Tuesday, December 30, 2008

little jim

Jim Young was a friend of mine back when I was a kid. His family went to my church, Bellevue Methodist Church, he was a member of the same scout troop (Troop 54 where are you), and we attended the same elementary school together (R.A. Mitchell). His mom died of cancer during the time I knew him. Jim's dad had a Septic Tank service (remember his "Honey Wagon") and is a real nice and funny fellow. Jim's dad liked to chop up Volkswagens and ride them anywhere (ANYWHERE!). I don't know how many he had. He also had some old VW buses. I remember Big Jim driving me and Little Jim up to Cumberland Caverns in his micro-bus. It was an old bus back then and smelled of stale old cigarette smoke. He had magnificent cigarette butt collection up front. I remember when we got hungry, Little Jim, cut open the top of some Van Camp's Beanie Weenies. I wasn't really into cold Beanie Weenies - but it seemed part of the adventure. Every time I see a VW bus - I think of that ride - probably the first and last time I ever road in one.

The photo above is of Jim (in the red, white, and blue pants) and me (in my scout patched jacket). That blue chopped VW was Big Jims. I didn't spend the night with many folks growing up and I remember this visit well. Big Jim picked the two of us up after school and drove us home. He drove us down Fairview Road and then without warning, took a sharp right into the woods. There was no road mind you - just woods. That was the good thing about that little car of his - you didn't need infrastructure to travel. He liked taking unconventional sight seeing trips. The detour was a cool thrill ride for me. I'd never been driving through the woods without a road before.

During that visit, Jim and I didn't hang around the house much, he liked to play in the woods around his house. We always got along fine because we liked doing much of the same things. Jim's bedroom was wallpapered (pretty much) with 18 wheeler and hot-rod posters. He knew back then that he was going to be a trucker and that's what he eventually became. Most of the pictures that I drew as a kid were hot-rods. This wasn't because I was into hot-rods - but because Jim was always wanting me to draw them for him. The picture above was taken at our house at 2624 Scenic Hwy after Big Jim returned me home after my overnight stay. Can you make out the WALLACE sticker on the front of his blue bug? You can also see the back end of Brook's red bug in this photo. The patches on my jacket were from Boy Scout camping trips. I can make out two from Shiloh Trail patches, an Alabama Jamboree patch, and a Cumberland Caverns patch. By the time I was finished scouting - the jacket was too small to wear. I guess that jacket was tossed somewhere down the line - the more camping exploits - the more I wore it with pride. I notice that I am wearing my old Dingo boots. Brook told me that that's what The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) wears when gunning down Italian cowboys. I just had to have them.I haven't seen Jim in years.

I think the last time that I saw him was outside of the old SING convenient store on Noccalula Mountain - probably 25 years ago. We talked on the sidewalk for about twenty minutes. He said he was in town visiting his dad and sure enough - was driving a rig. I guess it was about ten years ago that I got an email from him. Where ever you are Jim - I hope you are doing well and keeping it between the lines. God bless you!

killer B movies

This clip is from The Thing With Two Heads (1975)

Back in the 1970's there was an overage of police cars, so Hollywood was told to write as many movies involving the demolition of police cruisers. Government grants were awarded to studios that could destroy the most squad cars in a movie. The more the totals - the higher the grant. Now I just made that up - but it would explain the thousands and thousands of police cars I saw ram into each outher, run off embankments, flipped, sunk,exploded, cut in two, or what have you. It got to a point where chase scenes got boring - no matter how many police cars you'd wreck in a chase sequence. You can come up with your own reason - but I doubt if it will be as good as mine. Feel free to give it a shot.

What was your favorite police chase scene? My favorite was in the original Blues Brothers. They spoofed the chase scene by destroying more cop cars than all the B-Movies of the 1970's combined.

Friday, December 26, 2008

western auto

Michael mentioned Western Auto Store in my last post. Anytime I think of Western Auto, I think of bicycles. Western Auto had the bikes. Just before the Western Auto closed in our town (late 80's) - I went and bought some assecories for my new mountain bike. My last purchase was a bike chain, pad lock, and bicycle pump. I also bought a handle-bar bag to carry the lock and chain.

I pulled my old bike down from the wall a few weeks ago. I cut that old worn out bag off the handle bars. I thought of that last trip to Western Auto as I tossed it into the trash.
I never went into that little store and go straight to a particular section. I'd go in and walk up and down each aisle and check out anything new. Funny thing - they rarely had much of anything new.


Back when I was mowing the lawn at my dad's law office or at our Ponderosa sized yard at home - Western Auto Store was where I'd go to get lawnmower parts.
Western Auto was a great franchise.

i triple dog dare ya

A Christmas Story aired back in 1983. It was an instant classic. Unlike most comedies - it didn't have just one funny scene. This movie was funny from start to finish - a must see if you've never seen it before.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Columbia..and other trips in my mind

My grandmother on my father's side died back in 1969. Until that time, the entire Finlayson clan consisting of eight people of various sizes would pack into a station wagon and drive from Gadsden, AL to Columbia, SC. It was a crowded car and a very long trip.

Dad would drive, mom would either navigate or read a magazine in the front passenger seat. The six kids would be packed like sardines in the rest of the car. There was no room for luggage in the car - back then - folks actually used the luggage rack. Nobody particularly cared about sitting next to Irene because Irene had a tendency to get car sick. Don't get me wrong, Irene is a great sis and all, but to be on either side of her was like playing vomit roulette. Let's be honest here, a person's first reaction is not to puke on one's self, but rather turn away from your own lap and spew elsewhere. Things got better once mom and dad found out that there was a motion sickness pill they could give her and we didn't have to be as nervous sitting next to her. The trip out to Columbia was a long one, but I don't recall any major upsets (other than the on going Irene throw-up watch).


The family had our sing-a-long standards. One of them was a song that dad wrote for his old Alma mater, Cheraw High School. It was a fight song that the school adopted and used for many years. Just ask any of Westbrook kids to sing it to you and we can do it by heart. Dad was a band leader in his pre-law days - so he was always the conductor when it came to what song was sung.

I don't remember us stopping on those trips that much. I know that we all loved pulling over when we came across and A&W drive-in.

I remember our Christmas' in Columbia. I remember going up talking to grandmother as she sat in a chair as the rest of the Finlayson adults put a big breakfast on the table. Jennie Llew, Florrence, Rutha, and mom would prep a huge breakfast spread. The dining room table was extended as far as it would go and we'd all try to fit around it. My aunts would always use the best china, glass ware and silver ware. It was a real different experience for me - eating my eggs and sausages on a fancy plate like royalty or like breakfast at an old plantation home in the old south. Yep, that's it, going to Columbia was like driving back into another era. Most of my family over there talked like Shelby Foote or Scarlet O'hare. The Columbia kinfolk were very elegant folk - very genteel and proper. Odd to think that I was cut from that fine bolt of cloth. I am so not elegant. I stained that cloth from my beginning.

