History of the Ouija Board

Recently I was at an antique mall I spied a vintage Ouija board with the price tag of “FREE!” which I simply couldn’t pass up, despite owning multiple already. As I walked out with it, I heard one of the employees say “Don’t use it now!” Over the years I have heard and read a constant stream of negative attitudes toward spirit boards; how they are evil, used by Satanists, and those who use them risk becoming possessed. But what so few really know is the history behind spirit boards. Communicating with the dead through séances became immensely popular in American during middle part of the 19th century and everyone from First Ladies to average middle class Americans was doing it, swept up in the wave of the American Spiritualism Movement. However today séances and the sometimes accompanying Ouija board are looked upon with fear and condemned by many. So just how did that happen?

Continue reading

Independence Day

Without getting too political, the last couple days have been rough, culminating in yesterday, with Independence Day. I’ve been getting back in touch with my love of the American Revolution, and recently took a quick visit to the replica of Independence Hall at Knott’s Berry Farm. Some of you may recall my visit last July, well, I had so much fun with that, I decided I wanted to have a tradition of doing 70s (because the fashion that emerged during the Bicentennial was amazing) inspired patriotic outfits and shooting them there around this time every year.

To learn more about Knott’s replica of Independence Hall, please check out my first post on it here. If you are in the Southern California area, I highly recommend visiting this unique attraction. It’s free to visit, and is open every day (except Christmas Day), from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I hope all of my American readers had a wonderful and safe Independence Day!

Outfit
Dress: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Shoes: Buffalo Exchange
Necklace: Junk 4 Joy, Burbank, California
Bracelet: Flea market

Spirit of ’76

When someone says “Knott’s Berry Farm” a lot comes to mind… Boysenberries of course, fried chicken, the infamous Ghost Town created because of the massive lines for said famous chicken, and perhaps Peanuts characters. What may not immediately spring to mind though is the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, even though an exact replica of both the bell and the hall exist on the property of Knott’s Berry Farm! With Independence Day tomorrow I thought it was a rather fitting time to visit the perfect recreation Walter Knott built.

Keep reading to learn more about Knott’s Independence Hall and take a peek inside.

Continue reading

Museum of Neon Art

Over the weekend Patrick and I spent a day shopping in Burbank (I came home with quite a few goodies which will show up sooner or later on the blog, I’m sure) followed by a visit to the Museum of Neon Art. I would likely say that signage from the mid-20th century is my favorite art. Neon is simply spellbinding to me.

Interested in seeing what the museum has to offer? Keep reading!

Continue reading

A Return to the Autry

A few years ago during a visit to California we took time to visit the Autry Museum of the American West. I was slightly crushed over the fact I didn’t blog about it, which was for a combination of reasons. First, it was very overwhelming! There is so much stuff at the Autry, and my eyes couldn’t stop darting around at all of the wonderful stuff there was to see! Additionally, museums are notoriously difficult to photograph. And the few photos I did take in the first room turned out so horrible I didn’t bother to continue. But we returned recently and I took loads of photos! Some are still not as great as I would like them to be, but I still want to share some of the Autry’s treasures with you! But before we get to that, let’s take a peek at what I wore, because it was pretty darn awesome.

This suit is one of the most prized pieces in my western wear collection, and one I didn’t even find. In fact my dad found it at the Portland Antique Expo, and sent an image of it to me and only eyeballed the measurements, and when it arrived I was overjoyed that it fit perfectly! It’s by Rodeo Ben, who is one of the pioneers in western wear in the 20th century, along side Nathan Turk and Nudie Cohn. Many credit Rodeo Ben with developing the snap closures, and photographs show his work using snaps as early as 1933. It should be noted however that Rockmount was the first manufacturer to use snaps, beginning 1946. Like Turk and Nudie, Rodeo Ben did work for the likes of such western legends as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. And the Autry even has pieces by Rodeo Ben in its collection.

I paired my suit with another prized piece, a vintage sterling silver and 14 karat gold ranger belt made by Edward Bohlin. Bohlin is hailed as a true artist with it comes to cowboy belt buckles and saddles. His gorgeous “Big Saddle” (there is an image of it after the cut) is on display at the Autry, with a plaque reading it “reportedly took fourteen years to complete and weighs approximately seventy pounds.” The belt is not just an amazing artifact by a well-known maker, but it means a lot personally. It originally belonged to my grandfather, my dad’s dad, who was a bit of a cowboy himself. While born in Oklahoma, he grew up on a ranch in Texas. And in the photos I’ve found while working on our family’s genealogy I’ve uncovered more than one image of the man riding, along with images of my grandmother and dad riding as well. I even found some of him with a lariat.

For those interested in what The Autry has to offer, keep reading!

Continue reading

Will You Be My Valentine?

In all honesty, I care little for Valentine’s Day. Patrick and I don’t even celebrate the holiday. But I find it a good excuse to wear as much pink and red clothing as I can and accessorize with my heart-shaped jewelry as much as possible throughout the month of February. Like Christmas, Patrick and I figured why not go to Disneyland and see what was brewing there. It also gave me a good excuse to wear a newly acquired, and very appropriate pin!

My day started out wonderfully when I spotted Chip and Dale shortly after walking through the gates, who attempted to make a heart around me for the holiday.

