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.

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38 Years in Newspaper Production: Last 28 Years At Alexandria Town Talk

Page being built using cold type composition.

When I returned to Alexandria Town Talk, after working for Monroe Morning World for two years it was back to cold type composition again. I negotiated a raise to $190 a week, when I returned, which amounted to a little over $4 an hour. Ten years of experience and making $4 an hour was not exactly making me rich.

This paragraph from Farm Collector tells more about the cold type composition Town Talk had been using since 1972:

Beginning in the 1960s, hot type began to give way to cold type, which is technically neither cold nor type, but rather phototypesetting. Machines generate text printed on photographic paper. Every piece of text is then run through a machine that applies hot wax to one side (wax allows items to be repositioned multiple times), hand-trimmed and positioned on a page-size template.

Once a page layout is complete, a film negative of the page is created. That negative is used to expose the image of the page onto an aluminum plate, and the plates are applied to a printing cylinder on the press.

It was tedious work to place the ads on a page and then wrap the type and photos around the ads, since we had to cut the type to fit the page, according to the page layout. Sometimes a page would be built and an ad, for example which was 3 columns by 8 inches might actually be 4 columns by 10 inches. We then would have to re-do the page moving type and/or photos to make the ad fit the page. This was not easy to do working with paper, since we had to use an X-acto or razor blade, to cut the type where needed to fit the page.

Town Talk Starts Morning Paper

The Town Talk ended their afternoon paper and started a mornings only paper in 1981. The Town Talk missed by 2 years of having an afternoon paper for 100 years.

Some employees left the paper, when the morning paper was announced, since the composing room work was mostly done in the evenings.

The night work was tough on families, in which both spouses worked, especially if one worked days and the other nights.

 

Historic marker telling of history of Alexandria Daily Town Talk

 

Since we worked in the composing room building up pages we had a lot of interaction with editors, wire desk and sports desk employees.

Adras Laborde was the editor when I started working there and sometimes I had to take proofs of his column for him to read and check for errors.

Wallace Anthony was a longtime wire desk employee, that died four years ago. He might not have been the fastest at designing pages, but he was a perfectionist intent on producing an excellent front page.

Bill Carter was an excellent sports editor, who I enjoyed talking to in coffee shop many times about baseball.

Nelder Dawson was the first person I talked to, when applying for work at Town Talk and he was there for 50 years.

Helen Derr was the religious editor and often worked with her making any necessary changes to her Saturday church page.

Ron Grant was another editor and former photographer, who checked page proofs and was always willing to help, with any problems having to do with an editorial page.

Ethel Holloman was very particular about how her society pages looked. This was back in the day when society editor would attend weddings. She is even more famous for her investigative reporting about mistreatment of mental patients at Central Louisiana State Hospital. It would be interesting to check the Town Talk archives, so I could read her articles about the abuse of mental patients.

Jim Butler left the Town Talk way too soon, since he was an excellent editor, who was great to work with and enjoyed our conversations about baseball over the years.

Elizabeth Roberts Martin – She made the news herself when writing a review, of the Elvis Presley concert in March of 1977, which was less than 5 months before his untimely death.

 

 

This is the review reprinted by elvisconcerts.com:

 

 

CONCERT DATE: March 29 1977 (8:30 pm). Alexandria LA..

Elvis Concert Termed “Entertaining”
by Elizabeth Roberts
Alexandria Town Talk
March 30, 1977

There’s a show on stage at the Rapides Parish Coliseum that is staged very professionally – that’s with a capital “P” as in Presley. And it’s Entertaining – that’s with a capital “E” as in Elvis. But it’s not a grade A performance, I’ll grade it a B minus, but as I said, it’s entertaining.

There’s no need to rush and push tonight and there’s not a chance of seeing Presley other than on stage. He won’t begin singing until about 10PM (his plane doesn’t arrive until at least 8.30 tonight) and when he does here, he’ll be driven inside the coliseum so there’s no need to stand outside. Once you’re in your seat, you stay there. No rushing the aisles for picture-taking or for a closer look. The guards see to that.