As you can see - I wasn't going anywhere in particular with this post - just sharing memories of Christmas past.

When you're young - you think things are going to be the same forever - that the home you have now is the home you'll always have. That the family around the table will always be there across from or next to you. That parents are eternal. The constant about life is that life nothing is constant - life changes. We grow up, make lives for ourselves - make homes of our own. I've been thinking this Christmas about those Christmas' lived many decades ago. They were great times - surrounded by dear kin folk that I won't see until I see them in Heaven. I am thankful for the life God has given me - all this family - all these memories.

Today I'm experiencing a Christmas with young sweet faces before me. Each Christmas is a new experience and we have our own traditions. Wednesday night at the table I tried to share to my children about those Christmas' in Columbia those many years ago. I sounded like an old fart I know. They didn't seem interested - or able to visualize what I was seeing in my mind's eye. Those were my memories, my past - nothing to do with them. Their eyes are set on the present moment - and on the morning to follow, the Christmas spread immediately before them. I hope that they have as good of a Christmas as I am having right now. I have a loving wife and two great little kids. We sat around the table and each offered up a prayer - then we sang happy birthday to Jesus. I don't remember ever doing that before - perhaps a new tradition.

Each year is a little different. Each Christmas day plays out it's own way. The eve is over and tomorrow will be a rush of opening presents and visiting kin folk across town. Like always, evening will come too fast. I hope that in the rush of season that in my children's mind - a few precious memories will be made and kept for the ages - something worth recalling and telling to their children.


Merry Christmas you all - and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

classic benny

This is a Jack Benny Christmas episode (part 1) that I found on youtube. It is the first of three parts, and worth watching the entire episode. This is classic Jack Benny. For those of you who don't know the premise behind most of Jack's stories is that he's cheap - real cheap.

Jack fancied himself a great violinist on his show. In the show he was terrible at it. In real life he was a great violinist. real life.

Mel Blanc is featured in this episode. Mel is the voice behind all the Warner Brother's cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy, Porky Pig, et more) we grew up loving. Mel was funny fellow and I always enjoy seeing him in action.

Jack Benny is among my very first impersonations. I could also do a pretty good Don Wilson. Decades ago, while doing my Jack Benny voice - my Dad joined in with a great Rochester. I never new dad to do an impersonation before. I had tried to figure out that voice prior and didn't know how to get Eddie "Rochester" Anderson's gravely voice. Dad told me how he did it and in a few minutes I had that voice nailed as well. It was the only impersonation I had ever heard my father to do before or since.

How do you do Rochester's voice? Dad told me to breath in while talking. His Rochester was better than mine because Dad had a little more gravel to his voice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the night the animals didn't get it

There was an ABC Network Christmas special that came out back in 1970 called The Night The Animals Talked. I've made mulitple attempts to post the original ABC promo of it from YouTube - but it won't work for me. This stupid attempt at a Christmas Special aired for many years afterward during the Christmas holidays. I didn't see it until the mid to late seventies, until I was in my late teens. I enjoyed animation (Disney & Warner Bros) but didn't care for the cheap looking animation that were churned out in abundance back then. Anyway, when I finally did watch it - do you know what it was all about? Do you know why the animals talked? Would you like to know what this show boiled down to? The animals at the nativity didn't talk because Jesus was born - that Jesus - the very Son of God was born in the form of man. The animals at the manger talked because they were witness to the birth of a child. That's it. The miracle in this story was that childbirth itself was the Christmas miracle - the birthing process! The animals talked not because our Savior was born, but because a human child was born. Just goes to show that animals need to remain dumb.

From ABC Network...this Holiday Season...from our crumby network to you...let's take Christ out of Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ah the good life

I have been reminded on countless occasions through out my life what was like as a child. The most recounted story of my babyhood was my love for fried chicken legs. Here is the photo proof of how I enjoyed eating fried chicken legs. Mom and Dad would tell me that I would stand up in my high-chair and eat a fried chicken leg and then toss the bone across the room as I was finished with each leg.

To this day, the idea still appeals to me. I don't think it's the way grown-ups should behave mind you. I just look at this photo and wonder what it would be like to go to KFC or Popeyes - stand on a table or chair and eat my chicken legs and throw what is left of the carcass anywhere I damn well please. Though the action still seems appealing for some strange reason - I know that I would get arrested or at least asked to leave the establishment.

Life as a baby is simple bliss. You can throw food where ever you want and if you got to go - just download in your diapers right where you are. That's right, back then we didn't even have to be concerned with our own tinkle or poop. Fortunately we've all have come a long way - most of us anyway. I look at my little six year old daughter. She's learning responsibilities a day at a time. She's not as messy as she used to be. Thank goodness. I look at her and see a lot of me in her. For now I will pick up her discarded bones and learn to duck and laugh a little. Remind myself that God and my parents were gracious and patient with me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

here comes Dr. Jordan

Dr. Charles D. Jordan wasn't just our family doctor for decades - but he was a very close friend of my dads. They had been friends since the early sixties. Mother told me that East Gadsden Clinic used to be on Hoke Street when they first took Irene (one of my sisters) to Jordan back around 1961-62. Dad and Charles got along quite well and became good friends.

I know that dad did some legal work for Dr. Jordan, and that Dr. Jordan had stuck plenty of needles in Westbrook's kid's butts down through the years (professionally of course). I can attest to this because I have been a recipient Dr. Jordan's handy needle work through out my childhood. I remember many times going into my father's office and see Dr. Jordan had come by for a visit - sitting in the chair closest to dad's desk - catching up on life. Dr. Jordan was also at dad's side when he crossed over Jordan (July 1990).

Mom told me a humorous story tonight about Dr. Jordan. As I previously mentioned that Dr. Jordon would drop by. He mentioned to dad that he had an odd area on his leg and couldn't figure out what was going on. This is a great physician mind you - who are human too. Dr. Jordan dropped his pants in dad's office and showed hima red rectangular sore on his leg that baffled him. It was a definite red shape on the lateral/anterior aspect of his leg (about where the bottom of a pant pocket would be). Dad looked at the mystery mark and reminded Charles that he was a smoker. "Yes?", the Charles replied. "Well, that's a burn from your cigarette lighter Charles." They both got a laugh from that one.

I remember a day back in the early eighties that dad asked me to take him to see Dr. Jordan at his clinic to take care of a cyst that was on dad's forehead. Dr. Jordan and I got to cutting up as he was actually cutting on dad's head. Dad didn't like it that we were having so much fun together during the procedure. Up until then, I didn't know dad's friend had such a healthy sense of humor. I'm sure my dad knew about it, but didn't want any shenanigans going on while he was personally under the knife.

