Sunday, January 31, 2016

What city could handle this sort of population increase?

In 1880 the population of Brooklyn was 600,000. Fifty years later, in 1930, it had more than quadrupled to 2,560.000. Tough for the city fathers to keep up under those conditions.


An Indian with a New York accent

Sheldon Leonard's thick NYC accent is one of the most famous in Hollywood history, and I loved listening to it. However, it didn't work very well when he played the part of an Indian, which he did in the movie The Iroquois Trail.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

A slow start - and perseverence

Author Bret Halliday was the creator of detective Michael Shayne, who has made his way through a series of novels, movies, radio shows and a television series. Halliday was not an instant success as a writer, though. The jacket to his novel, This Is It, Michael Shayne, tells us that he first thought of writing when he entered a contest in 1937. And then, "during the next three years, he wrote more than two mllion words and didn't sell a line." A slow start, but he stayed with it.

Brett Halliday

Friday, January 29, 2016

Maternity policy for fighting wars

I heard on the news today that our Secretary of Defense is announcing a new maternity policy that will be a material help in fighting wars. What kind of upside down, illogical, perverted nonsensical reasoning is that?!

Sooty eyes?

Several times in the novel, This Is It, Michael Shayne, author Brett Halliday characterizes a woman as having "sooty eyes." Evidently that is a term for having way too much mascara and eye liner. Evidently it is a fairly standard term.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hey Boy and Miss Wong - busy actors

On the Have Gun, Will Travel radio program, the two main supporting characters were usually portrayed by Ben Wright and Virginia Gregg. Usually their parts took up only a few seconds of the program at the beginning and the end, but both actors were very busy on radio. I doubt they got rich off their bit parts on this particular program, but both had steady work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A monument to Walmart's greed and stupidity

Charleston, Arkansas, is a small town of less than 2000 people. A few months back Walmart opened one of their Neighborhood Markets there, about a block from the IGA grocery store. Plus, there was already a Dollar General store in town. Immediately, the business at the IGA dropped to the point that many of us wondered how they would be able to stay in business. Then, low and behold, within the last month Walmart announced that they were closing over 100 stores, one of which was this new one in Charleston. They spent no telling how much money building a store that they obviously did not need, hired a bunch of people that they have now put out on the street, and came perilously close to driving out of business a long-established competitor. Any questions as to why I despise Walmart?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Johnny Dollar and high-brow accounting firms

In The Wayward Money Matter, Johnny Dollar's client says he employs the accounting firm of Handley, James, Chadwick, Curmer and Wormsbecker. Ooooh. Pretty snooty, huh?

Costello's line didn't work to well

Sam Shovel (Costello): "Is that Taboo I smell?"

Lil: "It is, and you do."

(from the Abbott and Costello radio show)

Douglas Jacobson, Johnny Dollar, and the Medal of Honor

Sometimes you will hear old radio shows without sponsors. It was the practice of the networks to "carry" a program that did not have a sponsor for a period of time if they thought it was worthy and would eventually be picked up. For example, that was the case for at least some of the Gunsmoke program. On the episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar entitled "The Wayward Money Matter," the PSA concerned the story of Medal of Honor winner Douglas Jacobson.

HERE is his story.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Interesting ranks in the South African police force

As we learn from the Squad Cars radio show. Among others they have Brigadiers, Warrant Officers and Constables.

Do people run their families like they run their businesses?

My, my, MY! If they do (and I suspect that is true in many, if not most, cases), then it is no wonder what a messed up world we have.

Are you a member of the UEPCS?

That's the Undertakers, Embalmers and Pallbearers Clam-digging Society. Digger O'Dell was. (He was the "friendly undertaker" on The Life of Riley radios program.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Riley's definition of inflation

Inflation is when the price of steak goes up and up until soon all you can afford are potatoes and spaghetti, and then you get to where you can't button you pants. That's inflation.

