What We Didn’t Have in 1950

1954 Admiral Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Classic Television – Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Ozzie Nelson, David Nelson, Harriet Hilliard and Ricky Nelson 

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

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

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

Ozzie Nelson and Don Defore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. B.R.Lakin – Old Time Evangelist Gone But Not Forgotten

 

Dr. Bascom Ray Lakin was born January 5, 1901 in Fort Gay, West Virginia. He was one of the last of the old-time evangelists, that didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, but told us what God wanted us to hear. He was known as a “country preacher”, but he preached at the huge Cadle Tabernacle, in Indianapolis, Indiana, that seated 10,000 and a choir loft with 1,400 seats. He received $7 a month in his first pastorate.

His mother wanted a “preacher man” and she got one with the birth of Dr. Lakin. Someone asked him once why he was born in a house, instead of in a hospital and he replied “I wanted to be close to my mother”.

 

 

 

This sermon is an excellent example of old-time preaching by Dr. Lakin.

Dr. Lakin died on March 15, 1984 at the age of 82, and was buried on the grounds of Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia and was so well-respected by Jerry Falwell, that the Religious Education building was named after Lakin.

45 of Dr. Lakin’s sermons can be listened to, or downloaded at this website.

http://gracebaptistchurchmadisonville.com/Speakers%20from%20the%20past%20CD/1%20Sermons%20by%20B.R.%20Lakin/Lakin_index.html

Dr. Lakin may have died 31 years ago, but audio and video recordings he made so many years ago make it possible, for us to listen to his preaching for years to come.

Kenny Rogers – From Houston Projects To Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers and First Edition singing Don’t Take Your Love to Town in 1972

Kenny Rogers was being interviewed by Dan Rather on The Big Interview, and it gave me a chance to learn more about Kenny Rogers. He told Rather about growing up in Houston in the projects, and that his mother only had a third grade education.

He said he didn’t realize how poor they were, till he started school and realized his family was on another rung.

Dan Rather interviewing Kenny Rogers on The Big Interview

Rogers was born Kenneth Donald “Kenny” Rogers on August 21, 1938, when the president was President Franklin Roosevelt. He had a poor, but happy childhood and his mom told him to be happy where you are, and he remembered that advice during his career.

21 of his songs have reached #1 on the record charts. It was 38 years ago in 1977, when Lucille became his first #1 country hit. Daytime Friends also went to # 1 in 1977. Love or Something Like It went to #1 in 1978, while The Gambler peaked at #2 that year.

Kenny Rogers singing his 1979 hit She Believes In Me

She Believes in Me, You Decorated My Life and Coward of the County went to #1 in 1979. The hits kept coming in 1980 with Lady going to #1. Two lesser known songs reached #1 on adult contemporary charts in 1981, but two of his biggest hits Love Will Turn You Around and Through the Years topped the adult contemporary charts in 1982.

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing Islands in the Stream

1983 would see Rogers have #1 duet hits with Sheena Easton on We’ve Got Tonight and Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton.

His  #1 hits in 1984 were Rogers singing with Kim Carnes and James Ingram on What About Me. It went to #1 on adult chart, but only to #70 on country chart. Crazy was his other #1 hit in 1984.

Morning Desire was his only song that charted in 1985 and it went to #1. Tomb of the Unknown Love was his only #1 song in 1986. Another duet this time with Ronnie Milsap on Make No Mistake, She’s Mine in 1987 was his last #1 hit in the 80’s.

Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years a great song for a 50th wedding anniversary

12 years would pass, before he had another #1 hit. It was Buy Me a Rose, which was recorded with Allison Krauss and Billy Dean in 1999. His only other #1 songs were with Dottie West on When Two World Collide in 1978 and All I Ever Need is You, which was in 1979.

Starred in The Gambler movies

Kenny Rogers starred in a series of movies about The Gambler. He also appeared in 17 other films and television shows. His last movie was a 2001 movie Longshot. His last television appearance as an actor was in How I Met Your Mother six years ago in 2009.

He made six appearances as himself in 2014 and in five of those shows he sang, or was shown singing in a clip Islands in the Stream.

Five Marriages

He talked about his five marriages and how he may have been too selfish, and was away from home too much, because of his concert schedule. He expressed concern that he might not be around too much longer, for his 10 year old identical twin sons, since he is 76 and will be 77 in August.

His current marriage with Wanda Miller will reach 18 years on June 1. He was previously married to Marianne Gordon of Hee Haw fame for 16 years.

Kenny Rogers being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers showed Dan Rather the Kenny Rogers exhibit, at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and it was an impressive exhibit. He was inducted in 2013 and he seemed to be glad that he wasn’t inducted sooner, when he might not have appreciated it as much as he does now.

He sold 10 million copies of his Greatest Hits album, which earned him the prestigious Diamond Award, for selling 10 million albums.

Rogers is currently on his Through the Years tour and is showing no signs of slowing down. He sure isn’t doing it for the money, since he is reportedly worth $250 million.

TOUR DATES

  • WINCHESTER, VA

  • March 07, 2015 7:00 p.m.
  • Patsy Cline Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • TAMPA, FL

  • March 21, 2015 5:00 p.m.
  • Busch Gardens – Gwazi Field – Food & Wine Festival
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 10, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 11, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LAS CRUCES, NM

  • April 24, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival – Downtown Las Cruces
    Through The Years World Tour
  • CHANDLER, AZ

  • April 25, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino
    Through The Years World Tour
  • ANGOLA, IN

  • May 08, 2015 7:30 p.m.
  • T. Furth Center for Performing Arts – Trine University
    Through The Years World Tour
  • GREELEY, CO

  • June 28, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Greeley Stampede
    With Special Guest Ronnie Milsap
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LANCASTER, PA

  • July 16, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • American Music Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour

 

The Kenny Rogers interview may be repeated on the AXS TV network, so check listings for the times. 

70 Years of Christmas Memories

 

This article could have been titled 62 Years of Christmas Memories, since my first memory of Christmas would be of 1952 Christmas, when we lived close to Louisiana College in PIneville,, Louisiana. My first memory is of the Christmas stockings that were not hung by the chimney with care, since we had no chimney, but they still were hung with care. I will never forget my mom staying up all night, to wrap presents and hang the stockings.

One of my favorite memories was going to S.H. Kress store in Alexandria and trying to make my money stretch enough to buy presents for everyone in the family, which consisted of mom, dad, two brothers and one sister at the time. It was fun wrapping the presents, even though my wrapping skills were rudimentary at best.

Another memory is the Christmas tree lighted up with lights. We bought our trees from the Lion’s Club, where they were sold in front of Huey P. Long Hospital on Main Street.

It was exciting to ride on the Boy’s Scouts float in the Christmas parade, when I was with the Pineville Boys Scouts.

 

I will never forget the miniature church that would be displayed every Christmas in downtown Alexandria. It was misplaced for a few years, but the last I knew it is back on display again .

City Hall lighted up for Christmas in the 1950’s.

This photo was taken from the 2013 Christmas parade in Pineville. I can remember some brutally cold nights, on the night of the Christmas parade over the years. I haven’t been to a Pineville Christmas parade for at least seven years now, but time can’t erase the memories of the ones I have seen.

The Alexandria water tower lighted up for Christmas has been another Christmas tradition for many years. It was easy to find since it could be seen from a distance.

 

Policemen Injured in Christmas Parade Accident

One Alexandria Christmas parade in 70’s had an accident, which I personally witnessed. A reserve sheriff’s deputy was talking to my mom, then said he had to get back to work. A couple of minutes later that same deputy directed a car on a side street onto the street where the parade was almost starting . However, a Alexandria policemen, on a motorcycle on the parade route was hit by the car. The policeman flew up in the air and landed on the car. He was seriously hurt and if I remember right the accident happened before the start of the parade. I will never forget the policeman going airborne, before landing on the car.

 

Annual Christmas Party at Louisiana College

It was a highlight for me every Christmas when the faculty of Louisiana College and their families would have their annual Christmas party.

 

Christmas Eve Services At Pineville Park Baptist Church

I miss the Christmas Eve services at Pineville Park Baptist Church on Christmas Eve. The lighted candles, the music and the words spoken by the pastor made it a special night, that I always looked forward to each year.

 

Christmas Lights in Pineville

It wasn’t Christmas in Pineville, until  the Christmas lights were put up during the Christmas season.

 

Family Altar On Christmas Morning

We always had our family altar, before we opened Christmas presents. My mom would read the devotional that day, from the Home Life magazine.

 

Christmas Bonuses

We would receive our Christmas bonus at the Alexandria Town Talk, for many years till Gannett bought the Town Talk and put a screeching halt to that nonsense. I was working for the Monroe Morning World in Monroe, Louisiana from 1974-1976 and will never forget the $10 Christmas bonus. It really wasn’t a $10 bonus, though since they took tax out of the $10, so the check was for $9 and a few cents left over.

 

Christmas With 8 Degree Weather

I will never forget one Christmas, when it was 8 degrees. The car wouldn’t start, when I tried to start it later that day, so I could go to work. I ended up walking the two miles, to the Town Talk and freezing in the cold wind.

 

Christmas In Hawaii

I spent three Christmases in Hawaii, while stationed at Schofield Barracks,  in 1963, 1964 and 1965, before being sent to Vietnam. I went to a USO show, that had performers singing I’ll Be Home For Christmas. It wasn’t a great song selection, since I didn’t want to be reminded, that I wouldn’t be going home that Christmas.

 

One of my favorite Christmas albums

 

Christmas Music

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the great Christmas music. O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs, with O Little Town of Bethlehem a close second.

My favorite secular Christmas songs are songs like The Christmas Song,  White Christmas, Blue Christmas, Please Come Home For Christmas and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. 

 

Bob Hope and Connie Stevens appearing in Bob Hope Christmas Show in 1970.

Andy Williams on Christmas Show

Christmas Specials On Television

The Bob Hope Christmas specials were another favorite part of Christmas. I was impressed that he missed many Christmases at home, to entertain American troops around the world. I also enjoyed the Andy Williams Christmas specials each year.

 

Old Time Radio Christmas Programs

I collect old-time radio shows and some of my favorite shows are the Christmas episodes, of shows like Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny and the Great Gildersleeve. One of my all time favorites is A Daddy for Christmas, which was heard on Family Theater.

This is the funniest show I have ever heard on old-time radio. It is the first Fred Allen radio show ever broadcast from 1932 and is now 82 years old. Best part is when a speaker gives a pep talk to the employees of the Mammoth Department Store. Fast forward through the music at the first to get to show. It can be heard on You Tube. You can be glad you weren’t around in 1932, because the music is terrible, but just fast forward through it, especially the lady that is making a futile attempt at singing. It is sad they didn’t have the technology in 1932,  to rid the show of all the horrific singing.

Funniest Christmas Show Ever

The Jack Benny Christmas program is hilarious, and the dialogue between Jack Benny and Mel Blanc shown in photo is priceless. The show is funny from start to finish.

Best Christmas Movie

It’s A Wonderful Life is the best of all the Christmas movies, but that is only my opinion and my opinion with three dollars will buy a gallon of gas, so it is not really worth that much. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are the most recognizable stars in the movie, but Frank Faylen, who portrayed the father of Dobie Gillis, in the show of the same name was a cab driver in the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Green Acres 1965-1971

Green Acres 1965-1971

First Row – Eva Gabor, Eddie Albert, Eleanor Audley

Second Row – Alvy Moore, Tom Lester, Pat Buttram

Green Acres was one of the cornier CBS country comedies of that era, but at the same time it was one of the most entertaining. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were involved in the main plot, for each episode but the comedy ensemble backing them up is what set the show apart.

Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert as Oliver and Lisa Douglas who gave up big city life to move to Green Acres.

Who can forget county agent Hank Kimball played by Alvy Moore? Then Tom Lester the farmhand who was portrayed by Tom Lester. Mr. Haney kept us entertained as the con man, who sold Oliver Douglas useless items, that didn’t work often during the life of the show.

Green Acres - 03x30 A Star Named Arnold is Born (2)

Arnold the pig studying movie script for next movie. 

Fred Ziffel played by Hank Patterson, on the show owned a pig named Arnold. It turned out that Arnold like to steal scenes, from the humans appearing the show. Arnold would be about 50 this year, if still living at the Retired Home for Animals Who Acted.

The rumor that the cast had a luau after the last episode was aired, with Arnold as the main course was completely untrue.

Mr.Haney the fast talking con man trying to pull over on Oliver. 

Eva Gabor portrayed Lisa Douglas the wife, who didn’t really want to live on the farm, but put up with it for the sake of her husband Oliver Douglas, whose dream was to own a farm. He never would have followed his dream, if he knew ahead of time that he would be dealing with a shady con man in Mr. Haney, a inept county agent in Mr. Kimball, a pig that liked to watch television and a farmhand that didn’t know a wheelbarrow from a hay wagon in Eb.

Eddie Albert revealed that he had a 10 percent interest in the show, so probably reaped a rich dividend, when the show went into reruns.

Grave marker for Alvy Moore better known as Hank Kimball on the show. 

Mr. Haney according to imdb.com based his character on Col Tom Parker, who reportedly took 51 percent of the income of Elvis Presley, with Elvis having to eke out a living on the other 49 percent.

Oliver usually wore business clothes, even when working on the farm.

Some funny quotes from the show from imdb.com:

Lisa Douglas: Why do you want to irritate your corn?

Oliver Douglas: Irrigate. It means put water on it.

Lisa Douglas: Won’t that irritate it?

