Saturday, December 12, 2020

Christmas Pix

It feels like a good time to share more Christmas-related slide scans. To get us all in the mood! 

First up is this fun photo of a 1962 (or possibly December 1961?) Christmas parade, from an unlabeled slide. Luckily, "Gibbel Hardware" was enough of a clue to help identify this as Hemet, California (Riverside County). It looks like it was a beautiful day. Love the vehicle with the sign from "Enfinger's Accordion Center", pulling a float filled with smiling kids playing their accordions. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"? "Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer"?
I wasn't sure what street the old parade was on, but a little searching on Google Maps helped; it's State Street, at the corner of Florida Avenue. It's easy enough to recognize some of the same buildings, and those palm trees are a little taller, but look much as they did 50+ years earlier.
Next is this nice family portrait on Christmas morning, 1971. I see a Partridge Family album! There's typing paper, a desk calendar, a toy Santa, toy Snowman, and lots of new clothes. 
These last two are a mystery, I mostly included them in the hopes that somebody out there can help to ID the location. I assume that this statue of St. Nick was not there all year long, which is why these boys had to pose for a picture. Gotta strike while the iron is hot.
Antique autos, eh? Sadly I cannot decipher the paper sign in the rear window of that one vehicle, which is a bummer because it probably has the name of the place right there, mere feet from our noses. Help!
I'll have more Christmas photos for you, coming up.


Nanook said...

An accordion-themed Xmas float - who could ask for anything more-?? It's being followed by a 1955 or 1956 Chevrolet truck. The family tableau appears to be a Christmas where 'practical' clothing was the star. Well that - and typing paper-! Also, nice touch by adding the 'sparkly drum decoration' atop one gang, of the two-gang light switch plate by the front door.

And as far as those antique cars are concerned, the partial view is a Ford, Model A (don't ask me the year). And to our right, a Hudson - 'possibly' a 1923 model.

Thanks, Major... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"-!

Melissa said...

There are a million stories in the facial expressions of that family! I love how they set the desk calendar to the right date - I wonder if the gifter did that before wrapping it, or if the giftee was so excited they did it as soon as they unwrapped it?

I am in love with the big accordion sign.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I have never seen that many accordion players in one place...sort of overwhelming. Major, I think they're playing "Feliz Navidad" - 'cause I see the lead kid wearing a sombrero.

In the 3rd picture, is that a can opener - next to the little santa? It doesn't get too much more exciting than that!

Thanks, Major! Your Christmas posts are definitely getting me in the Christmas spirit!

Melissa said...

Sue, they can do “Lady of Spain” for an encore!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Yes, Melissa! I can hear it now!!

Melissa said...

The red and green roof makes me wonder if the building in #4 isn’t some Santa-themed establishment.

"Lou and Sue" said...

One last thought...
WHO puts their kid at the top of stairs, in a stroller, and walks 40 feet away?!?!

K. Martinez said...

The Mystery park looks like Santa Claus Land, Indiana which in the 1980's became Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

I had to look up postcards on eBay to confirm.

Nice vintage Christmas pics today. Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Ho Ho Ho! Just warming up for the holidays. I love the family in the Christmas photo with all the presents displayed. If you listen very carefully, you can hear I Think I Love You playing on the stereo. Accordion lessons, it's what's for Christmas. I thought the same thing Sue. One stiff breeze, and the kid rolls off. Thanks Major.

Andrew said...

Thanks for confirming it's Santa Claus Land, K. Martinez!

Um... I do have a picture of me with that Santa, but it's pretty bad because I was really tired, so please don't think of this picture when you think of me. :-)

Stu29573 said...

I love the look on the little girl's face in the third pic! That kid is proud of her doll! (And pretty hopped up on Christmas cookies and raw excitement)
The accordians remind me of an old musician joke.
What's the definition of perfect pitch?
Throwing an accordian in a dumpster and hitting a banjo.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I really do love the accordion-themed float! Accordions seem like an instrument of the past, though I’m sure people still learn it - somewhere. That family really went all in on clothing, and in a way, it’s practical at least. It used to be a joke getting socks for a Christmas present, but now I’d be perfectly happy with some nice warm socks! Thanks for the ID (tentative) on the cars!

Melissa, good question… I just assumed that they grabbed that calendar off of a nearby desk, but it could have been a new present.

