around the trombone, in fact. my brother played, and he played it very well. his fingers were always green from the brass and he usually had "trombone breath" or "brass breath." (yes, as bad as it sounds).

because teagarden is such an evocative last name, here's my personal rendering of jack:

and yes, i've decided to infuse my blog with personal renderings, so stay tuned, cool cats!

here's jack in '45 performing "wolverine blues." pure awesomeness.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

pardon me, boy... is this the chattanooga choo choo?

today i would like to get on a train just so i could ask someone who works at the train station the above question. i wonder if they would get the reference? i wonder if they've been asked that before? (bored train worker rolls eyes and sighs: "all the f**n time. you have no idea.")

the chattanooga choo choo is a brilliant song, especially lyrically-speaking.

allow me to present them for careful scrutiny:

Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chattanooga choo choo?
Track twenty-nine,
Boy, you can give me a shine
I can afford
To board a Chattanooga choo choo
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare

so, breaking down the first paragraph here we see that this guy can afford to board the train and even has a little extra money to spare. that's good because he's calling the help "boy" and isn't it usually rich people who do that? if he only has a "trifle to spare" after he's paid his fare i don't think he's in a place to be using "boy" nor do i think he can spare money for a shoe shine though i guess those ran pretty cheap and good for him for keeping his shoes shined... definitely can't knock a guy for wanting to stay spiffy!

You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner
Nothing could be finer
Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina

second paragraph: obviously time flies when you're having fun. guy reads a single magazine and suddenly he's in baltimore. FYI, pennsylvania to baltimore is 176 miles so i'm curious to know what kind of magazine our hero was reading. hmmm? this followed by dinner in the diner and apparently there's nothing finer than having your ham n' eggs in carolina. i'd like to know why. does carolina do up the best ham n' eggs or what? would the canadian equivalent be "nothing would be finer than to have your poutine in quebec"? of course that wouldn't work. because it doesn't rhyme... not even a little. and please. who eats eggs with ham anyway? it's bacon. bacon. and always, bacon. give me bacon and eggs with a side of bacon. if you please.

When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are

so the guy is hearing the whistle "blowin' eight to the bar." how musical is our hero!? is the whistle actually blowing eight to the bar? what is eight to the bar you ask? it's the second most common chord in blues music apparently (thanks, google!). does our hero have the blues? does that mean that the prospect of tennessee being not very far makes him sad? ah, so many questions...

There's gonna be
A certain party at the station
Satin and lace
I used to call "funny face"
She's gonna cry
Until I tell her that I'll never roam
So Chattanooga choo choo
Won't you choo-choo me home?
Chattanooga choo choo
Won't you choo-choo me home?

and finally, the last paragraph (which is definitely one of my faves)... there's a certain party at the station. satin and lace. he used to call "funny face." so apparently our hero's girl is waiting for him at the station. she's wearing satin and lace (nice!) and when he was a stupid kid, like most young boys, he taunted girls he liked so he used to call her "funny face." our hero's ego is a bit swollen, as you can see, since he believes his girl will cry when he sees him until he reassures her that he's never going to roam, i.e. he's not getting back on that train - he's staying put. with his belly full of ham n' eggs, his shined shoes and around 75 cents left in his pocket. life is good!

here's a version of the song you may not have heard before. i hadn't.

and if you always thought train conductors looked tough, here's video evidence that they ARE:

finally, a clip from one of my all-time favourite train movies: i am a fugitive from a chain gang, circa 1932, starring paul muni. if you haven't yet seen this film, please do so immediately. it's amazing and was way ahead of it's time.

last but not least, a few excellent train tunes that will surely have you and yours at union station by noon today. don't forget to ask the help if what you're about to board is the chattanooga, okay?

(I heard That) Lonesome Whistle Blow - Johnny Cash

Lonesome Train - Johnny Burnette

Freight Train - Lightnin' Hopkins

Friday, February 24, 2012

pin-up friday!

today's pin-up is a guy who's very close to my heart. he's not just a pin-up... i'm kind of a major fan. i own his biography, an original black & white photo of him (from ebay), started a facebook group on him (titled: john garfield > forgotten rebel). yep, that kind of fan. the kind of fandom that can make others feel a bit uncomfortable (unless they too are fans). you know the kind.

here are just a few of the reasons why john garfield rocked:

  • was sent to a special school for problem children, where he was introduced to boxing and drama.
  • when his Warner Bros. contract expired in 1946, he did not re-sign with the studio, opting to start his own independent production company instead. he was one of the first Hollywood actors to do so.
  • blacklisted during the McCarthy "Red Scare" era in the early 1950s for his left-wing political beliefs, he adamantly refused to "name names" in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in April 1951. 
  • He was found dead of a heart attack in the apartment of a former showgirl, Iris Whitney, on May 21, 1952. garfield was 39. (if you're going to die of a heart attack then you may as well be found by a [former] showgirl...!)
  • usually played brooding, working-class, rebel-types.

apparently i'm not alone in my fandom... below is just one of many video compilations out there (most appropriate first song given garfield's wandering ways):

and now for lots (and lots) of pictures of the pin-up...

 and last but not least, a young garfield in his first major motion picture role. four daughters, 1938.  


