Friday, May 30, 2008

Fireball XL5

George Lucas - Eat your heart out! I used to watch Fireball XL5 and Stingray as a kid. Yes, these are the shows that inspired the recent movie TEAM AMERICA!

COMBAT TV Show Intro

I loved this show as a kid.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

the pussy indian

This is Iron Eyes Cody. I don't understand the iron eyes part because every time I saw him, he was cry'n like a baby. This was one Native American that got hold of his feminine side. A tear would appear every time a passing motorist would toss litter at his feet. "People start pollution, People can stop it." Actually, I think ol' Iron Eyes was crying because some drive-by litterer had tossed a sloppy half eaten Big Mac on his brand new moccasins. This was a very successful campaign for Keep America Beautiful through out the 70's. So successful that you'll still see it run from time to time. One thing you may not know about the late Iron Eyes Cody. His real name was Espera de Corti,and he was an Italian, both his parents were first generation Americans. After all those commercials, it made sense that the Indian wasn't and emotional Indian after all, but rather an emotional Italian. For some reason Espera was ashamed of his Italian heritage and claimed to be Cherokee/Cree. He and his wife Bertha (a Native American) adopted several children, all Native Americans. Even though Iron Eyes Cody wasn't born Indian, he lived lived his adult life as one. He was Iron Eyes before the Keep America Beautiful campaign. He was an actor that played in many westerns. You can check out his long list of roles at IMDB.

Monday, May 26, 2008

TV dad

We had some great TV dads back in the sixties. This is Fred MacMurray, you may recall him as Steven Douglas from the long running My Three Sons series. I also remember him from Disney movies. The first drive-in I recall ever seeing was The Absent Minded Professor. It was a double feature with the sequel Son Of Flubber at the Rainbow Drive-in. I remember it so clearly, all the Finlayson's (there were seven of us at that time) crammed into a station wagon while Professor Ned Brainerd seemed to fly around in the sky above us.
Fred seemed like a nice guy, and probably unlike most movie and television personalities, probably lived up to his swell guy image. Wikipedia write-up said that fame didn't seem to affect his frugal ways. He'd bring a brown sack lunch to work and it usually consisted of a boiled egg. William Demarest said that he'd be eating dry dyed eggs with him several months after Easter. A few months ago I bought a DVD of Jack Benny Shows. There's an episode where Fred shows up at Jack's house with his saxophone to jam with the guys. Fred started out as a musician - film worked better for him. I enjoyed his comedies and even played rolls in darker roles such as the Billy Wilder's film classic Double Indemnity. I don't know if many people recall men like Fred MacMurray. Maybe one day, when my time is up, I'll have Fred as a neighbor. I think he'd make a good one at that.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


You can tell it's Mattel -
it shoots fast plastic projectiles!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

go go go astroboy

AstroBoy is the very first Japanese anime I remember ever seeing when I was a kid (-1966). Wikipedia states that it was indeed the first anime whose creator was Osamu Tezuk, sometimes referred to as the Japanese equivalent to America's Walt Disney. Being so long ago, I can't tell you the storyline of any one of these old black and white classic Japanese cartoons, but I was a big fan of this mechanical kid. I liked the idea of a little robot boy and how he could just blast off with his little rocket feet. The sound effects were odd and the voices dubbed in were odd. It was all and all a strange little cartoon series - almost as odd as Clutch Cargo. I didn't hear much about AstroBoy after it was taken off the air. Most people can't recall the show. Speed Racer was the second anime that I ever saw. Same strange sound effects, dubbed in voices, weird story lines. I would like to see one of the old black and white original AstroBoys. I know they probably didn't hold up to the test of time like a good old Warner Brother's cartoon. The cartoon I remember had it's own style, and artsy feel to it.

The seven wondrous power of AstroBoy:
1. Jet propulsion
2. Speaks sixty languages
3. The ability to discern good from evil
4. Great hearing ability X 1000
5. Eyes that could be used as a searchlight
6. strength equilvalent to 100 000 horsepower
7. THE WINNER FOLKS!- A machine gun on his butt!

