1950s

Vintage: Queen Elizabeth II in Chicago (1959)

Vintage: Queen Elizabeth II in Chicago (1959)

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were on a 15,000-mile, 45-day tour along the seaway visiting all Canadian provinces, four of the Great Lakes and making a 14-hour stop in Chicago. This was their only American stop and was the first visit of a reigning British monarch to the Windy City. The royal couple’s hectic visit took them to…
Vintage: Cats of London by Thurston Hopkins (1950s)

Vintage: Cats of London by Thurston Hopkins (1950s)

Thurston Hopkins was born in south London. In 1940 Hopkins joined the RAF Photographic Unit and acquired his own Leica, serving in Italy and the Middle East until 1945. His desire to join Picture Post was fired by finding copies “in every tent and service club overseas”. After the war, Hopkins hitchhiked around Europe, honing his skills in the perceived…
Vintage: Rome, Italy (1956) by William Klein

Vintage: Rome, Italy (1956) by William Klein

In 1956, a 28-year old William Klein arrived in Rome, fresh from the debut of his now classic monograph Life Is Good & Good for You in New York, to assist Federico Fellini on his film Nights of Cabiria. Filming was delayed, and so William Klein instead strolled about the city in the company of Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alberto…
Vintage: Young Clint Eastwood (1956)

Vintage: Young Clint Eastwood (1956)

Eastwood is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Dutch ancestry and was raised in a working class environment. Eastwood is descended from Mayflower passenger William Bradford and through this line is the 12th generation of his family born in North America and the 13th generation to live in North America. His career started in 1955 with an uncredited minor role, and…
Vintage: Fashion of 1940s and 1950s by Nina Leen

Vintage: Fashion of 1940s and 1950s by Nina Leen

Nina Leen was a Russian-born American photographer, a constant contributor to Life. Nobody knows how old Nina Leen was when she died, in 1995. Judging from her obituary, information about Leen is scarce. She lived in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland before moving to the U.S., where she became one of Life magazine’s first female photographers, in the nineteen-forties. She shot…
Vintage: City Life in Poland (1959) by Gerald Howson

Vintage: City Life in Poland (1959) by Gerald Howson

In 1959, Gerald Howson was sent to Poland by The Queen magazine. He was supposed to come back to England with photographs depicting the Cold War reality. This inconspicuous Englishman who did not speak any Polish packed two Leica cameras in his backpack along with a portable darkroom. His journey began in Lublin, continued to Krakow, and ended in Warsaw.…
Vintage: Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1954)

Vintage: Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1954)

Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is a nerdy, faithful, middle-aged publishing executive with an overactive imagination and a mid-life crisis, whose wife, Helen (Evelyn Keyes), and son, Ricky (Butch Bernard), are spending the summer in Maine. When he returns home with the kayak paddle Ricky accidentally left behind, he meets a woman (Marilyn Monroe), who is a commercial actress and former…
Vintage: Coca-Cola in France (1950)

Vintage: Coca-Cola in France (1950)

After the war Coke decided to raise its profile and capitalize on the proliferation of refrigerators in French homes. In 1950, the Coca-Cola company decided the people of France were ready for the great taste of Coke. via Mark Kauffman/LIFE archives
Vintage: Standard Oil refinery fire (1955)

Vintage: Standard Oil refinery fire (1955)

On Aug. 27, 1955, an explosion at the Standard Oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., destroyed much of the plant and dozens of homes. The explosion occurred in a “hydroformer,” a 26-story-high tank used to convert low-octane gasoline into high-octane gasoline at what is now a BP refinery. The largest hydrorfomer in the country, it sat on the fourth largest refinery…
Vintage: Behind the Scenes at Disney Studios (1953)

Vintage: Behind the Scenes at Disney Studios (1953)

The Walt Disney Studios was originally designed around the animation process, with the large animation building in the center of the campus, and adjacent outlying buildings were built for the story department, the music department, the ink-and-paint departments, and the other various functions of the studio. Both above-ground walkways and tunnels connected the buildings, and the campus also included a…
Vintage: Marilyn Monroe by Carl Perutz in 1958

Vintage: Marilyn Monroe by Carl Perutz in 1958

Carl Perutz took photographs from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. This pictures included a spectrum of topics including war, peace, birth, and death. After joining the U.S. Army shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he rose to the rank of Captain through his work doing aerial reconnaissance flying in B17’s over North Africa, France, and Germany. His probably…
Vintage: Celebrities by paparazzi Elio Sorci (1950s and 60s)

Vintage: Celebrities by paparazzi Elio Sorci (1950s and 60s)

Elio Sorci, like many of the paparazzi, found his professional path by chance rather than design. Indeed it might be rightly posited that it was precisely their lack of formal training, their lack of self-consciousness towards the medium, the absence of all those aesthetic and ethical anxieties that can inhibit spontaneity, that cast them so perfectly in the role of…
Behind the Scenes: Forbidden Planet (1956)

Behind the Scenes: Forbidden Planet (1956)

Forbidden Planet (aka Fatal Planet) is a 1956 American science fiction film from MGM. Starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, and Robby the Robot. Forbidden Planet is the first science fiction film in which humans are depicted traveling in a starship of their own creation. It was also the first science fiction film set entirely…
Rocky Marciano – World Heavyweight Champion (1950s)

Rocky Marciano – World Heavyweight Champion (1950s)

Rocky Marciano (1923 – 1969) was an American professional boxer and the World Heavyweight Champion from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. Marciano is the only person to hold the heavyweight title without a bout tie or defeat during his entire career. Marciano defended his title six times, against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don…
Vintage: Classic Polish Films (1940s and 50s)

Vintage: Classic Polish Films (1940s and 50s)

After the horrors of the Nazi occupation and repressive postwar Soviet domination, Polish cinema suddenly took off in the mid-50s to become a major international force. Initially, it was Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy (1954-58) on wartime resistance that attracted attention. That was followed by a wave of films approaching contemporary society with skilful circumspection before there was a further clampdown in…