Saturday, January 31, 2009

a loose monkee

Michael Nesmith was the guitarist in the other fab four - the first manufactured band. Many nick-named The Monkees - The Pre-Fab Four. Michael is a very talented singer/songwriter and a funny guy. I wasn't a fan of the television show but later grew to appreciate the music they eventually really made together. It wasn't until they started making it big that Nesmith proved to the powers that be that The Monkees could make their own music and did just that!

My brother in-law, Randall Dan Noojin (aka: Carl), and I used to rent his comedy videos back in the eighties. Back in the eighties, Michael Nesmith made some comedies that were released straight to video. One of the most memorable is the Rodanne - a spoof of his own hit song Joanne. Dan and I by the way were the first Beavis & Butthead (nothing to brag about mind you). We'd sit through out the night watching USA's Nightflight - that is until we just couldn't stay awake.

It was Michael Bynum that introduced me to Nesmith's post-monkee work. That's right, Micahel Nesmith had a career after The Monkees - a good one at that! For a while Nesmith went country and is considered on of the pioneers of what is country-rock. Heck, the guy should've been wearing a coon-skin cap instead of that old toboggan.

Michael Nesmith by the way was the guy that came up with the concept for MTV. He's been called the stepfather of MTV. He originally worked up an idea and produced a thirty minute pilot forcalled Nickelodeon called Pop Clips which was never produced. The concept was later sold to Time/Warner and repackaged as MTV (Music Television). MTV was fun to watch when it first aired - but quickly went downhill by the mid-eighties. Go Google Michael Nesmith - he's still out there swinging baby!

P.S. Did you know that Michael Nesmith's mom, Bette Nesmith Grahm, was the inventor of Liquid Paper (1956). Greatness runs in the family.

Friday, January 30, 2009

sail away

Randy Newman has been around for a quite some time now. His first record release was back in 1968. Sail Away is probably the first song that I ever heard of his. It was featured in the Norman Lear movie COLD TURKEY. Newman has done countless movie scores since. He's one of the best there is. I guess it's in his blood - he's related to three other great Hollywood film-score composers on his mom's side of the family. Randy had three uncles by the name of Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman and Emil Newman. You'll find those names familiar if you watch a lot of Turner Classic Movies.

Don't think you've ever heard any of Randy Newman's work before? You have. You have if you've watched Three Amigos, Toy Story, and Cars. He's featured in almost all of the Pixar animations. He wrote and sings the theme to MONK (tv). Randy is everywhere man!

My favorite albums of Randy Newmans are SAIL AWAY and LITTLE CRIMINALS.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

what - me worry?

Mad Magazine was one of my favorite reads as a kid. The humor was off beat and sharp. The illustration work was always magnificent. My favorite part of this demented publication were the movie parodies. I also enjoyed the little cartoon humor drawn within the margins. You always got your money's worth with Mad. The guys that put this together were funny and definitely not lazy. Al Jaffe's fold-in at the back of the magazines were also something to look forward to. I remember purchasing some Mad's in the mid-70's and found some of their old comic book reprints as inserts. Mad started out as a comic book and changed to magazine format sometime in the mid-fifties. The brand of humor was later echoed in such comedies as Saturday Night Live and Madtv.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

wayfaring stranger

Baby-boomers didn't just listen to rock and roll. We grew up listening to the likes of the late great Tennessee Ernie Ford. I loved this man sense of humor and his wonderfully rich voice.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Milton Bradley Mystery Date 1960's TV Commercial

I had four sisters and don't remember any of them having this game. I do remember the commercial though. There's just something wrong with this game - choosing between dreams and duds. All the dream boats looked kind of sissy. The dud in this commercial looked like he worked for a living. Mystery Date taught little girls to judge from the outward appearances. I say the dud IS TOO GOOD for those shallow little twits. Tell you what - if anyone gives my little girls this game as a gift - I'm going to torch it in the driveway.

Friday, January 23, 2009

learning can be fun

Not all comic book heroes wore capes and had super powers. There was this series of comic books that started back in the forties and ran through the sixties called Classics Illustrated - and they were just that. These were comic books that illustrated such classics as Ivanhoe, Faust, The Iliad, and The Odyssey.

Now I wasn't a big fan of them back when I was a kid, but I sure wish that I had been now. I wish that I had the whole run of them. I remember these books as being brilliantly illustrated - but wordy as hell. I would love to read one again.

