Dick Haymes – Crooners of the Past

Dick Haymes 1918-1980

Dick Haymes was born on September 13, 1918  in Buenos Aires, Argentina as Richard Benjamin Haymes. He died on March 28, 1980 at the age of 61.

He was considered to be one of the best baritone singers of his era and also acted in numerous films. He first appeared in the movie Mutiny On The Bounty in 1935, as an uncredited actor. Nine years would pass, before he appeared in the movie Four Jills and a Jeep in 1944.

Dick Haymes is seen singing in this clip from State Fair.

Meanwhile, he had sung with the Harry James Orchestra starting in 1939.

Dick Haymes singing Laura, who makes me wish there were singers today, that are half as good as Haymes.

Dick Haymes singing with Helen Forrest the standard It Had to be You.

 Haymes was not successful at marriage having been married six times. His first marriage to Edith Harper was annulled, because she told him she was pregnant, when she was not pregnant. His second marriage to actress Joanne Dru lasted almost eight years.

His third marriage to Rita Hayworth last a little more than two years. He then married actress Fran Jeffries and that marriage lasted just slightly more than six years. However his last marriage to Wendy Smith lasted 14 years and only ended upon his death in 1980. They were married but separated when he died.

He also battled alcohol abuse problems and financial debt.

Haymes received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with one being award for recording and the other for his five years on radio.

His brother-in-law Peter Marshall was the sister of Joanne Dru, who was the second wife of Haymes.

This Is Always

This is Always is my only Dick Haymes music in my collection.

Track Listings

1. You Can’t Be True Dear – Dick Haymes
2. In Love In Vain – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
3. I Wish I Knew – Dick Haymes
4. You Make Me Feel So Young – Dick Haymes
5. Some Sunday Morning – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
6. What Do I Have To Do (To Make You Love Me) – Dick Haymes
7. All Through The Day – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
8. Do You Love Me – Dick Haymes
9. It’s You Or No One – Dick Haymes
10. Tomorrow Is Forever – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
11. A Little Imagination – Dick Haymes
12. This Is Always – Dick Haymes
13. Nature Boy – Dick Haymes
14. Together – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
15. As If I Didn’t Have Enough On My Mind – Dick Haymes
16. That’s For Me – Dick Haymes
17. It’s Magic – Dick Haymes
18. Love Letters – Dick Haymes
19. The More I See You – Dick Haymes
20. I’ll Buy That Dream – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
21. It Might As Well Be Spring – Dick Haymes
22. Oh What It Seemed To Be – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest
23. Laura – Dick Haymes
24. Till The End Of Time – Dick Haymes
25. It Had To Be You – Dick Haymes/Helen Forrest

Dick Haymes may have died 35 years, but he left a legacy of his music and movies for generations to come.

Dick Van Dyke – Eight Decades of Entertaining

Dick Van Dyke in a scene from Sgt. Bilko television series in 1957.

Dick Van Dyke was born as Richard Wayne Van Dyke on December 13, 1925 in West Plains, Missouri. Van Dyke had considered becoming a minister at one time, but decided to become an entertainer, after appearing on stage in a high school play.

His first job was as a disc jockey on a local radio station in Danville, Illinois. He later traveled across the country as part of a comedy act, till he was hired by WDSU TV in New Orleans as an entertainer. That job led to a job with the CBS network on their morning program. He anchored the program, which also featured Walter Cronkite as his newsman.

Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera in Bye Bye Birdie.

His big break came when he appeared in the Broadway play Bye Bye Birdie playing the part of Albert Peterson and won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor.

Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke.

Then in 1961 he was hired to portray Rob Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show which ran from 1961 to 1966 and 158 episodes were filmed. The show was on the brink of cancellation, before it caught on with television viewers. Then five years later he starred in the New Dick Van Dyke Show which ran for 72 episodes from 1971-1974.

It was about this time, that Van Dyke publicly announced he had been an alcoholic for 25 years.

1988 would see Van Dyke appear in his third show, with his name in the title, when he appeared in the Van Dyke Show, that only lasted for 10 episodes.

Dick Van Dyke portraying Doctor Mark Sloan on Diagnosis:Murder

His next starring role in a television series was when he portrayed Dr. Mark Sloan, in Diagnosis Murder. It would run for 180 episodes, which was even more episodes, than the original Dick Van Dyke Show had run.

Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

He was best-known for his movies Bye Birdie (1963), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964) and Mary Poppins (1968). He has appeared in three of the Night of the Museum movies.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb movie, in which Van Dyke appears was recently completed this year and another movie Life is Boring is in post-production at the time of this writing. He also appeared in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which was released in October of 2014 by the Walt Disney Pictures.

Van Dyke is now in his eighth decade of entertaining.

Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver don’t seem to be concerned about their 46 year age difference.

Dick Van Dyke was married to Marjorie Willett from 1948-1984, then lived with Michelle Triola from 1976 till her death in 2009. Van Dyke reportedly paid Triola $600,000, which was the amount she had sued actor Lee Marvin for in a palimony suit, but the court ruled against her. That ended Van Dyke’s marriage to Marjorie Willett, when she learned about his payment to Triola. Van Dyke has been married to Arlene Silver for the last two years. She is 46 years younger than Van Dyke and is about 44 years old now, while he will be 89 in December.

Imdb.com has some very interesting trivia about Dick Van Dyke. These are just a few of them since there 106 in all.

Van Dyke turned down a chance to host Price is Right. If he had taken the job he may never have become an actor, when considering, that game show host for the most part stay game show hosts.

He and his first wife Margie were so poor after their wedding, that they lived in their car for a while.

Was a heavy smoker for 50 years before quitting. He used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day.

Was 36 when he appeared in his first movie.

Received a lemon cake at Christmas for 16 years from actor Charles Bronson.

Producer Sheldon Leonard gave Van Dyke the lead role, in the Dick Van Dyke Show, after seeing him in stage production of Bye Bye Birdie.

For more trivia and quotes from Van Dyke:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001813/bio?ref_=nm_dyk_qt_sm#quotes

Book Review – Unsinkable: A Memoir: Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher on wedding day in 1955.

Her second autobiography Unsinkable: A Memoir: Debbie Reynolds is a book about her life after her marriage to her third husband Richard Hamlett, who turned out to be a dirty rotten scoundrel, who took her money just like her first husband Harry Karl had done in her previous marriage.

The earlier autobiography Debbie: My Life dealt with her marriage and subsequent divorce from Eddie Fisher. It also tells of her second husband Harry Karl gambling away his money and hers, in an uncontrollable gambling habit. She wound up homeless and living in a car, by the time he was through spending her money.

She married her new husband Richard Hamlett on May 25, 1984.

Richard Hamlett was no better, even though Debbie had him sign a pre-nup. He just took her money before the marriage ended, instead of waiting till it was over, so the pre-nup was a non-factor.

Collected Hollywood Memorabilia

Debbie built up a huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia, by going to auctions and buying costumes, props, posters and other movie memorabilia. Eventually, she had bought millions of dollars worth of memorabilia and her dream was to build a museum to house her collection.

Her husband Hamlett was helping her build a museum for the collection, but it is better to read about it in her last book, since it is filled with too many details and machinations, to reveal them all in this article.

The same thing goes for the way Hamlett wasted and stole her money, by taking Debbie’s name off of legal documents and making himself the owner. He even went so far as to have his girlfriend listed as owner of some of Debbie’s properties.

Debbie Reynolds with her third husband Richard Hamlett.

Marriage To Hamlett Ends

Debbie found out that Hamlett was having an affair behind her back and went to confront him about it and his financial dealings. He tried to get her to go out to the balcony and discuss their problems, but Debbie was wary of her being thrown off the balcony and him claiming it had been a terrible accident. So she notifies the landlord to never let him back in the building, since she didn’t feel safe, with him around after the argument.

The 12 year marriage ended in 1996. Debbie has never remarried after her first husband Eddie Fisher left her for Elizabeth Taylor. Her second husband Harry Karl cheated on her and took all her money, while the third husband Richard Hamlett also took her money and cheated on her while doing it.

Eighteen years later Debbie has not remarried. She finally learned an expensive lesson. She is back in control of her finances and Celebrity Net Worth website lists her as being worth $60 million, mostly because of her selling most of her movie memorabilia, when it was evident she would never realize her dream of having a museum to house the memorabilia.

Debbie Reynolds

Rundown of Her Movies

The next part of the book has Debbie giving a rundown of some of the movies she appeared in. She shares anecdotes of her experiences, while filming those movies and has some unkind things, to say about some well-known actors, actresses and directors. She names Walter Brennan, Walter Matthau and Thelma Ritter as expert scene stealers.

One director even slapped her in the face and that would not be allowed today, but he got away with it back then.

Aftermath

Debbie is now 82 years old and  appeared in the TV movie Behind the Candelabra, which was a movie about Liberace that was released in 2013. She may be the movie The Big Finish in 2016, but so far that is only a rumor.

66 years have passed since Debbie was a 16 year-old girl riding her bicycle onto the movie lot, after she won Miss Burbank 1948, which led to her being cast in the movies.

Her daughter, Carrie Fisher will be 58 tomorrow (October 21) and her son Todd is now 56 years old. She was pregnant with two children with Harry Karl, but neither lived.

Debbie apparently has sold even more of her movie memorabilia collection earlier this year:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/debbie-reynolds-set-auction-historical-hollywood-memorabilia-article-1.1794715

Trivia From IMDB.com

She was born Mary Frances Reynolds

Debbie is the ex mother-in-law of Paul Simon, who was once married to her daughter Carrie.

She was awarded a star on Hollywood  Walk of Fame in 1997. Strange that it took them almost 50 years to honor her, since she made her first movie in 1948.

Harry Morgan: From December Bride To M*A*SH

Fichier:Harry Morgan Spring Byington December Bride 1958.JPG
Harry Morgan dancing with Spring Byington in an episode of December Bride.

 

Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg on April 10,1915 in Detroit, Michigan. He would later change his last name to Morgan and using Henry as his first name. There was another Henry Morgan at the time heard on radio and seen on television, so he changed his first name back to Harry.

He was a little man, that stood only 5 foot six inches. He made his first appearance in the movies in To the Shores of Tripoli in 1942 at the age of 27.

His first regular television role was in December Bride, in which he was seen in 155 episodes from 1954-1959. He portrayed Pete Porter in the series, who lived next to neighbor Lily Ruskin (portrayed by Spring Byington). His wife was never seen, but was referred to often.

Harry Morgan and Cara Williams in Pete and Gladys

 

He was seen in a spinoff from December Bride with the wife, that was never seen on December Bride. The new show was named Pete and Gladys and he portrayed his Pete Porter character from December Bride and Cara Williams was seen as Gladys Porter. The show ran from 1960-1962, with Morgan being 47 when the show ended. 72 episodes of the show were seen, before it was taken off the air.

His father Henry Bratsberg was a native of Norway while his mother Hannah was a native of Sweden.

Harry Morgan and Jack Webb in a scene from Dragnet.

Morgan would appear as a free-lance actor in movies and television, till when he acted with Jack Webb in Dragnet, as he portrayed Officer Bill Gannon, who was the partner of Jack Webb’s character Joe Friday. He portrayed Officer Bill Gannon as early as 1953 in the original black and white version of Dragnet. He also appeared as Officer Bill Gannon in the color version of Dragnet in 1966. He appeared in 99 episodes.

He would then appear in many different television shows and movies, including eight appearances in the television show Hec Ramsey and four episodes of Gunsmoke.

Morgan joined the cast of M*A*S*H in 1974 in its fourth season and portrayed Colonel Sherman T. Potter in 180 episodes. He also acted in the short-lived series After Mash that was seen from 1983-1984. He also portrayed Colonel Potter in this series in 29 episodes.

He then acted in movies, TV movies and various television series, until he retired in 1999 after 47 years of acting.

Harry Morgan in his later years.

 

Harry Morgan died in his sleep on December 7, 2011, in Los Angeles, California.

He died two and a half years ago, but his memory will live on for years, who have been fans of his work on December Bride, Pete and Gladys, Dragnet and M*A*S*H.

 

 

 

 

 

President Reagan Assassination Attempt: 33 Years Later

 

                                                                                                                         President Ronald Reagan pushed by Secret Service agents into the presidential limousine.

 

The United States came very close to having two presidents assassinated in 18 years, when President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. 33 years ago, who wanted to impress actress Jodie Foster, by shooting President Reagan the 40th president of the United States. President John F. Kennedy the 35th president had been assassinated only 18 years earlier in Dallas, Texas.

President Reagan had been in office only 69 days, when the assassination attempt took place on March 30, 1981.

Rohm RG 14 revolver used by John Hinckley Jr in attempt to kill the president.

 

The day started off as another normal busy day for the president and he entered the Washington Hilton Hotel at 1:45 PM ET. He was delivering a speech to AFL-CIO representatives. The president and his party emerged from the hotel, at 2:27 PM ET and chaos ensued as Hinckley fired six shots at the party, which took only 1.7 seconds to fire the six shots. The bullets were the Detonator type, that were supposed to explode on impact, but only the bullet hitting Brady exploded. Hospital staff had to wear bullet proof vests, when removing the bullet from Officer Delahanty’s neck, because the bullets still could explode at any time.

1st bullet – Hit White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head.

2nd bullet – Hit District of Columbia Police Officer Thomas Delahanty in back of head, as he tried to protect President Reagan.

3rd bullet – Hit window of building across the street.

4th bullet – Hit Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy in abdomen as he attempted to shield President Reagan.

5th bullet – Hit bullet resistant glass window of door of limousine.

6th bullet – Ricocheted off the armored side of the limousine and hit President Reagan in his left underarm, grazing a rib and lodging in his lung, stopping nearly 1 inch (25mm) from his heart.

                                                                                                                                                          Secret Service Agent Robert Wanko wields Uzi at shooting scene.

Aftermath of Shooting

Chaos ensued after the shooting as onlookers and Secret Service agents brought Hinckley to the ground and relieved him of his gun. Meanwhile, others at the scene were trying to assist the shooting victims.

The presidential limousine left the scene and Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, who had earlier pushed Reagan into the limousine had first thought Reagan was alright. Parr ordered the limousine to return to the White House, after saying Rawhide is OK, with Rawhide being the code name for the president.  However, after seeing that the president was in pain he ordered the limousine, to be driven to George Washington Hospital.

The limousine arrived at hospital only four minutes later and the president attempted to walk on his own, but his knees buckled and he had to be assisted, as he entered the emergency room.

President Reagan was upset that his suit was cut off of him, since it was a $1,000 suit and had been a gift from his wife Nancy. His systolic blood pressure was only 60, while it was normally 140. It helped the president by being shot  with a 22 caliber bullet, rather than a 38 caliber, which may have lessened his chance of survival.

The president’s wife Nancy had learned of his shooting and arrived at  the hospital in time for the president to tell her “Honey, I forgot to duck”.  He later would tell the operating room staff “I hope you are all Republicans”.

Benjamin L. Aaron the surgeon performed a thoracotomy which lasted 105 minutes. The president lost half of his blood volume during the surgery.

President Reagan was the first president to survive after an assassination attempt.

Vice President George Bush was in Fort Worth, Texas and when told the president was alright went on to Austin to make a speech. After learning the seriousness, of the president’s injuries Bush flew to Washington immediately.

Meanwhile back at the White House, Secretary of State Alexander Haig announced that he was in charge at the White House, despite being fourth in line of succession, when House speaker Tip O’Neill should have been next in line, since President Reagan was unable to govern and Vice President Bush was in Texas at the time.

President Reagan left the hospital on April 11 after 13 days in the hospital. He didn’t return to the Oval Office, until April 25 which was about 27 days after the shooting.

John Hinckley Jr. mug shot on day of assassination attempt.

Background of John Hinckley Jr.

John Hinckley Jr. was born May 29, 1955 in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He will be 59 years old next month and was 25 on the day, that he shot President Reagan 33 years ago.

Hinckley moved with his family to Evergreen, Colorado when his father moved his Hinckley Oil company headquarters from Dallas.  He graduated from high school, but seemed to have little ambition. He attended Texas Tech University from 1974-1980.

The movie Taxi Driver released in 1976 had a character played by Robert DeNiro, who was planning to assassinate the president. Hinckley saw this movie many times and the movie also starred Jodie Foster. He would become obsessed with Foster and went so far as to enroll in college at Yale, when he heard she was attending there and stalked her with notes and telephone calls.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                  Jodie Foster stalked by John Hinckley Jr.