Tuesday night Presley was on stage less than an hour; he was impossible to understand when (or if) he talked between numbers; his How Great Thou Art should have been How Loud Thou Art; he never said one word to the audience or mentioned how nice or not nice it was to be in Alexandria or said “hi, how are you, we’re going to have a good time tonight and hope you enjoy the show.” He came on stage, did a few numbers and then dashed off – no encores, no extra bows, no nothing.

He relied heavily on his back-up group and when one of the singers dropped a microphone after singing O Sole Mio, he made the guy sing it again. There were false starts on a number of songs and his repertoire was mostly 1950’s early-EP songs.

Yes, that’s how he got his start and those are the songs we screamed over years ago, but times have changed and so has Elvis. He’s not the skinny young man from Memphis by way of Tupelo and the Louisiana Hayride. He’s a good singer and a showman but neither talent showed up in Tuesday night’s show.

He should update his performance and add more contemporary numbers. He’s certainly capable – his version of Early Morning Rain was outstanding. The rest was pure early Presley: Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes, I Got a Woman, C.C.Rider, It’s Now Or Never.

In between, a lackey followed him around, draping scarves around his neck, so Elvis could toss them to admiring fans. I’ll give The Man credit for consideration, though. He did remember there were hundreds of people sitting behind him and tossed a few scarves in their direction and did a couple of bumps and grinds. Of course, that set off the screaming masses who saw for the first time a bump and grind from the rear.

If you’re going to the show tonight and going only to see Elvis, there’s no rush. The “warm-up” program begins in the vicinity of 8.30PM. Tuesday, it ended at 9.27 for an intermission while we prepare the stage don’t forget the souvenir concessions outside.” At 9.57PM, the “Hot Hilton Horns” began playing the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the thousands of flashbulbs started exploding like strobe lights.

Then The Man appeared, dressed in gold-embroidered white jeans and jacket and a gigantic belt which he had to keep hitching up. Around his neck were two necklaces (a short neck chain and a gold coin on a gold chain) and on his left hand, a gigantic diamond ring.

There were the usual warm-up groups. Gospel singers in yellow-trimmed-in-black liesure tuxedos; the Jokers: an inspirational” comedian dressed in a denim jumpsuit embroidered with Walt Disney characters (On Gay Liberation: “If God had meant people to be that way, he would have created Adam and Freddie”); and a trio “The Sweet Inspirations” who were worth the admission price.

If you’re a people watcher, the concert is great fun. If you’re an Elvis fan, you might be disappointed. There’s more (and better) music on any record album of his you have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Courtesy of Scott Hayward

A few more of the people who I have worked with over the years:

Richard Sharkey was known for checking and double-checking pages, before they went to the press. Then after the press started he would check the first papers rolling off the press and have us fix any mistakes made.

Cecil Williams was another editor in editorial department, who was fun to talk to.

Al Nassif was not only a sportswriter and later a wire desk employee, but also published Church Today on the side. Al was one of the nicest people ever to work for Town Talk, and employed me as a page builder for the Church Today for 13 years. It is amazing he could work two jobs and have dialysis treatments for many years.

Bob Tompkins  worked at both the Town Talk and the Monroe Morning World like me. It was good to see someone I knew from Town Talk working there in Monroe.

John Marcase will always be remembered, for his hard work on the high school football section every year and those horrific Friday nights, during high school football season, when he would make order out of chaos.

Melinda Martinez in the Focus department knew it was trouble when I visited the department. Either there was an error on the page or an ad had come up the wrong size, which caused her to have to rebuild a page, which was not exactly a picnic for her.

Mike Branigan was the composing room superintendent and was a problem solver of the first magnitude. I don’t know how many times we had to call him at home, with some major problem and a few minutes later he would be in the Town Talk composing room fixing the problem.

 Note: I know I am leaving someone out, but there are too many co-workers over the 36 years at the Town Talk, to mention them all in one article.