I remember being in junior high school (General Forrest Jr High) and a substitute teacher came with a box of them. He made his job of subbing pretty easy that day - and it was a pretty smart thing to do. He let the kids reach in and grab a classic and read the entire period. You couldn't just breeze through one of these things - like I said - they were pretty wordy.

The story goes that Classic Illustrated met it's fate when the company was denied second class postage privileges. Imagine that, a company that offered something educational and entertaining all stapled into one - being set back by the U.S. government like that. It is also said that the advent of Cliff Notes robbed some thunder of Classic Illustrated too. Strange, I'd rather read a comic book over a Cliff Note any day. It would be great if they'd make a come-back - I'd collect them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Johnny Horton

My friend Michael B. posted about singer/songwriter Johnny Horton not too long ago. Johnny was a very popular country/rockabilly performer back in the fifties. He is most remembered for his hit saga songs; North To Alaska, Battle of New Orleans, Johnny Reb and Sink the Bismark.

Johnny always had a premonition about his own death - that he'd be killed by a drunk driver in which he was. Both he and Johnny Cash were good friends. When Cash heard of the collision - he locked himself in a bar-room bathroom and wept.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a pack a day - that's what the doctor's say

More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette. Sure we laugh now, but I believe there are more lies being dished out as as fact on television now than back then.

smoke'm if ya got em boys....

...the doc says they are good for you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

snow white turtle doves

Now that Obama's our President, his first decree is to change the national anthem to "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke" He'll deal with the war on terror by treating our terrorist brothers with a ice cold bottle of CocaCola.

This 1971 commercial is probably the most memorable commercial of our generation. It's been remade several times throughout the decades, as hippies turned to yuppies to middle aged to old folk.

The lyrics by the way sound a lot like President Obama's Inaugural Speech. Sometimes Obama - you've got to teach people harmony with a bayonet.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Bob May, the guy inside 60's sci-fi television show LOST IN SPACE died on January 18th. Bob said that the reason he got the job was because he could fit into the robot.

I don't know what's going on in the photo above - but Mr. Smith looks like he's trying to get it on with Model B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. The robot was never given an official name - just robot. The guy that created this rolling prop, Robert Kinoshita, whose other claim to fame was creating Robbie the Robot first featured in Forbidden Planet. Though Bob May was in the metal suit, the distinct voice of the robot was Dick Tufeld.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Magnificent Seven - the music

The movie THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was incredible and I'll blog about it sometime. Right now though - just take in one of the finest music scores for an American western. Elmer Bernstein created a score that was just as memorable and as thrilling as the movie itself.

Dunt-dunt-dun-dunt dundundundundun-DUNT
Dunt-dunt-dun-dunt dundundundundun-DUNT
dow-dow dowdowdowdow
dow-dow dowdowdowdow
dowdowdowdow dowdowdowdow
dut-dow dowdowdowdowdowdowdow

Friday, January 16, 2009

space - the final frontier

Gene Roddenberry noted in his autobiography that Star Trek was inspired by this the 1956 movie FORBIDDEN PLANET. If you watch the movie you'll see some influences on the original Star Trek television series. The movie had it's own influence - a similar plot based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

If you like science fiction, this is a good one to watch. It's got a great cast, great story, a nothing with deep foot prints, and ideas that sparked many directors of science fiction since.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I know played Captain Kirk's greatest arch enemy in Star Trek (Wrath of Khan). I know he was the Fantasy Island dude - but Ricardo Montalbam will always be the guy that hawked the Chrysler Cordoba - with "soft corinthian leather!" Every one thought he said "rich corinthian leather" - but he never did. In the commercials he said fine or soft - but never rich. I believe that Saturday Night Live did a spoof of the Montalban Chrysler commercial during that time (late seventies) and maybe Dan Akroyd used the term "rich corinthian leather." Another thing about the unforgetable phrase - THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS CORINTHIAN LEATHER - it was just a marketing ploy. It was nothing special that was meant to sound like something special - sucker beware.

I just read wear Ricardo Montalban died today at the age of 88. I think that it would be appropriate for them to upholster his casket with some of that fine corinthian leather.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

think about your troubles

Harry Nilsson is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Think About Your Troubles is classic Nilsson. This particular song is bundled with many other great songs within a story called The Point - which was an ABC 1971 movie of the week. I remember sitting at the foot of the bed in my parent's bedroom watching this brilliant animation and enjoying every song in it.

