! Senoritas y Senores ~ Vaya con Dios Siempre !

California Icons ~

Video

“Now I wanna dance, I wanna win. I want that trophy, so dance good…”


Mia Wallace & Vincent Vega Rockin’ the House at JackRabbit Slim’s ~ Pulp Fiction !

In a role originally meant for the actor Michael Madsen, John Travolta breaks out his Trademark Disco Moves perfected in films like “Saturday Night Fever” & “Urban Cowboy”, to take Home the Gold, albeit on a Very Roundabout Random Route to get there… Check Out this great article in Vanity Fair featuring the entire cast along with Pulp Fiction’s Director ~ Quentin Tarantino

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/01/pulp-fiction-oral-history-quentin-tarantino


The Incomparable Electric Violet Icon ~ Elizabeth Taylor


Her Star Shined Brighter Onscreen & Off than All of Hollywood in her Heyday ~

Elizabeth Taylor was perhaps in Retrospect, the Most Glamorous & Easily one of the Most Accomplished of all Actors ever to live. She Lived a Life Larger than any Role she ever Fulfilled…

A Real-Life California Cleopatra

In a Career Spanning 60 Years ~ Ms. Taylor outlived nearly All her Leading Men Onscreen & Off, having been Linked either on Film or in Life with the Likes of Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, George Hamilton & Michael Jackson- 2 Great Friends and in a Definition of BIG LOVE

The Seemingly BulletProof Richard Burton ~

The Love of Her Life

There have & will be Thousands of Words Written About her Then, Now & Always. Elizabeth Taylor Truly Transcended Fame, Hollywood Royalty, Scandal, Tragedy & Triumph. She Defined an Era & There will Never be Another like her ~ The One & Only Violet Icon

Ms. Taylor ~

A Giant

Among Actors & A True Humanitarian

We’ll Miss you Velvet



Dora at Malibu ~ 1962


'62 Orange Dora

The Most Iconic California Surfer ~ Miki Dora at Malibu. Everything he Stood For represents the Very Essence of our Legend


¡ VIVA McQUEEN ! ~ “I Live for Myself & I Answer to Nobody” • 1930 -1980


L.A. Commuter Steve McQueen ~ RHD Jaquar XKSS, 1963

A MotorSport Icon 30 Years On Today,

Steve McQueen was a Racer First

& an Actor Second ~


Prepping for a Desert Race in the Mojave with the Ekins Boys ~ 1964

His Early Life & Career Closely Resembled that of His Contemporary, James Dean. Both were from Indiana, Steve McQueen born in 1930 and Dean one year later. They both had unstable childhoods, no doubt shaping their Early Formative Rebel Tendencies. McQueen & Dean like him would both Migrate to New York, Restlessly Searching for a Creative Freedom that would ultimately propel them Both to Iconic Timeless Stardom. And Both of Them would Embrace a Need for Speed ~ However that is Where the Parallels End, as Time would prove McQueen the Far More Gifted in MotorSport ~

Lotus 11 owner McQueen in the Pits ~ Santa Barbara Road Races, 1959

What Defines True Style ?

The Thing was….he Really didn’t Care. I would see him from Time to Time. At Saddleback Park, with his Husqvarna 400, and his son Chad, my age. Pretty much just another couple guys out to Traverse the same Trails & Track just like Me & My Dad 10 feet away in the Same Dirt Parking Lot. At the Now Gone Forever Ascot Park in Gardena, racing with a bunch of other Guys in some immediately to be Forgotten Dune Buggy Heat Race. The Same Guy who was STEVE McQUEEN on the BIG SCREEN was just another guy Shooting the Shit in the Pit, relaxed and Laid-Back California Style in his Personal Life…

McQueen & 2 Puch Factory Works MotoCross Team riders ~ Saddleback Park, 1973

He had a Great Lady in his Life as well, his wife Neile. She had been a Successful New York Stage and minor Screen Actor when they met in the ‘Fifties, and as they say,

Behind Every Great Man is a Woman ~

She Nurtured him, Smoothed his Bruised Bank Account & Ego when he was Starting out, bought him Bikes, Paid his Rent, didn’t Hassle Him for Being Steve. Looked the Other Way for a Long Time. And it Paid Off for Many Years, at least until his Star got So Bright it Eclipsed them Together ~ a Lesson in there, Somewhere…

