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Modern Bear’s design article for Bear World Magazine, September 2012.
Set Decorator Amy Wells and Production Designer Dan Bishop have nailed the period perfectly from the show’s time span of early 60’s to 1969. Everything from furniture to distinctive props and wallpaper all come together to create “Mid Century Modern Porn” for us design addicts!
At Modern Bear, we love collecting vintage Sunset books from the 1950’s through the 70’s. These specialty books were published by Sunset Magazine, and devoted to such subjects as landscaping, cooking, and do-it-yourself design projects. They feature a plethora of photos and articles that can inspire today’s Mid Century Modernist to recreate for their lifestyle today! One can find these books on ebay, etsy, and your local thrift and vintage stores.
Modern Bears just wanna have fun, and that includes spoofing famous moments from our pop culture. Movies, celebrities, records, and more offer inspiration for what we lovingly call our “Bearodies.”
The camp film classic, “Valley of the Dolls” from 1967 based on the best-selling book by Jacqueline Susann. Originally released as a serious drama, now known for its over-the-top acting performances by the lead actresses, and the kitschy script with such lines as “Sparkle, Neely, sparkle!”
“Valley of the Bears” (2012) is our homage to the aforementioned film, featuring Chris Bale as “Man Wells,” Brent Cage as “Brentifer North,” and Travis Smith as “Neely O’Beara.” Perfectly captured by photographer Rand Thomas in a suite at the swanky Chamberlain Hotel in West Hollywood.
A film classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” elegantly captured New York City in the early 60’s, and featured the quintessential Audrey Hepburn performance, fashions by Givenchy, and an iconic movie soundtrack by Henry Mancini.
“Bearfast at Tiffany’s” (2013) features Travis Smith as “Pawdrey Hepbear” and photographed by Chris Bale in the same spot in front of Tiffany’s. The Bear’s version of Hepburn’s classic Givenchy ensemble included a rhinestone tiara purchased from a dollar store nearby, black work gloves, and a black wife beater. What you don’t see in this photo are the dozen Japanese tourists standing behind Travis photographing the photo shoot as it took place. “Only in New York!” they were saying.
In our continuing series of pop culture “bearodies” we bring you our homage to Farrah’s best-selling 70’s pin-up poster of all time – “Bearrah Pawcett!” No photoshop here, the Farrah wig, serape, and red wrestling singlet were all purchased on ebay. Modern Bear Travis Smith posed for photographer Leland Gebhardt and did his best to recreate the iconic pose but as he put it, “my belly and other parts kept getting in the way.”
The “Bearrah” poster is available from the Modern Bear Store: http://modernbear.net/?page_id=184
One of our fave vintage collectibles is futuristic toys from the 1950′s and 60′s. These were mostly produced in tin and imported from Japan. This was during the “Atomic Age” when design and pop culture were obsessed with all things “Space” related and looking into the future. And while these toys may fall into the kitsch category, that is why we love them – their naivety combined with that super cool 50′s Atomic design is irresistible!
The Ford Gyron was a tin battery-operated car made in Japan in the early 60’s. It was based on the futuristic two-wheeled gyrocar first shown to the world in 1961 at the Detroit Motor Show as a concept car designed by futurist Syd Mead. The car could run forward and reverse while a red light in the rear blinked on and off. A switch underneath the car raised and lowered the roof.
The “XP-1960 Dream Car” was produced by Mattel in 1953. According to the Mattel catalog of 1953, the car was available in four futuristic colors of Red Blaze, Chartreuse Dreamliner, Black Diamond, and Blue Bullet. It was described as “The only car of its kind in the world of toys. Low slung, impact resistant plastic body. Permanent, high gloss chrome trim. BOMBER BUBBLE transparent convertible top. SPEED STREAK friction motor. 4 futuristic colors. Individually packed in eye catching 3 color box.”
You can see the beginnings of a 1961 Thunberbird underneath all the “futurism” going on! This 1959 Meiko “Future Car” certainly had the fins for space travel!
This rare tin friction car was based on the popular concept car designed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company. It was originally designed by Ford Motor Company lead stylists Bill Schmidt and John Najjar Ferzely and built by Ghia entirely by hand in Turin, Italy, at a cost of $250,000 (2014 equivalent: $2,200,000) and displayed on the auto show circuit in 1955. In 1966 the car was modified by George Barris into the Batmobile, for the 1966 TV series Batman.
Enjoy this recent video of a toy Futura offered at auction:
Look for a future article here on Modern Bear on vintage Robots and other Space Age toys…