Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dragnet, always Dragnet!

My wife has several sites that play old radio shows continuously. At least one of them seems to like Dragnet particularly. She says she get a little tired of Jack Webb.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fatima cigarettes

They sponsored the early years of the long-running radio program Dragnet, plus Tales of Fatima, starring Basil Rathbone. It eventually lost market share and was phased out in the 1980s.

Band leader Russ Morgan

Morgan was one band leader who could not have made it on his looks. He had a very pleasant singing voice, and was competent on the trombone and other instruments. But he was dumpy and even his mother probably would not have claimed he was handsome. He had a secondary role in the B movie Sarge Goes To College and a few television shows.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ulysses S. Quincy and the Golden Era Discussion Club

The participants consider Ulysses one of their most essential members because of his "brainy comments," which mostly consisted of "OK."

(from Lum and Abner radio show)


Guy Kibbee played the part of Scattergood Baines in a series of movies. I wondered if that actually was a name, or just something that Hollywood concocted. However, in searching on a genealogical site, I found quite a number of people with that as a given name.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Stormin' Norman's connection to old radio shows

General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., became famous as the commander of the forces in the invasion of Iraq. What you might not know, however, is that his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, was a narrator of the Gang Busters radio show.

The elder Schwarzkopf was quite famous in his own right, having been the first Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. In that role, he was directly involved in the investigation of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's child, which went on to become arguably the most famous criminal trial in United States history. He eventually rose to the rank of Major General. His wife was distantly related to President Thomas Jefferson.

Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf.jpg

Friday, March 25, 2016


In his novel, Sitka, the major characters travel across the good bit of Siberia in a tarantass. Wikipedia describes it as a four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle on a long longitudinal frame, reducing road jolting on long-distance travel. It was widely used in Russia in the first half of the 19th century. It generally carried four passengers.

Places for expansive thoughts

That was the trouble with the sea and the mountains, they made a man think. It was always the little men who huddled together in cities who believed themselves important, and they had a conspiracy among them to keep the illusion.

(from Sitka, by Louis L'Amour)

One advantage women have

"Men talk easily of their plans to a beautiful girl, and Helena had the faculty of making the most horrendous bore feel brilliant." (from Sitka, by Louis L'Amour)

It is an ancient wile of women that remains in effect today.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Much more than Granny Clampett

Irene Ryan's career culminated with the long-running role as Granny Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies television program. However, she had done much beyond that earlier in her career. She and her husband, Tim Ryan, performed together in vaudeville. She toured with Bob Hope and was on his radio program for two years. She also appeared in several of the Rudy Vallee radio shows during 1945. She had a number of movie credits during the 1940s and early 1950s.

An organization you no doubt missed

The Avocado Growers Literary and Billiards Club. They selected Rudy Vallee to be Mr. Avocado of 1945. This caused George Jessel to reflect that he had been named Mr. Picked Herring of 1926.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My very Welsh grandsons

My four grandparents' names were Green, Loyd (Lloyd), Davis (Davies) and Evans. According to THIS website, Davies is the third most common Welsh surname, Evans is fourth, and Lloyd is 20th. We also have Powell blood in our lineage, which is the 22nd most common name. In addition, three of my grandsons are named Jones, which is the most common Welsh name. So, those boys have good, rich, Welsh blood running all through their veins.

Wise quote from Samuel Adams

“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.”                                                                                                                              ~Samuel Adams

(from the Constitution Party official website)

Rudy Vallee's physique

Irene Ryan: Just look at  those knees.

Vallee: What's wrong with my knees?

Ryan: The last time I saw a knob like that it had a keyhole under it.

(from the Rudy Vallee radio show)

The Villa Vallee Bowl

Irene Ryan reported on the Rudy Vallee radio show that Adolph Menjou had hired a contractor to build the Villa Vallee Bowl, a stadium on Rudy Vallee’s front lawn that would be large enough to accommodate a conference of the Big Three – Sydney Greenstreet, Oliver Hardy and Edward Arnold.