The McQueens Decompress at Home ~ Palm Springs, mid 1960s

Lovely McQueen Ladies ~ Steve & Neile McQ Road Trip with their Stunning ’63 Ferrari Lusso, Carmel 1967

In so Many Ways what often makes an Icon is not the Star Machine, The Media, the Hype. Certain People just Know How to Live ~ to Get the Most Out of Life, to Go Balls Out as they say and Keep it in their Minds that

You Only Go Around Once ~

In It to Win It ~ McQueen & Husqvarna 400WR • Elsinore Grand Prix, 1970

& Work to Live, not Live to Work ~

 

And So he Lived his Life ~

Working to Live rather than the Other Way ‘Round, which in The End perhaps is Really All that Matters. I was Lucky Enough to have Grown Up in a California Lifestyle in an Epic Era Exposed to MotorSport, Riding that Same Husqvarna ~ with an Endless Thanks to & having Lost My Own Main Man & Mentor for whom these Stories are Dedicated, to the same Mesthelioma that killed McQueen. His Legacy and Today have a Special Personal Meaning to me. There are men and there are Men.

You Only Get One Shot ~

Keep the Hammer Down.



Elvis in L.A. ~ 1970


The King visiting his Subjects in his Mercedes 600 Limousine ~ L.A. 1970

Some California Icons are Bigger than the stories anyone can write About Them ~ Certainly Elvis is one who will be forever Connected with California, through his Music, his Movies, & his Moxie. He Gave us So Much ~

Long Live the King !


Mid-Century Modern Mad Men ~ • Albert Frey & Raymond Loewy in Palm Springs, 1931-1980


Much Like other Genres of California Pop Culture & Influence, it took several European Immigrants to the California Lifestyle to Recognize and Establish a Standard of Architecture, creating several Mid-Century Masterpieces that influence all that we know today about Modern California Design ~

At the end of World War II Palm Springs’ Lazy Sunny Slow Desert Population almost tripled, and the city experienced a building boom. As an Elite Escape for the Hollywood Gentry and a Winter Haven for East Coast industrialists, Palm Springs would emerge Post-War as a resort community for a broader segment of the American populace with more leisure time than any previous generation. This helped to attract Design Projects from around the country, along with readily available Wide Open Spaces, a Balmy Tropical Clime and existing relaxed building codes and regulations…


Albert Frey was born in Zurich and had Come Up in an era of the Dutch De Stijl Movement & German Bauhaus Schools of Thought on Design. There is a Direct Correlation in these European Design Styles that one can see today in the Iconic Mid-Century Homes & Buildings well-preserved in the Dry California Desert of Palm Springs.

Frey moved around Europe, working in Belgium for several notable Architects, then moving to work with the Master Le Corbusier. Mssr. Frey came to America to work in 1928, and indeed one can trace the Roots of California Mid-Century Modernism to this period, as Architects like Frey, Austrians Rudolph Schindler & Richard Neutra moved to the U.S., bringing Art Deco & Modernist Sensibilites to the Somewhat Staid and Rigid American Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Design Ethic of the Day.

Photographer Edward Steichen, Film Director Josef Von Sternberg along with his Muse, actress Marlene Dietrich and her Contemporary Greta Garbo and Many Others influenced and Began to Shape California Pop Culture in Film, Photography, Graphics, Architecture, Furniture and Product Design. Albert Frey had already Created & Contributed several American Architectural Masterpieces with Le Corbusier and other leading American Architects of the Day years before setting foot in Palm Springs, or even California…

Consider That Most Americans were either Entering the Depression, going to Gangster Movies and PoP Culture centered around Bonnie & Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly and Charlie Chaplin, that Perhaps Puts the Progressive Luminaire House in Perspective as Design in 1931 ~

Designed by architects A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey for the 1931 Architectural League exhibition in New York, the Aluminaire House was one of only two houses by American architects to be included in the Museum of Modern Art’s famed 1932 International Exhibition of Modern Architecture. Disassembled and rebuilt 3 times, The Aluminaire now resides On the Central Islip (Long Island) campus of the New York Institute of Technology.