 

Eustace Charleton Haney: [after learning Oliver and Lisa are going to be out-of-town for a few days] While yer away on yer trip, I thought you might like to avail yerself of Haney’s Farm Mindin’ Service.

Oliver Wendell Douglass: HANEY’S FARM MINDING SERVICE?

Eustace Charleton Haney: Yessir, at Haney’s Farm Mindin’ Service, for a nom-yew-nal fee we will move into yer house, eat yer food, drink yer likker, and turn away any unwanted relatives that might show up at yer door.

 

Oliver Douglas: Why don’t we give away this one?

Lisa Douglas: No that’s the dress I graduated from high school in.

Oliver Douglas: How about this one?

Lisa Douglas: That’s the dress I wore the first day of college.

Oliver Douglas: [holding a black, low-cut dress] What about this one?

Lisa Douglas: That’s the one I got expelled in.

 

Green Acres was a victim of the CBS purge of rural comedies, because CBS thought the shows were only attracting rural and older audiences. Just writing this article makes me want to watch one of the Green Acres shows, but not sure if it is even shown anywhere on TV today.

Sadly most of the cast is no longer with us. These are the main cast members and their birth and death years, with the alive cast members at the bottom:

Eddie Albert 1906-2005

Eva Gabor 1919-1995

Pat Buttram 1915-1994

Frank Cady 1915-2012….played Sam Drucker the grocery store owner

Alvy Moore 1921-1997

Hank Patterson 1888-1975….was 83  when show started and 87 when it ended

Sid Melton 1917-2011….portrayed Alf Monroe on the show. He also appeared in 93 episodes of Make Room For Daddy, in which he played Charley Halper. 

Mary Grace Canfield 1924-2014….was Ralph the wife of Alf on the show. She also played Gomer Pyle’s girlfriend on an episode of Andy Griffith. 

Tom Lester 1938-present….only surviving cast member of the show and is now 76 years old. 

TV Classics Hard to Find Today

 

Highway Patrol was one of many classic television shows, that are either hard to find or not on television today. The plots of the show were simple, which is unlike some shows today, that take awhile before you even figure out who the bad guy is.

Broderick Crawford 1911-1986

Broderick Crawford was perfectly cast as Chief Dan Mathews in Highway Patrol. Chief Mathews portrayed a no-nonsense cop, who was famous for saying 10-4 on is police phone. The problem today is that it is seldom seen on television today or if it is, then it is relegated to an early morning slot like 4AM. The show to me was better than a lot of detective shows being seen today. The show was on television from 1955-1959.

                                                                                                                    Bob Denver, Tuesday Weld and Dwayne Hickman in a scene from Dobie Gillis.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963) was one of my favorite shows to watch. It doesn’t seem possible, but Dwayne Hickman who portrayed Dobie is now 80 years old. 51 years have passed, since it was last seen on network television. Actors who appeared on the show and went on to greater fame included Bob Denver, Tuesday Weld, Warren Beatty and William Schallert. Frank Faylen who played Dobie’s father appeared in the Christmas classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life as a cab driver. This is another show that as far as I know can only be found in the early morning hours.

 Life of Riley 1953-1958

William Bendix on The Life of Riley was one of my favorite shows to watch. The show had already been on television a year, before we even bought our first TV set in 1954. Loved watching Bendix portraying Chester A. Riley, who was the polar opposite of Ward Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver and Jim Anderson on Father Knows Best who portrayed next to perfect fathers on television. Riley on the other hand was a stumbling, bumbling oaf, that while he had good intentions had a proclivity for being put in the worst possible predicaments. Riley was known for saying “What a revoltin’ development this is”. Sadly, as far as I know this show cannot be found anywhere,  on television today 56 years after the last show was aired.

Gomer Pyle 1964-1969

Anyone that has served in the military has encountered someone who reminded them of  Gomer Pyle at some point in their career. Jim Nabors, who left the Andy Griffith Show to portray the same character, that he had portrayed in the city of Mayberry, North Carolina. The casting director could have taken years, to cast the role of Sergeant Vince Carter, but they got it right the first time, by hiring Frank Sutton for the role. Sadly Sutton died 40 years ago in Shreveport, Louisiana when he was acting in a dinner theater.  Gomer Pyle used to also be shown in the early morning hours, but the last I knew it is not being shown on television today.

Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin

Father Knows Best 1954-1960

Father Knows Best is the first show I think of when thinking of a typical American family. They had their share of problems, but they were solved by the time the show ended 30 minutes later.  I was in the Veteran’s Hospital in Houston and the Antenna TV channel had Father Knows Best and it was fun to watch the show, and helped take my mind of the cancer surgery I had recently, even if only momentarily. This is only channel that I know of, that shows this show 54 years after the last show aired on network television.

Mannix 1967-1975

Mannix was one of my favorite detective shows on television. Mike Connors who portrayed Mannix is now 89 years old. He made his last television appearance on Two and a Half Men in 2007. I remember the show, as a show that could hold your interest. Gail Fisher portrayed his secretary Peggy Fair and was the only one on the show besides Connors, that appeared in at least 100 episodes.Fisher died 14 years ago tomorrow (December 2). This show is not seen on television today as far as I know.

George Maharis and Martin Milner in Route 66 1960-1964

I recently saw an episode of Route 66 on a streaming service and it reminded me, that I had not seen an episode of the show in the last 50 years, since it left network television 50 years ago. The episode as described at imdb.com:

S1, Ep30
16 Jun. 1961

Incident on a Bridge

Tod and Buz, in Cleveland, Ohio working as laborers on a “three-week job at a gravel yard”, stay at their Russian supervisor’s home. He has a mute daughter who has a miserable life. When a fellow Russian, whom the community has ostracized, shows his love for her tragedy follows. The two ill-fated people meet an uncertain end. Nehemiah Persoff portrays the father of the mute daughter, who is portrayed by Lois Smith. Classic television fans will notice Allan Melvin, who was later Sam the butcher on Brady Bunch and also appeared on episodes of Andy Griffith and Sgt. Bilko shows.
Jack Webb 1920-1982
Dragnet 1951-1959
I never was too enthused about the newer 1967 version of Dragnet, after having seen the original  black and white version from 1951-1959. I like color television, but still don’t mind watching black and white shows, since they let you concentrate more on the show, than the color scenery shown on a color program.
Jack Webb and Ben Alexander shown in scene from Dragnet.
I have always liked the photo of Joe Friday’s partner Frank Smith in the middle of the above photo. He seems to be falling asleep on the job and is grabbing some shuteye, while Friday does all the work and questioning. Dragnet to me was television at its best. These shows are rarely if ever seen today, since the cable networks seem to opt for the color version, with Harry Morgan of M*A*S*H fame portraying Officer Bill Gannon. I am not saying the later version was not a good show, but after you have seen the best, then you don’t care as much about later version.
Note – Anyone that knows where any of these shows can be seen today are welcome, to post that information to the comments section…Thank you. 

My Hometown: Growing Up In Pineville, Louisiana

Pineville, Louisiana is located across the Red River from Alexandria, Louisiana. It has a population of 14,555 according to the 2010 census.

Front of Alexandria Hall the main building at Louisiana College. 

Louisiana College where my father Dr. Paul R. Godfrey taught chemistry for 24 years was founded in 1906 and is now 108 years old. 

I was one year old, when our family moved to Pineville, Louisiana from West Lafayette, Indiana in 1946. Our first home was located on 110 Lawrence Boulevard if I remembered the correct house number. We later moved to 1608 Holloway Drive and then moved to 313 Burns Street in February of 1952.

We started attending College Drive Baptist Church on College Drive in Pineville in 1948. The church was originally comprised, of Army barrack buildings moved from Camp Livingston. I remember apple boxes being used as pews in the early days of the church, before the modern building shown in the photo was built. The church was founded in 1947 and is now 67 years old. I can remember driving home for supper one night and the Masters V gospel singing group had their bus in front of the church. This was when James Blackwood, Jake Hess, J.D. Sumner, Rosie Rozell and Hovie Lister comprised the Masters V. We attended College Drive for many years and I later led the music there, from 1997-2007, before we moved to Tennessee.

The home at 1608 Holloway Drive was unusual, in that our home was only separated by only a ditch, from the railroad track that ran next to us.

My first year at Pineville Elementary started in 1950 and remember walking to school, with my older brother for about a mile to school each day. I can still remember the 10 cent school lunch back then. The price has probably gone up over the years since then.

Moved To 313 Burns Street

I can remember living at 313 Burns Street. We had a cow, some sheep and chickens back then. It was like living on a farm inside the city limits.

Radio Hall of Fame disc jockey Dick Biondi once worked for KSYL in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Dick Biondi lived in the house behind us for a while, and he worked for KSYL radio station. He would later become famous, as a disc jockey in Chicago and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1998 and is now 82 years old. His main claim to fame is that he was the first disc jockey to play a Beatles song according to his Hall of Fame page. This is his Radio Hall of Fame page, which includes a very short clip of his radio program.

http://www.radiohof.org/dick_biondi.htm

 

I can remember going to see Roy Rogers dock his motorboat on the Red River and he stayed at Hotel Bentley.

Earl K. Long once gave away free chickens at a political rally at the Trailways station in Alexandria.

Faith Ford

Kelly Ripka and Faith Ford

The best nationally known person from Pineville would probably be Faith Ford. She attended Pineville High School many years after I attended there. She is best known for playing Corky on Murphy Brown television show. She also appeared in Hope and Faith.

The middle building is drugstore where we bought our prescriptions.

Veteran’s Hospital where I still go for medical services many years after this photo was taken.

Vincent Price

I can remember the time Vincent Price made an appearance at Louisiana College, with protesters carrying signs that were protesting him appearing in a liquor commercial.

This photo was taken from the Pineville side of the Red River, that was adjacent to Alexandria, Louisiana. The pedestrian walkers going across the bridge had to be careful, to see if there were any missing planks, to avoid falling into the river. I walked across the bridge for many years as I walked to job at the Alexandria Daily Town Talk. One time I was walking across the bridge to work early in the morning, when I was stopped by police and questioned by police, since a murder had just been committed at a night club in Alexandria. I convinced them I was not a murderer and they let me proceed on to work.I never saw the Red River look as blue as depicted in the photo.

I attended this school from 1950-1958 and it burned down in 1959.

I can remember finding out about the fire that night and rode my bike the mile to school. A Town Talk photographer had climbed up the fireman’s ladder, that was attached to the fire truck to get a photo looking down into the fire. I was a sophomore in high school the night of the fire. Had a lot of memories over the years at Pineville Elementary School and it was sad that the building only lasted one year after I started high school.

Summary:

68 years have passed since we first moved to Pineville in 1946. We used to ride our bikes out Highway 28, without encountering much traffic, but today Highway 28 is not the safest place to ride a bicycle, with so many businesses along the route now and many cars traverse Highway 28 today.

We left Pineville in 2007 to move to Tennessee, but it will always be home for us, since I spent most of my life here. It is the perfect size for me. Not too large and yet not too little. Pineville has a lot of businesses for a city of less than 15,000.

Maybe someday we can move back to Pineville. We do come back from time to time, for appointments at the Veteran’s Hospital. I have always been puzzled why the Veteran’s Hospital uses Alexandria as their address, when the buildings are in Pineville.

Thanks for the memories Pineville, since you will always be home to me.

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.

38 Years In Newspaper Production – The Monroe Years

Monroe News-Star 1890- Present

I started work at the Monroe Morning World in April of 1974. They also had an evening paper named the News-Star. The Morning World no longer exists as they merged with the News-Star in 1980.

The first day in the composing room was sort of a shock, since the Morning World was still using the hot metal process to produce the paper. The Town Talk had been using cold type composition since 1972, so I had to go back in time and start using hot type again.

Strike Begins

One night about a week into my employment some of the workers left and began striking. It made for a very long night that night, as we had fewer people to do the work, so it took much longer.

The Shreveport Times sent some strike breakers from their plant in Shreveport, to help take up the slack.

It was sort of scary, when I drove onto the parking lot one time, with picketers trying to block the driveway. I kept driving and they finally moved out-of-the-way.

There was no doubt that strikers were serious, when they pulled over one of the strike breakers from Shreveport on the highway, by using flashing lights. They proceeded to get him out of his vehicle and worked them over. Since I had been there only a week I was afraid some of the strikers would think I was a strike breaker  too. The Ewing family which owned both the Monroe papers and the Shreveport Times didn’t give in to the demands of the strikers and the strike ended.

Ludlow Composing Stick

Every Sunday night I was given the job of building up Page 1 for the Monroe Morning World and part of job was to use a Ludlow stick to make the main headline at the top of the page. I had to stagger the type like this in headlines like this one that I made up:

Three Bandits Rob Convenience Store

      In Early Morning Robbery in Epps

            Leaving Victims Frightened

 

Then I would insert the Ludlow stick into the Ludlow Machine which would cast the type in lead and would then proceed to build up Page 1.

Saw Elvis in Concert Again

While living in the Monroe area we got to see Elvis Presley in concert again. We also saw a concert with the Righteous Brothers and the Hues Corporation. The Hughes Corporation sang their big hit at the time “Don’t Rock the Boat Baby”.

Living in West Monroe

Our first apartment in the Monroe area was in the new Shrangri La apartments on Wellerman Road in West Monroe, Louisiana. I had a flat tire on Interstate 20 one night, during my supper time and a state trooper turned on his flashing lights, to warn the other drivers, so I could change the flat tire.