John Hinckley Jr.’s obsession with Jodie Foster led him to also stalk President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential campaign. He was in shooting distance of President Carter once, but had left his guns at the hotel that day. He posed for a photograph in front of Ford Theatre, where President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. Incidentally, President Reagan had visited Ford Theatre only 9 days, before the assassination attempt and mentioned, that if anyone really wanted to assassinate a president, that they would be successful.

This poem written by Hinckley shows how troubled of a mind he possessed:

Guns Are Fun

See that living legend over there?
With one little squeeze of this trigger
I can put that person at my feet
moaning and groaning and pleading with God.

This gun gives me pornographic power.
If I wish, the president will fall
and the world will look at me in disbelief,

all because I own an inexpensive gun.
Guns are lovable, Guns are fun
Are you lucky enough to own one?

Back to Hinckley and Foster, he called her and wrote notes and letters to her many times. This is the letter that Hinckley wrote to Foster on the day of his assassination attempt, but it was never mailed:

3/30/81

12:45 P.M.

Dear Jodie,

     There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan.  It is for this very reason that I am writing you this letter now.
     As you well know by now I love you very much.  Over the past seven months I've left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me.  Although we talked on the phone a couple of times I never had the nerve to simply approach you and introduce myself.  Besides my shyness, I honestly did not wish to bother you with my constant presence.  I know the many messages left at your door and in your mailbox were a nuisance, but I felt that it was the most painless way for me to express my love for you.
     I feel very good about the fact that you at least know my name and know how I feel about you.  And by hanging around your dormitory, I've come to realize that I'm the topic of more than a little conversation, however full of ridicule it may be.  At least you know that I'll always love you.
     Jodie, I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever. 
     I will admit to you that the reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I just cannot wait any longer to impress you.  I've got to do something now to make you understand, in no uncertain terms, that I am doing all of this for your sake!  By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me.  This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel.  Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your respect and love.

I love you forever,

John Hinckley

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/hinckley/hinckleytrial.html is a website with much more information about John Hinckley Jr. and excellent source of trial information.

 

 

The above letter shows just how deranged of a mind Hinckley had, at the time of the assassination attempt. This letter was written less than two hours, before his assassination attempt to kill President Reagan. The timing of the assassination attempt may have been influenced by the ultimatum by his parents, to move out of their home by the end of March.

This is strictly my opinion, but I think if John Hinckley Jr. had not seen Taxi Driver he would not have had the motivation, to attempt to kill President Reagan and his obsession with and stalking of Jodie Foster would never have happened.

 

The Trial

John Hinckley Jr. went on trial in 1982 and the trial ended on June 21, 1982, when the jury rendered a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. If he had been found to be sane, then he would have probably would have been sentenced to life without parole, but instead he was sent to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, where he still resides 33 years later.

The prosecution insisted that Hinckley was legally sane, while the defense said he was insane. Jodie Foster was distraught to know that Hinckley had been found not guilty. She may have not been shot on March 30, 1981, but her life was forever changed, by Hinckley stalking her on the Yale campus and then finding out, that John Hinckley Jr. had attempted to kill President Reagan to impress her.

Hinckley was able to book several flights in various places, during October of 1980. He was in New Haven, Connecticut at least three times in that October, and he flew there at least twice that month. Just my opinion, but I don’t think an insane person is capable of  booking flights and being on the plane in time for takeoff.  That brings to the mind, that Hinckley was not working, yet was able to fly around the country many times, while being bankrolled by the wealth of his parents.

The not guilty by reason of insanity verdict for Hinckley has brought about changes in some states. Those changes have made it more difficult in those states, to receive a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict.

Addenda

It was ironic that all four shooting victims were Irish with surnames of Reagan, Delahanty, McCarthy and Brady.

John Hinckley, Jr. is now permitted to spend 17 days a month, which is 204 days a year at home in Virginia with his mother Jo Ann who is now 86. Hinckley is now 58 and is even allowed to drive a car and likes to buy cheeseburgers at Wendy’s. James Brady will be in a wheel chair the rest of his life, while Hinckley can drive his Toyota Camry around and walk wherever he wants.

Hinckley still was obsessed with Jodie Foster as late as 1987, when he still had a collection of Jodie Foster photographs.

It is being requested by Hinckley to have 24 days of freedom a month, but so far that request has been denied. That would give him 288 days of freedom a year, if allowed in the coming months or years.

George Bush I would have been president 7 years sooner, if President Reagan had died on that day in 1981.

The Daily Mail from Great Britain has an article in today’s edition about John Hinckley and shows several photographs of him today at 58 and a photo of his 86-year-old mom Jo Ann.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

Bobby Rydell Performing Again After Liver, Kidney Transplant

Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will be 72 years old tomorrow.

It doesn’t seem possible that 55 years have passed, since he had his first hit song, with the release of Kissin’ Time in 1959.

Before that he had won a talent contest and became a member of the cast of Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club. Whiteman had difficult pronouncing his last name Ridarelli, so changed his last name to Rydell.

He joined the Rocco and the Saints band at the age of 16 and the band also had a soon to be famous trumpet player in Frankie Avalon.

First Million Selling Single

We Got Love, which was his first million selling album peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Wild One was his next million selling single and it reached #2 on the charts and it was released in 1960. My personal favorite Bobby Rydell song Volare was also released in 1960 and went to #4 on the charts. Sway also did well for Rydell in 1960 going to #14 on the charts. Swingin’ School also reached the charts in 1960 and peaked at #5.

Sadly, Rydell only had one more Top Ten hit, when he released Forget Him in 1963, which peaked at #4 on the music charts.

His last new song to make the Billboard Hot 100 charts was Diana, which barely made it onto the charts at #98 in 1965.

It has been 49 years, since he had a song that made the Billboard Hot 100.

More recent photo of Bobby Rydell

Failing Health

He had to cancel a 2012 tour to Australian because of health problems. Rydell would have his liver and kidneys replaced in a double organ transplant. The transplant took place at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in July of 2012.

After recovering for six months Rydell performed in a three night engagement in Las Vegas.

With the health problems behind him Rydell has been very active. He has appeared in international concerts, which included a 2014 tour in Australia. He also has appeared as part of a stage act, with fellow Philadelphian rock and rollers Fabian and Frankie Avalon.

Interesting Trivia From IMDB.com

Rydell High School in Grease was named after Rydell.

He was married to his first wife Camille Quattrone Ridarelli from 1968-2003 until the time of her death. He remarried in 2009 to Linda Hoffman.

Started playing drums at the age of six.

The city of Philadelphia named Bobby Rydell Boulevard after him.

He was a victim of the British invasion, as his recording career was never the same after the Beatles hit American shores.

Has Remained Active

Bobby Rydell has remained active after his recording career more or less ended, by hitting the night club circuit and appearing in concert. However, he did appear in the movie Bye Bye Birdie in 1963, at the height of his popularity.

He has appeared in Time-Life infomercial for Malt Shop Memories.

It was sad that his recording career fizzled out at the age of 23, but he was too talented and too young to walk away from the music scene.

When he turns 72 tomorrow he can reflect on a long career in music and has been a fine representative for the city of Philadelphia.

Dick Clark played a part in the success of Bobby Rydell, by having him appear on American Bandstand.

He may have not had the long recording career, of some recording artists, but that has only made his fans treasure, more than ever, those years in the 60’s, when he was making memories for all of us.

 

 

 

 

Mickey Rooney Dies After 92 Years In Show Business

 


Mickey Rooney 1920-2014

Mickey Rooney has died at the age of 93 in his North Hollywood home with his family present, at the time of his death.

He was born Ninian Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brookyln, New York City, New York. He died on April 6, 2014 in North Hollywood, California.

Rooney was only 17 months when he made his first appearance on stage, with the vaudeville act of his father and mother in 1922. His death ends what probably is the longest career of any entertainer.

His first movie appearance was in the 1926 movie short Not To Be Trusted  the last year of the  silent movies , before talking movies started in 1927. Rooney who would only grow to be 5 foot two inches high never let his height slow him down. on his road to stardom.

His next role was as Mickey McGuire in a series of movie shorts, in which he appeared from 1927-1934.

Then he began to appear in the Andy Hardy movies in 1937, with his appearance in You’re Only Young Once. That would be followed by 13 more Andy Hardy movies, with the last one Love Laughs At Andy Hardy being released in 1944.

26 years after his first movie appearance Rooney would appear on television, for the first time on Celanese Theater in the Saturday’s Children episode.

Later in 1954 Rooney would star in the Mickey Rooney Show in all 33 episodes. He alternated in movie and television. He made his last appearance in a TV movie the Empire State Building Murders in 2008. He was appearing in Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde movie at the time of his death. He had two other movies in pre-production also, so was very busy at his advanced age.

Mickey Rooney was married eight times, with the first marriage being to Ava Gardner in 1942. He married his last wife Jan Chamberlin, in 1978 and they were still married 36 years later at the time of his death. Wikipedia lists his marriages below:

Children 9
Parents Joseph Yule,
Nellie W. (née Carter)
Awards Juvenile Academy Award, Academy Honorary Award, Emmy, 2 Golden Globes
Website
mickeyrooney.com

It is amazing that Rooney has been in show business from 1922 till 2014. He has appeared in movies, in ten consecutive decades.

Just some of the trivia about Rooney at imdb.com:

His parents divorced in 1923 when he was 3 years old.

Was considered for role of Archie Bunker on All In The Family.

He was married longer to his last wife Jan Chamberlin longer, than his other seven wives combined.

Only silent movie actor to still be acting in the 21st century.

During World War II he served 22 months in the U.S. Army, five of them with the Third Army of Gen. George S. Patton. Rooney attained the rank of Sergeant, and won a Bronze Star, among other decorations.

Rooney did not have any kind words for Ernest Borgnine: [on his feud with Ernest Borgnine] All the Oscars in the world can’t buy him dignity, class and talent. I don’t know why he is famous and why he is a star. Talk about a lucky jerk

 

America lost another icon yesterday who has entertained in vaudeville, stage, movies and television. He has left behind a rich legacy of work since his first film in 1926.

Turner Classic Movie cable network is probably at work right now, with a tribute to Mickey Rooney, who epitomizes the golden days of Hollywood. TCM showed many Esther Williams movies, after she passed away and I am positive they will pay tribute to Mickey Rooney by showing many of his Andy Hardy movies and other movies he starred in.

This New York Times obituary gives even more details of the life of Mickey Rooney:

 

 

Neville Brand: From Decorated World II Hero To Portraying Al Capone in The Untouchables

 

Lawrence Neville Brand was born on August 13, 1920 in Griswold, Iowa. He enlisted with the U.S. Army on March 5, 1941. He was sent to the European Theater in December of 1944 and arrived there on December 16, 1944. He was a much decorated World War II hero as outlined in this article, which gives more details of his accomplishments in World War II:

http://jodavidsmeyer.com/combat/military/neville_brand.html

Brand has been credited as the fourth most decorated soldier in World War II, but that claim has never been proven.
His first credited movie role was in 1950, when he appeared in D.O.A. He would be seen on television and in movies often from 1950-1958. One of his best known roles would come, when he portrayed Al Capone in The Untouchables
in the “Big Train” two parter.

Brand starred in Laredo from 1965-1967, when he portrayed Reese Bennett. He would appear in many westerns mostly, but also appeared in TV movies, free-lanced as an actor in other television series and acted in movies till 1985, which would be his last appearance on either television or movies. His last movie was Evils of the Night.

He was an avid reader and had a huge book collection of over 30,000 books,  in his Malibu home, but a fire destroyed most of his book collection, along with other mementoes in 1978.

He died at the age of 71 from emphysema on April 16, 1992 in Sacramento, California. His ashes were stored in a vessel shaped like a book that showed the years that he lived.

The world lost not only a great actor, but more importantly a World War II hero, when Neville Brand died but his memory will go on due to the the many television shows and movies he appeared in during his lifetime.

 

Perry Como: From Barber To Million Selling Singer

Perry Como 1912-2001

 

Perry Como was born as Pierino Ronald Como on September 18, 1912 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. His parents Pietro and Lucia Como had immigrated from Italy in 1910. Perry was the first of 13 children to be born in America and was the seventh son of a seventh son. Ironically, he would have 13 #1 songs.

He was only 11 when he began his career as a barber and by the age of 14 had his own barber shop. He would receive his first break when offered a job by the Freddy Carlone Orchestra. He had to choose between earning $28 a week with the orchestra or keep drawing the $125 a week he was earning as a barber. His dad talked him into accepting the singing job, since Perry would never know if he would be a success as a singer, until the gave it a try and began traveling with the orchestra in 1933.

His big break would come when bandleader Teddy Weems signed him to sing with his orchestra in 1936.

 

Perry Como early in his career.

 

Como now was in the big money going from $28 a week, with the Freddy Carlone Orchestra, to $50 a week with the Ted Weems Orchestra. Perry almost got fired when with the Weems Orchestra, because the listeners couldn’t understand the words he was singing. He corrected the problem and kept his job. By 1940 he was earning $250 a week.

1942 was a fateful year for Perry who would quit the Ted Weems band and return home to become a barber again. However, before he could negotiate a lease, for his barber shop he was offered a CBS radio program.  He went on the radio program for CBS in 1943. Later that same year he would be offered a recording contract with RCA Records. The relationship would last for 44 years, which is longer than any other major artist.

 

A Perry Como Christmas album that was in my collection at one time.

 

Perry Como was part of a revolutionary broadcast on April 5, 1946, when the Chesterfield Supper Club was broadcast from 20,000 feet in the air. He had to use handheld mike, which became very heavy due to cabin pressure.

Como in Movies and Television

Perry was seen in only five theatrical movies from 1943-1948 and never acted in another movie the last 53 years of his life.

He first appeared in his own television show in Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall from 1950-1966. I can remember Dream Along With Me being his theme song and the Sing to Me Mr. C. part of the show. Another memory of his show was when the singers sang ” We get letters, stacks and stacks of letters.” It would be great to see some of those old shows again if they even still exist.

Perry Como Christmas 1974 Christmas special.

 

Perry’s Christmas specials were a treat during the years they were shown. His Christmas show became as big of a part of Christmas and the Bob Hope Christmas special. He sang Ave Maria on the specials, but never sang it during a live performance, since he said it is a special song that had to be sung at the right time and at the right place.

Some interesting trivia about Perry from IMDB.com:

Perry Como was a short man who was only 5 foot 6.

He sold over 50 million records and was so humble, that he never asked for certification of most of his records that achieved gold record status.

His only marriage was to Roselle Beline, whom he was married to from July 31, 1933 till her death on August 10, 1998.

Was signed to RCA Records from 1943-1988.

He was the godfather of Debby Boone.

This quote by Perry Como signifies his humbleness: I’ve done nothing that I can call exciting. I was a barber. Since then I’ve been a singer. That’s it.

Perry Como died on May 12, 2001 at Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s at the time of his death.

 

Perry Como was reportedly as casual as he appeared on television. However, he did not like wearing sweaters, even though he was seen wearing sweaters on television.

A list of 587 songs recorded by Perry Como:

http://www.whosdatedwho.com/tpx_25003/perry-como/songs

When I think of his song Round and Round I think of hearing it played at roller skating rink and it was the perfect song for roller skating.

His first #1 song was Till The End of Time in 1945 and his last #1 song was And I Love You So in 1973.

The complete list of his songs that charted:

http://musicvf.com/Perry+Como.art

This album has 100 of Perry’s hits at a reasonable price and a great way to augment your Perry Como collection, without buying several albums.

http://www.amazon.com/100-Hits-Legends-Perry-Como/dp/B002LZUNCW/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1395524835&sr=1-4&keywords=perry+como

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dean Martin – 56 Years of Entertaining

Dean Martin 1917-1995

 

Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. He didn’t speak English until he was five years old. Then he dropped out of school in 10th grade and delivered bootleg liquor, dealt cards as a blackjack dealer and did some boxing as a welterweight. He made this comment about his boxing ability  “I won all but 11.”[, which was nothing to brag about since he was only in 12 boxing matches.  His boxing name “Kid Crochet” probably didn’t help his boxing career.

Martin sang with the Ernie Kay Orchestra and then was drafted by the Army in 1944 and served in Akron, Ohio. He appeared in his first full length movie in 1949, when he appeared in My Friend Irma.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Lewis is now 88 years old.

