Street Van: One of Dodge’s 1970s Adult Toys

During the heyday for customized and airbrushed vans, Dodge capitalized on the trend by offering hip options straight from the factory. While the custom van craze faded by the early eighties, the Dodge B-Series cargo van soldiered on until 2003, when it was replaced with the Sprinter van sourced from Mercedes.

Source: Dodge/caranddriver.com

The Street Van, offered from 1976 through 1980, was advertised as an “Adult Toy,” alongside other full-size Dodge offerings like the Ramcharger SUV and Lil’ Red Express pickup. It featured factory options such as chrome, chrome and more chrome, wide five-slot mag wheels, custom interiors and wild graphics packages, plus the psychedelic “Street Van” logo on the passenger and driver side doors. Even better, Street Van buyers got a “Customizing Idea Kit,” which included suggestions for paint schemes and interior choices, as well as a listing of aftermarket suppliers that could outfit your boss rig with spoilers, fender flares, sunroofs, vents and, of course, portholes of nearly every shape under the sun. By 1977, membership in the “Dodge Van Clan Club” was also included.

Tara Hurlin, https://www.hagerty.com/media/archived/shag-wagons/
Enjoy that basement rec room vibe no matter where you park it. 1977 Dodge B200 Tradesman. Source: barnfinds.com

The seller notes that all of the carpeting was recently professionally cleaned, which is likely one of the biggest concerns/fears of anyone looking to get into a van of this style and vintage.

Jeff Lavary, barnfinds.com

Mardi Gras House Floats

New Orleans Mardi Gras parades have been cancelled because of COVID, so people are decorating their houses as floats instead:

‘Float houses’ are popping up all over New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2021: Now with 250 photos!

How the Mardi Gras float house phenomenon began and how it’s spreading beyond New Orleans

Featured image source: Reuters/Kathleen Flynn

James Garner and Mariette Hartley Vintage Polaroid Christmas Commercials

When James Garner passed away, obituaries mentioned not only his movies (The Great Escape, Grand Prix) and TV Shows (Maverick, The Rockford Files), but also commercials he made for Polaroid cameras. Polaroid partnered him with actress Mariette Hartley, who had done mainly guest star appearances on TV shows (Gunsmoke, Star Trek, Mannix) up until then.

The ads were so successful that Garner reportedly made over 300 of them between about 1977 and 1983. He and Hartley had such a winning chemistry in the spots that viewers presumed that the two were actually married to each other. They were not.

Here’s a bunch of the Christmas-themed ads that Garner and Hartley did for Polaroid.

Wild and Historic New Jersey: Prints and Paintings

Detail from View on the Delaware near Bordentown. 1839. Artist: Karl Bodmer. Engraver: Charles Vogel. Source: Morven Museum/Joseph Felcone.

Fantastic historic prints and maps of New Jersey can be see in an online exhibition by the Morven Museum. Like the images above, a view of the Delaware Water Gap by an unknown artist, and an engraving of Bordentown Landing by Karl Bodmer, because of course he and Prince Maximillian stopped by to visit Joseph Bonaparte’s estate before heading west.

The original exhibition, Portrait of Place: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints of New Jersey, 1761–1898, was held at Morven in 2013 and was drawn from the collection of Joseph Felcone.

The place where the Packet Ship John Minturn was wrecked. July 1846. G. R. Bonfield. Squan Beach, New Jersey. Source: Morven Museum/Joseph Felcone.

The Ranger Doug Who Saves Vintage National Park Posters

There’s a new New York Times article on “Ranger Doug” Leen (not to be confused with the other Ranger Doug), a dentist and former park ranger, who rediscovered, preserved, and now recreates 1930s-era National Park posters created by WPA artists.

In the 1930s, posters for 14 parks, including the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon were created by government artists. Fewer than 50 original posters are known to survive and there are no original copies for two parks, Great Smoky Mountains and Wind Cave. Ranger Doug now works with artist Brian Maebius to create new posters in the same style for other national parks.

Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., Poster designed by artist C. (Chester) Don Powell and printed by Dale Miller; Doug Leen, www.dougleen.com)
The original Yellowstone poster, with original colors. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., Poster designed by artist C. (Chester) Don Powell and printed by Dale Miller; Doug Leen, www.dougleen.com)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., Poster designed by artist C. (Chester) Don Powell and printed by Dale Miller; Doug Leen, www.dougleen.com)

Pets and/or Meat: A Virus Complicates the Human-Rabbit Relationship

While Susan Orlean‘s article The Rabbit Outbreak is about a deadly virus affecting rabbits, it also provides a glimpse into the unusual relationship between humans and hares.*

In the U.S., rabbits were commonly raised for their meat, but “After the Second World War, the demand for rabbit meat began to decline. The number of cattle being raised domestically nearly doubled, and beef, which had previously been something of a luxury, became affordable. … Soon, it became the white meat of choice, and rabbit was marginalized as an occasional dish.”