What We Didn’t Have in 1950

1954 Admiral Television

I was 10 years old in 1954, when we bought our first television. We didn’t even buy the television to watch television. If I remember correctly my sister had a lazy eye, and prescribed a television (talk about an expensive prescription) so she would use her lazy eye more. We fixed a screen on one side that fit over half the screen, that made her use her lazy eye. If it wasn’t for her eye problem we probably wouldn’t have bought a television so soon.

The first thing I remember watching on the television was the movie Buck Privates (1941) with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Howdy Doody would come on at about 3:30 in the afternoon, then was followed by Pinky Lee, then usually a western movie with Bob Maynard, Kit Carson, Gene Autry and many others would come on till it was time for the Camel Caravan news program with John Cameron “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” Swayze doing a 15 minute news program. He was later well-known for being the spokesman for Timex watches, as he demonstrated how much abuse the watches could take and keep on ticking.

We only had one channel at first, so we had no problem working the controls. It became more complicated, when cable television companies began to go into business. We then had the old wired remote controls, which later went the way of the do-do bird and gave way to remote controls with batteries. Now we could not only change the channels, but could also turn the volume up and down, adjust the picture, record programs to watch later and best of all could zap through the commercials. Sponsors of the television programs were not too hep on the idea, since you record a show, then watch it about 20 minutes later and zap through the commercials and cut an hour-long show into about 40 minutes minus the commercials. After the show we would wonder who was sponsoring the show.

We got along fine without cell phones, since there was no such thing in 1950. I only had a cell phone when I needed one for working as a caregiver, since I had to call the office all night, so they knew I wasn’t dozing off at work. I haven’t had a cell phone since 2011, since I never did learn to text on the contraptions.

We didn’t Google it in 1950. We would just go to the library and would usually find the information there. It would be 48 years later, before we could Google it and find information in seconds, that used to involve riding to library and digging through index cards, or going through the reference books section to find the same information, that we can find in seconds today.

I don’t remember having a microwave oven, while growing up so got along well without one. I did find out later, that after buying one years later, that it was easy to ruin popcorn, by cooking it too long. Now I never cook it as long as recommended, to prevent having to throw out charcoal popcorn. My favorite use for microwave ovens is to melt ice cream in it. I am not a fan of ice cream right out of the freezer, so would put it in microwave and leave it on for about 2 hours….just kidding….about 35 seconds later the ice cream would be good and creamy but still cold.

It was about 1966 or 1967 when we got our first air conditioner. I was about 21 at the time and had just came back from Vietnam, and was thinking it would have been nice to have an air conditioner over there. I didn’t know how to act with an air conditioner, since I had lived 21 years without one, so it took awhile to get used to putting on a jacket when the air conditioner was running. I didn’t have to worry about putting on a jacket from 1992 to 1998, since I was in bankruptcy and had to choose between eating and staying cool and eating won out. I bought a 10 inch box fan and had it blowing on my face, and I was able to sleep at night with no problem during those six years. I couldn’t wait to get to work at Town Talk, since air conditioning usually worked there.

I remember when we were growing up that we bought ice in blocks and put the blocks in the refrigerator. About 60 years later we bought our first icemaker, since my wife liked to have crushed ice. It was nice having crushed ice, till the icemaker went on the blink. Best of all it saved paying $2 or more for a bag of crushed ice.

The only personal computer we owned back in 1950 was our brain that computed what we learned in school, and solved math problems before Common Core made it all complicated. My mother bought us our first computer, a Commodore 64 which was very rudimentary compared to the computers of today. It was mostly a machine to play games on, and we sometimes would type the code for games out of magazines published for Commodore 64 users. Later on we bought more advanced computers, but they were still too complicated for me. It took me a year to figure out how to send emails. I have never been a computer whiz. I know how to do the basics like copy and paste, but don’t ask me how to hook up a router or modem, or the computer may cease to function.

Before we bought our television in 1954 the only entertainment we had been listening to was old-time radio shows on our table radio, and playing records on our phonograph player. Then cassettes became popular, but were a real headache if the tape got tangled up inside the tape player. 8 track players were also around about this time, but I completely missed the boat on 8 track players, since I never owned a 8 track player or a 8 track tape.

The compact disc became the most popular way to listen to music, since the CD players let you pick a certain track if you wanted to play it, unlike cassette players where you had to more or less play the whole tape to hear a song from the starting point.

It was 2004 when I bought my first MP3 player and I was surprised to learn that you could carry thousands of songs, in one device and the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox (pictured above) was my first MP3 player. It was 40 GB and I had 3,000 songs on it the last time I checked. You could go directly to any of the 3,000 songs in a matter of seconds.