Lou and Sue, imagine a concert with 1000 accordions! Why, it would be like heaven. Was “Feliz Navidad” a thing in 1962? I only know Jose Feliciano’s version, maybe the song was around long before that. “Can opener”, THAT’S what that thing is! I saw the bar going across Santa’s eyes and thought he looked like he had been photographed for “Confidential” magazine.

Melissa and Lou and Sue, I wonder why “Lady of Spain” became the default accordion song?

Melissa, that park doesn’t look very Christmasy, other than the red and green shingles, but… anything is possible.

Lou and Sue, the flaming pit of lava was closed that day, so where else was mom supposed to leave her stroller?

K. Martinez, WOW, nice job! I kind of thought you might know, with you deep knowledge of so many U.S. parks. Awesome, thanks so much! I’ll have to do more research on Santa Claus Land.

Jonathan, I think I still have a Partridge Family record that I cut off of the back of a cereal box back around the same time this photo was taken. Or maybe it’s Bobby Sherman. Or both?

Andrew, there is nothing wrong with that picture!

Stu29573, speaking as a former kid, there was nothing so amazing as Christmas morning. Me and my siblings were spoiled rotten. And we loved it! Hey, I like banjos! And even though accordion music isn’t really my thing, at least those people can play an instrument! I took years of piano lessons and can still barely play.

Chuck said...

Great detective work, Ken!

Andrew, so cool that you have not only been there but also had your picture taken next to the Santa statue! And I promise not to think of you this way. I usually picture you looking like Andrew Jackson anyway.

The sign in the back window of the car reads:

"19[indecipherable, but probably '23'] HUDSON
[indecipherable, possibly 'MCHALE CINNAMON']
Please Do Not Touch
[indecipherable, but probably the latitude and longitude of the location of the Ark of the Covenant]

Wish we could see which variety of Scouts was following the accordioneers on the Troop 68 float. It feels like floats my sister rode as a Brownie and Girl Scout, but it could be Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls or Bluebirds.

My grandfather made my aunt learn to play the accordion. She hates accordion music to this day.

Great set today, Major!

Irene said...

In the family photo (which I love!)my eye was immediately drawn to the Partridge Family Sound Magazine vinyl record. I searched and found that it was released in July of 1971. One can still buy this record at the usual places like Ebay, Amazon, etc.

Kathy! said...

Wow, fun photos! An all-accordion band?!? They (except Sombrero Boy) look like they have plastic German polka hats on too. Neat to see the same buildings are still there. I love how the presents are displayed in the next one. I see Wow, fun photos! An all-accordion band?!? They (except Sombrero Boy) look like they have plastic German polka hats on too. Neat to see the same buildings are still there. I love how the presents are displayed in the next one. I see tablecloths, or maybe bolts of fabric, an animal book, and what is “Jade”? Those blow mold decorations would cost a lot now! Santa statue has some great stripey mittens. I didn’t know St. Nick was a vintage car buff. Thanks Major.

JG said...

Fun pics, Major. Definitely in the holiday spirit.

Nice work identifying Hemet. One of Dad’s cousins retired there and loved it. I know nothing else about it.

An accordion band is pretty focused. Seems like a limited repertoire, but again, I know little about it.

My guess for the Santa statue was “somewhere Mid-west” based on the limestone masonry. So Indiana qualifies I guess.

Thanks for the post and comments everyone.


JC Shannon said...

Good one Stu! Hang on to that Major, premiums like that go for big bucks on line. Everyone loves The Partridge Family...and Bobby Sherman. I have a friend who's favorite song is the theme from Here Come the Brides.

Omnispace said...

Like Melissa, I'm in love with the Effinger's accordion sign, (no doubt his namesake charted his destiny). The loose lettering and stretched accordion graphic give it such a happy look - makes me want to spell it "Accoooooordion".

Nice guesses on the music selection of the band. I have to say I'm partial to Spanish Eyes (aka Moon over Naples) played to a Bossa Nova beat. Is that Mt. San Jacinto in the background?

That kid's mom cuts his hair! Sad to say I know that from experience. If I got a calendar like that I'd immediately change it to the correct date as well. I'm wondering who in that family asked for a Partridge Family album for Christmas. Did grandma have a thing for David Cassidy?

"Santa Claus" is the actual name of the town in southern Indiana. I drove by there September last year on I-64 and was seriously considering stopping by, but we had to get to St Louis by afternoon and my travel companion already called dibs on seeing New Harmony. I'm guessing the entire town of Santa Claus has that "look" to it.

