Bill Gaither Concert in Beaumont, Texas

The Gaither Vocal Band as they appeared on stage in Beaumont, Texas on July 26. The group from left to right is David Phelps, Michael English, Wes Hampton, Mark Lowry and Bill Gaither.

 

I have been to a lot of southern gospel concerts, over the years but had never seen a Bill Gaither concert till last night at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas.

My wife Rhonda and me thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The show featured the Gaither Vocal Band, with the Nelons, Martins, Gene McDonald and Angela Primm appearing before the Gaither Vocal Band took the stage.

Gene McDonald the former bass singer for the Florida Boys sang a solo, which is unusual for a bass singer, but he pulled it off, with no problem at all.

 

Michael English, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry, David Phelps and Wes Hampton who comprise the Gaither Vocal Band.

 

The Nelons, Martins, Angela Primm and Gene McDonald finished their acts and then the stage went dark and the Gaither Vocal Band started singing their first song. It was exciting when the stage lights were turned back on and there was the Gaither Vocal Band bigger than life.

Mark Lowry the comedian-baritone of the group carried the show in my estimation, with his humor and him singing his hit song Mary Did You Know. Lowry said that was his only hit, so he was going to sing it. Lowry was the consummate comedian, with his exchanges with Bill Gaither one of the highlights of the concert.

Gaither hosted the concert and did an excellent job of introducing the singers, while also singing bass for the Gaither Vocal Band. The 77-year-old Gaither didn’t show his age as he didn’t seem to tire, as the concert which lasted close to three hours went on.

They did sing a lot of songs, that I hadn’t heard of, so assume it was new material. But that didn’t matter, since whatever song they were singing at the time didn’t matter, because of their delivery of the songs.

Kevin Williams the guitarist transformed into a pitchman shortly before the intermission, as he showed the various products for sale at the product table, by all the performers on the show.

He held up one product and said it was the Beaumont special and Bill Gaither interjected, that it will be the Tulsa, Oklahoma special tomorrow night.

A highlight of the show was when the audience sang along on a song that was sung by a lady, who was not introduced. The song was I Stand Amazed In The Presence and it was a touching moment to hear the huge audience join in singing the song.

Some highlights of previous homecoming shows were shown on the two screens. The audience applauded when the late Vestal Goodman was showing singing from a past homecoming concert.

David Phelps was featured on He is Alive and when he hit those high notes, with his tenor voice it had a huge impact on the audience. He stood out among all the singers, but they all sang well, when they were being featured.

The Gaither classic The King is Coming was sung near the end of the show and it reached a crescendo on the last verse when Michael English started the last verse:

I can hear the chariots rumble, I can see the marching throng

The flurry of God’s trumpet spells the end of sin and wrong

Regal robes are now unfolding, heaven’s grandstand now in place

Heaven’s choir is now assembled, starts to sing Amazing Grace

Then the whole group sang the chorus as it reached an even higher crescendo, as they finished the song.

It was a great night for southern gospel fans, but also a good night for those who like contemporary music.

Gaither Vocal Band

The first configuration of the Gaither Vocal Band when it was formed in 1981, with Steve Green, Gary McSpadden, Lee Young and Bill Gaither.

There have been a total of 16 configurations in the 32 years of the Gaither Vocal Band.

Three of the four current members of the group, excluding Bill Gaither have left the group for solo careers, but have all returned and the current configuration started in 2009.

 

Timeline For Current Members

Michael English – Was a member of the group from 1985-1994 and returned in 2009, for a total of 15 years with the group.

Mark Lowry – First joined the group in 1988 and remained with the group through 2001, then returned in 2009 for a total of 19 years with the Gaither Vocal Band.

Wes Hampton – Joined the group in 2005 and has been with the group for nine consecutive years.

David Phelps – First stint with the Gaither Vocal Band was from 1997-2005 and rejoined the group in 2009, for a total of 14 years with the group.

 

All four singers are powerhouse vocalists on their own, but magic happens when they combine their voices, as they had letter-perfect harmony last night.

It was a long show, but still wish it had been longer, because this was a night to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Amos and Andy

Amos and Andy originated on radio station WMAQ in Chicago, Illinois in 1928. Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, were two white men were the voices of the black characters on the radio show. The show was first heard as a serial, then became a situation comedy and would later become a disc jockey show during the waning years of old-time radio. They were heard on radio for 32 years.

Alvin Childress 1907-1986

Alvin Childress portrayed Amos Jones, a taxicab driver on Amos and Andy. He wasn’t seen nearly as much as Kingfish and Andy who seemed to get the bulk of the airtime in both the radio and television versions.