One of my favorite uses for the MP3 player was to listen to old-time radio shows from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I found out I could buy 800 Jack Benny shows for $12 on a MP3 CD. Sam’s at about that time was selling about 10 shows for $20, so I bought the MP3 CD’s exclusively from old-time radio retailers and ebay sellers and it was possible to build up my collection fast. I currently own 17,000 episodes of many old-time radio shows of all genres. Best thing all 17,000 episodes fit inside one binder manufactured for CD’s.

All I had to do was place the MP3 CD’s into the computer and copy the files into the computer, then transfer them from computer to the MP3 player, and it works the same way with regular music CD’s.

Whoever invented the GPS probably had me in mind, since I hated folding and unfolding paper maps, to find out if I was going the right direction, to arrive at my destination. I don’t know how many times I had taken wrong roads, before the GPS was invented. It still is scary when the GPS tells you that you have arrived at your destination, when you are in the middle of nowhere with no houses in sight.

It is amazing to me that this lady telling me directions is flying around up in space, with nothing better to do, than to keep an eye on my vehicle, and if I miss a turn she is nice enough to say recalculating and letting me know we will still arrive even if it is a 20 mile detour to get to the destination.

One of the handiest inventions is the automated teller machine, that gives people money at all hours of the day and night. It used to be if they locked up the bank on Saturday afternoon, then the customer would have to wait till Monday morning to make a transaction. Now they can drain their bank accounts down to nothing in just minutes, instead of draining it a little bit at a time, while waiting in line at the bank.

Sometimes criminals have to call for assistance even with automated banking, if the bank card they stole won’t work, or even worse the automated teller machine takes the card and won’t return it to the bank card thief. The bank will send someone to the bank and tell them the pin number for the card and apologize for the inconvenience.

My mom was very slow when using the automated tellers, and more than once someone would walk in the building housing the ATM machine and get aggravated about the long wait, then finally go back to their car, drive off with wheels squealing in search of a ATM machine with someone faster using the machine.

Sometimes I wonder how we got by back in 1950 with no television, no cell phone, no Google, no icemaker, no GPS, no MP3 player, no ATM machine, no personal computer and no microwave oven. We managed to get by without all of these inventions, because most of them hadn’t been invented in 1950.



One Million Hits

I want to thank the readers of Nostalgia Now for reaching the 1,000,000 hits mark. The blog started in April of 2009 and was not active, when internet was out for long periods of time plus was out for several months, when I had cancer surgery and chemotherapy in late 2012 and early 2013. 

Thank you for reading the posts and posting comments over the last 6 years and 3 months. 

I ran out of nostalgia subjects to write about for the most part, so have focused more on more current events. Anyone that wants to comment on old posts from years ago is welcome to comment. 

Thank you again for your loyalty and interest in the blog since April of 2009.



Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Uncategorized



Five Innocent People Convicted of Murder

Eric Glisson released after 17 years in prison for crime he didn’t commit.

We all have heard prisoners say they didn’t do the crime, that they are imprisoned for, but in the case of Eric Glisson he was telling the truth. It took 17 years before his innocence was proved, but he is a free man today after being imprisoned in Sing Sing Prison.

A livery cab driver Baithe Diop had been killed on August 19,1995, and a few weeks later a lady Miriam Tavares told the police she knew who did it. She claimed to have seen the crime from her bathroom window. Then she proceeded to name the killers, and claimed to hear their conversation, even though her bathroom window was 100 yards from the crime scene.

Sister Joanna Chan who helped Glisson procure a lawyer to prove his innocence.

Glisson and three men and a woman were sent to prison for the crime. Glisson exhausted his appeals eleven years later in 2006. Sister Joanna Chan, a Catholic nun was doing volunteer work at Sing Sing, and took an interest in Glisson’s case. She contacted Peter Cross, who was a corporate lawyer and told him about Glisson’s case. Cross took the case, even though he was not a criminal lawyer, and agreed to not charge Glisson.

Attorney Peter Cross and Eric Glisson

Cross went to the bathroom window, that the lady claimed to have seen the crime from, and there was no way she could have seen the crime scene from that window, since it was not in the line of sight. The detectives working the case had never taken the trouble, to see what they could see from that window.

Glisson mentioned on the Dateline broadcast, that this particular lady didn’t like him, so that is probably why his name was mentioned by her to the detectives. She died of a drug overdose in 2002, so she couldn’t be re-questioned about the murder.

2012 would bring Glisson the documents he had been requesting for years, due to the Freedom of Information Act. He received cell phone records which showed, that Jose Rodriguez and Jose Vega of the Bronx Sex, Money, Murder gang had placed phone calls from the cab driver’s cell phone minutes after the murder.

Then Glisson wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney telling him he had information that proved, that he had not killed the cab driver. John O’Malley who had known that Rodriguez and Vega had confessed to the murder of the cab driver 10 years earlier traveled to Sing Sing to talk personally to Glisson.

