Archive for August, 2012

Madonna in 1984 – Courtesy of We Heart Vintage

Madonna 1984

This now-classic image and look from Like A Virgin caused such a stir back in the mid-1980s.  Not that I look at it again – more that 25 years down the road – everything about it is simply beautiful.

Whitesnake Covers The Beatles’ Day Tripper [1978]

Looking at the history of Whitesnake, it’s pretty clear that the band was David Coverdale’s first love.

He formed it in the mid 1970s, and reformed with new line ups several times since then.  The band tours even today.  They were a sweeping commercial success in the late 1980s, during the Rule Of The Hair Band.  But before Tawny Kitain, the make ups and break ups, before all the leather and hairspray, Whitesnake was a bunch of British guys with a soulful rock sound.  Check out this classic rare clip of the band covering The Beatles’ Day Tripper.  The fashion, guitar work and harmonies are pure 70s.

One Way Ticket baby!

The Golden Nugget [1972]

Vegas 1972 [public domain]

Came across this awesome picture taken in Downtown Las Vegas in the early 1970s, as part of the Documerica Project.  Charles O’Rear – retired longtime National Geographic photographer – took it during his travels around the American Southwest.  In 1972, the Vegas Strip was new and the downtown core of original casinos still ruled the roost.  After a long decline, the older part of Vegas began seeing a resurgence in activity that now gives visitors a taste of what the town was like in the days of the Rat Pack.

Below is a picture of the same corner – courtesy Google camera car – circa 2009.  The 4 Queens Casino is still across the street.  The overhead covering in the picture is part of Vegas’ famous Fremont Street Light Show.

The Golden Nugget Casino – On Wiki

Charles O’Rear’s view of The American Southwest – On Flickr

Bio for Charles O’Rear – On Wine Views

Three Models Agree: “Miami Beach is Out Of Sight” [1970]

Old tourism films are really a step into an alternate universe.

They portray the world that the marketers wanted you to believe as truth, and while the real thing was probably fairly close – let’s face it – marketing has a tendency to stretch the facts.  Such is the case, I’m sure, with this promotional film done in 1970 for Miami Beach, Florida:  Color Me Fun – “One place where colors and people best come together.”  Film work includes ample use of hand-held cameras, unique camera angles, and plenty of ornate pseudo-classic fixtures backed by fuzzy wallpaper inlaid with gold.  In short, the Tourist Development Authority of Miami Beach wanted you to imagine being part of a Chick-filled, Chivas-fueled weekend with Tiger Tom.

Today, the city’s official Visitor Page is much more subdued and – honestly – not quite as interesting.

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One Island Has It All!

Color Me Fun is narrated by three young models with different viewpoints – in voices that are obviously dubbed.  In common late 60s form, each of them is known only by their “color” instead of by their name (which is provided in the ending credits):

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“I’m Red. I love.”

Model Julia Hayes is the passionate one who finds enjoyment in the surroundings and nightlife.

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“I’m Yellow. I groove.”

Model Diane Squires is the everyday traveler on a budget. While the others indulge their appetites on fancy fare, Yellow chews on pizza and sandwiches.

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“I’m Blue. I appreciate.”

Model Joan Murphy is the one who lives high and travels far.  She calls the mansions in town “cottages,” speaks with an unidentifiable accent, and uses words like “Divertisment” in place of “Entertainment.”

The Color Girls navigate us through the streets and buildings of Miami Beach, sharing food, entertainment, sports, recreation; this shining beacon of marketing flash is touched by the Florida sun and punctuated by an upbeat groovy soundtrack which includes Keith Mansfield’s Funky Fanfare, an instrumental that is also used as the theme song for Animal Planet’s Pit Boss.  Manfield’s Gold Medal was also used.  The dialogue is peppered with Sixtyisms that describe things as “where it’s at,” “groovy,” “far out,” and “now.”

Gotta admit that it beats “ginormous” or “epic.”

Blue starts the show, pulling up to the attended parking at a swanky restaurant, and promptly visiting the kitchen to show wear all the magic is done.  “Most people – whereEVER they live – are content with…Hamburger, she proclaims with smug physical punctuation. “But,” Blue continues, “when they come to Miami Beach everything changes.”  Yellow orders a corned beef sandwich, happy with the notion that she orders and it  arrives.

“Imagine what kind of service I’d get if I knew someone!”

Meanwhile Red is at the oldest restaurant in Miami Beach eating Stone Crab – “Cold…or in Hot.  Melted. Butter,” she proclaims with a half smile.

“It may not be elegant, but it’s out of sight.”

I’ve collected some screen shots from the film and posted them in this blog.  Each one tells a story stuck in time.


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“We’ll shoot into the sun and have the family run past us to the shore.  That technique is so new and now that people will think that Miami Beach is the grooviest place on earth!  Right?”


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Have no idea what they just put on the table, but I suspect that won’t matter if enough Chianti is consumed.


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Where colors and people blur into a cool-hued homage to Vegas…


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Yellow: “Groovy place…groovy people too.”


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Red: “This is too much!”

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Cruising Highway 1A northbound.


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Looking north along the Atlantic Ocean.   Scenery has changed a bit in last 40+ years.


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Blue: “Next year’s fashions come here first.”


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Red cheers on the ponies.  “Go Number Two!”

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Blue: “You know I’ve been everywhere.  The In Islands, the Out Islands.  Anywhere that counts.”

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Yellow: “If I can catch fish here, anyone can!”


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What visit to Southern Florida would be complete without a rocket?  This one was put into space with less computer processing power than my Smart Phone…


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Red: “Miami Beach is Today, and so is the State of Florida.”

Below is a Youtube excerpt from the 13-minute film, which is also available in full HERE.  It may not have been a real depiction of Miami Beach, but it sure was real entertaining.  Enjoy!

Trip To Hawaii [1985]

Diamondhead and Downtown Honolulu Hawaii, 1985

There’s no telling what we’ll find at our house.

Earlier this year I was going through a box of belongings that the stunning Mrs. BelRedRoad and I have shared for knick knacks for the last 22 years, when I found a roll of Kodak VR 100 film buried beneath the papers and curios of the past.  Initially I thought it was a roll of film I’d shot in Seattle in the early 1980s; it was of the same type I would have purchased, and shot with a second-hand Pentax K1000.  After getting the roll developed, it was clear that the photos weren’t mine at all.

Kodak Kodacolor VR 100

Turns out Mrs. BelRedRoad had shot the film in Hawaii while on a 1985 familiarization trip as a Travel Agent – and then promptly forgot about it.

Hawaiian Sundown [1985]

The photos – like this Oahu sunset – now survive as a time capsule, and testament to what the Hawaiian islands looked like in the time between the two Hawaii Five-Os.  I’ve never been there, so I get to live it through her.

Maui Hill Hotel Resort Pool [1985]

Maui Hill Hotel Resort [1985]

Maui Hill Hotel Resort [1985]

Want to be there right now?  Me too…

Maui Hill Hawaiian Resort [1985]

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific [1985]

This is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, made famous in both runs of the hit show Hawaii Five-O

Maui Hill Hotel Resort [1985]

Love this staircase.  So does the guy in the blue shirt. While the high-waisted shorts are dated, much of the wardrobe in these photos would not look out of the ordinary if I were to see it today.

Hawaii / Last Shot on Roll [1985]

The stunning Mrs. BelRedRoad fiddling with her camera in the hotel room.  Last shot in Hawaii for her before the long ride home; despite its shaky spooky nature, it’s one of my favorite photos of her.  I would meet her three years later, and the rest is retro-history!

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