Moved To Camera Shop

Will never forget 1993, since that is year I was moved from page makeup to the camera shop. It was a challenge for a non-mechanical person like me and it took a long time to get used to it. Had no idea how hard it was to register photos using register marks and toning photos didn’t come easy for me. We had to register cyan, magenta, yellow and black negatives and if they weren’t registered properly it would make for a very fuzzy looking photo in the newspaper.

I don’t think the other camera shop workers liked me being in the camera shop, since I was clearly a novice that was not mechanically inclined. Changing the rolls of film in the dark for the full-page negative camera was always an adventure for me.

Paginating Classified Pages

I was eventually trained to build the classified pages using page pagination. I would first place the ads in the page using the computer, according to the classified layout, then after all the ads were in place would flow all the other classified type consisting of automobiles for sale, garage sales, etc. After the pages finished filling would place the legal type in the pages. Sometimes, we had more classified type and classified ads, than would fit in the section, so would have to make adjustments to make it work out.

Double truck ads like we did while in platemaking.

The hardest thing in the 38 years was building double truck ads, or as we called them double trouble. Cutting the middle out of the two page ads and then matching, without overlapping the two sides was very time-consuming. Black and white ads were bad enough, since they only had one negative, but the color ads took much longer, since we had to perfectly match up all four color negatives. There must be a way to do these same ads by now with computer.

Plate Made With a Platemaking Machine

Moved to Platemaking

Not sure what year it was, but was moved to platemaking and started working across the street adjacent to the pressroom.

Full page negatives would arrive in platemaking, then we would place them over a metal plate in a plate burner, which would make an impression of the page on the plate. Then we would carry the finished plates to pressroom and they would be placed on the press.

This was very hectic work and we would take most of the night, to get caught up the first time.

It was during this time, that I experienced high blood pressure problems. I went to VA hospital in Pineville and found out my blood pressure was 232/108 and nurse told me I was on the verge of a stroke.

Retired On Halloween Night

My last night of work was on Halloween night of 2004. I didn’t want to retire, but was in a position, where I really had no choice but retire.

Leaving work for the last time knowing I was ending 36 years with Town Talk, and 38 years in newspaper production was not easy. The 21-year-old kid that walked in the Town Talk in August of 1966 was now 60 years old and only two years from being on Social Security.

I will be 70 next week, but still think of Town Talk often. In fact I dream about working on the paper and trying to meet the deadline, then wake up and realize that part of my life is over.

Thanks for the memories to all of those I worked with those 38 years in newspaper production.

Sad Aftermath

The Alexandria Town Talk as I knew it longer exists.

One of the more troubling changes is that the pages aren’t even designed in Alexandria, but rather 857 miles away in Des Moines, Iowa.

Guess the editorial department is relegated writing stories and taking photos, except I guess the editors of different departments still decide, which stories will be used in the paper.  The Town Talk is more of a news gathering company and ad selling company, since the pages are designed in Des Moines, Iowa, the paper is printed in Lafayette, Louisiana and last I knew the circulation department is in North Carolina. I have heard that subscribers have to call North Carolina, if their paper isn’t delivered.

So much for Gannett being a boon to the Central Louisiana economy. They are more concerned about the bottom line, than about the local economy.

The pressroom across the street from the main building lies dormant and the Town Talk is now being printed 88 miles away in Lafayette, Louisiana. I don’t think I will ever understand, why the papers have to be delivered back to Alexandria.

The bulletin board with photos of all the employees is no longer filled and not even sure if it is still there. If it is still there doubt there is more than two rows of photos.

The composing room which once had about 40 employees doesn’t even exist, because of technology advances.

The saddest thing about the downsizing is that many of my co-workers have been let go by Gannett over the years.

The beginning of the end was when the Smith family sold the Town Talk, to Central Newspapers for $62 million in 1996.

Then four years later Gannett buys Central Newspapers as the Town Talk had three different owners from 1996-2000.

Town Talk employees had received a $150 Christmas bonus for many years, but Gannett ended that tradition almost immediately upon taking ownership.

Nationwideadvertising.com lists the Town Talk circulation in a year, which is not shown:

Advertise in the Alexandria-Pineville Louisiana “The Town Talk” Daily Newspaper. Printed mornings. Circulation: 34,437; Sunday: 39,585. 