 

Dean Martin first team up with Jerry Lewis at the 500 Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 24, 1946. The first show did not go well and the owner threatened to fire them, if they couldn’t do better in their second act. That is when they came up with the act, where Martin tries to sing a serious song, while Jerry is doing everything possible to distract from his singing. The act went over big and began their run as a team.

They were heard on radio from 1948 to 1953 on the Martin and Lewis Show. The pair would go on to star in movies that seemed to feature Lewis more than Martin, because of his madcap actions on the big screen. Martin was incensed when a Look magazine cover only showed Lewis, since Martin had been cropped out of the photo.

Their association ended ten years exactly, from their first appearance in Atlantic City. Their friendship was really never the same, until Frank Sinatra brought Martin on stage at the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 1976, which was 20 years, after their 1956 breakup. They remained friends, until the death of Martin in 1995.

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Dean Martin who comprised the Rat Pack.

Martin was part of the Rat Pack that included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop. They would entertain audiences with their mixture of singing and comedy.

He was also active in acting in motion pictures, with his appearances in Young Lions (1957), Rio Bravo (1959) and would appear in Cannoball Run (1981) and Cannonball II (1984).

This was an active time for Martin as he was appearing on stage, recording record albums, appearing in movies and in 1965 he would start appearing on the NBC show Dean Martin’s Comedy Hour, which would remain on the air until 1974. 263 episodes were filmed of the show and hope they can be seen somewhere on a television network 49 years, after the first show debuted on television. Martin also hosted many Dean Martin Celebrity Roast shows in later years.

 

Made Impact As A Singer

 

1958 would see his recording of Return to Me top out at #4 and  Volare peak at #12. It may have been able to climb higher on the charts, but it had been recorded many times, before Martin released his version of Volare.

 

Surprisingly his song You’re Nobody Till Somebody Love You was only #25 on pop chart, but reached #1 on adult contemporary chart. This was the year the Beatles hit America, so that probably had something to do with it.

The year 1967 would see his last two #1 hits, which only went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, when In the Chapel in the Moonlight and In the Misty Moonlight would take the #1 spot.

Dino: The Essential Dean Martin Collection has 30 of his biggest hits and can be found at Amazon.com for one cent, plus shipping if you buy a used copy of the collection.

http://www.amazon.com/Dino-The-Essential-Dean-Martin/dp/tracks/B00021LPIS/ref=dp_tracks_all_1#disc_1

Dean Martin may be one of the most successful school dropouts ever. He became successful as part of the Martin and Lewis comedy act, singing as soloist for big bands, recorded for many years, acted in many blockbuster movies and hosted a successful television show for nine years.

 

 

 

Classic Televison: Donna Reed Show

Donna Reed, Paul Petersen, Carl Betz and Shelly Fabares shown in a scene from the Donna Reed Show.

Donna Reed Show was one of the few family sitcoms, that featured the mother. The show debuted on September 24, 1958 and the last show aired on March 19, 1966.

Reed who was Donna Stone in the series was the wife of pediatrician Dr. Alex Stone played by Carl Betz. Paul Petersen who was Jeff Stone and Shelly Fabares portrayed Mary Stone in the series.

Donna Reed 1921-1986

Donna Reed

Donna Reed was born Donnabelle Mullenger on January 27, 1921 in Denison, Iowa. Her first movie role was in 1941, when she appeared in The Getaway. She would act in two other films that year.

1942 was a busy year for Reed, since she appeared in seven movies that year including The Courtship of Andy Hardy. She is remembered for co-starring with James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life in 1947, which has become a Christmas classic.

Reed would also appear in From Here To Eternity in 1953. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the movie.

Her first television appearance was in an episode of Ford Television Theatre in 1954. Reed appeared in six more movies and made appearances in three television shows, before she took the role of Donna Stone in the Donna Reed Show.

After the show ran from 1958-1966 she wouldn’t appear on-screen again, till 1979 when she appeared in a TV movie, which was named The Best Place To Be. Reed was last seen as Ellie Ewing in Dallas, in 1984 and 1985 before her death in 1986.

Donna Reed died of pancreatic  cancer on January 14, 1986 at the age of 64 in Beverly Hills, California.

Carl Betz 1921-1978

Carl Betz

Carl Lawrence Betz was born on March 9, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Betz portrayed Collie Jordan on the Love of Life soap opera in 1951 in his first television role. Betz would appear in his first credited movie The President’s Lady in 1953.

He then appeared in five more movies in 1953, then wouldn’t appear in another movie till 1966, when he appeared with Elvis Presley in Spinout. He had barely finished his last episode of the Donna Reed Show, when he was in the cast of Judd For The Defense from 1967-1969. He appeared in 50 episodes of the series as Clinton Judd. Betz appeared mostly in various television series till the end of 1977.

Betz also died of cancer on January 18, 1978 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 56.

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen was born as William Paul Petersen on September 23, 1945, in Glendale, California. Petersen recorded a song She Can’t Find Her Keys during the time he was on the Donna Reed Show. Petersen made his first television appearance at the age of 11 on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in 1956 in the Along the Oregon Trail episode.

He would appear in all 275 episodes of the Donna Reed Show and was the only one besides Donna Reed to appear in all the episodes filmed. He appeared in 83 more episodes than Shelley Fabares, who played his sister Mary.

Peterson appeared in numerous television series, after the show ended its run in 1966.

He will be seen in The Executive which is currently filming and Kathy Garver, who portrayed Cissy on Family Affair will also be in the cast.

The role of Jeff Stone later would cause Petersen much anguish, because he wasn’t being taken seriously, when looking for more mature roles. He had been an original Mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 8 in 1955.

Petersen would start an organization named A Minor Consideration, which was a child actor support group.

When he couldn’t find work as an actor Mickey Rooney talked him into attending college.

This quote from Petersen explains why he became a child actor:

“I became a child actor because my mom was bigger than I was.”

Petersen was not happy when actor Bill Bixby took his wife: [on losing wife Brenda Benet to Bill Bixby] I was so angry I couldn’t see straight, and what doubled this pain was that Bill was really visible. You know, he was going great guns and I was going in the toilet.

He has reached out to many former child stars, who needed emotional support from someone like him, who had been under the same stress as they were experiencing.

It is hard to believe that the teenage Jeff Stone will be 70 next year.

Shelley Fabares

Shelley Fabares

Shelly Fabares was born as Michele Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944 in Santa Monica, California.

Fabares has 90 acting credits in her acting resume and continued to receive many acting roles, after Donna Reed Show had left the air.

She was in her first movie The Girl Rush in 1955 and also acted in three television series that year.

Her first major role was when she appeared in 15 episodes of Walt Disney Presents: Annette in 1958. That same year would see her appear in her first episode of the Donna Reed Show. She went straight from making her last appearance on the show in 1965 to appearing in three Elvis Presley movies. She appeared with Elvis in  Girl Happy in 1965, Spinout in 1966, and was also in his 1967 movie Clambake.

Then she appeared in 47 episodes of the Brian Keith Show which aired from 1974-1976. Fabares would appear in 27 episodes of The Practice 1976-1977. She would appear in One Day At A Time 1978-1984 in 23 episodes.

Coach would be her next big show, in which she appeared in all 198 episodes from 1989-1997.

Since then Fabares has acted very infrequently with mostly voice roles since then. Her only acting job since 1997 was Playing to Win: A Moment of Truth Movie (TV Movie) which was shown in 1998, so she has not been seen on a television or movie screen in the last 16 years.

She was married to record producer Lou Adler from 1964-1980, then married Mike Farrell of M

She is the niece of actress/comedienne Nanette Fabray who is now 93 years old.

Fabares would have a #1 Billboard hit with Johnny Angel.

One of her major movie roles was in Brian’s Song 1971 when she appeared as the wife of Brian Piccolo.

Carl Betz portrayed her father on both the Donna Reed Show and in the movie Spinout.

Red Skelton: He Enjoyed Making Us Smile

Red Skelton 1913-1997

 

Red Skelton was born as Richard Bernard Skelton in Vincennes, Indiana on July 18, 1913. He could be heard in 349 radio episodes of his own show and other shows. He first was heard in 1939 on the Avalon Time radio program, of which he was in the starring role. He appeared in vaudeville at the age of 15.

Red Skelton and Esther Williams who starred in some movies together.

 

Red Skelton appeared in his first movie in Having A Wonderful Time in 1938.

He appeared exclusively in movies until 1955, when he appeared on the television series Climax. When his movie contract ended Red Skelton would start the long run of the Red Skelton Hour which would be seen on NBC from 1951-1953, then was shown on CBS from 1953-1970.

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Skelton would ad-lib unexpectedly and it was fun to see the reaction of his co-stars in that episode. My father watched almost no television, but on Tuesday nights he would make a point of watching Red Skelton.

I always enjoyed seeing Skelton portray his many famous characters like Freddie the Freeloader, Clem Kaddidlehopper, San Fernando Red, Cauliflower McPugg and George Appleby.

Bobby Rydell portrayed cousin Zeke Kadiddlehopper in 10 episodes from 1959-1969. Even Don Knotts appeared in five episodes as Steady Fingers Ferguson.

The following cast lists includes almost everyone in show business it seems:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043224/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

Skelton married Edna Stillwell in 1931 and they divorced in 1943, which caused Skelton to be drafted, since he was no longer eligible for the married exemption. He married Georgia Davis in 1945 and they remained married till 1971 for a 26 year marriage.

His last marriage would be to Lothian Toland in 1973 till his death in 1997. He was married to his three wives for a total of 62 years.

Life dealt Skelton and his wife at the time Georgia Davis a tragic blow, when their son Richard was diagnosed with leukemia and given a year to live. They took him to London, so he could some of the world. The British papers mentioned their son’s impending death, which when found out by his son Richard caused Skelton to end the trip.  He died on May 10, 1978 just 10 days before his tenth birthday.

18 years after her son’s death Georgia Davis shot herself and died and Skelton took the loss of his ex-wife very hard.

Fittingly, Red Skelton would make his last television appearance appearing as Freddie the Freeloader on Standing Room Only in 1981. He would not appear on television again the rest of his life.

Skelton died on September 17, 1997 in Rancho Mirage, California, with death caused by pneumonia.

 

Skelton was the son of a former circus clown, which explains his lithographs drawn of circus clowns. He started his career as an artist in 1943 and his artwork was valued as high as $80,000. Skelton himself said that he earned $2.5 million a year from his artwork.

Red Skelton – The Pledge of Allegiance

From the Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969


“Getting back to school, I remember a teacher that I had. Now I only went, I went through the seventh grade. I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry. (laughter) And .. this is true. I worked in the summer and went to school in the winter. But, I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison school, in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, this was the greatest teacher, a real sage of..of my time, anyhow.

He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher … Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said:

“I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?

I

me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge

dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance

my love and my devotion.

To the Flag

[of the]

our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there’s respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody’s job.

United

that means that we have all come together.

States

[of America]

individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.

and to the Republic

For Which It Stands

Republic … a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

One Nation

One Nation … meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible

incapable of being divided.

With Liberty

which is freedom, the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice

the principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others.

For All

For all … which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

Interesting Trivia About Red Skelton

Inducted into International Clown Hall of Fame in 1989

Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame in 1994

Despite playing a drunk Freddie the Freeloader he never drank and was in fact allergic to alcohol.

Disliked blue humor and wouldn’t let it be used on his show. This quote explains how he felt about off-color humor:

I think most of today’s comedians are victims of laughter…they get nervous and resort to an insult or a four-letter word for a quick, cheap laugh. That goes on night after night until the whole act is cheapened. But that doesn’t last. Usually, a couple of years later they are remembered only as the old what’s-his-name who used all the dirty words.

He never forgave CBS for cancelling his show and may be why we are not able, to see Red Skelton shows in re-runs, even though it ended 44 years ago.

His birth year is usually listed as 1913, but he reportedly told associates, that his true birth year was 1906.

These two quotes by Red Skelton sum up his life nicely:

I always believed God puts each one of us here for a purpose and mine is to try to make people happy.

      If I can make people smile, then I have served my purpose for God.

 

 

 

Danny Thomas: Founder of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

 

The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962 by actor/philanthropist Danny Thomas. He promised St. Jude Thaddeus that he would build a shrine to St. Jude, if he would help him support his family financially.

He was able to amass a fortune and kept his promise and the shrine he built for St. Jude was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which Thomas founded in 1962.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Samuel Stritch of Tennessee suggested, that Thomas build the hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. 52 years later the hospital has played a part in saving the lives of many children, who may have died without the medical care provided at St. Jude.

The Chili’s restaurant chain donated $50 million toward the construction of the Chili’s Care Center in 2007, which added 24 labs and 16 beds to the campus.

Sterling Jewelers opened a lounge area named Kay Kafe. It has become a place where families and staff can relax, when the children were not undergoing treatments.

Marlo Thomas, the daughter of Thomas is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude. His son Tony is also very involved in the administration of St. Jude.

The survival rate of  acute lymphoblastic leukemia has improved from 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today.

Families of the patients only pay what is covered by insurance and no family without insurance is turned down for treatment. Patients are also provided with a place to stay, while the children undergo treatments, to lessen the financial burden for families.

Many corporations like CVS/pharmacy, Dollar General and Kay Jewelers assist in finances for the hospital, in addition to too many others to name them all.

Wikipedia tells about a million dollar winner of the McDonald’s Monopoly game donating their winning card to St Jude:

McDonald’s Monopoly

In 1995, St. Jude received an anonymous letter postmarked in Dallas, Texas, containing a $1 million winning McDonald’s Monopoly game piece. McDonald’s officials came to the hospital, accompanied by a representative from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, who examined the card under a jeweler’s eyepiece, handled it with plastic gloves, and verified it as a winner.[36] Although game rules prohibited the transfer of prizes, McDonald’s waived the rule and has made the annual $50,000 annuity payments, even after learning that the piece was sent by an individual involved in an embezzlement scheme intended to defraud McDonald’s.[37]

 

Danny Thomas
1912-1991
Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

 

Danny Thomas along with Jerry Lewis are the best known celebrities, who have shared their fortune and time, to help less than fortunate children, who are battling health problems at a time, when they should be out playing, with the other kids in their neighborhood.

Thomas was born as,Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz  in Deerfield, Michigan on January 6, 1912. He would later change his name to Amos Jacobs, then later to Danny Thomas.

He would make his radio debut on March 5, 1944 on the Radio Hall of Fame program. He could be heard in 61 episodes of radio programs from 1944 to 1983.

 

Marlo Thomas

His daughter, Marlo Thomas went on to have her own acting career and was best known for her series That Girl (1966-1971). Actress Loretta Young was the godmother of Marlo, who also became very involved with the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and can be seen on commercials for St. Jude today.

Thomas was a standup comedian and also acted in movies and television. His first movie appearance was in The Unfinished Dance which was released in 1947, when Thomas was 35 years old. He became a major star, his show Make Room For Daddy debuted in 1953 and would be on network television till 1964.

He would make his last appearance as an actor in the Empty Nest in 1991, which was the same year as his death.

Thomas was a producer or executive producer in many well-known television series, which included Andy Griffith, Real McCoys, Joey Bishop Show, Dick Van Dyke, Rango, Guns of Will Sonnett and Mod Squad.

He was a founding minority owner in the Miami Dolphins professional football team.

His only marriage was to Rose Marie Mantell in 1936 and they remained married till his death 55 years later in 1991.

Mary Tyler Moore was chosen by Thomas to co-star in Dick Van Dyke show.

This quote by Thomas personifies the way he lived his life “Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.”

Danny Thomas died of heart failure on February 6, 1991 in Los Angeles, California. He and his wife both were buried on the grounds of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Most of us will remember Danny Thomas portraying Danny Williams on the Danny Thomas Show, but his most lasting contribution was the founding, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There are a lot of children laughing and playing today in their homes, because Danny Thomas cared enough to build a hospital, that treated their cancer and best of all never turned anyone down, because they didn’t have money to pay, after the insurance had paid their portion or had no insurance at all.

If only more of us could leave a legacy like Danny Thomas, who may have died 23 years ago, but his promise to build a shrine, which turned out to be the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has brought hope to families, who had no hope by providing a hospital for their children, where they can be treated for cancer.

Thank you Danny for caring about the children with cancer.

Shirley Temple Black Dies At 85

 

 

Shirley Temple 1928-2014

 

America has lost another of our greatest entertainers in Shirley Temple Black, who died Monday night, February 11, in her home near San Francisco at the age of 85. She was preceded in death by her husband Charles Alden Black, who died in 2005. They had been married 55 years at the time of his death.

