Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Astonishing Reminder of What America Used To Be

I know the 1950s and early 1960s were not entirely wonderful.  I have friends who could not get a hotel room in Sonoma County because they were black.  There was a lot of really destructive stuff going on; a lot of children were being physically and sexually abused.  But even if you could have seen all the evil going on, I don't believe that it was worse than today, and I suspect that it was probably better.  Making people ashamed of evil is, at least for some, a restraint--instead of today, where "evil" seems to have almost disappeared as a concept.

Small Dead Animals pointed me to this astonishing collection of 16mm home video shot for some sort of veterans convention in Las Vegas in 1962 (or perhaps 1963--as one commenter points out).

Las Vegas 1962 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

I would turn off the weird soundtrack; perhaps I am just too old to appreciate it, but it really does not fit the times.

I lived in Las Vegas one summer in the late 1960s, and I visited there occasionally before and since.  The signs that today might seem gaudy bring back positive memories; as sorry as Las Vegas can look in daylight, at night, it was magical (and still is).  The opening sequences at the train station are a reminder of how well-dressed Americans were, even when traveling.

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