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Pearl Harbor Salvage. - June 14, 1943 Life magazine

Sunday, April 10, 2016 8:24:03 PM America/New_York

 Exerpt from June 14, 1943 Life Magazine.

Resurrection of Wrecked Warships

The pictures on these pages, showing the resurrection of wrecked American warships at Pearl Harbor, represent one of the most remarkable feats of marine engineering ever attempted. They also give evidence that many U. S. battleships, shattered by bomb and torpedo on Dec. 7, 1941 and subsequently refloated and rebuilt, have been sent back to the war as better fighting ships than they were when sunk. Of the 19 ships damaged on that fateful day, 14 have already been repaired and sent to sea under their own power. Three of the remaining five, the Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah, are at present undergoing salvage operations. The remaining two, the destroyers Cassin and Downes, were damaged beyond economical repair but more than 50% of their equipment has been utilized in new ship construction. This record has bettered anything the Navy dared hope when it made a preliminary survey of the smoking ruins a few hours after the attack. The record was achieved by the use of imagination and a good deal of hard work. The Oklahoma, for example, lay with about a third of her bottom exposed and sloping at a 30° angle. First a scale model was built and mounted in exactly the same position as the capsized ship. Divers studied this model before going down into the oily muck below-decks to close compartments. When this was done, steel cables anchored to the ship's hull and powered by electric motors set up on nearby Ford Island, slowly drew the 29,000-ton ship over until she was upright (see opposite page). Next, salvage men will go to work on her as they have on the already completed Nevada, West Virginia and California—first removing as much weight as possible, then sealing breaches, refloating the ship and removing it to drydock to be cleaned, rewired and rebuilt with the latest equipment.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Ballads and Tales of the Frontier. - August 22, 1960 Issue

Monday, March 28, 2016 8:44:01 AM America/New_York

Exerpt from August 19, 1946 Life Magazine.

Folklore of America - Part 5

The frontier days of the last half of the 19th Century-crowded with the feats of wagon drivers and cowhands, bad men and shooting marshals, lumberjacks and miners—brought out the saltiest of all American folk tales. Bloody episodes, gruesome enough in fact, were daubed up in the retelling so that a single shooting became a massacre, worrisome incidents became miraculous escapes, light ladies became beauteous heroines. The stories exalted physical strength as well as the six-shooter. Steel workers and lumbermen joined the ranks of legendary heroes. But a growing sense of humor tempered the hardship and dangers of life on the exploding frontier and Americans began to have fun poking fun at one another. Towns competed in boasting that they had the biggest, the best-or the worst—of everything. Still fresh and funny, these exaggerations make a treasury of home-grown folk tales as broad and as varied as the land itself.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Yellowstone National Park. - August 19, 1946 Life Magazine

Monday, March 21, 2016 8:40:52 AM America/New_York

Exerpt from August 19, 1946 Life Magazine.

Park Has Busiest Tourist Summer

Back in the 1840s when Jim Bridger used to talk about Yellowstone, he would describe the petrified elk in the petrified forests, and the petrified traveler who, slipping from a mountaintop, was saved because the law of gravity was also petrified. Jim spun these yarns because nobody would believe the things he had actually seen: steaming geysers and mud volcanoes, a waterfall twice as high as Niagara. Yellowstone remained for years a sort of joke book borderland at a back entrance of hell. It was not until 1870 that an official expedition visited Yellowstone, confirmed its wonders and promptly sat down to discuss splitting them up into private monopolies. But one man, Judge Cornelius Hedges, stoutly said that it should be preserved as a national public park run by the U. S. Two years later it became one, the first and still the largest (3,472 square miles) in America. That year 5,000 visitors came. This summer, Yellowstone's biggest, there have already been more than half a million. They come by plane, car, rail, bus and motorcycle from every state in the Union. They camp out or sleep in trailer parks ($1), tourist huts ($1.25 up), lodges ($5 up with food) or hotels ($3.50 up). The postcards they buy would make a pile higher than the Empire State Building.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

U.S.S. Hornet's Last Days.- August 2, 1943 Life Magazine

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 9:00:05 AM America/New_York

 Exerpt from September 30, 1946 Life Magazine.

Tom Lea Paints Death of Great Carrier

The sinking of the U.S. S. Hornet by Jap planes on Oct. 26, 1942 is no longer a news event. It now belongs to history. But of all the great stories of the war, none is more filled with heroism and tragedy than the loss in the South Pacific of this mighty aircraft carrier.