The narration for the film was first made with Dustin Hoffman and the re-recorded for contractual reason's by Ringo Starr. Not only the music was Nilsson's but the fable as well.

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" - Harry Nilsson

Better music through chemistry - David Finlayson

I remember wanting the album and surprised when I found it that it opened up to have a the story illustrated inside. A lot of bang for the buck. I learned to draw each character and scene and was asked by my sister Jennie to use her chalkboards at Floyd Elementary and later Westminster Elementary to draw the story as the record played. I couldn't really tell if the kids enjoyed it because I was too busy illustrating each segment of song.

The album was lost somewhere a long the way and I missed having it. Only every now and then would I hear Me And My Arrow as a sound bed for a television commercial. The album wasn't on the shelves at the record stores - it became a rarety by the late seventies. I remember when I was living in Atlanta checking out all the used LP stores for it. No luck.

It was great to see that a CD of The Point was released and I bought it. Brook also found and gave me a DVD of The Point film a few years back. One day though, I'll find the LP - if not just for the storybook insert. Good stuff.

Another favorite Nilson record is his A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. Here Nilsson took old standards like Lazy Moon, As Time Goes By, and Always. It was an album that didn't go over well but is a great work. I found that one on CD as well - very happy to have it in my collection.

I love the way that Harry Nilsson could morph from work to work - changing styles and sounds - and it always come out Nilsson. John Lennon and Nilsson were good friends and John was supposed to produce a record with Nilsson. That album never happened - but what if it had?

Once while driving back from leading worship in Bessemer, I stopped by a music store that was open and found a used anthology of Nilsson. Harry Nilsson has some songs out there that people will remember, Without You and Courtship of Eddie's Father - but there is so much of his work that is so much better and rarely heard if ever.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a prophet of our time

prophets are rarely welcome
nations close their ears to words
from called men
who bring the Word
but this particular fellow
God gave nations an ear to hear
a man with a simple
direct message
of grace, hope, and salvation

thanks for the Word billy

Sunday, January 11, 2009

white bucks & the switchblade

I wasn't born until 1958 and missed the big splash of Pat Boone's career. Pat, unlike Dean Jones, actually made it in music - but they are both linked in my mind.

Pat Boone got his foothold by taking black R&B and making it white R&B. He was so big that Elvis Presley (who did the same thing) was one of his opening acts - and as Elvis grew in popularity - both men's music reigned the charts together. He is claimed to be a direct descendant of Daniel Boone and is cousin to actors Richard Boone and Randy Boone.

My first introduction to Boone was seeing him in the movie Cross and the Switchblade, where he played David Wilkenson and Erik Estrada (CHiPs) played Nicki Cruz. The book Cross and the Switchblade in the late sixties was a best seller and every one in our church (Bellevue United Methodist) went to the movie like church goers recently turned out to see Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. I kiddeth thee not. I don't remember the movie as memorable - don't care to revisit it either. I just remember how big it was at the time.

Pat Boone turned more toward gospel/inspirational during the sixties and his music career was the first casualty of the British Invasion. My memory of Pat Boone are primarily drawn from his expression of faith in the media - but his faith was there long before. I just read where in the movie April Love - he didn't want to kiss Shirley Jone's character because Shirley Jones in real life was married. He also turned down a part with Marilyn Monroe - not wanting to have anyone in his audience think that he'd compromise his faith. He not only had a clean cut image - he did his best to keep his white buck shoes white.

Pat created Lion & Lamb Records back in the late 70's that featured his daughter Debbie Boone, and other Christian groups Dan Peek, DeGarmo & Key, and Dogwood. Though I am not a big fan of his music and his old Hollywood musicals (sorry Derick), I respect the man.  Like Dean Jones, he's running the good race and using his voice today to promote values we hold near. These men are not politically correct and are no longer popular in the media's eye.  These men are despised by the left because of what they believe. They are right down there with Pat Robertson. God bless them!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

