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.

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. 

Dick Haymes – Crooners of the Past

Dick Haymes 1918-1980

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also battled alcohol abuse problems and financial debt.

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

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

This Is Always

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

Track Listings

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

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dick Van Dyke – Eight Decades of Entertaining

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

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

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

Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera in Bye Bye Birdie.

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

Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke.

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

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

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

Dick Van Dyke portraying Doctor Mark Sloan on Diagnosis:Murder

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

Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

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

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

Van Dyke is now in his eighth decade of entertaining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was 36 when he appeared in his first movie.

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

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

For more trivia and quotes from Van Dyke:

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

Book Review – Unsinkable: A Memoir: Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher on wedding day in 1955.

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

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

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

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

Collected Hollywood Memorabilia

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

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

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

Debbie Reynolds with her third husband Richard Hamlett.

Marriage To Hamlett Ends

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

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

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

Debbie Reynolds

Rundown of Her Movies

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

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

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

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

Trivia From IMDB.com

She was born Mary Frances Reynolds

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Harry Morgan and Cara Williams in Pete and Gladys

 

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

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

Harry Morgan and Jack Webb in a scene from Dragnet.

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

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

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

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

Harry Morgan in his later years.

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

President Reagan Assassination Attempt: 33 Years Later

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                          Secret Service Agent Robert Wanko wields Uzi at shooting scene.

Aftermath of Shooting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background of John Hinckley Jr.

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

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

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

 

                                                                                                                                                                                  Jodie Foster stalked by John Hinckley Jr.

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

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

Guns Are Fun

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

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

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

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

3/30/81

12:45 P.M.

Dear Jodie,

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

I love you forever,

John Hinckley

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

 

 

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

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

 

The Trial

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

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

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

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

Addenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

Bobby Rydell Performing Again After Liver, Kidney Transplant

Bobby Rydell

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

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

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

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

First Million Selling Single

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

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

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

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

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

More recent photo of Bobby Rydell

Failing Health

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

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

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

Interesting Trivia From IMDB.com

Rydell High School in Grease was named after Rydell.

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

Started playing drums at the age of six.

The city of Philadelphia named Bobby Rydell Boulevard after him.

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

Has Remained Active

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Mickey Rooney Dies After 92 Years In Show Business

 


Mickey Rooney 1920-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Perry Como: From Barber To Million Selling Singer

Perry Como 1912-2001

 

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

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

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

 

Perry Como early in his career.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

Como in Movies and Television

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

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

Perry Como Christmas 1974 Christmas special.

 

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

Some interesting trivia about Perry from IMDB.com:

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

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

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

Was signed to RCA Records from 1943-1988.

He was the godfather of Debby Boone.

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

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

 

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

A list of 587 songs recorded by Perry Como:

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

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

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

The complete list of his songs that charted:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dean Martin – 56 Years of Entertaining

Dean Martin 1917-1995

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Made Impact As A Singer

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Classic Televison: Donna Reed Show

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

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

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

Donna Reed 1921-1986

Donna Reed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carl Betz 1921-1978

Carl Betz

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

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

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

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shelley Fabares

Shelley Fabares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter To Queen Of Country Music

A young Loretta Lynn early in her career

Loretta Lynn was born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta was named after actress Loretta Young.  She was born to coal miner Melvin Webb and his wife Clara Ramey.

She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn at the age of 15 in 1948. They moved to the state of Washington and she began, to sing while living in Washington.  Her sister Crystal Gayle also became a well-known country artist. She was also related on her mother’s side of the family to Patty Loveless.

  • Betty Sue Lynn, birth date: November 26, 1948 died July 29, 2013 (age 64)[5]
  • Jack Benny Lynn, (1949-12-07)December 7, 1949 died July 22, 1984 (age 34)
  • Ernest Ray Lynn, April 12, 1951-
  • Clara Marie Lynn (Cissie), April 7, 1952-
  • Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen Lynn (twins; latter named for Patsy Cline), August 6, 1964

Lynn became a grandmother by the age of only 29 and it is hard to believe, but she will be 82 next month.

Loretta Lynn with the prettiest blue eyes that I remember seeing when talking to her after a concert in Alexandria, Louisiana in the 1960’s.

I was fortunate enough, to see Loretta Lynn in concert at Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria, Louisiana when she and Ernest Tubb were a duo. She was very gracious to me, when I asked for her to autograph one of her greatest hits albums. I was struck by her beauty and dazzled by her blue eyes.

This is more about the album that she autographed for me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretta_Lynn%27s_Greatest_Hits

Her husband would die in 1996, which was 48 years after their marriage.

Loretta Lynn had this to say about their marriage:  “He never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice”.

The Wilburn Brothers helped her get her a recording contract with Decca Records. However, they also helped themselves, by gaining publishing rights to her material. She fought to have the publishing rights in her name, but when that fail she stopped writing songs in 1970.

Loretta Lynn joined the Grand Ole Opry on September 25, 1962 and has remained a member for the last 52 years.