Florrie called me a little while ago to let me know that Dr. Jordan had died this past Thursday, December 18, 2008 at the age of 83. He was a kind doctor and a good man. I know that Dad was there to greet his old friend at the gate.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

revisit

The previous post reminded me of an older post about remembering life on Scenic Hwy. I wrote it after I returned home one day after going to a party at a home on Tuckahoe Circle. I rarely drive up Noccalula Mountain - probably no more than five times a year. Driving up the mountain from 12th Street used to be so common - now no more. The mountain is a foreign land to me and every time I drive up the hill and through the neighborhoods - my mind keeps flashing back. I see Falls Drug, Noccalula-Nic-Nak, the old bridge that would always jam on weekday mornings that would always have school traffic bottle-necked. Pearly & Ben died a long time ago. Mr. & Mrs. Cartee. So much is still the same up there - enough to turn the projector on again. Too many places are gone. Too many folk have gone on. The mountain to me is filled with ghosts. I know this wouldn't be if I drove up there more.

I remember it snowing up there occasionally. We had great hills in our yard for sleds. We had great steep roads for defying death on a sled. Tuckahoe Golf Coarse was a great gathering place for kids on the mountain to ride down on their sleds. Once you got going, the ride went on for a very long time. You'd hear kids screaming and laughing and then after a while all you could hear was the wind and the sound the skids made as they cut through the snow. I had to turn the sled sharp in order to stop short of the barbed wire fence that bordered the tree line. It was so very cold that ride, and a very long walk back up to the crest. My toes felt like ice that particular day, my face was freezing- but the moment was so very awesome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

thinking back on the season

i remember my home
2624 Scenic Hwy
on the rolling hill
among all those looming pine trees
the big bay window like a beacon lit
filled with a huge live tree inside
being dressed
with lights of different colors
my family pulling ancient ornaments from old boxes
each made and filled with memories of Christmas' past
dad from the chair orchestrating
the children each given tasks
of making the living room ready for the joyful season
the younger ones occasionally study the fireplace
wondering how such a huge fat man
could manage down that chimney stack
once the tree was up and trimmed
the clock started inside each of us
my heart raced for that day
that certain morning
when we all would stand in the hall waiting together
from oldest to youngest
all six of us
behind dad's wheel chair
like cars behind a great locomotive
ready to roll
and chug into the living room
to see what gifts awaited
small hearts racing
giddy giggling small faces
peering forward
for the train to roll together forward
into Christmas day

i've got a secret

Many of you out there might get a real kick out of this. Just picture this eleven year old a couple of decades older and singing about Jesus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

lest we forget fernwood2night

Martin Mull had a great little late night show back in the 70's. Jim Varney (Earnest Goes To *blank here*). plays a re-occuring talk show guest Virgil Simms.

I see Martin Mull acting on shows here and there from time to time - but his place to me will always be in Fernwood. It was a very lively and funny show.

So who out there remembers Fernwood2night?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

spoiler

This is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories. Art Carney plays a down and out fellow who receives a very magical Christmas gift. - the kind of gift that can only be found in The Twilight Zone.

Night Of The Meek

Friday, December 12, 2008

Disco Noel

Nothing says Have A Very Annoying Christmas like DISCO NOEL. Back in the years when I was dating Gina, her mother (now my mom in-law)used to keep DISCO NOEL loaded in her 8-Track. Now I never was fan of disco - and even a lesser fan of Christmas Disco.

Poor Mrs. Hale, lost her copy a long time ago and lamented it's absence for Christmas' ever since. About three years ago I went on a quest to find it for her and bought a CD burn of it on Ebay. Now that's love - willing to give her music that will be tormenting me for years to come. Merry Christmas Mrs. Hale.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the pinto

It's the new 1970 Ford Pinto - a new frisky compact car to compete with the Japanese imports. How is it frisky you ask?

the pinto

frisky!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

accordubg to Gort

klaatu barada nikto

Hollywood is about to release a remake of the 1951 movie THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. I can guarantee you that even though with all the special effects and big name actors, it's not going to be as good as the original. I going to go see it when it comes out - but I don't have any big expectations. -

I remember the old black and white Zenith sitting in the living room. The Finlayson kids sat around the room riveted to the screen. I was a kid scared out of his pint sized wits. I jumped behind the sofa when Gort's decended the space craft. The creepy sounds as the silver giant opened it's robot laser eyes. I'd seen a lot of 50's horror movies - but this one rattled my little cage. Gort could destroy armies - Gort could defeat America - Gort could destroy worlds. I heard the screams and the cannon fire - I'd peeked around the side of the sofa and it was still standing there. Nothing was going to stop it. I remember that movie. I remember hiding behind the sofa. I didn't want to leave the room. I didn't want to miss the movie - but I was too scared to look. I don't recall another movie ever doing that to me.

Oh Rob!!!!

Van Dyke Show selling product for their show's sponsor - Kent Cigarettes. It's the perfect holiday stocking stuffer. Delicious flavor and clean tobacco taste...your kids will love them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

batmobile

I guess it's good that I never saw this commerical. I would have wanted one...and then I would have tried to have figured a way for it to shoot fire out of the back like the real batmobile.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

sixty four dollar question

One of my old favorites - BATTLEGROUND (1949). The battle-weary and bitter cold really comes across in this wonderful movie. This movie doesn't glorify war - merely shows men doing what has to be done - between a rock and a hard place.

There's a lesson here in the chaplain's talk with the men that can speak for those today who have ears to listen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Unusual Pairing

This classic reindition was recorded the same year Bing Crosby died. Crosby was in England to record his Christmas Special early and was looking for a young artist to showcase. He had no idea who David Bowie was - but Bing's son knew of him.

David Bowie was asked if he was interested in the gig. Bowie had been a long time fan of Bing Crosby and jumped at the chance. Bing wanted to sing the Little Drummer Boy, but David felt that it didn't showcase his talents - so Peace On Earth was added to the number. The two got together and rehearsed the song for an hour and then nailed it on the third take. The rest is history. It's a wonderful and unusual pairing of talent.

Too bad Bing Crosby didn't live long enough to join David Bowie in his China Girl video. Of course I jest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

santa clause conquers the martians

This clip is from Cinematic Titanic - the same guys that brought you MSK3k. Santa Claus Conquers The Martian might be the worst Christmas movie ever.

It's offically Christmas Season here in Boomerville, USA. As I post, lights are being hung across Main Street - just outside my window, my dear old pal Jim Thompson is waving to me outside my third story window. How he can stand on the top rung of the ladder I'll never know. He loves Christmas - loves hanging all those lights. God bless him.

Come on down to City Hall tonight - there's free Hot Chocolate for everyone - lighting of the tree. Plenty of Christmas blog posts to put you in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

last ride

What is it about that man? AMC played The Shootist today. I watched it a few months ago - and watched it yet again this afternoon. I went to see it when it first played back in 1976. In the movie Wayne's character was dying of cancer - he was wrestling with it in real life as well. He passed away in 1979. When going to the movie - we knew it was The Duke's last ride - hanging up his white hat afterward.