Nanook said...

@ Sue-
Of course, that's an electric can opener-! And I kinda thought it might be a Lady Kenmore - or perhaps a Maid of Honor-! [hubba, hubba]; or simply the lowly 'ol Sears... and it IS. Just LOOKIE HERE. This example must be from a different year, as the 'badge' has a different design, but the tapered sides, and angled operating handle are a dead giveaway.

Yes, it's as if this Christmas celebration was organized by Practical Pig: only real, necessary gits, with very few 'fun ones'.

K. Martinez said...

Andrew, that's a great pic of you with Santa. You look right in your element there.

Major, I knew it immediately upon seeing the image, but I had to confirm it with a postcard or some other artifact as back up.

Omnispace, yes, Santa Claus, Indiana the town and Santa Claus Land the amusement park turned theme park (Holiday World) have a long and interesting history.

Nanook said...

As far as Lady of Spain becoming the 'de facto' accordion song, I suspect it has to do with Dick Contino's version LISTEN HERE, first popularized in the 1950's. He was one of the greatest accordion players, as this sample attests.

Although this cover is more a tip 'o the chapeau to Paris, rather than Spain, it certainly captures some of the mild-sleaziness and male chauvinism from that era. Just LOOK HERE

Melissa said...

I dimly remember seeing a video of dick Contino playing his accordion so hard it started to fall apart and he had to finish the song on the piano. Total badass.

Thank you for sharing that awesome picture, Andrew!

We always gave and got clothes as well as “fun stuff.” They were much appreciated, especially the pajamas, socks, and underwear.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
I have a recording from the 1960's, of Dick Contino playing Lady of Spain, live, at the Flamingo Hotel, in Las Vegas. I'm uncertain what was more exciting - his incredible playing skills (even better than what was heard on this 45 record), or the swoons from the audience. [Evidently, he was 'quite the ladies man'-!!] Just as the song was building to a crescendo, and the band was about to "take the song home", Contino launched into his famous 'bellow shake', and above the applause, an audible shriek could easily be discerned from one of the female members of the audience. (Well, I assume it was one of the ladies...)

After hearing him perform, it's easy to understand why he is almost-always referred to as "the world's greatest accordionist". And was still performing into his eighties. (He died on April 19, 2017, at the age of 87).

Anonymous said...

Kathy: It's a Jade walkie talkie set. Guaranteed to transmit barely a foot and a half; thereby crushing some poor kid's dream of blabbing with his best buddy miles away. ;)


Kathy! said...

Thanks, Huck. How funny, it did look like it said walkie talkie but I thought that couldn't be it. This one has 4 of something according to the box. Could it be four complete sets? Yowsa, the whole family can talk to each other while sitting around the tree!

Anonymous said...

Kathy: Why it’s the deluxe Four Transistor set, of course! ;)


TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, boy! Typing paper! Just what I always wanted! I wonder who asked for that? Maybe someone was into drawing, or origami and burned through paper pretty quickly?

If this is 1971, where are those three children and why didn't they want this slide?

Sue, my eyes went immediately to that stroller at the top of the steps. Who does that? Of course, if the stroller was to roll down the steps, it wouldn't be much different than a ride on today's Matterhorn, at Disneyland.

Andrew, great pic! Thanks for sharing it with us! And it looks like Santa might have been moved from the top of those concrete steps, to ground level?

Andrew said...

Yep, TM!, Santa is on the ground.

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, you mean Santa's been grounded? Whaa, whaaa! :-/

Pegleg Pete said...

Very late to the party, but I wanted to add that the animal book among the Christmas gifts is "Animals Do The Strangest Things'. I had the book when I was a child and had forgotten all about it until a couple of months ago when I was helping my parents clear out their house and found my copy.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hey guys, sorry I missed so many comments yesterday - it was a busy day, caring for my 85 year-old mom. I’ll respond today, even though I realize most people won’t see the response!

Chuck, we all know how much Santa enjoys “old-time cars”. He’s a real gear head. McHale Cinnamon? Now that’s a name. If I sent you the high-res scan you might be able to discern more words but… maybe not. And yes, it is too bad that we can’t see the Scouts, whatever flavor they might be. I assume there are a lot of “Troop 48s”? I seem to remember my friend saying that he was in something called the “Indian Scouts”, was that really a thing? Maybe I’m mistaken. I’ve always wished that I could play an instrument, but admit that the accordion would not be something I would persue.