Wikipedia now list the following circulation for the Town Talk:

The daily newspaper has a circulation of some 19,500 daily and 27,500 on Sundays.

I am hoping that there will always be an Alexandria Town Talk paper edition, since reading news on the internet can never match unfolding a paper, to read the latest news and sports.

I don’t know what the future holds for the Alexandria Town Talk, but for the sake of the present employees I hope  it is a long one.

Internet Headaches

My No.1 complaint about the internet is to be reading an article, then a pop-up ad covers up the article, which makes you have to X out the ad, so you can finish reading the article. Guess you can call this kind of pop-up a pop-over since it covers up an article. If the advertiser thinks pop-up ads will make me want to look at their ad, then they are dead wrong, since I will never buy a product, from a company that intrudes on my time on the computer.

Another culprit is the spammer who reads your blog and likes it and posting a phony message, about how much they like your blog, then you see it is a business trying to use your blog to advertise their business.

You Tube videos are another headache, when you expect to see a music video, but instead an advertisement starts playing for 30 minutes or 60 minutes. You are a prisoner to the advertiser, since you have no choice, but to watch their ad if you want to see the music video. I hate inserting a link in my blog, to a You Tube video that first shows an ad, since some viewers won’t want to sit there for 60 minutes watching an ad, before seeing the video.

Some websites are interminably slow to open a page, so eventually I will avoid those websites. For instance I have seen some websites take forever to open, but then go to ESPN which opens almost immediately, despite being graphic intensive website.

Then there are the websites, that require you to sign in with your email address and a password, just to view the content of that website. Another pet peeve of mine is going to a website that lets you read only part of an article, then says you have to pay to read the complete article.

There is nothing more aggravating, than to go to a website and start reading, then the page becomes unresponsive and you have to wait till the page lets you start scrolling again.

One thing that often happens on the internet is to go to a website and you get a message saying you need to download a program, before you can view that website. If you have problems downloading the program, then you have wasted several minutes for nothing.

Bloggers like me have another problem, by posting a photo found in a Google search, then go back to that page later and the photo is gone. Copyrighted photos should not show up in a Google search. I have about 925 posts in my blog, so it is impossible to go through each blog to see which photos or videos have been removed by someone.

Charging to view a website tells me it is time to forget about that website. That is why Facebook will not charge to use Facebook, because Facebookers will leave the site in droves, if they start charging. Facebook doesn’t want to tell their advertisers, that millions have closed out their Facebook accounts, so the advertiser will ask Facebook to reduce their advertising rates and Facebook surely doesn’t want to lose revenue.

The only internet service that I would ever consider paying for is if all the email services begin charging, for using their email service. Email is almost certainly the most widely used service on the internet, especially those that don’t use the social media for one reason or the other.

Note: Readers are welcome to list their complaints about the internet in the comments section. Any comments are appreciated.

1968-1969: Years of Assassinations, Moonwalks and Protests

 

 

 

Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

 1968 and 1969 were years defined by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, American astronauts being the first to walk on the moon, anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the New York Jets and the New York Mets were surprise Super Bowl and World Series winners.

 

Super Bowl II would be won by the Green Bay Packers when they defeated the Oakland Raiders on January 14.

 

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood would be seen for the first time on February 19, 1968.

 

March 16, 1968 would be one of the low points of the Vietnam War when between 374-504 unarmed civilians were killed at My Lai by United States troops. 2nd Lt. William Calley was charged with 22 of the deaths and sentenced to life imprisonment, but only served three-and-a-half years of house arrest.

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced on March 31 that he would not be running for president in the 1968 election. His decision resulted in the Democrats only having one president elected in the next 24 years, when Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976. It would be 1993 before Bill Clinton took office as the 42nd president and he would become the first Democratic president to serve two complete terms since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 

April 4, 1968 started a year of assassinations and demonstrations, when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of his Memphis motel room. Ironically only seven days later the Civil Rights Act bill was passed by Congress, which outlawed racial discrimination, which Dr. King had been fighting before his death.