AstroBoy Theme (original version)
There you go AstroBoy,
On your flight into space.R
ocket high, Through the sky,
More adventures to do all day.
AstroBoy bombs away,
On your mission today.
There's a count-down,
And a blast-off.
Everyday is go AstroBoy!
AstroBoy as you fly,
Strange new worlds you will spy.
Atom-celled, Jet propelled,
Fighting monsters high in the sky.
AstroBoy there you go,
Will you fight friend or foe,
Cosmic Ranger, Laugh at Danger,
Everday is go AstroBoy!
Crowds will cheer you,
You're a hero,As you go, go, GO ASTROBOY!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

backyard fun & death

Brook mentioned Lawn Darts in a comment last week. Lawn darts were banned from the market in the United States and Canada back in 1988. So most of you young'uns born since then may not know what a lawn dart even looks like or what you do with them. Lawn Darts are probably the most dangerous toy ever made. It was what it sounds like, an over-sized-sharp metal tipped toy that children were supposed to throw at ring targets. Wham-O didn't take into account that kids are kids and kids make their own games with toys. Lawn Darts can be tossed way up into the air, or thrown at little brothers or family pets. The Lawn Dart were banned because of children's deaths (not singular). After Lawn Darts were pulled, Whamo-O came out with other fun outdoor games such as KNIFE THROW! and CHAINSAW TOSS! Wham-O did their part in weeding out the gene pool of my generation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

put down that 45

This is probably the strangest song I've ever least it was the strangest song for an 8 year old to hear back in 1966. They're Coming To Take Me Away HA-HAA! by Napoleon XI (real name: Jerry Samuels) leaves no mystery as to what the song is about. If you had this 45, you might remember what was on the flip side. Do you remember? Playing side two was my favorite side. I am sure you know. The song is listed as one of Dr. Demento's top favorite novelty records of all time. Well - do you know what was on Side B? If you heard it once - you wouldn't forget.

Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you
Not to leave because I'd go berserk?
Well, You left me anyhow and then the Days got worse and worse and now you
See I've gone completely out of my mind.
And, They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho ho, he he, ha ha,
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young Men in their clean white coats and
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!
You thought it was a joke and so you Laughed, you laughed!
When I had said that Losing you would make me flip my lid - right?
You know you laughed, I heard you laugh,
You laughed, you laughed and laughed, and then you
Left, but now you know I'm utterly mad. And,
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho ho, he he , ha ha,
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!
I cooked your food, I cleaned your house
And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind, unselfish loving deeds? Huh?
Well, you just wait--they'll find you yet
And when they do they'll put you in the ASPCA you mangy mutt!
And, They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho ho, he he, ha ha,
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young Men in their clean white coats and
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young
Men in their clean white coats and
They're coming to take me away!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Man from U.N.C.L.E.

A little after James Bond hit the silver screen, American television followed in kind with all kinds of televised spy shows (I Spy, Get Smart, Mission Impossible, and The Saint). The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was among the first. It was a good show and very 1960's-mod - or should I say GROOVIER than most spy shows of it's day. It was Mike Myers, SNL alumni and creator of the Austin Powers' character that made off with the mojo of the hip Man From U.N.C.L.E., as well as OUR MAN FLINT (James Coburn vehicle). You might be interested to know that Ian Flemming himself, creator of James Bond, actually contributed to the creation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. You can read more about it here at this The Man From U.N.C.L.E link. This was a series that the Finlayson kids gathered around to watch on the old black and white Zenith, located in the back bedroom where all my sisters (Jennie, Irene and Cindy) inhabited. I believe U.N.C.L.E. aired on Friday nights (NBC). I was disappointed when the show was canceled, but something wild and adventurous came along that quickly stole our attention - The Wild Wild West. It was a quirky cowboy/secret-agent fusion series that quickly captivated all of our attention. Hurry up mom - the shows coming on - get the Jiffy Pop going!
Robert Vaughn played the suave agent Napoleon Solo, and David McCallum played his partner, the more reserved and enigmatic Illya Kuryakin. Both reported to their pipe-smoking supervisor Mr. Alexander Waverly, played by Leo G. Carroll.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This is Hercules. It was a cartoon series that ran in the early sixties. Notice how Herc looks a lot like Superman. The episodes were written by George Kashdan and Jack E. Miller, two former editors/writers at DC comics where Superman comics were published.I think that was the idea. Clay Rowe and I got on the topic of ancient cartoons last Saturday night. He emailed me yesterday wondering what it was that Herc was yelling at the end of the show (OLIMPIAAAA!). I did a Google search and ended up at They did a nice write up on the show. The theme song to the show is below. If you the tune automatically comes to you while you are reading these might be a boomer.

Hercules, hero of song and story
Hercules, winner of ancient glory
fighting for the right
fighting with his might
with the strength of ten ordinary men
Hercules, people are safe when near him
Hercules, only the evil fear him
softness in his eyes iron in his thighs
virtue in his heart
fire in every part
of the mighty Hercules!