It has been said that Shirley Temple was the most famous child actor in the history of the movies. Very few would want to argue that point.

She was born Shirley Jane Temple, on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California.

A young Shirley Temple early in her career.

Her first two appearances on-screen was in two shorts in 1932 and her first credited role in a movie was for Red Haired Alibi released in 1932. She appeared in several more shorts and uncredited roles in movies and her scenes in Mandalay in 1934 were deleted. However, before the end of 1934 she would appear in seven more movies in credited roles. Little Miss Marker and Bright Eyes were just two of those movies released in 1934.

Temple was also heard on old-time radio in 42 programs.

1935 would see four more Shirley Temple movies released including The Little Colonel and Curly Top. She had appeared in 20 movies by the time she was 7 years old.

By the time 1940 was over Temple had appeared in 34 movies and she was only 12 years old. She then started appearing as a teenager in movies later in the 40’s, including Kiss and Tell and  Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.

Shirley Temple seen in a scene with Cary Grant from Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.

Surprisingly she made her last movie in 1949 at the age of 21, when she appeared in a Kiss For Corliss Archer.

Nine years would pass before she would appear in her own television series Shirley Temple Storybook from 1958-1961. She would make her second and last television appearance on Red Skelton Show in 1963.

By the time of her death last night she hadn’t made a movie in 65 years and hadn’t appeared on television in 51 years.

 

IMDB.com lists some interesting trivia about Shirley Temple:

She was 5 foot 2.

1935-1938 were the years of her peak popularity. She was box office champion during those years, topping more famous adult actors and actresses like Clark Gable and Joan Crawford.

By 1939 her popularity had declined.

She married actor John Agar at the age of 17 and the marriage lasted from 1945-1950. They were divorced on December 7, 1950.

Shirley Temple Black shown with her husband Charles Alden Black.

Nine days later she would marry Charles Alden Black, to whom she remained married to, for 55 years until his death in 2005 from bone marrow disease at the age of 86.

Ironically her new husband had never seen any of her movies.

She may have been Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, but 20th Century Fox refused to lend her to MGM to make the movie.

Shirley Jones and Shirley MacLaine were both named after Shirley Temple.

Would serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.

Was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Her new contract from 20th Century Fox in 1936 paid her $50,000 per film.

A cocktail named after her became known as the Shirley Temple cocktail. It consisted of Ginger Ale or 7-Up, Grenadine and orange juice topped with a Maraschino cherry and a slice of lemon. Temple said she didn’t like the drink.

Gary Cooper asked for Shirley Temple’s autograph, when he met her in 1934.

She made an attempt at political office: In 1967 she ran against Paul McCloskey in the Republican primary for California’s 11th Congressional District. McCloskey won with 52,878 votes to her 34,521. One of the newspaper headlines read: “McCloskey Torpedoes Good Ship Lollypop”.

Some of her other political appointment jobs:

U.S. Chief of Protocol

      U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia
      Delegate to the United Nations
She acted in the movies while the country was in a depression and has this to say about that:
I class myself with Rin Tin Tin. People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog and a little girl.
Shirley Temple brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people during her 17 year movie career and she went on to serve our country as an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia and as a delegate to the United Nations.
Her acting career may have ended over 50 years ago, but her movies will live on in the hearts, of those who have seen them and will continue to see them, as they are handed down from generation to generation.
I suspect a lot of DVD and VCR players will be playing Shirley Temple movies today and tonight, as we remember the little girl in the movies, who cheered up a country deep in depression so many years ago.
RIP Shirley Temple

For those who want to see a list of all the Shirley Temple movies:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000073/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

 

 

 

 

Doris Day Will Be 93 In April

Doris Day made her motion picture debut 69 years ago in 1948 in Romance on the High Seas at the age of 24.

 

Doris Day may be one of the most likeable motion picture and television actresses, that has graced the silver screen. However, she was first known as a singer, as she sang with the Bob Crosby and Les Brown bands. One of her first hit songs was Sentimental Journey.

She was born as Doris Mary Anne Von Kappelhoff  on April 3, 1924 in Evanston, Ohio and will be 93 this year. She would later change her name to Day, with her name coming from her song Day by Day.

Her career included 99 old-time radio shows, which included appearances on the Bob Hope Show and her own radio show.

Doris Day Golden Girl: Columbia Collection from 1944-1966.

 

I have the Golden Girl: Columbia Collection 1944-1966 in my compact disc collection. 27 Amazon reviewers give the album 5 stars, while only one gives it one star and no reviewer gives the album no stars. The album is on two discs with a total of 48 songs in the album.

Her rendition of It Had To Be You alone makes the album worthwhile. Again is another one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is good to hear music, that you can understand the words, as you listen to the album. She also sings the classic I Only Have Eyes For You. I listened to the entire album last week and was mesmerized to hear Doris Day at her best.

Amazon.com has short clips of all 48 songs and the album can be bought used for as little as 30 cents as of January 2, 2017.

Day married trombonist Al Jorden in 1941 and their divorce became final in 1943. Her only child Terry was born during this marriage. Her next marriage to saxophonist George Weidler was in 1946 and that marriage was over by 1949.

Then two years later she married Martin Melcher her agent, who later became her husband in 1951. Melcher produced many of her movies from 1956-1968. Melcher died at the age of 52 in 1968.

It was after his death, that she learned he had gone through her $20 million fortune and leaving her in debt. She may have been even deeper in debt, if not for his death. His business partner Jerome Rosenthal was sued by Doris Day for his financial dealings that burned through her fortune. Day has stated that she didn’t think her husband realized what Rosenthal was doing. She was awarded $22 million in damages in 1974.

Day found out after the death of Martin Melcher, that he had her lined up to do a television series and a couple of special shows. She still completed her obligation in the contract and she never acted again after the Doris Day Show ended in 1973. It has been 41 years since she last acted on television or on the screen.

Between the income from the television shows and her financial settlement there was no reason, for Day to ever act again. She did appear in some shows which didn’t involve acting.

Her son Terry Melcher, who had been adopted by her husband Martin Melcher was a successful record producer. He was introduced to Charles Manson by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. Melcher was considering signing Manson to a recording contract but never signed Manson, which angered Manson. He did use two songs penned by Manson with the Beach Boys singing those songs.

Melcher was living with his girlfriend Candice Bergen at 10050 Cielo Drive house he was renting. Melcher and Bergen moved out of the house after Melcher and Manson had parted ways. Manson went to the house asking to see Melcher, but by then Melcher had moved.

It was on August 9, 1969 that members of the Manson family entered the home and murdered Sharon Tate, who was the wife of Polanski was eight months pregnant. Four others were murdered in the house including coffee heiress Abigail Folger and hairdresser Jay Sebring.

There has been much speculation about whether Manson knew Melcher was no longer living in the house. One thing for certain is that if he wanted to get Melcher’s attention, then he was so successful, that Melcher hired a bodyguard.

Doris Day had lost her husband one year before and now her only son was apparently being targeted by Charles Manson.

Some trivia about Doris Day from imdb.com:

Did not like swear words and required anyone using a swear word to put a quarter in the “Swear Jar”.  She would not even allow her songs to be used in movies, in which there was swearing.

Her mother named her after her favorite silent film star, Doris Kenyon. By coincidence, in the mid 1970’s when Day wrote her autobiography, Kenyon was her neighbor on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.

Son Terry Melcher was born February 8, 1942. She named him after the character in a comic strip she loved as a little girl, “Terry and the Pirates”. Sadly, he passed away of cancer on November 19, 2004.

Was a two-and-a-half pack a day smoker until about 1951.

She has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6278 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

In 1976, Doris married Barry Comden, 12 years her junior. They met at the Beverly Hills Old World Restaurant where he was the maitre d’. In the 1970s, Comden opened an Old World restaurant in Westwood and supervised the construction of another restaurant, Tony Roma’s, in Palm Springs. It was Comden who came up with the idea for a line of pet food that would feature Doris’ name. Doris Day Distributing Co. unraveled mainly because of a pyramid-type scheme that the couple had been unaware of. They lived in Carmel but Comden complained that Day preferred the company of her dogs more than him and they divorced in 1981.

Underwent a hysterectomy during the filming of Julie (1956) after being diagnosed with a tumour the size of a grapefruit that was growing into her intestines.

Some quotes attributed to Doris Day:

I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.

[on Rock Hudson] I call him Ernie, because he’s certainly no Rock

[about Elizabeth Taylor‘s diamonds] When I see Liz Taylor with those Harry Winston boulders hanging from her neck I get nauseated. Not figuratively, but nauseated! All I can think of are how many dog shelters those diamonds could buy.

      [dismissing allegations that she “stole” husband Martin Melcher from his former wife, singer Patty Andrews] A person does not leave a good marriage for someone else.

 

Doris Day at the age of 89 is still involved with protecting animals from abuse. She may not have acted in the last 41 years, but her legacy of films in her 25 years of acting will keep us entertained for years to come. It is sad that her television show is seldom seen in reruns, but it can be seen on DVD. It might even be the best way to watch the show, as the show was known for its many season to season changes in its five-year run. In addition she has recorded many albums during her recording career.

I watched Move Over Darling last week, in which James Garner appeared with Doris Day. It was a hilarious movie, in which a husband is marrying a new bride, after his wife who “died” in a plane crash five years before and was now legally dead. Only problem was that she was rescued and comes back home to find her husband married to another woman. Chaos ensues as she and the character played by James Garner try to get back together again.

 

 

 

 

Know the Face, But Can’t Think of the Name – Burt Mustin

Burt Mustin 1884-1977

 

Burton Hill Mustin was born February 8, 1884 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He made his acting debut in 1951 at the age of 67. Most people would have retired by that age, but Mustin would appear in motion pictures and television till the age of 92. In fact Mustin had retired and had moved to Tucson, Arizona. He was discovered by director William Wyler, who saw Mustin appearing in a stage production of Detective Story and his career in movies and television had begun at an age, when most people his age were living off their Social Security checks.

He married in 1915 and they remained married till her death in 1969 and they had no children.

Mustin appeared in his first movie Detective Story in 1951 and would appear in his last role in Phyllis in 1976. He has 178 acting credits in his 25 years in movies and television. He first appeared on television, when he was seen in an episode of the Adventures of Kit Carson in 1951.

Burt Mustin shown portraying Gus the fireman on Leave It To Beaver from ago of 73-77.

 

Leave It To Beaver featured Mustin in 14 episodes in which he played Gus the fireman. He also appeared in 14 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. Mustin played six parts on the show including Jud Fletcher, the Townsman, Jubal, Sam Benson, Mister Crowley and The Old Geezer.

He appeared on many other shows, but never made more than seven appearances on any of them. His movie career kept him busy, but his name was seldom in the credits, in many of his movies. He made his last movie appearance in Train Ride to Hollywood and he was 91 years old at the time.

Mustin was one of the more prolific character actors in show business, as he was seen several of the top television shows, while he was an actor.  He had the kind of face, that you could remember, but it is unlikely, that most moviegoers and television viewers knew what his real name was.

Life came to an end for Mustin on January 28, 1977 in Glendale, California. He was born 43 years before the first talking motion pictures were made, but lived another 50 years, after talking movies became commonplace.

Burt Mustin’s gravesite is located at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills, California.

 

 

 

Classic Television – Adam 12

Kent McCord as Officer Jim Reed and Martin Milner as Officer Pete Malloy on Adam 12.

Saw my first Adam 12 show in many years yesterday and it reminded me, of how much I enjoyed watching the shows.

The first episode of the Adam 12 aired on September 21, 1967 and the last show was telecast on May 20, 1975.

I saw the Season 1 Episode 1 show yesterday and Officer Malloy was going to retire, after working the shift and was none too happy, about having to work with a rookie on his last day. However, by the end of the shift Officer Malloy had a change of heart and decided to stay on with the force, to keep Officer Reed killing himself.

Jack Webb and Ozzie Nelson directed two of the episodes in the series, while Harry Morgan and David Nelson directed one show each.

The show features many familiar actors, such as singer Trini Lopez, American Bandstand host Dick Clark, Donna Douglas of Beverly Hillbillies fame and too many others to list them all, so will just link to the complete cast list for the entire run of the show:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062539/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

The show ran for seven seasons and 174 episodes were filmed.

One goof in the show was that the dispatcher at the police station tells them to report to investigate a crime, so they drive off with no address given.

Martin Milner

 

Martin Milner was born December 28, 1931 in Detroit Michigan. He made his first movie appearance at the age of 16 in Life With Father in 1947.

Milner appeared in six episodes of Dragnet from 1952-1955. He appeared in four episodes of Life of Riley from 1953-1957.

His big break came when he was hired to play Tod Stiles in all 116 episodes of Route 66 from 1960-1964. Four years later he was chosen for the role of Officer Pete Malloy in Adam 12 and appeared in every episode from 1967-1975.

He never acted in another movie, but did a lot of free-lance work in television, with his final appearance being in 1997 in an episode of Diagnosis Murder. Milner will be 82 next month.

Kent McCord

 

Kent McCord was born as Kent Franklin McWhirter on September 26, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. He met Ricky Nelson at a football game and their friendship resulted in him getting a part in the Ozzie and Harriet television series. He appeared in 40 episodes of Ozzie and Harriet, partly due to the fact that he was a bodyguard for Ricky Nelson.

His big break came in 1967, when he was chosen to co-star in Adam 12 with Martin Milner.

McCord’s movie career did not start off too well with eight uncredited roles to start his career, including four Elvis Presley movies.

All eight movies were filmed in 1964 and 1965. He was still going by the name Kent McWhirter, when he appeared in the Ozzie and Harriet show.

He had changed his last name to McCord by the time he appeared in eight episodes of Dragnet 67′ in 1967 and 1968.

His career in television and movies ended in 2005, after he made his last appearance in a TV movie Tides of War.

McCord is currently 71 years old.

Kent McCord seen four years ago at the age of 67.

 

Martin Milner seen three years ago at the age of 79.

I had forgotten just how good of a show, that Adam 12 was but it only took watching one episode to remind me.

Southern Gospel Music: A 103 Years Later

The Speer Family was one of the earlier southern gospel family groups who traveled from city to city in the 1940’s.

Some historians say southern gospel music was founded in the 1870’s but 1910 is when the first southern gospel quartet was formed.

However, the first southern gospel song The Old Time Religion was published in 1873. Charles Davis Tillman is credited with bringing the song to white southerners, when he heard African-Americans sing it in a tent meeting in South Carolina.

The song is still being sung 140 years later in churches and in gospel singing concerts. The song was used in the movie Sergeant York in 1941. Life’s Railway to Heaven is another song brought to southern gospel fans by Tillman. The Carter Family, Chuck Wagon Gang and Oak Ridge Boys were just some of the groups and soloists who sang the song.

 Poor Wayfaring Stranger was even older than the other songs mentioned, since it was found in a 1858 songbook. It has been sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, not to mention too many other groups and soloists to mention.

Singing schools such as the Stamps-Baxter School of Music taught quartet singers to sing their part properly and how to blend in with a group, when the whole quartet sang at once.

Southern gospel music could be heard at singing conventions, which featured more difficult songs like I’m Winging My Way Back Home and Heavenly Parade. I can personally vouch for how difficult I’m Winging My Way Back Home can be to sing, since I have tried to sing it in choirs and have not had much success. When done right though it is true southern gospel music at its best.

The Cathedral quartet first became known as part of the Rex Humbard ministry.

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was formed in 1934 and still is singing today 79 years later. Tragedy struck the quartet in 1954 when a plane crash killed baritone R.W. Blackwood and bass singer Bill Lyles. Cecil Blackwood replaced his older brother R.W. as baritone and J.D. Sumner replaced Lyles as the bass singer.

This was my favorite Blackwood Brothers Quartet record album. Played it so much that wore out the grooves in the record and had to order a new copy of the album. My favorite songs on the album were when J.D. Sumner and Jim “Big Chief” Wetherington of the Statesmen had a singing contest singing I’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Road at a concert, trying to see who could hit the lowest note and I think it is safe to say that J.D. won. Old Country Church was another favorite on the album, especially when the tenor hit the chorus on the last verse.

I have seen the Blackwood Brothers sing in the Alexandria, Louisiana area a few times, but never saw them with J.D. Sumner singing bass, since Ken Turner was singing the bass part. James Blackwood singing lead made up for that though, with his great delivery of the songs we grew up with. My mother lived in the Hiawatha, Kansas area in the 1970’s and was able to see the Blackwood Brothers sing there many times.

