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Good Popcorn: 1942

Good Popcorn: 1942

August 1942. "Butte, Montana. Children are transported to Columbia Gardens, an outdoor amusement resort, every Thursday during the summer by city buses." Medium-format nitrate negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Columbia Gardens history

Columbia Gardens was a fantastic place in its day. My mother and her first husband used to go dancing there before the war. I remember riding the roller coaster during high school. An article from The Montana Standard is quoted here.

Fashion Police

These belts on the back of the pants were popular when I was in grade school in the middle to late 50s. However the nuns weren't too crazy about them because they would scratch the wood on the back of the desk chairs.

Those Back-Belted Pants

That late 50's/early 60's style for trousers (can't remember buckles on jeans) were called "Ivy League" style. Ivy League caps (think sports car drivers' caps) had little "belts" on the back too. These are also associated in my mind with "Dobie Gillis" three-quarter length shirt sleeves from the same general era.

[I had a pair of pants like that in high school, 1960-4. I was never quite sure if I looked cool or silly. - tterrace]

The kid in the middle

Looks like he is wearing his Keds.

Butter, Womens Pants, Madras and buckles

Yes indeed, cultured butter is the best. I make my own from time to time adding cultures to "sweet cream" for a far more flavorful product. Re the panted females: I have a picture of my aunt wearing pants in 1943- the year of her death at age 18. She did not live out West but in southern Illinois. The back-buckled jeans was a surprise to me as well; I thought this was a late '50's thing when I was in grade school, along with madras shirts. Forgot how fashionable we all were back then. A final comment: I was the victim of a tonsorial artist who was a close relative until we got in an argument about her lack of skill. She quit right in the middle of a contested haircut and told me I could just go to the barbershop - and pay for it out of my pitiful allowance. I was broke but happier after that. We are now speaking again, but she still bosses me around. Mom, cut me some slack - I'm 64

Better than good

The boys on the right with the bad haircuts seem to be investigating what's for sale in the next booth. According to its sign, it's better than Good, it's Fine!

That buckle can't be worn anywhere else but on the back of his dungarees, because it's not on a separate belt, but on a denim cinch that's sewn on as part of the jeans.

Chino Buckles

When I was in high school in the 50's, the chino buckle served a purpose for guys. If it was unbuckled, you were available for dating the ladies. Buckled, you were going steady with someone.

A Real Cinch

The kid on the far right shows an early sense of style, wearing dungarees (my wife hates it when I use that dated word) with a buckle in the back. I had always thought this was a fashion statement from the late '50s when it became the in fashion for me and most others to wear chinos with that same useless buckle. Along with the obligatory madras shirt, of course.

Tonsorial Arts

The two boys on the far right seem to be victims of the same barber, probably a close relative.

Brave parents!

Trusting the two very dapper children wearing crisp, summery white clothes to a dusty amusement park in August.

Bucking the trend

Not everyone in the picture was getting popcorn; the small boy on the left appears to have an ice cream on a stick.

Popcorn with sweet cream butter

Well after reading JWP's interesting explanation about the butter, I could murder a few bags of that popcorn! Yum! Don't you just know that it had to be absolutely delicious?

Butter adjectives

Actually, "sweet cream" is a term of art in butter making. It indicates that the butter was made from uncultured cream as opposed to cultured cream. The latter is a generally richer flavor and predominantly European, though available in the more civilized parts of the US.

Women in pants

Interestingly two of the women in the picture seem to be wearing pants. That must have been something of a novelty.

[Definitely not in the rural West. - tterrace]

Letter Until You Run Out of Room

Got enough adjectives on that butter, have ya'?

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