The apartment’s rent was $165, which wasn’t that much even in 1974.

Too Much Overtime

Knew I was taking a risk moving 100 miles to Monroe for a measly $8 more per week more, than what I made at the Town Talk. However, I was making overtime like crazy. Our work week was 37 and-a-half hours a week, but I worked many more hours than that.

I would work 4:30 PM to 1 AM if I didn’t work overtime. However, I almost never got off work at a 1 AM. I would usually go to work at 4:30 PM and then wouldn’t get off work till 6 AM the next morning. Then it got even worse when the composing room superintendent would call about noon and ask me to come in early at 2 PM. So a typical workday would be from 2 PM to 6AM for a 14 hour day.

The reason there was so much overtime is that the daytime workers working on the Monroe News-Star weren’t that interested in overtime. We wound up killing out their pages for them, when we came to work, so we would have empty page forms to publish the Monroe Morning World. Then at night we would kill out our own pages, then turn around and start placing ads in pages for the News-Star workers, when they would come to work.

What it amounted to was that we were doing most of the work for the day crew, while they just built their pages and went home.

I remember working 36 hours of overtime in one Christmas week, which almost equaled my 37.5 regular hours.

There was one stretch, where I worked 49 straight days in a row, when the boss kept asking if I wanted to work both my days off. I was off on the 50th day and got sick and not sure it wasn’t from the stress of working so many days in a row.

It was normal to get only 6 or 7 hours sleep, then return to work again.

Looking back, it is a wonder I survived those two years in Monroe.

Moved to Monroe

We moved to Monroe later, so we could be closer to my work and my wife’s work, since we only had one car most of the time there. We moved to the Plantation Apartments off of North 18th Street in Monroe.

Thought President Nixon Was Dying 

I remember when the editor thought President Nixon was close to death, so we worked on pages about his life, but all that work was for nothing, as he lived many more years. We wound up throwing all those pages in the garbage.

Breaks On The Loading Dock

The best memory of our breaks on the loading dock was during the Christmas season, when we could see the buildings in downtown Monroe with their Christmas lights turned on.

Gannett Takes Over

The Gannett Corporation took over the News-Star the year after I left, so I narrowly avoided working for two Gannett papers, during my years in the newspaper business.

Returning To Town Talk

My wife was not happy with her job, plus there were two openings at the Town Talk in the composing room, so I applied to work at Town Talk in March of 1976 again and was hired and would spend the next 28 years at Town Talk before retiring in 2004.

I remember the cake being served, when I returned because it was so close to St. Patrick’s Day.

 

To Be Continued – Part 3 – Last 28 Years At Town Talk

 

The Carbonaro Effect

Michael Carbonaro pours a drink into what appears to be a levitating cup on The Carbonaro Effect on Tru TV.

 

I was going through the on-screen programming guide, when I ran across a show called The Carbonaro Effect. I was curious about the show, so I recorded one episode. I liked it so much have been recording every episode I can find.

The show can be seen at 10 PM ET and 9 PM CT on truTV.

 

The Carbonaro Effect is a fun show to watch, as the victims of the tricks try to figure out what just happened. Michael Carbonaro the magician/host of the show is perfectly cast, as his easygoing way with the victims of his magic tricks leads some of them to believe his off the wall reasons for the magic occurring.

Below is the video of the magic trick done with the bowling ball and basketball:

Some of my favorite tricks are when Michael is looking for a key in the trunk of a car and “accidentally” locks himself in the trunk. The man he was talking to when this happens tries, to figure out how to get him out of the trunk. Before he can get him out Michael comes out the front door of the hotel and says “I found the key”. The look on the face of the man, who was trying to help him get out is priceless, when Michael appears with the key.

Another favorite trick is when he thinks he has the winning ticket for a new car in a raffle. There is a security guard with a table in front of the car which is in front of a temporary garage. Michael gives him some identification, but then realizes he left his winning ticket at home, so tells security guard he will walk home to get his ticket.

After Michael leaves the security guard looks behind him where the car was parked and the car was gone. A few minutes later Michael drives up in the same car, that he was supposed to win, and tells the security guard that he found the winning ticket. The security guard is going crazy trying to figure out how Michael got the car, that he was supposed to be guarding. You have to see this magic trick to really comprehend how good of a trick that it was.

The following clip shows Michael knocking out passenger windows of cars and telling the owners, that all new cars today come with four windows. He tells them the first window is a dealer window and that all they have to do is break the dealer window and roll up the good windows. Some of the victims of this trick are not exactly happy campers to see him smash out their windows.

 

The Carbonaro Effect is totally different from most shows on television today. This article from Newsday says that the show has been renewed for another 13 weeks, before it was ever shown on television:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/the-carbonaro-effect-long-island-magician-michael-carbonaro-debuts-his-pranks-on-trutv-1.7998828

I don’t want to give away any more of the tricks, but will say that another favorite trick is when he pours a huge pitcher of a drink, into a small cup and the cup still isn’t full. The lady tells him, that he is messing with her cognitive development, after looking amazed, that so much drink was poured into such a small cup.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Dan Blocker: Teacher, Korean War Veteran, Purple Heart Recipient, Actor and Restaurant Franchise Owner

Dan Blocker 1928-1972

 

Dan Blocker may have passed away 42 years ago, but his memory is still alive for viewers of Bonanza, which is still being shown 55 years, after the first episode was shown on NBC in 1959.

Blocker was born as Bobby Don Davis Blocker on December 10, 1928 in De Kalb, Texas. Reports say that Blocker was the heaviest baby, ever born in Bowie County at 14 pounds. Blocker would attend college at Hardin-Simmons and Sul Ross State Teacher’s College. He also played on the football team for both institutions. He graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a degree in English, then earned his master’s degree at Sul Ross in dramatic arts.

Bad things happened whenever Hoss made this face.

He reportedly lifted a car off a man, after a jack had fallen and pinned the man. Blocker served during the Korean War as an infantry sergeant and was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds.

Blocker taught and acted, while being a history teacher at Sonora High School in Sonora, Texas from 1953-1958. He did appear on Broadway and made his first television appearance Sheriff of Cochise in 1957. He was extremely busy from then till he was chosen as a cast member for Bonanza. The following website will show all of his acting roles on television and in the movies. He appeared in 415 episodes of Bonanza, with only Lorne Greene and Michael Landon appearing in more episodes, with 430 and 426 episodes respectively.

Bonanza was on NBC for 14 years from 1959-1973.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0088779/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

Then he received his big break, when he took his family to California, with plans to earn his Ph.D from UCLA. However, he was spotted in a phone booth, in western garb and was spotted by an agent. He then received the role of Hoss on Bonanza and that was the end of his plans for a Ph.D.

I learned just last week than Dan Blocker had started the Bonanza Steak House business in 1963.

Blocker ballooned to 365 pounds at one point and it is no surprise after seeing what he ate at one breakfast:

Dan Blocker Breakfast

Dozen eggs

Two loaves of bread

Two quarts of milk

So it was no wonder, that Blocker had a serious weight problem.

Dan Blocker was buried at Woodmen Cemetery in De Kalb, Texas.

 

Life came to an end for Dan Blocker on May 13, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. He died of a pulmonary embolism after gall bladder surgery. Dan Blocker was 43 at the time of his death.

Lorne Greene sat with Dan’s wife Dolphia in the Blocker home, after his death and Greene couldn’t stop crying. – The Show Must Go On: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television …by Douglas Snauffer

Summary: Most of us will remember Dan Blocker as Hoss on Bonanza, but he was also an educator, a war veteran who received Purple Heart, for wounds in Korean War. He also started the Bonanza Steak House franchise, that grew to be very successful.

Most of all from all indications Dan Blocker was a good person, who was only trying to earn a living to support his family. Dan Blocker the person may not still be alive 42 years after his death, but his memory will live on for years and years, due to Bonanza being shown to new generations, in the years to come.

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Real McCoys 1957-1963

The Real McCoys debuted on television on October 3, 1957. The show ended its run on network television on June 23, 1963. It has been 51 years since the last show aired on a major network.
I have been watching it in the last week on Cozi Network at 5PM Central time and have enjoyed watching the show again, after not seeing it for at least 30 years, if not longer than that.
The show centers around the McCoy family, who had traveled from Virginia to settle down in California. Walter Brennan, who has one of the most recognizable voices on radio and television plays Grandpa Amos McCoy. He plays the part of an old codger set in his ways. He can neither read or write, which provides many storylines in the series.
Richard Crenna is Luke McCoy the son of Grandpa and his wife Kate McCoy is portrayed by Kathy Nolan. Their two children Little Luke and Hassie are played by Michael Winkleman and Lydia Reed respectively. Their farmhand Pepino is portrayed by Tony Martinez.
Walter Brennan 1894-1974
Walter Brennan was heard on 35 old-time radio programs, according to radiogoldindex.com, while Richard Crenna was heard frequently on both Our Miss Brooks and the Great Gildersleeve programs.
Brennan made his first movie appearance in 1925 in Lorraine of the Lions, but it was an uncredited role. He was uncredited in eight of his first nine movies. Brennan was seen in 27 movies before 1930 and would appear in 19 movies in 1932 alone. One of the highlights of his movie career was when he appeared in Pride of the Yankees in 1992.
After Real McCoys left the air he starred in two other television programs, which included appearing in 30 episodes of The Tycoon and 50 episodes of Guns of Will Sonnett. He made his last movie appearance at the age of 80 in the movie Smoke in the Wind which was released in 1975.
Brennan made an amazing 242 appearances on television and in the movies.
Richard Crenna 1926-2003
Richard Crenna was a veteran of old time radio, television and the movies. He made his first radio appearance in 1945 in an episode of Great Gildersleeve and first was heard on Our Miss Brooks radio program in 1948. He also appeared in  the television version, of the show and played high school student Walter Denton in both versions.
His career spanned 58 years from 1945 to 2003, when he made his last appearance in the television movie Out of the Ashes. He appeared as the star of Slattery’s People, which debuted in 1964 the year after after Real McCoys left the air, but the show only lasted one season.
Crenna is well-known for portraying Col. Sam Trautman in both Rambo: First Blood Part 2  in 1982 and in Rambo III in 1988.
Real McCoys is 1950’s television at its best. The shows would often show the ornery side of Grandpa Amos, in the first part of the show, but by the time the show ended he had mellowed and the family was happy again.
Yesterday’s episode featured Grandpa Amos letting a man promoting a gambling place in Las Vegas paint his barn. Only catch was that the man would put up a sign on the roof of the barn. However, Grandpa Amos had no idea that the barn would be promoting gambling in Las Vegas, so consented to letting the barn be painted.
The pastor visited their home, so they covered up the offending part of the sign to have it read better. Then the wind kicked up and the canvas uncovered the sign, so that the pastor could see they had a sign on the roof promoting gambling, but the pastor wasn’t upset saying they had painted his barn for free too and had made a sign he didn’t like either.
Real McCoys for some reason has not been seen much, since it left the air 51 years ago, so was tickled to see it on MeTV last week.

Who’s Alive From Classic Television Shows

Ron Howard and Jim Nabors are only Andy Griffith stars still alive.

Andy Griffith Show

The Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead website lists Ron Howard 59 and Jim Nabors 80 as the only surviving stars of the Andy Griffith Show. Howard McNear who portrayed Floyd the Barber was the first cast member to die, since he passed away in 1969 the year after the show left the air. He died at a comparatively young 63. Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) died 20 years later in 1989 at the age of 86.

Batman

Adam West (Batman) 85 and Burt Ward (Robin) 68 are two of four surviving members of the Batman cast.

Two actresses who played Catwoman are the only other surviving members of the cast. Yvonne Craig is now 76 and Julie Newmar is 78. Madge Blake who portrayed Aunt Harriet died in 1969 at the age of 69. The next one on Batman to die was Stafford Repp who played Chief O’Hara, who died in 1974 at the age of 56.

Donna Douglas 80 who portrayed Elly May and Max Baer Jr. 76 are the last members of Beverly Hillbillies cast that is still alive.

Beverly Hillbillies

Irene Ryan who played Granny on Beverly Hillbillies was the first to die, at the age of 70 in 1973. Raymond Bailey who portrayed banker Milburn Drysdale died next at the age of 75 in 1980.

David Canary who played Candy Canaday on Bonanza is only surviving member of the show at the age of 75 and Bonanza was on the air from 1959-1973.

Bonanza

Dan Blocker who portrayed Hoss Cartwright died before the show finished its run dying, at the age of only 43 in 1972 due to a pulmonary blood clot. Michael Landon who played Little Joe Cartwright died at the age of 54 in 1991 from pancreatic cancer.

Robert Reed who portrayed Mike Brady on the Brady Bunch and Allan Melvin who played Sam the butcher are only actors on the show who have died at the age of 59 and 85 respectively.

Brady Bunch

Ann B.  Davis 87 who played Alice on Brady Bunch is one of several Brady Bunch actors and actresses still alive. Florence Henderson is now 85 and portrayed Carol Brady. Barry portrayed Greg Brady and is now 59. Maureen McCormick who played Marcia Brady is now 57. Christopher Knight is now 56 and was Peter Brady on the show. Eve Plumb played the part of Jan Brady and is 55 years old. Mike Lookinland is now 53 and played Bobby Brady. Susan Olsen is the youngest surviving Brady at the age of 52. She played Cindy Brady on the show.

To check to see what other celebrities are alive and which ones have passed on:

http://www.whosaliveandwhosdead.com/default.asp

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.

