Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas at Newport Beach, 1910

Holiday greetings from Newport Beach, in 1910.
Christmas is a good time to get friends or family together and do something fun. In 1910, the folks above apparently decided that "something fun" meant taking the Pacific Electric Railway to the end of the line (Newport Beach/Balboa) and spending the day on the strand.

This image was found in Tom Pulley's postcard collection and comes courtesy the Orange County Archives. I was just going to post it because of the Christmas/O.C. connection. But then I noticed how colorful these people are. (Click on any photo to embiggen.) It called for a couple close-ups.
The Rockettes do not feel threatened by this group.
Note the "Three Musketeers" pose, but with feet instead of swords. That, combined with wearing of dapper suits on the beach, is sort of a hoot.

But the real gem is the dandied-up, cigar-chompin' palooka shown below. Just look at this character! Did he escape from a movie? Was he related to the Bowery Boys or a Dick Tracy villain? Who is this guy? There's a shiny nickel in it for the first person to identify him!
"Make wit da Christmas cheer, youse mugs, or I'll moiderize ya!"
Without much more to say about this photo, I went looking for an extreme example of how different the world of December 1910 was from that of December 2013. I initially thought this was a pretty good example, from the Dec. 18, 1910 New York Times, regarding a new health catastrophe caused by modern technology:
"The aeroplane and automobile have caused a new disease,... When men pass rapidly through the air, the pressure on the face from fast driving prevents the expulsion of poisoned air from the lungs. The carbonic acid gas is forced back into the body. Only a little of it can get away, because of the air pressing on the face. The gas is rebreathed and poisons the system. [This may be remedied with] a mouthpiece... strapped to the face with tubes extending from it on either side to the back of the head."
Today, of course, we're much more evolved. The media no longer trumps up phony health scares or preys on our fear of new technology to generate sensational headlines. And naturally, with all the real threats in the world, we'd never waste our time worrying about the hazards of a ubiquitous natural substance like carbonic acid gas.

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