Winter is still trying to show its power, so I thought a bit of colour might cheer me and my dear readers up. So here are some ‘Color’ postcards from the 1950s which give their subjects quite the film-star glamour treatment. You are unlikely to encounter such colours or some of the poses in real life.
First off, a set of Plastichrome postcards of cats.
Plastichrome was a trademark (in use in the 1950s and 1960s) of Colourpicture Publishers, Inc.. You can still find lots of their ‘colour postcards’ of all kinds of subjects (landmarks, TV series, plants and more) on various online selling sites. Colourpicture Publishers, Inc, were greeting card and postcard printer and distributor in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm was in business between 1938 and 1969 and is known for its linen view cards (a linen postcard was made of textured paper of high rag content rather than actual cloth).
I’m not always sure about the title given but I do like the fact that Plastichrome mentions the colorist, in this case ‘W. Chandoha’. I can only assume that this was Walter Chandoha (1920-2019), who must have been at the beginning of his photographic career at the time. He is, of course, known as the ‘Cat Photographer to rule them all’ but here he is only mentioned as colorist.
The colorist named on this card are “Theda & Emerson Hall'” This was a husband and wife team of photographers in the ‘40s and ‘50s noted for producing crisp vibrant colour photographs at a time when the technique was difficult and rare. You can tell that one aspect of their work was photographing movie stars for Hollywood film studios. They are also know for artistic nude photography.
Here the colorist is named as ‘Camera Clix’. I have not been able to trace the company (there is an Australian company with that name but that only started in 1991).
This sad looking but endearing white little kitten tries to emerge from a wicker fishing basket. The colorist is named as ‘Three Lions, Inc.‘. This was an American photo agency founded by Max Löwenherz in 1937. It was sold in 1983. The story behind it is worth another blog post….. After the sale, Löwenherz donated 600 of the company’s archive of Kennedy photographs and negatives, most taken by Suero in May 1954, to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
The sad kitten seems to have escaped and has exchanged its basket for a more luxurious one. There is no colorist mentioned on this card. The title is odd…
And finally, a set from the ‘Good Luck Series’ by English publishing company Bamforth & Co.(1870- 1980). This was a publishing, film and illustration company based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Nowadays they are mostly known for their comic and ‘saucy’ seaside postcards, which I think is a shame. They started out as a studio photographer and began the production of magic lantern slides around 1883. Drawing heavily on their work with magic lantern cinema, the company began making monochrome films in 1898. The popularity of these films, in particular those featuring a character named Winky, led to a film industry in West Yorkshire which for a time surpassed that of Hollywood in terms of productivity and originality. It is also believed the company invented film editing with the release in 1899 of The Kiss in the Tunnel.
I recommend visiting an (archived) website to find out more about their huge output. CLICK HERE
There is no mention of a colourist or a photographer , except for the ‘Taylor’ on the card below. I have not been able to trace her/him.
I hope these images have brought you joy, and I wish you days full of: