Saturday, December 22, 2012

No Room at the Speakeasy, or, I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas

Barring a Christmas miracle, I'll be away from the computer on the 23d, 24th, and 25th. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday as it was celebrated in the 1920s (in pop culture, at least):

By John Held Jr, probably the most popular cartoonist of the era.


Clara Bow, "The It Girl."

Christmas card.

Didn't that company just go belly up?

 A Salacious Santa.

You never know what Santa might have picked up after a trip around the world


Gloria Swanson is ready for her close-up, Mr DeMille.

Christmas at the Fitzgeralds.

Here's an Italian postcard. They had flappers, too, though they seemed to dress a little warmer.

The automobile had become more commonplace.

Why, even Santa was driving one.

Christmas in LA.

Prohibition did put a damper on things. If you're not familiar with 1920s fashions, I can assure you what that gentleman holding the spray bottle is wearing was way out of style, even back then. But maybe that's the whole point. It's the fogies who want to spoil all the fun.


Mary Pickford.

That "wotever it is" looks like a paint roller brush, doesn't it?

OK, I see a keyboard, but where's the screen?

Louise Brooks.  Her signature bob hair style defined the flapper look. Speaking of flappers...

...not everyone had a positive view of them.

OK, I've shown you the side of the 1920s that the purveyors of popular culture wanted you to see. They wanted you see it back then, and they want you see it now. But for most people, it wasn't as glamorous as all that. Here's some pictures of ordinary people celebrating Christmas:

OK, enough with the ordinary people already. One last look at Clara Bow:

All of the above photos were culled from various places around the Internet (unimaginable in the 1920s)

This was fun, and I might do it again next Christmas. To avoid repeating myself, though, I'll have to jump ahead ten years to the 1930s.

Expect a lot of Salvation Army Santas.


  1. Thanks for the Norman Rockwell, retro Hollywood glam, Americana collage. Perfect Christmas card for our time. Before Photoshop.
    I am going back to look some more. Happy Christmas Kirk, you've inspired me more than you could ever know this year. Looking forward to more this New Year!

    1. Funny you should mention Norman Rockwell, Patricia. I came up with this idea the very day it was posted, so didn't have all the time in the world to look for images. The one Rockwell Saturday evening Post I came across had Santa in his workshop, and there was nothing contemporary about it--contemporary as far as the 1920s was concerned--so I didn't use it. Had I look harder, I probably would have come across something from him.

      Happy Christmas to you too, Patricia. Knowing that I inspired someone is probably the best gift I could have gotten. In return, Patricia, you've inspired me to deal more with current events on this blog, which I've been neglecting of late.

    2. Forgot to capitalize "Evening".

      Too much egg nog.

  2. Great stuff, Kirk, funny captions, too.

    Since you won't read this until after Christmas, I hope it was a good one.

    1. Thanks, Pap. My Christmas was decent. I hope yours was, too.

      Without going into any details, I've been inspired by your output, too.

  3. Love all things vintage. Happy Holidays.

  4. Happy Holidays to you, too, Kass.

    Odd how all this vintage stuff can be accessed by 21st century computers, huh?


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