Saturday, March 28, 2009
Remember the Woolworth lunch counter? I'm not talking about grilled cheese and fries.
I am talking about the famous protest on February 1, 1960.
In Greensboro, North Carolina. Four African American college students sat down at the whites only lunch counter to order food. They were refused and asked to leave. The students remained in their seats which forced the store to close early. That event started a youth-led movement in the South against racial inequality.
That protest was effective due to the fact that the students were non-violent, respectful, and dressed in their Sunday clothes. As the protests became larger, some students even brought their books to study at the lunch counter.
Hundreds of students in Greensboro, churches and community members joined together for a 6 month long protest. These protests led to the desegregation of the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter on July 25,1960.
Protests such as these led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations.
Geneva Tisdale was working that day. After the desegregation of the lunch counter, Geneva and 2 co-workers were chosen to be the first African Americans to eat lunch at the counter. Thirty years later, Geneva was still behind that counter until the day that Woolworth closed.
A small section of this lunch counter was donated to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Remember eating Cracker Jacks as a kid and digging down inside the box to get the prize? Well, my grandfather figured it out. He would open the box on the bottom and get his prize first. I still have a big jar filled with his treasures.
Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother Louis were German immigrants. Frederick came to Chicago in 1872 to clean up after the famous Chicago fire. He also worked selling popcorn from a cart. The two brothers made the first Cracker Jack, but it was called candied popcorn and peanuts. The original was popcorn, peanuts and molasses. A sample was given to a salesman and after eating it he exclaimed, "That's a cracker jack!" Hence the name.
The problem with the mix was that it all stuck together. In 1866 a process was discovered to prevent this. It is still a secret to this day.
The song , "Take me out to the ballgame," was written by Jack Norworth. Cracker Jack was immortalized by the third line, "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack."
A prize in every box was introduced in 1912. Since then more than 23 billion prizes were given out. Some of these prizes are valued at more than $7,000. Now they have been replaced by paper jokes and riddles. I remember once, my grandmother found a beautiful hand painted Chinese bowl in her Cracker Jack box. It was quite astounding and no one could figure out how it got in there. If you are interested in learning about these toys, you can go to The Cracker Jack Collectors Association
So, march on down to the store and grab a box with sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo on the front and have a memorable journey. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get a Chinese bowl, too.
Cracker Jack*r Toys
Sunday, March 15, 2009
No, Sorry to say, these are not space craft that landed on earth from some unknown galaxy. If you are a baby boomer, you know what they are. If you are under 30, these things are called television sets. That's what we had. That was our only choice.
Did we complain about loosing the remote control? No, we didn't because there weren't any. You had to get up off the chair and actually change the station by turning the dial. I think the term couch potato came into our vocabulary when remotes were invented.
Yes, those were the days. Television was next to going to church. It was the o holy one. The whole family gathered around it to watch wholesome family, comedy and musical shows. I really don't think there was anything on back then that would allow for parental discretion.
Did you notice the size of the screens? Did we ever complain? Not really. There wasn't anything else made to compare it to. Actually, at that time, mothers would take their kids to the doctor complaining about eye problems. I know, because I was one of them. The doctor would say, as I was sitting there with my eyes about crossed, "She is sitting too close to the TV set, that's why her eyes don't look right." Probably most of my generation went through that.
We didn't have antennas, we had rabbit ears. If one of the ears broke off, then dad could hook up a metal coat hanger and it would do the trick.
We only had 2, maybe 3 channels. So, in order to watch the Twin Pines Milkys Party Time with Milky the clown, I would have to go to the neighbors house because they somehow could get the Detroit stations. We didn't complain. All the kids in the neighborhood showed up and it was a weekly social event.
As I was writing my last post about television set test patterns, I visualized what the television sets looked like back then. I was compelled to write this to let people of later generations know that, we didn't have much back then compared to now, but what we had was alot!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Remember the TV test patterns? They came on at night after a formal sign off by the television station and the National Anthem. They were used for adjusting the receiver controls for optimum reception.
In 1949, television programming was only a few hours a night and the test pattern replaced the shows. The most famous design was the "Indian Head." It was designed for RCA by an artist named Brooks in 1939. The original artwork was found in a dumpster by a wrecking crew worker. He saved them for over 30 years and sold the art to a test pattern collector.
The "Indian Head" pattern was built into an RCA monoscope tube which acted as a replacement for a television camera. Many of these tubes were saved as souvenirs and art pieces. But, nearly all of these small, hard to open tubes were junked. The actual cards, on the other hand, were 1.5 feet x 2 feet and saved for wall displays.
There is a great little blurb on Cheech and Chongs album, Big Bambu. Cheech drops by Chongs pad and asks him what he is watching on TV. Chong replies, "I don't know, it's a movie about Indians, but it's really boring." Cheech says, "Hey man, that's not a movie, man. That's a test pattern, man." Chong answers, "Far out!"
