Thursday, July 31, 2008

show time...sort of

Somewhere along the way my parents gave me a Give-A-Show Projector by Kenner. I don't remember having much to watch with it. The only thing I had was a bunch of Fred Flintstone slides for it. The unit basically consisted of a light bulb and an adjustable lens. The color slides were sandwiched between a strip of cardboard. It wasn't a bad little toy. All you had to do was slide the slide panel through a slot and voila' instant entertainment on a wall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

road picture

I don't know why there's a movie poster of this film because it was originally made for television. My guess is that it was released to theaters sometime after being aired on television. Has that ever happened before? The Longest Hundred Miles in fact was one of the first full length feature films to be made for television back in 1967. I don't know why this movie stands out in my mind. It's a WWII film based in the Philippines during a Japanese invasion. A United States corporal, (Doug McClure) is persuaded by a missionary priest (Ricardo Montalban) and an American nurse (Katharine Ross) to help transport a bus load of Filipino children out of harms way. The old bus was on it's last wheel and they had to make their way through enemy lines while trying to keep the rickety old bus going. I only saw this movie once - when it first aired. I remember the wounded Japanese soldier that the priest wanted to let live. There is a scene toward the end involving a child and a grenade. Many of the scenes of this movie are still lodged in my memory from childhood. Was it that great of a movie? I must have thought so back then. I would like to see it again. It has yet to be released on DVD.

Another memorable element of this movie is the soundtrack. The movie featured the song Five Hundred Miles sung by The Kingston Trio. It's a haunting folk song that was popularized by The Longest Hundred Miles.

Yo Brook - do you have this in your DVD collection?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

wow gee whiz

Back when I was a kid - school lunches sucked like a bucket of tics. That's why many parents in those days let kids take PB&J's to school in tin lunch boxes. The coolest lunch box of all time was the Batman & Robin lunchbox produced by Aladdin in 1966. The other coolest lunch box of all time was The Green Hornet. I was a big fan of Batman when I was a kid and so I envied all the kids with the Batman & Robin lunchboxes. I didn't get one because I guess my Mom and Dad wanted me to take in the whole school experience - which included their bland nasty food. R.A. Mitchell did have great yeast rolls. I believe it was my red headed freckled faced pal Mitchell Gregory that first taught me how to toke yeast rolls. What you did was poke a hole in the roll and inhale deep on the full essence of the warm buttery rolls. After about three rolls you could actually get a yeast roll buzz. I kid you not. If you ran out of rolls, you could always point up to the ceiling and yell "Hey look - BATMAN!" Kids, 100% of the time in fact would look up - only to see nothing but their yeast roll gone. Darn that dastardly Joker!

But I digress - Now if I did take a lunch to school it was in a brown paper bag. It just wasn't the same. Sure, I could draw Batman & Robin on the bag, but that didn't make it cool. Nothing like the look and feel of full color superheros stamped into tin. It was the Batman & Robin lunchbox that was the lunchbox to have if you were a boy (or a cool girl). Now I wasn't completely without Batman stuff. I did have a cool Batman & Robin coloring book based on the popular television show of that day. I remember Dad offering to have a Batman costume made for me but I lost interest quick when he insisted on having the name Batboy sewn onto the chest of the outfit. We were both quite insistent and I lost out on being my favorite cape crusader. The idea never got off the drawing board. I didn't want to be BatB-O-Y!!!! I'M BATMAN!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicken Fat

This song will be familiar to all you babyboomers out there. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy released this song to all public schools throughout America as an exercize inititive.

Robert Preston (of The Music Man fame) is the fellow that performed the song.

I remember us kids gathering at R.A. Mitchell Elementary School - gathering in the back area of the lunch room (an area in front of the stage) and the P.E. teacher would lead us all in exercising to the song Go You Chicken Fat, Go!

The P.E. teacher would get us all in a circle and then drop the needle on the old 45. The old institutional looking player was positioned at the edge of the stage and the static riddled song blarred across the entire lunchroom. It was a daily thing and it's what we did every school morning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

it's a swinger

It's only nineteen dollars and ninety five!