The Shootist isn't a great movie. John made some good movies in his lifetime - but the best were under the direction of Howard Hawks, or his good friend John Ford. Even so, The Shootist has it's place in my heart because it was John Wayne's way of saying goodbye to his audience. I watched it today - a little choked - not the first time. It's a kind of feeling one would have about a lost uncle. I loved that old cowboy and what he stood for. Even though his movies later in life had become rather simple - the man had more dimension. He was a real good guy - a bona-fied straight talking man who stuck to his guns - stuck to his values - even without the hat.
Sometimes I watch him captured on celluloid - and sometimes a kid again - transported back to the day when he still roamed Monument Valley.

"I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." - John Bernard Books (Wayne)
George C. Scott was originally offered the part, but it was Wayne that eventually got it. It seemed fitting. I've often thought it would have been nice if one of the old school directors like Ford or Hawks. But they were no longer behind the camera. Robert Altman might have been a better choice over Don Siegel. This isn't a slam against Siegel - he's made a bunch of great movies - but not on this one. James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, and Richard Boone were great in this movie. I remember when watching it for the first time - not being able to get Ron Howard's Richie Cunningham out of my head. Ron Howard was after all still churning candy coated episodes of Happy Days on TV. Watching the movie today - I do appreciate Ron's roll more now in this movie - but believe it would probably have been better to have had hired a lesser known actor for that particular part. The old shootist was dealing with his mortality - while a boy was coming of age. The movie was just as much about the boy's passage as it was the old mans. The casting of a different young actor might have made a difference for me. Someone other than Richie Cunningham - maybe Warren "Potsie" Weber.
Just kidding of course.

No use crying over spilt cowboys. The movie is what it is and still worth recommending. I couldn't help but sit there on the couch and watch the whole thing all over again - and saddened once again to see my hero dying on the bar room floor. Hollywood didn't give him the credit he was due as an actor - but the public down through the years still do.

I have to warn you - there's some folks that I will revisit here in Boomerville. John Wayne is among my favorites (I, your self proclaimed Boomerville Mayor). Just down Main Street - our little theater regularly has Duke's name up there all lit up on the marque. We have been making plans of erecting a statue of The Duke in the town square by early Fall of next year. We baby-boomers still have a great fondness for that dead cowboy. He's still our number one hero - a genuine good guy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

dun dun DUN dun DUN dun DUN dun - wah wah...

Peter Gunn. It was film noir for television which ran from 1958-61. The show began with - of course - The Peter Gunn theme by Henry Mancinni. You'll remember the theme from The Blues Brothers. Craig Stevens played the hip Gunn - a little more suave than Sam Spade or Philip Marlow. I was much too young to enjoy the show - seeing how I was born the year that it first aired. I've seen very little of it growing up. From what I've seen - it only makes me want to see more.

noir for hire

I'll have your car in just a minute Mr. Bass.

Say - that wasn't your car!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a man barely alive

I admit it - I watched Six Million Dollar Man. If you have the 8 minutes to spare - watch the Six Million Dollar Man vs. Sasquatch (really lame). I enjoyed the show for about a year - then after a while you get tired of all that running in slow motion. Watching Steve's raised eyebrow got kind of old too. I will admit - for a period there - I was a fan of that bionic guy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

two greats...two guitars

Les Paul and Les Paul - in my humble opinion - transend all genres. As radios segregated their airwaves into Easy Listening, Rock, Gospel, and Country. These guys never really fit in to any music genre molds. These two men were simply the best - their music draws attention from almost everyone that has ever picked up a guitar.

going in hot

This is an eight minute doc regarding the LRRP in Vietnam.

Friday, November 21, 2008

he came with the place

Neil Young talking and singing about the old man.

This guy is another one of those reasons I picked up an acoustic those many years ago.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

i can't believe it

Keith Greene came along and really burned bright for that short while. It was during a time a lot of Christian artist were trying to be some kind of spiritual "pop star". Keith was a star - but he turned the attention to The Son.

Keith Green didn't just bring talent, witty lyrics to his audience - he brought a realness and passion - he came with The Word.

I remember getting to ride down as part of the sound crew for my first ever Keith Green concert. I had no idea who the guy was - I was just looking forward to get out with my Christian brothers and hear whoever this Green guy was playing down in Birmingham. The moment Keith's fingers hit keys - he had my attention from then on. He was very passionate about his walk - and the evening was fun and animated.

Back when I was first put over the Christian Brother's Coffeehouse (1976ish), Keith's music was almost always in the background before, between, and after sets. The energy, the Spirt, and the message, to me, was in sync with what was going on at our little coffee house at the time.

the network promo for Honey

a taste of honey

honey west

Anne Francis IS Honey West! She's a female private investigator. I don't really remember the story-line because I was only eight years old when the show aired. I do remember that this was my older sister Irene's favorite television show. Honey West was hot for even a little eight year old.

Back then, I liked a girl that could pack a gun and give a good Karate CHOP!!!! Come to think of it....I still do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the burger has landed

This is a 1967 Grand Opening of a Jack's Hamburgers on Green Springs Hwy - Birmingham, AL. This clip is from the magical "Cousin" Cliff Hollman who passed away earlier this year. This clip is really interesting to watch because of the huge space capsule that they had fabricated for this grand event. Don't try to adjust your audio - there isn't any.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

last trip to Doodyville

This is the last Howdy Doody Show. There's no more show - it's time to go - goodbye from us to you.

faithless love

J.D. Souther with Matraca Berg (1991). Souther is simply among the best that ever was.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

it's intermission time!

This is the type of animation folks would see during intermission at the drive-in. Yes, it was even cheesy back in those days.

Drive-in rules

I didn't get to go to the drive-in much because of school. I need to make up for it when warmer times return.

Friday, November 14, 2008

thiswasonetoughandfasttalkingbadasscop

Anyone out there remember a guy named Broderick Crawford who starred in Highway Patrol? There are so many old shows out there that will probably never see the light of day again. The last time I saw Broderick Crawford was on Saturday Night Live years and years ago. They had him spoof his old Highway Patrol character. I believe it was the original SNL cast that had him on.

regarding politics

Pat Paulsen for President - 1968

Thursday, November 13, 2008

early morning rain

a little more peter, paul, @ mary
for a chilly rainy morning

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

it's whats for dinner

I still can't get the taste out of my mouth. Everything in an old Swanson TV dinner taste the same - and I can't describe the taste other than BLAND!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it's a mad mad mad mad world

There have been variations of this plot remade, the most recent being RAT RACE. None of them compare to United Artist's release IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. Brook and I went to see this extravaganza at the Pitman Theater years ago. The movie was chock full of the day's comedians. It was nice seeing a quick cameo of The Three Stooges.

Vinyl Asbestos Floors

asbestos
for the active room
asbestos is hip and swinging
asbestos is beautiful baby

i wonder what's being hyped to us today
that will kill us tomorrow

Monday, November 10, 2008

folk music

There was a moment in time when I was just a kid, that folk music ruled. That was before a kid named Bobby Dylan put down his acoustic and picked up an electric. It was during that time that I fell in love with sweet harmonies and acoustic instruments.