Another Altogether Influential European Designer would come to America from his Native France, having been wounded & decorated by his country while serving in WWI. His name was Raymond Loewy. He almost single-handedly changed the Face of American Product, literally creating a completely new Modern American Design Vernacular in Trains, Planes & Automobiles ~

Monsieur Loewy, having landed in New York in his French Military Uniform with $50. in his pocket, sought work immediately in Manhattan. Much like his N.Y.C. PopArt Successor Andy Warhol, Loewy started out his Illustrious American Design Career Stateside in the 1920’s as a Window Display Designer for Department Stores, including Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. He soon found work on a Higher Level as a Fashion Illustrator for the magazines Vogue & Harper’s Bazaar, as Fashion was largely illustrated rather than photographed at that time. This path very much Parallels that of Warhol some 30 years later…however that is where the Similarity of the Two Ends ~

Loewy’s Amazing Design Talent & Skills Propelled Him to the Stratosphere of Classic American Industrial & Product Design. He designed everything from The World’s First Streamlined Refrigerator, the Coldspot, to Complete Railroad Lines, Locomotives, Furniture, Graphic Design, Airliner Interiors and Automobiles ~ His Most Noteworthy Association in this realm with Studebaker. One of his Most Beautiful & Timeless Designs is this breathtaking Studebaker StarLiner Coupe from the Early Fifties, Known among Automotive Aficionados as the ‘Loewy Coupe’  ~

And So ~ at the Peak of Their Careers, Mssrs. Frey & Loewy’s Paths Converged. As Raymond Loewy was a Confirmed Bachelor at this point in his Stellar Mad Men Career, he needed a Man Cave. And who Better to Build It than the Confirmed Mid-Century Desert Design Maestro Albert Frey.

From 1935 to 1937 Albert Frey worked with John Porter Clark (1905-1991), a Cornell-educated architect, under the firm name of Van Pelt and Lind Architects as both were yet unlicensed in California. April of 1937 saw Frey briefly return to the east coast to work on the Museum of Modern Art in New York. While in New York Frey married Marion Cook, a writer he had met in Palm Springs. In 1938, Frey and his wife went to France and returned to America on the SS Normandie, a floating Art Deco Masterpiece. The couple arrived back in New York City on August 1, 1938 aboard the Great Ocean Liner.


Frey was So Enamored of Palm Springs and its Surroundings, he would soon focus all his Creative Design Energies there. He built his own home in Palm Springs in 1941, starting with a 3-bedroom nucleus that he hoped could be a prototype for mass-produced homes. Built out of very low-cost industrial materials, it came in at $6 per square foot, low even then. An original proponent of multiple-use space, his dining room table hung from the ceiling on clotheslines, The Iconic architectural Photographer Julius Shulman wrote about the Frey House,

“The aluminum siding and ceiling reflected the sun, while the interior wood panelling provided a feeling of warm refinement”


To see more of Julius Shulman’s Palm Springs Architectural Photography have a look at Modernism Rediscovered; pictures by Julius Shulman from::Palm Springs Modern Committee .

Frey’s Building Technique would soon Become the Mid-Century Southern California  Style Vernacular~

Architects & Builders all over Southern California would Adopt Frey’s Design & Building Style, capitalizing on readily available materials that emerged from the Mass Industrialization of America & the Southern California Aircraft Industry during WWII. FiberGlas, Aluminum & Plywood established the Signature Look ~


Architects like Cliff May & Roy Fey would Capitalize on this PostWar Building Boom,

adopting Frey’s Le Corbusier ethic and applying it Everywhere a Tract House Could Live in California. Neighborhoods from Larkspur to Lakewood sprang up and with all those G.I’s returning from Axis Battle with their G.I. Bills, Times were Good in Sunny California ~

One Big Drawback of these Low-Cost Innovations by the Bauhaus Master Frey was that Anyone could Get in on The Act, often with Questionable Results, and the California Tract House Was Born ~


But Not to Worry, as the Absolute Masters shared & adopted Frey’s Culture as well, and shared & adopted Frey’s Culture as well, and California Masterpieces arose… the Most Iconic Example is easily the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs by Richard Neutra. To look upon this house today One sees the Intuitive Skill in which Neutra Adopted Man’s Need for Shelter with the Surrounding Natural Setting as One ~

The Kaufmann House - a 1946 masterwork by architect Richard Neutra

The much-photographed 1946 masterwork by architect Richard Neutra might be the complete marriage of the abstract geometry of modern architecture with the desert-and-mountain landscape of Palm Springs. The sleek, largely horizontal, 3,162-square-foot house — on 2.53 acres, and including five bedrooms and six bathrooms — is laid out with pinwheel-like wings, offset by a few vertical elements — a chimney and an outdoor sleeping area that Neutra called a “gloriette” — that pull together the sprawling composition.