I posted this image to go along with the previous post. I don't remember the commercial but I remember that jingle.

the way of the dodo bird

Gina uses Polaroid film here at the clinic. It is what is required by Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for documenting patient progress. Any other modes can be altered by programs like PhotoShop. Polaroid film is expensive. There are only ten shots per packet and Gina says that her experience is that one shot never turns out. I was paying $11.00 per package (10 shots). Before coming to work today Gina told me that she needed me to go buy some more, she had a patient coming in that required photo documentation. For these last minute requests I usually run to Kmart in East Gadsden. I was told when I got there that they were no longer selling Polaroid film. I then drove to Walmart where I they had four packets left. The clerk behind the counter told me that they were not going to sell them anymore. That the Polaroid Land Camera are officially obsolete. When returned to the office I Googled Polaroid and found out that the company had closed their plant. No more Polaroid! I say good riddance! By the way - the film that I HAD to buy today was jacked up to over $15.00! That's $15.00 for 9 good shots. Maybe now the insurance companies will let us submit the more affordable digital images from now on. I will need to do some home work and see what we a can be able to use.

So Polaroid is no more! That's all folks! Remember when it was the new technology. All one had to do was aim and shoot and out popped a picture? It's the end of an era and quit frankly - it's about time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Superman and the American way!

I didn't read many of his comic books when I was a kid, so the old televison show starring George Reeves was my first image of Superman. Superman was just as big a hit then as he is now.

In this commercial - Clark Kent is hawking his television show's sponsor - Kelloggs brand Frosted Flakes. I think the commercials are kind of creepy because ol' Clark is using his super powers to sell cereal. I know that capitalism is part of "the American Way" - but does it also encompass going around neighborhoods peeping in on people? I don't think so!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Cat's Buh

Ever been asked the question Disney or Warner Brothers? I have always been a fan of WB. WB to me is the best. Disney made wonderful movies and humorous short cartoons but Warner Brothers owned the shorts. Chuck Jones and his crew made cartoons that were funny on so many different levels. Their cartoons offered something for grown-ups as well as for kids. Back in the day - I heard tell that the big stars of the silver screen would drop by the animation studio to peak into the window to see what was going on.

Through out the sixties, I used to wake up every Saturday morning and head straight for the old Zenith. I loved the Bugs Bunny Show and still do.

By the way, Gina for some reason is wild about my PePe Le Pew imitation. I don't think she's caught on to the fact that I am impersonating that romantic cartoon skunk. Don't tell her my secret - it drives her crazy. "Ah my little skunk that does not stink!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

of sea-sick sea-serpents

This is my second attempt at this post. Sometimes YouTube dumps a post for some strange reason. It's happened to me twice this week and I didn't have the time to recreate what I had written - so I went without posting. I need to get into the practice of creating my post in Word before logging onto YouTube. That being said - on with the post!
Time for Beany & Cecil by Bob Clampett. The original 1962 release of the cartoon was Matty's (Mattel) Funday Funny's. Mattel got tired of using Casper the Friendly Ghost and went with Beany and his sea sick sea-serpent. The show became Matty's Funday Funny's with Beany & Cecil. It wasn't long before it was called The Beany & Cecil Show. It was one of three shows that were produced in color. The other shows were The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
There was an attempt to revive the cartoon in the late eighties. Eight shows were made and only five aired. This last reincarnation was produced and directed by John Kricfalusi, who later created Ren & Stimpy.
I once saw an interview with Harpo Marx's son (Marx Brother's fame) who said that his dad, Harpo, didn't watch much television but loved to watch Beany & Cecil. The episodes were filled with slapstick and puns. I can see where Harpo got a kick from that particular show.
Another tidbit of information. Joel Hodgson said that Beany & Cecil was an inspiration for his show Mystery Science Theatre 3000. You may recall that Beany & Cecil Show had a character named Crowy....MST 3000 had a character named Crow. Perhaps Joel was paying homage to B&C.
Here's an image of the outside of Bob Clampett's business card. Pretty cool huh? Upon opening, there are various illustrations of his cartoon characters. Bob was a cartoon pioneer that was involved in a lot of the early Warner Brother's cartoons. If you have the time - go check out some of the Beany & Cecil cartoons posted at YouTube. It might bring back some old memories for some of you older Babyboomers out there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Clint Eastwood 1968 UK interview

I ran across this interview on youtube a few months back. I thought I'd post it while I was on the subject of Eastwood and those Italian westerns.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Fistful of Hammett

I had heard the Sergio Leone was inspired by the American western’s High Noon (1952) and The Magnificent Seven (1960). If you watch the extreme close-ups during High Noon, you’ll realize that the Italian director Leone wasn't the first to use the technique. The Magnificent Seven produced by John Sturges was a different kind of western for it’s day. It had a gigantic feel to it - and still does. I am sure that Leone watched from the theatre seat as we did - soaking in the big sights and sounds of The Magnificent Seven. Leone brought his own kind of big sights and sounds to the western genre.