 

Then only two months and one day after the assassination of Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated while celebrating a win in California primary during his 1968 presidential bid. Sirhan Sirhan is arrested for the murder of Kennedy.

 

 If Kennedy had lived to win the Democratic nomination, he may have defeated Richard Nixon in the 1968 election. Instead Nixon defeated Senator Hubert Humphrey by half a million votes.

 

The Yippies led by Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman would descend on Chicago and the streets of Chicago turned into a riot zone as the Yippies and other radical groups battled Chicago police, U.S. Army and National Guard, while the Democratic convention was being held.

 

The chaos on the streets of Chicago poured onto the Democratic Convention floor when Senator Abraham Ribicoff denounced the use of Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago. His remarks enraged Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago would could be seen yelling at Ribicoff.

 

Anti-war protesters in Chicago may have hurt their own cause. In retrospect they may have protested at the wrong convention since the Democrats were more on their side than the Republicans. The Republican convention in Miami was turmoil free, in contrast to the chaos in Chicago.

 

Richard Nixon would go on to defeat Senator Humphrey in the general election.

 

1969 was another year with many newsworthy events and January 12 of 1969 would see the New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts 16-7, after Jets quarterback Joe Namath had predicted the Jets would upset the Colts.

 

Richard Nixon would take office as the 37th president on January 20. The Beatles who had first sang in America almost five years ago would hold their last public concert on January 30.

 

Sirhan Sirhan admits assassinating Bobby Kennedy on March 3. Ironically seven days later James Earl Ray would plead guilty to assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King. Later that month former President Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 8 years after finishing his second term as president.

 

The first American troop withdrawals of the Vietnam War were made on July 8. Senator Teddy Kennedy would end any hope of becoming president, when he drove his car off a bridge on July 18, in what became known as the Chappaquiddick incident. Mary Jo Kopechne would die at the age of 28 in the submerged car.

 

Two days later on July 20, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon. It had to be ranked as one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. The first flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903 would have been another major advance in the 20th century. Their flight led to commercial flights by airlines in later years.

 

August 9, 1969 was a day of violence as Charles Manson followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others. The next day August 10, they would murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home.

 

August 15, 1969 will always be remembered as the day the Woodstock Music Festival kicked off on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The promoters were expecting 50,000 fans, but those numbers were very conservative, considering 500,000 fans showed up.

 

August 17 would be another deadly day, this time because of Hurricane Camille which hit the Mississippi coast killing 248 people and causing damage of $1.5 billion.

 

The first ATM was installed in Rockville Centre, New York on September 2, while on the same day Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam died.

 

The Chicago Eight trial begin on September 24 in Chicago, but was changed to the Chicago Seven, when Bobby Seale a Black Panther was sentenced to four-year sentence for contempt of court.

 

Another New York sports team would win a championship, when the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Seven years earlier the Mets had been the laughingstock of baseball when they posted a 40-120 record in 1962.

 

On a lighter note Sesame Street would be seen for the first time on the National Education Network on November 10.

 

While 250,000-500,000 demonstrators were protesting against the war in Washington, D.C. on November 15, Dave Thomas is busy opening the first Wendy’s in Columbus Ohio.

 

American astronauts would walk on the moon, only four months after the initial landing, four months prior to the Apollo 12 landing. Pete Conrad and Alan Bean would both walk on the moon.

 

With the year drawing to a close, a draft lottery was put in place on December 1 and would be the last major event of 1969.

 

A quick rundown of the events in 1968-1969:

 

1968

 

Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy Assassinated

Unarmed Vietnamese Citizens Killed By U.S. Troops

President Lyndon B. Johnson Announces He Will Not Run For Presidency

Anti-war protesters riot during the Democratic National Convention

Richard Nixon is elected president in general election.