Many critics place the house amongst the most important houses of the 20th century in the United States and even was included in a list of all time top 10 houses in Los Angeles in December 2008.

And while the Upscale Master Neutra was Doing the Big-Time Mid-Century Masterpieces in the Desert ~ The Pioneer of the Genre, Albert Frey worked on a Smaller Scale with regard to Residential Design. Concentrating on his Ethic of Economy and Cost-Effective Materials, Frey Designed & Built an Addition to his Frey House I, in 1946.

Rising Out of the Rugged Palm Springs Landscape ~ Frey’s Iconic Extraterrestrial Turret appeared as from An Erector Set on Steroids ~

One can note the Most Basic of Hardware-Store Materials Frey conceived in a Most Iconic Manner

To see Frey’s own houses today perched in a Rugged Palm Canyon, is Almost Surreal. So Famous is the UFO-like Profile of Frey’s Home, it’s hard to Distinguish the Reality of your Gaze from one of Julius Shulman’s Timeless photographs.

As Frey’s Direct Bold Style Took Hold in the desert, Commercial Commissions in the Community presented themselves, and Indeed stand today as Testaments to Albert Frey’s Design Genius & the Simplicity in which he Preferred to Live, Embracing the Desert Surroundings ~

George & Judy Jetson got Married at the Palm Springs City Hall, 1957 (below) & Filled Up at the TramWay Gas Station, 1963 ~ Albert Frey

And Almost as a Parallel ~ The Bachelor Designer Raymond Loewy’s career had drawn him to Palm Springs in the Forties. So What Better Architect than Frey to collaborate with Loewy for the Ultimate Mad Men Man Cave ?

Raymond Loewy's Ultimate Man Cave & The Trappings of Bachelor Success ~ Albert Frey, 1946

Built in 1946-47 as a bachelor retreat and expanded later when Loewy got married, the house today has been restored by metalware manufacturer Jim Gaudineer who said of the design, “When you slide open the glass walls, it’s almost like living outdoors.” A typical Palm Springs modernist villa with a low-slung pavilion and plenty of glass that provides striking views of desert, mountains, and the pool and garden that make the private oasis complete…

What makes the Loewy House so Attractive is its Intimacy and like all of Frey’s Designs, its Simplicity. The Pool that literally Floats into the house…How Very Dean Martin of you Raymond. And indeed with Julius Shulman’s amazing Black & White photographs of the Loewy House, along with so many of Frey’s designs, it became an Immediate California Design Icon, like Frey Himself ~

For some years in the Late 40’s and 50’s Loewy settled down to a Life of Designer Domesticity

enjoying the Fruits of his Labors…and indeed in so many pictures of his Life, he is Surrounded by Beautiful Women, Admiring Friends & Co-Workers…No Shrinking Violet, Mr. Loewy ~ The Desert Design MasterMind Working on his Tan…and during that period Loewy continued his association with Studebaker, designing a Succession of Styles for them that would ensure Studebaker’s, and Loewy’s place in Time, literally…

Loewy with a Final Prototype Avanti - A 4-door never produced~looking some 50 years previous a lot like the 2010 Porsche Panamera

Loewy’s continued success and Endless Restless Design Genius would lead him to what many feel is his Swan Song ~ A Studebaker that, in spite of the Impending Doom of a company Loewy’s Designs had propped up for years – His Finest Hour would come with The Last Effort of a very old American Car Company to stay alive …

The Studebaker Avanti ~

A Final Avanti rendering virtually identical to the 1963 ~ preceding Mustang, Camaro, et al

Loewy in Later Years would divorce his Wife, and like Many Maniacal Mad Men, would soon Marry a Woman Half his Age ~

While his business earned roughly $3 million a year for decades, Loewy was able to indulge a sybaritic life‑style. In addition to a series of enormous yachts, Loewy at his peripatetic peak maintained lavish residences on Long Island and the Riviera, a pied‑a‑terre in Paris and a château in the suburbs, a Fifth Avenue cooperative, a villa in Mexico and of course the Frey House Palm Springs, Calif. “Of course, we have very little of all that left,” said his wife Viola.