Loretta Lynn Discography

I’m A Honky Tonk Girl was her debut single in 1960 and it climbed to #14 on the country charts.

Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin (With Loving On Your Mind) would be her first #1 hit I 1966. Fist City would go to #1 in 1968 and Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone) was #1 in 1969.

The 1970’s would see eight more of her songs take the top spot on the country music charts:

1970 – Coal Miner’s Daughter

1971 – One’s On The Way

1972 – Rated X

1973 – Love Is The Foundation

1974 – Trouble In Paradise

1976 – Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin’ Tonight)

1976 – She’s Got You

1977 – Out Of My Head And Back In My Bed

She has not had another #1 hit since 1977, which encompasses 37 years.

Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Loretta Lynn – Conway Twitty Studio Albums, Singles

Loretta Lynn would team up with Conway Twitty to release 11 studio albums from 1971-1988. Four of the studio albums would be #1 on country charts.

Five of their singles would chart at the #1 position on the Billboard Country charts.

1971 – After The Fire Is Gone

1971 – Lead Me On

1973 – Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man

1974 – As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone

1975 – Feelins

Movie Released

The Coal Miner’s Daughter would be released in 1980 and it told the story of Lynn’s rise to stardom and how she and her husband traveled to radio stations plugging their songs.

Loretta Lynn is 81 today and has been a grandmother for 52 years.

Red Skelton: He Enjoyed Making Us Smile

Red Skelton 1913-1997

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Red Skelton – The Pledge of Allegiance

From the Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969


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

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

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

I

me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge

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

Allegiance

my love and my devotion.

To the Flag

[of the]

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

United

that means that we have all come together.

States

[of America]

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

and to the Republic

For Which It Stands

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

One Nation

One Nation … meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible

incapable of being divided.

With Liberty

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

And Justice

the principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others.

For All

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

Interesting Trivia About Red Skelton

Inducted into International Clown Hall of Fame in 1989

Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame in 1994

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s Monopoly

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Marlo Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Danny for caring about the children with cancer.

Shirley Temple Black Dies At 85

 

 

Shirley Temple 1928-2014

 

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

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

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

A young Shirley Temple early in her career.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IMDB.com lists some interesting trivia about Shirley Temple:

She was 5 foot 2.

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

By 1939 her popularity had declined.

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

Shirley Temple Black shown with her husband Charles Alden Black.

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

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

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

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

Would serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of her other political appointment jobs:

U.S. Chief of Protocol

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

X-Factor, Simon Cowell Exit USA

Simon Cowell’s X-Factor USA has been canceled after three seasons.

X-Factor USA never really caught on with American television audiences, so Simon Cowell is heading back to England, after failing to make the show relevant in the United States. Cowell had predicted before the start of the first season, that X-Factor USA would draw 20 million viewers.

Ratings

The ratings only became worse, with each season as evidenced by the finale ratings for each season:

Season One – 12.57 million

Season Two –  9.65 million

Season Three – 6.45 million

The handwriting was on the wall for the show, after the ratings fell 6 million from the first finale to the third finale.

Judges

The judging panel changed each season, with Cowell being the only judge on the panel for all three seasons.

The other three judges for each season:

Season One – L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul

Season Two – L.A. Reid, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato

Season Three – Paulino Rubio, Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato

Nicole Scherzinger may have been the worst judge, ever in any singing competition, when her indecision forced the panel into a deadlock, which caused Rachel Crow to leave the show. She was dismissed from the panel, after Season One, but amazingly was made a judge on the British version of X-Factor.

Hosts

Each season saw changes in the hosts for X-Factor USA:

Season One – Steve Jones

Season Two – Mario Lopez, Khloe Kardashian

Season Three – Mario Lopez

Steve Jones in Season One was the most ill at ease host I have ever seen on a television show. He became visibly upset, when he was trying to rush the judges, when making their decisions.

Mario Lopez could have done fine in Season Two, without Khloe Kardashian, who seemed out-of-place on the show. It was evident that Cowell saw that Lopez didn’t need any assistance, as he let Lopez host Season Three alone.

Winners

Season One – Melanie Amaro was announced as the first winner of X-Factor USA in December of 2011, but here it is February of 2014 and her debut album has never been released. If I remember correctly the Season One winner was supposed to receive a $5 million recording contract. Now it is doubtful if she will ever release her debut album, with the show no longer in production.

Season Two – Tate Stevens unlike Amaro had his debut album released only four months, after being declared the Season Two winner. His album has received rave reviews at Amazon.com with 63 reviewers rating his album, with five stars while only two reviewers gave it one star. However, the album is not selling well at Amazon and is currently ranked as of today, as 27,339th in music sales.

Season Three – Alex and Sierra were the last winners in the history of X-Factor USA, but it will be interesting to see, if they ever release a debut album.

X-Factor USA winners have not made much of an impact on the American music scene and most people probably couldn’t even tell you, who won in any of the seasons.