A MIGHTY WIND is sleeper comedy that was released a few years ago that spoofed the folk music era. It's a hilarious film - but the music in the movie is quite good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jack Webb

This is the late Jack Webb on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Jack Webb is famous for his role as Dragnet's Joe Friday. He played a no-nonsense detective who had a knack of getting to the bottom of things. He're Jack playing Joe - being a little nonsensical.

I like Jack.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lionel Electric Trains

I never got a Lionel train set. I'd never seen this set before - the one loaded to the teeth with missles. I remember asking my parents for a train set and all I got was a little plastic train that you had to manually push around the track. I won't hold it against mom and dad - our house was full of all kinds of toys. So I didn't get a Lionel train set. This particular set though is cool as all get out. I'd love a train set with a rocket launcher. Gee whiz!

If I had a rocket launcher - I'd make somebody pay.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

juke at the lake


Paul Revere and The Raiders and Indian Reservation. Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to a specific place and time - Chunn's Lake in Hokes Bluff - late sixties / early seventies. The lake was owned by my Uncle G.W.& Aunt Ina Chunn. That song used to echo from their dance hall at the lake.  Music from my little pocket transistor couldn't match the big sound in that room - because that place seemed to do something special for every song that emitted from that old jukebox. I loved listening to the music in that place. Indian Reservation was my favorite song to play in there. I don't know why. The room had perfect acoustics for the music - as if that jukebox were always meant to be there. I pass that old building from time to time - I wonder if it's still in there - if that old music machine sits silently waiting for a kid with a quarter - to warm the tubes - shuffle the 45's - bring the old place back to life again - rattle the windows and roll the music across the planked floor like a bowling balls.

Chunn's Lake back in the day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Steve McQueen Rules!

Yes, Hollywood today has all the special effects and the like - but I have yet to see anyone produce such a heart-in-your-throat chase scene than the action in delivered BULLIT. Steve McQueen behind the wheel of a 1968 Mustang. Flying up and over the hilly streets of San Fransico - being pursued and then pursueing hired gunmen. The cars hung around traffic and sharp turns. The sounds of that Mustang in action - shifting and tires clinging. Watching this 10:37 minute clip on YouTube is still thrilling to watch.

I believe it was THE ROCK that had Sean Connery tackling the San Fransico hills in a Hummer - with more crunching and crashing - but it can't out-draw McQueen's BULLIT. RONIN had another great chase sceen - but again - McQueen rules the road.

Good stuff! I didn't see this show until the late seventies. I saw it on television one night and remember calling Brook about this Steve McQueen chase scene I had just watched. Yes, he'd seen it before - yes - it was pretty cool. (DUH!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Searchers

if you haven't seen The Searchers - you've missed one of John Waynes finest. It's one of The Dukes finest Westerns. To me, it has one of the best endings a movie ever had. John Wayne standing on the porch and then walking slowly away from the camera. The lost daughter was rescued and returned home - the music just brought the story to a nice ending. The setting is larger than life - and John Wayne is larger than life - the good guys win in the end. Great stuff.

Oh yeah - that is Dan Noojin sitting on the rocker at the end of the picture.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

the colonel

Colonal Sanders was a real guy. He was known for going from KFC to KFC location and inspect his stores. If perchance he found a franchise doing something wrong - he'd toss out all the pressure cookers into the restaurant parking lot and bust them up. You see the Colonel carried a big hammer in his trunk for such occasions. He was serious about quality control.

Here's something you didn't know - that my mom had an uncle that looked so much like Colonal Sanders that he was hired to be a Sander's clone? That's right - mom can tell you about it. My great uncle would travel from franchise to franchise playing the roll of the late great Colonal Sanders himself - and no one was the wiser. He was paid to make public appearances as the Colonal - only without the big hammer.

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

even when the jokes on you
some times
you've just got to laugh

i know
i've been there

It's Warren Zevon Day 2008!

I am tempted to play Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London today - but that would be kind of an obvious thing for me to do on this special day. Warren had a talent for creating wounderful macabre tunes. Here's Warren doing another song from his brilliant EXCITABLE BOY album.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Matthew 5:30

Bruce Campbell got his start in the horror franchise EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD II. I had never heard of these movies until my friend Jerry came over to my place in the late eighties with both of these movies. He sprung for the movies and I probably sprung for the pizza. I recommend eating a sloppy pizza when view horror flicks.

EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD II were brutal to watch but also funny. The third installment was the best of all - THE ARMY OF DARKNESS. Yes, it too was brutal and gory as well - but funnier than the first two.

You'll need to do what I do when watching movies of this kind - lock the kids in the closet so they are not traumatized my the fabricated mayhem.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

creepy crawly

Danny Moon up at MoonSong has invited anyone with a favorite spooky song to drive up and play it this Friday evening. Several songs come to mind - this is one of them. This is THE WHO playing Boris The Spider. The late great bassist John Entwistle is singing this one.

It's a busy week this week. I will probably be making the rounds with the kids. Probably won't make it to Moonsong. It sounds life fun though.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

help meeeee!

The original The Fly was made back in 1958. I am sure you can find a copy of it real cheap somewhere. The 1986 version is enjoyable as well. This Halloween is an excellent time to watch some good ol' horror flicks. Like I mentioned in a previous post - I saw most of these old classics on Tom York's Dialing-For-Dollars. Have fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

little old lady got mutilated late last night

An American Werewolf In London came out in 1981. It came out when I was working at that sweat shop silk screen place in Southside. Back then I would often pick up a fast food dinner on the way home and catch a double feature at The Rebel Drive-in. I didn't really care what I watched. I just wanted a break in the day before having to go home and go to bed and then to get up again and go to that sweat shop silk screen place again. It was during one of those nights that I saw An American Werewolf In London. There weren't many patrons at the Rebel that night - so the lot was kind of sparce and creepy to watch that kind of movie. The movie was great - John Landis peppered his creature feature with a little levity. Great movie, but like I said before, I didn't hang around at the end of the show to watch the credits. The doors were locked, windows rolled up tight as I sped that bug on home.

- so don't go out tonight
it's bound to take your life
there's a bad moon on the rise

Friday, October 24, 2008

it caught on in a flash

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett's dad ran a movie theater - so young Bobby got to take in a lot of old classic monster movies. He was a big fan of the genre and had a knack for doing impersonations. Among his stronger voices was that of the late great actor Boris Karloff. Pickett was already throwing a monologue into a song called Little Darlin'. He and a friend decided to write a spooky song to start a dance craze featuring his Boris Karloff mimic - it caught on in a flash.

Elvis said that the Monster Mash was the worse song that he'd ever heard. I can't help it - I liked the song ever since I first heard it. Bobby 'Boris' Pickett died April of last year. His web site is still up at www.themonstermash.com - that is if any of you have enough courage to file by his cybergrave.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

what's the big deal?

