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Tag Archives: 1943


“Hot Bread,” Beverly White And Her Blues Chasers; Ward Baker, May 1943


“Cool Breeze,” Billy Eckstine; Gene Ammons; Dameron; Gillespie, 1946

Here’s How New Yorkers Try to Cool Off

These youngsters play in a flooded gutter on Carrol St., Brooklyn, the lad in the foreground showing just how he’d swim at the beach. It’s fun, but unsanitary. There’s virtually no limit to the diseases that could be picked up from street dirt. This picture gives you a concrete argument for more – not fewer – playgrounds, so greatly needed to keep young New York healthy. Photo by John De Biase, PM

This is better. Water straight out of a hose won’t hurt anybody. The young man is enjoying a shower on Dean St. Photo by Arthur Leipzig, PM


PM, June 6, 1943, p. 16

Here’s How New Yorkers Try to Cool Off

The hot nights have filled many a fire escape. A mother and two sons sleep outdoors at a tenement on East Houston and Mangin St. Photo by Weegee
PM, June 6, 1943, p. 16


“Cool Playin’ Mama, “Sammy Cotton; Paul Gayten and his Orchestra; Biggs; Cotton, 1950


“Cool Down Mamma,” Lost John Hunter and His Blind Bats, Lost John Hunter; Hunter, 1950


“Take It Slow and Easy,” Billy Banks’ Rhythmakers, Henry Allen, Pee-Wee Russell, Jow Sullivan, Eddie Condon, Jack Bland, Al Morgan, Zutty Singleton, Billy Banks, 1939


“The can-can girls in the When Paris is Paree Again number of the new show at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe.”
PM, May 31, 1943, p. 26 (Photo by Weegee)

Billy Rose Retreats Into the Future

By Louis Kronenberger

Having purveyed nostalgia and Gay-Ninetyish frou-frou at the Diamond Horseshoe for several years, Billy Rise about-faced Saturday night and marched into the future…

In its waltzier and wigglier moments, Post-War Preview has the oomph and sheen of Diamond Horseshoe entertainment at its brightest. The girls, as usual, are a splendid group. When the show goes in for a Victory Ball, offering four extremely fat ladies as “The Four Freedoms,” there is rather less to be said of it. Nor is there much to be said of the singing and dancing. There are other short specialties, of which some female contortionists and a dancer who lifts a pile of tables and chairs with his teeth are the most noteworthy.

Whatever its shortcomings, the thing has pace, color, and looks. At Diamond Horseshoe prices, it’s a good buy.


“YES SUH!,” Billy Banks & The Rhythmakers; Henry Allen; “Fats” Waller; Jimmy Lord; Pee-Wee Russell; Eddie Condon; Jack Bland; Al Morgan; Zutie Singleton; Billy Banks

Billy Rose’s new show in the late spring of 1943, at his Times Square Diamond Horseshoe venue, was called “Post-War Preview,” (“The Musical Shape of Things to Come”).

Weegee, the social documentarian, cannily captured the can-can girls…

“Post-War Preview” was in four or five parts: “The Night of Unconditional Surrender,” a post-war Broadway; “When Paris is Paree Again,” a post-war Paris; a post-war Vienna; the fourth part featured a post-war poet, Bob Hall; and the final “The Victory Ball” (in Washington) featured performers wearing masks of FDR, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin, and an international cast.

It was a wildly successful, and well-reviewed, musical revue that played for over 10 months. Performances were at 8 PM and 12 AM; dinner from $3.50, (same buying power as $53.41 in April 2021).


