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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Tailgate Gourmet: 1960

Tailgate Gourmet: 1960

Fall 1960. A Kodachrome by our old friend Arthur Rothstein, taken for the Look magazine assignment "Tailgate Gourmets." "Food for tailgate picnics displayed in the backs of station wagons, including a Ford Country Squire, a Dodge Lancer, and a Pontiac Bonneville Safari parked in a football stadium. Also images of a couple wearing raccoon coats standing next to their Dodge Lancer." View full size.

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Photo crew feast

I wouldn't be too sure about the feast. There are a lot of things done to food being photographed to keep it looking 'fresh' during a long photoshoot, up to, and including, varnish.

LOOK at 1960

My parents had a 1960 Olds wagon, the kind with miles of flat fin like an arcraft carrier - power antenna and power tuning and power windows and those cool auto headlight dimmers. Made a big impression on me at 10 years old.

The thing about LOOK mag for me is how staged it all was - they look hyper-real, not at all real the way LIFE was. For example, nobody would have a real tailgate party on the 50 yard line - it would be out in the parking lot with crowds of people wallking and driving by! On the other hand, all that food looks marvelous, and I'll bet the photo crew had a great meal after the shoot!

1961 Ford Country Squire.

My dad owned of these without the fake wood on the sides and it was known as a "Ranch Wagon."

Daw Gone

Now I'm hungry.

Nicely equipped

The '61 Bonneville even has a power antenna.

STEEL cans?

So are those cans of Budweiser, but made of steel? With Xs on the bottom?

Preferred Parking

It looks like they are about on the 50 yard line. Those Look Magazine folks have some real pull with the University.

Then and now

Difference between tailgating now and tailgating in 1960: No Buffalo wings.


Tailgate configuration where the transom glass goes down into the tailgate proper. Great for driving in the summer when not really hot enough for A/C, assuming your car even had A/C. But it could suck every shred of loose paper out that window. And real cars had operable vent windows. The good old days.

King of Beers

Don't know how they would serve some of that stuff, but at least they remembered the Bud.

The Great Pumpkin

Apparently he missed Linus' pumpkin patch because he was busy attending a football game. Only explanation I can think of for a giant pumpkin at a tailgate party.


Sure looks like Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor to me.

University of Michigan

Based on the Maize (yellow) and Blue scoreboard!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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