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.

Advertisements

Shocking News: J. Fred Muggs Is Still Alive

J Fred Muggs with Dave Garroway on NBC's Today, 1954
J. Fred Muggs (left) shown with Dave Garroway and his girlfriend Phoebe B. Beebe on the Today show in the 50’s on the NBC television network.

It was a shock to me to find out today, that J. Fred Muggs is still alive and living in Florida at the age of 61. His girlfriend, Phoebe B. Beebe is also still alive and they are living happily together.

The addition of J. Fred Muggs to the Today show may have saved the long running show from cancellation as he attracted advertisers to the show.

The Russian newspaper Izvestia had this to say about Mr. Muggs:

In the 1950s, the Russian newspaper, Izvestia, described J. Fred Muggs, as “a symbol of the American way of life”, and said, “Muggs is necessary in order that the average American should not look into reports on rising taxes, and decreasing pay, but rather laugh at the funny mug of a chimpanzee.

Life began for J. Fred Muggs on March 14, 1952 in French Cameroon and is now 61 years old. Age is unknown of his domestic partner Phoebe B. Beebe.

Dave Garroway the host of the Today show grew jealous of Muggs and reportedly spiked his orange juice with benzedrine to make him misbehave.

 

J. Fred Muggs was the subject of a Little Golden Book. The book is currently being sold on eBay for $24.99.

 
 

J. Fred Muggs fingerpainted this cover of Mad Magazine.

There are currently 74 items about J. Fred Muggs for sale on eBay, including a photo of him with President Harry Truman, apparently after Truman left office and was visiting the Today show.

J. Fred Muggs shown catching up on the latest news.

 

 

1955 Chimpanzee - J. Fred Muggs on telephone Press Photo

This is a photo of J. Fred Muggs asking President Eisenhower for an increase in the minimum wage for monkeys.

J. Fred Muggs debating whether to dive from highest diving board or to play it safe.

 

 

1977 Chimpanzee - J. Fred Muggs with graduation cap and gown Press Photo

This is a photo of J. Fred Muggs making his valedictorian speech for the 1977 class of Monkey Business University, which educates monkeys for a career in the corporate world.

Long Wait Almost Over: Twinkies Back On Shelves in 492 Hours, 34 Minutes, 42 Seconds

Twinkieaholics will be happy to know that Twinkies will be on store shelves in 21 days and best of all, on even more shelves than in the past. They should be on store shelves nationwide on July 15.

The Twinkies will now even be sold in dollar stores. Price reportedly will be $3.99 for a 10 count box of the crème filled treats, which was the price before production ended. However, they were on sale in the past as shown in this photo:

Hostess had stopped manufacturing Twinkies and a vast array of other Hostess treats like Ding Dongs And Snoballs, due to striking union workers. Some of the former workers are back in the factories, but are non-unionized workers now.

Donettes and CupCakes will also be returning to the store shelves, after Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management bought out some of the Hostess products. Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s are other products that will be offered for sale.

Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930 by James Dewar of the Continental Bakery in River Forest, Illinois. So it is only fitting that a product, with that long of a history can be purchased still 83 years later.

The spongy crème filled treat is not for the weight conscious, since one Twinkie is 13 percent of recommended fat intake on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Twinkie the Kid won’t be standing in the unemployment line much longer, since he will be back at work on July 15 and his Twinkie outfit and cowboy boots will be trendy again.

For those Twinkie fans that don’t like the standard Twinkie they can be deep-fried, for a whole new taste treat different from your standard Twinkie.

Beware of the fact that some criminals have blamed Twinkies for causing them to commit crimes, in what has come to be known as the Twinkie defense.

Twinkies have been seen in many movies, including Die Hard in which a character almost gets sick from eating a 1,000 year old Twinkie.

Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a diet of Twinkies, Doritos and Oreo cookies and lost 27 pounds in two months on the diet.

Guess that means Nutri System and Jenny Craig will be including Twinkies, in the meals sent to the homes of their clients.

More time has passed since I posted the latest countdown at the top of the page. The latest countdown now shows 492 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

It won’t be long till Twinkie lovers will be lining up outside stores to be first in line to buy the first Twinkies on shelves in several months.

Blast From The Past: RC Cola and Moon Pie

Royal Crown Cola and Double Decker Moon Pie.

 

RC Cola and Moon Pies have been staples in the south for many years. Even better is a RC Cola with a Double Decker Moon Pie that is in the above photo.

The combination of RC Cola and Moon Pies became popular in the 1950’s, when workers enjoyed them with their lunch.

The RC Cola ginger ale was founded in 1905 by pharmacist Claude Hatcher in Columbus, Georgia. Royal Crown was the first company to sell cola in a can in 1954 and would also be the first company to sell cola in an aluminum can.