 

1969

 

Richard Nixon takes office of presidency

Withdrawal of Vietnam troops commences

Teddy Kennedy drives car off bridge in Chappaquiddick incident

Four astronauts become first men to walk on moon

Charles Manson followers kill seven in two days

500,000 anti-war protesters attend Woodstock Music Festival

Hurricane Camille kills 248 persons

First ATM installed in Rockville Centre, New York

Ho Chi Minh Dies

Chicago 7 Trial Begins in Chicago

250,000-500,000 demonstrate in anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.

Dave Thomas opens first Wendy’s

Sesame Street shown for the first time on National Education Network

Draft lottery is instituted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of Phones: From Wall Phones to iPhones That Convert Speech Into Text

This wall phone reminds me of the wall phone at my grandpa's farm in Allendale Missouri on his 80 acre farm, back in the late 50's.
This rotary phone was seen in most American homes in the 50's and 60's.
This touch tone phone was found in almost any office for many years for office workers with a phone at their desk.
The latest cell phone today is the Apple iPhone 4s which looks nothing like the phones we grew up with over 50 years ago.

I remember back in the old days, when we would have to rent our phones from Bell South, paying a monthly charge to use the phones.

Now after the evolution of the phone from a wall phone, to a rotary phone, then to a touch tone phone found in most offices and also used at home.

It seems like it was only yesterday, when we only used phones to make phone calls and receive phone calls. Nowadays cell phones not only make and receive calls, but allow you to not call at all by using texts to transmit messages back and forth.

Cell phones have become a multi-purpose electronic device that enables owners to listen to music, watch television shows, movies and videos.

They can be used to play games, pay bills, make bank transactions on the phone, take notes, take photos and shoot HD quality videos. The iPhone 4s also can browse the web and remind you of an important event, that is approaching. If you get lost, you can use a built-in GPS to find your way.

The Apple 4s also has an intelligent assistant named Siri which will let you use your voice to ask questions:

It knows what you mean.

Siri not only understands what you say, it’s smart enough to know what you mean. So when you ask “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri will reply “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Then you can say “Hmm. How about tacos?” Siri remembers that you just asked about restaurants, so it will look for Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. And Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for.

This is taking smart phones to a whole new level.

It helps you do the things you do every day.

Ask Siri to text your dad, remind you to call the dentist, or find directions, and it figures out which apps to use and who you’re talking about. It finds answers for you from the web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. Using Location Services, it looks up where you live, where you work, and where you are. Then it gives you information and the best options based on your current location. From the details in your contacts, it knows your friends, family, boss, and coworkers. So you can tell Siri things like “Text Ryan I’m on my way” or “Remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work” or “Call a taxi” and it knows exactly what you mean and what to do.

One of the best features is that the iPhone 4s takes dictation, then converts your spoken words into text. If you are sitting at a dinner table, trying to make conversation with a 4s user, it will be a futile endeavor, since they will be too busy using the features of the 4s, to even notice you are in the room.

iPhone 4S takes dictation.

Here’s another amazing way to get things done: just use your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and iPhone listens. Tap Done, and iPhone converts your words into text. Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams.

Summary: We have come a long way from the wall phones of the past, which couldn’t be used to text or send emails, shoot videos or play music, to phones that are the electronic center of what is going on in our lives.

My problem is that I don’t have a cell phone, so still use a regular home phone to make and receive calls. The new technology is astounding, but if you can’t afford it, then it becomes worthless.

We all remember the high telephone bills of the past, when making a lot of long distance calls in a month. Owning a cell phone today may actually be cheaper, if someone was having $150 worth of long distance calls, month after month.

It becomes cost prohibitive to own a iPhone, a iPod and a iPad and a laptop not to mention paying for  monthly cable and internet service.

Old Time Radio 101: Guide To Collecting Old Time Radio Shows

A family gathered around the radio to listen to an old time radio program during the heyday of old time radio.

Ninety one years ago KDKA in Pittsburgh went on the air, becoming the first commercial radio station, broadcasting its signal in 1920.

By the end of 1923, hundreds of radio stations were now broadcasting. An estimated three to four million radio sets were able to pick up the broadcast of the funeral, of President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1924.

