Victor Trent Cook, Ken Ard, Adrian Bailey and Frederick Owens are featured in Keep In Rollin’ and Searchin’, two of the songs featured in this final performance of Smokey Joe’s Café.
B.J. Crosby sings Fools Fall In Love in this emotional last performance of the long-running play Smoky Joe’s Café. The song builds to a crescendo in the last moments of the song, that you will never forget.
Disregard the foreign language captions, since the main thing is the song itself and the fantastic job B.J. Crosby does singing with so much emotion, that the audience gives her a standing ovation at the end of the song.
Frankie Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. The 79 year-old singer appeared on American Idol singing his classic hits Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and Grease in the Season 12 American Idol finale.
Valli was enticed to sing after seeing Frank Sinatra in concert at the Paramount Theater in New York City. He appeared with various groups, but his main claim to fame came during his time singing with the Four Seasons. The group had monster hits like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry, which all went to No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962 and 1963. Another 1963 hit Candy Girl peaked at No.3. Dawn (Go Away) would also climb to No.3.
His first hit as a soloist was Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, which reached the No.1 spot on the Billboard charts. My Eyes Adored You went to No.1 in 1974, then he had his last No.1 solo song with Grease.
An interesting note of trivia is that the Four Seasons were named after a New Jersey bowling alley.
When Valli recorded solo albums he sang in his regular voice, not the falsetto he used with the Four Seasons. Valli sounded good whether singing in falsetto or regular voice.
The Four Seasons and Valli weren’t affected by the British invasion, as they didn’t alter their sound to fit in with the Beatles craze.
The late 70′s would see Valli battle otosclerosis, which causes loss of hearing. He would have to sing from memory during this time and but would regain his hearing in 1980.
He would record his first solo album in 27 years in 2007 and is still active today 62 years after he first became an active singer.
A crowning achievement for Valli and Four Seasons was their induction, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
These are some 30 second clips of the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli hits:
Four Seasons singing Working My Way Back To You
Four Seasons singing a medley of Dawn, Rag Doll and Bye Bye Baby
Ryan Seacrest who is usually shorter than most of the singers on American Idol had to be happy, to stand next to the diminutive Frankie Valli who is five foot five, so Seacrest towered over him at five foot eight.
It is great to know that 79 year-old Valli is still active, with no signs of retiring anytime soon.
It has been evident since the Final 10 were chosen by judges, that Candice Glover was the best singer among those singers in the Final 10.
American Idol fans confirmed that she was the best, by choosing her as the new American Idol for Season 12. The only surprise would have been if Candice had not won. Kree Harrison finished second and Angie Miller was third in Season 12. I look for Kree and Angie to have successful careers, but Candice should have her first album released long before either of them, since her album should be in stores for months, before Kree and Angie release their albums.
The producers are smart to release the first album of Candice much sooner than usual. Most albums by the current American Idol are not released till November, so the summer release will let fans of Candice have her music, in their MP3 players and phones sooner rather than later, plus many albums should be sold on the American Idol tour this summer.
There were many guest artists on the finale, but none of them came close to matching Frankie Valli and him singing with the five guys on I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and Grease. Valli commanded the stage like giants of entertainment do when they enter the spotlight. Valli turned 79 earlier this month and was born a year before Elvis Presley. Valli has been singing since 17, which was 62 years ago.
Aretha Franklin also sang but her singing didn’t have the impact of Valli, since she was singing from New York, but she sang some of her biggest hits, which were received well by the audience.
It was great to see Candice become the first girl to win American Idol since Jordin Sparks won in Season 6.
Randy Jackson said his goodbyes to fans of American Idol last night. He is the only one of ten judges to remain with the show the first twelve seasons. Latest rumors say that the other three Idol judges could be leaving too, but it could be several months, before any changes to the judging panel will be announced. There are even some reports that the show could return to a three judge format.
It is too early for ratings results for the finale, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that the ratings will be the lowest for any finale in the 12 year history of the show.
The Voice Season 4 will be ending soon, then Season 5 of The Voice will return in the fall along with Season 3 of X-Factor, so three music competitions will end before American Idol returns in January.
George Jones has died in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 81. He had been admitted into the hospital, with fever and irregular blood pressure.
Jones was a traditional country singer in the purest sense. He was far removed from the uptown country sound heard so much today. When a country music fan thought of the greats of the past Jones was one of the first to come to mind.
The first George Jones song to make the Billboard charts was Why Baby Why which went to No.4 in 1955. Three years later White Lightning would be the first No.1 hit for Jones.
Tender Years would reach No.1 in 1961, then She Thinks I Still Care was No.1 in 1962. Five years later Walk Through This World With Me became his last No.1 hit in the 60′s.
The Grand Tour and The Door were his only No.1 hits in the 1970′s and both were released in 1974.
The 1980′s would see him release his signature song He Stopped Loving Her Today in 1980 and followed by another No.1 song Still Doin’ Time in 1981. 1983′s I Always Get Lucky With You was his last No.1 hit in the 80′s.
It has been 30 years since Jones recorded a No.1 song, but he did release three No.1 singles with Tammy Wynette, which included We’re Going to Hold On in 1973, Golden Ring and Near You in 1976.
He recorded Yesterday’s Wine another No.1 song with Merle Haggard in 1982.
It is hard to believe that Jones only had nine solo No.1 hits, but this is all that showed up on Wikipedia as being No.1 songs.
George Jones had a tumultuous life, but this is no day to go over his past. This is a day to remember one of the best pure country singers during our lifetime.
George, Thanks for the memories.
The judges may not have that much influence on American Idol voters, but if they do make a difference in the voting, then Angie Miller and Candace Glover should be in Top 2 and Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb should be in the Bottom 2. However, we can only guess what the actual results will show, when Ryan Seacrest reveals the results tonight.
Kree Harrison got trashed, hammered and battered by the judges after she sang the Susan Tedeschi song Hurt So Bad. I was thinking how good of a job, that she had done with the song, but the judges hated her rendition of the song. It was plain to see that Kree was shocked at being attacked so mercilessly by the judges. I thought she did a creditable job on A Whiter Shade of Pale, but the judges were not impressed by that either.
Keith Urban seemed to think the one hit wonder songs should have been recorded in the last 10 years. The contestants are not mind readers and shouldn’t be expected to know what timeline the judges were wanting the songs from.
I can understand A Whiter Shade of Pale being a one hit wonder, since it was the only hit of Procol Harum, but Cry Me A River recorded by Julie London 58 years ago in 1955 would not be considered a one hit wonder, since London recorded many more albums after its release. It has been covered many times over the years, including my favorite version by Diana Krall in her Look of Love album released in 2001.
Candace received mixed reviews from the judges, while Angie received more praise, than any of the other three contestants. It would be a tremendous shock if Angie is in the bottom two and it would show that the opinions of the judges were not affecting the voting results.
Jimmy Iovine did not like Amber singing MacArthur Park, which was written by Jimmy Webb. Iovine called the song corny, probably because of the lyrics saying “Someone left a cake out in the rain and I’ll never find that recipe again” which was corny. Interesting side note about the song: Webb wrote the song after breaking up with Linda Rondstadt, since they had met many times in MacArthur Park.
Kree and Amber clearly got the worst feedback from the judges, so it looks like Angie and Candace should be the top vote-getters.
Vote For the Worst website has Kree as the one to vote for this week, which might help her stay another week. There is speculation that Ryan Seacrest’s surprise tonight may be that nobody goes home, since the judges haven’t used their save.
So the surprise may be either that the judges use their save or that Ryan will announce nobody will go home. The bad thing about that scenario is that fans cast millions of votes for nothing, so it would make sense if the judges are allowed to use the save, rather than just announce nobody will go home.
I don’t think the judges should even have judged the two group songs. The group songs are only filler anyway and it gave the judges a third chance to trash Kree. I don’t know if Kree can recover from hearing how much the judges hated her singing to become the American Idol.
There is no sense in American Idol having a two-hour show for four contestants and next week it will again be two hours for three contestants, unless the judges use their save to keep all four contestants for another week.
Next week’s show could be the next to last show of Season 12, unless everybody stays another week tonight.
Rumors have been flying around the internet that Mariah Carey might be fired, before the completion of Season 12, to boost the ratings, but those rumors seem to have been unfounded.
For a more complete recap of last night’s show:
George Beverly Shea has died in Montreat, North Carolina after a brief illness at the age of 104. He was born on February 1, 1909 in Winchester, Ontario, Canada.
Shea is best known for being a soloist with the Billy Graham crusade from 1947 till almost 60 years later when Graham was no longer physically able to stand and preach.
His recording career lasted from 1951 till his death and he recorded 70 albums during his recording career. I can still remember hearing him sing How Great Thou Art and It Took A Miracle and many other songs during the televised crusades.
He was an accomplished musician playing the violin, piano and organ.
Shea was married a combined 70 years to his first wife Erma Scharfe who died in 1976 and his second wife whom he married in 1985 and survived him upon his death.
George Beverly Shea may be gone, but he will never be forgotten by the many of us who saw him sing so many times over the years, with the Billy Graham crusade. His music will live on for years to come.
America has lost another comedy icon of the early days of television, with the passing of Jonathan Winters today at the age of 87 in Montecito, California. Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 11, 1925.
The thing I remember most about Jonathan Winters were the funny faces he could make. He first made a name for himself in stand-up comedy and released 22 comedy albums from 1960-2011.
His first television appearance appearing as someone other than himself was when he appeared, on Omnibus in 1954. He was heard on one old-time radio show Monitor in 1959, before old-time radio died on September 30, 1962.
Winters appeared in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963. This is physical comedy at its best as Winters levels a service station singlehandedly and he earned $130,000 for his appearance in the movie. :
He later appeared as Mearth on Mork and Mindy television series. His last movie appearance was as Papa on Smurfs 2, which is in post-production. He was to have appeared in Big Finish, but it is in pre-production, so he won’t be seen in that film.
Many of his best known television appearances were Tonight Show, Jack Paar Show and Hollywood Squares.
The world has lost of the best improvisational comics ever. Jonathan Winters will be missed by a legion of fans.
Mr. Ed a comedy series about a talking horse debuted in January of 1958. The owner of the horse in this show was Wilbur Pope, while Alan Young would portray Wilbur Post, when the show became a regular show on the CBS television network.
Mr. Ed was originally named Bamboo Harvester, after being born in El Monte, California 64 years ago in 1949. His name was changed to Mr. Ed after appearing on the show.
Imdb.com says that Mr. Ed died in 1979 at the age of 30,33 or 34, but other sources say that Mr. Ed died in 1968, 1973 or 1974, so in other words nobody seems to really know the date of his death.
Larry Keating, who portrayed Roger Addison the next door neighbor died in the third season and was replaced by Leon Ames of Topper fame and portrayed Col. Gordon Kirkwood.
Katy Rose a singer grew up in the home Mr. Ed lived in many years after the show ended.
The show was owned by George Burns McCadden Production and Burns chose Alan Young to play Wilbur Post, since he seemed like the kind of guy a horse would talk to.
Mr. Ed was a golden Palomino who would only respond to his trainer Les Hilton, since Mr. Ed would not respond to his co-stars.
His daily diet consisted of 20 pounds of hay and a gallon of sweet tea to wash it down. If he got tired Mr. Ed would simply walk off the set. Anyone else would get fired for such insubordination, but not Mr. Ed who was the real star of the show.
Mr. Ed was the kind of show that was entertaining, without being controversial. It may have been silly nonsense, but who cared if the viewers enjoyed it. I still record it off the Hallmark Channel, then watch the shows later so I can zip past the commercials.
This is typical of the dialogue heard on the show:
Wilbur Post: [after Ed finds a straw hat] What are you going to do with a straw hat?
Mister Ed: I’ll wear it till it goes out of style. Then I’ll eat it!
Alan Young was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England on November 19, 1919. He was heard in the old-time radio show on the Alan Young Show. I recently heard one of the shows for the first time and the show was surprisingly good, since the show is not mentioned much in old-time radio circles. The show kept me entertained from beginning to end.
Young later would be the voice of Scrooge McDuck on the Duck Tales series.
Alan Young is now 93 and lives in Laguna Niguel, California.
Connie Hines who played Carol Post was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on March 24, 1931 and was seen in the Whirlybirds series for those of us who go that far back.
Hines only acted three more times after Mr. Ed ended, with appearance in one episode each of Bonanza, Love American Style and her last appearance in Mod Squad in 1971. She didn’t appear on TV or in the movies the last 38 years of her life.
She died due to a heart condition on December 18, 2009 at the age of 78.
Mr. Ed may have left the air in 1966, but is still in reruns 52 years later. Mr. Ed was and still remains one of my favorite shows. The interaction between Mr. Ed and his owner Wilbur Post is the highlight of the shows.
This is one of the few remaining shows on television, that you can watch with no bad language and no double entendre jokes, that are so prevalent today on the situation comedies of today. Shows like Mr. Ed, Andy Griffith, Father Knows Best are a refuge, from the shows being shown on the networks today. Some of the older shows, that were so entertaining are seldom seen on television today. I haven’t seen an episode of Amos and Andy, Ozzie and Harriet, Red Skelton Show, Life of Riley and others for years and years. Those reruns are not being shown for some reason. There may be stations or networks telecasting some or all of those shows, but if they are I am not aware of it.
Thanks Mr. Ed for still being around to bring back the memories of years gone by.
50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have passed and yet there is still no smoking gun, that proves that the crime was a conspiracy. I have read a lot of books on the subject, but still have not read anything that proves there was a conspiracy.
I still think it was a conspiracy and think the Warren Commission Report was slanted, to make the American public think Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole person, that was involved in the assassination.
My personal opinion is that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the assassination. He had the most to gain, from the assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson was very unhappy being a figurehead in the Kennedy administration and had the most to gain if the president was dead. He knew he would instantly become president, if Kennedy were to be assassinated. There are many instances, in which Johnson seemed to be involved like it was said that Johnson is the one that insisted that the presidential limousine top be uncovered. The president became an open target to any assassin, once the limousine proceeded toward the killing zone.
There is a report that Johnson told a girlfriend the night before the assassination, that the Kennedys would never embarrass him again as mentioned in this article. The article is missing some photos, but the content of the article is what is important.
One of the key parts of the article is this paragraph, in which his girlfriend mentions that LBJ was on the brink of going to prison, because of hearings going on in Washington. This testimony was supposed to be given on the day of the assassination, but when LBJ became president the hearings were stopped and LBJ averted being sent to prison, now that he had the power of the presidency to protect him, from any further hearings.