This is Hercules and his life partner Newt.
- softness in his eyes iron in his thighs

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This is a WaterWiggle - a goofy looking toy that you hook up to your garden hose. Once the water hits the orange head -the WaterWiggle takes flight and soaks everyone in the vicinity. Don't let the innocent face fool you - this was a wicked and dangerous toy made by Whamo-O. The Finlayson kids liked playing in the water, sprinklers, whatever. This toy brought on a day we refer to as Black Saturday. Once the water was turned on full blast, the Finlayson children were mercilessly pelted by Satan's toy. None of us could turn off what powered the beast because the demonic toy guarded the water spigot. We finally were able to shut it off, but not without paying the price of being pelted countless times. I still have nightmares.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

when the world was black and white

Boomers are the last generation to have known the world in black and white. We remember the day when everything turned into living color. We appreciate color just as much as the next guy, but we still have a fondness for the older things. In many ways, we have a tendency to still see the value in most things black and white. Most of us will opt watching an old I LOVE LUCY, TWILIGHT ZONE, ANDY GRIFFIN, or YOU BET YOUR LIFE rerun than a shallow reality show. We still value the things that might be void of color - in fact - most of those old shows blow most of the new shows out of the water.

A few decades ago Ted Turner got into his odd shaped head to colorize classic black and white movies. I guess he thought that color made things better - like Casablanca and It's A Wonderful Life. Not always Ted. Some things in life should just be left alone. I believe Ted eventually got it right though. My favorite television channel of all time is after all Turner Classic Movies. I usually put down the remote when I get to TCM. No reality TV here - mostly good old black and white entertainment.

So here's to black and white. It's how I was raised to see things, and probably the way I always will.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

biker movies = b movies

Easy Rider wasn't the first biker film, and Easy Rider (1969) wasn't the first biker film for Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. It was though the most famous of the sixties. I think of Easy Rider more of a pot-smok'n-hippy-road-picture. The Wild Angels was a movie staring Fonda and produced by famous movie mogul Roger Corman. American International also made biker flicks. Hopper did a biker movie prior to Easy Rider called The Glory Stompers. They were'nt my favorite genre, but I watched more than my share of them in the late sixties and early seventies, as part of double and triple features at The *Rebel Drive-In in Attalla, AL. Quentin Tarantino has Hell Ride in the works. Knowing Tarantino- it's going to be a tribute to the old B-movies of the 60's...only gorier. What is curious to me, with all the bikers out there, why Hollywood hasn't been churning out biker films. The only one I've seen recently is Ghost Rider with Nicholas Cage (Fonda showed up in this one too). I've got a feeling that the up and coming Tarantino's Hell Ride might stir up another string of glorified B-movie biker flicks from Hollywood.

*The Rebel Drive-In opened August 7, 1964 and closed in October 1985. Was originally the Grove Drive-In which opened in 1949.

Monday, May 12, 2008

yes - a big man

If you're a babyboomer and remember a time when you wore a coon-skin was probably because of this guy. Fess Parker played two American frontiersmen heroes - as Davey Crockett for Walt Disney and later as Daniel Boone. Both movie and television shows had memorable theme songs. Fess Parker was a low key hero - the strong silent type. My favorite series was Daniel Boone because of Mingo. Mingo was played by Ed Ames, the Indian sidekick of Boone. Ed Ames was formerly a member of The Ames Brothers (1950's). You didn't want to mess with Mingo because he knew how to split a tree with a tomahawk. I thought Daniel & Mingo could kick Lone Ranger & Tonto's butt...well...I liked Daniel and Mingo better back then.

Ever think about those old movie and television stars of that day - how you wouldn't mind having them as neighbors? There were exceptions. Today I'm glad that most of the movie and television stars live in far-far away in L.A.

Friday, May 9, 2008

i had a dream

I don’t think many toy companies during the fifties and sixties paid much attention to the Negro consumer. I do recall there being black dolls at the Murphy's at Agricola Shopping Center. In the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, Hasbro came out with the black G.I. Joe (released in 1965). I remember my cousin got one and I thought was pretty cool. I remember one time going over to his house and he had a Nazi uniform on the black Joe and I remember laughing. He was just a little kid back then and he didn’t understand how contrary and strange that looked. I am sure that if G.I. Joes had feelings...that black G.I. Joe wouldn't have been feeling pretty uncomfortable in those goose-stepper boots.

