Let’s Read Holiday, October 1954!

Holiday was a travel and lifestyle magazine that ran from 1946 to 1977. More than just a thinly disguised travel brochure for passenger trains and tourist destinations, the magazine published pieces from the leading intellectual minds of the day such as Jack Kerouac and Clifton Fadiman. For a great article on the fabulous cultural scene and history of Holiday in its heyday, get yourself over to Vanity Fair.

I apologize for the blurriness here and there, as this is a work-owned magazine and I tend to take photos from those in a hurry without much time for perfectionism. If there’s something I borked up that you’re dying to see a sharper picture of, just let me know.

Our cover features some very lovely flowers from a famous garden in Charleston, South Carolina – a scene that don’t exactly say “October” to me, but entices the idea that this could be your new October.

ONLY 16 1/2 hours flight time from Miami to Argentina! Do they sell alligator handbags and serve you lobster on the plane? In an era where part of the journey was still expected to be a five day boat ride, I suppose nearly 17 hours in a plane doesn’t sound too bad – no, it still sounds like pure hell. That “Fiesta Lounge” better be pretty amazing!

Four out of five crotches agree that slacks made with DuPont(TM) Orlon Acrylic fabric are the best for shooting things in.

Some wonderful person uploaded a 1955 California Zephyr dinner menu to their blog here if you want to want to see what all the fuss about the Dining Car was about. I personally find it a little weird that they charge you gourmet prices for food when you’re already stuck on a train for five days and have no other choice.

A tantalizing story about an American man’s life-changing Italian picnic with “Roberto”, some cringey back-and-forth about the way that Chinese people pronounce their r’s, and a lonely missionary’s dispatch from the African bush.

This seems like a bit of a random advertisement, but I’m wondering if it was meant to appeal to couples who were choosing their silverware before their wedding and were looking at Holiday magazine with their honeymoon in mind. Which one’s your favorite? I like the “Tulip Time”.

Side-eye at the automatic assumption that your travel agent will be a man.

Play golf! Buy a sweater! Buy toothpaste! Lovely Bermuda!

I cannot help but notice that the little ruler that measures “wool” is placed suggestively parallel to this handsome hunter’s zipper, while his rifle is so large that it can’t be depicted in the ad. Also of interest – some recommended reading from the always fantastic Clifton Fadiman, and a quick listing of boarding and military schools that your new evil stepmother can ship you off to now that she’s hooked her claws into your rich widowed father.

Tips for lounging glamorously in your Swiss peasant smock from Suzi Brewster, who as a young debutante answered to the name “Snippy Rumpf”. I am not kidding.

A feature on visiting Boston that starts as a dreamy tableau and starts to get a little worrisome as it goes on until you wonder if you’re getting specific instructions from someone to commit espionage.

“Hrhmph Lucrecia it is so refreshing to be cartoonishly evil I dare say hramphumph”

“Yes Chandler, I do feel most nefariously wealthy when being half-blinded by my own diamonds!”

“I fear the red Cadillac we arrived in is already old hat, as it has been featured in some drab magazine for commoners who have to consider – PAYMENT PLANS – for their holidays hrrumphhawhaw”

“Yes indeed darling, next time we’ll take the aqua Cadillac which compliments my Siberian tiger cub fur stole much better”

“I dare you to chug it out of Anderson’s squash trophy.”


Beautiful cheap Florida, where you can drown out the sounds of your wife and annoying kids by focusing on how awesome YOU are!

Another article to read in your most world-weary old queen voice while wearing a pink marabou bathrobe and smoking through a foot-long cigarette holder. Not to fret, Al Hine, French movies would find their mojo again soon.

Free PILLOWS! Why I never imagined!

Pop-up toasters for home use had been a thing for something like thirty years before this, so I don’t know what McGraw Electric Co thinks they’re on to with this. However, can you even with that price – $360 in today’s money for a three-slot toaster!

Hey it’s our old friend Contract Bridge, except this time with droll little cartoon illustrations! “It ranks with such treats as love-making, cockfighting, and chess, blending some of their allurements”. Which is TOTALLY why your grandma still plays it.

An amazing read on the crazy burgeoning world of television production by Alfred Bester, who among other things created the Green Lantern oath and won the first Hugo award for science fiction writing. Alfred even worked as Senior Editor for Holiday from 1963-1971.

Kick back with the history of Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale, a famous restaurant whose signature dish was a giant steak, vegetables smothered in hollandaise sauce, and gigantic cosmopolitans. Charlie himself died less than a decade after this story was published. I wonder how.

Even in the 50s, Southern California and Southern Arizona would have been two very different experiences.

Bringing Midwestern traditions, like your woman looking pretty and serving beer to the men, to colorful and threateningly liberal California!

I would love to have this as a poster.

Just in case you were like “But where’s the outright racism in this magazine?”, Holiday is on it. Come to Virginia and immerse yourself in a long lost time when white men ruled the earth!

Only 28 pounds!

If you couldn’t afford to match your Cadillacs to your puppies like Chandler and Lucrecia up there, a Ford Fairlane could suffice.

The story that I’m getting here is that this man let his wife sleep in while he had a fling with the blonde lady in the center photo, and then met his wife for brunch in the dining car while making sure his back was turned away for maximum discretion. Don’t think the porter doesn’t know what you’re up to. Him and that lady sitting alone at the table in front of you have been talking about it all morning.

Mrs. Lee Garnett Day, aka Nancy Sayles Day, also looks somewhat glamorously evil, but from her obituary she appears to have been an ass kicker in the name of science.

I feel that as bad as this sexist cartoon could be, they could have done a lot worse than having the men be the ones refusing to take off their comfortable sweaters. And that classic 1950s cartoon aesthetic is rocking my world. As for the second ad, I TOTALLY believe that they took pictures at fancy restaurants in both Paris and New York just for this ad – and they definitely didn’t just move over from a photographic backdrop of Paris to a tiger-striped banquette seat. “Put a big flyswatter thingie in the center! Looks real New York!”

Tina’s warm, friendly spirit haunts the S.S. Constitution to this day, searching for little heirs to play with.

“We make these offerings of pineapple, flower, and stupid ugly hat to the volcano that we may appease the goddess and be reminded of good taste.”

This writer isn’t credited, but whoever it is they follow the typical midcentury convention of loving Ireland and inexplicably hating Irish-Americans.

You know you want to be That Family With The Donkey. Come on Ma, PLEEEEEASE?

I covet those mosaic bowls.

I know that flight attendants have worked very hard and suffered much in order to be taken seriously as professionals. I also wish they still wore jaunty little hats like that.

Both of these are classy as hell, although I wonder what they mean by “better-than-leather” finish for something that’s the equivalent of about $450 per set.

A long article about the rapidly growing city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which it is established that white Tulsans with money are effectively the Worst People In The World.

I love that on the very same page where Tulsa is described as a dry city there is an accompanying ad for Scotch.

“Arrange now with your son or daughter away at school for regular telephone voice-visits at convenient times” is strikingly formal and cold sounding in contrast to the assurance that your kids miss you in the first paragraph, but I’m sure many parents today would still love arrangements for regular telephone voice-visits.

I bet that William Carlos Williams piece for next month’s issue is good.

Thanks for reading another week with me! Next week we will be reading about atomic submarines and 3-D movies with Popular Science from April 1953!