J.D. left and joined the Stamps Quartet, which toured with Elvis Presley throughout the United States. I saw them sing backup for Elvis in 1977, shortly before Elvis died, in a concert in March of 1977 and when Elvis wasn’t feeling well he had one of the quartet singers sing a song, while he sat down and gathered enough strength to continue the concert.

All night sings were a big part of southern gospel music in the earlier years when throngs of southern gospel fans would spend a good part of the night listening to southern gospel music.
Have never seen the Statesmen in person, but have seen them numerous times on the Gospel Singing Jubilee and Gospel Caravan shows shown on television on Sunday mornings. Watching southern gospel music before church was a routine at our house.

I can remember when a local southern gospel radio station in Pineville, Louisiana held a concert every year in the Rapides Parish Coliseum, in Alexandria, Louisiana. I heard that a heckler one time was giving Howard Goodman of the Happy Goodman Family a rough time, but if I remember right Howard got the best of it.

The original Dove Brothers Quartet pictured left to right: John Rulapaugh tenor, McCray Dove lead, Burman Porter bass, Richard Simmons pianist and Eric Dove baritone.

My favorite gospel quartet is the Dove Brothers Quartet which was founded in 1998.

We traveled 200 miles to see them in Texarkana, Texas and will never forget them singing When I Move To Hallelujah Square and the classic Get Away Jordan which had been recorded many years earlier by the Statesman Quartet.

I was able to talk to all the members of their quartet at their product table and would travel many times to see them in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas and they finally appeared in my hometown of Pineville, Louisiana.

Only McCray Dove, Eric Dove and Burman Porter are singing in the current configuration of the group.

The following video is of the Dove Brothers Quartet singing Get Away Jordan, at the National Quartet Convention in 1999 at Louisville, Kentucky. We need more singing like this today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NmOUXtfzZA

Southern gospel music has in recent years seen more soloists and duets and trios, but for me what draws me to southern gospel music are the traditional quartets.

Mark Lanier is a southern gospel soloist who used to sing with the Bibletones, Perfect Heart and Poet Voices. He lives in Ball, Louisiana and travels mostly throughout the south singing at churches. His son played baseball with my grandson in Tioga, Louisiana, so have been able to talk with him often and he sang at our church in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2010.

This is a video of Mark singing the lead on I Hold A Clear Title, when he sang for Perfect Heart in 1994.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IHqdD6JAcA

Most southern gospel fans like to hear the tenor or bass being featured on songs. I like the traditional southern gospel songs like He Touched Me, Mansion on the Hilltop, I Never Shall Forget That Day, The Old Country Church, Without Him, Farther Along, The King is Coming, The Lighthouse and O What a Savior.

Bill Gaither has done a lot to make southern gospel music more popular, since he brought the well-known names of the past back to the forefront, through his homecoming videos. We have at least 10 of his videos and enjoy watching the greats of the past singing on stage in unison.

The Atlanta Homecoming video is one of my favorites of the series, but my favorite is the Ryman Gospel Reunion video. That video includes The Lighthouse, Unclouded Day, I Never Shall Forget That Day and too many others to list them all. Clips of all the songs on the video can be heard at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/music/dp/B000000V23

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet bus which can be seen at the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame on the grounds of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The following links to a complete list of those enshrined in the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame:

http://www.sgma.org/inductees_alphabetical.htm

Some of those who will be inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame on October 2, 2013 in Dollywood:

Thomas Dorsey, who wrote Take My Hand Precious Lord and Peace in the Valley. He died in 1993.

Tim Riley, who is owner of and bass singer for Gold City Quartet.

“Little” Roy Lewis and Polly Lewis of the Lewis Family.

It is sad that southern gospel groups don’t travel as far south as Louisiana, as they used to but the big busses of these days owned by the groups make it cost prohibitive, because of the higher gasoline prices.

We may not hear southern gospel music as much as we once did, but we are glad to be members of Calvary Baptist Church in Merryville, Louisiana,  which sometimes even sings from a southern gospel music hymnbook and southern gospel music is often sung for special music.

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

Gary Busey : What Happened When He Didn’t Wear Motorcycle Helmet

Gary Busey portraying Buddy Holly in the Buddy Holly Story (1978)

 

Gary Busey is a walking testimony, as to how not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle can cause brain damage. He is still feeling the effects of the accident 25 years after the 1988 accident. Doctors feared that he suffered extensive brain damage due to the  motorcycle accident.

20 years later in 2008 another doctor said that the brain damage was even more extensive, than the doctors had thought he had in 1988..

He was born William Gary Busey in Goose Creek, Texas on June 29, 1944, which was only 23 days after the Normandy invasion in France.

His higher education ended one class short of graduation, when he left Oklahoma State University.

One of his claims to fame during the early days of his career was that he was the last person killed, on the Gunsmoke television series.

Busey acted for the first time in a movie. in an uncredited performance in Wild In The Streets in 1968. He next appeared in episodes of High Chapparal and Dan August. He also appeared in a Bonanza episode.

The big break for Busey came, when he was cast as Buddy Holly in the Buddy Holly Story in 1978. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Busey mostly appeared in movies in his career, but did some free-lancing in television series and TV movies.

His appearance on Celebrity Apprentice in 2011 and 2013 brought him more notoriety for his zany behavior and it was clear to see that Donald Trump was happy to have him on the show.

Busey has already been in two movies this year Matt’s Chance and Bounty Killer that were released in January and April respectively.

In addition DaZe Vol.ll has been completed, while Confessions Of A Womanizer and Mansion Of Blood are both in post-production.

So Busey’s movie career is still thriving 45 years after appearing in his first movie.

Busey also has appeared on stage as a musician, with appearances with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Leon Russell as a drummer.

Jake Busey son of Gary and also an actor.

His son Jake who is 42 has appeared in 77 movies and television shows and will be seen in many movies soon. His page at imdb.com shows how busy he has been this year, with 10 movies, in various stages of being released, completed or in post-production.

Gary Busey Trivia

Played in band named Rubber Band.

Is a licensed airplane pilot.

Has black belts in all of the following martial arts: budo-jujitsu, capoeira, hapkido, “Jailhouse Rock” and kendo.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Perry Mason

Raymond Burr 1917-1993

Raymond Burr was primarily known for Perry Mason and Ironside television series. The Canadian actor originally tried out for the job of Hamilton Burger, who was the district attorney for Los Angeles, but ended up playing the lead role of Perry Mason.

Burr had portrayed a criminal in the Alfred Hitchcock class Rear Window in 1954, as he was the mysterious neighbor that Jimmy Stewart’s character watched from his wheelchair by the window of his apartment.

The radio version was broadcast from 1948-1955. Radiogoldindex.com lists 246 episodes in the radio version. Perry Mason became a television series two years later in 1957 and it was on television till 1966. It was interesting how the stories developed, then the show would end in a courtroom, as Mason would almost always win his cases.

Some interesting Perry Mason trivia from imdb.com:

When Burr was unable to act because of illness actors like Mike Connors, Bette Davis and Hugh O’Brian would replace him.

Only one episode was filmed in color, with the rest being filmed in black and white.

Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason series appeared in the final episode as a judge.

1957 Ford Skyliner

 

Mason drove a 1957 Ford Skyliner during the first season. He also drove GM cars during the first season driving a Cadillac, when he wasn’t driving the Skyliner. Some of the other characters also switched from Ford to GM cars, in different episodes.

All 271 episodes were titled “The Case of………, depending on the title of that episode.

Juries were seldom used in the episodes, so most of the courtroom scenes were from preliminary hearings, in order to save hiring 12 extras as jurors.

This morning I watched the episode named “The Case of the Melancholy Marksman” on the Hallmark Movie Channel and it was like old times watching Perry Mason in action.

It reminded me of television at its best, as I got caught up in the story and it kept my interest till the final courtroom scene was over.

Burr would go on to star on Ironside from 1967-1975, then in 1985 would appear as Mason in Perry Mason TV movies till 1993, the same year he died.

Perry Mason can be seen at various times on the Hallmark Movie Channel.

 

Groucho Marx Kept Us Laughing

The elderly lady in this photo from You Bet Your Life program asks Groucho Marx to put out his cigarette in one of the funniest moments in the history of the show.

Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was born October 2, 1890 in New York City. He appeared as a 15-year-old singer on stage in 1905 and had an excellent soprano voice.

Marx appeared in every entertainment venue , as he was in vaudeville, burlesque, radio, television and movies. He was part of the Four Nightingales singing group with his brothers. A performance in Nacogdoches, Texas would prove to be a turning point in their careers, when they started cracking jokes, which was better received by the audience than their singing.

The Marx Brothers became a major hit when they entertained at the Palace Theater which epitomized success in the vaudeville era.

It would be 1921, before the Marx Brothers made their first silent movie Humor Risk, which was so bad that it was only shown once. Eight years would pass before they appeared in Cocoanuts in 1929 and would be followed by Animal Crackers in 1930. Groucho would appear in his last movie in a brief cameo, when he appeared in The Candidate in 1972.

From 1921 to 1968 Groucho appeared in movies and also was heard in 379 episodes of various radio shows from 1933-1975 with his last five shows having no date shown for those broadcasts. His most famous show You Bet Your Life was on the air from 1947-1956.

Television would become the new home for the show, but it was being heard on radio and seen on television simultaneously from 1950-1957. Marx appeared in 84 episodes of the television show from 1950-1961, but very few episodes were filmed in any of those years.

The show included a quiz, but the show was best known for the humorous banter, between Groucho and his guests. The best way to appreciate the humor in the shows is to watch one of the shows on YouTube.

I can remember when going to summer school back in my high school days, that I would return home and watch the show.

One of my favorite memories of the show was when Groucho asked a girl from India, if she knew who was buried in Grant’s Tomb and she replied “Me??!!” which caught everyone by surprise. He was trying to ask her an easy question and she still missed it. Another easy question was “What color is the White House?” Groucho was one of the best ad-libbers in show business and his ability to ad lib is what made this show so much fun.

Groucho was the very first guest on Johnny Carson’s Tonight show in 1962.

Some of Groucho’s quotes:

Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?

While shooting elephants in Africa, I found the tusks very difficult to remove. But in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa…

The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.

Even more quotes from Groucho:

The last years for Groucho were not happy ones, as his caretaker Erin Fleming treated him harshly, which is best described in this Wikipedia article:

Relationship with Groucho Marx

Fleming’s influence on Marx was controversial. Many close to him admitted that she did much to revive his popularity; these efforts included a series of one-man shows, culminating in a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall which was released on a best-selling record album and an honorary Academy Award he received in 1974. Also, some observers felt the apparent relationship with a young starlet boosted Groucho’s ego, adding to his vitality. Others, including Marx’s son, Arthur, described her in Svengali-esque terms, accusing her of exploiting an increasingly senile and frail Marx in pursuit of her own stardom.

In the years leading up to Marx’s death in August 1977, his heirs filed several lawsuits against Fleming. One allegation leveled against Fleming was that she was determined to sell Marx’s favorite car, a Cadillac, against his wishes. When Marx protested, it was said, Fleming threatened, “I will slap you from here to Pittsburgh.” Another allegation had her dancing nude around Marx, fondling herself and asking “Don’t you wish you could have some of this?” Many people close to Marx believed Fleming was abusive towards him. Arthur wanted temporary conservatorship of his father, and took Fleming to court. According to the book Raised Eyebrows by Groucho’s secretary Steve Stoliar, Fleming had several personal problems; he stated in his book that she used drugs, had mood swings, and was given to inappropriate outbursts, both in public and in private.

The court battles dragged into the early 1980s, but judgments were eventually reached in favor of Arthur Marx, ordering Fleming to repay $472,000 to the Marx estate.

Arrest

Fleming’s mental health deteriorated in the 1990s. She was arrested once in the Los Angeles area on a weapons charge, and spent much of the decade in and out of commitments to various psychiatric facilities.[citation needed] She was also reportedly impoverished and homeless in her final years, living on the streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Death

Fleming committed suicide in 2003 by shooting herself.]

Groucho Marx died on August 19, 1977 of pneumonia. His death wasn’t given much publicity, due to the fact that Elvis Presley had died three days earlier.

Esther Williams Dies At 91

Esther Williams 1921 – 2013

Esther Williams who was best known for swimming in her movies has died at the age of 91 in her Los Angeles home today. Williams was also born in Los Angeles on August 8, 1921.The statuesque Williams was 5 foot 9 and was a teenage swimming champion, before becoming a movie star. She was an early proponent of synchronized swimming, which was featured in her films.

She appeared in her first feature film Andy Hardy’s Double Life in 1942. She became known for her swimming  movies like Bathing Beauty released in 1944 in which she co-starred with Red Skelton and was at the time the third highest grossing film for MGM behind Ben Hur and Gone With The Wind.

Her married life was spent with four husbands, including her third husband actor Fernando Lamas. She married her fourth husband Edward Bell and was still married to him upon her death. She was the grandstepmother of Shayne and A.J. Lamas and stepmother of Lorenzo Lamas.

World War II prevented Williams from competing in the 1940 and 1944 Olympics as a swimmer. IMDB.com list this as one of the quotes attributed to Williams: ” All they ever did for me at MGM was change my leading man and the water in my pool. ”

She appeared in her last movie Magic Mountain in 1963 with Fernando Lamas, who would marry her six years later in 1969.

New York Times has an extensive obituary for Esther Williams:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/movies/esther-williams-who-swam-to-movie-fame-dies-at-91.html?_r=0

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show first appeared on ABC television network, on September 24, 1958 and would air its last show on March 19,1966.

Donna Reed who was Donna Stone on the Donna Reed Show was born Donnabelle Mullenger on January 27, 1921 in Denison, Iowa.
Carl Betz who portrayed Dr. Alex Stone on the Donna Reed Show was born March 9, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Paul Petersen was born on September 23, 1945 in Glendale, California and was seen as Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show.
Shelley Fabares was born as Michele Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944 and portrayed Mary Stone on the Donna Reed Show.

The Donna Reed Show hasn’t received the recognition it deserved over the years. I have not heard of it being shown on the schedule of any television network. It was one of the better known situation comedies, at the time but with time has faded into oblivion, for the most part since its last show 47 years ago.

The show made recording stars of Shelley Fabares who sang the million selling “Johnny Angel” and Paul Petersen who sang “She Can’t Find Her Keys”.

Donna Reed tired of making the shows, so the show ended after 275 episodes in 1966. She appeared as Miss Ellie in 24 episodes of Dallas from 1984-1985 and died on January 14, 1986 in Beverly Hills, California from pancreatic cancer.

Carl Betz went on to star in Judd For The Defense from 1967-1969 and appeared on television and in the movies through 1977, before dying of cancer on January 18, 1978 in Los Angeles, California.

Paul Petersen has been very active in television and movies, since the Donna Reed Show ended and he appeared in eight episodes of Matt Houston in different roles. He is currently filming the movie Executive Ranks.

Petersen is well-known for his work with former child stars, who had problems adapting to life after stardom. The death of Rusty Hamer of Make Room For Daddy fame. Hamer committed suicide 10 miles from where I am writing this, when he shot himself in Deridder, Louisiana at the age of 42.

It was all the motivation that Petersen needed to strive to help child stars, who couldn’t cope in the real world.

Petersen will be 68 in September.

Shelley Fabares is now 69 and acted in three Elvis Presley movies, Girl Happy in 1965, Spinout in 1966 and Clambake in 1967.

She was the co-star of the Brian Keith Show and appeared in all 47 episodes from 1972-1974. Fabares also appeared in 27 episodes of One Day At A Time from 1978-1984.

Her most successful role after the Donna Reed Show was her run on Coach from 1989-1997, when she portrayed Christine Armstrong in all 199 episodes.

The last movie Fabares appeared in was Playing To Win: A Moment of Truth a 1998 TV movie and she has done voice work mostly and has not been active in the last seven years.

Crazyabouttv.com lists all 275 episodes in the series:

http://www.crazyabouttv.com/donnareedshow.html

This is a list of Donna Reed shows available for viewing at youtube.com:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=donna+reed+show&oq=donna+reed+show&gs_l=youtube.3..0l10.43.2722.0.3248.13.10.0.0.0.0.712.1863.1j1j0j1j0j1j1.5.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.O_a5IEKYBPk

Annette Funicello Dies At 70

Annette Funicello 1942-2013

Annette Funicello  died in a Bakersfield, California hospital today at the age of 70. She had suffered from multiple sclerosis for the last 26 years.Her death was caused by complications from multiple sclerosis.

