If you happen to be of a certain age, you will remember tail fins on the cars from your childhood.
Although most people think the trend of having tail fins on cars lasted approximately from 1955 to 1965, the first subtle appearances of tail fins began in the late ’40s. What started as a small chrome trim piece on a tail light, or a subtle fin of a few inches in length.
Growing in size each year until they (literally) peaked in 1959. American cars were not unique in this fad. By the early ’60s, the appeal began to wane. With a few exceptions, by 1965, they had disappeared from the automotive landscape.
General Motors and Chrysler deserve the credit with starting the finny “arms race.” Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell at GM and Virgil Exner at Chrysler attempted to wow the public with each new model year by introducing the most outlandish fins on their vehicles. Ford was in the mix too. Remember, the original Thunderbird also employed design elements that took their cues from jet aircraft. This trend carried through to the 1963 model year. The full-sized Ford lost its fins by 1962.
Even European automotive designers got into the act. French Italian designers have always been avant-garde, but even the British and Germans, who tend to be more conservative, slapped fins on some of their cars.
The ultimate fins of the era belonged to the 1959 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz. The eye-popping red paint job and fins that look like they could impale someone made this car unmistakeable…Even today.
From our archives . . .
As many tourists will tell you. One of the most recognizable landmarks of Hollywood (besides the Hollywood sign and the Chinese Theater) is the round Capitol Records building. It opened on April 6, 1956. That evening a red light on the tip of the spire atop the building at 1750 Vine Street (a couple blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard) began spelling out H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D in Morse code.
Then Capital president Alan Livingston ordered the light be added as a symbol that the Capitol Record label was the first with a presence in Los Angeles. Except for the years 1992 when the light blinked out C-A-P-I-T-A-L 5-0, celebrating Capitol Records fiftieth anniversary and 2016 when it flashed C-A-P-I-T-O-L 7-5 for the company’s seventy-fifth anniversary, the red light atop the spire continues to flash the original message.
World famous singers and musicians made Capitol Records their label, including: Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Judy Garland, Dean Martin and many more.
Even the most casual observer can see that the wide curved awnings over the windows on each story and the tall spike emerging from the top of the building resembles a stack of records on a turntable. But, Lou Naidorf, the building’s designer, didn’t have that in mind at all.
While Hollywood has undergone a lot of changes, this landmark has held its ground. Even in the 21st century, while many well known artists are recording music in a digital format. Turntables and vinyl LPs have regained popularity. Perhaps the meaning of the Capitol Records building’s design will once again be connected with the entertainment capitol of the world.
This iconic building was featured in several movies, including the 1974 movie “Earthquake,” 1997’s “Volcano” and 2004’s “The Day After Tomorrow” where it met an undignified demise. Despite these cinematic disasters, the light atop the building blinks out its H-O-L-L-Y-O-O-D message to this day.
The Top 10 1960s Billboard Hits
Enjoy the waltz down memory lane!
2. 1961 Tossin and Turnin by Bobby Lewis
3. 1962 Stranger on the Shore by Mr. Acker Bilk
4. 1963 Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs
5. 1964 I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles (Ed Sullivan Show)
6. 1965 I Can’t Get No Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
7. 1966 Ballad of the Green Berets by SSgt. Barry Sadler
8. 1967 To Sir with Love by Lulu
9. 1968 Hey Jude by The Beatles
10. 1969 Sugar, Sugar by The Archies (You’ll get a kick out of the animation.)
Janet Elizabeth Lynn was born in Queens and raised in Long Island, New York. She is the author of murder mysteries, cozy mysteries and with her husband Will Zeilinger, 1950s hard-boiled detective mysteries.
Will Zeilinger has lived and traveled the world and has been writing for over ten years. His novels range from mystery to romantic comedy and those 1950s hard-boiled detective mysteries with his wife Janet.
Together Janet and Will write the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. They have a free E-book How it Began: The Skylar Drake Mysteries available from Smashwords.
Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. In 2021, they will team up will a penname E.J. Williams for a new mystery series. The first novel in the International Crime Files, Stone Pub will be published in May.
In addition to writing novels, Janet and Will have a YouTube Channel, Chatting with Authors featuring informal Zoom interviews with authors of various genres. Below is a sample of one of their chats, but we encourage readers to check out all their videos.
This creative couple lives in Southern California . . . and yes, they are still married, and they even blog together at The Married Authors.
Rebecca Forster started writing on a crazy dare and found her passion. Now she is a USA Today and Amazon best-selling author of over 40 books. Rebecca’s thrillers, known for their attention to detail and deep characterization. She has taught at the acclaimed UCLA Writers Program and is a sought-after speaker, including three appearances at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. In her spare time, she court watches and travels the world looking for inspiration for her novels. She is married to a Superior Court Judge and is mother to two sons.
My husband, Will Zeilinger and I are E. J. Williams and we co-write the INTERNATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader from 1960s Southern California, then on to international locales. STONE PUB goes to Ireland and is our first book of the new series.
Every author has a unique way to begin writing a crime novel. In this new series, we asked ourselves, “What is at stake?” This question gives the reader something to look forward to as they delve into the story.
The nature of these stakes needs to be agreed upon when writing with a partner. All future books should have stakes of a similar or more intense level.
When we brainstormed about what would be at stake in our first story, we arrived at four great ideas. After talking about them and coming up with subplots for each one, we wrote them down and decided to meet again. Our second meeting focused on the pros and cons of each stake. After considering all of them, we chose the third stake. Once we had the stakes chosen, the story was ready to be outlined. We didn’t realize until much later that we had stakes for the next three novels, all ready to go!
Brainstorming is the best way for writing partners to set the stakes. Remember . . . the most crucial thing is to write a good story. So stay tuned . . . there is more to come.
STONE PUB will be published May 2021, it is the first in the series, and yes . . . we are still married!
Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Website: Will Zeilinger
“If you ever say anything to anyone, they all die.”More info →