Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Been Summer...

Life was too nice to spend it posting. But things have been happening, so it's time to get back into gear.

First, though, a search for "That's the Press, Baby" on Google brings this link to a clip from the Bogart movie posted by a fan in Italy, with this as the famous last quote:

"È la stampa, bellezza. E tu non ci puoi fare un bel niente!"

Can't you just hear Bogey saying that!


Before going on to newspapers, a couple of comments on department stores. You may remember the snarky article the New York Times did on J.C. Penney Co. when it opened in Manhattan. Not only did the story seem to insult a goodly number of Americans, it may have missed the point on Penney's as well. Elizabeth Wellington, the fashion writer for my paper, notes that Penney's more fashion-oriented advertising is being backed up by actual trendy merchandise. (At least in women's wear. I've made a couple of passes through Penney's men's department and found it awash in polyester; also at both stores I have been in recently, the lighting and roof tiles seem unchanged since the malls opened. But you have to start somewhere, and just changing the color of "JCPenney" on the signs from white to red wasn't going to be enough.)


Finally there's a new-this-year site called the Department Store Museum. The blogger, whose name is given as "BAK," mentions that he was laid off recently. If so, he has used his time well, although I hope it becomes remunerative. The wonder of his site is that in addition to historic photos, he posts old logos, store directories, and branch locations. Thus, if you want to know what was on the fourth floor at E.W. Edwards & Son in Syracuse, you can find out it was housewares, wallpaper and paint, and fabrics. BAK started off with a bang and slowed down in July, and I hope he has gotten a job ... but what he's done is immensely helpful in tracking major department stores in the 1950s through 1970s, when they were branching out but also trying to maintain their large downtown presences.

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