Singing competition shows should be measured, by whether the winners become household names and go on to be recording stars. X-Factor USA has failed miserably, when it comes to getting the names of their winners, to the point that American Idol winners have of being instantly recognized.

American Idol, while its ratings are trending downward still has the most name recognition of either X-Factor USA or The Voice. Even Cee Lo Green of The Voice has conceded, that The Voice has not launched a big name on the music scene as of yet. Nobody will take The Voice seriously until one of their winners reaches the status of American Idol winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

Some American Idol contestants, who didn’t win their season have gone on to be successful like Jennifer Hudson. She finished 7th on American Idol during Season 3 and went on to release two Gold records and win an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls and won a Grammy for her debut album Jennifer Hudson.

Chris Daughtry also has been a successful recording star, despite finishing 4th in Season 7 of American Idol. His debut album Daughtry has sold close to 5 million and it has gone quadruple platinum.

When The Voice can produce stars like American Idol it will gain credibility as a star-making singing competition.

In summary, X-Factor USA tried to match the popularity of American Idol and The Voice and fell far short of that goal.

The Fox television network only has two hours of programming each night, so they couldn’t afford to let X-Factor take up 3 or 4 hours a week, on their network. Fox network is probably happy to concentrate, on American Idol now and try to stem the loss in viewers of that show.

 

 

Doris Day Will Be 93 In April

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some trivia about Doris Day from imdb.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some quotes attributed to Doris Day:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Netflix Junkie For Three Hours A Day

Our DISH satellite was suspended for nine months recently, so are spending only $5 a month on DISH to keep the account open. We get to watch mostly infomercials for the $5, so we signed up for Netflix, which is much less than DISH was before the suspension. In fact one On Demand movie on DISH costs almost as much as the $7.99 a month charge for unlimited watching on Netflix. Not that we planned on watching any On Demand movies.

However, we can only use Netflix from 2AM to 8AM, because that is only time our DISH internet service allows us, to watch videos or listen to any music. So I now wake up at 5AM and watch Netflix till 8AM. I have found myself drawn to some shows more often than others.

The two shows that really stand out for me are The Rockford Files and Columbo. I will list those two shows, plus others that I have made a habit of watching.

The Rockford Files

I have watched 25 episodes of The Rockford Files. Have already seen all of Season 1 and have watched the first episode of Season 2. Netflix has 123 shows available to watch of the show, which was first seen in 1974.

It amazes me how much punishment James Garner as Rockford sustains in the show. He reportedly did his own stunts for the show, so that makes me respect him even more. One of my favorite parts of the show is when the telephone answering machine can be heard, with the caller leaving a very funny message at the opening.

Another highlight for me is the interplay between Dennis Becker a policeman portrayed by Joe Santos and Rockford. Becker is not a happy camper, when Rockford asks for a favor like running down a license number for Rockford. The show for me is a perfect mix of drama and comedy. This show has a lot of chase scenes, where it is usually Rockford trying to shake the bad guys, who are tailing him and he often maneuvers his way through the traffic, to lose the bad guys.

Imdb.com readers rate The Rockford Files 8.0 on a scale of 10.

Columbo

There are 43 episodes available on Netflix and am already into Season 4 with episode 2 next to be seen, for a total 27 episodes seen. Columbo shared its time slot, with some other shows, so that is why there were only 7 or 8 shows made a season. The first episode aired in 1968 and by the time the show left the air in 2003 Peter Falk had gray hair.

Falk was perfectly cast as Columbo. The crime was shown at the first of the show, so this was no mystery. It was more a case of watching Columbo catch the criminals, who always seemed to think they had committed the perfect crime. Columbo may have looked a little scruffy in his rumpled raincoat, but he was a very intelligent detective, who picked up on any clue in short order. It was fun watching the criminals squirm, whenever Columbo came around and they sometimes became very agitated, because of Columbo popping up unannounced so often.

Columbo may have been portrayed as a buffoon, but when it came down to solving a crime he always got his man or woman, depending on who was the guilty culprit, in a particular episode.

Imdb.com readers gave Columbo a 8.1 rating.

Dragnet 1967

I had preferred watching the 50’s version of Dragnet, but the more I watched this later version the more I liked it. So far, have watched 11 episodes of Dragnet and have come, to appreciate the comedic exchanges between Sgt. Friday played by Jack Webb and Officer Bill Gannon, who is portrayed by Harry Morgan. Sometimes you will see a familiar face on this show, as Friday and Gannon make their investigation. Dragnet 67 pulls down a respectable 7.8 rating at imdb.com.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

This show is another one that draws me back to it, since all of the 16 episodes I have seen have been outstanding. It is rated 8.7 by the readers of imdb.com, which is the best rating I have seen so far. It is amusing to see Hitchcock open and close the shows. Be prepared for a surprise turn of events at the end of the episodes. Just when you think you have it figured out Hitchcock throws his viewers a curve.