All artists are influenced by other artists. John Sturges turned Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai into the westernThe Magnificent Seven(1954). The inspired Sergio Leone picked up the torch and remade Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) into Fistful of Dollars (1964). Everyone seemed to be influenced by Kurosawa’s great work but Akira Kurosawa once stated that his primary influence was none other that the American filmmaker John Ford.

Yojimbo was a revision of a detective short story Red Harvest written by renowned noir author Dashiell Hammett (Hammett as your recall was the writer that originally sculpted the classic Maltese Falcon). Seeing these different treatments to Hammett’s original Red Harvest never gets old. Kurosawa, Leone, and recently Walter Hill (Last Man Standing 1996) took the same storyline into different settings, genres, and centuries - each making their own retelling of Hammet's idea unique.

My favorite telling is Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars. I see the artfulness in Yojimbo but Fistful of Dollars was the movie that transformed the western genre. Fistful of Dollars, though not the first spaghetti western ever made, Leone was the one that put the Italian-made western on the map. His imprint has been on almost every western film made ever since.

Another reason Leone is my favorite is because it was the first time I experienced the storyline. I vividly remember my older brother re-enacting the entire movie scene by scene for me as I sat on the back porch one Summer’s evening. Who was this man with no name? The scenes and dialogue that Brook acted out were different from any kind of western I had previously seen. Why was Brook so excited? I wanted to see this western but wasn’t old enough to go at the time. I could go see John Wayne, but I had to wait for this violent western. It wasn’t until the last installment of The Man With No Name trilogy that I was finally allowed to watch what I had heard so much about. My anticipation wasn’t misspent. I was not disappointed that evening at the Rebel Drive-In. Brook was right - this was a new kind of western - a different kind of hero.

Neither Yojimbo or Last Man Standing have a soundtrack like that of Fistful of Dollars. Ennio Morricone orchestrated an incredible audio landscape to all of Sergio Leone’s work. The Dollar Trilogy were full of visual and sound textures that made these Leone’s movies stand out from the rest.

Like John Ford made John Wayne – Sergio Leone made Clint Eastwood. Sergio made Eastwood into an international movie star. Henry Fonda was Leone’s first choice for the roll of The Man With No Name but Fonda was too expensive. Then there was James Coburn and later Charles Bronson. But it was that television sidekick that reached out for the narrow cheroot.

Though Clint Eastwood has evolved into a great director himself - he has never been better than the unnamed role he played in the Leone films. To think that the only reason Eastwood originally accepted the part of The Man With No Name was his interest in a free trip to Italy. Clint borrowed a poncho from the prop department of Rawhide, took up smoking, and made his way out West –via Italy.

ennio morricone - a fist full of dollars

Thursday, July 10, 2008

1960s Drug Education Film

When I was in Junior High School, I used to have to watch these drug scare films. They were outdated even for our day. We never got anything new and hip - just old and hippie.

The trips these hippies went on were pretty psychedelic and FUNKY MAN! I wonder if the Peter Max like imagery of some of these old films ever turned kids off to reality and ON to drugs.

I have a friend that said he started using drugs after his mom and dad gave him anti-drug literature to read. The anti-drug reading materils just got him curiouser and curiouser - and he then down the old rabit hole he went. Don't worry - he eventually found Jesus and came out the other end okay.

Even though these outdated films were cheesy - I still liked them because if we were watching a dumb movie, meant we were not doing real school work.

Just remember to keep away from LSD kids - be smart and STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

mothers in the fifties

Most mothers in the fifties and sixties didn't coddle their young ones like they do today. Sure bad things happen to kids - but in those carefree days - parents made sure they made plenty of babies just in case they lost a few along the way. It's good to raise children up to have nerves of steel. After all - it's a tough world out there!

The mother in this video is typical of most mothers who lived in Boomerville, USA. Not only did fathers build fallout shelters and brick barbeque pits in their backyards. They also built backdrops in which their lovely wives could show off their knife throwing prowess. My mom was tops in our neighborhood!

Monday, July 7, 2008

the old haunts

We had two Murphy locations in Gadsden at one time. We had the one downtown on Broad Street and the one at Agricola Shopping Center on 12th Street. I remember going to the Agricola location because dad frequented that location more than the one downtown. It's probably because it was a location that was a little more wheelchair accessible (in a time when things weren't wheelchair accessible).