Remember Halloween Carnivals? I remember the only time I wanted to go to school as a kid was when R.A. Mitchell Elementary held the Halloween Carnival. It was a blast! A retired teacher told me not to long ago that the school actually owned the casket they used as part of their haunted house. It was kept backstage, behind the curtain in the lunch room. How cool is that? I remember as a kid venturing behind the stage one day and seeing the coffin there. It was a pretty creepy thing for a kid to discover at his school. It wasn't even October. I remember thinking - "Is somebody in there?" I dared not look. The R.A. Mitchell casket was used once a year - for the Haunted House extravaganza that took place behind the stage. When the teacher told me that the coffin was school property - it reminded me of my discovery those many years ago - and it all made sense.

Do you remember Cake Walks? These were real cake walks when a winner won real full-sized two layer cakes? Today you get a Twinky or a cup cake or something. Back then we won real bona-fide cakes.

All the kids came wearing their Halloween costumes. I usually wore a Frankenstein mask. We came home with our Halloween bags full of cool lute. The R.A. Mitchell Halloween Carnival was just as much fun as Halloween night itself.

Today kids have churches offering Trunk-O-Treats and elementary schools offering Fall Festivals. Some anal retentive grown-ups freaked out about Halloween and ruined it for the rest. We were told that Halloween was devil worship and we should turn the night into something else. I admit that Trunk-O-Treats are nice and so are the Fall Festivals - but - they are nothing like the Halloween Carnivals of yesterday.
I don't remember exactly when Halloween Carnivals at elementary schools were spirited away from us - but I will never forget them and don't compare to what we have today. I liked dressing up as Dracula, Frankenstein, or The Werewolf. I enjoyed the spooky as a kid. What's wrong with spooky?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

haunted bank

Our family had the sweetest neighbors living next to us on Scenic Hwy. Cindy and I made many trips to and from Bud and Marcella Lawley's homw. Cindy seemed to almost adopt them as her second parents. They didn't have kids and loved on her down through the decades. They were sweet folk.

During one of our trips next door, the Lawley's had purchased gifts for Cindy and myself. I don't remember what gift they gave Cindy, but I do remember what they gave me. I happened upon the above haunted bank. Still to this day Cindy talks about that cool bank. She wanted it and was quite upset at the time that I got the bank and not her. I can understand the haunted bank envy. It was incredible. You put a coin at the door step of the bank - a porch light comes on and a tiny spectre comes to the door and snatches it. It was so very creepy and cool.

Cindy mentioned that gift the other day. I don't know what I did with that old bank. Wish I still had it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum

the mod fashion are pecular
the young men are no longer
everything that was once
and seeming at the time
forever ageless
now aged
yellowed and dated
but the sound
will never fade
never yellow
always fresh
always young

Friday, October 17, 2008

hey good looking

Don't get the wrong idea about the 70's. This was just as cheesy and stupid of a commercial back then as it is now. I remember people using the phase "Hey good looking, we'll be back to pick you up later!" These were the kind of commericals that would primarily air on Ted Turners WTCG out of Atlanta. There was Mr. Microphone, The Ginsu Knives, Pocket Fisherman, Handy Steamer Cookware, and Wacky Pack T-Shirts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wonderful World of Disney

COLOR-color-color-color

Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color!

I looked forward to every Sunday night and watch young Kurt Russell, Tommy Kirk, or Ron Howard face many spine tingling adventures. I didn't care for the wilderness shows (The Living Desert / Vanishing Prairie). I know of many who did. I liked the historical adventures or the full length feature films and animation. There's nothing that Disney Channel can put on television today that can equal the greatness and goodness of The Wonderful World of Disney. Someone needs to thaw out good ol' uncle Walt's head and let him set them straight!

Monday, October 13, 2008

little blue car

This cartoon is Susie the Little Blue Coupe created in 1952. I don't remember when the first time I saw it. It might have been on the Sunday night Walt Disney show. I seem to remember seeing this as a cartoon feature shown on the big screen before the feature presentation. This is one of my favorites of Disney's short cartoons.

I'm going to show it to Kelsey (5yrs) because she loves to play with cars.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the Jesus Movement

The Jesus Movement was part of my experience as a boomer. It was a very real and intense moment in time.

It's Larry Norman soundtrack but you'll see other artists of that day - including Fred Field (of Love Song). Fred came to play at our fall's festival (No Jive Jesus Is Alive Fall's Festival) and hung around for a while - singing here and there and checking out the antique shops here in the south.

Family and friends were pursuing Jesus and doing everything we could to get the good news out. Music, laughter, and revelation. It was a brief era but I have a lot of memories that will last me a life time. God just happened - that's what happened. Maybe the video here will stir some of your own.

ULTRAMAN!

This is the English version of the television show UltraMan. UltraMan preceded Power Rangers but not Godzilla. In fact Eiji Tsuburaya - creator/director of the early Godzilla movie (1954) came up with this series for television as well (1966-67). A boyhood pal of mine, James Harp, was a big fan of the show and got me in to it. I'd head home after school and turn to WTCG 17 (Atlanta) and watch anime episodes of Speed Racer and ULTRAMAN - real men battling each other in robot outfit and rubber monster suits.

The Science Patrol never lost to the attacking creatures because Captain Shin Hayata could always pull out his Beta Capsule and turn into ULTRAMAN!!!

Back then Mr. Microphone commercials would come on during the show and I thought it funny that the Mr. Mircrophone bore a close resemblance to the Beta Capsule. "Hey One-Eyed-Green-Monster-From-The-Sea - I'll be back to pick you up later!"

Naturally all the voices of the show were dubbed from Japanese to English and hokey as all get out. James Harp was into Karate and all the fighting between the giant robot and rubber monsters were done karate style. The show was made in the mid to late sixties but don't think the series made it's way to the U.S. until the early seventies.

Hey Monster! - KARATE CHOP!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mr. Potato Head

I was telling Katie a while back that Mr. Potato Head originally didn't come with the plastic potato body. Kids had to raid the pantry for a real potato to stick the plastic appendages into. Katie had a hard time believing me. This video should prove her pappy right.

I think the old school way is the best way. Just take a regular baking potato, stick the desired Mr or Mrs. Potato Head appendages on, coat with oil, generously spinkle with salt, then wrap in aluminum foil. Take a fork and poke multiple holes in Mr. Potato Head. Bake 360 degrees for 45 minutes.

Back in the 60's there was only one exception for playing with your food. Mr. Potato Head was that exception. There was a short time when a Mr. Macaroni Cheese and white rice toys came out on the market - but they didn't go over like Mr. Potato Head. As market research turned out - the potato was the favorite starch toy of the baby boom generation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

lucy in the sky

Here's another song Willima Shatner mutilated. This one's for my pal Jerry.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Secret Sam by Topper

Here's another secret agent toy. I didn't have one but remember the commercial. Did anyone out there have a Secret Sam? I didn't play secret agent when I was a kid. I focused almost all of my attention somewhere in the European Theater of Operations - killing Nazis.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

GUNG HO!