Montezuma's vengeance

Nothing like having a family reunion with scads of ankle-nippers, and then sending some sort of stomach-plus-fever bug out into a five-state area. Good planning, I guess.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Grandmother makes a pass at the wicked wolf

"Come on, big boy, how about a game of spin the hot water bottle?"

(As related on the Edgar Bergen radio show. The wolf, of course, was portrayed by Charlie McCarthy.)

Beryl C. Bagelbaker

A secret admirer of Ray Nobles, as he reveals on the Edgar Bergen radio program.

Read to improve YOU

Most people (especially younger ones) today do not read. They do not feel it is necessary, since they have constant access to information with smart phones. What they neglect to consider is that accessing information on a computer may improve a situation, but it does nothing to improve you. Until you make the information your own, you are still just like you were.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Stir it to clear it up

"Sometimes muddy waters, when stirred sufficiently, bring strange things to surface."
(Charlie Chan, in The Shanghai Chest)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Future engineers

Have you ever watched the intense concentration of a two-year-old boy lining up his cars in a very precise order? Amazing.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

High-pitched baby squeals

Rowen Irby, my (currently) youngest grandson, is 4 1/2 months old and has reached that age when he has learned he can emit those high-pitched squeals, which he uses in times of happiness and distress. That seems to be common among babies. I am sure scientists have studied what they mean and the part they play in a child's development, but they are very unique.

Friday, March 18, 2016

William Boyd's voice

Boyd certainly did not sound like a hero type. Nasal voice and a down-right irritating laugh.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Frank Lovejoy's voice

Lovejoy was the star of the Night Beat radio program. His voice fit the part to a T. It was just a little big nasal, with a little twang, but it fit exactly the usually-intense plots. He sounded the part of a big city reporter. And he even looked the part.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Do you remember The Palace Theater?

It was the finest theater in West Ghastly, Wyoming.

(according to James Gleason on Mail Call radio show)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I do not know who invented pockets, but he or she is one of the great unsung heroes of history.

Human justice

Human justice must accept the handicap of fallibility. Since man is not omniscient, then we shall fail in our judgment from time to time. If however, we suspend the enforcement of laws because of the possibility of our error, we remove all probability or even possibility of justice. Thankfully, God's justice is not subject to error.

Monday, March 14, 2016


You want to encourage them. You want them to love coming to your house. But you also want them to behave. Having a relaxed atmosphere where they can feel at home but not a lax atmosphere where they tear up the place is sometimes a difficult balance to reach. However, where parents are aware of the necessary balance and are striving toward it, things will usually come around in due time.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Speak up!

Half the trouble in the world, he thought, was probably caused because right-thinking people kept their mouths shut instead of speaking up and saying what they believed.

(from The Key-Lock Man, by Louis L'Amour)

When the glitter disappears

Gold can look almighty nice, but a few hundred miles of sun-blistered desert full of Apaches can look mean enough to take the shine off the gold.

(from The Key-Lock Man, by Louis L'Amour)

Bad patients

Men have a reputation for being bad patients, and that may be generally true. But I don't mind. Here's to nice nurses.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A sense of the present

He was forever commenting to me on how few people actually lived now. Most people, he said, exist in an emptiness between memory and anticipation, but never live in the moment.

(from Kiowa Trail, by Louis L'Amour)

Chinese moderne

In the movie, The Trouble With Women, Bob Cummings' fiancee wants to decorate their home in a style called Chinese Moderne. This is one of our favorite movies, and we have watched it many times, but I never had the slightest clue what Chinese Moderne was. (I suspect very few of the other viewers of the movie did, either.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sometimes force is necessary

"Some heads, like hard nuts, much  better if well cracked."
(from Charlie Chan's Chance)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quite a secretary

"Peggy is quite beautiful and I pay her twice what any other secretary would get only because she is my wife's niece and not because she ever knows what day it is. Peggy gets $100 a week and earns all but $85 of it."

(Mr. Meriwhether, on The Halls of Ivy radio show)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Why the double standard?