The Grand Ole Opry will broadcast its first program in 1925, with it being broadcast continuously for 86 years. Sam and  Henry first heard in 1926 would become Amos N’ Andy in 1928 and remain on radio until 1960, to be come the longest running old time radio show.

With NBC being founded in 1926 and CBS starting the next year in 1926, networks were now in place, to broadcast nationwide radio series. The Goldbergs went on the air in 1929 and would run till 1950.

Radio listeners would hear the homespun humor of Lum N’ Abner for the first time in 1931, making this year the 80th anniversary of their first show.

Jack Benny and Fred Allen and other comedians debuted on network radio in 1932 paving the way for other comedians in coming years.

The horror and thriller genre would present The Shadow for the first time in 1932, while Just Plain Bill and One Man’s Family debuted from the soap opera genre. Action heroes Buck Rogers and Tarzan were also first heard in 1932.

Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club first aired in 1933 and would remain on the air through 1968. I can still remember the song from the opening of the show, as best I can remember:

“Good morning Breakfast Clubbers, howdy do you, first call to breakfast to all of you out there, America’s first call to breakfast”.

The Lux Radio Theater would begin its 22 year run in 1934. It was regarded as the best of the theater type shows, in which famous actors would present a film in spoken form.

Bob Hope and Fibber McGee and Molly hit the airwaves in 1935. The shows were debuting so fast, that it is not possible to continue the chronology, due to time and space limitations. There would be at least one new show debuting on network radio through 1959. 1961 and 1962 would be first years with no new radio programming being introduced. Old time radio for all practical purposes died on September 30, 1962 when Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar aired their last episodes. They were the last scripted shows broadcast on network radio. Some radio variety shows like Arthur Godfrey remained on the air, non-scripted shows had disappeared from the old-time radio scene.

Television and movies brought about the demise of old-time radio. People that used to gather in their living rooms, to hear old-time radio programs, now gathered to watch television. If they weren’t doing that they were watching movies at the local movie house, or watching movies from their car at a local drive-in movie theatre.

Old Time Radio Shows Can Still Be Heard

Collecting old-time radio shows used to be cost prohibitive, for the most part for collectors. Then MP3 recordings changed all that by letting old-time radio fans listen to as many as 50 half-hour programs on one MP3 disc. Some online old-time radio dealers would sell a disc like that for as little as $4.

That is only reason my collection of old-time radio shows numbers around 18,000. I have a notebook that shows what shows I have listened to and when. With that many shows, there is no reason to listen to the same show twice.

The easiest way to record these shows and drag and drop them into my MP3 player, is to go to My Computer, open up the files on that MP3 CD and drag and drop them into my Sony MP3 player software, which processes the shows, after they are dropped into the icon for the MP3 player. I thought it would be more complicated than it was, but it is relatively easy. While the shows are copying, I write the show dates and titles of the shows I am recording onto the MP3 player, into the notebook.

Online Radio Dealers

Old time radio dealers can be found on the internet to buy the shows from, but the shows can bought at ebay.com for good prices, from most ebay dealers.

It is best buy the shows on MP3 CD’s unless you know how to breakdown a MP3 DVD, which I don’t know how, or you may only be able to play it on a computer. One thing to remember is that MP3 CD’s cannot be played on a regular CD player.

If you do know how to handle a MP3 DVD there is a set of 930 shows of Suspense currently on ebay for $4.89 with a shipping charge of $1.79, which comes out to $6.68 for 930 shows, or about 7 cents an episode.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SUSPENSE-Old-Time-Radio-Shows-930-Episodes-MP3-/200649713915?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item2eb7a7a8fb#ht_2759wt_932

This is the most informative site for finding great descriptions of each old-time radio show and finding those MP3 CD’s for sale. For instance this is the Great Gildersleeve page which includes a free sample of one of the shows. The website adds previously unavailable episodes every month. It is great that 49 years later after the death of old-time radio, that missing episodes are still being found.

http://www.otrcat.com/great-gildersleeve-p-1337.html

The following online dealer also offers MP3 CD’s with updates, including episodes of shows found recently, that were previously missing.  The best thing about this site is that the price you see is the price you pay, since there is no shipping fees at this site.

http://dadsotr.com/index.html

Thousands of Free Show Online

There are also thousands of free shows that can be listened to online immediately for no charge. This is one of my favorite places for listening to free shows.

