Saturday, October 2, 2010

Appreciating the Flip Side

A "TEAR-SHEET" I SAVED IN MY YOUNGER DAYS — Sometimes, instead of saving an entire magazine or newspaper, I ripped out specific pages. Since we owned a new 1966 Fairlane 500XL in bright red, I'm sure that I saved this sheet for the ad of a red '67 Fairlane as it reminded me so much of ours. On the flip side is the cover for the March 25, 1967 issue of The Saturday Evening Post featuring the Mamas and the Papas. In hindsight, the ad for the car is really nothing special, but I adore the photo of the singing group. The colors used on the cover, and the pose and their clothes are so evocative of the sixties, I think I'd frame it on that side now if I was the framing type. (And yes, I'm pretty much ignoring the Vietnam War reference on the cover, although its "10 More Years" prediction would prove to be pretty damn close to coming true. The war wasn't technically over until 1975, fully eight years after this Post cover. 

NOTE  ON TYPOGRAPHY — One interesting aspect of the car ad though, is the typography of the tag line, "Show your stripes." Notice the very swinging-sixties font, and the use of capital and lower case letters in a non-traditional way: Randomly. The "y" and "r" in "your" are lower case, but the "R" in "Stripes" is capitalized, but the "i" is lower case as well. I can't really think of another use of random cases like this off the top of my head, but I'm digging it, as the kids would have said back then.

DEEP BACKGROUND, LOL — Even though I was only 10-12 years old when the Mamas and Papas were popular, I was really influenced by their clothes and songs. I would walk around our yard, which had lots of wooded acres, and sing songs like Monday, Monday and California Dreamin' at the top of my lungs, lol. My dad worked in Manhattan three days a week and I managed to have him buy me plenty of paisley and polka dot shirts, love beads, medallions and bell-bottoms from the city. They weren't the clothes the other kids in my small Connecticut town were wearing—jeans, flannel shirts and Keds—and only served to make me odder than I already was in their eyes. I was always encouraged at home to be who I was, and not who someone thought I should be. The other kids had already "pegged" me as being gay as early as kindergarten, although it's not a term anyone used then and I certainly wouldn't have understood what it meant, but it wasn't as if I tried to hide who I was. But being one of the three "smart" kids in my class, (the other two were girls), and wearing purple satin elephant sleeve 20 button shirts, headbands, wildly flared pants, Beatle boots and lavender granny sunglasses wasn't exactly the way to fit in! Other M & P songs included Creeque Alley, Dedicated to the One I Love, Words of Love, and at least a million other #1 hits, lol. All links are YouTube vids of the songs listed. 

Gosh, we could use their melodic singing voices and songs of peace and tranquility today! Make Love Not War should have been my generation's mantra, not Make Lottsa Money and Give Me All Of Yours Too, as it has worked out.


  1. You may have sang those songs at the top of your lungs, but I still do! I love the Mamas & the Papas. To bad Cass Elliot died so young - it would have been interesting to see how the group evolved through the rest of the 70's. You have inspired me to download their greatest hits into my ipod.
    Speaking of typographical styles, when I have to make a handwritten sign for anything I always mix upper and lower case letters - it must go back to the influence the swinging 60's had on me. Come to think of it, I'm still anti-establishment too. Apparently, some things never change.




  3. I was 17 when the Mamas and the Papas hit big and I LOVED them! We didn't have acres of woodland but when I was home alone I'd put their records (!) on the stereo (!) and sing along. They didn't really influence my wardrobe -- I was a pretty uptight closted teen -- but they certainly set me to California dreamin'! There was an amazing documentary that I saw on PBS (I think) last year about their backgrounds and how they got together (basically an expansion and explication of Creeque Alley). I wish I'd DVR'd it but I didn't it. I think all us M & P fans should own this! It was great.

    Paul, NYC

  4. I have a greater appreciation for Creeque Alley now than I did when I was young. I read about all the influences in the M&P's lives and the song says it all. It really touches me in a way that Warhol's Factory stories did also—groups of artistic people finding each other at a special time and place. I don't think I've ever found that myself, but I'm a solitary person.

  5. Love the M&Ps too; Dedicated to the One I love was a great song.

    As a high school gay boy, I wanted to wear caftans like Cass but knew I couldn't.

    But at some point back then, those "maxi length" bathrobes became popular and I badgered my parents to get me one for Christmas and they did. I'd put that sucker one as soon as I got home from school and loved it.

    Your blog brings back so many memories from those days - good and bad. I appreciate it.

  6. Welcome to the blog, Brian. Thanks for the comment! I listened to the M&Ps for a couple of hours today-put me in a good mood all day. I should do it more often!

  7. Good a.m. all! Welcome Brian..I am usually around, but have been SUPER busy...just have to tell you I am MAYBE one of the M&P's biggest fans!! We bathe together quite frequently (ok, I put on their music while I'm in the bath!!) it's on my ipod and phone and Pandora and the first music I usually head for...straight shooter and creeque (which I have heard John pronounce "creeky" alley) are faves and of course LOVE LOVE the "goof" in I Saw Her Again...
    Have a review of MacKenzie Phillip's book in my earlier blogs...was hard in some ways to read...a little erratic and probably a drug-hazed memory. How do some people survive?? Well, obviously some don't (all but Michelle are gone now)
    Ok, off for the day...want to scan through your other posts and get busy so I can come back later and really read them...