WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN NOVEMBER 1948
 
 
 

Buttons And Bows a country-sounding pop song which was recorded by a very pregnant Dinah Shore reputedly with just minutes to spare before the 1948 recording ban was to start while the band added an unplanned ad-libbed response on the tail end of the take, is the number one song on the Billboard Pop Charts for two months.



Dinah Shore became the first female pop vocalist to achieve long term success independent of a band, as she first received notice singing on radio which is where she was inadvertently rechristened Dinah (her real name was Frances) after the announcer, Martin Block, couldn’t remember her name after she’d sung the song “Dinah”.

Shore went on to be the best selling female singer of the 1940’s scoring 31 Top Ten Hits including four #1’s, of which Buttons & Bows was her last.

After signing a celebrated one million dollar recording contract with RCA in 1950 her sales began to plummet amidst changing tastes, notching only three more Top Ten hits in her career, none after 1951.

Yet her career was far from over, as having appeared frequently on radio throughout the 1940’s both on her own programs and guesting on others, she made the move to television where she became arguably even more famous by hosting the popular Dinah Shore Chevy Show, a variety series which ran for seven years starting in 1956 and introduced the famed advertising song “See The USA In Your Chevrolet”.

In later years she remained in the spotlight by dating 1970’s sex symbol Burt Reynolds who was twenty years younger than her, which became the most celebrated tabloid romance of the era, as well as hosting the Dinah Shore Classic, a women’s golf tournament which helped bring the sport more mainstream recognition.

Her popularity across all forms of media made Shore one of the famous women in America for more than half of the twentieth century.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The first Polaroid camera (Land Camera model 95) hits the market in New England’s Jordan Marsh department stores and quickly becomes a national event.

These revolutionary “instant” cameras feature a single setting to adjust the lens and shutter speed, then after the snapshot is taken it actually prints the photograph within the camera itself, no more having the film roll developed professionally. A minute later you pull out the finished printed picture which is guaranteed to be of the same high quality as traditional photos, right down to the standard white border.

Developed by Edwin Land, hence the camera’s name, the Land Camera retailed for a whopping $89.95. By comparison the Kodak Brownie camera, which was the most popular traditional camera of that era, sells for just $5.50. Despite the huge price difference the Polaroid is a massive success with sales totaling over $5 million the first year.

The company continued to be the defining brand of the instant camera field throughout the rest of the century until digital cameras make the technology obsolete.
 
 
 
 
 
President Harry Truman wins a second term by making a furious comeback in the polls in the final weeks of the campaign over challenger Thomas Dewey whose lead in mid-October was substantial enough that the press was already proclaiming him the victor.

In the November 1st edition of LIFE magazine, with the actual election still yet to be held, the coverage of the race treated Dewey’s win as a forgone conclusion. The caption affixed to a photograph of him said declaratively “The next President travels by ferry boat over the rough waters of San Francisco Bay”. The text of the articles were equally self-assured, stating what “Dewey’s victory will mean” and laying out how securing the Senate would “keep the new administration united”.

Their lead line in one article read simply, “If the ’48 campaign seemed to have less fireworks than usual, it is because Dewey knew all along he would win.” Instead of questioning this view, the editors embraced it, as did all of the prognosticators of the day.

Dewey’s polling lead which was seemingly insurmountable less than a month earlier had begun to rapidly shrink as election day neared but even as the vote was coming in on November 2nd showing a much different outcome than predicted, the Chicago Tribune famously printed the early edition of their morning paper with the headline Dewey Defeats Truman, which the celebratory President Truman held aloft for photographers when the actual results were made official.

The two candidates weren’t seen as very far apart on the major issues heading into the election with only the Taft-Hartley Act being a major point of dispute between them, and it was more the image of Truman being “inept” or simply not big enough for the job that formed the basis of much of the doubt concerning his chances. Truman however was a solid man and a strong President who presided over major world events with a surprisingly deft touch and fair-minded approach for which history has treated him far kinder than seemed likely at the time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The 1949 model cars are now appearing on the market and Mercury touts its new engines which can get as many as 19 miles to the gallon.

