August 26, 2010

Who I'm Watching: Peter Gunn

He was suave. He was sophisticated. And he was "like coolio-daddyo to all you cats!"

I only have a couple too few episodes that I picked up in one of those value-priced DVD tv collections. And I never was lucky enough to catch the series in syndication, though I've heard plenty of the series and the unforgettably suave yet danger-ladden theme music by Henry Mancini (Best Arrangement, Grammy Awards, 1958; Album of the Year). But I think I'd really like to see more this stylish private eye detective show. It's left me with a hungry appetite for more each time I've gotten to follow Gunn on a case.

Peter Gunn may have been the coolest gentleman private eye to be seen since the Thin Man series with William Powell. The epitome of cool as envisioned by the mid century, the original suave and sophisticated man's man. Remember, Peter Gunn was happening even before Agent 007 burst onto the big screens with the first Bond movie, Dr. No.

"Hot on the case, cool under fire," Peter Gunn originally aired 114 1/2 hour episodes from September 22, 1958 to September 18, 1961, preluding the years that brought us many classic spy and crime dramas such as The Avengers and The Saint. The show was the creation of Blake Edwards, the same mastermind behind the Pink Panther movies, starring Craig Stevens, Herschel Bernardi, Lola Albright. Stevens portrays the stylishly hip and ultra cool Mr. Gunn with an ample helping of wry humor thrown in for good measure. The cases takes him through an assortment of moody imagery: mod hangouts, avant-garde artists pads and film noir-esque back alley ways, always with the swanky sax, bass and drums setting the cool mood through it all.

Hmmm.... wonder if a cool cat wannabee can locate a copy of the complete soundtrack from the series?

August 18, 2010

Vintage Tourist Traps

I posted a little about the old Sioux Trading Post earlier and got to do a little of my own research about the history. Here's a bit I found on the Ogallala, Nebraska store, not to be confused with the Sioux Trading Post in Rapid City, South Dakota (a native craft supply & dealer, which incidentally I've been to before) as well as some other facts about the colorful family-run operation:
In all three souvenir stores "Out West" have been owned by the Henline family over the years along the old Lincoln Highway. The Buffalo Bill Trading Post was on the west end of North Platte on Hwy 30, and was opened for business in 1950 and sold in 1954. The Sioux Trading Post (above) was in Ogallala, Nebraska, also on Hwy 30, was opened in 1952 and closed permantly in 1969. Fort Cody Trading Post of North Platte was first opened on Hwy 30 from 1963-1969 then relocated to be close to the new Interstate I-80 in 1968 where it continues to operate to this day.

First the Sioux Trading Post and later the Fort Cody Trading Post were the summer homes for the Whitecalf family of Pine Ridge South Dakota. (some members pictured above) The family lived in the back towers (at Ft. Cody) and performed their Native American Dances during the day for our customers. They also presented a half hour evening performance which featured traditional dances including the Hoop Dance. Their final summer in North Platte was in 1977, when they returned to live year 'round in South Dakota.

The Henline family also operated the Wigwam in Atlanta, Nebraska, and the Seminole Trading Post and Indian Village near Miami. They also ran the Dunlap-Henline Company that published postcards out of Omaha during the 1950's through 60's.

Great photos seen on the following two sites:

August 11, 2010

Tourist Traps

Ugggh! Looks like they broke Flickr while I was gone. Don't you just love it when you PAY for a service and they decide to change everything so that you can no longer use it for the purposes you bought it for? Hopefully they will get the photo sharing options working for everyone again soon, otherwise this blog is going to be getting mighty boring fast with no piccies to show off!

Anyway, during our trip I kept my eyes open and camera lens focused to bring you some classic Old West American tourist traps. Yippee! I love tourist traps!

The first one is a diorama reconstruction of classic from the mid-century, the Sioux Trading Post once located in Ogallala, Nebraska.

This diorama is a new attraction added to the Fort Cody Trading Post (offshoot of the old Sioux Trading Post since the early 70's) located at North Platte, Nebraska. Part novelty shop, part museum, the Post is worth stopping for... especially on those long drives heading west on I-80!

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There'll be more to come in a future post - stay tuned!
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