 

 

 

Technology – Yesterday and Today

My grandpa who lived on a farm in Allendale, Missouri had a radio similar to this one and I listened to some Kansas City Athletics games on his radio console and will never forget how good the sound was, that emanated from that radio.
Phonograph records have never really went away completely. Now many manufacturers are building modern versions of the record players we grew up. Those being built today play records, CD’s, cassettes and even have an input, for MP3 players to play their music over the phonograph system.  Some record companies are still making vinyl records. Just went to eBay and found that there are 1,328,915 records for sale, so there will be a need for record players for years to come. Surprisingly, over 489,000 of those albums are new.  I was fortunate about three or four years ago, to find a bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee selling record albums for 25 cents each. You can build up a collection fast at those prices since $10 buys 40 record albums.
Eight track players technology went right on by me, since I went straight from vinyl to cassettes. I never owned an eight track player or eight track tape. Not sure if eight track players are still being made today. If they are I have not heard about it.
Compact disc players can be found in portable CD players, CD boomboxes, CD shelf systems and some CD players today can be found in phonograph combos, that play CD’s, cassettes, records and have a AM-FM radio, plus either have a dock for an I-pod or a line in for a MP3 player. Some even have the capability of recording from a record, cassette or radio to a CD.
This Ipod Classic 160 GB player is the ultimate player, for those who like to record music, videos and store photos. This player can record 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums, with 10 songs each stored in this player. However, if you want to store videos and photos, then that would reduce the storage place for music. Who has 4,000 albums anyway? This player may not have all the bells and whistles, of an iPod Touch, but an iPod Touch is not going to have near the capacity of this player. One drawback to the 160 GB version is that the screen is only 2.5 inches, which is small, compared to the newest IPod Touch, which has a 4 inch screen.
Technology has come a long way from the phonographs of the early days, to machines that can hold 40,000 songs and play any song, almost instantaneously, after going through the folders to find the song you want to play or you can watch videos of movies and TV shows.
This is a Maytag ringer washing machine. There may be still be people using these machines, but they have to be few and far between, with the technology today, that lets the operator turn the machine on and put some soap in the machine and leave it to wash the clothes and come back an hour later or so and put those clothes into a dryer.
When is the last time you have seen bottles of milk, on your porch when door to door delivery of milk was popular? I remember when our milkman had only a four number telephone number on his truck.
When is the last time you saw someone actually typing on a typewriter like this Underwood Typewriter? There are probably some holdouts still using typewriters like this, but there can’t be a whole lot of them.
I can still remember the days of the nickel coke. The bottles may have been only 6 ounces, but today you spend at least $1.50 most places for 20 ounces of Coca-Cola. Back in the old days you could buy 24 ounces for only 20 cents. A $1.50 back then would buy 30 bottles of 6 ounce Cokes. So if I am figuring right, then that comes out to 180 ounces of Coca-Cola, which would be equivalent to about three 2 liter Coca-Colas today. Not many stores today sell three liters of original Coca-Cola for $1.50. Today it is usually cheaper to buy a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola for a $1-$1.25 or more, than to spend $1.50 or more on a 20 ounce Coca-Cola.

Classic Television: Still Being Seen Many Years Later

One of the attractions of Netflix is that you can watch classic television shows on your tablet, computer and digital television.

Netflix includes classic television, among their many television shows of the past and present, being presented on their service. My favorite shows to watch on Netflix are Columbo, The Rockford Files, Adam 12, Leave It To Beaver, Twilight Zone, Andy Griffith and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The best aspect of watching the shows on Netflix is that you don’t have to watch any commercials.

Classic Television Networks

There are some classic television networks on cable television, but satellite providers don’t seem, to be interested in including the networks on their systems. TV Land which is seen on most satellite systems used to feature more classic television shows, than they do now, since they are starting to create their own programming on TV Land.

Antenna Classic Television Services

Last weekend we moved our antenna, to another position and picked up Me TV and Cozi TV, which both feature classic television shows.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis – September 29, 1959 – June 5, 1963.

Me TV

Me TV has one of the best lineups of classic television shows I have seen. Me TV has been on the air since December 15, 2010 and shows some of the harder to find programs, that are featured on their network, like Dobie Gillis, The Untouchables, the original Hawaii Five O and Ironside, which to me are far better than the current versions seen on network television today.

Route 66 and My Three Sons fans will be glad to know they can still watch these shows today.

This is the complete list of classic television shows on Me TV today:

http://metvnetwork.com/programs.php

Robert Young, Elena Verdugo and James Brolin stars of Marcus Welby MD – September 23, 1969 – July 29, 1976

Cozi TV

Cozi TV features classic television shows like Charlie’s Angels, Lassie, Run For Your Life, Marcus Welby, MD and The Bionic Woman. Cozi TV was launched nationally on January 1, 2013.

This is a three-day listing of shows being shown on Cozi TV:

http://www.titantv.com/programming/channel.aspx/callsign/CoziTV/channel/12/major/12/minor/3/cid/14618/sid/90657/network/COZITV/pt/2/hd/1/lid/6c352f1f-8039-447d-90fc-aa6bade01186/date/20131125/

Burns and Allen Show
October 12, 1950 – September 22, 1958

Antenna TV

I still remember coming home from summer school and watching the Burns and Allen show, during the noon hour, on our local television station KALB -TV, which was located in Alexandria, Louisiana. The show starred the comedy team of George Allen and Gracie Allen. It was fun watching Gracie come up with such great lines, in the comedy scenes. It is great to know the shows can still be watched 63 years later in 2013. This may be one of the oldest shows still being seen today. Antenna TV was launched nationally on January 1, 2011.

To see a list of classic television shows on Antenna TV:

http://antennatv.tv/shows/

 

The Real McCoys – October 3, 1957 – June 23, 1963

Retro TV

Retro TV features show like The Real McCoys, which starred Walter Brennan, as the cantankerous Grandpa Amos McCoy and his grandson Luke who was portrayed, by Richard Crenna who had appeared as Walter Denton in the TV version of Our Miss Brooks.

Other shows featured on Retro TV include Circus Boy, which featured a young Mickey Dolenz, who would later gain fame as a member of the Monkees. Highway to Heaven, Soupy Sales, Mr. Magoo, Naked City and Route 66 also can be seen today on Retro TV. Retro TV was launched nationally in 2005.

Shows that can be seen on Retro TV:

http://www.myretrotv.com/shows.html

 

If you live sort of close to a bigger city, then you can probably pick up one or more of these channels on an outside antenna, or maybe even a stronger inside antenna.

Watching these shows from my childhood in the 50’s and 60’s brings back memories, of a  simpler time when you could watch television, without all the double entendres and violence found on network television today.  So if you are longing for the good old days of classic television, then a simple turn of your antenna may bring back the shows of your youth.

Timeline for Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy arriving at Love Field in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

 

 

 

President John F.Kennedy riding in motorcade with Jacqueline Kennedy and Governor John Connally moments before the president and governor were both shot.

 

 

 

Jacqueline Kennedy crawling on the back of the limousine after President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963..

 

It is hard to believe that 50 years have passed since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. It is ironic that November 22 of 2013 also fell on a Friday.

My day started like any other day at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I was subbing for the regular company postal clerk, who had taken leave to New York. I happened to have my transistor radio playing that morning, when I heard a news flash saying that President Kennedy had been shot. I immediately told the commanding officer and then shortly after heard that President Kennedy was dead.

Air Force One touched down at Love Field in Dallas at 11:40 PM CST and President Kennedy and his wife Jackie were greeted enthusiastically at the airport. The motorcade cars were lined up at the airport, but the motorcade started late because of the late arrival of Air Force One.

President Kennedy was slated to make a speech at the Dallas Trade Mart at 12:15 PM, but the motorcade didn’t enter Dealey Plaza till 12:29 PM.  The first shot hit President Kennedy at 12:30 PM and chaos ensued in Dealey Plaza as those there to see the motorcade ran to safety or fell to the ground to protect their children from the gunfire.

Jacqueline Kennedy started crawling on the back of the limousine, after literally holding her husband’s brains in her hands.

Governor Connally was also seriously wounded, by what some would say was the same bullet that hit President Kennedy. The bullet entered Connally’s back, hit his ribs and exited through his chest and his right arm’s wrist bone was shattered into seven parts, plus he had an entry wound in his left thigh.

James Tague, a bystander was hit by a ricocheting fragment of a bullet in the right cheek.

12:33 PM -Lee Harvey Oswald, who was later charged with the assassination of President Kennedy was seen in the second floor lunchroom about 90 seconds after the shots were fired, from the sixth floor window, of the Texas School Book Building. Oswald was questioned by Dallas motorcycle policeman Marion Baker,in the lunchroom and said Oswald showed no sign of being under duress or breathing heavily.

1236 PM – The first national network to broadcast the news of the assassination was ABC radio. when Don Gardiner announced, that three shots had been fired at the presidential motorcade.

12:38 PM – The presidential limousine bearing President Kennedy arrives at Parkland Hospital. We can only imagine the chaos there, as the physicians and nurses scrambled, to see if they could save the life of the president.

12:40 PM – CBS is the first television network to report the assassination.

1:00 PM – Lee Harvey Oswald arrived at his boarding room and left again soon after.

1:00 PM – President Kennedy was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital and spokesman said that there was never a chance of saving his life.

1:15 PM – Officer J.D. Tippit is gunned down by Lee Harvey Oswald, according to witnesses at the scene, which was only 0.86 miles from Oswald’s boarding room.

1:33 PM – White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff makes the official announcement of the death of President Kennedy.

1:35 PM – Johnny Brewer, the manager of a shoe stores sees Lee Harvey Oswald heading toward the Texas Theater.

1:40 PM – Brewer notices that Oswald entered theater, without paying and notified Julie Postal the clerk, who then called the Dallas police.

1:50 PM – Oswald is arrested by Dallas police, after attempting to shoot a policeman and punching one inside the Texas Theater.

2:00 PM – The body of President Kennedy is driven to Air Force One after a confrontation, between Secret Service agents and Dallas authorities, who wanted to perform an autopsy, before releasing the body of President Kennedy.

2:38 PM – Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in by Sarah T. Hughes,as the 36th President of the United States aboard Air Force One.

500 PM – Air Force One arrives at Andrew Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., with the body of President Kennedy and with President Johnson as the new president.

7:05 PM – Lee Harvey Oswald is charged with the murder of Officer J.D.Tippit.

11:26 PM – Lee Harvey Oswald is charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

That ended a day in which President Kennedy was assassinated and Governor Connally was seriously wounded, James Tague a bystander was injured and Officer J.D. Tippit was murdered.

A day which had started out so well with the adoring crowds welcoming President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline ended in tragedy. The day was to have ended with the noon speech at the Trade Mart, a speech in Austin and a weekend with Vice President Johnson at his ranch. Instead the day ended with President Johnson in the White House and the Kennedy presidency had come to an end.

Marilyn Monroe Could Have Saved JFK’s Life

It was only 15 months before when Marilyn Monroe threatened to expose the Kennedys. She was planning to expose the Kennedys and tell of the philandering ways of both President Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

If she hadn’t found dead due to an overdose of pills she would have told, of the philandering ways of President Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy.

If she had been allowed to tell the truth,about the Kennedy brothers there would have been no Dallas visit by President Kennedy, who almost certainly would have been removed from office and no presidential campaign in 1968 by brother Bobby,who also would have been out of politics, as early as 1962 or 1963.

However, Marilyn Monroe died a mysterious death and her death may have kept the Kennedy brothers secrets safe from political death, but in the end may have cost both of them their lives.

Jackie’s Pink Suit

The pink suit that Jackie Kennedy wore during the assassination won’t be seen by the public, for another 90 years and by the time it is seen it will be 140 years after the assassination. By 2103, when it is made public there will be few that lived in the 1900’s that will still be around to see it.

More importantly it is time to release all records, that have anything to do with the Kennedy assassination. 50 years is long enough to hold onto the assassination documents, since most people who were 50 in 1963 would now be 100, if they are fortunate enough to be alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry Mathers: Will Always Be the Beaver

Jerry Mathers seen as the Beaver in an early episode of Leave It To Beaver.

Jerry Mathers was born Gerald P. Mathers, on June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa. He has been in show business for 53 years, since being a department store model at the age of two. He appeared on an episode of Ozzie and Harriet at the age of four and on a I Love Lucy episode at the age of five in 1953.

I watched the very first episode of Leave It To Beaver this morning. His teacher gave him a note to take home to his parents, but Beaver was afraid they were going to expel him from school and didn’t give them the note.

The next day his teacher found the note under his desk and asked him why he didn’t give the note to his parents. Beaver made up a story about their house being on fire. Beaver eventually found out the note was about the teacher asking for permission, of his parents for Beaver to play Smokey the Bear in a school play.

He had an uncredited role in Son of Paleface movie in 1952. He then appeared in the movies Men Of the Fighting Lady and This Is My Love in 1954. Mathers was seen in six other movies between 1955-1958 and had been in a total of nine movies by the age of 10.

Mathers was nine years old when he first appeared in Leave It To Beaver in 1957 and would be 15 years old, by the time Leave It To Beaver ended its six-year run in 1963.

The show has appeared in 80 countries and in 40 languages. Mathers says the show was called “The Happy Boy and His Family in Japan and that fans would come up to him and say “Hi Happy Boy”.

 

Beaver shown trapped in a cup of soup in one of the most famous episodes of Leave It To Beaver.

 

There was a rumor in 1969 that Mathers had been killed in Vietnam. He had served in the Air National Guard, but had never left the country.