“Had the assassination not happened the day that it did, Lyndon Johnson would have probably gone to prison, they would have gotten rid of him – he was so involved with some of this,” said Brown.
LBJ more than other person may be the reason, that no smoking gun has ever been found that would blow the lid off a LBJ conspiracy.
Mac Wallace, whose fingerprints were found on a box in the Texas School Book Depository is thought by some, to have fired the fatal shots that killed President John F. Kennedy. The following reader’s review after reading LBJ: The Mastermind Behind The JFK Assassination connects some of the dots that lead to LBJ as the mastermind behind the killing. I read the 658 page book last fall and it details how LBJ systematically got rid of his enemies using his hit man Mac Wallace to kill them. There are some that think Wallace enlisted Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby as part of the assassination and subsequent murder of Oswald. When E. Howard Hunt mentions on his death bed that LBJ was involved in the assassination, then it makes sense, that LBJ was involved in the assassination from the beginning to the end. The book mentions that when the presidential motorcade reached the killing zone, that LBJ ducked down to make sure he wasn’t shot, while leaving his wife and Senator Ralph Yarborough D-Texas exposed, while the assassination was in progress.
I have no doubt that Jack Ruby was in the Dallas Police station the morning of Sunday, November 24th, with the backing of organized crime and cooperation from the Dallas Police Department.. Assuming there was a conspiracy, it became incumbent for those involved to prevent Oswald from talking any more to investigators or to be brought to trial.
National columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, who had interviewed Ruby was found dead and her notes about the Ruby interview were missing, when her body was found in her apartment on November 8, 1965. Her death came two weeks exactly short of the second anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.
Richard Kollmar the husband of Kilgallen was asked about his wife’s interest in the JFK assassination by a friend, but Kollmar said he would take that information to his grave.
Some interesting notes about some of the better known people, that had some connection with what happened that day in Dallas 50 years ago:
President John F. Kennedy - Was gunned down in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 at the age of 46. His death came 13 months after the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962. His death also came one year and three months, after the death of Marilyn Monroe in August of 1962. Monroe reportedly threatened to tell the media about the sexual indiscretions by the president and Bobby Kennedy. We probably will never know if the Kennedy’s were involved in her death, but if she had disclosed the sexual escapades of the Kennedys, then John F. Kennedy would probably not have been assassinated a year later, because he probably would have been impeached.
John F. Kennedy may or may not have been involved in silencing Monroe, but at the same time he may have lived for many more years, even if he wasn’t president on the day of the assassination and would have no reason to be in Dallas that day. If Kennedy was still alive today he would be observing his 96th birthday on May 29.
President Lyndon B. Johnson – The members of the Kennedy administration were not happy, to be coerced into naming Johnson as the vice president at the 1960 Democratic Convention in 1960. Johnson chafed at being told what to do by the Kennedy staffers. So he had every motive to make sure President John F. Kennedy was erased from the American political scene. Johnson was 55 at the time of the assassination and would be 64, when he died on January 22, 1973. He would be 105 in August if still alive.
Lee Harvey Oswald – He is considered to be the lone gunman that assassinated the president on November 22, 1963. This is precisely the way President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted Oswald to be regarded. If Oswald was thought of as a lone conspirator, then it would protect President Johnson from being mentioned as a conspirator. Oswald was only 24 when he assassinated the president and on November 24, 1963, when he would be shot in a Dallas Police station two days later.
Jack Ruby who shot and killed Oswald ended any chance of Oswald telling anyone about any conspiracy, in a trial that would have been the trial of the century, if it had been held. Instead, Ruby made sure the American people would never know, if Oswald had been involved in a conspiracy. Oswald would have been 74 in October if still alive.
Officer J.D. Tippit – Jack Ruby not only prevented us from knowing more about the Kennedy assassination, but probably also prevented Oswald from telling his story, about what happened in the J.D. Tippit murder. Officer Tippit had joined the Dallas Police force as a patrolman 11 years before the day of the assassination of the president and his own murder. There are conflicting reports about who killed Officer Tippit. Some reports say two men were involved in his murder.
William Scoggins a taxi driver said he heard three gunshots, then saw Tippit fall to the ground. Scoggins said a man with a gun passed by him saying something akin to “poor dumb cop”. At least four witnesses identified Oswaqld in police lineups, which more or less makes it a sure thing that Oswald murdered Officer Tippit. The police tracked Oswald to the Texas Theater, where he was overpowered and apprehended by the Dallas Police. Tippit was 39 when he was murdered on November 22, 1963 and would be 89 if still alive.
Jack Ruby – On the day of the assassination Ruby was 53 years old. Ruby would be seen at Parkland Hospital, when President John F. Kennedy was taken there after being seriously wounded. He would be seen again at the Dallas Police station that night. Then on Sunday morning at 11:21 AM Dallas time, Ruby somehow gained entrance to the Dallas Police station, probably with inside help as the entrance he used was mysteriously left unguarded. When Oswald was being led to a vehicle, that was to take Oswald to another jail Ruby stepped in front of Oswald and shot and killed him. Ruby alluded to the fact that people in high places were involved with his murdering Oswald.
This makes me wonder if President Johnson was one of the officials in high places being mentioned. Ruby died on January 3, 1967. He was close friends to Sam and Joe Campisa who were associated with crime boss Carlos Marcello. Jimmy Hoffa reportedly said at one time, that Ruby was to make sure that Oswald was killed by Dallas police, while in their custody. When Ruby failed to insure that Oswald would be killed by the police, then he apparently took on himself to kill Oswald, since his own life could be in jeopardy if Oswald was not killed. Ruby would have been 102 if still alive on March 25.
50 Years Later
With the 50 year anniversary of the JFK assassination approaching in eight months we can only guess at what documents about the assassination may be released in the coming months. The fact that CIA is holding 1,171 top-secret documents about the JFK assassination tells me, that these documents could tell about any conspiracies that may have been involved during the assassination. This is only conjecture, but I think these CIA documents could tie President Lyndon B. Johnson to the assassination. Johnson has been dead for 40 years now, so can’t see any problem with documents being released, even if they connect a former president to the assassination.
I remain a conspiracy theorist, but think the government will continue to keep the JFK assassination documents sealed. The American people deserve to know everything now that 50 years have passed. My personal belief is that these documents lead straight to former President Lyndon B. Johnson and his henchmen.
Will the 50th anniversary come and go, without any documents being released? Even 10-year-old kids at the time of the assassination would be 60 this year. So a middle-aged adult between 30-49 would now be 80-99 years old, so should not be in a government position of power.
How much longer will these documents remain sealed? My only conclusion is that somebody has some dark secrets, that the government doesn’t want released in the near future.
I have no problems with any authors writing books that are pro-conspiracy or anti-conspiracy, but unless the government release these documents we have no hope, of finding out the rest of the story, about what happened in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.
The Celebrity Net Worth website lists 80 year-old Petula Clark as being worth $10 million. Clark has now been singing for 74 years. When I think of Petula Clark I think of her hit song Downtown.
Fabian Forte known only as Fabian by most rock and roll fans was 70 last February and although he may not have a lot of hit songs he made his mark in the movies, appearing in a total of 45 movies and TV shows from 1959-1996. Celebrity Net Worth lists Fabian’s net worth at $25 million.
Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. may be only 16, but he is already worth $100 million.. He may or may not have access to that money now, but his financial security is insured, if he doesn’t go through his money too fast.
The net worth of Connie Francis is listed at $25 million despite the fact that she only had three No.1 hits in her 70 year career. The 74-year-old Francis had her first No.1 hit in My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own in 1960. Her next No. 1 hit was released in 1961 when Together was No.1 on adult contemporary chart and her last No. 1 hit was Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You which reached No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962. Francis has not even released an album since 1969. One of her best known songs was Who’s Sorry Now, but it peaked at No.4 for her first Top 10 hit in 1957.
Her biggest regret was not marrying Bobby Darin, after her dad chased Darin out of a building at gunpoint. He then said Darin was out of their lives, when the news of his marriage was broadcast on the radio. Francis said she wished their car had been filled with water, while driving in the Lincoln Tunnel and hoping her father would both be killed.
The 74 year-old Gordon Lightfoot is listed as being worth $30 million. Lightfoot has been singing since 1956 at the age of 18. Bob Dylan said Lightfoot was one of his favorite songwriters. He wrote Early Morning Rain, which was covered by many well-known singers including Elvis Presley.
His first No.1 song was If You Could Read My Mind, which reached No.1 in Canada in 1970. His other No. 1 hits on Canadian pop charts were Sundown in 1974 and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1976. Lightfoot had nine songs reach No.1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. Sundown was the only Lightfoot song to reach No.1 on the U.S. pop charts, but he placed four songs on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts.
He released his last album All Live on Rhino Records in 2012. It includes most of his most well-known hits in this list from Wikipedia:
- “14 Karat Gold”
- “If You Could Read My Mind“
- “Fine as Fine Can Be”
- “Baby Step Back”
- “Early Morning Rain“
- “A Painter Passing Through“
- “Rainy Day People“
- “Ringneck Loon”
- “Carefree Highway“
- “Christian Island”
- “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald“
- “Canadian Railroad Trilogy“
- “Let It Ride”
- “Blackberry Wine”
- “Song for a Winter’s Night“
- “Old Dan’s Records“
- All Songs Written By Gordon Lightfoot
It doesn’t seem like this December will mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Roy Orbison. Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas on April 23, 1936 and died in Madison, Tennessee on December 6, 1988 at the age of 52.
Orbison has left behind a rich musical legacy with his signature songs like Crying, Only the Lonely and Oh, Pretty Woman. He also was a songwriter writing songs like Claudette, which was recorded by the Everly Brothers.
1960 would bring his first Top 10 hit Only the Lonely which reached No.2 on the Billboard charts. Orbison would release his first No.1 hit in 1960, when he recorded Running Scared and then would also see Crying reach No.2 on the charts that same year.
His main hit in 1963 was Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) which topped out at No.4 on the Billboard charts. Blue Bayou, one of his better known songs only reached No.29 in the United States, but went to No.1 in Australia. Mean Woman Blues peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts that same year. In fact he only had two No.1 songs on pop charts in the United States, but had nine No. 1 hits in Australia.
Oh, Pretty Woman was his last No.1 hit in 1964, but he released It’s Over, which topped out at No.9 on pop charts, but claimed the No.1 spot on adult contemporary charts in 1964.
Orbison would not record another No.1 hit in the United States in the last 28 years of his singing career.
Opened For Beatles In United Kingdom
Duane Eddy was scheduled to appear in United Kingdom in 1963, but he was replaced by Roy Orbison. He opened for the Beatles and he performed without moving and yet the fans liked him so much that they asked for encores fourteen times. By this time the Beatles finally had to physically hold him back, so they could go on stage. The crowd was chanting “We want Roy” which was a surprise, since the fans came to see the Beatles that night.
Orbison didn’t even know who the Beatles were and asked what’s a beetle and John Lennon said “I am”. The Beatles and Orbison became good friends later as they admired Orbison for commanding a crowd, even though he hardly even moved.
Wife Has Affair With Contractor
Orbison’s wife Claudette had an affair with the contractor who built their Hendersonville, Tennessee home. Claudette did join him that fall on a tour to England. She gave Orbison the idea for his hit song Oh, Pretty Woman, when she told him that she was leaving for home. He asked her if she needed money and she said ” Pretty woman never needs money” and it was only 40 minutes later before the song Oh, Pretty Woman was finished.
The first of a string of tragedies began for Orbison during a 1965 tour in UK. He broke his foot in front of thousands of screaming fans and had to perform in a cast. He reconciled with his wife Claudette after the accident, but she would die the next year when she was hit by a semi-trailer while she and Orbison were riding home on separate motorcycles on June 6, 1966.
Tragedy struck Orbison again on September 16, 1968, when he learned his Hendersonville, Tennessee home had burned down and his two eldest sons had perished in the fire. Orbison had now lost his wife and two sons in 27 months time. He would marry Barbara Jakobs of Germany on March 25, 1969.
Orbison would have to have a triple heart bypass on January 18, 1978.
Career Revived in 1987
Roy Orbison started to revive his music career in 1987, after being pushed into the background by the British invasion. He joined the Traveling Wilburys, which played a major part in reviving his career. His stage name was Lefty Wilbury in honor of the late country music star Lefty Frizzell.
Death and Aftermath
Orbison would travel to Europe in November of 1988 and some observers noticed that he looked ill, but he continued to perform. He then returned to Hendersonville to rest, before embarking on another trip to London this time, to film two videos for the Traveling Wilburys.
However, the trip would never take place, because he would fly model airplanes with his son on December 6, 1988 and then visited his mother for dinner and died after dinner that night. Ironically his wife Barbara would die on the same date 23 years later on December 6, 2011 from pancreatic cancer.
Roy Orbison left a rich musical legacy behind for his fans. Only Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison have had two Top 5 albums at the same time. He will be forever remembered for singing while not moving, wearing his sunglasses and being dressed in black. His music is still being sung today as evidenced by Kree Harrison, an American Idol contestant sang Crying last Wednesday night, which reminded me of Orbison singing the original version which can be heard below.
Dale Robertson who starred in the television series Tales of Wells Fargo died last Wednesday at the age of 89 in San Diego, California at the age of 89. He died of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia.
Robertson was born Dayle Lymoine Robertson in Harrah, Oklahoma on July 14, 1923. He served during World War II in a tank crew and in the combat engineers in North Africa and Europe. He sustained an injury in both the North African campaign and in the European theater.
Will Rogers Jr. advised Robertson to avoid formal acting training and to just be himself.
Robertson made his movie debut portraying a policeman in The Boy With Green Hair released in 1948. He only appeared in movies till 1956, when he made his television debut in an episode of Ford Television Theatre. He continued to appear in television and movies till 1957 when he became the star of Tales of Wells Fargo was Jim Hardie on the series. The show ran from 1957-1962 and Robertson appeared in all 200 episodes. The show featured several well-known guest stars including Eddie Albert, Chuck Connors, Buddy Ebsen, Michael Landon, Steve McQueen and Jack Nicholson.