Thursday, February 23, 2012

let's get old old fashioned

i still have a case of the tireds so if i had my druthers tonight i would kick back and listen to the radio (with slippers on feet and pipe cupped in hand - oh ya!). but it would actually have to be in my era because there's nothing worse than hearing rihanna or katy perry squawking out of a beautiful, warmly glowing bakelite or catalin tube radio, circa 1949. it's just not right!

anyone who knows me, even a little, knows about my penchant for tube radios from the '30s - '50s. allow me to present:

 above: fada, bakelite radio circa 1946.
 above: sonora, portable radio, circa 1947.
 above: addison, catalin radio, circa 1940.
 above: as above, in a different colour scheme.
 above: truetone, "tulip grille" circa 1937.
 above: bendix, bakelite radio, circa 1949.
 above: motorola, circa 1949.
 above: zenith, circa 1945.
 above: emerson, circa 1937.
 above: silvertone, circa late '30's. note the "magic" green tuning eye above the dial.
above: fada, catalin radio, circa 1946.

most of the above images were pulled from a site that i visit on a daily basis (i go to gawk, rather than purchase... my purchasing days are pretty much over). if your eyes are hungry for more of these beauties, be sure to visit the radio attic. this is a very comprehensive site as well.

i leave you with this song, "old old fashioned," by a scottish band called frightened rabbit. it pretty much sums this post up...


last night i was telling my girlfiriend about a get rich quick scheme brilliant idea an idea of mine.

we make "haute meal." it's oatmeal but we market it in fancy packaging and say it's "organic," and made from "grade a" oats plucked fresh from the rolling hills of ireland so rich people will buy it for 20 bucks a bag. and our tagline would be: if it's not haute meal, it's just oatmeal.


which naturally made me think of the oatmeal from my era...

cool cats, allow me to introduce: maypo!

yes, maypo was "oatmeal" - sort of. only highly processed and maple flavoured. even saying the word itself, maypo...sounds like you're trying to say "maple" but your dentures are out. right?

as you can see in the commercial below apparently the target audience for this cereal was hyperactive children and toothless old(er) people. seems appropriate...

pass the maypo!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?

who? just who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong? who would do that? more importantly, what is a "rama lama ding dong"? (i have some ideas but i don't want to jump to dirty conclusions...)

it was back in '61 when a guy named barry mann (no there's no minus 'n' plus 'ilow' at the end of his name, cool cats) burned up the charts with this song, titled "who put the bomp (in the bomp, bomp, bomp)." apparently barry went to the tongue-in-cheek school of music and was making fun of doo wop songs that ruled the airwaves back in the day. if we carefully analyze barry's lyrics, we can see that he was just having a laugh. here are the lyrics for dissemination:

"I'd like to thank the guy
Who wrote the song
That made my baby
Fall in love with me
Who put the bomp
In the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
Who put the ram
In the rama lama ding dong?
Who put the bop
In the bop shoo bop shoo bop?
Who put the dip
In the dip da dip da dip?
Who was that man?
I'd like to shake his hand
He made my baby
Fall in love with me (yeah!!)
When my baby heard
"Bomp bah bah bomp "
"Bah bomp bah bomp bah bomp bomp"
Every word went right into her heart
And when she heard them singin'
"Rama lama lama lama"
"Rama ding dong"
She said we'd never have to part

basically barry is thanking all the doo wop singers for their silly and nonsensical lyrics because those exact silly and nonsensical lyrics are what made barry's girl fall for him. really, barry? i mean... really?

here's a version of the song you've probably never heard before:

and if you like your irony served with a side of irony here's another version you've probably not heard before:

lastly, i leave you with this song, only because it was referenced in the wikipedia page for "who put the bomp (in the bomp, bomp, bomp)" yes, the song has it's own wikipedia page! 

from the page:

"...it is also an ironic, lightly self-mocking song, a frequent phenomenon in popular music, M's "Pop Muzik" being another example."

i realize i'm posting outside of my era here but hey, it's tuesday and i'm all tuckered out from laundry day family day. plus this song is like "neo doo wop!" besides, i bet barry likes this song. his girl probably likes it too. barry, barry's girl: i dedicate this song to you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

40's/50's hottie of the week

in keeping with "family day" (which, by the way, i propose be officially renamed "laundry day") i bring you toys from my era.

for boys, most toys were space or cowboy-themed. some popular examples include:



and then there were these pull along dog toys... i had a fisher price one when i was growing up. the perfect toy for the parent who doesn't want their kid to have an actual dog (because we all know how that turns out). and this reminds me of the post on me being the local crazy person by taking my ruspan furniture out for walks... do you think taking one of these puppies out for a walk trumps that level of crazy...? do tell!

i leave you with a video that documents the making of the "betsy wetsy" doll. warning: may disturb some viewers (and by "some viewers" i mean myself...)