Seriously, the Sixfinger I’m pretty sure only came in one color. Remember not so long ago that Crayola had FLESH color crayons? White. It was all normal to me way back then because the flesh color of the crayon happened to be the color of my skin. Of course I was just a kid and I wasn't around blacks much until I started seventh grade at General Forrest Junior High. My world atop Noccalula Mountain was mostly white and I didn't have friends on the playground in elementary school of other pigmentary persuasions. How many black kids settled for toys made for Caucasian children, a white G.I. Joe or a Sixfinger for whites? I know that there were plenty of other nifty toys on the market that were not so race specific- but the Sixfinger was a sought after toy of that day. Did Mattel offer a black Barbie from the start? I simply don't recall. Did little black girls have to settle for Homey-Homemaker Barbie and Honky-Boy Ken?

Pardon me if I have offended any of you with the illustration and subject matter. I was driving around yesterday thinking of my recent Sixfinger post and it struck me that the toy was made FLESH colored…white-cracker FLESH colored mind you. I then pondered the idea of creating a black version of this peculiar looking finger-gun and then almost drove off the road when I thought of how the black Sixfinger might’ve looked if produced.

Martin Luther King once had a dream...that children black and white might one day be playing on the same playground together...perhaps shooting at each other with toy guns that matched the color of their own flesh. Maybe the Sixfinger should be reintroduced to today's market...into today's culture. Maybe the Sixfinger could point us toward a new direction of hope and racial unity.  Maybe what we desperately need to give the world around us today is the plastic finger.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Johnny Seven OMA

The OMA stands for ONE MAN ARMY. This toy gun from Topper Toys was THE TOY for Boys in the 60's. The Johnny Seven OMA predates RAMBO by decades, as a matter of fact, little Silvester Stallone (born in '46) probably had one of these as a little boy. Who knows, it might have been the toy that gave him the idea that wars could be fought single handedly. My brother in-law Dan Noojin bragged one time that he once had a Johnny Seven OMA. It was the best selling boy's toy in 1964. It was a child's dream with multiple function weapon of mass destruction: Grenade Launcher, Anti-tank Rocket, Armor-Piercing Shell / Anti-Bunker Missle, Repeating Rifle, Tommy Gun, Automatic Pistol and a Bipod for steady aim ta boot.

If you look at what small arms are in development by the military today - you'll discover how truely visionary this toy killing machine really was. The below is the Johnny Seven OMA of today...only it's a fully function bad boy for grown-ups. OooRaH!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New from Topper Toys!

When I was a young lad, my innocence blinded me from what this Topper Toy's mean SixFinger resembles. This toy hand gun...I mean finger gun looks more like something one could buy on-line at This extra appendage plaything is one of those dangerous toys that came out of the mid-sixties. You had the option of buying all kinds of different projectiles such as the message missile, fragmentation bomb and SO MUCH MORE!!! From the photo below, you could also use the Sixfinger as a flashlight and as a writing implement. I am sure the flashlight and writing implement could be shot from the flesh barrel as well. Kids could probably also get real creative and find many more improvised projectiles around the household to shoot at little brothers and family pets.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

playing army

Back in the day, a kid was not restrained to his yard. We could play all over the neighborhood - and beyond. We had a lot of woods in our neck of the woods. Plenty of trails and steep places to repel or fall off. My favorite pastime as a kid was playing army. When I first started out, I’d kill hundred of thousands of imaginary German soldiers. I did kill my share of Japs – but mowing down Nazi’s for some reason had more appeal.

I had watched plenty of WWII movies as a kid, To Hell & Back, Twelve O’clock High (Gregory Peck), Hell Is For Heros, Sands of Iwo Jima, They Were Expendable, Back To Bataan, Battle Cry, Sahara and more. My favorite television shows were Combat! and Twelve O’clock High (Robert Lansing). I’d watch television and then run out and recreate the scenes.

My earliest comrade in plastic arms was Dan Parrish. Dan lived a half a click up Scenic Highway, directly across the street from the old Tuckahoe Golf Course. Dan and I were pretty tight, until his father died of cancer in 1969. I walked up to his house one afternoon to find a moving van in the front yard. We played with his G.I. Joes on the patio until the grown-ups had finished loading – and off he went.