This morning on the way to work, I heard NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson refer to "white voters" and "African-American voters." Wait a minute! If it is white voters, then it ought to be black voters. If it is African-American voters, then it ought to be British-American voters. Why the double standard?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Mrs. Holmes had a flair for names

Mycroft and Sherlock (at least). Unorthodox, to say the least. I wonder, if she had had other sons, what she might have named them. Huffington? Appleyard? Daresbury? Who knows?

Monday, March 07, 2016

Rarest of the rare

We who have collected stamps know that the British Guiana 1856 one-penny magenta is the rarest and most valuable stamp in the world. Only one copy is known to exist, and therefore (according to Wikipedia) it is the only stamp not represented in Britain's Royal Philatelic Collection.

British Guiana 13.jpg

Funny but irritating

The My Friend Irma radio program was cute and enjoyable. It had several memorable character actors who did wonderful jobs in their roles, including Alan Reed in a non-typical non-comedic spot as Irma's boss, Mr. Clyde. Irma and her boyfriend, Al, fall into that class of characters that are funny even though they are irritating. No one could really be as stupid as Irma is nor as incorrigibly lazy as Al, and because of that, at times their characters become almost painful instead of funny. Notwithstanding that shortcoming, however, the program as a whole was a lot of fun and would fall into the "must" category of any serious Old Radio fan.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Cornball fun

For pure, inexpensive, cornball fun, get your kids acquainted with the "Road To" series of movies starring Bob Hop and Bing Crosby. Great drama and great acting they ain't, but they are a hoot to watch. And there were a few memorable songs tucked into the formula.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

Bulldog Drummond really was a hero

John Howard, who portaryed Bulldog Drummond in a number of the series of movies, was a hero in World War II. According to Wikipedia:

He served in the Navy during World War II, eventually as Executive Officer aboard a minesweeper USS YMS-24 where he participated in landing operations at SicilySalernoAnzio, and deception operations against Sardinia and Southern France. When his vessel struck a mine off the French coast in August, 1944, killing the captain and severely damaging the ship, Howard took over command and fought to save his ship and crew, even jumping into the sea to save several wounded sailors. For his actions he was awarded both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.

John Howard (Actor).jpg

Dogs in restaurants

Following the successful movie series and radio show, there was a Boston Blackie TV program, starring Kent Taylor in the title role. He and his lady love, Mary Wesley, usually had a nondescript pooch named Whitey with them - even when they would be eating at a restaurant. Strange how sanitation laws change.

Friday, March 04, 2016

An all-pervasive stench

"So many fish in fish market, even flower smell same." (Charlie Chan, from The Scarlet Clue)

If we keep company with filth, some of it will inevitably rub off on us.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Schultz as an underground leader

In one of the episodes of the television program The Man Called X, John Banner (Sgt. Schultz on Hogan's Heroes) plays a leader of the underground movement. He is in the hospital with a broken leg at a critical point in the drama.

General Washington's promotion

Below is the directive which promoted George Washington to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States. The legislation behind this promotion specified that "such grade to have rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present."

Orders 31-3.jpg

Just make it through today

That is scriptural. Today has enough problems. I do not even know if tomorrow will happen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

"But you've never even met Donald Trump. How do you know what he is like?"

I don't have to see a skunk to know that there is one around.


One of the great burdens of aging is that you slide into irrelevance. The younger folks do not know about the things of your life and, in most cases, do not care to learn. To them, they are the generation and now is the only time that counts. The fact that a patriarch may have been a great man or may have seen great things done means nothing to them, because nothing done back then could possibly compare to what is being done now. And so the aged get shoved  back into the corner, forgotten, unimportant, irrelevant.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Charlie's Orchestra

Edgar Bergen: "How many musicians are in your orchestra?"

Charlie McCarthy: "Oh, about one out of three."

Edgar: "Well, it takes a while to assemble an orchestra. How long has yours been together?"

Charlie: "Well, we've practiced for three weeks . . . but we still ain't together."

(from the Edgar Bergen radio show)

What are detectives really like?

Wouldn't it be fun to get to follow a real-life detective (police or private) for a while and find out what he really does? I am sure it is considerably different from what we hear on old radio shows.