He then starred in Iron Horse which was seen from 1966-1968 and 47 episodes of the series were filmed. He didn’t star in another television series until 1987-1988 when J.J. Starbuck ran for only 16 episodes, in which Robertson played the title role. Jimmy Dean portrayed Charlie Bullets in 15 of the 16 episodes.
His last role was as a guest star in two episodes of Harts of the West, with one episode airing in 1993 and the other in 1994.
I will always remember watching the show when it was on network television. The following list shows 10 westerns among the Top 30 shows for the 1957-1958 season, with Tales of Wells Fargo ranked third behind Gunsmoke and Danny Thomas.
Bonnie Franklin died earlier today in her Los Angeles home at the age of 1969 from pancreatic cancer complications.. One Day At A Time was the television show that catapulted her to fame. She first appeared on the show on the Dec. 16, 1975 “Ann’s Decision” debut episode and would remain on the show till the 208th and last episode “Another Man’s Shoes”, which aired on May 28, 1984.
Franklin was born as Bonnie Gail Franklin on Jan. 6, 1944 in Santa Monica, California. She made her television debut in Shower of Stars in 1954, when she portrayed Susan Cratchit in “ A Christmas Carol “. She free-lanced in movies and television from 1954-1975 before landing the role of Ann Romano in One Day At A Time.
She was seen on television only sporadically , after leaving her hit show and was only seen seven times from 1984- 2012. Her last two appearances were on Hot in Cleveland in 2011 and an episode of Young and Restless in 2012. She was seen those seven times on television, in the last 29 years of her life.
The reason given for the success of One Day At A Time is that the average viewer could identify with her situation and some who wrote the show said the show was “my life”.
We have lost another television icon today and it makes me wonder, why this show is not being shown on any network ( that I know of).
When I think of Henry Kulky I think of him playing Otto Schmidlap on Life of Riley television series in 16 episodes from 1953-1958.
Kulky was born Henry Kulakowich on August 11, 1911 in Hastings – on – Hudson, New York. He died February 12, 1965 in Oceanside, California at the age of 53.
He was a professional wrestler using the name Bomber Kulkavich, before he made his first movie. You would never guess it by looking at him, but he played the piano in San Clemente, California night spots.
Kulky was extra busy from 1953-1958, since he also appeared in six episodes of Ozzie and Harriet during those years.
His movie career started in 1947, when he appeared in A Likely Story. Kulky’s movie career really took off in 1949, when he appeared in nine films. He would add eight more films to his resume in 1950, with him appearing in 17 movies during 1949 and 1950. 1951 and 1952 were also busy years for Kulky with seventeen more film appearances. He also appeared in the Abbott and Costello, Racket Squad and Adventures of Superman shows in 1952. From 1947-1952 he had appeared in 39 movies and three television shows.
He continued to appear in films and television shows during the rest of the 50′s and would appear in six Red Skelton shows from 1956-1961.
Kulky is best known for his portrayal of Chief Max Bronsky in the Hennessey television series, which ran from 1959-1962, in which he appeared in 46 episodes. He appeared in 22 episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea television series from 1964 till the year of his death in 1965. Kulky appeared in a total of over 80 movies, in only 17 years of being in the movies.
I had no idea that Kulky was such a prolific actor, before researching for this article.
This website has more info on the career of Kulky, but the wrestling numbers don’t jive, with one portion saying he was 172-3 as a wrestler, while another part says he wrestled in 7,000 matches.
2011 – We were living in Sulphur, Louisiana, a city of about 20,000 at the start of 2011. We were living on Live Oak Street in Sulphur and we found a home church in Calvary Baptist Church on Lewis Street. We were impressed by the pastor Rev. W.D. Darnell, who lived what he preached and only used the King James Version of the Holy Bible. We made many friends, among the members of the church. Rhonda was very involved with the activities at the church and I often sang special music on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Rhonda and me sang duets a couple of times and she sang On The Wings Of A Dove with another lady one time.
Rhonda liked living in Sulphur, since she had a sister and her mom living there. We lived close to the neighborhood, where my daughter and family had lived before moving to Groves, Texas.
I would return to working as a caregiver again in November of 2011. I worked with a disabled man with diabetes and lost the job at the end of the year, when his family changed to another caregiving company.
An international news story was when an earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan took 15,840 lives.
President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1.
Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her daughter Calee Marie Anthony, in a controversial verdict by the jury.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers dies on October 5 of cancer.
House were renting at $955 a month in 2011.
A gallon of gas cost $2.89.
Movie tickets were selling for $8.20.
2012 – I worked as a crossing guard at a school in Sulphur for a few weeks, toward the end of the school year. It was interesting work and enjoyed the job. The job could turn out to be the last job I will ever work, since I haven’t worked since becoming sick a couple of months later.
We moved to DeRidder, Louisiana in July and are living in a trailer, that is about halfway between Merryville, Louisiana and DeRidder. We are living in the country and liking it so far.
Knew something was wrong when I began vomiting up blood and lost about 35 pounds in less than two months during the summer. Found out in October in Houston VA Hospital, that I had duodenal cancer. It was a very disease to diagnose, since it mimics acid reflux and duodenal ulcers. It is very rare disease with only two percent of gastrointestinal diseases being duodenal cancer.
Surgeons in Houston performed a resection surgery on Oct. 16 to remove a blockage, which was cancerous and was successful. However I found out in November, that duodenal cancer has a history of returning and has a relatively low survival rate.
Chemotherapy started at the VA hospital in Pineville, Louisiana on Dec.13 and have had three chemo IV’s since that date, with five more to go. Have finished six of a 24 week program of chemotherapy. It seems like the side effects have been worse with each chemo IV. Had difficulty walking in a straight line after the last IV and sort of lurch from side to side.
2012 was a life changing year for us, with us being evicted, moving to a new city and finding out that I had cancer and had surgery a few days later. Spent a total of 32 days in hospital in Houston.
July 20 would be the first of two mass shootings in the United States, when a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado theater.
December 14 would bring the second mass shootings of 2012, when a man kills 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, along with six adults, before killing himself.
A gallon of gas would rise to $3.89 during 2012. It is about 64 cents a gallon cheaper now in 2013.
House rent average goes over the $1,000 mark for the first time, as it rose to $1,045 a month.
A pound of bacon which was $2.96 in 2008 had risen to $4.48 in 2012.
2013 – This year should be a very interesting year, as the chemotherapy continues through May and it will be interesting to learn the results of the bloodwork after the last week of chemotherapy. May 21 will be another important date for us as we return to Houston for another C-scan, which will show if the cancer is completely gone or has returned.
We don’t know what this year holds, but we plan to remain positive, even if the news is bad and I don’t plan on being negative, regardless of what happens in 2013.
2006 – I would return to my job at Louisiana Community Care, after losing my job with Coastal Culvert. I primarily worked in a group home with seven guys at the time. It was a very demanding job as I had to assist them with their hygiene and washed and dried all their clothes. I would walk in the door at the group home at 4:30 PM and wouldn’t sit down for the first time till about 11 PM, when I had to write down the events of the day for each individual client.
One time a client who ate too fast threw up and I was mopping up the mess and he came up to me and hit me in the head and stomach with a 1-2 punch. Needless to say I was more wary around that client from then on. Another time he woke up during the night wanting chips and when I didn’t give him any he overturned a table and dumped a pitcher of Kool-Aid on the kitchen floor.
I made a point of having all the clothes washed and put away and the floors all swept and mopped, by the time the 12:30 AM relief worker came in. I worked there till around Christmas and retired, since I was now 62 and eligible for Social Security.
Wikipedia lists very few newsworthy events during 2006 in the United States, with Twitter being launched that year, which turned out to be the most newsworthy event of the year.
Gasoline was selling for $3.03 on August 11, but had dipped to $2.21 by November 17.
2007 – We moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2007, as we followed my daughter, son-in-law, when he was named manager of a Knoxville Domino’s store. About three weeks later, when things didn’t work out well with the job they moved back to Pineville, Louisiana.
Since we had used our savings to make the move we remained in Knoxville till December of 2010.
We had a traumatic event that August, when Rhonda was driving down a Knoxville street and was hit by a car turning out into traffic, from an apartment parking lot. Rhonda sustained a broken foot in the accident and was unable to go for a job interview, that was scheduled the next week. We moved to another apartment in the same apartment complex in September and Justin and me moved everything by ourselves, which was a day long job, since Rhonda was unable to help.
Then I went to work for Luxottica, a company that makes lenses for eyeglasses in Knoxville. It was another typical manufacturing job, with pressure to produce the most lenses in the least time. I was operating four machines at once in the fining department. After finishing the fining, we would take the lenses to the next department the polishing department, which made the lenses look even better. This was another temporary Westaff job, so the job played out soon and was without work again. We were given an eviction notice from the apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, but managed to stay there till I found work the next month.
I went to work as a caregiver with Evergreen Ministries in Knoxville, whose headquarters are located in Haughton, Louisiana in December of 2007. The job went well and I remained there till August of 2008. I was required to take a test, to be allowed to administer meds to the clients and scored 91 on the test. I wasn’t allowed to give meds, till I had passed the test, but it made it easier to work in homes, that needed a certified meds person, since some workers never were certified to give meds.
This was the year that the Va. Tech student killed 30 people. My brother lived next to the campus and was driving on campus toward work, when he saw several police cars speeding toward the site of the shootings.
The big news in technology was the introduction of the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii.
Average income was over $50,000 but doubt many of those people worked at the Alexandria Town Talk.
Price of a gallon of gas was $3.38, which is more than it is now six years later, with it being in the $3.25 range in DeRidder, Louisiana area.
An ounce of gold is $630, compared to when I was growing up, when it was $35 an ounce. Someone that had bought 100 ounces of gold at $35 an ounce for $3500 would have seen their gold raise in value to $63,000 for that 100 ounces in 2007.
2008 – Would continue to work for Evergreen Ministries till August of 2008, when Rhonda found a better paying job at Comcast working in their call center. We only had one vehicle, since our Ford Contour had been totaled in the wreck in August of 2007, so only one of us could work.
Would move into this house in Knoxville in 2008:
We joined Piney Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville and would sing special music there many times and would sometimes be a replacement song leader. The prayers of the congregation had a lot to do, with Rhonda surviving a life or death surgery in 2010.
The average income dipped $10,000 during the year to $40,000.
Gasoline had risen one cent to $3.39 in 2008, while a barrel of crude oil was selling for a record $147.
The average rent for a house was now $800 and the housing market totally collapsed as the value of houses declined precipitously.
2009 – Rhonda drove me to Groves, Texas to spend time with my daughter’s family in June and attended a Astros-Cubs game on June 9. Rhonda drove back to Knoxville, while to boarded a plane to Knoxville from Houston later. While I was gone a tornado hit our home in Knoxville, but luckily the only real damage was to the deck as a tree fell on it.
Rhonda would experience the first signs of having a serious health problem about November of 2009, when she was sent home from work being very sick. The next year would see Rhonda have her large intestines removed and will have more on that in the 2010 post.
Monthly rent fell to $675 in 2009, while a gallon of gasoline dropped to $2.73, which is about 52 cents cheaper, than it is in 2013. A barrel of oil which had peaked at $147 in 2008 was now only $53 a barrel.
2010 – Westaff found me a temporary job working at a call center, which involved taking orders for Talbots a clothing company, which had an office in Knoxville. Temp job is an apt description for this job, since it lasted for about two hours. I completed one transaction and then heard the customer telling someone “If this order comes out right it will be a miracle”. My career as a call center employee came to a screeching halt about two minutes later.
March 1, 2010 was a monumental day for Rhonda, as she had her large intestines removed that day and she also smoked her last cigarette that day and hasn’t smoked since. The surgeon found out she had colon cancer that day, but the colon had already been removed and he also found out that Rhonda had diabetes.
The surgery was on Monday and it was on the Thursday night before Rhonda was to go home, that everything went terribly wrong. She went into septic shock and was moved into intensive care. The doctors were at a loss of what to do, before deciding the next day to perform an ileostomy on Rhonda. Her organs were shutting down and was having problems breathing when the surgery started. The surgery went well, but the surgeon told us, that he didn’t expect Rhonda to be alive the next Monday, after the Friday surgery was performed, but was shocked to see that she was still alive.
Rhonda was in a coma for six days and didn’t wake up till March 11 on the 16th birthday of Justin. Her sisters had driven from Louisiana to Tennessee, but Rhonda was in the coma the whole time they were there. I did all the housework till Rhonda was feeling able to do it that next summer.
I would return to work at Evergreen Ministries in July of 2010 and would remain there till a couple of days, before we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana. I enjoyed the work and didn’t miss any days of work. Had one close call, when driving the clients home and the brakes failed. I managed to get up on the sidewalk, to avoid hitting a car and drove into a parking lot and stopped the company van.
After the hospitalization and recovery we were ready to return home to Louisiana and left Knoxville. It was 16 the morning we left Knoxville, but when we arrived in Sulphur it was 78 degrees, which is even warm for Sulphur late in December.
Our relatives helped us unload the truck in about a half hour or so. It had taken us three days to load the truck in Knoxville, so it was good to unload it fast.
2010 was a slow news year, with no major story listed at the Wikipedia site.
The Apple iPad is released in 2010.
A gallon of gasoline cost $2.73 and a barrel of crude oil was selling for $73.00 a barrel, which was $20 more than the 2009 price.
Price of gold had skyrocketed to $1237 an ounce, which was $1202 more than the price I remembered as a youngster.
2001 – Mark Geisel was born on October 15, 2001 in Sulphur, Louisiana, while his father was the manager at the Domino’s Pizza place in Sulphur. Mark has done very well in school and loves to read. He plays goalie and other positions on his soccer team. His red hair goes back a long way in family history. My mom had a red-headed brother, that was born in the 1920′s or 1930′s. My mom had two red-headed sons and a red-headed daughter and a daughter with auburn hair. I was the black sheep of the family with black hair.
We moved to Gibbons Street about this time and then moved to Linda Drive later that year in the Kingsville area.
September 11, 2001 was a day that none of us will forget. I had called the mechanic that morning checking on our car in his shop. He asked me if I had the television on and that is when I found out about the horrific events of that day. The memory of those planes slamming into the twin towers of the World Trade Center will forever be ingrained in my memory.
I couldn’t comprehend how four planes could be hijacked the same morning and that day let us know how lax our airport security was at the time. The nation was in chaos at the time, with aircraft being grounded all over the country. It was eerie hearing about passengers on these planes talking to loved ones, on their cell phones telling, about the horrors of what they were experiencing and then knowing those same people on the cell phones died a violent death minutes later.