Here's another Marx toy that was pretty cool. Brook found a discarded machine gun from this set and we mounted it on the back window of Dad's Kingswood Estate Station Wagon - the station wagon with the rear facing bench seat. I think it was Brook's idea and a great one at that! No way was a road trip going to be boring when all other cars and pedestrians were fair game. I tell ya folks - you just can't have fun like that these days and not get pulled over. What's this world coming to?

Friday, October 3, 2008

007 briefcase

This old James Bond toy gun/double naught spy kit looks a bit too real. I think my childhood friend Mark Condra had one of these. I know that he had the radio that turned into a sniper rifle. This briefcase was pretty darn impressive. I don't think this item could be sold in today's post 9-11 times. Imagine little Jimmy being held over at airport security. Wasn't it cool when toy guns looked like real guns? Man, those were the days!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Lady In White


This movie was a sleeper back in 1988. I discovered it in the $1.00 rental bin back in the early 90's. The F/X don't really hold up to today's standards but the story is unusually good. The story takes place in the Fall and the colors are brilliant. I enjoyed the recreation of growing up in the early to mid-nineteen sixties. Are you are in the mood for a good haunting tale with a great characters and suspense?  Hunt down this movie and watch it this Halloween Season.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The ThingMaker

Mattel's Vac-U-Maker (1964) was a toy for kids that involved a hotplate. That's right - a hotplate. The Vac-U-Maker, later became known as the ThingMaker. The box came with a hotplate, a selection of aluminum molds of creepy looking bugs, and Plastgoop. Plastigoop came in many different colors and the bottle looked much like an Elmer's Glue bottle. The hotplate though was a lot of fun even without the goop and molds. It was fun to do scientific experiments - melting plastic items around the house.
I believe I got my Fighting Men ThingMaker as a birthday gift. The FightingMen molds were double sided molds and I could make my own little green army men. Unlike the regular Creepy Crawly bugs package, you could put wires inside the body and appendages of the soldier molds so that the fighting men could be fully posable. I don't remember playing with the little guys that much because their appendages would fall off too easy. It was easier to play with little plastic green army men rather than the self made FightingMen figures. Their little dismembered body parts however did make for a more realistic battleground when playing. Little green arms, legs, and trunks scattered here and there gave the livingroom floor that Saving Private Ryan look. Nothing says war like scattered appendages.FightingMen, like all other cool toys of war were pulled because of the anit-war sentiment during the Vietnam War. I remember the toy departments weren't as fun to brouse through because of that sentiment - all the plastic weapons of war disappeared.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

happy trails

Roy Rogers was the hero of every American baby boomer boy. He was a sweet heart of fellow - a genuine good guy. There is no doubt in my mind that Roy and Dale are riding in heaven's skies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

where nothing can go wrong - go wrong - go wrong

A friend of mine back in junior high school days, Greg Ford, once asked me if I'd like to go see a new science fiction movie with him. We met up outside of the Gadsden Cinema that used to be located at the foot of Noccalula Mountain on 12th Street. Greg kept talking about this movie with Yul Brynner called Westworld. I had no idea as to how a Western could also be a science fiction movie.

Westworld was a high tech movie for it's day. It wasn't on the level of 2001 A Space Odyssey, but it was dazzling for 1973. Yul Brynner played an out of control robot hunting down man. It preceded The Terminator franchise well over a decade. The stories were similar in that the hunted had to come up with a way to stop the rise of the machine. This was Michael Crichton's first venture into directing. Michael later brought us Jurassic Park which was bore a similarity to Westworld. Westworld, Roman World, and Medieval World were theme parks in which everything went wrong. You might recall that everything went wrong on Jurassic Island.

It was strange seeing Yul Brynner play the bad guy for a change. Stranger still seeing him play a robot bad guy. Like The Terminator - the cowboy robot seemed next to impossible to slow down or stop. I can't help but think that the writers of the Terminator didn't borrow from Westworld.

The F/X of Westworld don't really hold up today. It's not as intense to watch it today as it was back in 1973. Everything seems on the campy side - dated. I do remember how that movie made me feel as a kid when I saw it the first time - and the second time. It had me on the edge of my seat. I saw the movie a few years ago and thought the movie was still interesting to watch. Hollywood has been revisiting, rehashing, and remaking a lot of old movies as of late. Westworld might be an interesting project to do. A robots wearing black hats in the west.

If I were to cast such a picture. Wouldn't it be interesting if the likes of Clint Eastwood were hired on? Is he too old to play a robot gunslinger? Ever since I saw Hugh Jackman play Wolverine in Xmen - I've thought he resembled Clint Eastwood back in his Spaghetti Western days. Clint though - would make a great killer robot cowboy. Any ideas how you would cast a Westworld 2009 Remake?

I guess if I had the chance to write the screenplay - I'd alter the original story a bit - make it a little more interesting. You've got your two thirty something Westworld guests arrive and decide to play the roll of outlaws. After all in Westworld you can be anybody that you want to be. They take take to living the roll of carefree Butch & Sundance types - playing pranks, shooting up the town, robbing banks, and getting pursued by rather large posse. Their fun ends when a bounty hunter character crosses their path. Somewhere along the way, the malfunction takes place within the Delos Amusement Corp. The young cowboys have no idea of their fantasy gone wrong - with an android with no name in hot pursuit. I think a nice touch would be that the bounty hunter android not realise that he (it) is really the bad guy - that he is programed to believe that he is human. He is merely living out the roll of bounty hunter - not truly aware of his non-self. He is going about doing his job - hunting down outlaws.

I know - I have a very active little mind.

a motherload of rememberance

Years ago my brother in-law, Dan Noojin, told me that the theme song to the old televsion western classic BONANZA actually had lyrics. Not fully believing him at the time, he proved his claim by singing the theme music to me. I was quite impressed. He sang it with great cowboy gusto. Lorne Greene (aka: Ben Cartwright) actually performed the original song (for those of you who have never seen the show or recognize his deep robust voice).

Bonanza was a long running television show - a pretty good one at that. Dan Blocker was every kid's favorite on the show. Dan played the good natured, big and burly middle son Hoss Cartwright. Dan died due to a blood clot during routine gall bladder surgery back in 1972. The show died not long after that.

I put Bonanza right up there with Gunsmoke.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

William Shatner The Transformed Man (1968 Album)

Can you believe that Shatner is still going around doing this kind of stuff? His most memorable is Rocket Man (also available on YouTube). No, William Shatner doesn't actually sing. Shatner emotes the lyrics with feeling - much feeling - too much feeling.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vulcan Dreamboat

You'll feel your stomach churn slowly as you listen to Spock sing. I guess Nimoy was such a big star back then that nobody had the guts to tell him that he couldn't sing. Maybe by Vulcan standards - but not by Earth's.