After getting the letter, O’Malley went to Sing Sing and told Glisson he knew who really killed the Diop.

“Immediately John O’Malley just stood up and he asked me, ‘Did you write this letter?’ And I said, ‘Yes,’” Glisson told Dateline. “He shook my hand. And he said, ‘I– I’m sorry.’ And I said, ‘Sorry for what?’ He says, you know, ‘I know you’re innocent.’“

“When he said that, I said, ‘You — what are you talkin’ about, sir?’ He said, ‘Listen, I know the guys who committed this crime.’

He asked Glisson if he was the one who wrote the letter, then when Glisson said yes he told Glisson, that he was innocent, and that he knew who had committed the murders. O’Malley signed an affidavit stating that Glisson was innocent.

The wheels of justice still turned slow and it was four months before the prosecutors agreed, to request the judge to set Glisson and Cathy Watkins free. Glisson was 18 when sent to prison and his daughter was a week old. Glisson was 37 when released from prison. The rest of the five prisoners wrongly arrested and imprisoned had their convictions overturned, in January of 2013 ending a nightmare for the five, who spent so many years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

Glisson returned to college and received his degree, then opened a fresh juice store named Fresh Take, which was derived from him having a fresh take on life, after being released from prison.

His story makes me wonder how many prisoners were wrongly convicted of murder, and are resigned to dying in prison. The prison system probably have a lot of Eric Glissons in prison, that are hoping that someone like Sister Joanna Chan takes an interest in their case, and contacts a lawyer that can help prove the prisoner is innocent.



Jim Ed Brown Dies at 81

Jim Ed Brown 1934-2015

Jim Ed Brown has died from lung cancer at the age of 81 in Franklin, Tennessee on June 11, 2015.

He was born James Edward Brown in Sparkman, Arkansas on April 1, 1934.

The Browns and Elvis Presley

Brown and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie formed the group The Browns and their first hit song was Looking Back To See If You Were Looking Back At Me which went to #8 on country charts in 1954Jim Ed wrote the song, which was recorded in later years by other artists. The Browns biggest hit was Three Bells recorded in 1959 and I heard a southern gospel group singing the song about 55 years later. The Browns broke up in 1967 as Jim Ed became a soloist.

Jim Ed and Maxine singing Looking Back To See many years later after the original recording from 1954. 

Brown had five Top 10 songs as a soloist with Pop a Top going to #3 in 1967, then Morning peaked at #4 in 1970, and Southern Lovin’ in 1973 topped out at #6, and his last Top 10 hits were 1974’s Sometime Sunshine and It’s That Time of Night both peaked at #10.

Jim Ed Brown singing Ain’t You Even Going To Cry

Brown revealed in September of 2014, that he was being treated for lung cancer. He announced in January that his cancer was in remission, but it was announced on June 3 by his daughter Kim, that the cancer had returned somewhere else, but not in the lungs. Then 9 days later he died in Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee.

Bill Anderson gave him his Country Music Hall of Fame medallion on June 4, since Brown wouldn’t be alive for his CMA Hall of Fame induction this fall.

Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius singing their #1 hit I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You

Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius formed a duet that began in 1976. Their recording of I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You went to #1 on the country chart. Five other singles made the Top 10 country charts.

Jim Ed and Helen singing I’m Leavin’ It Up To You

Country music has lost another of the icons in Jim Ed Brown. RIP



Frankie Valli: 81 Years Old And Still Entertaining

I was watching Frankie Valli being interviewed on The Big Interview by Dan Rather, and was saddened to know,  that he had lost two children in a short time period. He lost his daughter Celia, when she fell off a fire escape, then six months later his daughter Francine died from a drug overdose. Their deaths drove him to drinking, but he eventually recovered from the deep depression he was in.

Valli  was born on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey as Francesco Stephen Castellucio. He was inspired to become a singer at the age of 7, when he saw Frank Sinatra in concert.

He told about growing up in a Mafia neighborhood, and how the word was out to leave him alone. He told Rather that he lost a lot of friends, who were found in trunks of car in mob killings.

His name was changed when his mentor “Texas” Jane Valli was helping him and he decided to take her last name. It was about this time, that Valli was barbering till he became successful in the music business.

The Four Seasons

First Number One Hits

Success didn’t come easy for Valli who started singing in 1951, and he sang with various groups till the Four Seasons were formed in 1960 and named after a cocktail lounge.

Vee Jay record label was the label that they found the most success with. Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry both debuted in 1962 and went to #1 on the Billboard chart. Walk Like a Man was their last #1 hit on the Vee Jay label in 1963.