Alfred Hitchcock has 74 episodes on Netflix and skips Season 1 and I have watched 16 episodes. The show is in black and white, but that only makes the show more realistic for me.

Adam 12

Some have called Adam 12 the most realistic cop show on television. I have seen nine episodes of the show, with 174 episodes available on Netflix. The first show aired in 1968.

The first episode shows Officer Malloy portrayed by Martin Milner showing rookie Reed played by Kent McCord the ropes and the proper way to do things. The ninth episode in Season 1 features a man who is very upset, because someone stole his front lawn.

Adam 12 receives a 7.3 from imdb.com readers.

Twilight Zone

Netflix has only 65 shows available of Twilight Zone which started in 1959 and is rated an amazing 8.9 at imdb.com. I have watched nine episodes so far. One of my favorite episodes is about a man, who is always being told that he can’t read books by his wife and his boss. When a nuclear catastrophe occurs he is the only man left on earth. He happens to find the ruins of a library and sorts out books in piles to read in different months. However, he breaks his glasses and is unable to read any of the books. This is one of the most popular television shows ever.

Magnum PI, McMillan and Wife

Am having problems being interested in either of these shows. Have nothing against Magnum PI, ….just no interest in it. McMillan and Wife is a good show, but not the kind of show I would want to invest an hour and a half into. Matt McMillan portrayed by Rock Hudson is not realistic as a police commissioner. Seems unrealistic to me, that the commissioner of police is fighting thugs in warehouses, while realistically a real life commissioner is not likely to leave his office, except for a news conference.

Have not watched enough of either show to even count.

Law and Order – Criminal Intent

This show starts with Season 6 on Netflix and it runs through Season 10, with 83 episodes available to watch. The episodes have kept my interest so far. Season 11 for some reason is not available on Netflix, even though the show ended its run in 2011. Law and Order – Criminal Intent received a 7.2 rating from imdb.com readers.

Leave It To Beaver

I remember watching Leave It To Beaver at my grandpa’s farm in Missouri in 1959, which was two years after the show debuted in 1957. Interesting sidenote about this show is that Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who created Leave It To Beaver had been writers for the Amos N’ Andy show earlier in the 50’s.

This show is rated 7.6 by the readers at imdb.com. Netflix has 234 episodes of Leave It To Beaver available for watching. So far have only seen 15 shows, so still have 219 shows left to watch. This show to me is television comedy at its best. It was smart of the producers to make Eddie Haskell a regular in the series after being a guest star. Ken Osmond, who played Eddie later became a Los Angeles policeman and was shot in the line of duty. Jerry Mathers who played the Beaver and Wally Dow and Osmond found little work in movies and television after the show left the air in 1963. It has been 21 years since Osmond has appeared in any production that didn’t have a connection to Leave It To Beaver.

Documentaries

I have watched part or all of several documentaries. Since there are multiple parts to some documentaries have watched a little at a time. Watched Hitler’s Children about children related to Nazi war criminals, who were in Hitler’s inner circle. One relative was shown as he visited Auschwitz many years after the holocaust. He was moved to tears, when a survivor of Auschwitz came up to him and shook hands with him telling him, that he didn’t blame the son for what his father did.

One of my favorites to watch was the 30-30 documentary from ESPN that told the story behind Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball in 1994, because he dad who had been murdered had wanted him to play baseball.

The Ken Burns documentary about World War II is particularly interesting, since I was only alive for the last two years of World War II. The episode I am watching now tells about soldiers from three American towns who joined the Army and about how the war affected the soldiers and those left at home. This is a seven part series, so will be watching this for a long time.

I also watched a documentary about Marilyn Monroe living in New York and another Ken Burns documentary about the history of jazz. Really enjoyed the part about pianist Art Tatum, who was almost blind, but was a piano virtuoso, who added a lot of notes to the basic melody.

Netflix Movies

Netflix also has movies, but I am interested mainly in the television shows and documentaries. I have heard that a lot of good movies never are shown on Netflix. One negative about Netflix is that a movie or television show may be available one day, but then gone the next day. That can be attributed to companies switching to other vendors, after fulfilling their contract with Netflix.

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.

 

 

 

1,000th Post

 

This is the 1,000th post, since I started writing this blog in April of 2009. There have been some long gaps, when there were no articles written, due to financial problems, when there was no internet service and two or three months last year, when I had to have cancer surgery in Houston VA hospital.

I want to thank each reader, that has taken time to read, even one of the articles, which have been written in the last four and a half years.

The early articles had a more nostalgic bent to them, but eventually I started running out of nostalgic things to write about, so wrote more about what is in the news today.

I have tried to avoid writing about politics, since writing about politics is the fastest way to end a friendship. I have relatives who are polar opposites, when it comes to politics so try, to avoid angering any of them.

However, I have found writing about the JFK assassination has sparked some controversy. I am still not sure exactly what happened on November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the streets of Dallas Texas or the circumstances surrounding the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit only about 45 minutes later in a Dallas neighborhood.