The cherry flavored RC Cola was one of my favorite cherry cola drinks, which came closer to duplicating the flavor of a soda fountain cherry coke than most cherry flavored drinks.

Union Bottling Works was the first name of the company and it was later changed to Chero-Cola, then the name of the company was changed to Nehi in 1928.

Nehi Orange Soda.

 

There were few sodas, that were as refreshing as a cold Nehi orange soda, on a hot summer day in Louisiana in the 50’s and 60’s.

Mr. Hatcher dies on December 31, 1933 and the RC Cola soda we know today was developed in 1934. The Nehi company would change its name to Royal Crown Cola in 1959, due to the immense popularity of RC Cola.

1962 would bring Diet-Rite Cola, which was the first diet cola made by any company.

Royal Crown Cola would go into the fast food business in 1978, by acquiring the Arby’s fast food chain. RC Cola has been purchased by Triarc Companies, Inc. in 1993, Cadbury Schweppes in 2000, and Cott Corporation in 2001.

 

History of Moon PIes

Chattanooga Bakery was founded in 1902 in Chattanooga,Tennessee. There is an interesting story behind how the moon pies became their best known product. Coal miners were wanting something solid and filling, since they didn’t always have time for a real lunch break.

Mr. Earl Mitchell Sr. returned to the store after talking to the miners and noticed employees dipping graham crackers into marshmallow and leaving them in window to dry. They then came up with the idea of adding another cookie on top of the graham crackers and adding chocolate covering to the cookies. The first moon pie was sold in 1917 and went on to become one of the most popular products for the Chattanooga Baking Company.

Hundreds of thousands of moon pies were sent to soldiers serving overseas during World War II. Racegoers to NASCAR races in the 50’s were known to carry moon pies with them to the races.

The first Double Decker Moon Pie was manufactured in 1964 and it is my personal favorite, since it has three cookies and two layers of marshmallow in each Double Decker Moon Pie.

Moon pies started being thrown in Mardi Gras parades in the 1970’s, since they were softer, than the Cracker Jack boxes that had been thrown in previous parades.

Mini moon pies which debuted in 1998.

The larger moon pies were ruining the appetites of kids, before dinner so a mini moon pie was developed to give the kids the taste of a moon pie, without filling them up so much, that they wouldn’t eat their dinner.

Sam Walton the former owner of Wal-Mart was telling about how he motivated his employees, by having them tell about their favorite product. Walton then proceeded to talk about his favorite product and brought out a box of moon pies and extolling the virtues of the moon pies.

 

World’s Largest Moon Pie

The world’s largest moon pie weighs 50 pounds and consists of 14 pounds of marshmallow, 6 pounds of chocolate and contains 45,000 calories and is 40 inches wide. A person would be well advised to not try to eat it in one sitting.

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars : A Trainwreck Waiting to Happen

Celebrity Apprentice All Stars minus Omarosa and La Toya Jackson shown with Donald Trump.

Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars should provide plenty of drama this season. Donald Trump has assembled a cast guaranteed to spark some fireworks. With Dennis Rodman, Omarosa and Gary Busey in the cast we can expect a lot of in-fighting among the contestants.

Trace Adkins and Bret Michaels were chosen by Trump to pick their teams. Michaels made a huge mistake, by selecting Omarosa first for his team. Trace Adkins’s team chose Plan B, as the name for their team and he was chosen as project manager. Michaels was prepared to be project manager for his team after naming the team Power, but reluctantly let Brande Roderick be the project manager, when she got down on her knees begging Michaels for the job.

The challenge was for each team to make meatballs and sell them to those on street and to celebrities. However, Trace Adkins decided to close his meatball store and sell only to high rollers. Adkins became very upset when Gary Busey went outside and hollered at the people on a tour bus to come in and buy some meatballs. So Adkins team really had little to do, since they more or less waited for the big money to come in. Amy Grant came in and donated $75,000, but the big contributor was T. Boone Pickens who sent his representative with a check for $100,000.

Meanwhile Stephen Baldwin apparently didn’t call anyone as he collected no money. His reasoning was why use up his contributors to help Trace Adkins, when he could use those contributors on a week, when he was project manager.

Power’s meatball store was a beehive of activity, as they scrambled to sell the meatballs to people off the street and to big contributors. Roderick made a huge mistake, by putting Omarosa in charge of keeping track of which contestants had raised how much money. Omarosa was talking about bringing down Bret Michaels.

Boardroom Chaos

Trump called all the contestants into the boardroom and found out, from Steven Baldwin that Baldwin had not collected a penny. Trump said that Baldwin was at a risk of being fired if Team Plan B raised the least money. He then asked Adkins if Baldwin should be fired and Adkins replied in the affirmative.