you know the face

Who knew Dean Jones was an Alabama son? He was born (1931) and raised in Decatur, Alabama. He never planned on being an actor - he was just doing what ever he had to do in pursuit of a singing career. He studied music at Asbury College in Wilmore, KY in the early 1950's but didn't graduate. Jones then served in the military during the Korean War. His travels ended him up in California where he got some acting rolls (Torpedo Run, Jailhouse Rock) Again, his hopes were always for a career in music but had more success with acting. Dean Jones face is a very familiar one for those who grew up in the 60's and 70's. Dean became a main star in Walt Disney's films. He's got a very clean-cut wholesome appearance - with a very distinct voice. You might recall him in all those Herbie Love Bug movies, or in The Million Dollar Duck, That Darn Cat, The Computer That Wore Tennis Shoes, and Blackbeard's Ghost. There are too many to list. His face was everywhere.

Dean became a born-again Christian in 1973-74. He still does some acting and voice work. In 1998 Jones founded the Christian Rescue Committee, an organization that helps provide a "way of escape to Jews, Christians, and others persecuted for their faith.

He's still a pretty cool guy in my book.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

you can't go back

The last time I watched the Time Tunnel was when it first aired back in 66-67. Only thirty episodes were made. Basically these two scientist plunge themselves into history - without having first develope an exit door. They end up going from historical disaster event to disaster event trying to warn everybody to side step their destiny. I can't remember if they were ever successful with their tampering.

The show reminds me a little of Quantum Leap - a guy caught in the past - trying to find their way out while trying to alarm people along the way.

I remember liking the show and very disappointed when it was canceled. I was just 9 years old and don't know if the show was really good or not. I do recall liking Time Tunnel over Land of the Giants. Sixties television was chok full of shows that had people getting trapped or lost in a place in which they could not escape.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

real cowboy drink'n

Say, remember that time Roy back slapped Dale because she didn't stir-up that Nestle Quick good enough - leaving powdery clumps in his chocolate milk?

Remember afterwards when she fell backwards and then Roy boot stomped her until she quit say'n "I'm sorry Roy - I won't do it again" - and then she got real quiet like.

Gee, they don't make commercials like that anymore. Roy sure did like his Nestle Quick - almost as much as he loved Trigger.

I know - the above is so terriby wrong. Roy would have never have hurt Dale like that.

Not with his good boots.


I never saw these toys before but BOY wouldn't it have been swell to have had that burned out village in my neighborhood! Gee-whiz!

Don't you know those baby boomers in post-war Europe had the best of times playing army when they were kids.

"Hey, look Bobby, a real bum!"

"Yes Timmy, and I just found a Gerry luger with a finger still in the trigger."

Back in the early to mid-sixties, some of the greatest faux-killing war toys were made by MARX toys. As a kid - I liked the guns that looked real. Nazi's back then didn't know if they were going to have to play dead or be dead.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

cherry grove

My uncle Murdoch Finlayson, who passed away this past Summer, owned a small property in Cherry Grove which was just north of Myrtle Beach, SC. It was a great little house that he'd let his kin stay. It was not beach front property, but close enough. I remember one Summer we drove down that Brook and I were given a butch haircut. Mom had also purchased the two of us matching khaki cargo pants with a big pockets and a little clip sewn on to hang important stuff. I don't know why pants had to have a clip on it but I thought it was golly-gee whiz-cool as all get out. I remember Brook liking the pants but not very keen on the idea that I had a matching pair. I felt like a real Jungle Jim with mine. I remember walking down the sandy road toward the beach with my brother. I remember checking out the small beach front stores there.

There were all kinds of little frogs in that area - especially in Murd's backyard. I remember finding an old milk carton and filling it with little frogs. It's not something I would do today - but it was the kind of thing a little kid thought worth while.

Along the way Dad had stopped by and picked up a case of Blenheim Ginger Ale. They were in the glass bottles of various degrees of burn. It's been a very long time since I've had a Blenheim - a locally made beverage bottled in the Cheraw, SC area. I remember a large case of them sitting on the table, available to anyone brave enough to drink one. If you ever come across one - I strongly recommend the mild. If you do take on the XXX - don't dare gulp it - start with a sip decide how you'd ought proceed from there.

I don't remember leaving Murdoch's place on Cherry Grove - but I always wanted to go back. He sold it along the way. Most of our vacations growing up were to Columbia, SC - visiting Dad's brother's and sisters. I don't care much for beaches, the sand, the hotel lined shores, and the sun-baked masses. My Cherry Grove memory is that of a vast uncluttered shore, a little beach house, and family. It's the stuff dreams are made of - and I am fortunate to have a memory made of it.