(from The Life of Riley radio show)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Things are upside down

We need rest for our bodies and rest for our souls. These days, I am afraid, we get too much rest for the former and not enough for the latter.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Scheherazade - dessert for the ears

We had a recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's masterpiece, Scheherazade, in my childhood, and so I grew up listening to it over and over again. I hear it less likely today, but my son got me a CD of it recently, and I was reminded again what a great piece of music it is. Gorgeous melodies, lush harmonies, absolutely brilliant orchestration. It is a feast for the ears. If parents want to introduce their children to classical music, they could hardly do better than this work.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Night Beat - the dark side

Most detective programs had occasional episodes of a more light-hearted variety, but those are very rare on Night Beat. Of course, it actually was not a detective program, but about a newspaper reporter, even though he worked to unravel various problems and mysteries. But don't expect to get cheered up by this show.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Taking on a tough job

It was easy enough to consider such a plan, but it was something else to bring it to a conclusion. It was like serving a bear steak. First you had to catch a bear.

(from Matagorda, by Louis L'Amour)

The first episode of Night Beat

It is interesting how the character of this show changed drastically from its initial audition episode on 19 Sep 1949. That one sounded much more like a Jeff Reagan show. Edmund O'Brien starred, and the background music was from an organ. Evidently the audition did not fly, because there was another one in the familiar format about four months later.

Modern form of torture

Air travel is a modern form of anguish. Ignored, delayed, crushed into a confined space - about like they treat cattle, but at least the cattle do not have to pay for the privilege. I still say that the government ought to require all airline executives to travel coach class anonymously on a competing airline at least once a year. Or, if those guys were really cared about cutomers, they would do it voluntarily.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

All Through the Night - one of my all-time favorites

If you are a Bogie fan, you need to put this on your "must" list.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Want to hear interviews with stars of old-time radio?

Here is a great LINK.

Jack Benny hoarded Confederate money

"If the South ever comes back, I'll be the John D. Rockefeller of Atlanta."

How busy are you, Senator Claghorn?

I'm busier than a man with St. Vitus Dance putting on his long underwear.

(from the Fred Allen radio show)

Gas prices and car design

I wonder how much gas prices restrict those who design the exteriors of automobiles. In recent years, because of fuel prices, cars have come to look much the same as car companies have to stress aerodynamics. Back in the good ol' days, the different makes of cars were fairly distinctive, but now they tend to look the same, at least more so than previously.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

There were a lot of Dead End kids

Huntz Hall was one of the stars of the series of movies made by a group of young actors known as the Dead End kids. Hall was the 14th of 16 children in his family.


A little bit of Martha Raye went a long way

There were a few roles where she was well fitted, and came off fairly well. But most of the time she was just brassy, overstated and irritating.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Louis L'Amour and the Hardshells

In his novel Matagorda, the main antagonist is a gunman named Jackson Huddy. "His presence put a damper on idle talk, and it was well known that he disliked profane or obscene language. His standards and morals were largely those of the hardshell Baptist family in which he had grown up, and had he discarded his guns there was nothing in his conduct to which they could have objected."


Friday, January 15, 2016

I know he was remarkable, but wait a minute!

Francis the mule was a most remarkable animal. No one could deny that. But when he shows up in Francis Covers the Big Town reading a book on Einstein's Theory of Relativity, that just seems like it is carrying things a little too far.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The two Kittys

The two actresses who played Kitty Russell in Gunsmoke on radio and television.

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Georgia Ellis (radio)

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Amanda Blake (TV)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Investing in bargains

Someone pointed out to me years ago that we need to think of bargains in terms of investments. There is one caveat, however: it must involve items that you definitely would buy anyway, and that you are sure you will use before they go obsolete. For example, if a can of beans is normally $1.00, and the grocery store is running a special at 80 cents, that is a 20% return, and you probably will not find that many places in the investment arena. So buy NO MORE of them than you are sure you would have used anyway, and you have made a 20% return on your money.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Point Sublime radio show

This evidently short-lived radio program was unique because it starred Cliff Arquette and Mel Blanc. Arquette was better known as television personality Charlie Weaver in my generation, but to my parents he would have been familiar as the masher who was a regular on Fibber McGee and Molly. Blanc's character on Point Sublime used his Porky Pig voice.


Sleeping by the ocean

One of my favorite sounds on our white noise-maker is that of waves breaking on a beach. It is very soothing. I can imagine that someone who actually lived by the ocean for some time would find it very difficult to sleep if he moved away from that area.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Occasionally (but rarely) William Conrad's voice did not work

The 26 October 1952 episode of Escape was entitled "Robert of Huntington," and it was about Robin Hood, whose band has to rescue Little John. Radio legend William Conrad portrays Robin Hood. It is well known that Conrad's physical appearance did not lend itself to leading man roles on the screen, but in this instance it also did not fit the character on radio, either. Conrad's voice is too gruff for the way we picture the outlaw leader. (Of course, that may have been much closer to the truth, but who is to know?)