It is difficult to believe that September 11 of this year will be the 12th anniversary of that horrific day.
The “War on Terrorism” begins with the invasion of Afghanistan.
Dale Earnhardt dies during a crash in the last lap of the Daytona 500.
Richard Reid known as the “shoe bomber” attempted to blow up an American Airlines plane.
The first iPod was released and Wikipedia was launched on the internet.
The average rent jumped $40 from $675 in 2000 to $715 in 2001. The price of a gallon of gas jumped from $1.26 in 2000 to $1.41 in 2001. A loaf of bread cost $1.82.
2002 – My favorite memory of this year was the 40th class reunion of Pineville High School. I had never attended a reunion until 2002. If I was scheduled to work on the day of reunion, then I would usually work, but this year I made sure I had that week off, so I could attend. It was great seeing classmates from the 1962 class, for the first time in many years. I hadn’t run into some of them even though they had never left Pineville. The saddest part of the reunion was when the members of our class that had passed on were mentioned in a Power Point presentation, with Duane Yates singing the Lord’s Prayer in the background. Sadly Duane died before our 50th reunion in 2012. Seeing the teachers and students from 1962 again made this a special time in my life.
The price of gasoline escalated to $1.61 a gallon, a 36 cent a gallon rise since the $1.26 gasoline of 2000, which was two years earlier.
2003 – This turned out to be the last full year that I worked at the Alexandria Town Talk newspaper. The paper was never the same, after it was acquired by the Gannett Corporation. The Christmas bonus we had received while the paper was owned by the Smith family and the Central Newspapers chain was the first thing to go, under the auspices of the Gannett mega corporation. That $150 we had received each Christmas was now a thing of the past, as was the free newspapers for employees.
Iraq is invaded on March 19 by the United States military.
Saddam Hussein is captured by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
Gasoline prices jumped to 1.83, a jump of 57 cents a gallon since 2000.
2004 – My 36 years at Town Talk and 38 years in newspaper production ended in 2004, when I retired with my last day of work being Halloween night. I spent most of my working life at Town Talk. In fact it was my first job after returning from Vietnam in 1966. I had seen my pay go from $1.40 an hour in 1966 to $13.50 an hour in 2004. Still I never took home more than $28,000 in any year, that I worked for the Town Talk.
We had a traumatic event this year when my stepson Justin was sleeping in the den and was woken by a burglar, who was rifling through cabinets and drawers, while looking for painkillers. Neither Justin or the burglar knew anyone else was in the house. Thankfully, Justin thought the burglar was a relative, who told Justin he was taking stuff because his mom owed him money.
A few days before the burglary a man had knocked on our door and wanted to know if anyone lived in the trailer next door. Evidently, he was casing the house and had a timeline of when my wife Rhonda and me would be at work. Anyway he had left, about 30 minutes before I arrived home from work that night.
Justin followed him from room to room and the burglar told him to tell his mom, that he would return the next night. The burglar did have an encounter with our cat, when the cat bit him and the burglar said “ouch”. The burglar would be later caught due to his own stupidity. He overdosed and the paramedics noticed painkillers all over his trailer, which included some painkillers my wife had in our house, after having major surgery. He lived only about five houses up the street from us and was arrested for burglary and sent to prison.
Facebook was launched in 2004 and was originally only for students at Harvard University.
Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits near Indonesia and the earthquake and resulting tsunami would take 290,000 lives.
Martha Stewart is convicted of felony and sentenced to five years in prison.
Gasoline continued to skyrocket to $2.10 an increase of 84 cents a gallon from the year 2000. Oil peaked at $50 a barrel in 2004.
2005 – I returned to work in 2005, when I was hired as a caregiver by Louisiana Community Care in Ball, Louisiana. Sometimes I would start a shift at 8PM and would finish the shift at 8:30 AM the next morning. It wasn’t hard work, but it was detail work, that required a set schedule of administering medicine. I found out later in Tennessee, that anyone administering medicine in Tennessee was required to take a course and pass a test to give meds to a client. However, Louisiana required no certification to give meds. I was giving meds my first night. There was a voluntary meds certification, but it wasn’t required at this time.
Later that year I went to work for Plasti-Pak in Kingsville area and I learned how much work is involved with factory work. I operated a box making machine for Procter and Gamble products the first night there. We went to work at 6:45 PM and the shift would end at 7:15 the next morning, so we would get a full 12 hours per shift, with a half hour break to eat. It was tiring and exhausting work and dangerous work. I back over my foot with a hand truck, which resulted in losing two toenails. I bought steel-toed boots the next day. It was a temp job with Westaff and the job played out soon and I was one of first laid off, since I was one of the last ones hired.
Then I went to work for Coastal Culvert operating out of Eunice, Louisiana. It was the easiest job of my life, after working the hardest job of my life at Plasti-Pak. My job was to be the manager of a new Alexandria branch for the company. My main job was to check inventory of the culvert pipes outside the office. I had to call the Eunice office each morning, to verify I was at work. Then I would read the paper, listen to old-time radio shows or watch Andy Griffith shows on the DVD player till it was time to go home that afternoon. The job lasted from November till February of 2006, before they decided to close down the Alexandria office, since there was little to no business.
I can’t say enough good things about the Coastal Culvert executives. They invited me to their annual Christmas dinner and they gave me a $100 Christmas bonus, even though I had been there less than a month.
The major event of 2005 in Louisiana is when Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of Louisiana and a break in the levee resulted in 80 percent of New Orleans being flooded. 1,577 died from Katrina in Louisiana. Many New Orleans residents waited five days for food and water to arrive in the city. It was a colossal case of bad planning by government officials, who let people go for days without food or water.
Katrina didn’t cause much damage in Alexandria-Pineville area, but Hurricane Rita was a different story as many trees fell on houses in the area, with fallen trees closing roads.
Lance Armstrong won an amazing seventh Tour de France championship, as he demonstrated how he could live better through chemistry.
Video gamers saw the Microsoft X-Box 360 launched in 2005.
The price of gasoline climbed to $3.18 in 2005 an increase of almost $2 a gallon from the $1.26 price of 2000.
Ralph Emery got his start with radio station WTPR in Paris, Tennessee in 1951, while earning a salary of $39.50 a week. By 1953 Emery was working for WSIX with shows on both radio and television in Nashville.
Emery has been in radio for 62 years and in television for 60 years and will be 80 on March 10 of this year.
I bought my first AM-FM radio stereo, which was about five feet wide in 1967 from Tony’s Appliance Center and I remember listening to Ralph Emery on WSM out of Nashville. I enjoyed the way he interviewed the country stars and played the great country songs of that era. It was like being in another world, when listening to the most famous country music disc jockey ever in Emery. He would work briefly in 1956 for WLCS in Shreveport, Louisiana, before returning to Nashville.
Moves to WSM Radio in 1957
When Emery was hired by WSM radio in Nashville it was a huge career advancement. He was now being heard on a 50,000 watt station, that reached many areas of the country. He worked the graveyard shift at WSM from 1957-1972.
Emery was seen on WSM-TV off and on from 1963-1991 on various country shows that he hosted. He also hosted a syndicated show named Pop Goes the Country.
He brought country music to the forefront when he hosted Nashville Now on the The Nashville Network from 1983-1993.
Nashville Now did more for country music, than any other television show before or since. Country music fans could see their favorite singers sing and be interviewed by the best country music host Ralph Emery. He was the glue that held the show together for 10 wonderful years.
One thing I will always remember is Randy Travis singing as Randy Ray on one show, then he appeared as Randy Travis the next time he appeared on Nashville Now. His real name is Randy Trawick, so finally settled on Randy Travis as his name.
Fans loved that the show was on five nights a week and gave them a chance to really know the singers, when they were interviewed by Emery. This show was a first class production with regular backup singers and musicians, which complemented the singing of the stars.
Emery Can Be Seen on RFD-TV
Ralph Emery started a new show Ralph Emery Live which started on the RFD television cable network in 2007.
For example last week T.G. Sheppard was on the show and Emery asked Sheppard about his days with the Memphis Mafia, that stayed at Graceland. Sheppard was then Bill Browder who worked promoting RCA artists. Elvis Presley was surprised to learn that Bill Browder was recording under the name of T.G. Sheppard. Elvis asked why he didn’t tell him and was told that Browder was afraid of being fired by RCA if the secret came out in the open. Elvis then says “I am RCA” inferring that Browder didn’t have a reason to worry about losing his job. Sheppard tells how he heard about the death of Elvis. He said he got a call from J.D. Sumner, which was unusual in itself, but he had an idea that Elvis had died and told Sumner he knew why he was calling.
Sheppard is then asked questions by viewers who call in to the show, which was interesting as they asked him what songs he liked the most, of the songs that he recorded.
You could tell Sheppard was in awe of Emery and knows what he did for the careers of many country music stars. From the graveyard shift on WSM radio to the television show on RFD TV Emery has been an ambassador for country music.
Have recorded the next show when Emery interviews Lorrie Morgan. In fact Lorrie owes a lot of her success to Emery who hosted a morning show in Nashville, in which Lorrie often sang.
Life has not always been a bed of roses for Emery, as he had a very rough childhood and entered the world of country music, to escape an unhappy situation at home. His marriage to Skeeter Davis who recorded The End of the World was a rocky one that ended in divorce. Emery has written his autobiography and other books about country music.
Ralph Emery to me epitomizes country music and what it stands for and he may be the best interviewer ever in any entertainment spectrum.
It would be 56 years after his first radio job, before Emery was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
1996 – The Smith family sold the Town Talk to Central Newspapers for $62 million
The minimum wage was raised to $5.15, which was an improvement over the $1.40 minimum wage of 1966, when I was hired by the Town Talk.
March 13, 1996 – A gunman killed a teacher and 16 five and six-year-old children in Dunblane Scotland, which was eerily similar to the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut 16 years later in 2012.
Bomb explodes during 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ebay starts their auction website 17 years ago.
Gas cost $1.22 a gallon, which is about $2 a gallon cheaper than the $3.25 gasoline of today. A driver could save about $40 a fill-up in 1996 compared to 2013 prices, for a 20 gallon purchase.
Bread cost $1.15 a loaf.
1997 – Was chosen to be song leader at College Drive Baptist Church in Pineville, Louisiana and would remain in that position, till we moved to Tennessee in 2007. I want to thank Rev. Charles Harrell and Paul Bonnette for letting me lead the singing during those years. I also want to thank Mrs. Frances Faulk for being the pianist most of those years. She had played for Governor Jimmie Davis for many years.
One of the major stories of 1997 was when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident 16 years ago. Mother Theresa also died in 1997 at the age of 87.
Microsoft became the most valuable company in the world and was valued at $261 billion.
Woolworth closes their last discount stores in 1997.
A gallon of gasoline remained steady holding at the $1.22 price of 1996. A pound of hamburger meat cost $1.38. Average rent climbed to $576 and a movie ticket cost $4.59.
1998 – Had a very short marriage in 1998 to a con artist, who left town with my credit cards and checkbook and our marriage license, plus ran my phone bill up to over $1,000 making calls to her boyfriend in Florida. The less said about her the better. Found out she had disappeared when I returned from family reunion in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and found the huge telephone bill waiting for me in the mailbox.
Think this was the summer that was so hot, that temperatures over 100 were common that summer. After not using the air conditioner since May of 1992, I was forced to plug-in the air conditioner, because of the extreme heat.
A gallon of gasoline dropped to $1.15 a drop of seven cents from the 1997 price.
Grocery Prices of 1998:
Loaf of bread – $1.26
Pound of bacon – $2.53
Pound of hamburger meat – $1.40
Dozen eggs – 88 cents
Average rent skyrocketed to $619 a month.
1999 – My first grandson Matthew Geisel was born on February 19, 1999 at Rapides Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana to my daughter Debbie and son-in-law George. Matthew will be 14 next month and has done well in sports at the middle school in Groves, Texas and has played baseball in the Little League and Babe Ruth League. This will be his 11th season of youth baseball and he hopes to make the Port Neches – Groves high school team in 2014. He has played football, basketball and track while in middle school. He played quarterback for the Groves Middle School 8th grade team. Matthew had runs of 18 and 50 yards in the game and totaled over 100 yards in the game. He played linebacker on defense and scooped up a fumble, while returning it to the end zone for a touchdown. Groves won the game 8-0 due to his fumble TD return.
Met my future wife Rhonda on the internet in 1999 and we would be married in 2000.
Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France. We will never know if he could have won without steroids, because steroids were an integral part of his training regimen.
Two boys 17 and 18 kill 15 in the Columbine school shooting in 1999.
Mattel’s Barbie Doll turns 40.
MySpace, Napster and Bluetooth came into existence in 1999 and all are 14 years old now.
Average rent continues to skyrocket to $645 after topping out at $619 in 1998.
The cost of a gallon rises seven cents as it returns to the $1.22 price of 1996 and 1997.
Grocery Prices of 1999:
Pound of bacon – $2.59
Ground coffee – $3.41 a pound
Loaf of bread – $1.49
Dozen eggs – 89 cents
2000 – Married Rhonda on February 18, 2000 in College Drive Baptist Church by Rev. W.E.Efferson. We will have been married for 13 years on our anniversary in February. We would live on Burns Street in Pineville till we moved to Gibbons Street the following year.
Lifespan in United States in 2000 is 77.5 years.
President Bush would win the 2000 Presidential election, due to few hanging chads here and there. Democratic candidate Sen. Albert Gore polled 543,000 more popular votes, but lost the election by five electoral votes.
2000 was the year that dot-com bubble burst, as tech speculators lost thousands of dollars on companies that went bust.
Y2K starts with no serious problems.
Barrel of crude oil tops $30 a barrel, while a gallon of gas rises to $1.26 a four cent increase, over the 1999 price.
Average rent prices escalated to $675 a year. Average rent had been $619 in 1998 and $645 in 1999, so prices had increased $56 a month in two years time.
Grocery Prices of 2000:
Pound of bacon – $2.97
Ground coffee – $3.44 a pound.
Loaf of bread – $1.72
Dozen eggs – 89 cents
1991 – Visited my sister Jane and her family during the summer of 1991 in Pueblo, Colorado. My son Kenny and brother Tom also were on the trip. My brother Daniel drove us up Pike’s Peak and will never forget how cold it was at the top. The brakes overheated on the way down, so had to let them cool off a few minutes.