A certain author wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination saying the case was closed, that was published in 1993. Here it is 20 years later and I still have seen no concrete proof that Lee Harvey Oswald killed the president that day. I am not even sure he was in the sniper’s nest in the sixth floor, when the fatal shots were fired. Knowing the fingerprint of LBJ’s personal hitman Mac Wallace was found on a box in the sixth floor makes me question, if Oswald was there only to be seen and blamed for the assassination, while Wallace may have done the actual shooting.

Brought Back Memories

Writing about growing up in Pineville, Louisiana in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s brought back a lot of memories. Memories like the railroad train set on top of our bed and the elementary school burning down one night and watching television in store front windows, before we had television. I have been enthusiastic about watching train sets in action since then.

Readers will find the bulk of the nostalgic articles posted in the first few months of the blog back in April and May of 2009.

Comments Welcomed

The comments of the readers have been valued and very interesting. I wrote an article about Max “Jethro” Baer of the Beverly Hillbillies and an actress who appeared with him wrote and mentioned that in her comment.

When I wrote about the film Battle of Chosin in Korea and the brutal conditions the soldiers experienced, one of the producers of the movie Chosin wrote and commented on the article.

Readership Stats

594,620 readers have visited this site as of this minute, since April of 2009. The most read article has been an article about Lizard Lick Towing Boss Arrested with 48,421 readers. 24,928 readers read an article about 1950’s Prices, which showed a newspaper ad, for a restaurant serving a Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings for $1. Try finding that deal today.

17,555 read the Classic Television: Leave It To Beaver article. The most controversial article written was probably The Voice: Alright If You Like To See Bald-headed Women Sing, which 4,022 read.

This article was written about one of the nights that Elvis appeared in Alexandria, Louisiana late in March of 1977, which was about four-and-half months before his death.

https://nostalgia049.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/elvis-presley-in-alexandria-louisiana-march-1977/

I want to thank each reader, who has visited the website and want to encourage everyone, to continue reading the articles and all readers are welcome to comment on the articles. Only caveat is that no cursing or mean-spirited comments will be allowed.

Thank you very much for reading the posts and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Andrew Godfrey

 

 

 

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.

 

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!!!

 

 

Abraham Zapruder – Just Wanted To Take Some Film Of Presidential Motorcade

Abraham Zapruder was born in Russia in 1905 and didn’t move to the United States, until his family emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1920.

Zapruder worked his way up in the fashion industry and co-founded Chalet and Jennifer Juniors in Dallas and his office was located in the Dal-Tex building in Dealey Plaza.

He had no plans of taking his movie camera, to film the motorcade with President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, but his secretary Lillian Rogers talked him into driving the 14 mile trip home to pick up his camera. If he had left his movie camera at home he would have been just another spectator that day, but having his camera made him an integral part of the events of that day.

The movie camera used by Abraham Zapruder to film the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It is amazing that Zapruder picked the precise best spot, to record the assassination of President Kennedy. He took the film of the assassination, which won’t be shown here because the film is very disturbing. The 18 second film was almost certainly the most important evidence, when determining the sequence of the shots.

The movie camera was a 8 mm Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD. Zapruder had his receptionist call the police, since he knew the film contained some very important footage. He later would reportedly sell a copy of the film, to Life Magazine for $150,000. He donated $25,000 of that money to the widow of Officer J.D. Tippit, who was killed less than an hour after the assassination.

This is an interview Zapruder participated in on WFAA TV in Dallas, which was shown on the evening of the assassination:

JAY WATSON (Station WFAA Dallas): […] And would you tell us your story please, sir?

ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER: I got out in, uh, about a half-hour earlier to get a good spot to shoot some pictures. And I found a spot, one of these concrete blocks they have down near that park, near the underpass. And I got on top there, there was another girl from my office, she was right behind me. And as I was shooting, as the President was coming down from Houston Street making his turn, it was about a half-way down there, I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this. Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn’t say it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up [places fingers of right hand to right side of head in a narrow cone, over his right ear], all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting. That’s about all, I’m just sick, I can’t… WATSON: I think that pretty well expresses the entire feelings of the whole world. ZAPRUDER: Terrible, terrible. WATSON: You have the film in your camera, we’ll try to get… ZAPRUDER: Yes, I brought it on the studio, now. WATSON: We’ll try to get that processed and have it as soon as possible.[6]

November 22, 1963 was the last time that Zapruder owned or used a camera, probably due to him seeing President Kennedy assassinated through the lens.

Zapruder’s testimony before the Warren Commission:

http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol7/page571.php

His appearance before the Warren Commission, since he had to relive what he had seen that 22nd day of November in 1963 was very trying. He lost his composure when recalling the events of that day before the commission.

Abraham Zapruder set up his movie camera, in hopes of filming the motorcade of President John. F. Kennedy. But what he saw in his lens was the brutal assassination of President Kennedy. He may have taken the most important home movie ever made.