Piers Morgan who along with Ivanka Trump were the advisors in the boardroom seemed to enjoy trashing Omarosa, who deserved the criticism since she was anything but a team player, by working against her own team member Michaels.

It was then revealed that Team Power had raised $250,333, which included a $20,000 bonus for their meatballs being chosen the best on Live with Kelly and Michael. Then the total for Team Plan B was announced and they raised $419,539. When combined with the money Team Power raised it totaled over $670,000 raised for the American Red Cross, which was Adkin’s charity.

Team B was sent upstairs to watch Team Power while they battled each other in the boardroom. Trump and the two advisors wanted to know who raised how much money but Roderick or Omarosa couldn’t give them a total, in which the numbers didn’t add up. I feel Omarosa was low-balling Michael’s total by mentioning he gave $15,000, while Michaels said he collected over $25,000.

Roderick had raised $132,000, while rapper Lil’ John raised $60,000 according to his total, but $55,000 according to Omarosa. Roderick finally decided to bring Bret Michaels and La Toya Jackson in with her to the boardroom, while the rest of Team Power went upstairs. I have no idea why La Toya Jackson was brought back into the boardroom, since Omarosa didn’t have a clue as to how much each team member had given and her total didn’t match with the total raised by Team Power.

Once Roderick, Michaels and Jackson returned to the boardroom it looked like Michaels would be going home. Trump who repeatedly said that Michaels should not have returned to the show. If he was that concerned about Michaels he could have refused to let Michaels return.

Trump then asked Michaels how he (Trump) could fire Roderick when she raised $132,000, which was over $100, more than what Michaels had raised, then told Michaels he was fired.

The show may be an hour too long, as the boardroom sessions seem to last longer and longer. Don’t know if I will be in the mood to watch this two-hour program week after week.

Fans that love confrontation should see plenty of it as the season progresses. Omarosa by herself provides enough drama to keep the shows interesting and can see her and La Toya Jackson won’t be best friends on the show. There should be more confrontations between her and Piers Morgan, as long as he remains an advisor. I have a feeling Trump will avoid firing Omarosa as long as he can avoid it. He knows her value as a troublemaker on the show, to push buttons of the other contestants.

One question I have about the show is how many times will the celebrities ask their big money contributors to contribute. I can’t imagine T. Boone Pickens donating another $100,000 if Adkins needs to raise money again this season.

One down and 13 contestants to go.

Note: This is the 900th article posted on Nostalgia and Now since it was first published in April of 2009.

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.

 

Stuckey’s: Roadside Landmark in America

Stuckey’s was a place where you could fill up with gasoline, go to restrooms and shop for souvenirs and the famous Stuckey’s pecan candy.

There was their famous pecan log rolls, pecan divinity and of course pecan pralines. I have to debate with myself whether my favorite was the divinity fudge or the pralines.

First Stuckey’s Physical Building Opened in 1937

The first Stuckey’s building was opened in 1937 and expanded into 350 stores. Stuckey’s merged with Pet Milk in 1967 and the 350 stores dwindled into 75, during the Pet Milk operation of the company. Most of the Stuckey’s stores sold Texaco gasoline back then.

William S. Stuckey Sr., got the idea for the company when he had a bumper crop of pecans in 1930. His wife went to work in the kitchen and experimented with different candy recipes, which were the main drawing card for Stuckey’s, when they opened their first physical store in 1937.

After the fortunes of the company declined during the Pet Milk ownership period, the son of Stuckey, who was U.S. congressman William S. Stuckey restored the Stuckey’s name by purchasing the company and there are now 115 Stuckey’s in the United States at the present time.

Stuckey’s are found as far north today as Connecticut, but surprisingly there are no stores in either New Jersey or New York. Most of the stores are concentrated in the southern states, but there are stores in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Stores are only located in 17 of the 50 states. I was surprised recently to see a Stuckey’s returning on a trip to Houston and the store sold gasoline, souvenirs and had a Popeye’s Fried Chicken place inside the store. There are nine Stuckey’s located in Texas, but the only Stuckey’s in Louisiana according to their website is a store in Opelousas.

It was exciting to see signs for Stuckey’s, since we knew we could get off the road for a while, while we browsed the souvenir shop and found candy to munch on as we continued on down the highway. It is great to know the company still exists 56 years after our 1957 trip from Louisiana to our eventual destination of Maine to visit my uncle and aunt and their family.

Stuckey’s has had its ups and downs since the first store was opened in 1937, but it is good to know, that the company is thriving again, now that the Stuckey family once again own the stores. We want to thank them for restoring our memories of that 1957 trip, when Stuckey’s were a mainstay on the U.S. highway system.