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I loved Sea Hunt! My dad called Lloyd Bridges,"The guy with the rubber underwear."
Duhhh.. I had dreams of being a deep sea diver while watching that show. I had a book that showed the real deep sea divers back then with big huge helmets, puffed up diving suits filled with air and a big giant hose hooked to the boat. It was pretty scary and mysterious. I wanted to do that, but of course, I couldn't. If you read my previous post, Nurse, Teacher, Or Mother, you would know why.
Did you know that Sea Hunt was the first show about sea diving and the most popular TV show in the 1960's? The star of the show, Lloyd Bridges, never had any diving experience before starting the series. He learned quick and became an accomplished diver and treated his viewers with underwater action.
His character, Mike Nelson (ex Navy frogman, turned freelance diver) hunted down criminals from the undersea underworld and tangled with manta rays, sharks, and octopuses. Mike Nelson was the man of the sea, going after treasures and performing rescues.
Danger and excitement were the themes of the shows and at the end of each episode, Lloyd Bridges made a plea to save the oceans. The footage was filmed in many places, but most of all, the action scenes were shot in a huge aquarium in California.
When the series first came out, the diving sequences were short. As the series became more popular, more of the action took place under water and from Mike Nelsons high-tech boat, the Argonaut.
As far as merchandise from the show, Sea Hunt became number one in sales. Everything from flippers, goggles and rubber boats were selling like wild fire.
Here's a bit of trivia from Sea Hunt.
Lloyd Bridges decided to leave the show after four seasons because the producers wanted cops and robbers plots, but Bridges wanted to focus on the environment.
Lloyd complained about the weight of the tanks on the above surface scenes. So, the art director had the tanks made from balsa wood and painted silver.
Isn't that great? Don't you just miss these old TV series? I really can't think of anything quite as good as Sea Hunt.
April 29, 1969
The Colorado mountains were a trip. The house where we crashed at was so cool. A real mountain cabin. The folks who we stayed with were artists. They make money by selling tie dyed t-shirts. They gave us each one. Too cool. We are in Utah now.
It's very hot and it looks like the moon. I am tripping out over the landscape. I can't wait to get to California to see the ocean. I am not so sure about sleeping under the stars tonight. The desert is kinda freaky. But, don't worry, I am ok. I really need a shower. Well Daddy, gotta go now, I will write next week.
Peace and love,
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Mr. Ed first aired in 1961 and was produced by Filmways. Mr. Ed was a smart 12 year old Palamino American Saddlebred horse who could talk. The horse was played by Bamboo Harvester and the voice was Allan Lane. His owner, the architect, Wilbur Post was portrayed by Allan Young. The cool thing was, that Mr. Ed would only talk to Wilbur. Young was chosen for the role because he seemed like the kind of guy that a horse would talk to.
Ed's stablemate was a horse named Pumpkin, who later played in the series Green Acres. Pumpkin was also Mr. Ed's double in some of the shows.
In 1968, Mr. Ed became ill and was euthanized in 1970 with no publicity. He was buried in Oklahoma. It was said that the horse died from a tranquilizer in a stable in Burbank, California while in retirement. Hmmm... sounds kinda fishy to me.
The other characters in the show were Carol, Wilburs wife and the neighbors, the Addisons.
The theme song was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, According to urban legend, when the song was played backwards, the words, "Someone sung the song for Satan and the source is the devil," is clearly heard. What is all this about playing songs backwards? Remember, "Paul is dead?"
So, how did Mr. Ed move his lips when he talked? Rumor had it that peanut butter was applied to his gums and he moved his lips to try and get it off. But, Alan Young admitted in 2004, that the real method used was a loose piece of nylon inserted under his lip. On his trainers cue, the horse tried to remove it.
Actually, Mr. Ed's handler sometimes used the "marionette theory" to make him talk by pulling strings attached to a nylon bit. Young denied this, but sometimes the camera would accidentally show the strings.
At any rate, I think Mr. Ed deserves one big salute for being such a fabulous horse.
Mr. Ed 1949-1970
MR. ED 8X10 B&W PHOTO
The Best of Mister Ed - Volume Two
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In April of 1953, TV Guide was the publication of choice. It was the most read of circulated magazines in the country. For 15 cents a copy, you had the world by the tail. A couch, snack table with a hot tv dinner, and the holy bible of tv shows was the answer for a perfect life.
Triangle publications owned the magazine and became an authority on television programming. There were articles from contributing writers as well as from the staff.
Based in a small office in downtown Philadelphia, the publication soon moved to a large national headquarters in Randor, Pennsylvania. The fancy building had a large lighted TV Guide logo at the entrance and a vast computer system (I'd like to see that!) holding the data on every show and movie available for the weekly listing.
Life was good for the magazine until cable tv came into the picture. The cable systems published their own magazines and it was next to impossible for TV Guide to list all the shows. Circulation went from almost 20 million in 1970 to less tan 3 million in 2007.
