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Mr. Pop History

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Pecman's comments in the thread about the Top 40 Radio Archive has prompted me to mention another site I visit online when researching for a story or for just the pleasure of diving into the past. It's called Mr. Pop History


The man who runs it has gone back and posted a page for EVERY week since January 1, 1950! He looks at the news of the week, entertainment news, the popular songs and TV shows of the week, what movies are at the theaters, etc. It's a fascinating archive. My only serious complaint is that he doesn't proofread his pages very well. But, the information is fascinating and very helpful if you are researching for a story set in the past. As of now, he hasn't gone past August 2009. I love to just randomly pick a decade and then a year and then a week and just delve into the past. Its a free site and so far unpolluted with obtrusive advertising, though it does have some simple click-line ads.

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Yeah, I actually have created a couple of database for music and historical facts, and I'll do a quick Google search if I'm doing anything that requires any touchstones in the plot. If a particular TV show is on a certain night, that's when it happens. Same thing with days of the week and calendar days. And it goes without saying that a certain song has got to be relevant for that era.

In the case of my novel Groovy Kind of Love, I used that 1966 song even though the story was set in 1968-1969, partly because it was my favorite song, partly because it's a song I associate with falling in love for the first time (when I was about 13), and partly because it worked for the story. And I presented it as an "oldie," so it was appropriate. Nothing drives me up the wall more than when I see a nostalgic movie and they play a song that wasn't yet released during the time of the story, making it a total anachronism.

History.com (for the History Channel) has some interesting day-to-day pages:


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There was a report on CBS Sunday Morning not long ago about a warehouse in LA that provides period artifacts for TV shows and movies and how picky and particular they are to make certain that everything works for that period. The report used AMC's Mad Men as an example in which they seek to make certain that everything, clothing, the furniture, the glasses they drink their liquor from, the labels on the liquor bottles, everything is contemporaneous for the time period. Sadly, not every TV show is that picky.

And, neither was I, unfortunately, when I began posting stories. Pecman was kind enough in a 2002 email to me about my dreadful first story on Nifty, Odyssey which takes place in the fall of 1971, and I had my protagonists dancing to the Johnny Nash song I Can See Clearly Now a year and a half before it's release, as well as a couple of Elton John songs that didn't come out until 1973. At the time, I was relying on my memory, which was obviously faulty and clouded my chemicals. I do remember I may have been less than gracious is my response, too. :shock::redface: I have since learned to be more careful (and a little more accepting of such help!) :icon_thumleft:

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