Brooky, Irene, David (on lap), Dad (wearing argyle socks and braces) and Jennie.

Monday, January 5, 2009

a very Brady Gina

This is a picture of Gina taken at ten years old. Both Katie and Kelsey when shown this photo didn't recognize their mom as a little girl. You should have seen Kelsey's (6yrs) little face after I identified the body. "That's mommy?"

There's a lot of Gina in both of my girls. I don't have to imagine what Gina was like as a kid - because I see a lot of Gina in their ways. Don't ask - I jest know. I think Katie favors her mother a little more. They seem to have the same light in them. Though both of my little girls are daddy's girls - Katie - like Gina - rarely enter or leave a room with out saying "I love you" or wanting a hug or a kiss.

One story I heard about Gina as a little girl was on most Sunday mornings - she'd go from room to room telling her mom and dad - sister and brother - that "I love you!" Gina is that way - a very affectionate person...with a devoted love. I don't recall a day in my life that she hasn't said I love you or want a hug. Katie is that way too.

I think you can see in this photograph that little light that can still be seen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


William Cameron Menzies was responsible for the fabulous visuals experienced in Gone With The Wind, Thief Of Bagdad, and Around The World In Eighty days. He's also responsible for that eerie passage way to the sand pit in INVADERS FROM MARS!

The story begins one night when a little boy notices a flying saucer landing in the field - a sand pit behind his house. His dad tucks him back into bed and tells him to go back to sleep. Knowing that his son is not one for making up stories - he decides to walk out back and check his son's story out.

The next day little David wakes up to discover his dad seemed different - and then more and more people in his community begin to change. David didn't know who to trust. It wasn't long before his dad took his mom down the path to see something interesting at the sand pit.

This feature was horrific for it's day - at least to a little boy. A kid's just got to have to know he's got his parents to run to - especially when invaded by aliens. In this movie - a kid get's his parents taken from him.

The sets are sparce -definitely a B movie - yet definitely a cult classic. The story is solid and there is a perfect odd feel about the movie. I can't call it campy - because it still works. There have been many sci-fi/horror movies made since - but very few of them can give you the creeps like this movie. INVADERS FROM MARS has plenty of flaws, but it hits the mark where it counts. Fifty years later and this is still a spooky film.

The movie was remade back in the eighties - but is was a pathetic attempt. Leave well enough alone guys - Menzies knew what he was doing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

north africa or bust

Nothing says macho like jumping dunes in a jeep with guns blazing. The show was called RAT PATROL (1966-68) and Brook and I used to watch religiously. There were other WWII themed movies airing in the early to mid 60's which include: Combat! Twelve O'clock High and Gallent Men.

The show was pulled from broadcast in Europe because the English took offense to the dominant American presence in the show. It was after all the English/New Zealand/Rhodesion LONG RANGE DESERT GROUP that took it to the Jerrys by modifying trucks and jeeps with machine guns.

Rat Patrol was a good show, but it seems to me that I would have enjoyed the show just as much with more British behind the guns.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

a clay boy and his dog

Davey & Goliath was a faith based stop-motion animated feature produced by those wacky Evangelical Lutherans back in the 1950's-60's. Gumby was probably the most popular stop-motion animation feature of that day. It was Gumby's creator Art Clokey who was approached by the Lutheran Church to develop Davey & Goliath. Every episode of Davey & Goliath had a lesson encouraging civic responsibility or a spiritual - moral lesson. The shows were not preachy - but rather wrapped the a lesson in an entertaining story much like the show Leave It To Beaver. Looking back, I kind of get the idea that the clay character Davey was based on the young Beaver actor, Jerry Mathers.

Davey & Goliath has been recently spoofed in a show called Moral Orel. Morel Orel is visually a tighter production than the earlier stop-action work of Clokey - but it's intent is quiet the opposite of the likes of Davey & Goliath. The show Morel Orel is more of a back handed and unfunny slap of anything positive and moral productions that came out of the 50's and 60's.

I personally like Davey & Goliath, for all it's campiness. The show was aired locally (Etowah County) on Sundays. I enjoyed watching them when ever I got to stay home from church. I don't remember ever seeing it on any other day but Sunday.