And What of Frey Himself ? Perhaps the New York Times said it best in 1998 ~

Albert Frey, a Modernist and Minimalist Architect, Dies at 95

Albert Frey, an early ambassador to America of the International Style of architecture who later brought its themes to buildings in harmony with the American desert, died on Nov. 14 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., his executor, F. Gillar Boyd Jr., said.

He was 95 years old.

Mr. Frey belonged to a generation that believed in a political role for modern architecture, that of social liberation through machine-made, egalitarian and affordable designs. His chosen materials were aluminum, glass, cables and, eventually, the very boulders and sands of the desert where he settled.

In a career that spanned more than 65 years, Mr. Frey remained true to the principle that architecture should make the most of the least. His best known works were the East Coast houses he designed with Lawrence Kocher in the 1930’s and the many buildings he created in the Palm Springs of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.

”He was the last of a generation of European architects that came to the West Coast envisioning that, in this unformed landscape, a perfected vision of a modern future could bloom,” said Terence Riley, chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art.

And Mr. Loewy ? He Lived to Be 97, until 1986 ~

During his lifetime Loewy’s company worked for numerous private companies as well as governments, and his designs have had a major effect on the Man-Made Environment. Products he has been responsible for range from cars, ships, airplanes, buildings and white-goods appliances
to products such as toothbrushes and pens.

Mssr. Loewy served as consultant to numerous corporations including  The Hupp Motor company, Coca- Cola, United Airlines, Shell, Exxon, IBM, BMW, GM and NASA sought him for his streamlined designs seen to reflect economy and grace. Loewy was a Consultant to NASA on the Apollo Space Program, and on the Saturn I, Saturn V, and the SkyLab Habitat studies, 1967-1973.

That is a Long Way from Designing 1930’s Refrigerators~ And Along Somewhere, in Between All of Those Accolades, The Two of Them were Just Two Young Brilliant Guys, Admiring Each Others’ Work, Creating a New California Style, Some Sensible Living Spaces & Making Friends ~



LEVI’S 501 XX ~ California Denim • 1850-1971


When One Thinks of a Fashion Icon ~

Names Like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren or Yves St. Laurent Come to Mind.

However One Claim to Fashion & Function Fame is in a Class of Its Own…

…Made in California Of Course ~



The LEVI’S 501 XX Denim Jean


No Matter When you Grew Up, or Where You Live, in America or Japan or Australia or Europe, whether you are an Octogenarian, A Hippie, A Baby Boomer, Cowboy, Biker, Yuppie, or just Plain Old You, There’s a Pretty Good Chance you’ve got a Pair of Levi 501’s. Or You’ve had some – or You Want Some. You might even have some on right now ~ Like I Do. My Favorite Version, although not to Wear Personally, are Without Question the Daisy Duke Variety, but we’ll get to that later.. It all started ‘Way Back in the California Gold Rush Days ~

According to the Guinness Book of World Records the Most Valuable Denim Jeans are an original pair of Levi Strauss & Co 501 XX aged over 115 years old which were sold to a collector in Japan for $60,000 through eBay in 2005. The seller reports that the rather dusty jeans were found in a mine in the Rand Mining District, on the Mojave Desert in California. They are covered in candlewax from the candles the miner was using to light the tunnel he was working in and were found with a paper bag with the name of a mercantile store which operated between 1895 and 1898 in the town of Randsburg. The pants have a buckle back with suspender buttons and cloth label indicating they are size W34 x L33.

Send ’em Over to Federico~ A Bit Big but Those Will Fit.

In 1853, the California Gold Rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of Dry Goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a Gold Prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last. San Francisco Was A Rough Town in 1850. Gold had been discovered all throughout the Hills to the North in Places like Sutters Mill & Vallecito. Prospectors Invaded John Sutter’s Land, leaving him Powerless to Fight them Off, as they came by the hundreds, tramping through his Fields and Streams. Fortune Hunters from Far & Wide showed up from Everywhere. Immigrant Miners thought they would simply Bend Over & Scoop Up the Nuggets. The work turned out to be a lot Harder Than That, Dirty, Wet & Exhausting ~ Day After $6. aDay.  Tough Going & Hard on the Gear.