Driving through Raton Pass with an altitude of 7,834 in a four-cylinder Toyota was not easy as we gained altitude. Enjoyed the time with my sister and her family while in Colorado. Jane is an executive with the Pueblo Library and we had the chance to visit the library.
911 emergency number was being tested during the year and the airbag was invented. Gasoline was being sold for $1.12 a gallon.
1992 – This was a sad year as my 22 year marriage to Elaine ended, with her moving back to Texarkana, Arkansas. Had to file bankruptcy after she left, so I could pay bills. It would be the first of six years with no air conditioning. We had one, just never used it, since had to choose between air conditioning and eating and eating won that battle. Ate cheese sandwiches most of the time and can’t remember going out to eat during this time.
With the Town Talk garnishing my wages to pay the bankruptcy and paying child support there was little money left for anything, but the bare necessities of life.
The divorce was finalized and it was sad to spend Christmas without the family for the first time since 1972, the year when Steve was born.
Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992 and Miley Cyrus was born and will be 21 in November of 2013. The cost of gasoline dropped from $1.12 in 1991 to $1.05 in 1992.
1993 – Flew to Knoxville, Tennessee this year with the financial assistance of my brother, to be present when Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee honored my dad by naming a chemistry laboratory after him. Enjoyed hearing his students and others tell of my dad’s contributions to the Chemistry department at Tusculum. Then they served a dinner in his honor, which capped off a great evening.
My daughter Debbie missed by one word of making the National Spelling Bee in 1993. I was there that night in my alma mater Pineville High School auditorium, as she battled round after round before misspelling the final word.
I don’t handle change well and had a major change at Town Talk, when I was moved from composing room to camera shop, after having worked in composing room since 1966. I have to admit I was lost as I had to learn how to operate a full-page camera, tone photos and strip in negatives using the four-color process. The negatives had to have perfectly matched register marks, or the photos would be out of focus, which could be seen easily by readers if not aligned properly.
The price of gasoline rose to $1.16 a gallon, an increase of 11 cents a gallon compared with 1992 prices. Movie tickets had risen to $4.14 and a loaf of bread cost $1.57.
Harley Davidson motorcycles observed their 90th anniversary in 1993, which means they will observe their 110th anniversary in 2013. Beanie babies were first sold in 1993 and are now collector’s items twenty years later.
1994 – Remember watching O.J. Simpson and the low-speed chase by police as they followed him to his home. He was eventually arrested and charged with the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. This is the year that Tonya Harding had someone hit her ice skating opponent Nancy Kerrigan in the knee, hoping to gain an advantage over her injured opponent.
Can remember Bud Selig saying the dreaded words that there would be no 1994 World Series, due to a lengthy baseball strike. I had the feeling Selig almost enjoyed cancelling the World Series, as he seemed to be letting the players know that he was in charge.
The cost of gasoline dropped to $1.09 a drop of seven cents from the 1993 price. The first satellite digital television service was launched in 1994 and Netscape was the leading browser that year.
1995 – College Drive Baptist Church lost their pastor Mark Norwood who had accepted another job with a church in North Louisiana, when Warren Steadman became the pastor that fall.
1995 was one of my favorite years since the Atlanta Braves, who I had been following since 1978 defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series. It was the first Braves win in a World Series, since the 1957 Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series. The win over the Indians was only the second World Series championship for the Braves in the last 55 years.
Gasoline was still selling at $1.09 the same price as the 1994 price. Postage stamps were now selling for 32 cents. I remember back in 1963, when I was selling stamps for a nickel each and a book of 20 stamps cost only a dollar. 32 years later the same 20 stamp book sold for $6.40. Fast forward to 2013 and stamps are approaching 50 cents a stamp and a book would cost $10 for a 20 stamp book.
The biggest tragedy of 1995 was when a truck bomb exploded, while killing 168 people at the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Timothy McVeigh would later be executed for his part in the crime.
750 Chicagoans would die in a heat wave, when temperatures reached 104 degrees for five straight days.
Windows 95 is released by Microsoft and DVD’s are introduced.
O.J. Simpson is found innocent of the Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman murders and vows to catch the REAL killer. He searched golf courses all over the United States looking for the real killer, but was unsuccessful in locating the killer. He could have saved all that time and energy by looking at the mirror and finding the REAL killer there.
Grocery prices skyrocketed in 1995 as bread was selling for $1.15 a loaf. The days of buying five loaves for a $1 at the bread thrift store were now officially over. Ground coffee could be purchased for $4.07 a pound.
Average income was $35,900 a month except for Town Talk employees. I retired from Town Talk nine years later and never earned more than $28,000 a year, while working for the Town Talk.
For some reason my memory of the 1986-1990 period in my life is drawing a blank for the most part. Anyone with memories of what happened in Pineville-Alexandria during these years are welcome to comment.
1986 – Halley’s comet appeared in 1986 and won’t reappear till the year 2061. It had last appeared before 1986 in 1911. IBM launches the first laptop computer 27 years ago. Smoking was banned on all public transportation, in the United States which had to be tough for smokers on coast to coast airplane flights. The nicotine patch was invented in 1986. A Plymouth Colt could be purchased for $4,999. A gallon of gas only cost 89 cents. Average rent was $385 a month. Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee were popular movies in 1986.
1987 – A Private First Class in the Army was earning $9,385.20 a year. When I joined the Army in 1962 a recruit earned $936 a year as a E-1. A gallon of gas was 89 cents, the same price as in 1986. The U.S. stock market crashed on October 19 with a 508 point drop. Fox Broadcasting made its debut 26 years ago. A seven-day Caribbean cruise cost $1195.
1988 – The price of a gallon of gasoline remained relatively stable, rising to only 91 cents, after being 89 cents the previous two years. Movie tickets were $3.50 and average rent was now $420. Yellowstone National Park had 250 separate fires in 1988 that destroyed 793,880 acres of the park, which was a third of the total acreage of the park. A Logitech mouse cost $89.99, while a Amiga 500 with a color monitor cost $849.
1989 – I had surgery in July of 1989 at Rapides Hospital. I would be off work for six weeks. I would then work from 1989-2004 at the Town Talk , while missing a total of one day of work and was in the hospital that day, after being admitted from emergency room, due to emergency room physician thinking I may had a blood clot, but it turned out to be a muscle tear. I think I got my work ethic from my dad who didn’t miss a day of work over a 40 year period.
That same month before the surgery I had gone to grocery store to get snacks to watch the 1989 All Star game. By the time I got back an earthquake had hit the San Francisco area and film was being shown of the players leaving the stadium with their families. Then we saw hours of coverage of the devastation in the area. Hard to believe 24 years have passed since that date.
Other big news in 1989 is that the Yugo cars went bankrupt. The Yugo is 39th on the list of worst cars in history. One feature was the rear window defroster, which kept your hands warm, while you pushed it. The car looked like it had been assembled at gunpoint. The article also has this to say about the Yugo:
The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system — such as it was — would sizzle, and things would just fall off.
1990 – I think this is the year my son Steve played football for the Pineville High School Rebels. He played end and endured practices from summer till the end of the season, but only played in the last game of the season, for only one play and the worst thing is that his mom had left the stadium, by the time he played in the game and I was at work, so no family member was there to see him in that one play. I still respect his work ethic to stick with it all season, even if he didn’t get to play but in that one play.
Gasoline had skyrocketed to $1.34 by 1990. Today gasoline is in the $3.25 range in our area. A Super Nintendo cost $159. Cabbage Patch Kids were $29.99. A six volt Batman car could be purchased for $199 and had a top speed of 3 MPH. A Smith Corona Daisy Wheel Typewriter could be purchased for $179, while a cellular car phone could be bought for $325.
1981 – The Town Talk started printing a morning paper in 1981, which meant that most of us in the composing room worked the night shift. I would work nights the last 24 years of my time with the Town Talk. The page makeup department would work from 4:30 PM till 1:00 AM.
1982 – Another year in which I am drawing a blank, as to what happened during that year. Nationally, the Gannett Corporation published the first copy of USA Today, which makes it 31 years old today.
Gasoline cost 91 cents in 1982. The first CD player was sold this year. A Sony 19 inch color TV was being sold for $499. You can buy a RCA 19 inch color TV at Wal-Mart today for only $124, a savings of $375 thirty-one years later.
One of the major events for me was that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened this year in Washington, D.C. The memorial is of particular interest to me, since the soldier that replaced me in Vietnam died two months after I left and his name and the name of my cousin from Maine are both on the wall. My cousin was a warrant officer flying a helicopter when shot down and killed.
1983 – This was the year we went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and tickets only cost $18 back then. Epcot Center had opened the year before, so we also went to Epcot Center while at Disney World.
Later that summer we went to Greeneville, Tennessee to see my dad and his wife. You could walk out their back door and see the Smoky Mountains.
The Town Talk celebrated their 100th anniversary by giving each employee a coin, which can be cashed in during the year 2033. The paper will be 130 years old on March 17 of this year.
You could buy a Dodge RAM 50 truck for $5,665. You could buy a toy General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard for $5.99.
1984 – By this time the years were running together with no particular memory of this year. By 1984 the price of a gallon of gas had skyrocketed to $1.10 a gallon, compared to 91 cents only two years earlier. The same Dodge RAM 50 truck that cost $5,665 in 1983 was selling for $8,995 in 1984. Movie tickets cost only $2.50.
1985 – Another year with no personal memories of it. Looks like when I hit my 40′s my memory bank had deposits less often.
Gasoline was a cent cheaper, than in 1984 with the price now $1.09. A Tandy computer and monitor system was $999. Bacon was a $1.65 a pound in 1985.
A Rolls Royce car for kids were being sold for $500. The vehicle was motorized with a top speed of 5 MPH and featured working headlights and brakes.
1976 – We started the year of 1976 still working at Monroe Morning World. My wife was unhappy with her job and I found out there were two openings for my old job at Town Talk. So we moved back to Pineville, Louisiana at the Quail Creek Apartments off of Stilley Road in Pineville. It was good to be working in cold type again, after working with hot metal the previous two years in Monroe. My salary was $159 a week, when I left the Town Talk in 1974 and my salary had increased to $190 a week during the two years in Monroe. There were some negotiations with Town Talk personnel manager, who didn’t really want to pay the $190 salary, but I knew there was no way, that I would accept a cut in pay. He eventually agreed on the $190 salary, which totaled $9,880 for a year.
Can remember watching television that July 4, as the United States observed the 200th birthday since the Declaration of Independence.
1977 – We saw Elvis Presley at the Rapides Parish Coliseum in March. The seats were in the nosebleed section and we could barely even see Elvis, unlike our seats in Monroe, when we were on the floor, in about the 20th row from the stage. Elvis got sick that night and had to rest, while one of the backup singers sang a solo. We could tell that Elvis had gained a lot of weight, even sitting near the top of the coliseum, in seats that were the worst seats in the coliseum. Elvis didn’t even appear, at a scheduled Baton Rouge concert a couple of days later and was taken back to Memphis to Baptist Hospital.
We were watching the news on television in August of 1977, when we heard the news that Elvis had passed away. It came as a complete shock and it would be revealed later, that Elvis had a serious drug habit, that resulted in his death. This August marks the 36th anniversary of his death. Elvis would be 78 if still alive today.
1978 – My daughter Debbie was born on June 13 at 11:31 AM on a Tuesday at Rapides Hospital. We finally had cable television installed at the Quail Creek Apartments in 1978 and can remember being able to watch the Atlanta Braves on the WTCG Channel 17 superstation in Atlanta. We also were able to watch mostly Chicago Cubs games on WGN superstation out of Chicago.
1979 – We moved to our new home at 310 Burns Street in Pineville. I had remembered that house being built in 1958. The Louisiana College head football coach Les Patrick moved into the home. We lived across the street at 313 Burns Street, where we had lived since 1952. So it was like going home to live across the street from the house I had grown up in. So we moved into the house that had been built 21 years earlier.
1980 – Can’t remember much in the way of local news in 1980, but it was the year that John Lennon was shot outside his hotel. Other news that year included the election of President Ronald Reagan as he defeated President Jimmy Carter in the general election. Jessica Simpson was born in 1980 and will be 33, on the 10th of July.
A new Ford Pinto Pony automobile cost $3,910, while gasoline cost $1.19 a gallon.
United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics, because of Russia had invaded Afghanistan. Ironically, Russia left Afghanistan, while U.S. is presently in Afghanistan 33 years, after the Olympic boycott.
1971 – We were living on Riverfront Street in Pineville and very close to the Red River, so I walked to Town Talk each day. I passed a lady living in a tent, on the way to work each day. It was sad to know, that she couldn’t afford to live in a house, so she lived next to the river on public land. Later that year we moved to a duplex on Donahue Ferry for $50 a month, which saved us $25 a month in rent. Coincidentally, both the Riverfront and Donahue Ferry rentals burned down after we moved out of them. In addition the house behind us on Riverfront Street was a victim of the erosion of the banks of Red River, which forced the owners to leave their house, before it fell into the river.
1972 – Our first son Steve was born shortly after midnight at 1:52 AM on Thursday, February 17 at Rapides General in Alexandria, Louisiana. My wife’s mother drove down from Texarkana, Arkansas to assist my wife in taking care of Steve the first few days of his life.
This was also the year that the Alexandria Daily Town Talk converted from hot type to cold type composition. We now started using paper, instead of lead to produce the paper each day. The first day was chaos, since everyone was trying to work on all the pages at once. A system was soon put into place, designating what pages each page builder was responsible for, which made the production of the newspaper much smoother.
1973 – Steve would have a bad case of gastroenteritis, which caused his hospitalization. Former president Lyndon B. Johnson died while he was in the hospital. To compound the problems, during his hospitalization I was chosen to serve on a jury in a criminal case involving a drug store owner, who was shot in the back when he opened the store at night for the two criminals. Each suspect was found guilty and given a fifteen year sentence, so have been out of prison for at least 25 years now.
1974 – This was another eventful year, in which Elvis Presley indirectly helped me get a job at Monroe, Louisiana newspaper. We were watching the news on a Monroe television station and they mentioned that tickets were for sale to see Elvis Presley at the Monroe Civic Center. While in Monroe to see Elvis we passed the Morning World-New Star newspaper building and we decided I should apply for a job there. So when we got home I applied for a job and was granted an interview. We left the Town Talk for a $8 a week raise. It didn’t make much sense at the time, but I made so much overtime that I actually made thousands more than what the Town Talk paid.