Irene, my family watched “The Partridge Family” faithfully, we all thought Danny was a riot. The little stinker! In the photo, who do you think was receiving the album? The boy (who I am guessing is around seven years old)?

Kathy, I noticed sombrero boy; I wonder if there are any girls in that mix? Hard to tell at this distance. It looks like “JADE” is a walkie talkie! It took me a minute to figure out what the little text said. I can only imagine how much those old decorations go for today - there’s a guy on Instagram who collects old cans of spray snow (like you might spray on your tree or window panes) and he said some cans now fetch more than $100! He has a TON of them. Santa always loved a candy cane motif, which explains the striped gloves.

JG, I know very little about Hemet, it was one of those places that would be mentioned on the local news, and I knew it was “out in the desert”. Based on today’s photo, it looks very cute and appealing, but I’ll bet it gets HOT in the summer. I would have never considered limestone masonry to be a clue, so you get a gold star.

Jonathan, if we do still have that record, it is probably beat up. We used our toys and records the way kids do… in other words, with no consideration for their collector value 50 years later! “Here Come the Brides”… I remember the show, but never wanted to watch a show about brides as a red-blooded boy.

Omnispace, Enfinger hopefully had his own local UHF TV show where he and some special guests played all of your favorites on the accordion. Why watch anything else? Ha ha, my mom cut my hair when I was little, and then, to save money, sent us to the local beauty college for haircuts. Not great. And they always wanted to give me a curly perm (popular for men at the time)!! I resisted. I remember sitting in one of the chairs at the beauty college when I heard the radio announce that Elvis had died, and the girl started crying. Imagine the city fathers deciding that “Santa Claus” would be just the name to put their town on the map? Yikes.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you sure know a lot about old electric can openers! Maybe it’s an offshoot of your classic car knowledge. Somehow. That photo sure looks like the right thing, with that handle sticking out just right. And yes, so many of those gifts are practical - maybe not so fun on Christmas morning, but they’ll get more use throughout the year.

K. Martinez, I am impressed that you knew right away, but I’d hoped that somebody would take one look and know exactly where that was. I need to dig out the old slides and write “Santa Claus Land, Indiana” on them.

Nanook, so strange to think that an accordion song could be a smash hit. Listening to it today, it’s like an crazy artifact. You can tell that Dick Contino is talented, but… I still can’t say that I love the song. I love that album cover! Isn’t that what Paris still looks like today?

Melissa, wow, Dick Contino’s accordion falling apart was sort of like The Who smashing their instruments. Good thing he had a piano nearby! Underwear was always the biggest disappointment. We needed it, sure, but come on. Underwear??

Nanook, if only The Beatles had played accordions, they would have found some success instead of struggling to get noticed. Do you think that Lawrence Welk ever made the female members of his audience sigh and swoon, at least in his younger days? “The World’s Greatest Accodionist”; damning with faint praise? I kid! I kid because I love.

Huck, I figured out that it was a walkie talkie set, but you did the extra work to find an example. My brother and I got some kind of walkie talkies when we were kids, and we tested them out by walking farther and farther apart down the street and asking each other, “Can you hear me now?”. At some point we realized we were just yelling the question to each other.

Kathy!, seeing part of the box made me think that the graphics showed something on a tripod, but obviously that was wrong.

Huck, I have to admit that the Four Transistor set looks better than the other one. Imagine, FOUR transistors! Who could possibly need that many!

TokyoMagic!, you’ll never know the thrill of fondling a sheet of onionskin paper. There’s nothing like it. Typing paper seems like the kind of present Grandma might buy. “Jeremy will probably be typing up his college thesis pretty soon, and I want him to be ready”. I agree, why didn’t any of the kids want this? It might be a case of them already having their own houses crammed full of stuff, but still, this is a Happy Family Memory. Do strollers have “brakes” on them like modern wheelchairs do?

Andrew, speaking of wheelchairs, they must have needed to make Santa accessible to their handicapped guests, which is nice.

TokyoMagic!, I prefer to think that Santa was not too proud to give up his former raised position all in the name of making it easier to meet some of his fans.

Pegleg Pete, I love that you recognized the animal book! It sounds like the kind of thing my family would have had. Very cool that you found your copy!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Don't worry, Major, I think most of us look back for added comments...we never want to miss any!

What a FUN post - and I love all the links/pictures! Thanks, everyone for adding so much more!!