Weird and Wonderful: Santa on the Beach

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Even Santa needs a holiday! Actually, he probably needs a holiday more than most – his Christmas Eve duties must be exhausting. Here he is, relaxing on a Florida beach with several reindeer (below) and some surprised locals (above).

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Post Early For Christmas… Again!

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‘Christmas Mail’ (c. 1910-15)

In recent years, we’ve met the world’s most organised dog, a clumsy wartime comic and some of the people of Christmas, Florida (watch out for more from them soon!), who were all united in explaining how to get your cards, presents and letters to Santa in the post in plenty of time for the festivities.

I’ve been a bit rubbish with my Christmas post this year, but I loved these festive mail-related images. The black and white photographs are all American, probably taken in and around the Washington DC area, and the brightly coloured adverts (below) are from wartime Britain again.

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Creepy Vintage: Gas Mask Replica*

A group of children wearing gas masks, accompanied by nursing staff (December 1917)

I found these images whilst rummaging through a huge number of official and public domain archive photos taken during both World Wars, and they immediately stood out in a flash of weirdness. There is something very creepy about old black and white photos of people wearing gas masks, and these examples are distinctly odd…

The picture above was taken in 1917 and shows a group of (probably) Dutch children during a gas mask drill. This is easily the creepiest of the photos I found, mainly because there’s something so alien about these kids in their protective gear.

Below, you’ll see a 1942 shot of a group of ATS women in the Middle East wearing their gas masks and respirators, posed and staring almost dead-eyed at the camera. I don’t know if it’s just me, but they look like they’re about to gatecrash a very tense scene in a vintage episode of Dr Who (or some other very British sci-fi show) and send me scuttling behind the sofa…

Women soldiers with gas masks - World War Two

*Apologies for the mangled Captain Beefheart reference in the title!

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Vintage Advertising: Halloween Monster Ghost (1973)

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Do you know someone who needs a seasonal scare? Want to terrify your friends and family? In that case, these may be the products for you. And at $1.75 for the two, they’re a bargain worth screaming, groaning and moaning about…

Make Halloween a night your friends, neighbors (and enemies) will never forget. Use the ghost and the record together for parties, psychedelic, & supernatural effects and horrifying Halloween stunts.

This ad is from the September 1973 issue of Co-Ed Magazine, which suggests that the target market was students – and this would further explain a lot (I was a student once…). I am, however, curious to know how they figured out what creatures from outer space sound like since even Hollywood b-movies, those truthful documentaries of multiple alien invasions, can’t agree on that!

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Vintage Magpies!

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I found some vintage magpies!

These beaky little balls of annoyed monochrome fluff could very well be the 1930s ancestors of our very own Toon Magpies – they may not look much like the sleek black and white adult birds we are used to seeing, but the resemblance is certainly there!

I have to say that I love this picture. If there was a magpie equivalent to the school photo, it would be this. Annoyed, uncomfortable, almost defiantly unfashionable, and with really bad hair (the chick on the left is certainly rockin’ a seriously punk-style hairdo, forty years too early); this is the kind of image your mum would proudly display at home and which would embarrass you in front of your mates in your teens.

Just imagine being a teenage magpie…