She could longer walk in 2004 and lost her speech in 2009.

Her last movie or television appearance was in Back To Beach film, which was released in 1987.

Longtime fans will remember her as Annette from the Mickey Mouse Club, which debuted in 1955. She starred in several beach movies with Frankie Avalon from Beach Party in 1963 till they co-starred on Back to the Beach 24 years later.

Annette recorded several albums and one of her songs Tall Paul peaked at No.7 on the Billboard charts. She recorded singles from 1958-1983.

I can remember watching Annette on Mickey Mouse Club many years ago and then saw many of her beach movies over the years.

Her husband Glen Holt survives her along with three children, from her first husband Jack Gilardi.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-et-st-mickey-mouse-club-star-annette-funicello-dies-at-70-20130408,0,5659102.story

Net Worth of Petula Clark, Fabian, Prince Jackson, Connie Francis and Gordon Lightfoot

Petula Clark – $10 Million

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 – $25 Million

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 – $100 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.

Connie Francis – $25 Million

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.

Gordon Lightfoot in 1967 – $30 Million

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:

  • All Songs Written By Gordon Lightfoot

Can’t Place The Name: Henry “Bomber” Kulky

Henry “Bomber” Kulky 1911 – 1965

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.

http://www.vttbots.com/kulky_bio.html

Memories of a Lifetime: 1986-1990

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.

Michael J. Pollard: Face You Never Forget

Michael J. Pollard may not be a household name, but anyone that ever saw him in a film or television show instantly will recognize his face.

He always reminded me of a kid that had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and his face said that he knew no excuse to extricate himself from the situation.

Pollard was born Michael John Pollack Jr. in Passaic New Jersey on May 30, 1939.  He has been acting since 1959 and is still active 53 years later in 2012.

He was married to Beth Howland, who television fans will remember her playing Vera on the Alice situation comedy. They were married from 1961-1969.

Since Pollard was only 5′ 6″ he had to play youthful roles into his 20’s.

One of the most hilarious shows I have seen him in is the April 30,1962 episode of Andy Griffith, when he played Barney Fife’s cousin Virgil who could do nothing right. He was 22 when this episode was filmed.

For more information on that episode:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0512464/

Fate intervened when he was cast as Jerome Krebs the weird cousin of Maynard G. Krebs on the Dobie Gillis Show, portrayed by Bob Denver, when Denver was going to be drafted in the Army. However, Denver soon returned when he was classified 4-F, which resulted in the dismissal of Pollard from the series.

Once again fate handed Pollard more bad news, when after starring as Hugo Peabody in the Broadway version of Bye Bye Birdie the role was given to Bobby Rydell, when the role was changed to require a singer.

Pollard played a 14-year-old despite being 27 in a Star Trek episode, when he played Jahn in the “Miri” episode.

He played C.J. Moss in the Bonnie and Clyde film in 1967 and would receive an Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Three years later he starred in Little Fauss and Big Halsey with Robert Redford. Another memorable role was when he played the homeless man who thought Bill Murray was Richard Burton in the 1988 film Scrooged.

Michael J. Pollard Picture

This more recent photo of Pollard shows he is the same Michael J. Pollard, just a little older. He is still very busy at 73 having released Sunburnt Angels in 2011, completed The Woods this year and is filming The Next Cassavetes presently.

Even though Pollard is not that well-known, actor Michael J. Fox inserted the J in the middle of his name out of respect to Michael J. Pollard.

He made his first television appearance in 1959 appearing in the DuPont Show of the Month in the “Human Comedy” episode. He made his film debut the same year in It Happened To Jane but was uncredited.

This list compiled by the Internet Movie Database shows that Pollard has been a prolific actor for many years and his resume will bring back memories of the television shows we grew up with and a few of the movies we remember seeing him in.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0689488/

Pollard will probably always be known as the man, who has a familiar face but very few will be able to remember his name.

James Dean: Still Remembered 57 Years After His Death

James Dean
1931- 1955

James Byron Dean was born on February 8, 1931 in Marion Indiana. His father moved the family to California, but he sent James to live with an aunt and uncle in Indiana, when his mother died.

Dean appeared in five movies from 1951-1952, but they were all uncredited appearances. Meanwhile, he was appearing in many television series and in live theater television productions.

He also appeared in live drama productions on television, including I’m A Fool which was shown on GE Theater. The production also starred Natalie Wood, when it was shown on November 14, 1954.

ImAFoolgeTheater

East of Eden

Dean’s next movie East of Eden would be released in April of 1955.  Dean who appearing in his first starring role as Cal Trask would be nominated, for Best Actor Award for his role. He was nominated posthumously, becoming the first actor ever nominated after his death.

James Dean and Julie Harris in a scene from East of Eden:

James Dean refused to attend the premiere of East of Eden, which almost caused him, to lose his lead role in Rebel Without a Cause. Dean beat out Paul Newman for the role of Cal Trask, when they both were in the same scene, during the screen test.

East of Eden was the only one of Dean’s best known movies to be released before his death.

Rebel Without a Cause

Later in 1955, Dean and Wood would be paired again in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. This movie made a huge impression on me, when I saw it on television. I can still remember the planetarium scene in the movie.

This first clip from Rebel Without a Cause shows James Dean and Natalie Wood:

Romantic scene with James and Natalie:

Natalie Wood is the starter for a chicken race between James Dean and the villain:

James Dean is remembered for his role in Rebel Without a Cause, but Natalie Wood would be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Judy, while Sal Mineo would be nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Plato.

Some interesting trivia about the movie: Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) had submitted a script considered for the movie, but was rejected. Jayne Mansfield and Debbie Reynolds were both considered for the Natalie Wood role of Judy.

The three stars of the movie all met tragic deaths, with James Dean dying in a car accident, Natalie Wood dying in a drowning accident, which is still being investigated by the Los Angeles police and Sal Mineo who was stabbed to death. The policeman (Edward Platt) who knocks down Dean in the police station scene, would take his own life in later years. Platt is best remembered for his role as Control Chief on Get Smart television series.

Giant

James Dean would be nominated for Best Leading Actor Oscar posthumously, for his role as Jett Rink in Giant, while Rock Hudson also was nominated for Best Leading Actor. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, but only director George Stevens won an Oscar for Best Director.

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor seen in a scene from Giant.

James telling Rock Hudson’s character and the others that he just struck oil:

Nick Adams provided the voice for Dean in some lines, due to Dean dying before production ended. Hudson had been given a choice, between Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor and chose Taylor.

Giant was the highest grossing movie for Warner Bros.  until Superman was released. Sal Mineo who had appeared in Rebel Without a Cause was also cast in Giant.

Death

Dean was forbidden to race during the filming of Giant. He had been a successful car racer at the Palm Springs Road Races and had won some races and had placed in the top two in some other races.

He was eager to impress actor Alex Guinness with his new car, a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder and showed the famous actor his car. Guinness was not impressed and made this prophetic statement and told Dean  “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Dean was dead seven days later after having been hit in a head-on collision.

This is all that remained of James Dean’s Porsche after the September 30, 1955 accident that ended his life at the age of 24.

September 30, 1955 started off as a normal day for Dean, as he planned to put his Porsche on a trailer on way to racetrack, but his mechanic Walter Wutherich thought it would be better for Dean to drive it to Salinas, California, so he could get used to being in the driver’s seat. Dean was stopped at 3:30 PM PDT for speeding, since he had been driving 65 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

It was at approximately 5:45 PDT that Dean noticed a 1950 Ford Custom coupe coming toward him at a high rate of speed. He tried to maneuver his Porsche to avoid a direct hit, when the driver Donald Turnupseed crossed the middle line, causing him to hit Dean’s car head-on.

Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at Pablo Robles Memorial Hospital, which was 28 miles from the crash scene. Surprisingly Turnupseed only suffered facial bruises and a bloodied nose from the accident. He was well enough to walk and hitch-hike on his way to Tulare, California.

Legacy

James Dean’s death at the age of 24 raised a lot of questions. Would he have went on to become one of the greatest actors in Hollywood history? We will never know the answer to that question.

What we do know is that is that from 1951-1955 he left behind memories of him being on Broadway, on television and in the movies. His most memorable movies were released in 1955 and 1956, when Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant were released.

Many actors never are nominated for an Academy Award in their entire career, yet Dean was nominated twice for two of the three movies he appeared in over a two-year span.

Rebel Without a Cause best exemplified for me the James Dean I remember, as a troubled youth in that movie, that couldn’t find happiness in a troubled world.

Ernest Borgnine Dies at 95

Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012

Ernest Borgnine has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95 due to renal failure. He was born as Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His wife of 39 years Tovah survived him. Borgnine served in the U.S. Navy from 1935-1945. His mom talked him into pursuing an acting career and he appeared as a male nurse in Harvey on Broadway in 1951.

Ernest Borgnine as seen in a scene in From Here To Eternity.

Two years later Borgnine appeared in the movie From Here To Eternity in 1953 as Sgt. Fatso Judson. Borgnine had appeared in three movies in 1951, including China Corsair, The Whistle At Eaton Falls and The Mob.

He also made his television debut in 1951 in Captain Video and His Video Rangers. He appeared in many television programs including two episodes of Waterfront  in 1954.

Burt Lancaster introduces this trailer for the movie Marty that won Ernest Borgnine an
Academy Award.

Borgnine’s twelfth movie Marty would win him a Best Actor Oscar defeating much better known actors in James Cagney, James Dean, Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy.  Marty was only one of six movies that Borgnine would make in 1955.

1956-1961 would be busy years for Borgnine as the free-lanced in television, while making movies on the side. Then he won the starring role in the television series McHale’s Navy. The show would run from 1962-1966 and the show’s popularity caused his marriage to Broadway star Ethel Merman to last only 32 days, since she couldn’t handle seeing him receive the adulation of the fans. She devoted a chapter of her life story, to her marriage to Borgnine which consisted of one blank page.

After McHale’s Navy ended he appeared in an episode of three different television shows, then acted in 12 consecutive movies before appearing in a TV movie The Trackers.

Ernest Borgnine describes his experiences filming Poseidon Adventure.

Borgnine appeared in the blockbuster Poseidon Adventure in 1972. Airwolf would be his next television series that lasted more than a few episodes, with Borgnine appearing in 55 episodes from 1984-1986.

He mostly acted in movies till he appeared in Single Guy which ran from 1995-1997.

One constant of Borgnine’s career was that he made a lot of movies from his first one in 1951 to his last one The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, which was completed this year and is in post-production. His movie career spanned 61 years from his first movie to his last one.

This list of his movie and television appearances shows just how a prolific an actor, that Ernest Borgnine was:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000308/

One thing about Ernest Borgnine that most fans don’t know is that he was the first center square in the history of the  Hollywood Squares television program.

Other interesting facts about Ernest Borgnine:

He is only actor to appear in all four Dirty Dozen movies.

Lives in same home that he bought in 1965, living there till his death 47 years later.

Earned only $5,000 for his role in Marty, which won him the Academy Award.

His wife Tovah who survived him was 25 years younger than Borgnine.

Just a few quotes from Ernest Borgnine at imdb.com

[on his marriage to Ethel Merman]: Biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was marrying Rosemary Clooney.

[on why he wanted to star in “McHale’s Navy” (1962)]: Theater business was disappearing and so were night clubs, which I don’t like to play anyway because they keep me up too late. There were TV guest shots, but how many times can you play Ed Sullivan? My biggest pay was from industrial shows, but they don’t come along too often.

Where can we find the great actors we had yesteryear, guys like Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper and Edward G. Robinson? You know, I was talking to Lee Marvin the other day and we agreed that we were the last of a breed. We’re the last who had the opportunity of working with these fine actors. I feel very humble. It makes me feel that I’ve got to try that bit harder.

Ernest Borgnine may have only won one Academy Award, but that doesn’t mean none of his other movies haven’t entertained theater goers, who saw his movies for the last 61 years and enjoyed watching McHale’s Navy on television.

His New York Times obituary tells more about the life of Ernest Borgnine:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/movies/ernest-borgnine-tough-but-tender-actor-is-dead-at-95.html

Andy Griffith Before and After Andy Griffith Show

The late Andy Griffith in a scene from No Time For Sergeants.

 

The first time I heard of Andy Griffith was when he appeared in the movie No Time For Sergeants. He played Will Stockdale a mountain boy, who is drafted into the U.S. Army. He had already played the part in the Broadway play by the same name three years, before the 1958 movie was released.

The funniest scene of the movie to me was when he was named PLO (Permanent Latrine Orderly). He rigged the toilet seats to stand up all at once, which shocked the inspecting officer to say the least. However, this scene of him being tested by a corporal for manual dexterity may be even funnier. Don Knotts plays the corporal, who is utterly frustrated by the way Andy’s character Will Stockdale puts the two links together. Don Knotts appears at about the 1:15 mark.

I hadn’t even known Andy Griffith had appeared in A Face in the Crowd in 1957, in a dramatic role unlike the Andy Griffith I had known in No Time For Sergeants and on the Andy Griffith show.

Andy received top billing in the movie portraying an Arkansas hobo Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes who becomes rich overnight. This is a scene from A Face In The Crowd:

Made Television Debut On U.S. Steel Hour

Andy had made his television debut on the U.S. Steel Hour when he played Will Stockdale on television. He played the role on Broadway, on television and in the movies, which probably has not been done very often, by any actor in the same role.

He also made the movie Onionhead in 1958, so it was a very busy year for him.

Danny Thomas Show Role As Sheriff

Andy got a big break when he appeared on a Danny Thomas episode in 1960, where Danny is given a ticket, by a small-town sheriff.  Andy is perplexed when he finds out that Andy is not only the sheriff, but also the justice of the peace.

The Danny Thomas episode led to the formation of the Andy Griffith show which was shown that same year, on the CBS television network.  249 episodes later the Andy Griffith show would complete its run.

He appeared on Mayberry RFD for two years, then had two series fail in short order, when Headmaster lasted 13 episodes in 1970, followed by the New Andy Griffith show which lasted only 10 episodes. He didn’t return to another series until 1979 when Salvage One only last 19 episodes. He had appeared in three series since leaving Mayberry RFD, but only 42 shows were made of those three series combined.

Seven years later Andy tried again for a hit series and he struck gold with Matlock which ran from 1986-1995. He appeared in various television series and movies till he made his last acting appearance in Play the Game in 2009 at the age of 83.

Andy non only was an actor, but recorded gospel songs. This is Andy singing How Great Thou Art:

I looked at Andy Griffith and saw a role model, for the right way to live life.

My wife and daughter surprised me in 2006, when we went to Mt. Airy, N.C. to see Andy’s boyhood home. I didn’t know we were going to stay there that night and it was the surprise of my life, when I found out we were actually spending the night there. Hampton Inn rents out the home to tourists and it was something I will never forget. I even played baseball with my grandson in Andy’s backyard.

The late Andy Griffith’s boyhood home in Mt. Airy, NC.

Andy had also made some comedy records early in his career. I had the record that has him giving his impression of seeing his first football game. He said in his monologue that 5 or 6 convicts were running up and down the field blowing whistles.  The game was played in a cow pasture and Andy concludes saying that the object of the game must be to keep from being knocked down or stepping in something.

The only remaining actors still alive from Andy Griffith are Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors and Betty “Thelma Lou” Lynn.

I was 15 when the first Andy Griffith show was televised in 1960 and was 23 when the last show aired, so have been watching Andy Griffith during the first eight original years and in 44 years of re-runs.

Andy, Thanks for the memories and RIP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Griffith Dies At 86 On Roanoke Island, North Carolina

Andy Griffith 1926-2012

Andy Griffith died this morning at his home on Roanoke Island, North Carolina at the age of 86.

Death has taken another star of the Andy Griffith Show. George Lindsey who portrayed Goober on the show had passed away on May 6.

Andy Griffith’s character Andy Taylor was one of the most beloved characters on television. The show revolved around him and he saw early in the show’s run, that it would be better to play the straight man for off the wall characters like Barney Fife played by Don Knotts, Gomer Pyle who was portrayed by Jim Nabors, Otis Campbell being portrayed by Hal Smith and the aforementioned George Lindsey as Goober.

Life Lessons Taught

Andy taught his son Opie Taylor well, trying to bring him up without a mother in the home. Many shows dwelt on Andy telling Opie, how to deal with life’s problems the right way.