We didn't have Walmart, Kmart, or the mall back then. I remember going to Murphy's more than any other store. Dad would often take me down there, just the two of us and have a BLT or club sandwich at the grill. They had a nice grill back then - nice people too! The picture above isn't taken from the Gadsden location but looked very much like the image above. To get a taste of that moment in time, venture down to Gadsden Variety Store downtown Gadsden (Broad Street). They've got a pretty good deli there.

I do remember Mason's. That was the first big department store I'd ever been in. Dad, Mom, and I went to the Mason's in Anniston before the one opened up in Gadsden. Do any of you remember the huge HUGE slide in front of Mason's? Of course you do. It was such a mamoth ride that it seemed as though it would take five minutes to reach the bottom.
One of my favorite stores to go to was Grants downtown. They had a nice toy department downstairs. My old Junior High math teacher Tommy Parks told me once that he used to man the popcorn machine that was situated down the staircase. Wasn't there a Grants at Agricola for a while too? I think so.

Of course the real place to find toys was Sears & Roebuck at Christmas time. Sears was downtown before the mall opened and I remembered it having a great candy counter upstairs as well. My mother-inlaw, Mrs. Betty Hale, used to work at that counter.

Eventually the Gadsden Mall came around and seemed to suck the life from downtown Gadsden. People didn't want to see the open sky between store visits when the mall was built. Both Sears and J.C. Penney relocated there and a lot of shops faded into memory. Both Sears and Penneys never seemed the same after that move. I loved the old variety stores of that time. They seemed so big in their day but dwarf in size when compared to the supercenters of today. I remember those trips downtown with my older brother. We'd hit every five & dime, and every toy department on Broad.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

yesterday is gone

Do you remember the milkman? I remember the milkman. I remember as a kid waiting with anticipation for the milk-truck to pull up. We'd have milk, buttermilk, cream or butter delivered to our kitchen doorstep. The Finlayson kids would often gather around the friendly man all dressed in white as he'd pull together mom's order from the big truck. He would always hand us each a big piece of ice from the truck before he drove away. It was a big treat for us - especially on a hot summer's day. I was disappointed when TroFe Dairy did away with the old ice-cooled trucks and got the new refrigerated kind. Oh well, no more huge chunks of ice for us kids.

Having a milkman pull up in the driveway was something we saw all the time. Who knew that it's day was coming? The milkman was part of our landscape as kids but something that is no more - at least in these parts. I have read that there are still home milk delivery services in places like Southern California - milk delivery from small dairies, often subscribed to for the novelty or nostalgic reasons. I am sure that it's more expensive to have it delivered - golly gee though- wasn't it nice when we did get home milk delivery? It's been decades since TroFe Dairy issued forth their fleet of delivery trucks from Walnut Street. Now we've got gallon plastic bottles which just aren't the same, but carry more and don't shatter into a thousand jagged milky pieces when dropped. It was for practical and more economic reasons that we said goodbye to this service gone-by.

Remember the sound of those glass milk bottles jingling as they were being carried to the door? We had an aluminum milk receptacle at the stoop of our back door for years. Some houses even had a little nook/door built into their modern home to receive the milk delivery without having to open their door. Yes, I can still see him in my mind's eye driving up, the kids gathering at the door of his truck, the sights and sounds. These memories will probably be nestled in my mind for the rest of my life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea

This show was one of my favorites. It was basically STAR TREK, only the new frontier was underwater. I remember when SeaQuest DSV came out, I thought, "Hey, it's a Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea wanna be!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Out of the blue of the western skys!

The show was SKY KING. I was just a tot when the series aired, but remember well this cowboy in the clouds western.

I also vaguely remember a show called Whirlybirds.

This was all during a time when westerns were king of television. Roy, Dale and Trigger had the top bunk back then. Yet - a flying cowboy sure can grab a kid's attention.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Brooky Finlayson - JUNIOR JET PILOT!!!!

The Steve Canyon Jet Pilot Helmet was sold separately and the helmet alone was a huge seller for Ideal. The helmet was so popular that Ideal followed with the Fighter Jet Console. By the time I got my hands on this toy, it didn't have any missiles to launch and the machine gun sound didn't work. The console though - the little knobs and gauges kept my little fingers and mind busy.

The Jet Fighter in color at

IDEAL electronic fighter jet

I remember this toy. No it wasn't mine - Brook got it for Christmas and I wanted it! I remember the helmet had STEVE CANYON across the front. There's a picture of him playing with it somewhere among the old photographs. I'll see if I can dig it up and post it soon.