 

1895 Pair of 501 XX LEVI'S found in a Mineshaft in the Mojave Desert • eBay price-$46,047.

 

So Young Levi Strauss, being of an Enterprising and Sound Practical German Mind, was Selling Merchandise to the Miners. For Years he sold All Manner of Dry Goods he imported from the Family Business on the East Coast. In late 1870 Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada tailor, started making men’s work pants with metal points of strain for greater strength. He wanted to patent the process but needed a business helper, so he turned to Levi Strauss, from whom he had purchased some of his fabric. So Levi Strauss, knowing a Good Garmento Opportunity when he saw one, Partnered Up with Jacob Davis to form Levi-Strauss & Co. They began manufacturing LEVI‘S brand Overalls for the Populace of Miners, Muleskinners and Mercantile-Minders. People didn’t wear no Belts in Those Days, it was Suspenders or even Rope or Whatever to hold your Britches Up, so Levi put Big ‘Ol Buttons on the Front & Back to Strap Yerself In.

Levi had the stout, rough canvas made into Waist Overalls. Miners liked them, but complained that they tended to chafe. He substituted a Twilled Cotton Cloth from Nimes, France called “Serge de Nimes.” The fabric later became known as Denim and the pants were nicknamed ~

BLUE JEANS ~

The Rest is History

Levi was In The Apparel Business. Everybody for Miles Around wanted a Pair of His Britches. They Weren’t called 501’s yet, and they Weren’t really even Pants, but more of a Pull on Overall Style to wear with suspenders. The earliest pairs weren’t even Blue but more of a Potato Sack Brown color, with the Cut to Match. Fashion followed Function, but not for Some Time to Come.

In the California 1880’s ~ It was a Lot More about Git ‘Er Done than How Do I Look?

LEVI'S HQ 14-16 Battery Street San Francisco, Since 1880


• On May 20, 1873, Levi-Strauss & Nevada Tailor David Jacobs received U.S.Patent No.139,121.
This date is now considered the official birthday of The ‘Blue Denim Jean’.
• Also in 1873, Levi Strauss & Company began using the Iconic Chevron pocket stitch design. Levi and Nevada tailor Jacobs co-patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength.
• The ‘Two-Horse Brand’ Label showing a team of horses trying to pull apart a pair of pants, was first used in 1886.
• In 1890 the firm assigned its first lot numbers to its products, and the famous number “501” was assigned to the riveted pants. In that year as well, Levi Strauss & Co. was formally incorporated and issued 18,000 shares of stock in the company to family members and employees.
• A second back pocket was added in about 1901 and belt loops appeared in 1922—the pants would sport both loops and suspender buttons until 1937.

This Pair of ‘Dead-Stock’ Buckle-Back LEVI’S 501’s from 1917 have never been worn & are worth Many Thousands of Dollars ~Iconic Chevron Single-Needle Stitching and ‘Fold-Over’ Label


Levi-Strauss & Co. entered a New Era in a New Century…

One Big Nasty Setback ~ The S.F. Earthquake & Fire in 1906


Levi-Strauss had already Been in Business for 30-Plus Years at the Turn of the Century ~ He had Built His Company Up from a small Dry Goods store into a Company with virtually No Competition and he had Worked Hard. Levi died on September 26, 1902 at the age of 73. He never married, so he left the business to his four nephews, Jacob, Sigmund, Louis, and Abraham Stern, the sons of his sister Fanny and her husband David Stern. He also left bequests to a number of charities such as the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum and the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum. Levi’s fortune in 1902 money was estimated to be around 6 million dollars. He was buried in Colma, California.

Herd Quitters ~ Charles M. Russell ~ Circa 1900


The ‘Blue-Collar Worker’ & The Dungaree ~

Levi had Created an Incomparable Product without Equal, so who should decide to Follow Farmers, Cowboys and Workers All Over America wearing LEVI’S Work Wear to produce the Absolutely BulletProof Wearable Durability of LEVI’S Denim ? The U.S. Military. The U.S. Army & Navy adopted Denim in Varying Weights, calling their gear Dungarees. Blue Denim work clothing was adopted as Standard by the Army on 11 June 1919, replacing brown work clothing used before. The top was a jumper style pullover, the trousers had five pockets — two front, two hip, and a watch pocket. In 1933 a one-piece work suit (coveralls) was adopted in blue denim for use by mechanics, drivers, machinists, and others in similar roles. This was in addition to and did not replace the two piece work uniform. These blue denim coveralls were used until replaced by herringbone twill (HBT) one piece coverall in 1938.

