Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Price of Fried Chicken in Old Florida

Winter Haven, 
1949-1952


When Cypress Gardens opened  in 1936, it was billed as Florida's first commercial theme park. Carved out of a swamp near Winter Haven, the botanical gardens added water-skiing shows and other attractions like hoop-skirted “Southern belles” who strolled through the grounds, chatting with guests and posing for photographs—a little like Mickey Mouse, but prettier. The park was used as the filming location for a number of travelogue romances in the 1940s, including the musical comedy “Moon over Miami,” starring Betty Grable and Don Ameche. It was also the site for a string of movies showcasing aquatic-actress Esther Williams.1 In the 1950s and 1960s, the gardens served as an exotic backdrop for television specials and print advertisements.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer of Love

Glassboro, New Jersey
1967


In early June 1967, the Six-Day War was fought by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In response, President Lyndon Johnson proposed to meet with Aleksei Kosygin of the Soviet Union during his counterpart’s upcoming trip to the United Nations. In addition to the Middle East, there were other issues to discuss, such as nuclear arms control (China announced the explosion of its first hydrogen bomb that month) and the Vietnam War—Johnson was looking for ways to end the conflict in Southeast Asia. A menu from this meeting recalls a time when the superpowers engaged in a continuous process of summits and treaties called détente, trying to ease strained relations at critical moments.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wake-Up Special

Atlantic City, 
1964


Some believe the adversarial relationship between the press and the White House started with Watergate, the political scandal that led to President Nixons resignation in 1974. However, there were already signs of strain in the 1960s when the term “credibility gap” came into widespread use, describing skepticism over the veracity of the Johnson administration’s public assessments of the Vietnam War. Although it may not be possible to pinpoint an exact date, trouble began soon after the first large-scale military deployment in March 1965, when the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed at Da Nang.