It was less than seven years, after the assassination when Abraham Zapruder succumbed to cancer on August 30, 1970 at the age of 65.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

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

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

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

Moe Howard 1897-1975

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

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

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

Shemp Howard 1895-1955

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

Curly Howard 1903-1952

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

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

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

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

Larry Fine 1902-1975

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jake Busey son of Gary and also an actor.

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

Gary Busey Trivia

Played in band named Rubber Band.

Is a licensed airplane pilot.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Perry Mason

Raymond Burr 1917-1993

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

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

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

Some interesting Perry Mason trivia from imdb.com:

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

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

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

1957 Ford Skyliner

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Groucho Marx Kept Us Laughing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Groucho’s quotes:

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

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

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

Even more quotes from Groucho:

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

Relationship with Groucho Marx

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

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

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

Arrest

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

Death

Fleming committed suicide in 2003 by shooting herself.]

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

Esther Williams Dies At 91

Esther Williams 1921 – 2013

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

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

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

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

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

New York Times has an extensive obituary for Esther Williams:

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

 

 

 

 

Comedy Icon Jonathan Winters Dies At 87

Jonathan Winters 1925-2013

America has lost another comedy icon of the early days of television, with the passing of Jonathan Winters today at the age of 87 in Montecito, California. Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 11, 1925.

The thing I remember most about Jonathan Winters were the funny faces he could make. He first made a name for himself in stand-up comedy and released 22 comedy albums from 1960-2011.

His first television appearance appearing as someone other than himself was when he appeared, on Omnibus in 1954. He was heard on one old-time radio show Monitor in 1959, before old-time radio died on September 30, 1962.

Winters appeared in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963. This is physical comedy at its best as Winters levels a service station singlehandedly and he earned $130,000 for his appearance in the movie. :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzZsp8SvJj8

He later appeared as Mearth on Mork and Mindy television series. His last movie appearance was as Papa on Smurfs 2, which is in post-production. He was to have appeared in Big Finish, but it is in pre-production, so he won’t be seen in that film.

Many of his best known television appearances were Tonight Show, Jack Paar Show and Hollywood Squares.

The world has lost of the best improvisational comics ever. Jonathan Winters will be missed by a legion of fans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/arts/television/jonathan-winters-comedian-dies-at-87.html?pagewanted=all&amp&_r=0

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

Petula Clark – $10 Million

The Celebrity Net Worth website lists 80 year-old Petula Clark as being worth $10 million. Clark has now been singing for 74 years. When I think of Petula Clark I think of her hit song Downtown.

Fabian – $25 Million

Fabian Forte known only as Fabian by most rock and roll fans was 70 last February and although he may not have a lot of hit songs he made his mark in the movies, appearing in a total of 45 movies and TV shows from 1959-1996. Celebrity Net Worth lists Fabian’s net worth at $25 million.

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson – $100 Million

 

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. may be only 16, but he is already worth $100 million.. He may or may not have access to that money now, but his financial security is insured, if he doesn’t go through his money too fast.

Connie Francis – $25 Million

The net worth of Connie Francis is listed at $25 million despite the fact that she only had three No.1 hits in her 70 year career. The 74-year-old Francis had her first No.1 hit in My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own in 1960. Her next No. 1 hit was released in 1961 when Together was No.1 on adult contemporary chart and her last No. 1 hit was Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You which reached No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962. Francis has not even released an album since 1969.  One of her best known songs was Who’s Sorry Now, but it peaked at No.4 for her first Top 10 hit in 1957.

Her biggest regret was not marrying Bobby Darin, after her dad chased Darin out of a building at gunpoint. He then said Darin was out of their lives, when the news of his marriage was broadcast on the radio. Francis said she wished their car had been filled with water, while driving in the Lincoln Tunnel and hoping her father would both be killed.

Gordon Lightfoot in 1967 – $30 Million

The 74 year-old Gordon Lightfoot is listed as being worth $30 million.  Lightfoot has been singing since 1956 at the age of 18. Bob Dylan said Lightfoot was one of his favorite songwriters. He wrote Early Morning Rain, which was covered by many well-known singers including Elvis Presley.

His first No.1 song was If You Could Read My Mind, which reached No.1 in Canada in 1970. His other No. 1 hits on Canadian pop charts were Sundown in 1974 and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1976. Lightfoot had nine songs reach No.1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. Sundown was the only Lightfoot song to reach No.1 on the U.S. pop charts, but he placed four songs on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts.

He released his last album All Live on Rhino Records in 2012. It includes most of his most well-known hits in this list from Wikipedia:

  • All Songs Written By Gordon Lightfoot

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

Henry “Bomber” Kulky 1911 – 1965

When I think of Henry Kulky I think of him playing Otto Schmidlap on Life of Riley television series in 16 episodes from 1953-1958.

Kulky was born Henry Kulakowich on August 11, 1911 in Hastings – on – Hudson, New York. He died February 12, 1965 in Oceanside, California at the age of 53.