He and his TV brother Tony Dow became the first two non-athletes to appear on a Wheaties box.

Mathers took the loss of Barbara Billingsley very hard and had this to say about her after her death:  I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and lifetime mentor Barbara Billingsley. She will live in the hearts of her fans as a wonderful actress and be remembered by her friends as a gracious lady. She will be deeply missed by all of her family, friends, fans and most especially by me.

He also sad Barbara Billingsley was as nice in person, as she appeared on the show. He also said she taught him good manners:  Well, you know, Barbara was very much on manners, so she taught me a lot of manners. I was always a rambunctious little boy, and so when we go places [a lot of times], she would walk [of course, as a lady] very slowly, and I would sometimes try to dash ahead of her, and she would always grab me by the little hairs right there in the back of my neck, and she would say, ‘Ladies first!’ And I would always say, ‘OK, oh, but I wanted to make sure nobody was going to hurt you, you know?’ No, no! She said, ‘Ladies first!’, and she pulled me back. She had a way of teaching manners that stuck with you.

Mathers has been married three times and is currently married to Teresa Modnick, who he married in 2011.

It was learned by Mathers in 1996, that he had diabetes.

Jerry Mathers may look older now but you can still tell he used to be the Beaver.

 

His career has been tied to the Beaver character, since he joined the cast and he appeared in all 235 episodes of Leave It To Beaver and then another 101 episodes of The New Leave It To Beaver show, plus also appeared in the TV movie Still The Beaver. That is 337 episodes of shows or movies connected with the Beaver.

After Leave It To Beaver left the air Mathers only appeared in only one episode of ten television series, in the last 50 years.

He has had a variety of jobs in his working career. He worked in real estate, banking, catering, Mathers actually used a cleaver as a butcher with his catering company, so Beaver Cleaver was using a cleaver to prepare meat.

My son was at a Portland (Oregon)  Beavers baseball game a few years ago, where Mathers was signing autographs. Another play on words with Beaver signing autographs for the Beavers baseball team.

No matter what other roles Mathers may take in the coming years we will always remember him best, from the years he appeared on Leave It To Beaver. In summation, he will always be the Beaver to us.

Mathers is now 65 years old. It is hard to believe that the Beaver is collecting Social Security checks now, but time marches on, much too fast for most of us.

50 years have passed since Leave It To Beaver was shown on regular network television, but it is still being seen and enjoyed by those of us who remember the show and hope it will be enjoyed by generations to come, so the kids of the future will know that families used to eat together back in the 50’s and 60’s.

 

MP3 Players Popularity Waning

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 Player.

 

It was 2004, when I bought my first powerful MP3 player. It was a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 player that held 10,000 songs. It was much clunkier, than the lighter MP3 players of today.

Have never had a smart phone and don’t have any kind of cell phone today. I would rather use my MP3 players for music, than a cell phone. I doubt that they can hold much music, since smart phones also have cameras to take photos and some phones are capable of taking video.

The best thing about the Creative Nomad MP3 player is that it is used exclusively to play music and in my case, also able to play back old-time radio shows of the past. I even have a 1934 baseball game, between the Yankees and Tigers in the player.

That player no longer works, but may only need a new battery, which when I last checked was about $12. Best thing is that it has a removable battery, unlike most MP3 players, which have built-in batteries.

Another feature is that I could delete radio shows, after listening them from the player itself and not have to remove them using a computer.

Sony NWZ 545 16 GB MP3 Player.

 

The above photo is of my next MP3 player bought about four years ago. It is a Sony NWZ 545 16 GB player that can hold far less music, than the Creative Nomad Jukebox could hold. Unlike the Creative player, I have to be careful to pick and choose what songs to download to it, since it would fill up much faster.

It too lets me listen to old-time radio shows. I usually download a few shows at a time. Then I have to go to the computer to delete shows, that I have already heard.

The best thing about the MP3 players is that they don’t have to have a wi-fi connection to play the music. We have made a lot of trips to VA hospitals in Alexandria, LA and Houston, TX and listening to old-time radio shows and music make the long trips a little more bearable.

Apple iPod Nano 8 GB 6th Generation

 

While recuperating at home from cancer surgery my sister from Colorado sent me a gift of a Apple iPod Nano, which only weighs a pound  and is 5×5 inches. The earphones that come with the Nano have a great sound and you really can hear the stereo affect from the song being played.

My sister also sent a speaker that doesn’t come with the Nano. It is not a huge speaker, but it pumps out a lot of sound, without being overly loud.

Not Much Mention of MP3 Players

I have noticed that you don’t hear much mention of MP3 players online. If you go to the tech section of an online sight there will be little or no mention of MP3 players. Most of the articles are about the latest cell phones coming out.

Apple has had two huge events announcing new products, but no mention was made of new iPods being released in the near future.

Personally, I hope there will be a market for MP3 players for years to come. Not everyone wants a MP3 player in their cell phone. I like MP3 players better as standalone products, rather than incorporating them into other electronic devices.

Another thing I have noticed is that most of the MP3 players being released today are 8 GB and 16 GB players, while the players with 32 GB and 64 GB are less common, than they were in the past.

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB

 

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB player is the Cadillac of MP3 players, for those who like to record a lot of music. The player has the capacity to store 40,000 songs, 25,000 photos and 200 hours of video.

The player has 1,133 five-star reviews at amazon.com, while only 141 reviewers give it a one star rating. A selling point for the player is that the battery can play for up to 36 hours.

Most users of the Classic will be hard pressed to fill up this player with 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums with 10 songs each. Of course the capacity depends on how many photos and videos are downloaded into the Classic.

There are rumors that the Classic may be discontinued in the near future. I think it should remain in production, for those fans who could store only a fraction of 40,000 songs in a cell phone.

We could see the popularity of MP3 players continue to decrease in 2014. The fact that MP3 players are seldom even being mentioned today tells me, that someday they could become another extinct electronic device that disappears from the landscape like reel to reel tape players and eight track players. Very few new cassette players are being made today, except with phonographs and we should have vinyl records for a long time, since we have seen a resurgence in their popularity.

 

The Fonz Will Be 68 This Week

Henry Winkler shown in his most famous role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on Happy Days which aired on television from 1974-1984.

 

Henry Winkler was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York on October 30, 1945 and will be celebrating his 68th birthday tomorrow.

His parents who were Jewish emigrated from Germany in 1939, escaping from the Nazi regime. His childhood was not an easy one for Winkler, since his parents were critical of his difficulties in school. His father spoke 11 languages, so had little patience with a son struggling with his studies. Winkler said he was punished for his learning problems in school.

Winkler graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1970, with a Master of Fine Arts Degree. It would be four years later, before he landed some television roles and also appeared in 30 commercials.

He appeared in an episode of Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Rhoda in 1974. He also appeared in two movies released in 1974, which were Crazy Joe and Lords of Flatbush.

His big break came later that year, when he was cast as Fonzie in Happy Days. Winkler was cast as a high school dropout, even though he was 29 years old at the time. In retrospect looking back it seems strange that a 29-year-old man would be hanging around with teenagers in high school.

My own experiences in high school told me that the popular kids in high school like Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham did not hang out with someone like Fonzie, who was from the other side of the tracks.

Still, the show caught on with viewers and Fonzie was treated like family by the Cunninghams. One of my favorite scenes was when Fonzie and the guys were on a camping trip and the birds and animals in the woods were making an awful racket and Fonzie said “cool it” or something to that effect and the woods became so quiet you couldn’t hear a sound.

Fonzie was also adept at making balky coke machines work, by hitting them a certain way and the cold drink would come out. ABC television network at first was reluctant to let Fonzie be shown in the early episodes, in fear that he would be known as a hoodlum. His character became so popular, that he was being featured more often in the episodes.

Ratings shot up for the show after Fonzie became a central character in the show. The best thing about Winkler is that he never let his popularity go to his head and was kind to his fans.

Winkler was married in 1978 to Stacy Weitzman and they have now been married for 35 years.

He is the cousin of actor/comedian/writer Richard Belzer and you can see the resemblance in their facial features.

An interesting bit of trivia is that he rode the same motorcycle in Happy Days, that Steve McQueen rode in the Great Escape film.

Even though Fonzie was seen with a motorcycle on Happy Days he never rode one on the show and in fact fell off the motorcycle, when he attempted to ride it off camera.

Winkler also authored 12 novels and they were about his struggles with dyslexia as a child, which he didn’t learn he had till he became an adult.

He portrayed Fonzie in five different series, including Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, The Fonz and Happy Days Gang and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Winkler doesn’t have any kind words about actor Tom Hanks. He was fired from the movie and said he got along better with Hooch in the movie Turner and Hooch, than he did with Hanks.

His production company Winkler-Rich Productions produced the television show MacGyver. He did act in the movie Waterboy playing a high school football coach in the Adam Sandler movie.

 

A more recent photo of Henry Winkler.

Winkler is currently appearing in the comedy-drama Royal Pains on the USA Network. He is also filming a new television series Hank Zipzer, which should be seen on the small screen in 2014, with Winkler being the lead actor in the series.

By the time Happy Days left the air in 1984 Winkler was 39 years old and still playing a high school dropout of a much younger age.

It is good to know that Winkler went from an unhappy childhood, because of learning problems, to receiving a bachelors, masters and doctors degree.

Happy 68th birthday Fonzie!!!

 

 

Cancer Surgery: A Year Later

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas

This time last year I was in the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. First, let me go back in time to some of the events that may have led to me having duodenal cancer.

May of 2012 was a traumatic time for us, after being evicted from our house in Sulphur, Louisiana. We then moved to DeRidder, Louisiana on July 20 and it took almost two weeks to move our belongings to a trailer. I think the eviction and move took a toll on me emotionally and physically. I truly feel that financial stress played a part, in me acquiring cancer last summer.

I began to lose an alarming number of pounds in July and would have lost 45 pounds by the time I entered the VA Hospital in Houston in October. I vomited 17 times in a two-day period, which contained blood. I went to the VA Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana and they thought at first that I had acid reflux, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers and H pylori. I was sent home with various prescriptions that didn’t control the vomiting.

Finally on September 28 of 2012 I was admitted into the VA Hospital in Pineville and the next day September 29 they transported me via ambulance to the VA Hospital in Houston.

One of the first things they did in Houston was insert a tube down my throat and connected it to a container that received the contents of my stomach continuously to prevent any more vomiting. The inserting of the tube was one of the most stressful medical procedures done, while in the hospital and very uncomfortable having a tube, but it did prevent any further vomiting.

It took almost two weeks before the oncologist determined that I had duodenal cancer, after unsuccessful CT scan which was too cloudy because of a recent CT scan at the Pineville VA Hospital. Then the doctors tried an endoscopy, which didn’t work, since it the instrument wasn’t long enough to reach the blockage, which they were trying to biopsy.

The oncologist still could not get a biopsy, so they tried another endoscopy that reached the blockage and then prescribed a Petscan to get a better look at the blockage. After these two procedures they determined that I did have duodenal cancer, a cancer that is in beginning section of small intestines. It is also referred to as adenocarcinoma.

The Petscan was a unique experience. For 45 minutes they started and stopped the scan. I had the sensation of being on a train. The only thing missing was that no conductor was saying “All aboard”.

My birthday was on October 14, which was two days before the surgery. My wife Rhonda had made a Happy Birthday poster for the door of my room and my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren were there to celebrate. My two sons, who had already arrived a few days earlier were also there, along with my ex-wife who came with my daughter.

I still have the poster that Rhonda made in our bedroom and it has a lot of sentimental value. Rhonda had to sleep in a chair the first few days, that I was in the hospital. She found out later there was a place called Fisher House on the grounds, so she could have a place to eat and sleep during the night.

One of my brothers also made two or three visits to the hospital, while I was there and his ex-wife and my niece also made visits to see me.

The Surgery

I will never forget the day of the surgery, which was Tuesday, October 16, 2012. I was rolled into a hall where patients were lined up for surgery. I recall the nurses were asking about a patient who didn’t show up for surgery, because he tired of waiting for the surgery and had left the hospital.

Once I entered the surgery room the anesthesiologist began sticking with me with needles which were very painful and I was surprised how many times I was stuck and awake to feel the pain. I could hear the surgery room nurses make clanging sounds similar to the sounds of pots and pans being put on tables.

The next thing I knew it was 11 hours later and my surgery which was supposed to have taken 5 or 6 hours had lasted 11 hours, because I had been nicked in the liver and it caused massive bleeding, which required four units of blood to replace the lost blood. The surgeon told Rhonda that they were close to losing me, so I am very fortunate to even be writing about the surgery.

Recovery

I remember being in a very strange room, after the surgery which I assume was the ICU. It seemed like it was very dark in the room and I almost felt like they had sent me to a secluded cabin to recover from the surgery. I still can’t remember much about this phase in my recovery.

One of the results from the surgery was the finding that I had Stage III duodenal cancer. Duodenal cancer is extremely rare and only accounts for 1 percent of gastrointestinal cancers.

At some point before or after the surgery I had a picc line inserted in my arm, so the nurses wouldn’t have to give me so many injections.

However, I still had blood work done every morning at about 5AM. I had insulin shots in my stomach at least once a day, even though I was and am not now diabetic.

One thing I remember is watching the 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. I tried to watch all of the games, but would sometimes fall asleep during the games.

About a week after the surgery I was finally allowed to eat real food, for the first time since arriving at the hospital three weeks earlier. However, my appetite was not that great and would only eat part of the food most of the time.