Have Gun, Will Travel theme

There were quite a few memorable themes on old radio shows, but doubtless one of the most unique and effective was the one for Have Gun, Will Travel. Dissonant and emphatic, it set the theme for the rougher side of Paladin's personality, and contrasted his cultured exterior when not "on the job." One of my favorites.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The sorrow of the world

"It is wrong to believe that such men suffer in the conscience for what they do . . . it is only regret at being caught that troubles them. And they never admit it was any fault of their own . . . it was always chance, bad luck. . . . The criminal does not regret his crime, he only regrets failures." (from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

What L'Amour says here agrees in general with the principle set forth by the Apostle Paul in his writings to the Corinthians where he speak of "the sorrow of this world."

Warren William as The Lone Wolf

William starred as Michael Lanyard in eight of The Lone Wolf movies. He was suave and urbane in his manner, but came off somewhat less athletic than one might have desired in a few scenes. In most of the movies, Eric Blore starred as Jamison, his butler, in most of the films. They played well off each other and made a good team.


Friday, January 08, 2016

No memories with email

Sweethearts, relatives, close friends. All of them (in the past) could take out letters they had received and re-read them, reliving the memories. Tough to do with email.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Riley's view of insurance

"I don't need insurance. I've lived all my life without dying, and I ain't starting now."

(from The Life of Riley radio show)

Feeding the cats directly from the spout

We had a milk cow when I was growing up, and the inevitable compliment of yard/barn cats. We had great fun teaching the cats to get their portion of milk directly from the cow. We would squirt the stream toward the cats, and they would catch it in their mouths. Great fun!


The great hurricane of 1844

In his novel, Lando, Louis L'Amour refers to the great hurricane of 1844 along the gulf coast of Texas. Evidently that was a real fact. According to Wikipedia: "August 6, 1844 – Moving ashore in the extreme southern portion of the state, a hurricane causes heavy damage, destroying most of the buildings near the coastline. On Brazos Island, the storm kills 70 people."

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

If you want to see what Brooksie looked like

Meaning Claire Brooks, of the Let George Do It radio show, then watch The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date, starring Warren William. Robinson is the female lead in the movie.


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

How homely was Mrs. O'Reilly?

"Her I could leave on an island with a boatload of sailors, and she wouldn't get kissed if a tree full of mistletoe fell on her."

(Professor Kilpatkin, speaking of his girlfriend, Mrs. O'Reilly on the My Friend Irma radio show)

Would they disobey orders?

In a very real sense, the freedom of any nation depends upon whether or not the military and the Secret Service would disobey orders if the Chief Executive commanded them to do something blatantly unconstitutional.

Monday, January 04, 2016

A fear many of us have

Something told me that when trouble came, this man would stand. This I respected, for of myself I was not sure. Every man wishes to believe that when trouble appears he will stand up to it, yet no man knows it indeed before it happens.

(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The value of familiar things

No man cuts himself free of old  ties without regret; even scenes of hardship and sadness possess the warmth of familiarity, and within each of us there is a love for the known.

(from Lando, by Louis L'Amour)


Friday, January 01, 2016

The Wilde twins

In the movie Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble, he is tormented by two twin sisters, who are played by Lee and Lynn Wilde. They are twin sisters who married brothers, Thomas and Jim Cathcart. (Jim died in 1970 and Lyn remarried.) The sisters appeared in nine films together. As of this date, Wikipedia reports that they are both still living, at age 93.


The Andy Hardy series of movies

There were 16 of them, beginning with A Family Affair in 1937 and ending with Andy Hardy Comes Home in 1958. For all practical purposes, however, the series ended with Love Laughs at Andy Hardy in 1946. The final movie was an unsuccessful attempt to revive what must have been a very profitable series for MGM. As one might expect with Mickey Rooney involved, there is a slapstick element to the movies. However, for the most part they deal with some very serious subjects, including trouble with the law, sowing wild oats, financial troubles and divorce. Generally the moral tone that is set is very positive, although Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) does make some errors in judgment in his handling of this children's problems, most of which he readily admits before the movie is over.