My pin is a recent Ebay purchase, when I felt the need for more Clarice pins in my life, and Ebay seemed the best place, as the Resort seems to rarely carry merchandise with her on it! (If you don’t know who Clarice is, check out my Halloween post from last year!) And Chip and Dale expressed great interest in my pin, Chip even pantomimed his heart pitter-pattering at the thought of her.

Near where we snapped these photos is one of my favorite “hidden in plain sight” gems of Disneyland, one of the last remaining ticket booths.

You can spy one of these ticket booths in action in a close up of one of my family’s pictures taken in the late 70s.

Before the days of the one ticket for everything at Disneyland, Guests purchased entry to the park and tickets of varying values for the various attractions. Park entry could be attached to a ticket book, and you could purchase additional ticket books in the park at these ticket booth locations, very similar to a carnival. Tickets were graded on a value of A through D, with the E ticket being introduced in 1959. A tickets represented the lower key attractions, such as the carousel, working their way toward more intense attractions. E represented the best of the best, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matterhorn, and the phrase “E ticket” went on to represent how awesome something was. Astronaut Sally Ride described her first space shuttle launch as an “E ticket” experience. Ticket books disappeared entirely in 1982, introducing the system we now know today, and today ticket books have faded into obscurity, though hard-core Disneyland fans will always have a soft spot for them, including myself. After purchasing the iPhone 5S (which was larger than its predecessor) I needed a new phone case, and was ecstatic when I found a ticket book one on Ebay, which is what you see in the photo above.

Awhile back the old ticket booth was home to a small film and memory card kiosk, for Guests in the event they ran out of film, or space on their digital camera’s memory cards. But I guess the need for film, and additional memory cards (as current memory cards can hold thousands of photos now) has diminished enough that there is no longer a need to use this location. Currently film and memory cards are available at Disney’s Photo Pass Service along Main Street.

After spending some time in Disneyland we popped over to California Adventure for awhile where I spied Chip and Dale yet again and I couldn’t resist wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day.

As you may have guessed, we’re home now, and are planning on running a few errands before needing to drive into LA to pick up my brother and his girlfriend who will be visiting for the next week, including several days in the park! So I’m very excited for that. I hope you all are having a lovely holiday and weekend!

Outfit
Vintage Sweater: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Dress: Stop Staring, by way of Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Shoes: Re-Mix, by way of a rummage sale
Pin: Ebay
Purse: My Christmas present from Patrick, though from Disneyland

Nothing But Blue Skies

Well, I hope you liked Patrick’s first post in his new series! It will be a rather inconstant series (ie: not on a regular weekly or monthly schedule) but a series none the less! Additionally, with the move to southern California, I’m excited to share similar types of posts with you, ones of architecture and filming locations, unique landmarks and a slew of museums that the area has to offer. All fall into my passion for history and am eager to share with you all!

On Sunday, Patrick and I joined fellow vintage and Disney loving friends for a meet-up at Disneyland. You may recall the holiday themed meet-up we went to in November. The theme selected for this January meet-up was “Blue Skies” and those attending were encouraged to wear something blue. I was elated, as blue is my favorite color to wear for January! The initial outfit that I planned when the meet-up was announced consisted of a black wool dress with ice blue accents, including a blue wide brimmed wool felt fedora, but when the weather report announced the day was going to be an incredible 85, I had to rethink my ensemble, and ultimately went for a rather summery “State Fair” look…oh well! It still had blue in it!

To kick off the day we met up in California Adventure and I finally met Oswald the Lucky Rabbit! And look! He was even dressed in blue like us! How fitting!

For those who are not super familiar with Walt Disney and his history, Oswald was one of Walt’s earliest creations, but in 1928 economic hardship and bad relations between Walt and a producer meant that Walt had to let Oswald go. However, on his way home Walt came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse. Since then Oswald was held by NBC Universal, until Disney’s current CEO, Bob Iger, expressed a desire to bring Oswald home, and in 2006 Disney negotiated for Oswald to return to Disney, by trading ESPN (as Disney owns ESPN) sports anchor Al Michaels for Oswald. Yes, Disney traded a real live person for a cartoon, and Michaels now reports for NBC Sports. But Oswald has had quite the homecoming and is now the icon of Disney’s California Adventure and loved by many who visit the park.

As a group, we went on various attractions together, and of course got many questions, most asked “Is it Dapper Day?” Some with a hint of horror in their voice, fearing they had missed it. As the sun went down we boarded the Mark Twain for a leisurely cruise along the Rivers of America.

I didn’t snap too many group photos, as we used someone’s PhotoPass+, and I’m still waiting on those photos, but I couldn’t wait to share, as we had so much fun! Maybe I’ll share them on my Facebook page…So if you don’t already like Atomic Redhead on Facebook, go do it now!

Outfit
Boater: Garage Sale!
Suit: House of Vintage, Portland, Oregon
Nude Fishnets: Oroblu, Nordstorm
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Purse: Found by my dad!
Disneyland Brooch: TheEmaE74
Disneyland Charm Bracelet: Can’t remember!

Patrick’s Outfit
Short: Living Threads, Portland, Oregon
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Shoes: Nordstorm