It was great to have the tube removed from my throat, even though it was uncomfortable feeling for it to come out. Needless to say I talked differently while having the tube in my throat, so was happy to talk normally again.

It was Halloween night (October 31) when I was finally released from the hospital. The day started off well as I started being readied for release, but I waited a very long time for the Picc line to be removed. The technician came in the room and had me in more of upside down and sideways position, so that he could remove the Picc line.

My high number on the blood pressure reading was 181, when I was finally released late that night. Blood pressure was a serious problem in the hospital, since it spiked to about 220 at one point, so I was given blood pressure medication and wore a blood pressure patch to bring it down.

Returning Home

Immediately after being released I stayed with Rhonda at the Fisher House that night, to prevent traveling immediately after being released.

We made the 160 mile trip back to DeRidder the next day and began the long road to recovery. I was feeling a little better each day and felt much better, when we made a visit to the VA Hospital in Houston in November, to see the oncologist for a checkup. He told us that duodenal cancer has a history of returning, which sort of caught me by surprise.

We drove home on Thanksgiving morning and we were slowed by a massive traffic jam before we arrived at my daughter’s home in Groves, Texas. When we arrived there they told us, that many cars had hit each other in the fog on Interstate 10, so we were fortunate to miss the accident, but were detoured so we never saw the scene of the accident.

Chemotherapy

I started 91 days of chemotherapy after returning home at the VA Hospital in Pineville. There is no chemotherapy for duodenal cancer, because it is so rare, so was treated as if I had colon cancer.

When I told the doctor I read that there was only a 30 percent chance of surviving duodenal cancer he told me not to worry, since my life expectancy was only 76 since I was a male. I relaxed after that figuring what is two years less or more, since I will be 69 this week.

The chemotherapy had many bad side effects, with sensitive to cold, jaw pain when chewing foods, unsteady on my feet and the oncologist in Pineville switched me to another form of chemotherapy.

It wasn’t much better as it caused another set of problems, so my chemotherapy was stopped 91 days into the 5 month treatments. The oncologist told me my quality of life was being affected too adversely by the chemotherapy. I was relieved to not have to make the weekly trips to Pineville for the chemotherapy treatments and I started feeling better after the treatments stopped with the side effects no longer a problem.

CT Scan in May in Houston

We went to see the oncologist/surgeon at Houston VA Hospital last May. The first day there we underwent another CT scan and did bloodwork. Then the next day we talked to the surgeon and he said everything looked good on the scan and it was clear. However, he said he was concerned that when he lifted the cancerous blockage off the liver, that some cancer may have seeped into the liver and may sprout up at a later date.

Our next CT scan is scheduled on December 11. Hopefully, the scan will be clear and if not will know it is God’s will being done, so not overly worried about the results.

Thank You

I want to thank all the doctors and nurses at VA Hospital in Pineville and Houston for their excellent care. I want to thank all the family members and friends who visited me at the hospital in Houston and those who stayed with me in the hospital, after Rhonda began staying at the Fisher House.

I would like to also thank those who called my room during my stay in Houston. Those phone calls meant more to me, than you will ever know.

In addition I would like to think those who sent gift cards or checks,  to help pay for Rhonda’s food and expenses, plus help pay our bills, while staying in Houston.

Plus I would like to thank those who contributed to the cancer fund my son started,  in conjunction with his bicycle tour starting this week in Kansas City, Missouri.

My goal is to keep a positive attitude regardless of what the results of the scan show, in December and to continue to sing and praise the Lord.

Thousands Descend On Livingston, Louisiana For Dukes of Hazzard Family Reunion and Car Show

My son-in-law George, Catherine “Daisy Duke” Bach and myself at the 2nd Annual Dukes of Hazzard Family Reunion and Car Show in Livingston, Louisiana which is in the Baton Rouge area.

Thousands of Dukes of Hazzard fans descended on Livingston, Louisiana on Saturday August 17, 2013, as the town of 1,876 welcomed Dukes of Hazzard fans to the Henderson Auction Barn.

Most of the fans seemed to have one purpose in mind and that was to have the Dukes of Hazzard stars sign their Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia. My son-in-law and me waited in line for almost three hours to talk to Catherine Bach, who portrayed Daisy Duke on the television series. He had her autograph a DVD of two Dukes of Hazzard movies and she also autographed his General Lee car.

She was extremely gracious to her fans and I was particularly impressed when she stopped the main line to talk to a group, that apparently was from a nursing home. You could tell from the smiles on their faces, that she made their day by taking time to talk with them and to sign autographs.

Catherine Bach may be 59, but she appeared to be a lot younger to me at least. She was born Catherine Bachman on March 1, 1954 in Warren, Ohio.

She has two movies in post production in Book of Fire and Claire’s Cambodia and should be released in the coming months.

Young and Restless fans may recognize her as Anita Lawson and she appears from time to time in the series, with her last appearance being in the August 9 episode.

The Monk detective series also featured her in the “Monk Meets His Dad” episode on November 17, 2006, when she played the part of Sara Jo.

Her second husband Peter Lopez committed suicide on April 30, 2010, about four months before what would have been their 20th wedding anniversary. Their two daughters helped her at the product table and they are Sophia 17 and Laura, who will be 15 in October.

My son-in-law George with Catherine Bach.
George with Mountain Man from Duck of Dynasty fame.

My son-in-law George was next in line, when Mountain Man decided to take a lunch break. George kidded him about it would take a long time, since he was so slow on Duck Dynasty. Mountain Man returned about 45 minutes later and George got his autograph.

Lou “Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno shaking hands with George.
George and Tom Wopat posing for a photo.

I only waited in the line to talk to Catherine Bach, since it was very uncomfortable with the line not moving, till she showed up and then there was another long wait, before actually talking to her.

George waited in one line after another, while I watched the stage show. George said the reunion was planned much better, than the reunion in 2012.

My personal highlights were being able to talk to Catherine Bach and to see the Mountain Man from a distance. Have no idea why he was named Mountain Man, with the highest point in Louisiana being 563 feet, which is only 8 feet taller than the Washington Monument.

It was a brutally hot day, but cold drinks were being sold for $2, which is reasonable for an event like this.

Going to the reunion sparked my interest in Dukes of Hazzard and watched two shows, after arriving back at my daughter’s house.

 

 

The Little Couple Returns Tonight

Jen Arnold, William and Bill Klein star on The Little Couple starting a new season tonight on the TLC television network.

The Little Couple returns to the TLC television network tonight at 10 PM ET. Bill Klein and his wife Jen Arnold had tried having a child, but after many setbacks decided to try having a surrogate mother deliver a child. When the surrogate mother miscarried they decided to adopt.

Their search for a child to adopt resulted in them adopting a Chinese boy, that they named William. He has dwarfism like his new parents, so he will be raised by understanding parents, that know firsthand what William will be facing in his life.

Tonight’s episode of the reality show reportedly will show them bringing William back to the United States, after picking him up in China.

After a long 28 hour flight from China the Little Couple finally return to United States with their son William, as they return to Houston.

This is one of the most heartwarming shows on television today. It is so opposite of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, one of the worst shows on television. It is difficult to believe that the two shows are even being shown on the same network.

Bill Klein and Jen Arnold have not found life easy, but they have shown, that they can overcome the sorrow of never having their own child by normal means.

There is a possibility that William will have a little sister, before this set of episodes ends, since they have requested a daughter from the adoption agency, that they are dealing with.

Like most reality shows The Little Couple is not 100 percent realistic, since it would be chaos if cameras just followed them long enough to get 22 minutes of material for an episode and then used that film. However, it is much more closer to being real than some reality shows, which are so fake that it is evident.

It is less than 12 hours till the show returns on TLC. Let the countdown begin.

The Little Couple will be showing their 100th episode tonight. The show premiered on May 26, 2009.

Pineville, Louisiana in the 50’s and 60’s

Entrance to Louisiana College campus in Pineville, Louisiana.

 

I was born in 1944 in West Lafayette, Indiana and moved to Pineville, Louisiana, before my 2nd birthday in 1946, so my dad could teach chemistry at Louisiana College.

My first memory of Pineville was starting the first grade at Pineville Elementary in 1950 and walking the mile to school. I did ride the bus in the second grade, until the day I didn’t get off, at my stop and wound up in Libuse, Louisiana, which was about a ten-mile walk back home. Needless to say I never rode a bus to school after that incident. The bus driver was Harold Price, who drove a school bus many years.

I remember being in the class of Mrs. Eva Price, if I recall her first name right. One of my best friends in first grade was Robert Cavanaugh, who would later run track for Pineville High School and LSU. Then later Dr. Cavanaugh would become the chancellor of LSU in Alexandria and was responsible for it becoming a four-year college.

One thing I remember about the first grade is the ten-cent lunches. The price has probably gone up to 15 cents some 63 years later.

The second grade through fourth grade years sort of ran together, with no standout memories from those years. I do remember my second grade teacher being Mrs. Frankie Reed, third grade teacher being Mrs. Clarice Ellis and fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Effie O’Neal.

My fifth grade teacher was Mrs.Mabel  Powell and my main memory of that year was that I played my first Little League game the last day of school. I played for Bates Insurance Co. team that year and made a shoestring catch in that first game off of a ball hit by Luther Richardson. Think I was more surprised, than  anyone else that I caught the ball.

Mrs. Scivique (sp) was my sixth grade teacher if I remember right, but can’t remember her first name. Grady Harper was my seventh grade teacher and I think Robert Cespiva was my eighth grade teacher, but not sure of that.

1957 was a year that stood out, since that was the year Hurricane Audrey hit the Pineville area that June. I can remember Jim Gaines of KALB radio giving the latest reports about the hurricane. One memory is that we had no power for three days and my dad went to Jimmie Hoyt’s to buy some dry ice.

1957 Trip To Maine

My most vivid memory of 1957 didn’t take place in Pineville, since my dad and my older brother took a trip to Maine that summer. The trip was an education in itself, as we stopped at tourist stops like Rock City and can remember the signs saying SEE ROCK CITY on the roofs of barns along the way. We also saw many Burma Shave signs on the trip.

Stopping at Mount Vernon was one of the highlights, while  Washington, D.C. was the place that I remember best. We went inside the Capitol building and saw Congress in action, saw the U.S. Mint making bills and visited the National Archive building. We also visited the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian Institution was particularly interesting, where we saw the Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the ceiling. The last place I remember seeing was the Library of Congress.

Having been an avid baseball fan it was a thrill to see a major league game in Connie Mack Stadium, which was my first game to ever see. Saw future Hall of Famers like Roberto Clemente and Richie Ashburn in the game that, plus another Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that landed on tin roof above us in left field bleachers.

We also went to the planetarium in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell.

New York City was a place I will never forget and have not been there in the last 56 years. The main thing I can remember is seeing drunks lying on sidewalk in the Bowery District. That is something a 12 year-old kid always remembers.

We drove on to Beverly, Massachusetts, which was our next destination, since my Dad was there for the American Chemical Society convention there. I remember stopping at a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant with the famous orange roof and was impressed that they had 31 flavors of ice cream.

While in the area we were able to see the House of Seven Gables and Cape Cod.

The convention dealt with such topics as radiocarbon dating of trees and many other topics, that a 12 year-old would never comprehend.

Then we went on to Maine to see my Uncle John for the first time and I think the only time. It would be the only time to see my Maine relatives, since my cousin Jim would die in Vietnam in the 60’s, while piloting a helicopter and was shot down.

We stopped in Millville, New Jersey to pick up my Dad’s mom and while there saw my Grandpa Godfrey for the first and only time, while he was in the hospital. That reminds me of the times pranksters would call his grocery store and ask if he had Prince Albert in cans and then when he said yes, they would say then let him out.

The first and only stop on the way back home was Warsaw, Kentucky and Dad drove almost non-stop from there to Pineville, since school started the same day we got back home.

Random Memories

I don’t remember this but my mom told me I had gotten out of the A&P Grocery store at the age of three and walked down to the Murray Street Bridge. George Huffman a Pineville policeman, according to my mom said when he took me off the bridge that he was going to put me in jail, if it ever happened again. I probably didn’t even know what a jail was at that time, since we wouldn’t even have a television till six years later.

We didn’t have a television till I was about 9 years old and the only reason we got one was because, of my sister’s eye doctor prescribed it for her, so she could use both eyes and we had a polaroid screen on one side to make her use her “lazy” eye.

Being on Cactus Jack with Jack McCall hosting the show on KALB TV was one of my memories from this period and being in the Cub Scouts was another and I can remember riding in the Alexandria Christmas Parade one year.

George Huffman was part of another memory, when we thought our cat may have had rabies, so he tried to shoot at it with a shotgun under the house, but missed and the cat lived happily ever after.

My folks liked to go to Berwick’s Drug Store in downtown Pineville. The dilapidated building was not like Walgreen’s stores of today, but they must have had good prices on prescriptions.

Plane Crashes During Little League Game

One night we were playing a Little League game at Sandy Canyon, when I heard someone say “That plane’s going to crash” and we could see the plane heading downward and it landed near the Memorial Cemetery for veterans about a block from Main Street in downtown Pineville.

Pineville Elementary Burns Down

Pineville Elementary burned down shortly after I finished the eighth grade. This photo shows the firemen battling the blaze:

The story as it appeared in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk the next day:

Will never forget riding the mile from home to the fire that night. News traveled fast back then, even without any media coverage to speak of.

