Monday, August 21, 2017

Readers Write: Rio Milk Bar, Flour Sack Prints and Marilyn Monroe

Below is an email received from Kerrie B in respect of my comments abou the Rio Milk Bar in Summer Hill, which had closed after the proprietor, George Poulos, died. George had milk barred for 63 of hisb 92 years.
Hi Otto 
The Rio Milk Bar opened last week as a small bar. Apart from cocktails, wine and beer they serve Greek food. The Rio bar was the coolest place to be seen during the 50's when I was growing up in Summer Hill. Johnny O'Keefe was known to frequent the place on his way home from gigs. They were one of the first places to have a juke box. 
Thanks, Kerrie

George Poulos with son Nick, 2014

The Rio as it is now.

Here is a link about the current use:

From Tobye P about flour producers during the Great Depression using coloured material for flour sacks after they found that families in financial distress were using the cotton sacks to make clothes:
Wow Otto, I had no idea about the flour sacks! That is so wonderful that the flour producers noticed and made a real difference in those people’s lives. And the clothes all look good too!  
We are blessed in so many ways today-thanks for pointing that out. 
Regards, Tobye 
A PS from Tobye:
And that construction worker must be insane! 
Tobye is referring to the construction worker photographed standing on a very tall metal post with ho safety harness.

Thanks, Tobye.

Some additional information about the flour sacks made of cloured material:
  • Prints were varied and made to suit a variety of possible uses:

  • There were prints for kids:

  • The sacks had instructions on how to wash out the logos and printing:
  • There were tutorials on how to sew the sacks into clothing and newspapers had instruction articles:
  • Some sacks came with instructions:
  • As the popularity of flour sack clothing grew, booklets with sewing ideas for "cotton bags" were distributed:
  • Some women used their sewing skills to bring in extra cash by sewing dresses and other items for friends and neighbours:
  • When the clothing finally wore out, it would be cut up and made into something else, like a quilt:
  • The onset of World War II resulted in cotton being rationed to make uniforms for soldiers. People were more than willing to give up the fabric in order to support the war effort:
  • From then on, flour was packaged in paper bags — and it's been that way ever since.

By the way:

Remember how in the Chuck Berry song Johnny B Goode lived in a cabin made of earth and wood and carried his guitar in a gunny sack? 

A gunny sack has nothing to do with guns, they are sacks made from burlap, aka hessian. The name "gunny" derives from the word goni ("thread, fibre"), a Tulu (Indian) word. 

Reusable gunny sacks, typically holding about 45 kg, were traditionally, and to some extent still are, used for transporting grains, potatoes and other agricultural products. Today they are also sometimes used as sandbags for erosion control and as barriers to flooding. Gunny sacks are also popular in the traditional children's game of sack racing.

Which is all by way of introduction to a story and photographs of Marilyn Monroe wearing a gunny sack.

The story is that Marilyn was once chastised by a female newspaper columnist for wearing a low-cut red dress to a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to Marilyn, the columnist called her cheap and vulgar. Not stopping there, the writer then suggested that the actress would look better in a potato sack. So, Twentieth Century Fox decided to capitalize on the story by shooting some publicity stills of Marilyn in a form fitting burlap potato sack just to prove she would look sexy in anything. The photos were published in newspapers throughout the country.

Here are the pics:

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