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Matinee: Holiday Shopping in the 1950s Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 December 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 114th in our series of Saturday matinees today: a small collection of clips about holiday shopping in the 1950s. Plus a little something extra.

We'll start with Ansco's TV commercial whose lovely list maker is looking for gift suggestions. The narrator has a few ideas. Three Ansco camera kits:

The Cadet is "ready when you are" with no controls (aka "nonsense") to worry about. The Cadet Reflex has a "photo-size" viewfinder. And the fancy Lancer makes focusing as simple as reading.

She goes for all of them, of course. But at those prices, who wouldn't?

An obscure little firm in Rochester, N.Y. called Kodak had some cameras too. Sponsors of the Ozzie and Harriet show, Harriet pops in to finish this 1959 holiday "Give and Take" theme:

The company also had a "Give and Take" deal on its Brownie movie outfit for just $8 down:

For the less ambitious budget, there was always accessories like Sylvania's flash bulbs. You could never have too many flash bulbs because they were only good for one exposure. Sylvania packaged them in "cartons," no less:

The holidays, of course, are not just about shopping.

If you were that grandmother in the Brownie commercial, you would have been a young girl when Edison Amberol cylinder recordings were all rage, technologically speaking. And posing for your son-in-law in your robe on Christmas morning just might have seemed a bit decadent.

You would have been forgiven for drifting off as your daughter's family enjoyed the holiday morning. And in your dreams you might imagine you hear those beloved old Christmas cylinders of your childhood playing in your still young mind, your own father and mother again in the room with you.

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