Fast Thinking Commercial Spokesman

Will never forget Larry McHale of KALB TV, who was ordinarily a newsman, but was advertising the virtues of a certain brand of cigarettes. Then in the middle of the commercial he starts coughing and thinking fast said “Just the thinking of those other brands makes me cough”.

Daredevil Over Red River

One memory that stands out is when a motorcyclist ran across the Red River on a some kind of contraption, that enabled him to ride a motorcycle. Anyone there that day is welcome to give their version of what happened that day.

College Drive Baptist Church Founded in 1947

Think we were living on Lawrence Boulevard, when College Drive Baptist Church was founded in 1947. It is now 66 years old and was located close to Louisiana College. I can remember J. Taylor Walworth as the founding pastor, when we joined in 1948. He is one of the few people in my life that never changed and looked the same shortly before his death many years later.

Can remember when Harvey McGraw was the education superintendent and a Sunday, which had 237 people present in Sunday School. It was a different time back then when fewer Louisiana College students had their own car, so they naturally walked to the church, which was closest to the college. As the years went by and more students had their own vehicles attendance started to fall. Students then could drive to the bigger churches in Alexandria and Pineville.

Starting Pineville High School in 1958

It was a huge change going from elementary school to high school and it took time to get used to moving from class to class all day at Pineville High. Went to summer school for three years, but graduated from Pineville High in September of 1962.

State Football Champions in 1960

The highlight of my high school years was when the Pineville High Rebels won the state football championship in 1960. Coach Jimmy Keeth and assistant Coach Vernon Beall led the team to a year, that the coaches and players will never forget. I think Coach Gene Millet was also a coach that year, but not positive. There has not been another championship football team from Pineville High School in the last 53 years making that year even more special.

Said Goodbye to Pineville in October of 1962

I joined the United States Army Reserve in 1962 and went to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training. Finished basic shortly before Christmas, then about two weeks later boarded a train at the Missouri Pacific station for Indianapolis,Indiana and headed for the brutal Indian winter, with snow on the ground in Indianapolis, when I arrived in January of 1963.

Returned home again from the Adjutant General School in Indianapolis in April of 1963. It didn’t take long to get tired of going to Army Reserve meetings, so joined the Regular Army for a three year enlistment in May of 1963 and would only come home in October of 1964 and 1965, before being honorably discharged in May of 1966 after a tour of duty in Hawaii and Vietnam.

Town Talk Employment

It was later in 1966, when I would be employed by the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, not having any idea that I would be working there for 36 years with two years working for the Monroe Morning World from 1974-1976 leaving Town Talk for an $8 a week raise, but Monroe paper had me working so much overtime, that I earned $5,000 more than I had earned with Town Talk the year before. Elvis Presley, indirectly helped me get the job in Monroe. We were in Monroe to see Elvis Presley and happened to drive by the newspaper and I wound up mailing in a job application, which was accepted.

More Memories of Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s

I remember we didn’t worry about how hot it was, because we didn’t know what air conditioning was and didn’t have one till the late 60’s. We only had one television station the first few years, before Alpine Cable came to town.

We would go out Highway 28 on our bicycles, since there was not much traffic. Nowadays it would be foolish to try to ride a bike on that same road today.

I can remember the Star Theater on Main Street catching on fire and Chief Crazy Horse and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were on the marquee that day.

Think it was still in the 60’s when Louisiana College ended their football program, due to lack of attendance at the games. I can remember the names of some players from back then like Clayton and Harry Bullard, Bill Mount, David Corley, Harry Ingalls, Frank Mobley, Gene Southern, Jim Jossick and Moose Munyan and of course Hamburger Harrison.

I remember George Huffman and Gus Perry from the Pineville Police Department and for some reason those are the only names I can recall.

Will never forget T.C. Brister who owned a sporting goods store letting me pay $6 for a $6.50 Nokona baseball glove, because that was all the money I had with me.

Can remember going to the display window of Jimmy Walker’s Appliance to watch television at night. I can remember visiting neighbors who had a television, which only got a New Orleans station and the picture was mostly snow, but a better picture would appear from time to time.

Trips to A&W Root Beer stand in Alexandria were a special treat. Those frosty mugs filled with root beer always hit the spot.

It is good to know that the same Martin Library we used to go to in the 50’s and 60’s is still operating many years later.

Remember well walking to Jack’s to buy the Sporting News baseball newspaper for a quarter on way home from high school.

Can remember the KALB radio record hops with the Big Bopper appearing a year or two before his death in a plane crash,which also killed Buddy Holly in Iowa.

Who can forget Mr. Pendergrast walking down the street with his top hat? There were rumors that he was rich, but not sure if he was or not. He sure didn’t live like a rich man.

Hope this article revives memories of what it was like growing up in Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s.

 

 

 

 

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.

Little Couple: Adopt Three Year Old Child From China

Jen and Bill Klein on their wedding day.

There are many reality shows, that a viewer can instantly tell that it is scripted. However Little Couple is not one of those shows.

It is a show that tells about the real life struggles and joys of Bill and Jen Arnold, a couple of little people living, in a world of regular size people.

They have tried to have a baby in the conventional way and by having a surrogate deliver their baby. Neither way worked for them, as the surrogate mother lost the baby.

Then they tried adoption and now are parents of three year old Will Arnold. He is not a normal size child, as he is like his parents a little person. His facial expressions will melt your heart, as this one in a photo with his parents:

Jen and Bill Klein with their adopted child from China named Will.

Jen Klein works in Houston, Texas as a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, while her husband Bill Klein runs a business from his home.

They may both be afflicted with dwarfism, but they don’t seem to let it stop them from accomplishing the goals, that they have set for themselves in life.

Both of them have hopes and dreams like the rest of us. Seems like nothing comes easy for them, from buying a car that has to be fitted with extension pedals so they can reach the pedals and building a house that takes into account their size, by making drawers and door knobs easily accessible for them.

The first Little Couple show aired on the TLC Network on May 26, 2009 and the sixth season recently started, with the focus being on them fighting the red tape to adopt a baby from China.

Before the adoption they had tried having a baby the natural way, but it never worked out for them, so they then tried having a surrogate mother, but that also did not end well, with the mother losing the baby.

They jumped at the chance to adopt a three year old Chinese baby, that also had dwarfism. It is great that they will be parenting this child, because they know exactly what the baby will face in a big people world. They took Will to an amusement park in Japan and Will was not allowed on a ride, because of being too short and his dad Bill told him that it will happen many times in his life.

Will can almost instantly go from a lying position to a standing position, probably because of the dwarfism. What really captures your heart is when you see Will smile in his own special way. I couldn’t find a photo of his special smile to post, but it can be seen on the show.

The next episode will show the family returning from China to Houston, so should be interesting to see how Will adopts to a whole new culture.

Bill and Jen are also in the process of adopting a girl from India named Zoey. Hope we get to see Zoey, before Season 6 ends.

It is good to see great things happen to Bill and Jen, after all the struggles of trying to have a child and then the red tape of adopting a baby from a foreign country.

They both have a great sense of humor, which helps them through even the worst situations.

One thing for sure is that no other couple on reality television is more likeable than Bill and Jen. Shows like this make up for some of the garbage seen on reality television today, that are so obviously scripted to produce drama.

Duck Dynasty: Is This The Way To Run A Business?

Kay, Phillip, Willie, Si, Jase and Korie Robertson stars of Duck Dynasty.

 

The Season 3 finale of Duck Dynasty, which featured their trip to Hawaii attracted an amazing 9.6 million viewers. It was the most watched program in the history of the A&E cable network. An even bigger shock was that it had a higher rating than American Idol in the key 18-49 demographic.

When a program about a family making duck calls has a higher rating, than the ratings blockbuster American Idol there has to be some real concern right now by American Idol producers.

Phil Robertson who started the Duck Commander business of making duck calls, that captured the same sound as actual ducks was starting quarterback at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana. The second string quarterback was a guy named Terry Bradshaw, who went on to fame as the quarterback, of the Pittsburgh Steelers and would win Super Bowls for the Steelers. Robertson said Terry went after the bucks, while he went after the ducks, but Phil went after the bucks too and is worth $5 million today.

His wife Kay is also worth $5 million according to Celebrity Net Worth website, but since all the wives are shown with the same worth as their husbands among the Robertson sons it could mean they are both worth the same $5 million and not $10 million total.

The website lists the wives with the same worth, so will just quote the worth of the sons.

Alan Robertson is the oldest of the Robertson sons and can be easily identified since he is the unbearded Robertson and doesn’t seem to belong with the others.

 

Oldest son Alan Robertson has never been seen on the show to my knowledge and is a senior pastor of a West Monroe, Louisiana church. His net worth is $3 million, so he still shares in the wealth with the rest of the family.

Willie is the CEO of the company and is worth $10 million, while his brother Jase is worth $4 million and younger brother Jeptha is worth $8 million.

Their Uncle Si is worth $2 million and although he is married don’t think his wife has ever been shown.

The duck call company Duck Commander is based in West Monroe, Louisiana where we lived in 1974 and 1975 before moving across the Ouachita River to Monroe, while working for the local Monroe Morning World newspaper.

 

Phil Chose Right Son For CEO

Phil was smart to designate Willie as CEO, since he is the only son that seems to have a modicum of ability to run the company. His brother Jase  and uncle Si are apt to leave work without notice, to go duck hunting or do whatever they want, with no regard for how it affects the business.

One of the programs this morning showed Willie trying to get the brothers and other workers to wear uniforms. They all decided to wear the uniforms, except Jase who refused to wear the new uniforms and rallied the others to go on strike. So they left the room where they make duck calls, to go outside and made signs to picket Duck Commander.

Meanwhile Kay Robertson, who is selling boudin from a truck passes by and puts a stop to the nonsense, by serving the brothers and co-workers boudin and managed to convince the strikers to leave the picket line and return to work.

 

Si Wakes Up In The Woods

On another program this morning Si and other workers had a hankering for donuts and descended on the donut shop and proceeded to have a contest to see who could eat the most donuts. Si won the contest and used his winnings to buy some tickets for a drawing for a camper.

By the time they returned to work Si later found out he had won the drawing, when the camper was delivered to Duck Commander headquarters. Si decided to cook something in his new camper and later fell asleep in the camper. The other workers were not happy campers, when Si was sleeping and they needed him to make reeds for the duck calls.

So Jase hooked up the camper to a truck and hauled the camper with Si sleeping on the bed to the woods. They left Si sleeping in the camper and drove off. It was a funny sight to see Si open the camper door and find out he was in the middle of nowhere in the woods.

 

Willie Gets No Respect

Willie gets absolutely no respect from his brothers and their co-workers. Willie is so serious about getting the work done, while the brothers would rather goof off, than actually make any duck calls. Work comes to a standstill often, when the guys are not in the mood to work.

It is a miracle any work is ever done in the duck call shop, with this group of characters. They are sometimes more intent on exacting revenge on Willie for his latest show of force, to increase their productivity.

Willie has a camera installed in the duck call room, so he can witness for himself how little work is being done. Jase, who is not happy with this development has one of the other workers steal the monitor for the camera out of Willie’s office, then give Willie a taste of his own medicine. The guys are watching Willie line up his shot in his office, with golf putter and then Jase says something over the speaker about Willie needed to adjust his grip. Willie puts away his putting green and golf club and goes to duck call room to demand the monitor is returned.

Jase and Willie argue about the camera being in the duck call room, then work out a compromise and Willie is given his monitor back.

Willie has a quandary in that he can’t fire family members, so he has to tolerate their antics in the duck call room. If any of these guys were working for another company they would have been fired years ago, but they have the job security of working for the family business.

This is no way to run a business, but their business is picking up since the show has become so popular. These guys especially Jase and Si may be a train wreck, but they are keeping millions of us entertained.

Latest news is that family is asking for more money to film Season 4, but they are dealing from a position of strength as A&E is not going to battle with them over salary, since they will probably raise advertising rates to recoup the money and make even more money in the long run. Latest word is that Season 4 filming will start soon and that we will see those episodes later this year.

 

 

 

American Idol: Nobody Going Home

Angie Miller and Kree Harrison were Top 2 in American Idol results show in which nobody went home to get the show on schedule after judges didn’t use their save.

 

Kree Harrison had to be shocked to be in the Top 2 with Angie Miller, on the Thursday night results show on American Idol. The judges had roundly criticized her performances on Wednesday night, but evidently the judges couldn’t sway the voters into not voting for her.

It was a shock to see Candace Glover in the Bottom 2, since she had some of the best feedback from the judges on Wednesday night. Amber Holcomb also was in the Bottom 2, but that wasn’t too surprising since there was some criticism of her decision to sing MacArthur Park on Wednesday’s show.

Ryan Seacrest teased the audience by saying “And going home is no one” and then explaining the show was expecting the judges to use their save, but when they didn’t the show needed an extra week to finish on the original schedule.

According to my calculations there should be three more weeks, with the final three revealed next week, then the final two the following week and finale the third week. None of this is official so is only conjecture at this point.

Lee DeWyze, the Season 10 winner, who is probably the least recognizable winner among the 11 winners so far sang a song from his new album.

Angie Miller seems to be favorite to win American Idol.

The favorite to win Season 12 of American Idol seems to be Angie Miller, unless she falters in the remaining shows. She needs to follow the advice of the judges and Jimmy Iovine and sing while playing the piano, which seems to be the niche she needs to be in to become the next American Idol.

However, with the votes from yesterday and those cast next week anything can happen, so it is crucial for each of the remaining four contestants, to make good song choices and to perform them as flawlessly as possible.