Four days before the Hornet's last fight, Tom Lea, artist-war correspondent on assignment for LIFE, transferred from her to another ship. For 66 days he had lived aboard the Hornet. Since then he has been working on a series of paintings showing what happened on the day she was sunk. Research material for the paintings came not only from his own penciled sketches made before he was transferred, but from accounts given to him by officers and enlisted men who survived the sinking. His drawings and paintings are reproduced on these eight pages.

Tom Lea says that the days he spent aboard the Hornet were the proudest days of his life. In a letter written to LIFE he describes the emotions he feels about the ship. “I have been trying to write you about how a ship seems to be a living thing and how each ship has her own particular personality. Yet a ship does not begin to live merely because she has engines, and steel, and decks and a flag. She begins to live only as she receives from the men who sail her the best part of their personalities. Men endow a ship, not only with their own souls, their own hopes and desires, but also, because a ship's performance depends upon the men who sail heir own behavior.

“If this is true of all ships, it is particularly true of a man-of-war. Such a ship achieves her destiny only in destruction, and her quality of living is somehow shaped by her quality of dying. Men on a warship think of dying just as normally as they think of living. “An aircraft carrier is by her very nature a most pe. culiar warship, for she belongs not wholly to the sea nor sufficiently to the sky. Without heavy deck guns or stout armor, she is physically the most vulnerable of warships, carrying within her the seeds of her own destruction.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Yankee-Dodger Series of 1952. - October 20, 1952 Issue

Thursday, March 3, 2016 8:32:07 AM America/New_York

  Exerpt from September 30, 1946 Life Magazine.

 The Country Can't Take it's Eyes off TV as Series Comes to Climax

For seven days the midday life of some 70 million Americans was disrupted. People went to lunch and didn't come back for hours. Work slowed down, classrooms were disrupted, and especially on the last day almost nobody, from beer-sipping low-brows to erudite high-brows, watched anything but the Yankees-Dodgers acting out on TV one of the most dramatic World Series since the Dean brothers whoomped Detroit 18 years ago. The audience saw Dodgers make impossible catches, marveled at an old man named Mize clouting three homers, watched the Yankees Casey Stengel make one successful managerial move after another. By the seventh inning of the seventh game people had seen enough to talk about all winter. Then with two out and bases loaded a Yankee infielder gave them another tidbit by making a story-book catch of a pop fly lost in the sun. As people sat breathless, a waitress in Denver eyed TV deadheads at her counter and said, “We can’t get them off the stools. They just ask for another cup of coffee and go on watching.”

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Las Vegas in the 40's. - December 21, 1942 Issue

Monday, February 22, 2016 8:45:00 AM America/New_York

 Exerpt from September 21, 1942 Life Magazine.

 Money is Easy Come, Easier Go

Las Vegas, Nev. has the reputation of being the most “wide-open" town in the U. S., and revels in it. The big boom which the town enjoyed during the construction of Boulder Dam seems like high jinks at a church bingo party compared to the preposterous prosperity of today. The average paycheck cashed in Las Vegas is better than $85 a week. Truck drivers are earning up to $150. Nearby the world's largest magnesium plant paid out during construction over $900,000 every week to its 11,000 workers. Within easy hitch-hiking distance are two Army camps, which disgorge restless men into Las Vegas' whirlpool on weekends. Add to this a heavy tourist trade plus the stream of customers drifting through the town's quick marriage and divorce mills, and the reasons for Las Vegas' wide-open reputation become as obvious as the lights on fabulous Fremont Street (upper left). Moneyed people move hopefully to Las Vegas because Nevada is the only State in the Union with no income, sales, inheritance or corporation taxes. But for a town of 20,000 population (recently increased from 14,000). Las Vegas does a meat and gaudy job of shaking down dough as fast as people save it. Even drugstores resound with the clink and whirr of “one-armed bandits,” slot machines which swallow coins, ranging in size from the rare Las Vegas copper penny to the common silver dollar with equal unfairness. On this and the following pages LIFE Photographer Peter Stackpole has pictured some of the many interesting ways to lose, and sometimes win, in Las Vegas, and some of the people who spend their time and money desperately locking horns with luck.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Arthur Murray. - September 30, 1946 Issue.

Monday, February 15, 2016 8:19:29 AM America/New_York

 

 Exerpt from September 30, 1946 Life Magazine.

A Bashful Wallflower becomes the World's No.1 Teaching Dance Master.