Whatever problem Opie may have been experiencing Andy always had the right solution , to any problem that might arise. This video from the show in which Opie killed a bird with a slingshot is an excellent example of  how Andy taught his son to do the right thing.

 

The interplay between Andy and Barney Fife was a huge part, of the success of the show. Don Knotts suggested that the show needed a deputy and that move guaranteed the success of the show. Andy asks Barney about the Emancipation Proclamation, which shows how Andy could rile up Barney.

 

When Don Knotts left the show after five years, Andy proved he could still draw the fans. as the show’s ratings stayed strong, after the departure of Knotts.

 

I can remember watching Andy Griffith and Don Knotts in No Time For Sergeants movie, many years ago and we watched the movie three times in a row, since that was allowed in the 50’s.

We have lost an American icon in Andy Griffith, one day before the July 4th holiday. Andy Griffith represented everything, that is great about America. He leaves a rich legacy behind of television shows and movies, in which he appeared.

Andy Griffith will be missed.

 

The New York Times obituary for Andy Griffith:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/arts/television/andy-griffith-actor-dies-at-86.html?pagewanted=all

 

Schofield Barracks Hawaii: Home From June 1963-January 1966

The Tropic Lightning patch represents the 25th Infantry Division and I wore that patch proudly from June of 1963 to May of 1966, when honorably discharged from the Army.

I had re-enlisted in the regular Army in May of 1963, after having served six months of active duty with the Army Reserve. Left Alexandria, Louisiana on a bus in October of 1962, headed for Leesville, Louisiana and eventually the final destination of Fort Polk, Louisiana.

One of the other recruits on the bus made a big mistake right off, after arriving at Fort Polk. He found out that yelling nutbrain at a sergeant, from a second story window was not acceptable behavior. That sergeant let him know in no uncertain terms, that that kind of behavior would not be tolerated from a soldier in the United States Army.

We went from the brutal October heat of Fort Polk, to  freezing temperatures, while on bivouac in December during basic training. Without giving the gruesome details of basic training, will move ahead to finishing basic and going home for Christmas.

After Christmas I boarded a Missouri Pacific train in Alexandria, Louisiana for Indianapolis, Indiana and the ultimate destination of Fort Benjamin Harrison, where the Adjustant General’s School was located.

When the train rolled into St. Louis, it was snowing and snow covered the ground. It was amazing to see snow for a 18 year-old kid who seldom saw snow in Louisiana. Later on the train arrived in Indianapolis and I took a taxi to the base. The ground was covered with several inches of snow, when I arrived.

Learned that winter how brutal Indiana winters could be and even had a case of frostbite, while walking to a movie on base one night. School went well and graduated in April of 1963.

After returning home and attending a few Army Reserve meetings, decided I would rather serve a full three-year enlistment, rather than go to Army Reserve meetings for several years.

So in May of 1963 I re-enlisted for three years. I requested to be stationed in Germany or Hawaii and received orders for Hawaii. Boarded a plane for San Francisco and was helicoptered to the Oakland Army Terminal, where I would stay about eight days.

Finally we boarded a MATS plane for Hawaii and if I remember correctly it took nine hours to make the flight to Hawaii. We headed to Schofield Barracks, after leaving the plane and wish I could remember my first impression after arriving there, but that was 49 years ago and can’t recall now.

One of the things I do remember about Schofield Barracks were the quads, in which the soldiers were housed. The doors were left open at night, so each cot had a mosquito net to prevent mosquitoes, from ruining a night of sleep. James Jones was stationed at Schofield Barracks and when his book From Here To Eternity became a movie, scenes were filmed at Quad C of Schofield Barracks.

This photo of a quad where the soldiers stayed reminds me of the quad, where I lived for about two and-a-half years at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Conroy Bowl an outdoor area holds many memories for me 49 years later, after seeing the Beach Boys in my first concert there. Saw the Christmas show with Hollywood entertainers, such as Julie Newmar and Stefanie Powers. It was a bittersweet experience though, hearing them sing Christmas songs while knowing I would be in Hawaii that Christmas.

I can remember they held a Battle of the Bands at Conroy Bowl and band after band played Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen. I was sick of that song by the end of the night.

Another highlight was Sue Thompson, known for Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry and Big Daddy’s Alabamy Bound shaking my hand, while singing the classic ballad You Belong To Me. A reminder of how long ago this was hit me, when I saw that she will be 86 on July 19.

It would be 16 months after arriving, before I would make my first trip home to Louisiana in October of 1964.

One of my favorite concerts at Conroy Bowl was when the Beach Boys entertained there, at the height of their popularity in the 60’s. Johnny Cash also appeared there, but seemed to be slurring his words, while singing and may have been still under the influence of drugs at this time in his life.

Several years before my arrival in Hawaii, Elvis Presley appeared in concert there in his last concert appearance for many years, before being drafted. It was over ten years before he would appear in concert again, after completing the filming of over 30 movies.

This website owned by Scotty Moore, who was with Elvis in the early days, shows many photos of Elvis at the Conroy Bowl. The website also tells how General John Schofield, who was a Union General in the Civil War foresaw the need, for the use of the Hawaiian Islands as a base to protect American interests. That was in 1872 which was 69 years before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

http://scottymoore.net/conroybowl.html

Visiting the Arizona Memorial was one of the most memorable events while serving in at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and will never forget reading the names of those who had died on the Arizona. Oil was still coming up from the Arizona in 1963.
A night-time view of Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head seen in the background.
Spent many a weekend day at Waianae beach looking across the ocean and knowing California was on the other side while listening to songs like Surfer Girl.

I heard a lot of Hawaiian music during my time in Hawaii and these are some of the songs I remember best:

Beyond the Reef, one of my favorite Hawaiian songs being played on a lap steel guitar.

Hawaiian girls dancing to My Little Grass Shack

Mele Kalikamaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you.

Hawaii is usually thought of as a tropical paradise, but I found out different, when sent to the Big Island (Hilo) on temporary duty. I was assigned to a post office at the Pohakuloa Training Area that was at a high elevation. We could see snow capped mountains from the post office.

Snow can be seen atop the Mauna Kea Mountain on the Island of Hilo.

All good things come to an end and my paid vacation to the tropical paradise of Hawaii came to a screeching halt when we received word, that our postal unit was being sent to Vietnam.

This photo was taken the same day that we boarded the USNS General Walker to Vietnam on a voyage which would take 14 days traveling 500 miles a day, before we disembarked in Vietnam.

I didn’t know the above photo even existed until today and was shocked to see it was a photo, of the 25th Infantry Division troops boarding the USNS General Walker, the same day that we boarded it.

Once the ship was on the way to Vietnam, I couldn’t help but wonder how many aboard that ship would never make it back home alive. We had too much time to think on the long ride to Vietnam, about what fate held for us once we left the ship in Vietnam.

We left one tropical paradise behind to go to another tropical paradise, that was a country 7,000 miles from Hawaii, in a country which offered only danger from a ruthless enemy, as we disembarked from the ship. I can remember how it took awhile to get used to being on land again, after two weeks of drifting across the ocean.

I can remember the stifling heat of Vietnam and how I drank several Coca-Colas to keep from being dehydrated, almost immediately after leaving the ship.

Memories of Hawaii

Hawaii was a distant memory, but 49 years later I think of the Hawaiian sunsets, the Hawaiian music and the musicians using their steel guitars to play songs like Beyond the Reef  and My Little Grass Shack.

I can remember going to the service club and being entertained by various entertainers including the cowboy star of many westerns Jimmy Wakely.

I can remember like yesterday the beautiful sunsets on Waikiki Beach….the Service Club personnel taking on tourist excursions around the island seeing various attractions, that we may not have seen otherwise….the pecan twirls out of the vending machine at the service club….seeing the concerts at Conroy Bowl….the palm trees on the grounds of Schofield Barracks….working at the USARHAW post office and seeing the pro basketball player Terry Dischinger of Purdue and Detroit Pistons fame, who was working in the chemical department….working with the Hawaiians at the post office and how they freaked out when the temperature dipped to 59 degrees one day and showed up for work wearing jackets….remembering the day that JFK was assassinated, that I was substitute company mail clerk that day and listening to the news flash on the radio. I was the first to tell the company commander the news….also remember just missing seeing Lee Harvey Oswald shot by Jack Ruby on the television in the day room.

I also remember watching Shindig on my portable television seeing the musical greats of that era….spending Thanksgiving with Sgt. William Brannon and his family and wondering all these years, what happened to him after he left the Army….telling short-timers who had only a few days left, that I was going to be out soon myself….in 1,096 days….seeing the buildings at one of the airbases still showing damage from being hit during Pearl Harbor….meeting General Frederick Weyand, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division,  who was not happy with the direction of the war in Vietnam when he made this statement:

General Weyand, then commander of III Corps in Vietnam, was the unidentified high-ranking officer, who told Apple and Fromson (reporting the same story for CBS) that “I’ve destroyed a single division three times . . . I’ve chased main-force units all over the country and the impact was zilch. 


I had often thought the war was not being fought conventionally. In past wars our military had swept across countries, instead of seeming to be going around in circles in Vietnam. However, that is just my opinion and others with more knowledge may be able to address that situation with more clarity.

Sorry from straying from the Hawaiian theme, but the encounter with General Weyand reminded me of the Vietnam situation.

I may never return to Hawaii again, because of the extremely high cost of being a tourist there, but it may be better that way, so I can remember it the way it was as those two years and eight months there were one of the happiest times of my life.  I almost felt guilty being paid there, since it was such easy duty.

Hawaii….Thanks for the memories.

Jackie Gleason: From Pool Hustler To Smokey and the Bandit

Jackie Gleason was best known for portraying Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners but also appeared on the big screen from 1941-1986.

Jackie Gleason grew up in Brooklyn, New York and didn’t have much of a childhood, with his father abandoning the family, when Gleason was eight years old. His mother died when he was 16. His brother Clemence had died when he was three, so Jackie was an only child during most of his childhood.

Behind the counter it's Jackie Gleason
Jackie Gleason as he appeared in Larceny Inc. movie in 1942 at the age of 26.

Gleason’s first foray into the movies lasted only two years, but he appeared in nine movies in those two years, including Orchestra Wives and Larceny, Inc. Then he performed in nightclubs and appeared in some Broadway plays till he received his first television starring role in Life of Riley, portraying the title character. He was not really suited well for the role and it was cancelled, but revived when William Bendix, the voice of Riley on radio became the star of the show.

Jackie Gleason Orchestra Formed

Jackie Gleason saw there was a place for romantic music and formed the Jackie Gleason Orchestra. I have read that there was never an actual traveling Jackie Gleason Orchestra but this article proves that assumption is incorrect, since this review of a performance with Gleason proves they did travel to different venues. Music showed there was a serious side to Jackie Gleason. I was surprised to read that Gleason actually was conducting the orchestra. Bobby Hackett is the one playing the trumpet solos on most, if not all of his albums.

http://www.bigbandsandbignames.com/gleason.html

Music For Lovers, the debut album for the orchestra was a tremendous hit and showed their was a market for romantic music:

Gleason’s first album, Music for Lovers Only, still holds the record for the album staying the longest in the Billboard Top Ten Charts (153 weeks), and his first ten albums all sold over one million copies.[19]

I have his Best of Jackie Gleason and His Orchestra album and it includes these songs:

http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1015597/a/Best+of+Jackie+Gleason.htm

The now defunct Dumont Television network hired Gleason as summer host of Cavalcade of Stars. He handled the hosting duties so well, that he was named permanent host. He introduced his Ralph Kramden character during the series and the sketches would evolve into The Honeymooners in 1955.

Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows in a scene from The Honeymooners television series 1955-1956.

There is no doubt that The Honeymooners television series is what made Jackie Gleason a household word. The show centered around his character Ralph Kramden and the show was clearly focused on whatever hare-brained scheme, that he was planning at the time.

The Jackie Gleason Show was telecast from 1952-1957 and then revived again to run from 1966-1970. In between he also hosted the Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine from 1962-1966.

You’re In The Picture Bombs

Jackie Gleason did have one colossal failure, when he was the host of a new game show named You’re In The Picture in 1961. This article details the failure of the show the first week and how Gleason came back the second week with a new format:

http://www.tvparty.com/picture.html

1961 would see Gleason also have one of his biggest triumphs on the big screen in The Hustler. He played Minnesota Fats the pool hustler and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor but did not win. It was an awesome achievement, considering that he hadn’t appeared in a movie, since appearing in Desert Hawk in 1950.

He is seen with Paul Newman in this pool room scene from The Hustler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TC3kqFUmqQ

The next year Gleason would return in Gigot, in which he played a mute and would be nominated for a Golden Globes Award as best actor. Gleason wrote the screenplay, starred and wrote the music for Gigot. Gleason was the only recognizable name in the entire cast of this movie.  He is seen in this clip from Gigot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la5tyq9gblk

Gleason also appeared in Requiem For A Heavyweight in 1962. He acted well in the movie, but failed to garner any nominations or awards, for his performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kM1mY86Mc

He appeared in Papa’s Delicate Condition and Soldier in the Rain in 1963 and wouldn’t appear in another movie, till he appeared in Skidoo in 1968. It is strange that he appeared in so many successful movies, than stopped his movie career for the next five years. He could be that filming his American Scene Magazine television show and appearing in movies was too much for him.

Next he appeared in How To Commit Marriage and Don’t Drink The Water in 1969, then took an eight year hiatus from making movies till 1977.  He appeared in Mr. Billion and Smokey and the Bandit in 1977.  I was going to include some clips of Gleason portraying Sheriff Buford T. Justice, but the dialogue was filled with so much bad language, that I decided not to use it, in case some kids were to watch it. He would go on to appear in Part II and Part III of the Smokey and the Bandit movies in 1980 and 1983.

Gleason also appeared in The Toy in 1982 and The Sting II in 1983, before appearing Nothing In Common in 1986, which would be his last movie. His movie career spanned 45 years from 1941-1986.

It is ironic that Gleason only won a Tony Award in his long career for Take Me Along, while never winning a Emmy, Grammy or Academy Award.

Jackie Gleason died of cancer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 24, 1987 at the age of 71. Gleason left his mark on Broadway, in the movies, on television and music. He truly was an entertainer of the first magnitude.

His obituary from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/25/obituaries/jackie-gleason-dies-of-cancer-comedian-and-actor-was-71.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

A road sign with his famous catch phrase:

The burial place of Jackie Gleason in Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery in Miami, Florida.
Jackie Gleason kept his sense of humor in death with his famous catchphrase.

Dick Haymes: Great Singer Wed Six Times, Plagued By Alcoholism and Debt

Dick Haymes seen singing I Wish I Knew in Diamond Horseshoe (1945)

Fans of music from the 1940’s remember Dick Haymes as the singer, who never reached the name recognition of  his contemporaries, of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, but still possessed one of the best baritone voices of that era.

Haymes was born September 13, 1918 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and died in Los Angeles, California on March 28, 1980 at the age of 61 of lung cancer.

His first big break was when he was signed as the soloist for the Harry James Orchestra in the early 1940’s. He went on to sing with the big bands of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.

Next he would become a major recording star and appeared in 13 movies in the 1940’s, while also having his own radio program.

While his career was going well, he encountered marital problems in all of his six marriages, including the last one to Wendy Smith. She didn’t even attend his funeral, since she had filed for divorce before his death.

Wikipedia lists his six marriages:

Edith Harper
(1939; annulled) annulled when Haymes found out Harper was not pregnant, after Harper had told Haymes she was pregnant, causing him to marry her.
Joanne Dru
(1941-1949)
Nora Eddington
(1949-1953)
Rita Hayworth
(1953-1955)
Fran Jeffries
(1958-1965)
Wendy Smith
(1966-1980)

The six marriages produced six babies with three of them coming from his marriage with Joanne Dru.

Fran Jeffries was divorced from Haymes at the age of 28 and is 75 today and never remarried. She is famous for appearing in the movie The Pink Panther singing Meglio Stasera in the following scene.

Haymes had a serious drinking problem that plagued him for years. Then when his career took a downturn he began experiencing financial difficulties, due to his record and film contracts being canceled.

No matter how bad things were going for him, Haymes continued to possess one of the best baritone voices, ever heard in American music in songs like these:

Dick Haymes singing The Nearness of You.

Dick Haymes singing The More I See You to Betty Grable in the movie Diamond Horseshoe.

Life didn’t always treat Haymes well, but he never lost that rich, golden baritone voice, that he used for almost 40 years to entertain on radio, records, appearing with big bands and in the movies.

