Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer!

In 1959 Hank Ballard & The Midnighters wrote and released the song, "The Twist." In 1960 Chubby Checker redid the song which then became #1 on the Billboard charts. It made it's debut on the Dick Clark Show and became a dance craze. The critics felt the dance was too provocative and was the first international dance of it's kind.
The Twist's original inspiration came from an African American plantation dance called, "wringin and twistin." It is traced back to the 1890's.
As the years went by, other recordings were made of the song. In 1961 Joey Dee and the Starlighters sang "The Peppermint Twist." I'm sure you remember the Peppermint Lounge. Then in 1962, Bo Diddley released his album, Bo Diddley's A Twistin. His songs were, "Bo's Twist" and "Mama Don't Allow No Twistin."
Bill Haley and The Comets put a twist on the Twist and released the recordings, "The Spanish Twist" and "Florida Twist."
The Twist is easy! Just pretend to drop a cigarette butt on the ground, put the ball of your foot over the imaginary cigarette and twist it to and fro like you are putting it out. Then at the same time, put an imaginary bath towel behind your back and pull it from side to side like you are drying your rear. Voila! You're doing the twist! It's so simple and you can dance alone with no partner contact. Now, I can just see you right now trying to do the twist. So come on baby, let's do the twist. Oh yeah, just like this!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Music The Mud!

Did you honestly think I would forget about this? August 15, 1969 was one of America's biggest parties. The music, the mud all took place at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in New York. What better reason, other than a terrorist attack, to close the NY freeway.
The Hog Farm Commune helped organize the campgrounds, operate free kitchens set up bad trip tents and introduce yoga and granola bars to the masses. A half a million strong!
There weren't cell phones or the Internet back then, but the underground press spread the word. Originally, Abbie Hoffman referred to the concert as Woodstock Nation, now in the 21st century, it is known as The Woodstock Moment.
Checkout the website for great memories of this great 3 days in our history. Meanwhile, I would like to hear about your experiences at Woodstock.

Woodstock: 40 Years on: Back to Yasgur's Farm (6CD, Limited Edition)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Red And The Pledge

This video was taken from the Red Skelton Hour show January 14,1969. He touched the hearts of Americans with his Pledge of Allegiance, explaining the meaning of each and every word.
Things have certainly changed since then and it seems to me that we as a nation have somehow gotten off track. Perhaps this video can show us the way back.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Let's Have Lunch With Soupy!

I really loved (and still do) Soupy Sales. Once in my travels, I saw him in the San Francisco airport. I thought I just saw God! It was truly a rush!
From 1959-1961, on Saturday's at noon, it was the Lunch With Soupy show. You could have lunch with him right in your living room!
His friends were White Fang. You could only see his big paw because he was the biggest dog in the world. Also, there was Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion, Hippy the Hippo, and Herman the Flea. All of these voices were done by Clyde Adler.
Born Milton Soupman in 1926, his family gave him his nickname. His older brothers were Ham Bone, Chicken Bone and he was Soup Bone, which was shortened to Soupy. Sales came from the name of an Ohio comedian.
While attending grad school, Soupy worked in night clubs as a comedian, singer and dancer. He began his television career with station WKRC-TV with his show, Soupy's Soda Shop. It was TV's first teen dance program.
He was best know for Lunch With Soupy Sales. It was filled with rapid fire jokes and gags and his best known trademark, a pie in the face, He claims to be hit by over 25,000 pies.
Later in his career, Sales had a radio show on WNBG-AM in New York. On New Years Day in 1965, he was upset about having to work. At the end of the show, he told the kids to tiptoe in to their parents bedroom when they were sleeping and take the funny green pieces of paper with the presidents faces on them and send them to him. He in return, would mail them a post card from Puerto Rice. Well, the plan worked and Soupy ended up getting alot of money, which he donated to charity. The station was so upset over the matter and let him go. With so many kids ending up picketing the station, they had no choice but to bring him back.
Howard Sterns had a show at the same station and they did not get along. Sterns cut the strings of Soupy's studio piano just to torture him.
In his career, Soupy did several games shows which I am sure will become future blog posts here. They were, What's My Line, To Tell The Truth, and Hollywood Squares.
No doubt about it, Soupy is one great talent with lots of stories to tell. In fact, you can even follow him on Twitter!