GI’s in their foxholes, the way the ads used to tell it, passed their few sleeping hours dreaming about mother's cooking or Rover, the faithful terrier they left behind. But to judge by the number of veterans now attending the Arthur Murray Dance Studios under the GI Bill of Rights, what they really dreamed about was learning to tread a graceful rumba. Murray, who calls himself “The World's Most Famous Dancing Teacher,” has thousands of them pirouetting experimentally in his studios at government expense and he expects to produce at least 100,000 finished products within the next year. The idea started as a joke. Early this year, a former GI who was polishing up his samba in Murray's New York studio remarked wryly that Uncle Sam should be footing the bill under the GI Bill of Rights. It had not previously occurred to Murray that a dancing school might be officially regarded as an educational institution. But, sighting a gold mine, he had a lawyer look up the terms of the GI Bill of Rights and concluded that a veteran studying to be a dancing teacher could qualify for government payment. A modest ad in the New York Times brought several hundred applicants and by April the first class of ex-servicemen was dipping, swaying and Lindy-hopping all at Uncle Sam's expense.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Cezanne 1839 -1906. - February 25, 1952 Life Magazine

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 8:36:41 AM America/New_York

  Exerpt from February 25, 1952 Life Magazine.

The Great Paintings of a Frustrated Recluse

Currently on display at the Chicago Art Institute, and soon to be seen at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, are 130 pictures by a man who holds a unique position in the history of modern painting, Paul Cézanne. Some critics consider him the greatest painter of the past 100 years. Even those who dissent from this high opinion consider him the most influential one. Cézanne, a Frenchman who did most of his painting between 1870 and 1900, was not only a painter; he was the creator of an entirely new method of looking at the world. And so widespread and subtle has been the influence of his method that the world, to civilized people, has never looked quite the same since. Many of Cézanne's paintings have an unfinished look about them, as if they were abandoned experiments. They depict mountains and apples that look as passionate as people, and people who look as inert as mountains or apples. Few of them constitute what the average man thinks of as a pretty picture. But nearly anyone who looks at them can sense great dig. nity and repose in their rugged brush strokes—a feel. ing of depth, weight and solidity. Part of this dignity and repose arises from the painter's way of transmuting natural objects into abstract forms, so that the observer senses cones, cubes and spheres beneath his mountains, houses and fruits. Artists have studied Cézanne's principles and evolved entire schools of painting—cubism, abstractionism—from them. There is hardly a department of contemporary art that does not owe him a debt. His carefully constructed scenes contain the germs of such widely separated developments as modern magazine layout and modern architecture.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Atom City - Los Alamos. June 27, 1949 Life Magazine.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 6:13:12 PM America/New_York

 Exerpt from June 27, 1949 Issue.

Modern Atomic City Grows on Remote, Guarded Mesa

Los Alamos, N. Mex. is one more American manufacturing town, but it has some truly unique features. It is the only place in the world, so far as is generally known, where atomic bombs are manufactured, and has been called the most important city on earth—real progress for a town only six years old, with a population of 9,000. Los Alamos has other distinctions. Possessing the world's finest physics laboratory and with an unusually large percentage of young physicists and technicians, its citizenry probably has the highest average I.Q. of any U.S. city, and the lowest average age: 33. Poised on a remote, canyon-rimmed mesa 7,500 feet high and accessible by only one sternly policed road, it has no crime, no strangers and, because space is limited, no cemetery. Closed to the general public since 1943 when it was taken over by the federal government as the best possible site for the design and assembly of atomic bombs, the poplar-dotted mesa (Los Alamos means “the poplars”) is now building into a carefully planned town that will eventually number about 12,000 people. Life there has certain discomforts but there are also compensations. The climate is clear and sunny, the shopping and residential areas glittering new and, among other things, there is the pleasant impossibility of guests dropping in unexpectedly from the outside.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer

Flock of Fresh Folk Singers. March 9, 1962 Life Magazine

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:14:20 PM America/New_York

Exerpt from March 9, 1962 Life Magazine.

1960's Folk Singers

Folk music has plenty of room for almost everything and everybody because its range is huge–from funereal laments and bitter satire to sweet ballads and rollicking fables. Old-timers like Burl Ives and Josh White have been mining this range for years, but right now a whole school of irreverent young groups is playing folk songs for laughs. When Dave Guard's new Whiskeyhill Singers launch a number, they often give it the full comedy treatment. Other lighthearted folk singers have helped heighten the mania that is sweeping records, TV, nightclubs and the concert circuit. The brightest of the new folk singers are shown in these pictures acting out their favorite numbers in their own distinctive and varied styles. Not all of the performers rely solely on laughter. In fact, they exploit the enormous breadth of the folk music repertoire to shift easily from broad humor to touching drama. Almost all of them dress up and popularize the old and often familiar tunes—except the finest new singer of them all, Joan Baez. She is a loner, a rabid traditionalist who specializes in sad songs of love and death which are delivered with a stylistic purity that places her in a class almost by herself.

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Comments | Posted By Chris Palmer
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