He was born on September 15, 1907 in Meridian, Mississippi and died on April 19, 1986 in Inglewood, California of Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes.

He worked very hard, much unlike Kingfish and Andy, who seldom were seen working in jobs, during the run of Amos and Andy.

Spencer Williams 1893-1969

Spencer Williams was Andrew H. Brown, but better known as Andy on Amos and Andy and was the gullible foil of the many schemes contrived by the Kingfish. He was born on July 14,1893 in Vidalia, Louisiana and died on December 13, 1969 in Los Angeles, California of kidney ailment.

His most memorable show was the Christmas show, in which he becomes a department store Santa Claus, so that he can buy Arbadella, who was the daughter of Amos a doll for Christmas. The highlight of the show for me was when Amos recites The Lord’s Prayer to Arbadella, before she falls asleep listening to Christmas music.

Williams had never worked in television previously, before appearing on Amos and Andy.

Tim Moore 1887-1958

Tim Moore as the Kingfish may not have had one of the title roles, but his role was central to the success of the show, since he was the center of attention for most of the shows. He was great at coming up with schemes, that relieved Andy of any money he had lying around.

Moore was born December 9, 1887 in Rock Island, Illinois and died on December 13, 1958 in Los Angeles, California.

Tim was a boxer earlier in his career and fought against the great Jack Johnson at least once.

He was famous for lines like “Holy mackerel there Andy” and for selling Andy a house and a lot to put it on. Only problem was that the house was wider than the lot, which caused a unique set of problems. This video of that episode is classic Amos and Andy at its best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQOtTHmwgm8

Tim’s personal life made the news in March of 1958, when some of his in-laws ate the last of the roast beef. Wikipedia has an extensive entry about the “Roast Beef Scandal”.

Moore married his last wife Vivian (1912–1988) eight months after Benzonia’s death; they had been performing as a comedy team for some time before marrying in 1957.[10][56][57] This marriage won him considerable publicity thanks to the “Roast Beef Scandal” of January 1958. Moore fired a gunshot in his home because of his “mooching in-laws” (stepson, stepdaughter, and her husband) when he found that the last of the New Year’s roast beef had been eaten by them.[44] Moore related, “These free-loaders have eaten everything in the house. My wife protects them and every time we talk about it, we get into an argument. The argument got a little loud and the next thing I knew, the big boy (his stepson Hubbard) jumped out of his chair. I ran upstairs and got out my old pistol. I didn’t want to hit anybody.”[58]

When the police arrived at the home, Moore, pistol still in his belt, told them, “I’m the old Kingfish, boys. I’m the one you want. I fired that shot. I didn’t want to hit anyone, although I could have. Anyway, you should have seen the in-laws scatter when I fired that gun.” [59] The shot Moore fired hit the china cabinet; he was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with police calling him the “funniest prisoner in police history.”[58] Moore was initially ordered held on $1,000 bond; the judge changed his mind and released Moore on his own recognizance.[59] Tim and his wife reconciled, with Vivian’s pleading for the charges to be dropped.[60][61] Moore entered a not guilty plea before the case went to trial on 24 March.[62] He received a $100 fine and a year’s probation as his sentence.[63]

When the story broke, local television personality and columnist Paul Coates invited Tim Moore to appear on his KTTV television show; Moore explained the situation in two guest appearances. Coates was promptly taken to task for Moore’s appearances on his show by Stanley Robertson, a journalist for the African-American newspaper, the Los Angeles Sentinel, calling Moore “disgraceful” and labeling the two shows with Moore as “television’s darkest hour.” Coates replied to his critic in his 29 January 1958 Los Angeles Times column, calling Moore “a pretty wonderful, sincere man” and saying he strongly resented Robertson’s attack on him.[59]

Because of the “Roast Beef Scandal,” Moore was once more in demand and even received a testimonial tribute dinner from the Friars Club of Beverly Hills, and appearing on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.[64] The publicity also won him an extended performance engagement at the prominent Mocambo nightclub.[4]

He died nine months later in December of 1958, when he died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Amos and Andy Debuts On Television in 1951

There were 78 episodes filmed of Amos and Andy between June of 1951 and April of 1953. It was the first television series to have a African-American cast. The NAACP objected to CBS airing the show and the last show aired in June of 1953, when Blatz Beer the sponsor ended their sponsorship, due to pressure from the NAACP.

The show was seen in syndication until it was pulled off the air completely in 1966 and was not seen again on a national basis until Rejoice TV began airing the shows again nationally from their Houston independent television network.

