I dug through my attic and found scrapbooks some years ago. Treasures of happiness jumped out at me. You want to reminisce? You have to be old enough to turn the clock back to the 40’s and 50’s, when people wrote love letters. Millennials can’t do that, can they?

My wife and I grew up in north Jersey so the scrapbooks were full of New York stuff. Are you old enough to remember what life was like in 1949-1950? Ray Bolger was starring in “Where’s Charley?” A ticket to the St James Theater was $2.40. The book was written by George Abbott, music & lyrics by Frank Loesser and the choreography by George Balanchine. Superstars each in their own field.

There’s no business like show business in New York. Ethel Merman was at the top of the marquee in “Call Me Madam”…Ann Jefferies in “Kiss Me Kate”…Mary Martin in “South Pacific”…Robert Alda and Vivian Blaine in “Guys & Dolls.” You could attend a dinner show at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe for $2.50 — same price at the Copacabana starring Xavier Cugat and Abbe Lane. The Rendez-vous Room at the Plaza Hotel was a little more pricey at $4.25. Lou Walters ran the famous Latin Quarter. That’s Barbara Walters’ Daddy.

65 years ago, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians were playing at the Roosevelt Grill…my father’s all-time favorite destination. Ed Sullivan was famous; not on TV but as a noted newspaper columnist. TV was in its infancy.

Back in those days, they didn’t tell you the truth about harmful products. Movie stars smoked and said it was “wonderful.” Ezio Pinza (South Pacific) said, “As a singer, I must have a mild cigarette. I made different mildness tests and my throat made the decision…CAMELS.” Philip Morris advertised …”The average smoker inhales 200 times every day. Your nose and throat are exposed to irritation 200 times. 200 good reasons why you’re better off smoking Philip Morris.”


In every old scrapbook is a couple of love letters. They really are funny. “I’m quite sure I’ve found the one person I’ve been looking for to be a companion through life and the mother of my children. Love Joe.” He was on one knee with that one. Here’s another one…”With pink roses on your shoulder and lilacs in your hair, for me there isn’t anyone who’s sweeter anywhere. See you tonight Chickee…..Love, Ted.” That’s better than TV’s ‘Bachelorette’.

Remember the sexy perfume of the day was “My Sin?” It had to be a prelude to the sexual revolution.

The good old days, and it’s all in your attic. If you have one…

H. A. Thompson
September 2016


1950 NYC Postcard



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