The world lost a great singer when Haymes died, but we can listen to his albums like this one that I have in my collection.

http://www.amazon.com/This-Is-Always-Dick-Haymes/dp/B00002MMYD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337698065&sr=8-1

Spotify users that like music from the 1940’s will find a long list of  Dick Haymes music by just typing Dick Haymes in the search box.

If there is a listing for the word Easy Listening in the encyclopedia, it should be accompanied by a photo of Dick Haymes, since he best epitomizes what a easy listening singer should sound like.

His music is the kind of music you want to listen to after having a bad day, as you forget the troubles of the day and listen to the soothing music of Dick Haymes.

Dick Haymes may be gone, but he surely is not forgotten.

Audie Murphy: Most Decorated World War II Hero

Audie Murphy 1924-1971
 
Audie Murphy who served in Europe for 27 months during World War II was awarded the Medal of Honor, plus 32 other awards by the United States and foreign countries.
 
Murphy was born June 20, 1924 in Kingston, Texas. He had to drop out of school in the fifth grade to support his family as a farm worker. He was a very good shot and said once, that if he didn’t shoot what he shot at that his family wouldn’t eat that day.
 
He tried to join the Marines, Army Air Corps and Navy, but they all said he was underweight at 110 pounds. The U.S. Army did accept him and after passing out during a basic training drill, the Army tried to send him to baker’s school, but he insisted on being assigned to an infantry unit.
 
It didn’t take long for Murphy to be promoted after shooting two Italian officers in Sicily, so he was promoted to corporal. Two months later he was promoted to sergeant after fighting his way out of a German ambush on the Italian mainland.
 
His most heroic action was when his unit only had 19 soldiers remaining out of 128 and he sent the 19 soldiers to the rear while he singlehandedly fought the Germans. Then when he ran out of ammunition, he jumped in a burning tank destroyer and starting firing on the German position. In addition, he also called in artillery strikes. Murphy then gathered the 19 remaining soldiers, as they drove the Germans from the battlefield. He had suffered a leg wound but continued fighting.  His actions in this battle won him the Medal of Honor. His Medal of Honor citation credits Murphy with killing or wounding 50 German soldiers in that one battle.
 
Murphy joined the Texas National Guard after the Korean War began, but his unit was never called into combat.
 
He was a private first class when he was part of the invasion force entering Sicily in July of 1943, but by the end of 1944 he had been promoted to corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant and second lieutenant.
 
Starred in Movies, Television
 
Murphy moved to Hollywood and after struggling at first to find movie roles, was seen in 44 movies and is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
 
He played a copy boy in his first movie Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven  in 1948 and was seen in 33 westerns. He did play himself in To Hell and Back which was based on his autobiography by the same name. He appeared as Jesse James in A Time For Dying which ironically was his last movie before his death.
 
The trailer from To Hell And Back the autobiographical movie about Audie Murphy.
 
The highlight of his television career was when he played the title character in Whispering Smith. Only 26 episodes were filmed of the series.
 
To see a complete list of his movie and television appearances:
 
 
Country Music Songwriting Career
Audie Murphy also was a country music songwriter. He was admitted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981. His most famous composition would be Shutters and Boards which is heard being sung by Jerry Wallace:
 
Jerry Wallace singing Shutters and Boards written by Audie Murphy.
 
Dies in Virginia Plane Crash
Murphy was flying in a private plane on May 28, 1971 with zero visibility, when it crashed into Brush Mountain near Catawba, Virginia. The pilot had 8,000 hours of flying time but no instrument rating.
 
He had requested before his death to have a simple headstone at Arlington National Cemetery, not wanting  the customary gold leaf surrounding the headstone for previous Medal of Honor winners.
 
Murphy was a humble man who like most war veterans who experienced combat situations, suffered post traumatic stress upon returning from the war and worked to get special compensation for veterans experiencing it.
 
It was ironic that Murphy who risked his life many times on the battlefield would die on a plane, that probably shouldn’t have even been in the air.
 
Murphy was only 45 at the time of his death, but had more life experiences than most of us, who lived many years longer.
 
It is probably safe to say that Audie Murphy is the only person to have won the Medal of  Honor, enshrined on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
 
Audie Murphy was not only the greatest American soldier who was on a battlefield, but also a humble man who never seeked to capitalize on his acts of heroism. In fact he wanted Tony Curtis to play his part in To Hell and Back.
 
We need to keep the memory of Audie Murphy alive for generations to come. He faced adversity as a child and as a soldier on the battlefield, but he overcame adversity to become America’s greatest war hero. America needs more men like Audie Murphy today.

The Band: Toured With Bob Dylan and Tiny Tim

Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson in this 1968 photo of The Band.

The Band may be the most original name for a band ever. They were referred to as the band, so they adopted the name, while touring with the legendary Bob Dylan and the not so legendary Tiny Tim.

The photo above looks like it could have been taken in the 1800’s, since this was a very scruffy looking band. They look more like an outlaw gang, than musicians in the photo.

Joined Ronnie Hawkins And The Hawks

All the members of  The Band gradually joined Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, with the exception of Levon Helm, who already a member of the Hawks backing band.

It was in 1963, when the Hawks broke up with Ronnie Hawkins, because they were going in a different musical direction. It was odd that Ronnie Hawkins found himself out of his own group, which would be come Levon Helm and the Hawks. They also recorded under the name of the Canadian Squires during this time.

Touring With Bob Dylan

The Band began touring with Bob Dylan, first with only Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, but then the entire band, would later join Dylan on the road.

By this time Dylan was trying to be more of a rocker, than a folk singer so The Band fit nicely into his plans to have an edgier sound. However some of the folk song purists were calling Dylan by the name of Judas, since they didn’t appreciate Dylan converting into a rock singer.

Made Woodstock Appearance

The Band made an appearance at Woodstock in 1969, but their appearance wasn’t shown in the movie Woodstock, due to legal ramifications.

Eric Clapton, George Harrison Influenced By The Band

The Band made a huge impact on other artists of that era, including Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Clapton was said to have wanted to join The Band. Clapton liked The Band’s Music From Big Pink album so much, that he said it changed his life.

Eric Clapton singing in The Last Waltz movie. Notice how The Band covers for Eric when his guitar strap becomes unattached. This is guitar playing at its best.

The Last Waltz Documentary

By 1976 Robbie Robertson, who apparently perceived himself the leader of The Band, decided he didn’t want to tour, any longer, so planned a huge retirement celebration for The Band on Thanksgiving Day of that year. Many of the biggest names in music were there and movie director Martin Scorsese filmed the concert.

Whether you like the music or not, the movie will bring memories flowing back ,of a long ago era, when hippies were still dominant in San Francisco, where the concert was filmed at the Winterland Ballroom. One musical memory from the night was the use of a tuba in the concert by the orchestra.

Levon Helm singing the Robbie Robertson composition The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, a song about the end of the Civil War.

Bob Dylan singing Baby Let Me Follow You Down in the voice we like to remember him by.

Levon Helm singing The Weight which was voted 41st best song on Rolling Stone’s list of Top 500 Songs.

My son Steve had told me about the Last Waltz movie being made about The Band. I really had paid no attention The Band and hadn’t heard of the movie.

Be forewarned that the language in this movie is not for kids, but the music is what really matters the most, plus the reminders of a different era.

The Eric Clapton video of him singing in Last Waltz, is only the beginning of the music from this movie.

This is Levon Helm singing Ophelia, my personal favorite from the movie.

Neil Young singing Helpless.

Neil Diamond singing Dry Your Eyes

Rick Danko singing It Makes No Difference

All the singers join in on I Shall Be Released

The Band would resurface in 1983, but without Robbie Robertson. Levon Helm feuded with Robertson who was credited as songwriter on most of their original songs, but Helm thought the songwriting was more of a team effort. Their feud prevented Helm from even attending, the group’s induction, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Helm also did not attend the night, The Band was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2008.

Richard Manuel 1943-1986

Tragic Death of Richard Manuel

Richard Manuel, the pianist/drummer for The Band had been a heavy drinker, earlier in his career, but later would suffer a relapse. He told fellow band member Garth Hudson thanks for 25 years of music, not long before hanging himself in a Orlando, Florida motel on March 4, 1986.  He was 42 at the time of his death.

Rick Danko Dies in 1999

The death of Rick Danko from drug related heart failure on December 10, 1999 signaled the end of The Band. Danko had been taking prescribed morphine since a 1968 car accident, which left him in great pain, but he was still able to sing and play the guitar for the next 31 years.

His death came in his sleep in Marbletown, N.Y. home, which ironically was close to Woodstock.

Surviving Members of The Band

Levon Helm is still singing and drumming today at the age of 71.

Levon Helm has not retired from the music business, but is still going strong and also has some acting credits:

Helm has also had a considerable career as an actor. He has appeared in the movies The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaShooter,Smooth TalkThe Right StuffThe DollmakerFeeling MinnesotaEnd of the LineIn the Electric MistFire Down BelowStaying Togetherand portrayed Loretta Lynn‘s father in the film Coal Miner’s Daughter opposite Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. – from Wikipedia

Robbie Robertson is now 68.

Robertson Writing Music For Soundtracks

Robbie Robertson 68, is still active today and has done a lot of work, with movie soundtracks. He has been active in the music business for 51 years.

Garth Hudson muscial genius of The Band is 74.

Garth Hudson Still Recording Today

Garth Hudson was the resident musical genius of   The Band who played the organ, piano, saxophone, accordion and electronic keyboards. Hudson is still active at 74. He has worked with music for movie soundtracks and has recorded five albums since 2000.

Music Chart Busts

The Band’s highest ranking single on the Billboard charts was Up on Cripple Creek which topped out at #25. Even The Weight did not sell well as it ended up at #63.

Last Waltz Movie Worth Watching

Martin Scorsese’s Last Waltz is worth watching if you haven’t seen it. It is also worth watching again, if you have seen it. It takes us back to a time a lot of us would like to forget, but also back to the music back then. There are not that many chances to see and hear a tuba being played in a band.

The street scenes shown at the first of the movie, will be especially enjoyed by those in San Francisco, who have walked those streets.

Jack Webb: From Dragnet to Adam 12 to Emergency

Jack Webb 1920-1982

Jack Webb was born on April 2, 1920 in Santa Monica, California. He died at the age of 62 on December 23, 1982 in West Hollywood California.

His father left home before Webb was born and he never knew his dad. He joined the Army Air Force but asked for a hardship discharge after not making the grade in flight training.

Acted in Old Time Radio

Webb starred in an ABC radio comedy the Jack Webb Show in 1946. He then starred in several detective themed old-time radio shows. Pat Novak For Hire, Johnny Modero, Pier 23 and Jeff Regan, Investigator which were his best known radio programs prior to Dragnet.

His big break came when Dragnet was first broadcast on radio in 1949, then would run till 1954. Webb portrayed Sgt. Joe Friday as a no-nonsense detective, who didn’t mince words.  The television version of Dragnet began televising in 1952 with Ben Alexander cast as Detective Frank Smith, concurrently with the radio version till 1954, when the radio series ended. The televised version would remain on the air till 1959. There was a radio or television version of Dragnet  being heard or seen for ten continuous years.

Webb loved jazz and starred in Pete Kelly’s Blues which on radio for less than two months, but would be the predecessor to the film version, of Pete Kelly’s Blues released in 1955. Then Pete Kelly’s Blues was also shown on television in 1959, but only 13 episodes were aired, before it was cancelled.

Dragnet also had a presence in radio, television and movies and it was successful in all three forms of media. A new television version of the original Dragnet named Dragnet 1967 ran till 1970 with Harry Morgan portraying Officer Bill Gannon.

Jack Webb grew up with severe asthma yet was a heavy smoker as can be seen by this advertisement mentioning that he smoked two packs a day. Smoking two packs a day today would cost roughly $180 a month.

Webb became so involved in production, that he wasn’t seen on the television screen often. He created Adam 12 which ran from 1968-1975 and  Ohara, U.S. Treasury which was shown from 1971-1972.

Julie London and Bobby Troup on Emergency
Julie London former wife of Jack Webb and her husband Bobby Troup on Emergency television program that aired on NBC.

Jack Webb showed he had no animosity toward his former wife Julie London, by hiring her and her husband to appear in his Emergency television program.  They appeared in but two of the 133 episodes that were aired.

Webb was married to Julie London from 1947-1953. He then married Dorothy Towne from 1955-1957, Jackie Loughery from 1958-1964. He widowed his last wife who he was married to from 1980-1982.

Jack Webb was working on a third television version of Dragnet with Kent McCord from Adam 12 lined up to be his partner, but died of a heart attack at 62.

Chief Daryl Gates of the Los Angeles Police Department retired Badge 714 after his death and Mayor Tom Bradley ordered all flags to flown at half-mast in his honor. He would be buried with a replica Badge 714.

Jack Webb’s tombstone is typical of Webb. There is no huge ornamental tombstone, but a plain tombstone, with his name and his life span.

This article written by Ben Alexander, gives us a better idea of  what the real Jack Webb was like. This paragraph tells me all I need to know about Jack Webb. I am inserting it here for those who may not have time to read the article:

Look at Victor Rodman. He had been disabled in an accident, and one of Jack’s joys about creating “Noah’s Ark” was the chance it gave him to employ Victor in a role that didn’t require walking around. Jack was thrilled with “Noah’s Ark” because it gave Victor a chance to prove what a fine actor he is. And a big reason Jack is eager to revive the show is that Victor will be working again.

http://www.badge714.com/

The Internet Movie Database biography includes some interesting trivia about Jack Webb:

Was buried with full honors befitting a LAPD detective, including a 17-gun salute.

Had just over 6,000 jazz albums in his private collection.

At the height of “Dragnet’s” popularity, people would actually call the LAPD wanting to speak to Webb’s character, Sgt. Joe Friday. The Department eventually came up with a stock answer to the large volume of calls: “Sorry, it’s Joe’s day off.”

Was a huge baseball fan, and chose badge number 714 for Sgt. Friday because it was the number of home runs Babe Ruth hit.

 

Jack Webb has created a lot of shows since Dragnet, but will always remember him, telling us what department he was working out of in the police department.

The color version of Dragnet was good, but there was something special, about the black and white version of  the 50’s. Those shows seemed to be more simple.  Who can ever forget the show, about the boy who got a rifle for Christmas and accidentally shoots his friend? This is the three-part The Big .22 Rifle For Christmas episode. Part 3 is very emotional as the father talks to his dead son, telling him what he would have received for Christmas. Then to make it even more emotional, the father of the boy killed,then gives the presents for his son,  to the boy who shot his son.

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

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl_-TNDVb7I&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–94KuSo5oM&feature=related

 

 

 

Jerry Lewis Calls American Idol Contestants “McDonald’s Wipeouts”

Jerry Lewis has lambasted American Idol contestants according to a New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

 Jerry Lewis is currently promoting an Encore documentary on his life and while promoting the upcoming special, he has expressed his concern for the state of television today.

American Idol contestants got the worst of the criticism when he made this statement:

“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And kids, they get on ‘American Idol.’ They’re all McDonald’s wipe-outs. They’ve all been dumped. They’ve worked there and now they’re doing that. And of course they all play a guitar, which takes the place of music. – Jerry Lewis

I don’t think his vitriolic statement was necessary, since the American Idol contestants work as hard, if not harder than any television star, back when Lewis was in television.

As for the guitar taking the place of music, that statement makes no sense, guitar music can be some of the best music heard today.

He has his right to his opinion, but has no right to belittle the American Idol contestants, who keep a grueling schedule during weeks of rehearsals, filming commercials and choosing the right song. Only two or three from any given year, reach the top of the music business.

One thing I agree with him is his objection to movies being seen on telephones. He mentions Lawrence of Arabia as a movie not meant to be shown on a phone with the following statement.

 “The motion picture industry now is no longer, as far as I’m concerned. And we can fix it. But it’s no longer, because they put all of their product on the phone. You’re going to put ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on that stupid (device)? That gets me crazy, pal. That gets me crazy.” – Jerry Lewis

Having never owned a smart phone, I can only imagine, what watching a movie on a phone would be like. However, it seems like a movie like Star Wars would not even be close to what it would be, if seen on a wide-screen in a theater with the huge speakers.

The 85-year-0ld Lewis seems to have lost touch with the times. I don’t know how he could expect things to be the same, as they were when he was a television and movie star, in the 50’s and 60’s.