NAACP objected to the show saying that the show stereotyped blacks in a negative way. However, I have known some black people who loved the show and were not happy, that they couldn’t see the show.

This collection of 74 of the episodes can be found at Amazon.com, with the digitally restored version slightly more expensive. I am not involved in getting any remuneration from the sale of these videos….just letting fans know where they can be found.

http://www.amazon.com/AMOS-ANDY-Shows-DIGITALLY-RESTORED/dp/B004I1BEHU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374076863&sr=8-2&keywords=amos+and+andy+dvds

Anyone interested in listening to the 380 available old-time radio episodes of Amos and Andy can find them here on 4 MP3 CD’s.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OLD-TIME-RADIO-Amos-And-Andy-380-Eps-On-4-MP3-CDs-I-OTR-/231012193567?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item35c966551f

218 episodes of the radio version can be heard for free at this website:

http://otr.net/?p=amnd

 

 

Three Stooges: Physically Abused in Films, Financially Abused By Columbia Pictures

The Three Stooges first entertained movie viewers in 1934 in movie shorts  and were viewed on television from 1949 till 64 years later and are still being viewed today on television. They also appeared in many feature movies.

Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn told the Three Stooges, that shorts were fading out of the movie scene, so they never asked for or were given a raise in their 23 years with the film company. They didn’t receive any royalty checks from the shorts being shown on television, since it wasn’t in their contracts.

My mother was reluctant to let us watch the Three Stooges, since she thought they were too violent for us kids to watch them punch, poke and hit each other.

Moe Howard 1897-1975

Moe Howard was born Moses Harry Horowitz on June 19,1897 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York and died May 4, 1975 in Los Angeles, California from lung cancer.

Whenever Moe was in a scene it was a foregone conclusion, that he would usually get the last punch, poke or hit in any physical exchange, with the other two Stooges getting the worst of it. He was the Stooge that had the cereal bowl haircut.

His high school education ended after two months. He married Helen Schonberger on June 27, 1925, who was a cousin of the magician Harry Houdini. Moe died on May 4, 1975 a month short of their 50th wedding anniversary. She died only five months later dying in October of 1925.

Shemp Howard 1895-1955

Shemp Howard was born Samuel Horowitz on March 11, 1895 in Manhattan, New York. Shemp was in a successful career as an actor, when his brother Curly had a stroke, which prevented him from being in the Three Stooges shorts so Shemp was with the Stooges from 1946-1955. To me he was not as funny as Curly, but he did a creditable job while replacing Curly. He died on November 22, 1955 in Hollywood, California and died of a heart attack.

Curly Howard 1903-1952

Curly Howard was born Jerome Lester “Jerry” Horowitz on October 22, 1903 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. He died on January 18, 1952 in San Gabriel, California of a cerebral hemorrhage.

My favorite of the Three Stooges was always Curly. Will never forget his famous “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk” and “soitenly”, which were trademark sayings of his. I will never forget the Three Stooges entering a barn and one of the Stooges saying ” I don’t see a single cow” and Curly said ” I don’t even see a married one”.

Curly had shot himself in the leg at the age of 12, when cleaning a pistol and had a noticeable limp the rest of his life, due to his fear of having corrective surgery. Curly had to have his hair shaved, since it was thought he didn’t look funny with long hair. He was very self-conscious about his head being shaved, since he thought women would not be attracted to him.

His personal life did not go well, as he was married four times and he married his last wife Valerie Newman in 1947 and they were still married at his death.

Larry Fine 1902-1975

Larry Fine was born Louis Feinberg on October 5, 1902 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died on January 24, 1975 in Woodland Hills, California of a stroke.

Like fellow Stooge Curly he was involved in an accident, when he started to accidentally drink acid, from a bottle and the bottle contained acid that was used to determine if gold was real in his father’s jewelry shop. His dad stopped him from drinking the acid in time, but the acid spilled on his forearm.

He took up the violin to strengthen his arm and also took up boxing to further strengthen his arm. So when the Three Stooges were shown playing violins, only Larry was actually playing the violin.

His wife Mabel Harvey, who he married in 1926 didn’t like to clean house, so they lived in hotels till the late 40’s, when they bought their first home. Their son John died in a car crash at the age of 24 in 1961 and Mabel died six years later in 1967.

Larry had several strokes was confined to a wheelchair the last five years of his life, before his death in 1975.

The Three Stooges we know the best Moe, Curly, Shemp and Larry may be gone now, but we can still thank them, for all the films they left behind to entertain us for many years to come.

The following list from tvguide.com lists Three Stooges shorts, that can be seen on AMC, IFC and myTV till the end of July:

http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/stooges/tv-listings/197285