The First 'Big E' • 1936 LEVI'S Series1 XX Single-Pocket Jacket ~ $$

 

A Burgeoning Business Taking Hold Further South in California would Make Levi-Strauss a Household Name ~

Hollywood…

1930's ~ LEVI'S Invade Hollywood

John Wayne wearing Original-style LEVI'S Waist Overalls ~ Circa 1936

LEVI'S Pearl-Button Rodeo Shirt~1938

1930’s Hollywood Cowboys Like Gary Cooper, Tom Mix & John Wayne Put LEVI’S on the Map ~

The Big E • 1936

The Red BIG E Label Showed Up to Help Identify the LEVI’S Brand from Further Away ~


In 1936 LEVI'S Started Sporting the BIG E Tag ~ This is a Slightly Newer Series 2 Jacket.

Roy Rogers & Dale Evans ~ Paramount Ranch, 1938

LEVI’S got on The Style BandWagon with Some Fine Western Duds to Complement the Jeans. Amazingly, Levi-Strauss Products were only Available West of the Mississippi Before the 1950’s.

Ladies & Kids got in on The Act with their Brand of Koveralls, or essentially Overalls. While These were Fine for Work, Some Ladies preferred a More Stylish Look, And LEVI’S Delivered~ In the Late ‘Thirties Cowboy Couture was All the Rage in California.

As The Forties Approached, The Depression & Dark Clouds of War Over Europe meant Soon it would be Time to Stop Singin’, Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Back to Work…



Bib Overalls, which came into prominence during the Great Depression. Farmers, Carpenters, Railroad and Factory workers adopted Bib Overalls as their Uniform during this period, which became a Symbol of America’s Fighting Spirit as the country struggled to rebuild itself afer the devastating Stock Market Crash of 1929. During World War II, American Fighting Men took their favorite pairs of denim pants overseas, While the Ladies Went to Work on America’s War Machine ~

1941 Series II 'Buckle-Back' 501 XX

Levi’s Carried On through the Wartime 1940’s ~ But it Was really in the 1950’s the Brand would Hit Its Stride ~ as now LEVI’S would be Available Nationwide for the First Time…Just as Brando, James Dean and a Host of Other Rebels Without a Cause Dawned on America…

Postwar Paradise PinUp Norma Jean Baker in a Pair of late 40's 501XX RedLines, 1948

In 1947, Rusetta Coupe Club members Bob and Dick Pierson of Inglewood, California ran their Now Utterly Priceless ’34 Ford 3-Window Coupe at the Dry Lakes. It was their daily transportation—their mother thought it would be a safe car for them to drive—eventually, over the ensuing years they sneaked it up to 140.40. It was no longer their daily driver.

For the 1950 Dry Lakes Season at El Mirage, they stood the Hot Rod World on its ear when they figured out how to chop the top, lay back the windshield and yet still meet the SCTA’s 7-inch windshield height regulation. Powered by a Bobby Meeks-built, Edelbrock equipped Flathead Merc, The Pierson Bros. 2D coupe consistently ran 150 mph.  The car ran at the Dry Lakes, the Drags and at Bonneville ~ Standard Racing Uniform ~ LEVI’S BIG E 501 XX


The Most Iconic, Poignant And Touching Film ever Starring the Legendary

LEVI’S 501 XX Denim ~

The Misfits, 1960


Hollywood Images such as these are what give the LEVI 501 its Classic Legendary American Status Today ~

Starring Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable with a Screenplay by Arthur Miller & Directed by John Huston ~

The Misfits is A Touching Film, Painfully Desperate & Obvious each is Near their End in the Film & In Life…The Photographs by the Incredible German Photographer Ernst Haas need no Further Dialogue ~








The LEVI’S ‘BIG E’ 501 XX Denim Jean & Jacket Would Go on for Another 10 Years, until 1971 ~

 

 

 

 

California Couture Biker Gear de Rigueur ~ LEVI 501 XX Jacket & Jeans, cutoff the Sleeves, Add Hells Angels Colors & Biker

 

501’s Starred in Thousands of Told & Untold Episodes Across America, with Rock N’Roll, Romance, HotRodders, Tragedy, War, The Hell’s Angels, Hunter S. Thompson and Cowboys, Farmers, Families, and Kids Growing Up Everywhere… Maybe Just Like You.


For My Friends Always, Wallace & Jill ~ Federico

 


Ravishing Raquel Welch ~ 1967. No, Those Aren't 501's but...