“I’D DO ANYTHING FOR YOU (Haré cualquier cosa por ti)”, Rhythmakers; Billy Banks; Hill; Williams; Hopkins, 1932

Some of the performers included: Three Ross Sisters, Bob Hall, Herman Hyde, Billy Banks (died in Tokyo in 1967), Rosalie Grant, Vivien Fay, Four Rosebuds, Vincent Travers, and significantly Bobby Davis, (tap dances and “Puts one table on top of another and several chairs on top of the tables, leans down, takes a bite of the tables and lifts them up above his head with his teeth.” Brooklyn Eagle, June 1, 1943)


“A Message From the Man in the Moon,” Vincent Travers and His Orchestra; Buddy Blaisdell; Kahn; Jurmann, 1937

…There were no glasses, of course, on any of the girls last night. They are beautifully costumed in pink, blue and other colors, and Billy Rose told me that there wasn’t a single costume that cost him less than $360, which is considerable when you consider the amount of the gals that isn’t covered.

A radio announcer’s staccato voice starts the ‘Post-War Preview.”It is the Night of Unconditional Surrender and the announcer says that crowds in New York are dancing in the streets, 50,000 lights are aglow, and people are tearing up their ration cards into confetti… (The New York Post, June 1, 1943.)


The New York Post, May 28, 1943


“Tomorrow Is Another Day,” Vincent Travers and His Orchestra; Buddy Blaisdell; Kahn; Jurmann, 1937

Weegee sitting behind his car typing

Weegee text, May 22, 1943
May 22, 1943

Midnight to Dawn, Anything Can Happen

When Weegee opens an ordinary telephone conversation with “This is the fabulous Weegee talking,” he is telling the literal truth. He can gloat, and does, that his pictures hang in the New York Public Library and the Museum of Modern Art… In seven years Weegee has not gone to bed before ten A.M….

“New York’s so crowded inna daytime you can’t breathe onna streets,” Weegee says in his rich New Yorkese…


Screenshots, moma.org

(MoMA had these Weegee photos by 1943 or 4…)

FIREMEN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
A sign across the front of this seven-story loft building near the Brooklyn Bridge instructed firemen to “Simply Add Boiling Water.” However, cold water was all they had, and anyway it seemed to them that it win this case it might prove more effective. AP Wirephoto.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 21, 1943, p.7

THE FIREMEN FOLLOWED DIRECTIONS
Although the water they used was cold, New York firemen fighting a blaze in a seven-story building did their best to follow directions on a sign on the building: “Simply Add Boiling Water.” (A.P. Wirephoto)
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tuesday Morning, December 21, 1943, p.6


Naked City, 1945, pp.52-53

3. FIRES…
The surprising thing about New York families, living as they do in such crowded conditions, is that they still manage to crowd in pets like dogs, cats, parrots, which they always try to save at fires. At one fire, I saw a woman running out holding a cardboard box with a couple of snakes inside. I questioned her. (It was none of my business, but I’m curious about people)… she told me she was a dancer who used the snakes in her act…
Naked City, 1945, p.52


Minicam, 1947

The Sign across the center of the building refers to the frankfurters, not the firemen! Weegee put his Speed Graphic with 5 1/4″ lens on a tripod and three No. 3 flashbulbs on extensions. Super Panchro Pres – 1/10 at F:8
Minicam, 1947


Third Avenue El, (3 second excerpt), by Davidson (Carson), 1950

The Eye of Fate

Did New Yorkers look completely different 50 years ago than they do today? Where have those kinds of faces gone?

There is cruelty in Weegee’s flash, but there is also harsh beauty. Sometimes it is the almost abstract beauty of light against dark, as in his photograph of a fire at the Hygrade Frankfurters factory — called “Simply Add Boiling Water.” But sometimes it is the raw beauty of emotion that Weegee captures in his subjects.

The faces themselves can hardly be called beautiful. They seem at first to belong not merely to another time but to another world, as remote from the present as the portrait of a Renaissance pope. It is human flesh, but arranged by a rough, unfamiliar hand. It takes awhile, wandering among Weegee’s photographs, listening to a pair of old men remembering Times Square in 1942, to realize that an old-fashioned face still lurks in each of us, if only a Weegee were there to see it when it surfaced.
The New York Times, December 5, 1997, p.30


PM, May 31, 1943, p. 26 (Photo by Weegee)

“The can-can girls in the When Paris is Paree Again number of the new show at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe.”