Meanwhile….back to the Elvis Presley concert. You could feel the electricity in the air when Elvis took the stage, while singing “C.C. Rider”. Elvis was still at the top of his game that night, since this was only a year, after his Aloha From Hawaii concert. It was sad to see the concert end, since it was such a great show. If Elvis was on drugs that night, then it wasn’t evident to me in his performance.
We moved to West Monroe, Louisiana the next day after Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run passing Babe Ruth, on the all-time home run list.
Our first apartment was the Shangri-La apartments off of Wellerman Road. I was only at my new job, for only a few days, when a lot of the workers, who were in the union went on strike. That caused me to get more overtime, than I ever wanted, since we were working so short-handed. Strike-breakers from the Shreveport Times came to work with us. I was worried that since I was new, that I might be mistaken for a strike-breaker. One of the strike-breakers was pulled over by a car, with flashing lights and then attacked by some union ruffians. Those on the picket line tried to prevent me from driving onto the parking lot, but I kept driving and they eventually moved out-of-the-way. None of the strikers ever returned to work at the Monroe newspaper plant.
I was in for a shock, since the Monroe Morning World was still using hot metal composition. So I was thrust back into the world of hot type, after having worked in cold type composition for two years. One of my jobs was to use a Ludlow stick which was used for the Page One headline. The Morning World used three line staggered headlines, which made it even trickier to get the spacing just right. I had never been given the chance to use a Ludlow stick at Town Talk, so it was good to learn how they worked.
My main job was building pages and then after the shift was over would throw away the type, unless it was to be used in the News-Star the next day. We tossed the ads which would not run again in a bucket, and used string to tie up the ones that would run again and place them in the News-Star page. Basically what I did when arriving at work most days was tear down the News-Star pages and then set up the Morning World pages by placing the ads where they were designated to be placed in page layouts. When President Nixon looked like he was dying of phlebitis in 1974 we had several pages ready in case he died, but we eventually wound up throwing the pages in the bucket.
Another major event was the birth of our second son Kenneth on December 20 at 3:05 PM on a Friday. It turned out that week that I worked 73 hours with about 36 hours of overtime, since our normal week was 37 and a half hours. Then after getting off work on Christmas Eve we assembled a toy for my first son.
1975 – I worked so much in 1975, that I made $5,000 of overtime. I would work from 2:00 PM till 6:00 AM on most shifts. The composing room superintendent would call me each weekday and ask me if I would come into work at 2 PM, instead of the normal 4:30 PM. I once worked 49 days in a row, without one day off, because the foreman would ask me if I wanted to work both of my days off. I got sick on the 50th day, which I had off so it took a toll on me. So I was working 16 hour days on weekdays. This year consisted of working and sleeping for the most part, because when I woke up the boss would be calling me in to work early.
We moved again during 1975 to Monroe side of the Ouachita River, to the Plantation Apartments off of North 18th Street. We were much closer to work and didn’t have to cross a bridge to arrive at work. 1975 was a good year financially, but it was a tiring year, with so little time to sleep.
This five-year period is one of the most eventful of my life, in that I went to Vietnam and started working at Town Talk in 1966, met my first wife in 1969 and married her in 1970.
1966 – The previous year 1965 had seen a lot of activity at Schofield Barracks and there were rumors floating around, that we may be sent to Vietnam. On January 17,1966 the 25th Infantry Division boarded the USNS General Walker a troop ship on the way to Vietnam. The trip took 14 days, as we traveled 500 miles a day till we reached Vietnam. Will never forget how hot it was arriving in Vietnam and drank several Coca-Cola’s back to back.
We were flown to the 25th Infantry Base in Cu Chi, Vietnam, which I never left except for one night of guarding a Catholic church on guard duty. Thankfully, it was an uneventful night as nothing out of the ordinary occurred. I was in Vietnam only four months, so a lot happened in that short time. Our outgoing artillery fire sounded like it was going right over the post office tent and it made me jump, since I thought it was incoming artillery at first.
The only time that I was in any jeopardy was when a sniper started shooting at us. We were working in the post office at the time and we jumped in our foxholes, to get out of the line of fire. We could hear bullets ricocheting off the Conex containers behind us. The thing I most remember was that some of our soldiers were walking in front of us, caught between the sniper and our foxhole. It is a wonder we didn’t see someone killed right in front of our eyes that day. After the war I learned that the Viet Cong had an elaborate system of tunnels beneath our base, so that is how the sniper was able to shoot at us from inside our own perimeter.
One time we had to load dead bodies onto a helicopter and some of the soldiers were looking inside the body bags, but I wasn’t that curious to see a dead body.
My job consisted of sorting mail, delivering mail to company mail clerks who picked up the mail for their company and selling stamps and money orders and making sure packages for soldiers were delivered. I remember the heat of Vietnam and how I was so thirsty, that I drank two 46 ounce cans of apple juice in succession. Worked out there was a rumor that a Viet Cong soldier was in the area that night. Not a good combination to be sick, from drinking so much apple juice and having to search for a Viet Cong invader. However, nothing came of the rumor and was able to recover from imbibing too much apple juice at one time. 92 ounces of apple juice was just a little too much at one time, but that is what the heat did to us over there.
Since I had only four months left in the Army, when sent to Vietnam the Army tried to talk me into re-enlisting, which I declined after about five seconds of thinking it over. I was told if I had three months left that I would have stayed in Hawaii. What a difference that one month made.
Will never forget the day in May that I left Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon, on the way back to the United States. I felt safer as the plane gained altitude, since it was too high to be hit by ground fire. The plane stopped at Japan for a short time, but we never left the plane. We finally landed in San Francisco and were taken to the Oakland Army Terminal. I will never forget the steaks we were served, along with some very cold milk. It was such a difference from what we had to eat and drink in Vietnam. We were processed and given our discharge papers and boarded a plane in the direction of Louisiana.
Can’t remember if I was flown all the way to Esler Airport in Pineville or if I had to take a bus from Dallas. The main thing was that I was home to stay after being in the Army for most of the three-and-half preceding years.
One of the soldiers I served with in the post office wrote me and told about a mortar shell hitting our post office, about two months after I left Vietnam. The worst part is that two were killed and seven were injured in the attack. The sergeant of our postal unit was among those injured and he was awarded another Purple Heart, to go with the one he received from being hit in Korea. The thing that really hit home was that the soldier, who had replaced me was one of the two that were killed.
August of 1966 was the month that I was hired by the Town Talk to work in the composing room. I was told that I would be making more, than most new employees, but later found out I was making the minimum wage of $1.40 an hour. That came out to about $55 a week or $220 a month. Town Talk was still using the hot metal composition at the time. My first job was to work on the type dump, where I would make any corrections to any type with errors, then turn the galley around where the page makeup people could take the type to the page and insert it. It wasn’t too long before I was a page makeup person and placed photos, type and ads into the pages.
1967 – The Town Talk started printing a Sunday paper in May of 1967 and now has had a Sunday edition for the last 46 years.
1968 - This was a turbulent year in the history of the United States, as Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated during the year. King would be assassinated on April 4, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray, who would be arrested two months later. The Kennedy assassination took place at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5 and Sirhan Sirhan was arrested and remains in prison 45 years later.
Denny McLain would win 31 games in 1968. No pitcher has won more than 27 games since then.
1969 – Went to see a major league baseball game at the Astrodome and saw Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench in the game. Pete Rose may be added to the list of Hall of Famers someday. I remember someone opening an umbrella inside the Astrodome, as there must have been a leak in the roof, from the downpour outside the enclosed stadium. Attendance was only 12,205 due to the heavy rain. The Astros won the game 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth when rookie Keith Lampard hit a walkoff home run to win the game. Ironically, the home run would be the only home run for Lampard, in his career and he would be out of baseball after the 1970 season.
Would meet my first wife a college student at Louisiana College that fall. A year later we were married and will write more about that in the 1970 post.
1970 - Would marry my first wife at College Drive Baptist Church in Pineville, Louisiana on September 26, 1970. There were six bridesmaids, since my wife had six sisters. Sadly my best man would die later, when he was hit by a car, while going to pick up his newspaper by the highway.
By 1970 had worked at the Town Talk for four years and was earning $3 an hour now, which totaled $120 a week and $480 a month. The rent for our house was $75, but since my pay was so low the landlord allowed us to pay in two $37.50 payments.
1961 – Entered the 12th grade, after spending two years in the 10th grade at Pineville High School, due to going to summer school for the third straight year.
John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president on January 20.
Remember listening to Chicago White Sox games on KSYL AM, out of Alexandria, Louisiana, with Bob Elson and Milo Hamilton as the announcers. This was the summer that Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were battling to break Babe Ruth’s season home run record of 60. Bob and Milo would give updates during the White Sox games, about what Roger and Mickey were doing in the home run race. Maris would hit his 61st home run on October 1, which broke the 34-year-old record of Ruth. Surprisingly only 21,000 fans were present to see the achievement of Maris.
The ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion ended two days later. It was a failed attempt to remove Fidel Castro from power. He had taken power in 1959 and is still in power today 54 years later.
1962 – K-Mart would open its first store in Garden City Michigan on March 1 and the company is now 51-years-old. July 2 would see the first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas.
My senior class graduated in May, but it would be September before I received my diploma, because I had failed English IV.
I joined the Army Reserve in Alexandria, Louisiana and was sent to Fort Polk for basic training in October. We were kept so busy at Fort Polk during basic, that we had no clue of the magnitude of the Cuban missile crisis that October. The only clue we had been what we said when we marched:
I don’t know but I believe
I’ll be in Cuba by Christmas Eve
Little did we know we were on the brink of a nuclear disaster and we didn’t know about it till we finished basic training in December.
I won’t mention any names, but a soldier from Wardville thought it would be fun, to yell from the barracks upstairs at a sergeant saying “Hey nutbrain”. That was not a smart thing to do on his part. That sergeant did not waste any time, as he made his way up in the stairs in record time. The soldier was told in no uncertain terms, that calling his sergeant “nutbrain” was not acceptable behavior.
1963 – Was on leave when the year started, but would board a passenger train for Indianapolis, Indiana at the Missouri Pacific depot in January. That depot was later torn down, but assembled in a new location in downtown Alexandria.
I can remember seeing snow falling when we went through St. Louis, then after arriving in Indianapolis saw several inches of snow on the ground. I learned what a Indiana winter was like, while being stationed at the Adjustant General’s School at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Some soldiers called it “Uncle Ben’s Rest Home”. Attended the postal school there from January through April, before returning to Louisiana having finished my six months of active duty.
It took attending a few Army Reserve meetings, before I decided to join the Regular Army and joined in May of 1963. I requested to be sent to Germany or Hawaii and received orders for Hawaii. Was flown to San Francisco and took a helicopter to the Oakland Army Terminal.
Spent eight days at the terminal before boarding flight to Hawaii. We were on a slow MATS transport plane, so the trip took several hours. When I arrived at Schofield Barracks the home of the 25th Infantry Division I heard some of the soldiers talking about having just a few days left before being discharged. I figured out that I had only 1,095 days left and they got a big kick out of that.
Hawaii is a beautiful state and liked being stationed there. The Army Service Club conducted tours of the island of Oahu and would take us on a bus trip around the island. Wish I had taken some color photos of the scenery, but only took black and white photos.
One of my first memories was seeing the Beach Boys at Conroy Bowl, the arena where entertainers appeared. Remember seeing Johnny Cash and June Carter and Sue Thompson there. It was a highlight for me, when Sue Thompson shook hands with me, while singing one of her songs.
I loved going to the beach, since the Service Club took the soldiers on busses to the different beaches each weekend. I would listen to music on my radio, while looking across the ocean toward California. Surf music was at its height in 1963 and even today I Heart radio has a station, with only surf music being featured.
By far the biggest event of 1963 was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22. The regular company postal clerk was on leave, so I was the temporary clerk while he was gone. I had my radio on in the post office, when I heard the announcement that JFK had been shot. I immediately informed the company commander, who had not heard about it yet.
Meanwhile the postal clerk on leave to New York was flying standby and his flight was rerouted from California to Texas, which landed in Dallas about the same time as the assassination. So he got caught in the middle of all the commotion, even though he wasn’t even thinking of having to go through Dallas.
Just missed by a few minutes of seeing Lee Harvey Oswald gunned down in the Dallas Police station on the TV, in the dayroom but not too disappointed since I didn’t really want to see it anyway.
A few days later we would march in a memorial observance of JFK’s death and it was a surreal experience, knowing that the president of the United States had been assassinated and marching on the parade grounds brought it home.
Went to a Christmas show in December, that really made me homesick, when they sang “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”.
1964 – Went on temporary duty to Molokai, the island on which Father Damien established his leper colony. The ride there on a boat was a rocky one and wound up getting very sick, even if was only a 20 something mile trip from Oahu.
Can remember it pouring down that week a lot and that I heard on the radio, that Lyndon B. Johnson had defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election.
I can remember flying home to Pineville in October of 1964, my first trip home since leaving in May of 1963. I took my leave in October, so I could see the World Series while I was at home. I think it was this trip, that when flying back saw professional wrestler Sputnik Monroe aboard the plane. Coincidentally, he and his wrestling brother Rocket both lived in Alexandria and had performed at Jimmie Thompson’s Arena. That reminds me of the time when my brother, who knows sign language saw a deaf wrestler Silento Rodriguez being knocked from the ring and went over and signed to him, asking if he was OK and the wrestler signed back that he was OK.
1995 – This was the year that I was sent to the Big Island named Hilo, to work at the Camp Pohokoloa (sp) post office. I remember one payday, that we sold $28,000 worth of money orders and that I came up $107 short at the end of the day. The other postal worker working that day later was court-martialed, for stealing money from the post office, so I have always wondered if he didn’t take the missing money. Worst thing is that my wages were garnished till the $107 was paid back to the post office.
The post office was at a high altitude and I could see snow-capped mountains in the distance. It was cold there, even if it was Hawaii. Tsunamis hit Hilo in 1946 and 1960 killing 160 and 61 people respectively.
Saw a missionary from Pineville who was living in Hilo at this time. My mom had told me where to find her and I had a nice visit with her.
