The Connection between the Olympics, The Chordettes and Synchronized Swimming!

The synchronized swimming coverage starts this Sunday for all you Olympiad fans:) Ms. Jeannie of course will be tuned in to see how our U.S.  ladies fare.  Did you know that synchronized swimmers slick their hair back with Knox gelatin? The gelatin holds every hair in place during the competition and takes about an hour (and lots of hot hot water) to wash out at the end of their performance.  Ms. Jeannie just loves little fun facts like that!

Synchronized swimming coverage runs August 5th – August 10th

Ever since Ms. Jeannie watched the Aqualilies promotional video, she has been humming that catchy little tune they featured.  Finally after driving Mr. Jeannie Ology nuts, she took to the internet to find out about the song.  If you missed the Aqualillies video from her previous post here it is…

Searching with just the few lyrics she could identify “whichever one you choose” and “kiss me kiss me kiss me” on elyrics.net, Ms. Jeannie discovered it was the song called Never on Sunday by the Chordettes, which came out in the early 1960’s.

Here’s the song in full…

It was written for the foreign film of the same title, Never on Sunday, and won an Oscar for Best Song at the 1961 Academy Awards.  This was the first song from a foreign film  ever to win Best Song, so it was a big deal for both the music industry and the film industry.  Here’s the movie trailer…

The movie starred Melina Mercouri as a free-spirited Greek prostitute (naturally!)  that is the object of an American philospher’s  (played by Jules Dassin) fascination. He’s studying abroad trying to figure out how and why Greece has fallen from ancient greatness and she represents the symbolic cause behind his research. Some critics say this is the 1960’s version of Pretty Woman.

Greek actress Melina Mercouri (1920-1994)
Jules Dassin (1911-2008) wrote, directed and starred in Never on Sunday

The movie was also nominated for Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Director and Best Writing/Story/Screenplay. Ms. Jeannie can’t wait to watch the whole thing – it sounds like it was a good one.

By the time the Chordettes had won their Oscar, they were at the peak of their career. Catapulted to popularity with their mid- 50’s chart topping hits Mr. Sandman and Lollipop,  a performance on American Bandstand in 1957 (the first televised episode actually!)  ensconced them in the American popular music front.

By December 1961 the group had broken up, but, 40 years later,  were brought back into the spotlight when they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.

Looking for your own vintage Chordette records? Try these Etsy shops…

Set of Three Vintage Record Albums by midsummerdaydream
Vinyl 45 – The Chordettes: Soft Sands by dragonflychase

Happy listening!

Retro Swimmers: The Beauty of Water Ballet

Dear readers, Ms. Jeannie has found a new love!

While catching up on her magazine reading this week, Ms. Jeannie was flipping through the pages of the April 2012 issue of Vogue Magazine and came upon an article about the Aqualillies

In Sync – April 2012 Vogue Issue pg. 218 – Beauty Fitness

If you are unfamiliar with them – they are an L.A. based synchronized swim team that performs at parties and private events. They have held special “performances” at fashion shows, celebrity parties, hotel openings and they also made an appearence  on the tv show, Glee.

Aqualillies impressive water ballet. Photo courtesy of Erin Hearts Court

The all-girl team carry the retro theme of their sport through classic swim costumes, 1940s makeup and nostalgic song choices but also combine modern acrobatics and dance movements to their routine, which makes it seem both timeless and contemporary all at the same time.

Here’s a quick clip of the ‘Lillies performing…

Doesn’t this look completely fun? Ms. Jeannie could definitively see this being the next big Vegas act!

In addition to performing the girls also teach classes at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.  Ms. Jeannie is going to be in L.A. for a friend’s wedding next April so she’s going to take a class while she’s there! She’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

The origins of synchronized swimming are traced back to Berlin, Germany in the the late 1800’s but it wasn’t until the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1930’s that the sport gleamed international attention.


Chicago World Fair Poster – 1933

There Kathryn Curtis organized her show, The Modern Mermaids, which she referred to as rhythmetic swimming. In the 1940’s Esther Williams, a trained swimmer,  brought water ballet to the big screen starring in such films as Bathing Beauty, Million Dollar Mermaids and On An Island with You.

Here’s the trailer for Bathing Beauty, which came out in 1944.  You can see where the Aqualillies got their inspiration!

Synchronized swimming  became an Olympic sport in 1984 and is only open to female qualifiers – no men allowed in this arena (or pool, as the case may be!) yet. With the Olympics scheduled to start in London in just a few days, Ms. Jeannie is excited to see how the US will fare in this category. Here’s a picture of the 2012 team.

2012 US Snychro National Team 1

One of the things Ms. Jeannie loves most about the Aqualillies is their style. They scour old magazine ads, newspapers and movie footage for fun swimsuit ideas and makeup trends. Retro bathing suits are very popular this year too – so if you need to spruce up your beach attire, click on each of the photos below to learn more…

The Natalie – One Piece Bathing Suit from Anthropologie
1940s/1950s Pinup Bathing Suite from MetricMod
Luxe Tortoise Keyhole Tank from JCrew
Vintage 1940s/1950s Swim Suit from SHESABETTIEBoutique
1930s Swimsuit from brerrabbitvintage

Swim caps became popular in the 1920’s as a way for women to protect their hair from the chlorinated water and to keep stray hairs from clogging pool filters. Aviator styles like this one below dominated the 1920’s:

Vintage 1920s Swim Cap from lactoseintolerart

The 1950’s and 60’s brought about more colorful, stylized swim caps adorned with flowers and frillies like these…

Vintage Swim Cap with Flowers from MommaBeeCollections
Vintage 1960s Swim Cap from plattermatter
Vintage 1960s Feathered Swim Cap

Pair any of these with some red lipstick and a classic hair style and you have one spectacular bathing beauty!

Happy swimming:)

Movie Poster for the 1944 film Bathing Beauty starring Esther Williams