Considering the advances in all other facets of automotive technology in the seven decades to follow, with engines now expected to hold up for well over a hundred thousand miles of use, tires lasting for years rather than suffering blow-outs which were all-too common then, and the development of rust-proofing which keep car bodies from falling apart, it would seem as if gas mileage would also have improved drastically in that time… unless it had been artificially held back for the benefit of those who are not consumers.

The oil industry, which was comprised at the time of 34,000 individual companies, spent four billion dollars in 1947 and 1948 on expansion projects alone to increase production capacity with the expectation that the American consumer would become ever more reliant on oil for heating and transportation. To ensure this would remain the case any serious attempt to curtail that growth was met with massive resistance from this lucrative – and thus powerful – industry.

So Mercury’s push to 19 MPG from the standard 17 MPG was about all one could hope for in such an environment. That same mindset continues today, as well into the next century fuel efficiency has yet to even double its 1948 standard. By contrast the price of these cars are more than thirteen times higher than they were in 1949, with a new Mercury two door coupe then costing just under two thousand dollars, while today a comparable car starts at $27,000.

Had that same rate of increase been applied across the board for both a car’s retail price AND its fuel efficiency your new car would be getting over 250 miles to the gallon today!

 
 
 
 

The flagship station of the DuMont network, WABD of New York (Channel 5), becomes the first to TV station in the country to offer regularly scheduled daytime programming, among them Amanda, a fifteen minute program airing at noon which featured Amanda Rudolph, the first black female television personality.

Rudolph had been a singer and pianist dating back to the 1920’s as well as a songwriter, all with some acclaim, before moving into vaudeville later in the decade, first in musicals and then as a comedienne. After reviving her music career in the mid-1930’s she also began acting on radio programs as well as in film and on Broadway.

From August to October 1948 she starred in The Laytons for the DuMont network, making her the first African-American lead actress on television. When that show left the air she became a pioneer in that regard in the daytime realm as well.

DuMont’s groundbreaking social firsts were matched by their programming advances, as previously dead air and test patterns were all you could usually see if you turned on your television set before 5:30PM. By opening up the rest of the day and targeting housewives who were those most likely to be home during normal working hours to watch these shows DuMont made TV even more ubiquitous in American life.
 
 
 
 
 
 
No man would ever think of heading to the office in the morning, going to dinner in the evening or a ballgame on the weekend without wearing a necktie and that means you can never have enough. But if you find yourself running low you’re in luck because Haband sells a wide assortment of men’s ties for just $1.10 apiece.

These ties are in good taste with well chosen patterns and excellent coloring says the Paterson, New Jersey company which offers these via convenient mail order for their style-conscious male clientele.

As a further incentive if you buy five ties you’ll get a free 1949 Esquire desk calendar, the popular men’s magazine’s notorious yearly promotion featuring scantily clad girls who don’t wear ties but know how to seductively remove them from around your collar in your fantasies which are sure to be as vivid as the designs adorning these handsome ties.

Best of all, should your wife catch you dreaming of such encounters, the high quality material used means these won’t fray or tear as she chokes you into unconsciousness with your bright new Haband necktie.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RECORDS REVIEWED FOR NOVEMBER 1948:
 
 
ROY BROWN: Rainy Weather Blues
ROY BROWN: ‘Fore Day In The Morning
CROWN PRINCE WATERFORD: Leaping Boogie
CROWN PRINCE WATERFORD: P.I. Blues
BIG JIM WYNN: Blow Wynn Blow
BIG JIM WYNN: J.W. Bop
TODD RHODES: Walkie Talkie
CHUBBY NEWSOM: Hip Shakin’ Mama
CHUBBY NEWSOM: Chubby’s Confession
BIG JOHN GREER: Rockin’ With Big John
IVORY JOE HUNTER: I Like It
THE RAVENS: White Christmas
THE RAVENS: Silent Night
JIMMY PRESTON: Messin’ With Preston
JOE SWIFT: Lovin’ Baby Blues
THE ORIOLES: (It’s Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas
THE ORIOLES: To Be To You
THE DIXIEAIRES: Things Got Tough Again
BIG JOE TURNER: Messin’ Around
BIG JOE TURNER: So Many Women Blues
 
 
 
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