Billy Rose Retreats Into the Future

By Louis Kronenberger

Having purveyed nostalgia and Gay-Ninetyish frou-frou at the Diamond Horseshoe for several years, Billy Rise about-faced Saturday night and marched into the future…
Whatever its shortcomings, the thing has pace, color, and looks. At Diamond Horseshoe prices, it’s a good buy.

Billy Rose’s new show in the late spring of 1943, at his Times Square Diamond Horseshoe venue, was called “Post-War Preview,” (“The Musical Shape of Things to Come”).

It was in four or five parts: “The Night of Unconditional Surrender,” a post-war Broadway; “When Paris is Paree Again,” a post-war Paris; a post-war Vienna; the fourth part featured a post-war poet, Bob Hall; and the final “The Victory Ball” (in Washington) featured performers wearing masks of FDR, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin, and an international cast.

It was a wildly successful, and well-reviewed, musical revue that played for over 10 months. Performances were at 8 PM and 12 AM; dinner from $3.50, (same buying power as $51.28 in April 2020).

And most importantly, a review in PM featured an obscure, almost unknown, not-published-in-77-years Weegee photo… A good example of his seldom-seen, war-time, home-front work…

Some of the performers included: Three Ross Sisters, Bob Hall, Herman Hyde, Billy Banks (died in Tokyo in 1967), Rosalie Grant, Vivien Fay, Four Rosebuds, Vincent Travers, and significantly Bobby Davis, (tap dances and “Puts one table on top of another and several chairs on top of the tables, leans down, takes a bite of the tables and lifts them up above his head with his teeth.” Brooklyn Eagle, June 1, 1943)

…There were no glasses, of course, on any of the girls last night. They are beautifully costumed in pink, blue and other colors, and Billy Rose told me that there wasn’t a single costume that cost him less than $360, which is considerable when you consider the amount of the gals that isn’t covered.
A radio announcer’s staccato voice starts the ‘Post-War Preview.”It is the Night of Unconditional Surrender and the announcer says that crowds in New York are dancing in the streets, 50,000 lights are aglow, and people are tearing up their ration cards into confetti… (The New York Post, June 1, 1943.)


The New York Post, May 28, 1943

May 22, 1943. (Published)

No mention of a portable darkroom in the (possible) first publication of this amazing selfie; (self) portrait of the photographer as an author. (Arthur the author:-) A “candid camera”?

Of course two years later that photo was an end page in the recently republished “Naked City”!!!

(To be continued…)


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 18. (Photo by Weegee, PM)

Potatoes au Bay Rum

If you think the potatoes you buy during the next few days smell like hair tonic, chances are they are part of the batch of 17,000 pounds Mayor LaGuardia, the cops, Market Dept. inspectors and the Office of Price Administration found in a midtown barbershop. Yesterday the jobber who brought them here agreed to sell them. They are being taken to Bronx Terminal market for distribution to retailers. The jobber is out on $300 bail for having put the potatoes in bags labeled wheat, oats and bran. PM, May 20, 1943, p. 18

Speaking of apples… Seventy-seven years ago today:

Potatoes with Cologne and Aftershave Lotion
might be a contemporary version of the title of this story. (“Bay rum is the name of a cologne/aftershave lotion. Other uses include as under-arm deodorant and as a fragrance for shaving soap, as well as a general astringent.” Wikipedia.) Why in the world were there tons of starchy, perennial nightshades in a midtown Manhattan barber shop? Why did Weegee take a few photos of the edible tubers leaving a midtown Manhattan barber shop? The Charles Barber Shop was at 1221 Sixth Avenue. And why was this newsworthy?