Friday, September 19, 2008

vans of the seventies

Long before SUV's were the thing - even before minivans - people of the seventies drove vans - the full size vans. People would go buy rolls of green, red, or orange shag carpet and tack it to the inside of their vans. Not only would they put it on the floor, but they ran it up their walls and on the ceiling. 8-Tracks and cassettes were installed and speakers were often concealed in the shag as well. Many people made pillows and furniture that would be covered in shag as well. Shag carpet was the thing back in the seventies. Oh - I almost forgot - every custom van had to have a CB radio in it. Too many people were learning the trucker CB jargon back then and boy did life get obnoxious for a spell!

People spent a lot of money on tricking out their van's interior.  Moocho money was also dished out  making the exteriors of these love-chariots as unique as possible as well. You could make a lot of money in the seventies if you knew how to use an airbrush. Sure T-shirts were hip - but if you could paint a wildly futuristic funkadelic landscape on the outside of a vehicle- you were one rich airbrush dude. Today -people are in to tattooing their bodies. Three decades ago people were into tattooing their vans. Everybody had to have their very own fantasy airbrushed on the front, back, and side panels of their ride.

Now, I never had a airbrushed van. I wouldn't know what I would have wanted one painted if I had one. I was an odd sort back then. I think I would have have had a picture of Lee Van Cleef painted along side if perchance I had one. I didn't care for shag carpet back then. I used to wash a lot of cars and shag carpet seemed a might tedious to keep clean even then. Maybe a wood paneled interior - something that might have represented the interior of Captain Nemo's submarine. So maybe it's a good thing that I didn't have a van in the seventies. It would not have been much of a chick-magnet. Everybody that did have an airbrushed van sure was proud of it.
I wonder if airbrushing vans will ever have a comeback? Can you imagine people painting SUV's with futuristic landscapes - or half naked fantasy women? I bet someone in California has already birthed the idea and we'll be seeing a Humvee sporting a purple and pink unicorn in our neck of the woods before you know it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Richard Wright

We lost Richard Wright this week to cancer. Pink Floyd had a sound that was uniquely their own. Their sound had such an unusual depth to it - the only way I can describe it is that you can't just listen to Pink Floyd - you fall deep into it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

old burger joints continued

I wrote a post last year with a grand opening photo of Biff Burger - located on 12th Street at the foot of Noccalula Mountain - at the corner of the old Agricola Shopping Center parking lot. I remember the place still being open early in the eighties. It was closed and flatted by the late eighties. The last time I went was with Dan Noojin and his dad Max. Max liked chocolate milkshakes and that's what we specifically made the trip down for. Here is the blog. I think the photo is pretty cool. I don't recall ever seeing such a turn out for a local establishment before - wait a minute - the Masons Department Store grand opening was a pretty ado.

Monday, September 15, 2008

old burger joints

Before the franchises took over - there were numerous mom and pop burger joints scattered around town. There we so many and I can't remember all the names and locations. I believe Burger Chef was the one on Meighan where a chinese restaurant is. I've heard old Gadsden High alumni from the sixties and early seventies mention that it was a favorite hangout. I used to take Gina to one that used to be at the intersection of 77 & Rainbow drive. I am not a big fast food burger fan. I eat them if I have to. Were'nt those old places better? Did the hamburgers taste better back then or have my taste buds changed?

I need to drive over to Magic Burger (Attalla, AL) sometime. It's been well over a decade since I've had one of theirs burgers. Magic Burger is where my sister Jennie and her husband Don used to eat when on their dates back in the early to mid seventies. It's the last place of it's kind in the area.
The only names I do recall are Burger Chef and Pic-A-Burger. What places do you recall from your youth? Any memories of an old favorite burger joint.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tim Conway

Before SNL, we had The Carol Burnett Show. Burnett was all about fun and not much on politics. The gang did a weekly show of back to back sketch comedy - hopelessly trying to keep it together in the process. They couldn't. Even though it was Carol's show - Tim Conway was my favorite. He was the guy that kept breaking the cast up and reducing Harvy Corman to tears almost every night. The Dentist sketch is Tim at his best - the skit that I remember the most.

Friday, September 12, 2008

we loved Red

Red Skelton was a beautiful fellow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Godspeed Cousin Cliff

One of my earliest post here at Boomerville, USA was about Cousin Cliff. Well, I just heard that Cousin Cliff Holman passed away earlier this week. I never met the man. I was too young to remember his trips to the Princess Theatre to see his magic shows. I heard that all a kid had to do for admission was bring a pocket full of bottle caps to gain entry. Maybe one of you older boomers from the area might post a memory of one of his visits. I do remember watching him after school - watching him do his tricks on television and showing Popeye cartoons. He seemed to be a sweet fellow from afar.

God bless you Mr. Holeman - God bless your family during this time.

Birmingham, Al - BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - “Cousin Cliff” Holman, a long time Birmingham, TV personality who entertained generations of children across central Alabama, has died at age 79. Holman died Monday at Shepherd’s Cove respite-care facility in Albertville. He was considered by many as Alabama’s version of Captain Kangaroo or Bozo the Clown. Holman rose to fame in the mid 1950s and 1960s with his show called “Cousin Cliff’s Clubhouse.” Funeral arrangements were incomplete. AP / MSNBC

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dick & Jane

LOOK DICK
LOOK AT SALLY
LOOK AT SALLY PLAY
LOOK AT SALLY WITH THE RED WAGON
FUNNY SALLY
SALLY IS PULLING SPOT
SALLY IS PULLING KITTY
BARK SPOT BARK
LAUGH JANE LAUGH
SALLY CAN PULL A WAGON FAST
WAGON WILL TIP AND HURT SPOT
FUNNY SALLY
FUNNY FUNNY SALLY
DICK, JANE, AND SALLY WILL TAKE SPOT TO VET
AND BURY KITTY
POOR SPOT
POOR KITTY
LIFE IS TOUGH JANE
WE WILL GET HURT SOONER OR LATER SAYS DICK
WE WILL ALL DIE SALLY, SAID DICK
ONE DAY WE WILL ALL DIE, SAID DICK
HOPEFULLY NOT ALONE SALLY
DON'T CRY SALLY, DON'T CRY
JANE COMFORTS SALLY
DICK SAYS HARD THINGS SOMETIMES
DICK CAN OFTEN BE A REAL DICK

Seriously, I liked Dick & Jane when I was a kid. Dick & Jane was the standard for beginner readers from the 1930's to the 1960's. It was Dr. Suess's quirky work that came along and broke the mold. As an illustrator, I Iove the simple bright colors and the wholesome innocence portrayed in the illustrations of Dick & Jane. Back in 2003, a hardbound collection was reprinted that I picked up at Walmart. I don't know if the book holds up for today's young readers. It reflects children from an era long gone. I remember that time - and I remember those kids.