You can find 12,369 free shows to listen to. There are 610 free Jack Benny shows alone to listen to and 973 Lone Rangers shows.

http://otr.net/

Archive.org is another great place to listen to free old-time radio shows, but there is also a wealth of other content at the site, that may be of interest to readers.

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=old%20time%20radio%20AND%20mediatype%3Aaudio

Best Source For Old Time Radio Shows Information

For information on 100,645 old-time radio programs, the best place to search is the Radio GOLD Index. The site features descriptions of  individual episodes of shows, including the stars of each episode and the announcer.

The name of any star can be typed in the search box and a list of any episodes they appeared in will show up on the screen. However, the site will be missing some episodes of shows, so it is not a complete listing.

The best source for information of shows in book form is John Dunning’s On The Air The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio printed by Oxford Press. The list price is $55, but I found it several years ago at ebay for $25. It was in perfect condition for that price, looking like it had never been opened.

Amazon has 38 reviews of the book with 32 being 5 star reviews and 4 being 4 star reviews. The 840 page book lists the days of the week the show was on, a list of cast members and what networks the show appeared on, in addition to a review of each show, with the more popular shows receiving longer reviews.

There is a Kindle edition of the book for $19.22.

http://www.amazon.com/Air-Encyclopedia-Old-Time-Radio/dp/0195076788/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317751599&sr=1-12

Big Brother 13: Fortune Teller Talks, Leaving House Guests Frazzled

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED SINCE THE SUNDAY NIGHT SHOW OF BIG BROTHER 13.

This post will tell who won the veto on Saturday, what the POV winner decided at the POV ceremony and other developments, which have happened since the show aired on Sunday night.

The post also tells about the eviction which will be filmed on Tuesday for broadcast on the Wednesday night show on CBS.

Sunday’s show left us with Rachel winning the HOH and nominating Kalia and Porsche for eviction. Adam then won the POV on Saturday and elected not to use it during the POV meeting on Monday.

Eviction Will Be Today

The house guests found out yesterday that the eviction will be Tuesday. It will be filmed on Tuesday. The live feeds will likely be cut off at some point today, since CBS doesn’t want the results of the eviction to be known to live feeders, since it would be all over the internet, before the show on Wednesday night. The live feeds should resume after Wednesday’s show.

The fortune-teller at the Big Brother 13 house finally talked last night and gave the house guests some very important information.

Rachel and Jordan presently want Kalia evicted, but that could change before the votes are cast. Personally, I think evicting Porsche would be a better game move, since she may do well in the HOH endurance, with Kalia not likely to do well if it involves any movement. If it is a case of holding on to something, then Kalia could be more of a threat. 

Someone will be leaving the Big Brother house today. We just won’t know who it is till tomorrow night’s show airs on CBS.

Fortune Teller Talks, Gives Predictions For HOH Competition

Fortune teller moved last week and last night Crystal the fortune-teller talked for the first time. She announced that when she laughed, that would be a cue to enter the room.

One of the predictions given by the fortune-teller includes this one about Jeff:

In 2014, Jeff will disappear from society. He will be last seen in the Chicago streets muttering two words, clown shoe

The fortune-teller speaks about 9:30 BBT and tells the house guests the information she is giving will be needed to win HOH. 

Another prediction given last night was this one about Evel Dick:

11:08PM BBT: Fortune Teller: “In 2015 Evel Dick will start a Christmas tradition by bringing gifts to heavily tattooed orphans, changing his name from Evel Dick to old Saint Dick. Leave me now! Leave my parlor room!” 

The house guests became frazzled from trying to remember the different predictions, with some house guests confusing the others with the wrong information being remembered. Adam should do well in this competition, but Jordan said she needed to hear them again, which I doubt will be happening.

            For the complete list of the predictions scroll down to 9:30 PM at this website:

http://www.mortystv.com/big_brother.shtml