Nostalgia for Retro

LP Cover, 1955

I like retro-retro. This is a little complicated and we could quickly veer into post-modern appropriation and pastiche of a previous era’s appropriation and pastiche. Don’t worry, I won’t. Put simply, I like a reinterpretation of another time's nostalgia, like the 1970s version of the 1950s on Happy Days, or the 1960s love for the 1920s.

Starting during World War II, there was nostalgia for America at the turn of the century. There is a classic episode of The Twilight Zone involving a harried executive and a small town, Willoughby, in 1890, Meet Me in St. Louis has a Technicolor version of Missouri in 1904, and, of course, Main Street, USA at Disneyland is a perfect example of a 1950s interpretation of small town America, 1890-1910. Fitting perfectly within this arena is Firehouse Five Plus Two, a Dixieland jazz band formed by Ward Kimball and a group of animators at the Disney studios in the 1940s. The band wore turn of the century fireman outfits, antique fire hats, and had a 1914 American La France fire truck. They made 13 albums and often performed on Main Street. This aesthetic and their LP covers talk about a perceived simpler time, when an increasingly complicated 1950s public imagined an even simpler time when firemen formed their own band and sat on the porch of the old firehouse with a Dalmatian and creaky rocking chairs.

LP cover, 1958

LP cover, 1956

LP cover, 1956

LP cover, 1954

LP cover, 1955