He was a professional wrestler using the name Bomber Kulkavich, before he made his first movie. You would never guess it by looking at him, but he played the piano in San Clemente, California night spots.

Kulky was extra busy from 1953-1958, since he also appeared in six episodes of Ozzie and Harriet during those years.

His movie career started in 1947, when he appeared in A Likely Story. Kulky’s movie career really took off in 1949, when he appeared in nine films. He would add eight more films to his resume in 1950, with him appearing in 17 movies during 1949 and 1950. 1951 and 1952 were also busy years for Kulky with seventeen more film appearances. He also appeared in the Abbott and Costello, Racket Squad and Adventures of Superman shows in 1952. From 1947-1952 he had appeared in 39 movies and three television shows.

He continued to appear in films and television shows during the rest of the 50’s and would appear in six Red Skelton shows from 1956-1961.

Kulky is best known for his portrayal of Chief Max Bronsky in the Hennessey television series, which ran from 1959-1962,  in which he appeared in 46 episodes. He appeared in 22 episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea television series from 1964 till the year of his death in 1965. Kulky appeared in a total of over 80 movies, in only 17 years of being in the movies.

I had no idea that Kulky was such a prolific actor, before researching for this article.

This website has more info on the career of Kulky, but the wrestling numbers don’t jive, with one portion saying he was 172-3 as a wrestler, while another part says he wrestled in 7,000 matches.

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

Memories of a Lifetime: 1986-1990

For some reason my memory of the 1986-1990 period in my life is drawing a blank for the most part. Anyone with memories of what happened in Pineville-Alexandria during these years are welcome to comment.

1986 – Halley’s comet appeared in 1986 and won’t reappear till the year 2061. It had last appeared before 1986 in 1911. IBM launches the first laptop computer 27 years ago. Smoking was banned on all public transportation, in the United States which had to be tough for smokers on coast to coast airplane flights. The nicotine patch was invented in 1986. A Plymouth Colt could be purchased for $4,999. A gallon of gas only cost 89 cents. Average rent was $385 a month. Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee were popular movies in 1986.

1987 – A Private First Class in the Army was earning $9,385.20 a year. When I joined the Army in 1962 a recruit earned $936 a year as a E-1. A gallon of gas was 89 cents, the same price as in 1986. The U.S. stock market crashed on October 19 with a 508 point drop. Fox Broadcasting made its debut 26 years ago. A seven-day Caribbean cruise cost $1195.

1988 – The price of a gallon of gasoline remained relatively stable, rising to only 91 cents, after being 89 cents the previous two years. Movie tickets were $3.50 and average rent was now $420. Yellowstone National Park had 250 separate fires in 1988 that destroyed 793,880 acres of the park, which was a third of the total acreage of the park. A Logitech mouse cost $89.99, while a Amiga 500 with a color monitor cost $849.

1989 – I had surgery in July of 1989 at Rapides Hospital. I would be off work for six weeks. I would then work from 1989-2004 at the Town Talk , while missing a total of one day of work and was in the hospital that day, after being admitted from emergency room, due to emergency room physician thinking I may had a blood clot, but it turned out to be a muscle tear. I think I got my work ethic from my dad who didn’t miss a day of work over a 40 year period.

That same month before the surgery I had gone to grocery store to get snacks to watch the 1989 All Star game. By the time I got back an earthquake had hit the San Francisco area and film was being shown of the players leaving the stadium with their families. Then we saw hours of coverage of the devastation in the area. Hard to believe 24 years have passed since that date.

Other big news in 1989 is that the Yugo cars went bankrupt. The Yugo is 39th on the list of worst cars in history. One feature was the rear window defroster, which kept your hands warm, while you pushed it. The car looked like it had been assembled at gunpoint. The article also has this to say about the Yugo:

The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system — such as it was — would  sizzle, and things would just fall off.

1990 – I think this is the year my son Steve played football for the Pineville High School Rebels. He played end and endured practices from summer till the end of the season, but only played in the last game of the season, for only one play and the worst thing is that his mom had left the stadium, by the time he played in the game and I was at work, so no family member was there to see him in that one play. I still respect his work ethic to stick with it all season, even if he didn’t get to play but in that one play.

Gasoline had skyrocketed to $1.34 by 1990. Today gasoline is in the $3.25 range in our area. A Super Nintendo cost $159. Cabbage Patch Kids were $29.99. A six volt Batman car could be purchased for $199 and had a top speed of 3 MPH. A Smith Corona Daisy Wheel Typewriter could be purchased for $179, while a cellular car phone could be bought for $325.

Murder on Music Row – George Strait, Alan Jackson

George Strait and Alan Jackson singing Murder on Music Row.

The best known version of Murder on Music Row was recorded by George Strait and Alan Jackson, but was originally recorded by Larry McCordle and Lonesome Standard Time.