It wasn’t long until I met the new boy in the neighborhood. Mark Condra’s family moved into a house just around the corner on Red Oak Road. We’d spend almost all of our Saturdays fighting against imaginary hordes of German soldiers and often usually against each other - heading up different teams. The war games would go on for the better part of the afternoon. It was like playing hide & seek – only with guns. We were pretty strict with rules and if you were killed in action – you’d have to go home for the day – or until the next game. Mark was truly a worthy adversary. He was hard to beat and I had to get better at hiding & seeking to beat him.

Teams would usually get whittled down to one man (boy). I remember once making the mistake of venturing down a trail the other side of Cliff Road. I had lost my comrades to the enemy and was alone. I had eliminated the possibility of other wooded areas in the neighborhood and knew that Mark had to be hunkered down within a specific area. I had made a stupid move – walking along the trail rather than slowly maneuver the perimeter with my 45 and a sniper rifle. Instead, I got careless. Mark jumped out of a tree, from an over hanging branch, directly on top of me. He jabbed me multiple times with a rubber knife – leaving no doubt whatsoever that I was dead and his side had won. If one was going to take on Mark while playing army – one had to take his game seriously. Every Saturday was an adventure.

I remember having stock piles of small arms hidden in the different areas of the neighborhood. I didn’t have to go home for what I needed...a kid going home to go to the bathroom were easy targets. I’d travel light, usually a submachine gun and a 45. Condra would do the same. You could tell the rookie soldier. They’d come down the road clinking and clanking with all the gear they got for their birthday at The Little Army Store downtown. Poor guys – they were always the first ones to have to go home early.

A side note: The Little Army Store was a military surplus store that used to be located downtown Gadsden on Broad Street. Maybe our toy guns came from Grants or Murphees, but the rest was old G.I. issue. You could buy a lot of cool stuff for a couple of bucks at The Little Army Store.

My younger cousin Eric often came for visits during the Summer. When he came - he always wanted to play army. Eric rarely played in the tedious hide & seek games. He liked to kill imaginary Japs or Gerrys. Usually he’d end each conflict by acquiring a fatal wound -dying slowly and quite dramatically. He would sputter and gurgle – telling me to promise him to tell his girlfriend back in the States how much he loved her and that he was sorry for letting me and the boys down on Beef Tip Ridge. It was during those horrific moments of playing army that I would level my gun at his head and relieve him of his - and my agony. We’ve all heard that war is hell…but playing army was fun as h-e-double toothpicks.
Here's a picture of me and my little sister Cindy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

we were so hi-tech back then

You can tell by this photo that having a reel-to-reel tape recorder was a pretty big thing back in the sixties. In this photograph: Irene, David, Jennie, Brooky gather around to record a song on the new contraption. Mom is holding Cindy in the background. Dad of course is hogging the microphone. You can tell by the look on Brooky's face that he really-really likes what he sees - and perhaps - this event was ground zero of his love of that analog experience.

Friday, May 2, 2008

birthdays in macon, ga

I recall many of my birthdays (08/19) being spent at my uncle Pat's house in Macon, GA. This photo I believe is the first birthday party I spent there. It must be that mid-August just worked out best for dad to close shop for a few days to enjoy the Fall in Georgia. I happen to remember that birthday and that little yellow jeep.

As time passed, the Fall Macon visits usually ended up being just Dad, Mom and me. One year Pat, Dad, Mom and I went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily Circus. The whole event was pretty surreal for a kid. It was a great time. I remember one year (1971) they asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I said that I wanted to go to the drive-in. Yes, I was a drive-in addict back then too. The movie Willard was the big horror flick that all my friends were talking about. After finding out what the movie was about - Dad decided that we should go see Bedknobs & Broomsticks instead. Bedknobs was okay - but I really wanted to see those trained rats eat people. Being a parent now - I can understand their decision.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sea Hunt!

I wasn't much of a Flipper fan but I sure did enjoy watching Mike Nelson (Lloyd Bridges) diving the deep on Sea Hunt. I don't remember the show ever lasting long enough to turn into living color. Sea Hunt was syndicated from 1957 to 1961. I was very young for the original run but remember watching re-runs in the late sixties and early seventies. If you're just too young for Sea Hunt - maybe you'll remember the 1980 disaster-movie-spoof AIRPLANE! Lloyd Bridges played so many serious rolls that it was hillarious to see this usually very serious television actor deliver lines like "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue!"
This is a publicity photo of Lloyd and his son Jeff Bridges. I can only guess that being on Sea Hunt was his dive into show business. Lloyd also had another son to become an actor named Beau...but all you boomers out there know that.