History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

20 July, 2011

Wartime Amour

We've seen the wartime romances of American soldiers and British girls during World War Two; rest assured, the UK was not the only place where an American could pick up a local girl, or a local girl could pick up an American soldier (seems mostly win-win, to me). Here we have a series of photographs following an American GI and French girl falling in love (or, whatever) in Nice, France, June 1945. 

Walking along the street (and he bought her flowers! aww, hehe). Source

Drinks (and cigarettes). Source

Walking along the beach, saying hello to a baby someone really should have an caregiver within arm's reach. Source

Pedal boating. Source

Enjoying his girlfriend sunbathing. Source

Sitting, talking, playing with sand. Source

Eating, I think cheese and crackers and cherries. Source

Walking on a less sandy part of the beach. Source

Sitting and looking over Nice. Source

Posing as a romantic silhouette. Source

And, kissing in the dark. Awwwwwwwww. I've melted. Source

19 July, 2011

Seeing the Sights

Hit by that familiar feeling of wanderlust? Do not fear, you are not alone! Join tourists from the 1890s and beyond to see the sights of the world!

Tour English Gothic cathedrals in an open-top tourist bus! c. 1920.  Source

Visit Mexico and stand on boardwalks over a waterfall (Cascade de Sumidero)! c. 1890. Source

Or visit the pyramids, on camels, in fashionable dress (that may cause you to wilt in the heat). Source

Admire Yosemite with sailors! 1945. Source

Tour colorized glaciers! c. 1900. Source

Go on a Venetian gondola tour! 1948. Source

Go on a guided tour of the Vatican! 1948. Source

Feed the pigeons in St. Mark's Square, Venice. 1947. Source

Join a tour aboard a sight-seeing automobile. (where? when? part of the fun!). Source

Watch your luggage being dealt with! New England, c. 1900. Source

Admire the Grand Canyon (in hats, of course)! 1946. Source

Feeling nervous about your friend nearing the edge? Holding him by his jacket will help. Source

Ride the observation car of the Canadian Pacific railroad! 1941. Source

Walk the streets of Nassau in the Bahamas! 1946. Source

(I am of course far too mature and classy to draw any attention to the name of the place behind them, or to giggle at it.)

Admire the Byzantine columns outside St. Pauls, Rome! 1948. Source

In the Alps, hop aboard a tank turned tourist railway! 1919. Source

Make sure and look the other way from strange slightly pornographic statues! Capri, Italy, 1948. Source

Take the traditional tourist shots! Coliseum, 1948. Source

Take loads of pictures! Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, 1957. Source

18 July, 2011

By the Seashore

In honour of it being summer (at least in some hemispheres), and the fact that I spent all yesterday at the beach... another series of people enjoying themselves in the sand (first here). There's an endless supply of great beach pics, and more to come (although searching 'beach' in the LIFE photo archives can be disconcerting... you're looking at pictures of people sunbathing and playing, and then bang, there's crashed planes and dead bodies on the beach at Normandy!).

The moral of these photos is-- people really get up to all kinds of stuff at the beach!

Making a sandman on the beach, Florida, 1964. Source

A day at the beach, Australia, c. 1930s. Source

Playing in the water, 1897, NYC. Source

An American sailor and a native sorting seashells on the beach, apparently a popular pastime. Gilbert Islands, 1944. Source

Winner of men's novelty bathing suit contest at a beach party, California, 1947. I'm pretty sure he's supposed to look that stupid, from everyone's faces. Source

Hanging out at the beach with the dog, c. 1935, Australia. Source

Playing leapfrog, 1937, Australia. Source

Push-ups in a barrel. What, don't you do this? 1897, US. Source

A broken leg can't keep a real surfer from surfing. 1950.  Source

Part Two. Source

And he's off. Sadly the series ends here. No part of this seems like a good idea to me, but what do I know? Source

Dancing on the beach. In France, 1942, for some reason. Source

A couple waiting for the photographer to stop shining the light on them, Copacabana Beach, Rio, Brazil, 1941. Source

A butler at the beach, serving a hot dog to an actress (Buff Cobb (?) ), 1946. Source

Beach bonfires, California, 1948. Source

Beach umbrellas, Cliffside Beach, Nantucket, 1950s. Source

15 July, 2011

Nightlife in the London Blackout

We've seen how the streets of London's West End were abuzz even in a blackout; the bars, theatres, and night-clubs of the West End were no different. The war and threat of bombing hardly stopped people from having a good time, even if an air of poignacy hangs over the whole thing. 

 Photographed by David E. Scherman for LIFE magazine. .Many of these photographs ran in the Februrary 21, 1944 issue of LIFE. 

Jitterbugging at the Paramount Dance Hall on Tottenham Court Road. I've no idea why he's wearing that sign (dance contest?). Source

A bohemian-style 'Poor Man's Club' [ie, working-class club as opposed to the traditional upper-class club]. Source

An orchestra and dancing at the Covent Garden Opera House, converted to a night-club for the war. Source

A girl dancing the jitterbug at Paramount dance hall. Source

Watching burlesque, I think, at the Stoll [theatre? night-club? strip joint? not specified]. Source

Full-out stripping was an option too. Phylis Dixey on stage (if you must know, she goes all the way). Source

The Embassy Club on Bond Street [the posh type, I think; they mostly look like officers]. Source

A girl talking with an American sailor. I find this absolutely adorable. Source

Inga Anderson singing at a restaurant off Berkely Street (if that means anything to you). Source

Drinking in a bar. Source

American soldier dancing with a member of the (British) Woman's Auxiliary Air Force at Paramount Dance Hall. Source

Leaving the West End on the Tube station's escalators. Source

Saying goodbye at the end of the night outside Piccadilly Tube Station. Source

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