The following link takes you to a website where the lyrics are shown and you can hear George and Alan singing the words and sing along with them if you want.

http://www.simplyangel.com/murderonmusicrow.htm

I had liked country music over the years, but really got interested after seeing Your Cheatin’ Heart the life story of Hank Williams Sr.  The movie told the life story of Hank Williams Sr. in a way that showed his struggles on the way to the top and how his drinking habit caused him to lose jobs and probably caused his early death at the age of 29, in the backseat of a car on the way to a concert. The part I best remember was when the audience found out Hank had died enroute to the concert and started singing ” I Saw The Light . ” which was the most poignant part of the movie.

When I saw the movie in the 60′s when stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii it jump started my collection of country music record albums.

I particularly liked Buck Owens and Buckaroos and at one time owned fifteen of their albums. I became a Ernest Tubb fan and bought his Ernest Tubb Life Story Album, which contained many of his older songs from the World War II era. Songs like Filipino Baby, Driftwood on the River, Rainbow at Midnight and others brought home what it was like for soldiers during World War II.

It was exciting to be able to buy a record album of Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn, when they appeared in concert as a duet in Alexandria, Louisiana and to top it off both of them autographed their albums. I was struck by how beautiful Loretta Lynn was in person.

Country Music Not the Same

Country music isn’t the same today. You might hear a few traditional singers like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Randy Travis, but for the most part traditional country music has died. Like the song says murder was committed on Music Row and is being committed with each release of this non-traditional music.

I couldn’t name one country song from 2012, since I spend my time listening to the old music on my MP3 player of George Strait, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and others previously mentioned in this article. There are no songs that stand out like He Stopped Loving Her Today, Take This Job and Shove It, Heartaches by the Number, Hello Darlin’, Together Again, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Welcome To My World, Okie From Muskogee, Big City and the great George Strait songs from the 80’s and 90’s.

So if you want to start a collection of traditional country music at its best, then this is the time to start. I found a 99 song Ernest Tubb collection for only $11.02 used. I bought this collection two or three years ago at a good price from Amazon. I have bought many used CD’s from Amazon dealers and have never had a CD that didn’t work. It might pay to compare prices with eBay dealers.

Chuck Barris: From Gong Show Host To CIA Hitman?

Chuck Barris

Chuck Barris is best known for hosting the Gong Show at various times from 1976-1989. However, Barris told of his life as a CIA hitman in his so-called unauthorized 1984 biography Confessions of  a Dangerous Mind.

The book was made into a movie, by the same name starring George Clooney has the Barris character portrayed by Sam Rockwell killing 33 people. The movie cost $29 million to make and earned only $16 million in the U.S.

Roger Ebert’s Chicago Sun-Times review:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030124/REVIEWS/301240302/1023

 Charles Hirsch Barris was born on June 3, 1929 in Oakland, New Jersey and is presently 83 years old.

Time magazine article on January 7, 2003 disputes the veracity of his claim. Barris has failed to answer questions about his allegations. The most telling aspect to me is that a CIA spokesman has made this statement: “It is ridiculous and absolutely not true”. On the other hand CIA probably would not reveal if Barris had been a CIA hitman, due to the secretiveness of the CIA.

We may never know if his claims about being a CIA hitman are true, since he refuses to discuss the subject.

Barris was a songwriter, who wrote Palisades Park, which peaked at No.3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1962.

Dating Game fans will be interested to know that he was the creator of the show.

 

 

Michael J. Pollard: Face You Never Forget

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on that episode:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael J. Pollard Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phyllis Diller: Pioneer Stand-Up Comedienne Dies at 95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis Diller has died at the age of 95 in Los Angeles California. Diller died Monday, August 20 at her home.

Diller paved the way for female stand-up comediennes when she took up comedy at the age of 37.

She was born Phyllis Ava Driver in Lima, Ohio on July 17, 1917. Her mom Frances Ada Driver was born in 1881 and her father Perry Marcus Driver was born during the Civil War in 1862.

She pursued a career as a pianist attending Sherwood Music Conservatory in Chicago for three years, but eventually gave up on a career as a musician.                                              

Diller launched her career in an unlikely place, the neighborhood laundromat as she told stories of her life at home and eventually was asked to do her comedy act at PTA meetings.

When she made her comedy club debut in 1938 at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, her two-week engagement lasted a year-and-a-half.

She was seen in many television shows and movies over the years:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0226887/

Phyllis Diller appearing on Ed Sullivan Show 43 years ago in 1969.

She has appeared with 100 symphony orchestras across the United States as a guest piano soloist.

Female comediennes today like Joan Rivers, Ellen Degeneres and others owe a debt of gratitude to Diller, since there were very few female stand-up comediennes when Diller hit the comedy circuit.

Plastic surgery became another source for comedy material, after she had fifteen surgical procedures done according to her 2005 autobiography.

Since Diller has been out of the spotlight for many years, we may have forgotten just how good of a comedienne that she was.

The world has lost another voice of laughter, at a time when the world could use more laughter, instead of less.