After changing owners over the years, in October of 2008, Macrovision sold the money loosing magazine to Equity Fund, Open Gate Capital for $1.00. Wow! What a story and just another example of the times are a changin.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I know this post is going against the wonderful nostalgia of my other writings, but I just looked out the window and realized that spring is right around the corner. Good Grief! That means I have to put away those big bulky sweaters. What is a boomer to do? Well, I have an answer and it's a good one.
This diet really works. It's a can do kinda diet because you only follow it 3 days a week. How perfect is that! Have I done it, you ask? Well, no, but I know people that have and it's easy.
Why haven't I done it, you ask? Well, mainly because all cocktails are put on hold until the third day. But, really, I can live with that. It's all the excuses I have for myself. I'll start tomorrow, or, rats, I planned on making lasagna tomorrow, or I am a boomer and I have the right to make excuses.
Anyway, all joking aside, I am going to start this tomorrow and you should too. Lets compare notes.
THIS DIET WORKS! IT IS A DIET FROM THE CLEVELAND CLINIC. YOU CAN LOOSE 40 POUNDS IN A MONTH AND IT’S HEALTHY.
YOU JUST FOLLOW THIS DIET FOR 3 DAYS A WEEK (NO EATING BETWEEN MEALS!) AND EAT NORMALLY AND RESPONSIBLY FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK. ALSO, WHEN DOING THIS DIET, USE SALT AND PEPPER, ONLY.
BREAKFAST- ½ GRAPEFRUIT
1 SLICE DRY TOAST & 2 TBLS PEANUT
½ BAGEL & 2 TBLS PEANUT BUTTER
LUNCH- ½ C. DRY TUNA
1 SLICE DRY TOAST
COFFEE OR TEA
DINNER- 2 SLICES MEAT ( 3 OZ)
1 C. GREAN BEANS
1 C. BEETS
1 SMALL APPLE
½ C. VANILLA ICE CREAM
BREAKFAST- 1 HARD COOKED EGG
1 SLICE DRY TOAST
LUNCH- 1 CUP COTTAGE CHEESE
DINNER- 2 HOT DOGS
1 C. BROCOLLI
½ C. CARROTS
½ C. VANILLA ICE CREAM
BREAKFAST- 1 SLICE CHEDDAR CHEESE
1 SMALL APPLE
LUNCH- 1 HARD COOKED EGG
1 SLICE DRY TOAST
DINNER- 1 C. DRY TUNA
1 C. RED BEETS
1 C. CALIFLOWER
½ C. CANTILOPE
½ C. VANILLA ICE CREAM
WELL, THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO THIS DIET AND YOU
WILL LOOSE FORTY POUNDS IN ONE MONTH. YOU MIGHT THINK YOU ARE STARVING TO DEATH DURING THE THREE DIETING DAYS, BUT YOU AREN’T. THIS IS A HOSPITAL DIET AND YOU GET TO EAT NORMAL THE REST OF THE WEEK. GO FOR IT AND JUST DO IT! YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!
ALSO, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER, WATER, WATER
There you have it.
You might want to take a look at this site too:
MY JEANS FIT NOW
Friday, March 6, 2009
Dark Shadows was the first soap opera to have a supernatural theme. Remember rushing home from school to watch it at 4:00? The show ran from 1966-1971. The supernatural in a daytime show was unheard of and ghosts weren't introduced until 6 months after the show began.
Barnabas Collins, played by Johnathan Frid, became a vampire cult figure. There were witches, monsters, zombies, time travel and a parallel universe. Some of the actors played several roles.
Victoria Winters arrives at the Collingwood Mansion as a governess for David Collins. There were strange happenings in the old mansion. Elizabeth Collins Stoddard has a secret and never leaves the estate. Her daughter Carolyn stays out all night and Roger Collins, David's father, is afraid someone is trying to kill him. The plot thickens during each episode.
The live to tape series demanded intense makeup, costumes and special effects. It could hardly keep up with it's daily schedule. Sometimes the actors struggled with their lines and the sets became wobbly. Once in awhile, a stagehand could been seen wandering in the back of the set. A microphone boom could been seen in the frames.
The soundtrack still ranks as the top selling TV soundtrack ever. It even hit the billboard charts.
Due to the economic recession in 1971 and the governments ban on cigarette commercials, advertising revenues took a sharp dip. Since the viewing audience was primarily the ages of 18-35, and really had no purchasing power, the series came to an end.
In 1971, Dark Shadows was replaced by the game show Password. The fans were so outraged, that they intended to disrupt the taping of Password in the Los Angeles studios. So, there you have it. Another great show bites the dust.
House of Dark Shadows 11"x17" Framed Poster
DARK SHADOWS 8x10 B&W PHOTO
Dark Shadows: The Beginning, Vol. 6