Friday, 27 April 2012

A to Z 1950s/60s Nostalgia: X

[Please excuse any cheating on today's A to Z post. It's been a long month!]

X Smell:
eXtremely smelly bath salts [I know! I know! but...*shrugs*] - I loved tipping loads of bath salt crystals into my bath or dropping a bath salt square into the water and watching it dissolve. I wasn't too discerning about the perfume that came with them!

X Memories:
X-rays - A machine called a Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope was installed in most shoe shops in the 1950s. This was an x-ray machine that checked our precious baby toes to make sure they weren’t squashed inside our new shoes. The machines started to be withdrawn in the 1960s when dangers were highlighted but some were still in use as late as 1970... scary isn't it! I mentioned these machines in a previous post. I've copied out the relevant verse from a poem that I posted up called A Tiny History of Shoes. [If you fancy reading the whole poem just click on the post title.]

My first shoes were Clarks, always measured to fit
Then checked with an X-ray machine.
In those days we none of us knew of the risks
And we all loved to look at the screen...

Christopher Lee as Dracula
X Certificate films - The method of giving films an x certificate for age 16-and-over viewing was introduced in 1951. I've never been keen on horror films and so I never tried to 'sneak into an X' but my sister... [look away now Rifka if you don't want to be reminded] ...used to go and see Dracula films and then we had to sleep with the landing light on all night!

X Programmes:
On TV:
Os and Xs Test Card

The Man with the X-ray eyes

X Names:

DiXie Cups
Tom PaXton
Xavier Cugat who provides the...

X Music:
Xavier Cugat plays She's a Bombshell from Brooklyn

With only a few cheats ;-)

If you're enjoying these memories then you'll also enjoy 
Anne Mackle's blog at Is Anyone There? 
Her A to Z Challenge is about memories of the 1960s and 70s.


  1. ha! I'd forgotten about those test patterns... the Os and Xs cards.

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *screams* I looked - landing light on tonight and tomorrow!!!!
    "Well done" sis that is one brilliant X blog - didn't think of any of the names. But as I was going to bed last night into my head came XL5....... Fireball "XL5" - a science fiction themed children's television show with Colonel Steve Zodiac and also "Xerox" - photocopying machine with a handle to turn to obtain the copies - talk about primitive!!

  3. Yes I remember the test cards,
    X is an awful word to write about. Well done.


  4. Ooh you got some good ones here, Ros. I had X-ray and X-rated films but not the others!

    I do remember: "Legend of Xanadu", and the game in Sat night's newspaper "Mark the spot with an X".
    Remembering Jimmy Witherspoon yesterday made me think of xylophone - he played the spoons on a big xylophone.
    Hubby came up with the Jaguar XK.
    Oh and two little cheats, Lord Rockingham's X1 and Dickie Valentine's song "Christmas Alphabet" Xmas Alphabet - the abbreviation I do not like but the song is so appropriate for an A-Z!

  5. So, Rifka, we weren't soul sisters today because I didn't have the same memories as you!

  6. Hi Pat, This was a hard one - well done - brilliant ideas - especially 'Christmas Alphabet'. As you say its so appropriate.......

  7. After watching Life of Mars, that test card scares me! Did you ever watch Life on Mars?

  8. Well done for finding some Xs, Ros! Funny you should mention Xanadu, Pat. It's my word today, even though I don't remember "Legend of Xanadu". ~Miriam

  9. LOL, it's confession time. I remembered the Legend of Xanadu - Dave, Dee, Beaky, Mick and Titch - so I googled to see what year it was. BUT, at the time, it was meant for a Z memory 'cos I thought it was Zanadu.
    Great to find an X, though now I'll be struggling for Zs.

  10. Hi Lynda, those test cards were on the screens for hours and hours, weren't they.

    Hi Rifka, you remember the fear then huh! *grins at memories of 1950s sister being horrid to sister routine* I was going to use the Xerox machine as the smell but couldn't honestly remember if there was a smell.

    Hi Yvonne, I've popped over to your blog and love that song you used but Xanadu by Olivia Newton John is too recent for this blog.

    Hi Pat, Oh yes, those football competitions! And you've got your husband working at this as well, have you? Apologise to him from me. It'll soon all be over. I can see how Christmas Alphabet is appropriate to this challenge but I'm not keen on the X abbreviation either... and thank you for the confession!

    Hi Annalisa, I know exactly what you mean. Life on Mars was as frightening to me as I think Dracula was to Rifka. It turned my stomach with fear every time that test card girl spoke.

    Hi Miriam, it's fascinating how well used the word Xanadu is on the blog today!!

  11. Hi sis, "I feel the fear".......
    Yes Xerox machine's had a smell - probably highly toxic too. In 1960 I was stuck in a small, windowless room churning out thousands of copies...Yuk *shivers*. Once again Health and Safety would have a fit.
    Annalisa, I loved 'Life on Mars' but the test card bit terrified me.

    Almost as much as the D word Ros!!!

  12. Bath salts and blocks, my goodness I'd forgotten about those, now the memory and smell returns. A lovely post and what a trip down memory lane.

  13. This has been a horrible letter. I remember the shoe X-ray I loved it especially looking in the wee window at my feet. I didn't know they had been banned wondered why I hadn't seen them.

  14. Those shoe x-ray machines were so creepy! I'd forgotten about them, but now they're back....

  15. I have heard of those machines called a Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope. I didn't realize that some were still available in the 1970's.

    Haven't used too many scented bath salts in my life. Plain old Epsom salts works quite well.

    Interesting post for the letter X.

  16. Wow, I'm impressed that you came up with so many X words. Good job! I'd forgotten all about those X-ray machines in the shoe stores.

  17. Hi Rifka, it must be the result of excellent writing that's got us all so scared of a test card.

    Hi Pauline, thank you. Those old bath salts were a simple pleasure... even if they don't begin with X!

    Hi Anne, it's a wonder we weren't all glowing with radiation with all those x-rays hovering round our toes!

    Hi Kate, I never saw them as creepy. To me they were fun.

    Hi Susanne, I tried Epsom salts in my bath once. It made me feel a bit light-headed... or is it just me?!

    Hi Susan, thanks.

  18. My mom loves those smelly bath salts and other things. They make me sneeze!

  19. I never knew about the shoe store machines before. Pretty frightening, although it would've been nice if it shrunk my feet! You really eXcelled at the "X's!" Julie

  20. OMG! I'd forgotten that! Xerox was a verb in our house when i was small. I can remember turning the handle on my Pa's Xerox machine to produce the parish magazine. I think I shall have to join your followers after this blog, and I wish I'd found you earlier. Thanks for visiting mine.

  21. Hi Rosalind,

    Thank you for visiting my X-post, 'X Marks the Spot' about pirate-lore and treasure-maps in children's culture and literature.

    X is always a difficult letter. You have done well with your x-words!

    You are 'First Commenter' and get an extra link back to your blog!

    Best wishes,

    For the benefit of other readers:

    Anna's A to Z the letter Y
    Anna's A to Z the letter X

  22. Hi Ros .. that test card - amazing to remember that always came up.

    That shoe machine was amazing - I always wanted to use it!! The man with the Xray eyes .. I never really cottoned on .... otherwise I'd have been terrified!

    Cheers Hilary

  23. I never heard of feet being X-rayed, how funny. I don't think we did that in Sweden. I remember the bathsalts of the day, boy did they smell and of course the test patterns and good old Xavier.

  24. Smelly bath salts...hmmm. :)

  25. Well done on coping with X!

    I'd forgotten those shoe x-ray machines. They were great fun. Ah, thanks for the memories.


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