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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Night Rider: 1921

Night Rider: 1921

Circa 1921. "Oakland window." A showroom display at District Oakland Co., 1709 L Street N.W. in Washington, for the General Motors brand that in 1926 would beget Pontiac. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Before television

This window display is particularly fascinating because there is so much going on! The birds, the lush "greenery", and the glassy-eyed, grimacing dummy. I wonder how long it took to put this all together?

The car seems almost incidental.

As went Oakland, so goes Pontiac

Oakland was shut down by GM at the end of 1931; companion make Pontiac had sold seven times as many cars that year, which sold fewer than 9,000. Now, Pontiac follows in its footsteps, set to be closed at the end of 2010.

Yes, I remember

These days, it's kinda tough to remember what year we're in -- it's May, and the car companies have been selling 2010 models for months, it seems... guess they're doing their best to fan new car fever into a pandemic.

Wish I knew what happened to the scrapbook I made in first grade, carefully cutting out all the cars from every magazine ad I could find.

Stuff it?

That is the first forest to have an electric light in its sky, if not the first dummy to drive through a forest without any hint of a road. But are the turkeys stuffed too, or did they let real birds roam the showroom? The mammal (bobcat?) in the far right corner does appear to be stuffed.

Thirty-six years later every Edsel dealer got a live pony in their showroom, to bring people in to see the cars. Ponies make a far worse mess and smell than a couple turkeys.

I Do SO Remember

Look Magazine would have a new car issue in late August each year. That was the first look we had of the new models. The cars being hauled to the dealerships were often covered so no one would get an early peek.

The first thing that crossed my mind

Chucky in drag, his sister or John Gruden.

What a great show-window display!

Do you remember...

...the kind of September when new cars filled the showrooms with windows covered by paper--in anticipation of the big fall roll-out of the new GM, Ford, Chrysler, American Motors, Jeep, and Studebaker-Packard cars? That's how it was in the 1950s, and, man, we kids would get excited. And, oh that new car smell. Nothing like it today. If auto dealers could recapture that excitement and longing, things might be different in Detroit!

Oakland Six


Location, Location, Location

Washington: 12 miles
Baltimore: 31 miles

For some reason, that struck me as particularly fascinating.

Well displayed Oakland!

I will be sorry to see the Pontiac go after all these years. Times sure are changing. These displays are so wonderful, and very similar to what we used to do for car shows in the '60s. Cars would be displayed in a natural surrounding for interest and for sales. Fantastic, Dave! I would give anything to have one today.

The Gobbler

Not only does she look like Chucky's mom, but she's freaking out the turkeys with those feathers in her hat!

I realize

she's a dummy, but still she creeps me out. Looks like Chucky's mom.

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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