Moved to Philips/Smash Label

They had their first hit on the Philips/Smash label, when they recorded Dawn which went to #3 in January of 1964. Rag Doll was their last #1 song in June of 1964. Valli started recording albums as a solo artist, but still worked with the Four Seasons.

May of 1967 would bring his first solo hit in My Eyes Adored You which went to #1 on the Billboard chart.

Changing Labels

Valli changed labels again and would record Oh What A Night in December of 1975 on Private Stock record label. He would record his last #1 hit in May of 1978, when Grease went to the top spot on the Billboard chart.

He didn’t record another single that charted after June of 1994 according to his Wikipedia discography.

More From Interview

Dan Rather asked Valli why he is still singing at 81, and he said that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. He said he tried retiring a time or two, but it just made him want to return to singing. Rather mentioned the excellent memory of Valli and he said he memorized the lyrics to about 2,000 songs.

Valli also mentioned about his acting career and said he had been on Sopranos television program and was recently on a Hawaii Five-0 episode.

He said he had plenty of money, but still won’t buy something until it is on sale. He says he got that from his childhood.

The Four Seasons were one of those groups like the Beach Boys and Bee Gees, that had their own distinct sound. Valli’s falsetto voice is what made the Four Seasons stand out from the other groups.

We are wishing Frankie Valli a lot more years on the road. He is truly an American icon.


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The Voice Clobbering American Idol in TV Ratings Battle



American Idol Season 14 Judges – Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. 

If there was ever any doubt, about which singing competition show is more popular it has been removed. The Voice Season 8 has attracted less than 10 million viewers only 4 times this season, while American Idol attracted less than 10 million viewers 16 times.

American Idol Season 14 peaked on January 8 with 11.23 million viewers watching. The show bottomed out on Episode # 24, with 6.58 million fans, and attracted only 7.36 million in the show that aired last week.

The February 18th show of American Idol was the last to draw more than 10 million viewers. American Idol is down to only four remaining contestants, but the fans apparently don’t really care who wins, since the ratings continue to drop week to week.

The Voice Season 8 peaked on March 3, when Episode #4 attracted 15.54 million viewers. The show which aired last week drew only 9.49 viewers, which totals over 6 million fewer fans than those that watched it at its peak in March.

Still it has topped American Idol in the ratings all season, so should definite return this fall for Season 9.

However, American Idol seems to be on shaky ground. It still draws more viewers than most shows on the Fox weekly schedule, but Fox may rather drop the show, then see the show die a slow death, over the next year or two.

American Idol to me still is the better show, since it has produced some big stars, while the winners of The Voice seem to disappear after the finale in which they win.

Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson and Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood have had the most success, after winning Idol and are still both recording 10 years after Underwood won.

Season 5 through Season 13 winners have had some success, but nothing like the success of Clarkson and Underwood.

Season 12 winner Candace Glover and Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson have failed to sell many albums. Their lack of success may have cooled interest in the show by viewers.

The Voice while seeing a drop in their ratings, as the season went on is still the clear winner, in the battle of the TV ratings battle with American Idol.


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Classic Television – Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Ozzie Nelson, David Nelson, Harriet Hilliard and Ricky Nelson 

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was first broadcast on radio in 1944 and could be heard on radio, until 1954 when the radio show ended on June 18. 1954. Only 83 of the shows can be bought today for listening to, out of the hundreds of shows made during their 10 year run on radio.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television program was first televised on October 10, 1952, and for the first two years could be heard on radio and seen on television, till the radio series ended in 1954. The last television episode was telecast on September 3, 1966. The 14 year run on television makes the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet the longest running sitcom,  on American television still 49 years later.

Ricky Nelson recorded his first #1 song Poor Little Fool in 1957, which incidentally also was the first #1 song on the new Billboard Hot 100 chart. Ricky often sang on the show, which gave him even more exposure for his singing career.

Ozzie Nelson and Don Defore

Don Defore portrayed Ozzie’s neighbor Thorny on the show. He would later gain fame as playing George Baxter on Hazel, when Hazel would refer to him as Mr. B.

Ozzie Nelson wrote 178 of the 435 episodes of the show.

The shows are not being shown on any television network that I know of. If you know of the show being on television please comment, so we can share the information with other fans of the show.

It is sad that the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet shows are not being shown. The show represents life at a simpler time back in the 50’s and then continued to entertain fans, even though the country was at war with Vietnam in the 60’s and there was unrest on college campuses.

All four members of the Nelson family have died since the show left the air.

Ozzie Nelson died June 3, 1975 at the age of 79 in Hollywood, California.

Ricky Nelson died December 31, at the age of 45 in a plane crash in Dekalb, Texas. 

Harriet Hilliard died October 2, 1994 at the age of 85 in Laguna Beach, California.

David Nelson died January 11, 2011 at the age of 74 in Los Angeles, California. 




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