Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tang.....The Space Age Drink

Tang is short for tangy and is supposed to have the flavor of tangerines. With more vitamin C than oranges, Tang was the breakfast drink of choice during the 1960's.
Tang was introduced to the public in 1959 and was marketed as the modern breakfast beverage. In 1965 the Gemini astronauts took the drink into outer space and made Tang a household name.
Made by General Foods, Tang is a sweetened drink powder, artificially flavored and colored. It's one of America's favorite chemically treated foods.
The Apollo and Gemini missions took the drink into space and drank it out of silver pouches. Just add water and you can have a days worth of vitamin C.
Actually, Tang had nothing to do with the space program and was developed by General Foods in 1957, 12 years before anyone went into space. But, because of the advertising, "Tang Takes Off," the space program became a valuable asset to the marketing and sales of the drink.
Sales of the drink today are not what they were back then. I'm sure most people decided that drinking real orange juice instead of mixing tangerine flavored chemical powder with water with a six year shelf life was much better for you.
One household tip is that Tang is an excellent cleaning agent and can be used to clean your dishwasher. Just run Tang through the cycle instead of soap.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb!

Wasn't Kookie the ginchiest? Born July 30, 1933, Edward Byrne Breitenberger starred in the TV series 77 Sunset Strip as Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson. He was a valet at Dean Martins "Dino's Lodge" restaurant next to 77 Sunset Strip. Sometimes he helped out the PI's trying to solve their cases.
He knew the word on the street and called everyone "dad." Always snapping his fingers he had a cool beatnik style. He was constantly combing his dovetail hair which led him to become a teenage idol heartthrob.
Later in his career, Edd Byrnes was hired to host the pilot of the "Wheel of Fortune" game show. That didn't work out for him and was replaced by Chuck Woolery.
Recently, Byrnes traveled to car shows selling his autographed pictures. But because of his unprofessional behavior and charging above average rates for his photos, many car shows have banned him.
In 2007, at the Blast From The Past car show in Texas, Edd Byrnes started yelling obscenities at a little girl and her father for videotaping him. He doesn't want anyone recording him for free. Well there you have it. Kookie, the cool cat turned into a guy with a big ego. In my opinion, the dude is just grasping at straws and living in a moment somewhere in time.
If you would like to read more about the life of Ed Byrnes, he wrote an autobiography in 1996 called, "Kookie No More."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out Of the Clear Blue Of The Western Sky Comes......Sky King!

In the 1940's and 1950's Sky King was a radio and television adventure series. Schuyler (Skyler) King was an Arizona rancher and aircraft pilot living on the Flying Crown Ranch in the town of Grover, Arizona.
The show had strong cowboy elements and Sky always captured criminals, spies and also helped lost hikers in his plane.
Songbird was the name of his aircraft. In the beginning of the series, Sky flew a Cessna T-50, owned by the star who was a pilot in real life. The plane was made out of wood and became unsafe to fly and was replaced.
Sky King's niece Penny and sometimes his nephew Clipper also lived on the ranch. Penny and Clipper were pilots too, but somewhat inexperienced. Penny raced planes and Sky trusted her to fly Songbird. Now, I find that highly unfair. As you read in my Camero post, being the aspiring racer I was, my dad would not let me use his car and I am positive a plane would have been out of the question.
In the show, Kirby Grant played Sky King, Gloria Winters as Penny and Ron Hagerty was Clipper. Like most cowboy hero's, Sky never killed the bad guys. It was largely a show for kids, but became an icon for the aviator community. Many pilots, growing up were influenced by the show.
One memorable feature of the series was Penny's radio calls from the ranch. She always said, "Flying Crown to Songbird, Flying Crown to Songbird, Come in Uncle Sky."
A unique introduction to the show featured the triangular Nabisco logo flying across the screen. Nabisco put plastic characters of the series in packages of Wheat and Rice Honey's.
The series was filmed in the high desert of California. It was expensive for a kids show because most of the budget went into the aircraft shots and vehicles. The show features low level flying, a way to show the speed of the plane as the desert flashed by.
In my search for Sky King, I came across a very cool web site which you can watch all the episodes of this series. To check it out go to: