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High Spirits: 1956

Southern California circa 1956. The Oldsmobile and Mrs. Binoculars are back! Everyone seems to be in a jolly mood. 35mm Kodachrome. View full size.

Southern California circa 1956. The Oldsmobile and Mrs. Binoculars are back! Everyone seems to be in a jolly mood. 35mm Kodachrome. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

I want

the satin dress on the right and the shiny Olds!

I feel like I know this family!

I am so glad we got to see glimpses into the life of this wonderful family. Thanks for posting this series of photos!

What gets them on eBay

People die and the ones who inherit the photos don't know any of the people in the photographs, so the emotional tie is broken. Maybe they keep them for a while but then they move, or downsize, or get a little paranoid that they're a little like those people on the hoarder TV shows. Anyway, the person who is in charge of getting rid of the stuff decides that they'll try selling the slides instead of dumping them in the garbage because he's heard that there are people who collect old slides, and the few bucks he'll get for selling them might come in handy some day.

[Actually how it works is you hire someone to dispose of the contents of the house and don't even look at the slides, or you just toss the contents of that closet in a Dumpster somewhere. I've helped clean out the houses of various deceased relatives, and there was no careful inspection of the zillion items that had to be gotten rid of before the house could go on the market. We certainly weren't looking at slides. That kind of stuff just went in the trash. Dozens of Kodak Carousel boxes from my grandmother's house, for instance, containing what must have been thousands of slides. They took up an entire closet wall. - Dave]

Keep 'em coming.

I come to Shorpy for the older photos however I can not remember the last time I enjoyed a set of photos as much as I do these. I'll echo the sentiment that it is tragic that nobody from the family could have kept these. Thanks for letting us see them.

Good Times

I agree with Bull City Boy that Shorpy readers are the benefactors of these delightful photos which present to us historically accurate and joyful times in the lives of this particular group of amicable friends. These are real moments in time preserved for future reference and even the personalities of the characters express themselves through body language, laughter, shared jokes and revealed joy. The little boy with both belt and suspenders (and grass stains on his knees) tells us he is all boy, but very disciplined in being the only one to stand at attention while posing for the picture. The lady with the flowered dress is sharing a humorous thought and amusing her friends. The turned-around lady and girl on the extreme left are looking for something they have misplaced. Everybody has a story, but rarely is it captured for all eternity in a permanent etching. I'm lovin' this group of pictures because in my lifetime the fabulous fifties stands out as the best of times. It is so much better than having them stashed in a shoebox and forgotten at the bottom of someone's closet, like a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you Shorpy for stirring some spectacular memories.

Glad they ended up on eBay

It is sad that there was apparently no one left to cherish these photos, but 60 or so years can work a lot of changes within a family. I'm glad these made it onto Shorpy. It might be different if they were laughable or hideous, but the chance to see happy people, great old cars, wonderful clothes, high-waisted trousers and full-fashion hosiery-with the seams, makes their appearance here a fitting memorial to this lovely group of folks.

About that beltline

It's hard to believe now, but high-waisted pants were considered hip in some parts of the LA scene in the '56-58 era. Dick Contino's fashion choice in this much-mocked excerpt from "Daddy-O" (1958) shows it wasn't limited to kids whose mamas dressed them funny.

How do they end up on eBay??

Love the blue and pink dress in the middle!

Dave, do you think people toss or hand off their slides because they've converted them to dvd's? I simply can't believe that no one in a large family would take charge of the slides, for privacy's sake if nothing else. Perhaps they tell the conversion business to dispose of them and they end up on eBay? I find this really strange when there clearly are other family members or friends in these images. Families usually go through deceased members' belongings to share/divvy up what is there. House clearance sales are usually for people with uninterested family, or for loners, aren't they? What do you think?

Thanks for this amazing site. Between yours and Retronaut, I end up spending hours in old memories of my life in the States quite often.

Gail in Kent, England

[Someone dies, and then there's an estate sale. That's how most of these end up on eBay. - Dave]

Rhapsody in Blue

Love them wide whitewalls and bosomy bumper guards!

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