When the surgeon that performed my cancer surgery told me in November, that my duodenal cancer has a history of returning it reminded me of my immortality. It may have been negative news, but it also reminded me of many events of my 68 years of living, that were either positive and negative.
1944 – Was born on October 14, just four months after the D-Day landing and World War II would be over in Europe, about six and-a-half months later in April of 1945.
1950 – My first memory is of walking to school with my brother on the first day of school to Pineville Elementary. I remember Mrs. Price was my first grade teacher. School lunches were only 10 cents at the time.
1951 – This is the year I rode my last school bus in the second grade, when I accidentally got off the bus in Libuse, instead of five blocks from Louisiana College, so walked home that day from Libuse to Pineville. I never rode another school bus after that day.
1952 – We moved from Holloway Drive to Burns Street in February of 1952, moving from a small house to a very large house. The house payment was $55 a month, which was a bargain at the time.
1954- Think this is the year when my dad purchased our first television, when I was nine years old. He didn’t buy it for entertainment reasons, but because my sister had a lazy eye and a special screen was placed over the TV screen, that made her use her lazy eye. We bought it at L.B. Henry’s store on Main Street, when they were selling televisions. Our first TV was an Admiral.
This is also the year I really became interested in baseball and remember listening to the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Willie Mays made his famous catch in one of those games on a ball hit by Vic Wertz of the Indians.
1955 – Ray Kroc opened his first McDonalds fast food restaurant (the McDonald brothers opened the first eight, before selling out to Kroc.) Once after he bought the San Diego Padres they were playing so badly, that Kroc said over the public address system that his short order cooks at McDonalds could play better the Padres.
This was the first year I played Little League baseball. I went to a local hardware store to buy a baseball glove and wanted to buy a $6.50 glove. Only problem was that I only had $6, but the owner Mr. Brister let me have it for $6. It was a Nokona brand glove.
1956- My main memory of 1956 was when Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in a World Series. He recently sold his uniform from that game for $756,000 and is using part of the money to pay college education expenses for his grandchildren.
1957 – Elvis Presley buys Graceland for $100,000, since their last Memphis home had attracted too many fans, with no way of keeping them off the grounds. This was the year my baby sister was born on March 23. Three months later the worst hurricane to hit Alexandria-Pineville area in my memory hit the area, with full force when Hurricane Audrey hit. Audrey had earlier killed 500 people in Cameron, Louisiana. I remember Jim Gaines of KALB Radio telling, about the progress of the hurricane and the damage being done. We had a very tall pine tree fall in our yard, but was not close to the house.
August of 1957 would bring many memories when my dad, older brother and me took a road trip in our 1949 Packard, from Louisiana to Maine. We made the usual tourist stops like Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Mount Vernon and other tourist attractions. We visited the most tourist attractions in Washington, D.C. We visited the National Archives Building, Capitol building, White House (just saw it from the fence), Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Mint and Engraving and watched the workers print sheets of currency.
We visited the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and saw a show at the planetarium, plus visited the site of the Liberty Bell. However, the main thing I remember from the Philadelphia visit was seeing my first major league game. The hometown Phillies were playing the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in Connie Mack Stadium. I remember fans bringing paper bags with bottles in them to the game. I can only imagine what was in those bottles. I also remember the Phillies fans booing their own players. The highlight of the game was when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that hit the tin roof over our heads, in the left field bleachers. Three years later Mazeroski would hit a walkoff homer that defeated the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series Game 7.
Saw my grandpa for the only time in my life in the hospital. Not sure where the hospital was located. It was either New Jersey or Pennsylvania. My dad’s folks were living in Millville, New Jersey.
Will never forget my dad driving through the Bowery district in New York City and seeing men laying on the sidewalk. That would be the only time for me to visit New York. Then we went on to Beverly, Massachusetts and ate at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, with the classic orange roof. My dad was in town for an American Chemical Society convention, then after the convention ended we went to Maine, to see my uncle and aunt and their family. It was the only time I saw my cousin alive, since he was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam, when he was shot down and killed.
Then we raced back to Louisiana, stopping only one night at Warsaw, Kentucky, then my dad drove almost non-stop since school started the next day at Pineville Elementary. The next month the Milwaukee Braves would win the 1957 World Series.
1958 – Played Pony League baseball in 1958, which would be my fourth and last year of playing baseball. One night when we were playing a game, someone hollered “That plane is going to crash” and we saw a plane plummeting to the ground, about two miles from the park. It crashed about a block or two off of Main Street near a National Cemetery, but not positive about the exact crash site.
This was also the year I entered Pineville High School. It is difficult to believe that this was 55 years ago. Finding classes was not easy that first day, since I wasn’t used to attending such a big school.
The Milwaukee Braves took a three games to one lead in the 1958 World Series, but would let the Yankee,s that they had defeated in 1957 come back to win the World Series.
1959 – I remember this being the year my older brother graduated from high school. February of 1959 would see Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper go down in an airplane crash in Iowa. The Big Bopper had appeared in Alexandria, Louisiana about 1958, at a KALB Radio record hop. 1959 was also the year the White Sox won the AL pennant but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
The highlight of 1959 was our trip in a Volkwagen Micro-bus, which took us to Missouri, Canada and back to Louisiana. My dad was taking classes at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so we stayed mostly in Missouri at the 80 acre farm of my grandpa and grandma. They had only recently installed indoor plumbing in their home. I will never forget the huge console radio on the living room floor. The sound was great and I could hear the Kansas City Athletics baseball games on the radio. Saw Leave it to Beaver for the first time on their television. Don’t think it was on KALB TV in Alexandria, La., since it was on another network.
We spent part of the summer at the Chateau Cottages near Devils Lake in Wisconsin. We were on a tourist boat, when the captain asked me to pilot the ship. He sold souvenirs, while piloted the boat up the Wisconsin River. It was a relief when he took over the helm, since there were a lot of duckboats on the water.
Then after my dad finished the summer classes we drove to Chicago. It was amazing to look up at the tall buildings on the Loop and we went to a church in Berwyn, Illinois. Then we drove to Detroit and visited the Ford headquarters and also toured Post Cereals factory and can’t remember if we also toured the Kelloggs plant. We crossed into Canada at Windsor and journeyed to Brantford, Ontario where my mom had relatives. We then went to Niagara Falls and crossed back into the United States.
My dad was stopped by the Canadian Mounties, because our Volkswagen micro-bus resembled a vehicle they were looking for. At one point during our trip while driving in the United States a driver hollered “Governor Long” at us, when he saw the Louisiana license plate. This was the same year he managed to escape from a mental health institution, so Louisiana was in the news a lot that summer.
1960 – Nothing stands out about this year for me, except for the Pittsburgh Pirates defeating the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Bill Mazeroski, who I had seen hit the home run, in Philadelphia three years earlier hit a walkoff home run over the left field wall, that made Pirates the world champions of baseball.
Stuckey’s was a place where you could fill up with gasoline, go to restrooms and shop for souvenirs and the famous Stuckey’s pecan candy.
There was their famous pecan log rolls, pecan divinity and of course pecan pralines. I have to debate with myself whether my favorite was the divinity fudge or the pralines.
First Stuckey’s Physical Building Opened in 1937
The first Stuckey’s building was opened in 1937 and expanded into 350 stores. Stuckey’s merged with Pet Milk in 1967 and the 350 stores dwindled into 75, during the Pet Milk operation of the company. Most of the Stuckey’s stores sold Texaco gasoline back then.
William S. Stuckey Sr., got the idea for the company when he had a bumper crop of pecans in 1930. His wife went to work in the kitchen and experimented with different candy recipes, which were the main drawing card for Stuckey’s, when they opened their first physical store in 1937.
After the fortunes of the company declined during the Pet Milk ownership period, the son of Stuckey, who was U.S. congressman William S. Stuckey restored the Stuckey’s name by purchasing the company and there are now 200 Stuckey’s in the United States at the present time.
Stuckey’s are found as far north today as Connecticut, but surprisingly there are no stores in either New Jersey or New York. Most of the stores are concentrated in the southern states, but there are stores in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana.
Stores are only located in 20 of the 50 states. I was surprised recently to see a Stuckey’s returning on a trip to Houston and the store sold gasoline, souvenirs and had a Popeye’s Fried Chicken place inside the store. There are nine Stuckey’s located in Texas, but the only Stuckey’s in Louisiana according to their website is a store in Opelousas.
It was exciting to see signs for Stuckey’s, since we knew we could get off the road for a while, while we browsed the souvenir shop and found candy to munch on as we continued on down the highway. It is great to know the company still exists 56 years after our 1957 trip from Louisiana to our eventual destination of Maine to visit my uncle and aunt and their family.
Stuckey’s has had its ups and downs since the first store was opened in 1937, but it is good to know, that the company is thriving again, now that the Stuckey family once again own the stores. We want to thank them for restoring our memories of that 1957 trip, when Stuckey’s were a mainstay on the U.S. highway system.
George Strait and Alan Jackson singing Murder on Music Row.
The best known version of Murder on Music Row was recorded by George Strait and Alan Jackson, but was originally recorded by Larry McCordle and Lonesome Standard Time.
The following link takes you to a website where the lyrics are shown and you can hear George and Alan singing the words and sing along with them if you want.
I had liked country music over the years, but really got interested after seeing Your Cheatin’ Heart the life story of Hank Williams Sr. The movie told the life story of Hank Williams Sr. in a way that showed his struggles on the way to the top and how his drinking habit caused him to lose jobs and probably caused his early death at the age of 29, in the backseat of a car on the way to a concert. The part I best remember was when the audience found out Hank had died enroute to the concert and started singing ” I Saw The Light . ” which was the most poignant part of the movie.
When I saw the movie in the 60′s when stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii it jump started my collection of country music record albums.
I particularly liked Buck Owens and Buckaroos and at one time owned fifteen of their albums. I became a Ernest Tubb fan and bought his Ernest Tubb Life Story Album, which contained many of his older songs from the World War II era. Songs like Filipino Baby, Driftwood on the River, Rainbow at Midnight and others brought home what it was like for soldiers during World War II.
It was exciting to be able to buy a record album of Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn, when they appeared in concert as a duet in Alexandria, Louisiana and to top it off both of them autographed their albums. I was struck by how beautiful Loretta Lynn was in person.
Country Music Not the Same
Country music isn’t the same today. You might hear a few traditional singers like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Randy Travis, but for the most part traditional country music has died. Like the song says murder was committed on Music Row and is being committed with each release of this non-traditional music.
I couldn’t name one country song from 2012, since I spend my time listening to the old music on my MP3 player of George Strait, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and others previously mentioned in this article. There are no songs that stand out like He Stopped Loving Her Today, Take This Job and Shove It, Heartaches by the Number, Hello Darlin’, Together Again, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Welcome To My World, Okie From Muskogee, Big City and the great George Strait songs from the 80′s and 90′s.
So if you want to start a collection of traditional country music at its best, then this is the time to start. I found a 99 song Ernest Tubb collection for only $11.02 used. I bought this collection two or three years ago at a good price from Amazon. I have bought many used CD’s from Amazon dealers and have never had a CD that didn’t work. It might pay to compare prices with eBay dealers.
I recently downloaded the Kindle book Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, written by his son Captain Robert E. Lee. The Kindle edition is free and readers can start reading the 504 page book a minute, after it is purchased for free. The book is in the public domain, which is why it is free at Amazon.com.
General Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford Hall, Virginia. He graduated second in his class from West Point in 1829. He married Mary Custis the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington in 1831. He later would be he appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1852.
Lee loved to communicate through letters and this book includes the text of many letters, that he wrote to his wife, sons and daughters and others he had contact with during his life. He wrote often even during the Civil War years of 1861-1865. When he wrote home he would ask his relatives to send socks for the Confederate troops, many of whom had neither shoes or socks. It had to be a real hardship for Confederate troops, to not have shoes and socks and even blankets during the winter months of the Civil War. He writes in 1862 about the death of his daughter, Anne Carter Lee who died of typhoid fever at the age of 23.
You could feel the compassion for his troops as he pleaded in his letters, for his relatives to send socks for the troops. He wrote about the death of General Stonewall Jackson and how he would be missed by the Confederate Army. He writes in one letter about how outnumbered the Confederate troops were before surrendering to General Ulyssses Grant at Appomatox. By surrendering Lee prevented the deaths of thousands of Confederate troops, who would have surely died at the hands of the Federal Army, who vastly outnumbered them.
His letters after the war relate how he was offered the presidency of Washington University, which was named Washington and Lee University in later years. His leadership was instrumental in making Washington University, one of the leading collegiate institutions of the south. His wife Mary who suffered from rheumatism often went to places with healing springs and these trips separated her from General Lee, who was living in Lexington, Virginia as the president of Washington University.
He often wrote his sons after the war and gave them advice, about how to be a successful farmer. He gave them money to help them acquire what they needed for their farms. He even told his son Robert Jr. that Robert needed to find a wife so he could settle down on a farm.
After reading these letters, a reader can tell how much family meant to General Lee and his concern for the welfare of his wife, sons and daughters and the confederate troops, who had served in the Confederate Army under his leadership. It is evident too how much his faith in God mattered to him.
Sadly, Lee only lived five years after the Civil War ended and died on October 12, 1870 in Lexington, Virginia at the age of 63 of heart disease. He is buried at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
General Lee may have been a great general for the Confederate Army, but this book, doesn’t dwell on that as much, as it does on his character which is exemplified in his letters. Numerous books have been written about Lee, but due to his untimely death he was unable to write the memoirs of his life.
The entire book can be heard since there is an option to hear a reader read the book aloud. This book may not be a book Civil War buffs may want to read, since it is more about Robert E. Lee the person, rather than being about Robert E. Lee the Confederate general, but it is still a book worth reading.
There are a lot of very funny old-time radio programs, but the best Christmas drama I have heard is “A Daddy For Christmas”. It is one of the most heartwarming Christmas shows ever and as far as I know, it has never been made into a television show.
If someone listens to this show and doesn’t tear up, then something is seriously wrong.
The show which was broadcast on December 15, 1948, on the Family Theater program may be 64 years old, but it will still touch the hearts of those, who celebrate Christmas today.
Bobby Driscoll who plays Stevie in the program had made his movie debut in 1943 at the age of 6 and went on to star in Disney movies. Driscoll acquired a drug habit in high school and died at the early age of 31.
The program lasts 24 minutes and 20 seconds.
