Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stuff Grumpy Old Men Like

Another humorous pictorial spread from the January 1948 issue of Woman's Home Companion is here for your enjoyment. We Can Dream, Can't We? is part manifesto of the modern husband, part nonsensical Andy Rooney-style rant. As with the last set of pictures from the same issue, the original captions are printed here (in italics) along with my own comments (non-italicized). The photographs were, once again, by Tony Verti, and the captions remain uncredited. Ladies, take notes!:

What do men expect a house to do for them in the way of masculine comfort? To find out we went right to the men themselves. We talked to them, looked at their houses, made a poll to see what they secretly yearn for at home, what their pet peeves are--and we found out! Here are the answers interpreted by artist Ben Stahl.

Well-stocked refrigerator for midnight snacks is most men's idea of pure bliss--a small bird, cheese, icy beer head the list.

This blissed-out husband can't even take the food out of the refrigerator, put it on a plate, and sit at a table like a civilized human being! Nope, in the ultimate show of laziness, he just pushed his stool up to the fridge and is wasting a lot of electricity by leaving the door open while he chows down! Second, what in the world is the need for such a gigantic knife? This picture is just distressing! I think Pops here should just keep dreaming.

Place to make a mess in. All men yearn for a spot where they can pursue a hobby, a corner in the house where they can scatter papers, drop ashes, saw wood or do what they please when they please. Artist Ben Stahl dreams of a studio like this.

Apparently, this is the room where your husband wants to paint portraits of mysterious French women and throw crumbled paper on the floor!

Solid comfort--big comfortable lounge chair with a place to put feet up, radio handy, jumbo ash tray, good light for reading--all too good to be true?

No, I think this is the most reasonable request. So, according to this poll, most husbands feel they are underfed and have no time and space to relax and/or pursue creative hobbies. Now, let's discover the darkest secret of all: what irritates husbands most!


Men know what they don't like in households too.

Violated newspapers, mussed, scattered or simply first-read, rank as heinous household crime. Men take news seriously.

As well they should. This man doesn't look irritated by the the condition of the newspaper so much as by the article he's reading. This looks more like the face of a man who has just read an article about how the durned guv'ment are raising the taxes again. Or maybe he's reading about the rising crime and lamenting about 'kids today.'

Tearing open cereal box instead of cutting along the dotted line is considered minor outrage, brings forth wistful plea.

Ah, yes, it would appear junior did a poor job of opening the cereal box in his excitement at getting the toy prize before his siblings. Still, this can be easily rectified, so it's best to let old Pappy know that he shouldn't get his blood all in a boil over such small things!

Clothes-hanger-in-use perched on top of closet door makes closing door difficult--is anathema to average man.

Well, I guess he spends the entire weekend making the rounds and pointing out everything he finds irritating, doesn't he? Couldn't he just... hang the dress elsewhere instead of posing for a photo?

Fragile tables laden with bric-a-brac are felt to be a deliberate plot against men. So are bitsy ash trays, wobbly vases.

Too ridiculous to even comment on! Find some excuse to get him out of the house when he starts sizing up the table legs and ranting on about plots against his masculinity!

All men to the fore on this one--stockings drying on the shower rail. Only thing worse is to find them soaking in bowl.

Yet he seems to be giving this a begrudging thumbs up? Maybe it's best to let him have his art studio if it will prevent all the complaints!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Chowder Goes To A Ski Party

Chowder Goes To A Ski Party is a photo pictorial from the January 1948 issue of Woman's Home Companion. In a photographic sitcom style, it details what happens when a group of friends take a trip up to the ski cabin and settle in for an evening of chowder and pancakes after a day out on the slopes. Remember this episode from Happy Days? Remember this episode from The Facts Of Life? Remember this episode from Beverly Hills, 90210? And Sabrina, The Teenage Witch? And Boy Meets World? And That 70's Show? And...?

So, switch off TVLand and Nick At Nite (they don't show any good classic television on there anymore, anyway), and tune into Curly Wurly TV! Important information: The magazine's original captioning is uncredited (and italicized here). The photographs are by Tony Venti. The ski clothes were provided by Horse House, which is still a popular clothing designer. In fact, I believe more than one a-list celebrity was wearing Horse House couture on the red carpet last night (guess who!).

After a day in (or maybe under) the snow, ski enthusiasts clamor for a hot tasty supper that can be served up fast as a jump-turn. With this gang of young-marrieds chowder and dessert pancakes are top choice.

I see, I thought they were a bunch of unchaperoned teenagers gobbling down chowder, but they're marrieds! Whew! This episode went from being rated TV-MA to TV-PG (no V-Chip required)!

"Anybody hungry?" Jack shouts and then gets ready to duck as about-to-starve friends crowd in on him. After a few minutes' quick heating, fish chowder will be ready to serve.

I'm not clear on which one is Chowder. I thought he was the fangy Gene Kelly on the right (also known as 'Jack'). However, Jack seems to be the one hosting the shindig, and the title of the piece is 'Chowder Goes To A Ski Party,' so he must be one of the guests arriving in this picture. I'm banking on the middle guy with the tacky sweater being Chowder. Unfortunately, his identity is never revealed. If only Chowder had a jacket with his nickname embroidered on it or, maybe, a crown à la Jughead to identify him. Note that all the friends must give Jack the secret Chowder handshake before they're allowed into the lodge. Also, do you think that the two blondes are twins???

Jack proves he can too cook! He demonstrates how to make pancakes.

Well, now, I bet we all know a 'Jack': someone who invites you to their chalet under the pretense of a soup-based soiree only to spend the night demanding an audience to gawk at them as they show off making dessert pancakes! It's happened to all of us. What I think happened is that Jack and his sweatered friend (Chowder?) got into a bout of fisticuffs over whether Jack could cook, and Jack quickly threw together an excuse to one-up his chum. Now he's going to drag out this dessert pancake business over the entire evening just to punish his skeptical friend.

This is fast work--pancakes brown just about a minute on one side, then flip over for the other. Betty rolls them up quickly with a couple of forks, tops with spoonfuls of hot fruit sauce.

There's apparently a lot of alcohol in that hot fruit sauce. And Betty's been topping those pancakes off with a heavy hand. Interesting bit of wall art -- I think if you press on it, the panels give way to a secret room that neither the smoke monster from Lost nor vampires can enter.

Chowder is too good to allow anybody extras so last mouthfuls get shared fa'r and squar'.

"Fa'r and squar'"?! No wonder no writer wanted to take credit for this story! Well, the young-marrieds are all thoroughly drunk by this photo, and it's best not to know what's being passed around in the basket. Here: Chowder finally gets some chowder!

"She just married me for my cooking," Jack says modestly as tart-sweet pancakes are gobbled up by admiring gang. This dessert is amateur's delight because it gives the impression of great skill, really is simple, easy. Only joker: making enough to satisfy pleased eaters.

"Only joker," indeed! Ah, clearly this last male party guest is professional tweeter John Mayer, so now we know for sure that Chowder is the other guy. Here, John Mayer takes a break from Twitter to share a laugh over some dessert pancakes.