American Idol has lost almost 5.5 million viewers since the premiere show in January. I think many fans have gone over to The Voice and don’t care to watch American Idol the next two nights. A Big Bang Theory rerun topped American Idol last week, which shows how far the ratings have tumbled this season.

Only 12.46 million viewers tuned in to the Wednesday performance show, but no results are available yet for last night’s show.

Lizard Lick Towing’s Ron and Amy Shirley Worth Combined $5 Million

Ron and Amy Shirley who star in Lizard Lick Towing reality show on TruTV.

Ron and Amy Shirley know that each renewal of Lizard Lick Towing means they can deposit huge amounts of money in their bank account.

They are both worth a total of $5 million, with Celebrity Net Worth showing they both have net worths of $2.5 million each.

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-businessmen/business-executives/ron-shirley-net-worth/

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-businessmen/business-executives/amy-shirley-net-worth/

One of the articles says that the Shirleys recreate some of the their encounters, when repossessing cars, so that tells me they are using actors in the wild scenes seen on the show. I don’t mind that the show is fake, as long as the producers don’t try to fool the fans, into thinking that the action scenes are real.

Bobby Brantley in his cool shades.

Bobby Brantley once stated that some of the scenes were staged. The last I knew Bobby Brantley was married to his fourth wife Anita, so it surprised me that the show had a storyline, that showed Bobby dating a local girl on the show, which infuriated Amy, since Amy had a long and bad history with the girl. Anyone that knows if Bobby is still married is welcome to comment.

It doesn’t really matter to me that it is fake, since it is an entertaining show. I have seen scenes where Ron and Bobby have been shot at during a repossession. A person being shot at in real life would have called the police, but even with all the fights at repossession sites and in the office police are seldom called.

They are inviting trouble in the office leaving stuff that can be thrown around. That office lobby should not have anything that is not nailed down, since if it is not then it will be destroyed.

Ron and Amy Shirley may not be earning Kardashian type money, for their reality show but most of us wouldn’t mind having $5 million in our bank accounts

It is another reason that Ron and Amy are probably on pins and needles, till they get their renewal notices for the next season.

Wikipedia says that Ron and Amy were going to be in Wife Swap. Just thinking about them being on the show makes me laugh. However it didn’t pan out, but it may have turned out for the best as Lizard Lick Towing was first seen on All Worked Up, before TruTV offered a deal to Ron and Amy, to have their own show and they hopped on the money train that would make them both millionaires.

I assume there will be new shows, if it is renewed next summer or fall.

The main thing is that Lizard Lick Towing is a fun show to watch, whether it is fake or not.

 

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George Beverly Shea Dies At 104

George Beverly Shea 1909-2013

George Beverly Shea has died in Montreat, North Carolina after a brief illness at the age of 104. He was born on February 1, 1909 in Winchester, Ontario, Canada.

Shea is best known for being a soloist with the Billy Graham crusade from 1947 till almost 60 years later when Graham was no longer physically able to stand and preach.

George Beverly Shea shown with Billy Graham at a crusade.

His recording career lasted from 1951 till his death and he recorded 70 albums during his recording career. I can still remember hearing him sing How Great Thou Art and It Took A Miracle and many other songs during the televised crusades.

He was an accomplished musician playing the violin, piano and organ.

Shea was married a combined 70 years to his first wife Erma Scharfe who died in 1976 and his second wife whom he married in 1985 and survived him upon his death.

George Beverly Shea may be gone, but he will never be forgotten by the many of us who saw him sing so many times over the years, with the Billy Graham crusade. His music will live on for years to come.

Duck Dynasty Stars Holding Out For $200,000 An Episode

The stars of Duck Dynasty are holding out for more money before starting filming on Season 4.

Duck Dynasty attracted over 8 million viewers in their Season 3 premiere, which makes it the most watched show on the A&E cable network. The ratings for last week showed only Walking Dead and The Bible with a higher rating than the show about the Robinson clan from Louisiana.

Phil Robertson who created the Duck Commander duck call played football at La. Tech and started ahead of Terry Bradshaw who went on to win several Super Bowls and was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Robertson turned down a chance to go to the pros, because it interfered with duck season.

This article from ABC News tells more about the Robertson family and how they created a duck call business, with sales in the millions.

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/redneck-millionaires-built-duck-dynasty-duck-call-business/story?id=15961955#.UVTzqjYo6M9

The Robertson family is holding out for $200,000 an episode of the reality show. A&E is currently filming about 15 episodes a season, which would mean A&E would have to pay the Robertson family $3 million a season.

A&E is caught in a bad place. They surely don’t want to pay the family $3 million a season, but on the other hand they don’t want to lose their most watched television program. The Robertson family is in a win-win situation, since even if they get $100,000 an episode they will make $1.5 million. There were two complete seasons filmed last year, so the Robertson family would make $6 million if they get the $200,000 episode that they want and $3 million if they get $100,000 an episode.

The show is a show that the family can watch, in that they don’t have any profanity on the shows and the family was angered by A&E inserting bleeps in the earlier seasons, so it would look like the family was using bad language.

I had never seen a Duck Dynasty show before this week and can see why the show is so popular. Best of all it is filmed in West Monroe, Louisiana, where we lived from 1974-1976.

It is almost a given, that A&E and the Robertson family will work out an agreement, on their pay per episode in Season 4, since A&E doesn’t want to lose this gold mine of a show.

19 Kids and Counting Returned Last Night With Asia Special

19 Kids and Counting plus two parents and a grandmother plus wife of Josh and two babies.

 

19 Kids and Counting returned last night on TLC as the family traveled to Asia in the first of three episodes of specials featuring their trip. The regular episodes of  the show will return on April 2.

Jim Bob and Michelle, the parents of the 19 children were married on July 21, 1984 and  took birth control the first four years of their marriage, then went off the pill and Michelle miscarried. They then they let God decide how many children they would have. Jim Bob only had a sister while growing up, while Michelle had five sisters and a brother.

Their first child Josh was born on March 3, 1988 and their last child Josie was born on December 10, 2009. Michelle lost the next baby, when its heart stopped beating during the pregnancy.

Michelle and her family appeared on the Today show on November 8, 2011 and a month exactly later the family announced the baby had died. This episode was one of the most dramatic shows in the series, as the series showed Jim Bob and Michelle being told the baby had no heartbeat.

It was particularly emotional, when the children were told that the baby had died. Then the funeral was extremely emotional seeing such a small casket for the baby.

The Duggar family lives in Tontitown, Arkansas a city of only 2,460 people but has grown 161 percent since 2000, when the population was only 942 people.

The cost and logistics of raising 19 kids has to be very expensive and they have to be very organized to make sure all the kids follow a routine, to make sure everything that needs to be done is accomplished. Jim Bob is a real estate agent and investor, so he must be doing very well to provide for such a large family. TLC is also probably paying the family something for them being on the show.

Their 25-year-old son Josh and his wife presently have two children of their own named a girl Mackynzie and a son Michael. The couple is expecting their third child in June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Couple Adopts 3 Year-Old, Return to TLC on April 30

Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein who star in the Little Couple series on TLC are adopting a three year-old child from China.

Dr. Jennifer Arnold had problems conceiving a baby on her own and then they tried having a surrogate mother for their child. That didn’t work either when the surrogate mother suffered a miscarriage. Now Dr. Arnold and her husband Bill Klein have adopted a three year-old boy from China named William.

The parents who star on TLC’s Little Couple series had wanted a child with dwarfism and this child is a dwarf like them.

The show was last seen on May 15, 2012 and will be returning for a sixth season, almost a year later when they return to TLC, for a new season on April 30.

Little Couple has been one of the most drama-free reality shows, since Jen and Bill get along so well. They have to be the most likeable reality stars on television today.

They both apparently make a very good living as Dr. Arnold is a doctor working as a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Bill owns a sales, training  and telecommunication business.

When the new season starts on April 30 we should see some shows about the adoption process and how they are settling into their new home in Houston, plus they have a pet shop in Houston.

This couple has been through a lot in recent seasons, when they hoped Jen would be able to conceive a baby on her own. When that didn’t work they went the surrogacy route and that also failed, so it will be good to see them with their new adopted child in Season 6.

http://www.parents.com/blogs/parents-news-now/2013/03/13/celebrities/tvs-the-little-couple-adopts-baby-boy/

Undercover Boss of O’Neil Clothing Offered Weed, Checkers Boss Closes Store On the Spot

Jesus, an employee at O’Neill makes a bad impression on Undercover Boss Toby Bost of O’Neill Clothing by telling him he knows where to get some good weed and asks the boss if he ever thought about opening a pot dispensary.

Toby Bost the CEO of O’Neills Clothing was shocked when he encountered an employee named Jesus in one of his stores. Jesus didn’t win any points by saying the clothes were clothes a five-year old would wear. He won even fewer points by telling his boss, who was disguised as Frederick that he knew where to score some weed. Jesus even went so far as to ask Frederick if he ever thought about opening a pot dispensary. He also revealed he took drugs before going to work to make it through the workday. Bost said in a film snippet that he was worried that Jesus might offer other employees or customers some weed. Surprisingly he didn’t fire him on the spot, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had.

Toby Bost left, is shown by employee Jorge how to make a T-shirt at the print shop.

 

Bost then meets the polar opposite of Jesus at the print shop. Jorge loves his job and is patient with Frederick as he shows him to make T-shirts. However, Jorge has a sad back story as he talks to Frederick on a break. He asks Frederick if his children are healthy, then tells about his child having a rare disease and telling about how the child is being fed by a tube.

Won’t go into details about the other employees he encounters, since these were the two most interesting employees to me.

Jesus, Jorge and the other employees featured on the program are sent to meet with someone about how Frederick did on the job. They are really there to meet Toby Bost the CEO of O’Neill Clothing, who reveals his true identity to them. It was not a fun meeting for Jesus, as Bost tells him how disappointed he was in his behavior at the store and mentioned that about the weed and pot dispensary. Jesus asks if he is fired, but Bost says he is not fired but will have to undergo a training program to learn how to treat customers and fellow workers with respect. Jesus thanks Bost for the second chance and at the end of the show it is mentioned that he may even stop smoking.

The meeting with Jorge went much better as Bost thanked him for his company loyalty and then offered a large sum of money to help with the medical expenses of Jorge’s sick child. This is when the show really connects with the audience, when you see someone who did their job the right way be rewarded.

 

 

Rick Silva CEO of Checkers and Rallys fast food restaurants appeared as Alex Garcia, who had a pharmacy go out of business in Philadlelphia. trying to find work in the fast food business.

Rick Silva the CEO of Checkers and Rallys  fast food restaurants went undercover as Alex Garcia in an episode of Undercover Boss. He learned that almost none of the staff had been trained for their jobs. He took particular interest in a worker named Todd who worked hard, but was constantly being hounded by the general manager. Todd needed the job to help support his mom and was trying to go to culinary school to be a chef.

The behavior of the general manager upset Alex enough to talk to him in the parking lot, about how he treated his employees. The general manager named Stevens said he had to yell at them, for them to pay any attention to him. Alex finds out during the conversation that Stevens was thrust into the general manager’s position after completing only three weeks of the six weeks training course. He reveals to Stevens that he is the CEO of Checkers, so he lost his secret identity as Alex to correct the situation.

Alex then apologized to Stevens for not providing more training before he was promoted to the general manager position. Alex tells Stevens that he is closing down the store immediately. He then reassures the employees that they still have their jobs and apologizes to them for not making sure they had been trained properly. He then tells the employees that he is going to have several general managers in the store next day, to train the employees and to get the restaurant back on track.

When Todd goes to meet the boss after Alex has returned to being Rick Silva again he is not shocked since he already knew Alex was really Rick the CEO. Silva tells Todd how much he appreciated him as a worker then tells him he is giving him $15,000 to go to culinary school and to help his mother.

 

These two episodes of Undercover Boss made me realize how good this show is. It shows how CEO’s don’t have a clue, as to what is happening at their stores and how inept they are at doing the work of the employees. It also shows how CEO’s can be compassionate, when they learn about their employees struggling to pay their bills.

This show is reality television at its best. There is more real emotion in the last 15 or 20 minutes of this show, when the CEO’s reveal themselves and help their workers financially, than most reality shows have in an hour.

This article tells more about the Checkers episode and has photos of the show:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104085/Rallys-Checkers-CEO-Rick-Silva-shuts-restaurant-Undercover-Boss-episode.html

 

 

Magazine Ads From the Past

These ads will bring a lot of memories to the old-timers among us and will let the younger generation know about the days, when you could buy a Coca-Cola for 5 cents and a pack of gum for 5 cents.

Smokesational! Radiolutionary! Smokerette-Radio by Stewart Warner: The only combination smoker and radio set. Magazine Ad, later 1940’s
A combination radio-smoker which provided smokers with a place for their cigarettes, cigars, pipes and tobacco, while listening to their favorite radio programs on this $49.95 radio.
This is the precursor of the Sony Walkman for only $7.95, before shipping and federal tax.

 

A one pound bag of Bazooka Bubble Gum will set you back $7.99 today after inflation kicked in.

 

 

You could look up and down every aisle of every grocery store in the United States today and not find these prices. Two boxes of Wheaties probably cost at least 25 cents nowadays and two pounds of coffee has probably doubled to 50 cents.

 

Barber shop prices of the 1900’s on the left. No date given for the prices on the right.

 

Barber shop prices over a 100 years later. The shave and a haircut of the 1900’s cost a total of 60 cents. That same shave and haircut today costs $33.00.

 

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