It has been a month-and-a-half since my cancer surgery at the Michael Debakey VA Hospital in Houston. Since then I have learned I was injected with steroid, which causes meningitis and am now close to starting a 24 week chemotherapy program, to try to prevent the duodenal cancer from returning.
LBJ: The Mastermind of The JFK Assassination: By Phillip F. Nelson
I have always thought that there was a conspiracy, behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. After reading LBJ: The Mastermind of The JFK Assassination, there is no other conclusion in my mind, that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson orchestrated the planning of the assassination.
Illegal Election Involvement
My thoughts of Johnson until lately were that he was a politician well-skilled, at making whatever political maneuvers necessary to win an election. He lost the 1941 election for the U.S. Senate to W. Lee Daniel, with Daniel winning by a 311 vote margin.
The 1948 Senate election was even closer with Johnson defeating Coke Stevenson by 81 votes, out of a million votes cast. A box of ballots was mysteriously found that gave Johnson the win. George Parr a Democratic boss was the one that found the mysterious ballots, which included 99.1 percent voting for Johnson. Some of the voters were dead Mexicans. Johnson knew exactly what was going on and it was just one of many times, when Johnson would resort to criminal activity, to win an election or to get illegal kickbacks.
The 1954 Senate election was won by Johnson by a wide margin, while defeating Republican Carlos G. Watson, with 84.59 percent of the vote.
Forced JFK To Choose Him As Vice President in 1960
Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy had offered Sen. Stuart Symington the chance, to run as the vice presidential candidate. at the 1960 Democratic convention in Los Angeles. Johnson who wanted desperately to be the vice president, then proceeded to force JFK into choosing him as his running mate, by threatening to reveal that Kennedy had been running around with some women and had the information in files kept by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Kennedy had no choice but to withdraw his offer to Symington and offer Johnson a place on the ticket, though he and his brother Bobby did not want Johnson on their ticket.
It was one of the most crooked elections in the history of the United States, when John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. Richard Nixon, his defeated opponent refused to contest the election, even though if he had it may have revealed the extent of criminal activity in the election.
LBJ’s Hitman: Malcolm Wallace
Lyndon B. Johnson had his own personal hitman in Malcolm Wallace. When someone threatened to reveal Johnson’s criminal activity, Wallace would eliminate them, if requested by Johnson. He killed one man by shooting him in the back five times and the defense tried to say it was a suicide and Wallace was freed. The author of the book says Wallace may have been involved in as many as 17 murders, including the murder of Johnson’s own sister, who Johnson feared would disclose secrets about his criminal activity. The most shocking revelation about Wallace was that his fingerprint was found on a box found, on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
LBJ: The Unhappy Vice-President
Johnson was not a happy camper as vice president, being shunned by the Kennedy brothers. He was sent on fact-finding trips around the world, to get rid of him for an extended time. This story was not in the book, but I remember reading somewhere, that Johnson was making a speech and Bobby Kennedy forced one of his aides to tell Johnson to cut the speech short. After the aide told Johnson what Bobby Kennedy had requested, he continued to talk for another 15 minutes angering Bobby even more.
Even though he was vice president, the Kennedy brothers would not invite him to important meetings. Worst of all LBJ knew that he probably would not be able to run for president, until JFK and RFK had finished their terms as president.
Assassination Plans Started
It had to be during this time that Johnson formulated a plan to assassinate JFK and replace him as president. He pushed JFK to make a trip to Dallas. Johnson was involved in planning the route of the motorcade. He wanted Jackie Kennedy to ride with him, two cars behind the presidential limousine, but Kennedy refused the offer. LBJ wanted his enemy Senator Ralph Yarbrough to ride with the Kennedys, but that didn’t work out either.
Johnson had everything in place for him to be president. When President Kennedy and his wife Jackie started their day on Friday, November 22, 1963, they didn’t know that President John F.Kennedy would be dead that afternoon.
LBJ Hiding In The Killing Zone
The Kennedys may have not known what was about to happen that day, but Vice President Johnson knowing he was entering the killing zone and that President Kennedy would soon be shot, crouched down inside his limousine two cars behind the Kennedy, to avoid getting hit by a stray bullet. His wife Lady Bird Johnson and Senator Yarbrough were not told about the assassination, so they were sitting up and smiling and waving to the crowd. To think LBJ would put his own safety ahead of his wife’s safety tells me all I need to know about Lyndon Baines Johnson.
One mystery about that day is why the presidential limousine stopped in the middle of the gunfire that was hitting President Kennedy. Another odd thing is that Jack Ruby was seen at Dealey Plaza that day with a gun case and then would show up at the hospital and at the police station before the night was over.
There was an ugly scene at Parkland Hospital, when a gun was pulled on a doctor wanting to autopsy the body, but was overpowered as the body was taken to the airport. Another mystery is why the presidential limousine was cleaned, since it was the crime scene and it was taken to Washington and cleaned some more and wound up being rebuilt to remove any trace of evidence.
LBJ Asks Jackie Kennedy To Stand With Him For Oath
As if Jackie Kennedy hadn’t gone through enough on this day, LBJ then asked her, to stand by him as he was administered the oath of office. Johnson had now achieved his life-long dream of becoming president. Now all he had to do was cover up, what really happened on that November day in 1963.
Warren Report Whitewash
President Johnson adopted the lone nut theory, as soon as Oswald was captured. Oswald himself said he was a patsy, but Jack Ruby never let Oswald tell his story. I am amazed that Ruby was allowed in the police station, without being checked for firearms.
Ruby’s action kept Oswald from implicating any of the people, that were behind the assassination. So Ruby made it easy for the Warren Commission to issue a whitewash of a report, not including any testimony that backed a conspiracy theory.
If Johnson hadn’t become president he may have been sent to prison for criminal activity in the Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker scandals, since he became rich from accepting kickbacks. Matter of fact a hearing was being held in Washington on the same day that JFK was assassinated, that featured an insurance salesman named Don Reynolds, who knew that Johnson was involved with criminal activity.
J. Edgar Hoover helped the Warren Commission determine it was a lone gunman that killed President Kennedy, by holding back any information that could show, that it was a conspiracy.
Witnesses before the committee, who didn’t agree with the lone gunman theory were not allowed to have their testimony included in the report.
We may never have conclusive evidence revealed that Johnson was behind the assassination, but there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence that points only to him. He had the power, had the right connections and definitely had the motive, since he knew his dream of being president would never be realized, unless President Kennedy was eliminated from the picture.
Anyone reading this book may not be swayed to believe that Johnson planned the assassination of JFK, but they will learn the extent to which LBJ would go to have his way.
The cast of Full House celebrated their 25th anniversary last weekend, but two of the best known stars of the show decided to not attend the festivities. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who owe their fame to playing Michelle Tanner on Full House, for some reason didn’t want to spend time, with the rest of the cast.
The Olsen twins more than likely have profited more from being on the show, than any of the other cast members. I doubt if the other members of the cast can match the earning power of the Olsen twins.
They earn $158,333.33 a day, $19,791.66 an hour, $329.86 a minute and $5.49 a minute. I logged in at this website that counts their earnings 10 minutes ago and they have earned another $3,000 in those 10 minutes.
Full House made them a household name. Without that name the Olsen twins would never have been able to create their fashion empire and their profiting from the use of their name on various other products.
It wouldn’t have hurt them to show up for the anniversary celebration, but apparently they are too busy making money to associate with their cast mates. This may not even be the case, but their failure to show up cause their fans to question why they didn’t show up.
Full House is the kind of show, that people love or hate. There is no middle ground with this show. I have known people who hated Full House with a passion and others that loved the show, so it was a divisive show.
The following article shows that the cast mates who did show up for the anniversary party had a great time.
I could understand the Olsen twins not showing up if this was a television special, but it seems to just have been a party where the cast wanted to renew acquaintances with the other cast mates.
When the Beach Boys reunited for their 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour it appeared, that the group would still be together after the end of the tour. However, lead singer Mike Love and band member Brian Johnston plan on splitting from the group, at the end of the current reunion tour.
Before the reunion the Beach Boys had split into three fractured groups, with the Love-Johnston configuration, the Al Jardine group and the Brian Wilson group. Love has announced that Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks will not be part of the Love-Johnston group.
We are only five days away from the last performance of the 50th reunion tour, when the Beach Boys appear as a group for the last time, unless the various factions can work out their differences.
It is sad to see that apparently the egos of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston are too big to share a stage with the other members of the group.
With Brian Wilson now 70, Mike Love 71, Al Jardine 70, David Marks 64 and Johnston 70, it makes me wonder how willing fans will be to pay to see the fractured groups. In a perfect world the Beach Boys could have been together, as a group for the last 50 years, but instead the band has been fractured by lawsuits of the various factions, that only made things worse as the various groups fought over the right to use the Beach Boys name.
Having being stationed in Hawaii from June 1963 – January 1966, Beach Boys music was a huge part of the music scene during those years. I was fortunate to see Beach Boys in concert at Conroy Bowl at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I can remember going to the beach on the weekends listening to Beach Boys music, on my transistor radio.
I purchased the Beach Boys Live at Knebworth concert from England video from 1980, which would be the last time the complete group appeared in England. At the end of the video Al Jardine mentions that Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson had died in the years, since that concert. It is my favorite Beach Boys video, since it includes most of their greatest hits.
It would be nice if the members of the Beach Boys would think more about their fans, than their own financial situation, but apparently that isn’t the case. So we probably will see the group split into various factions again, instead of banding together and giving fans to hear them as the group we grew up listening to.
Regardless, I still want to thank all of the Beach Boys for providing years of music for their fans. Just wish that most of them who are mostly in their 70′s could overlook their petty differences, so we could hear them as a group, not as splintered groups from the Beach Boys we knew for the last 50 years.
This ten minute video shows what life was like in small town America in 1952. It is sickening to read the comments made by those who viewed this video. They turn what was a special time to those of us, who grew up in the 50′s, into a platform for hatred of races.
Even the ugly remarks can’t ruin a video that brings so many fond memories of the past.
I was eight years old when this video was filmed so can identify with what happened during a typical day 60 years ago.
It was a simpler time, before cell phones, I-pods, laptop computers and HD television sets. The television sets back then still had the huge tubes, that made them so bulky, unlike the lightweight television sets of today.
Growing up in the 1950′s was a special time and this video captures the feeling from having grown up in that era.
It saddens me that two of the New York City metropolitan papers chose not to mention 9/11. You would think that the New York Times would have mentioned the 11th anniversary, of 9/11, but they decided it wasn’t important as the other news of the day. However the Times had a scathing article, on their opinion page implying, that President George Bush had foreknowledge or at the least had an idea the country was in danger of a terrorist attack.
The New York Post front page from today seen above features an article about New Y0rk Jets quarterback and his romance with Eva Longoria. The only other article on the front page is about a sex scandal at a girl’s school. Where are the media’s priorities today? Do they actually think these two articles are more important, than remembering 9/11. It is a sad state of affairs that a major New York newspaper, which covered the 9/11 attacks is now acting like it didn’t happen. How soon they forget.
The New York Daily News is to be commended on devoting their front page and 11 inside pages to memorializing September 11. Sure there is other news today, but are any of those articles more important than remembering those who met a fiery death, at the hands of terrorists at the site of the World Trade Center and those that died in other planes? One plane hit the Pentagon killing both passengers and Pentagon workers, who were on the wrong side of the building making them easy targets.
Then to top it all off the NBC Today Show showed an interview with Kris Jenner at the same precise moment, that ABC and CBS and the cable news channels were observing a moment of silence. This Daily Mail article includes a lengthy article about the 9/11 snub by NBC.
Today was the height of absurdity with Mark Sanchez, Eva Longoria and Kris Jenner in the spotlight, while the 11th anniversary was being ignored by some media outlets. Have we no shame? Have we no decency? It is almost like the media thinks, after the tenth anniversary last year, that those who died tortuous deaths on 9/11 no longer matter and have been relegated to the backburner.
I can’t undo the damage caused by the media today, but I can say those that died on 9/11 should be remembered, as long as there is life on this planet.
God bless America!!
Chuck Barris is best known for hosting the Gong Show at various times from 1976-1989. However, Barris told of his life as a CIA hitman in his so-called unauthorized 1984 biography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
The book was made into a movie, by the same name starring George Clooney has the Barris character portrayed by Sam Rockwell killing 33 people. The movie cost $29 million to make and earned only $16 million in the U.S.
Roger Ebert’s Chicago Sun-Times review:
Charles Hirsch Barris was born on June 3, 1929 in Oakland, New Jersey and is presently 83 years old.
A Time magazine article on January 7, 2003 disputes the veracity of his claim. Barris has failed to answer questions about his allegations. The most telling aspect to me is that a CIA spokesman has made this statement: “It is ridiculous and absolutely not true”. On the other hand CIA probably would not reveal if Barris had been a CIA hitman, due to the secretiveness of the CIA.
We may never know if his claims about being a CIA hitman are true, since he refuses to discuss the subject.
Barris was a songwriter, who wrote Palisades Park, which peaked at No.3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1962.
Dating Game fans will be interested to know that he was the creator of the show.
When is the last time you saw someone use a typewriter? I can’t remember one being used by anyone, for at least the last 20 years. A good typist was worth their weight in gold, since typing a letter or legal document required a typist, who was not only fast but was accurate. I wonder what typists did before whiteout was invented. I guess they just started over and hoped for no typing mistakes.
The Harvard Junior Talking Machine was a machine that reproduced records. This 1907 version was priced at only $4.50 and showed that even in the 1900′s people were recording music.
Antique radio consoles like this were still being used as late as 1959, when I listened to it on my grandpa’s farm in Missouri. I will never forget how the sound was better than most radios of today. Radios like this can be restored and found on eBay or at the websites of dealers, who refurbished them, so they could be used again. If you don’t want an antique console in your living room, this model can play records, CD’s and includes an AM-FM radio. It may be pricey at $358.96, but for those wh0 have the money to spend it would make an excellent addition to a den or living room.
Old-fashioned pay phones are just about obsolete today, due to the proliferation of cell phones. Very few people don’t own a cell phone today, so there is very little need for pay phones.
The Commodore 64 was very popular in the 80′s, but the desktops and laptops of today, have relegated it to being just another computer of the past.
Video recorders of the past were bulky in the past, but today video recorders can fit in a shirt pocket like this one.
This video camera is much lighter than the pictured camcorder. It only weighs 2.2 ounces, so it will fit into a pocket easily.