We wanted to get to the root of this potato mystery, or at least chip away at the truth. After spending a fruitful few hours planted in front of a microfilm reader at the NYPL in Midtown Manhattan, we now (our salad days) know a little more about the spuds in sacks on Sixth…


Daily News, May 20, 1943 (front page of two different editions)


Daily News, May 20, 1943 (NEWS foto)

Next! Some 18,000 pounds of tough-skinned potatoes, that haven’t even been shaved, get the vagabond’s rush from a barbershop at 1221 Sixth Ave. yesterday. The spuds, headed for a Bronx market, eventually will have their eyes picked out by New York housewives. City bought them. Benjamin Caplan, custodian of the potatoes, won a parole… $49.95 profit.


New York Herald Tribune, May 20, 1943, p.20, Herald Tribune-Acme

Sixth Avenue Barber Shop Loses Its Potatoes
Some of the 17,000 pounds of potatoes found in the barber shop of Charles Falcone at 1221 Sixth Avenue on Tuesday being removed yesterday by Bronx Terminal Market wholesalers for resale to the city’s closed markets.

The wayward potato story was front page news in The Daily News and New York Herald Tribune, while The New York Post covered the story, sadly it was photo-free. The Herald Tribune’s coverage was more digestible as it was a little more factual and less tongue-in-cheek. (The photos published in the News and Tribune are not credited to a photographer, were they made by Weegee?)

Apparently the potatoes, described as “scarce, more valuable than diamonds, and vital to the war effort” by Magistrate Anna Kross, were bought by Benjamin Caplan from a farm outside of Plattsburgh, New York, for 2 cents a pound (about 29 cents today) or $343.75 (about $5,036.21 today), where they were at risk of spoiling. Anthony Zubinsky drove them down to Manhattan, for $120 (about $1,758.10 today). Caplan asked his friend Charles Falcone, the barber, if he could store the spuds in Falcone’s barber shop while he tried to sell them, presumably legally, and not on the black market.


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 19

Apparently unloading 157 bags of the scarce, luxury food, in mislabeled bags, in the middle of the afternoon in midtown Manhattan caught the eye and ire of passersby who notified the authorities. The authorities came raining down on the Charles Barber Shop. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947), with a chip on his shoulder, the Commissioner of Markets , the Commissioner of buildings, (due to the weight of the potatoes, the barber was charged with violating a building code), fire and police departments, and members of the press, descended on the Charles Barber Shop, on Sixth Avenue, near 48th Street.

Mr. Caplan appeared before Magistrate Anna Kross at the Jefferson Market Court. In the end, the Office of Price Administration exonerated Benjamin Caplan, he sold his spuds for a legal price, they were brought to the Bronx Terminal Market, and were sold at the city’s markets below the maximum of 6 cents a pound.

A quote, almost like dessert, from The Herald Tribune, May 20, 1943: “You probably never want to see another potato,” a reporter said to Mr. Caplan.
“I’ll be back up there tomorrow,” he replied wearily, referring to his upstate source of supply, “and if there aren’t any potatoes, I’ll get apples.”


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 19

pm_1943_03_02_p16-17bprint-2
PM, March 2, 1943

“When fire swept the five-story loft building at 372 E. Houston St., Manhattan, the policeman, above, rescued these two kittens from a hallway. Later he gave them to Miss Sally Strumfeld, 218 Delancey St., who promised to give them a good home. Some small manufacturing firms and the Congregation Israel Anscheigal Icie Minhagsford occupy the Houston St. building. Holy scrolls were carried out by members of the congregation.” PM Photo by Weegee


Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp. 60-61

IMG_4635

“THE AUTHOR as he wrote this article. Note cigars, fireman boots, and extra camera. Stool goes back in trunk compartment and is brought out to type captions right after pix are made.” 1943. (No darkroom. No enlarger, trays of developer, stop bath, fixer, no running water, safe light, etc…)

Happy 15th Birthday Wikipedia:
“He maintained a complete darkroom in the trunk of his car, to expedite getting his free-lance product to the newspapers. Weegee worked mostly at nightclubs; he listened closely to broadcasts and often beat authorities to the scene…”