Tuesday, March 31, 2009

my favorite house guest

Before Bill Bixby was Eddie's father or The Hulk, he had a favorite Martian. Ray Walston played the stranded anthropologist alien. MY FAVORITE MARTIAN (63-66) was one of my favorite sitcoms as a kid. Bill Bixby played Tim O'Hara, a mild mannered newspaper reporter who takes the illegal alien into his home. In order to conceal the Martian's identity - Exigius 12 1/2 takes on the identity of Uncle Martin. Tim keeps Uncle Martin's wreaked spacecraft in his garage. Like GILLIGAN'S ISLAND (the more renown work of Sherwood Schwartz) the Martian never could seem to launch his ship either.

You can put this show in the I DREAM OF JEANNIE and BEWITCHED, MR. ED and MY MOTHER THE CAR category. The sixties were chock full of shows of people that had to hide identities of unusual house guests.

This YouTube video is part 1 of 5 of the original pilot. It's a very breezy little situation comedy. Smothers Brothers had a short lived sitcom that had almost the same story line. Instead of an Martian in the apartment - Tommy Smother's was an angel.

Monday, March 30, 2009

love and the happy days

George Lucas had asked to screen the unsold pilot of Garry Marshall's, NEW FAMILY IN TOWN (1971) to decide if he were going to use Ron Howard in his movie American Graffiti (as character Steve Bolander). The television pilot never sold, but was used as as an episode of the comedy anthology LOVE AMERICAN STYLE. The episode was renamed LOVE AND THE HAPPY DAYS. I remember seeing this show when it aired as a Love American Style episode.

AMERICAN GRAFFITI generated an huge nostalgia of the 1950's (early 60's), so ABC offered Howard the series HAPPY DAYS. I remember enjoying this show the first few years, and lost interest long before Fonzie jumped the shark. The early seasons were very enjoyable - even though they were a candy coated idealization of yesteryear. Graffiti, I don't see as such an idealization.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

where were you in 62

Did you ever see American Graffiti? This is movie was written and directed by George Lucas in 1973. I saw this movie in the back seat at the Rebel Drive-in with my brother Brooky and his friend Jamey Moore. They often let me tag along when they went to the drive-in. That's how I first experienced Easy Rider, Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, Hammer and American International gothic horror films.

American Graffiti was the first time I remembered ever seeing Richard Drefuss. It's also the first time I'd ever seen Harrison Ford in a film. Ron Howard's face was of course a very familiar one - Opie grown up. Charles Martin Smith played my favorite character, Toad, among all the other great characters. This movie is chock full of actors that you'd never seen before but would see become bigger stars as the seventies played out.

The story isn't complex at all. It's about a guy's last night in his small town. All the youth had little to do but cruise the strip and and find love or trouble...most often trouble. American Graffiti isn't candy coated, but is a fun ride. The characters are not stereotypical but somehow very familiar. The music blaring clearly from the cruising cars through out the night - tie together the mood and the different adventures of individuals playing out in a single night in Modesto. Lucas mind you, had pulled out all his 45's and wrote every scene with a specific single in mind.

This was a coming of age film that connects with those who came to age in the sixties. I know that Brook and Jamey seemed to have a different reaction to this film than I did. I am what some call a shadow-boomer (born in 58) and didn't relate to the imagery and characters of American Graffiti as my older siblings.

The movie was an unexpected success. George Lucas had only 500.00 to his name when he started out with the project. The film made him millions, which gave him the initial capital for some Flash Gordonish space movie idea he had been working toward.

In 1995, the Library of Congress deemed American Graffiti as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." This movie really is significant. American Graffiti reflects a moment in time before America lost her innocence - all that turmoil to follow in the sixties.

Curt Henderson wakes the next morning to board a plane for college. If and when he comes back - it will be a different place all together. Yes. This is a very good movie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

kill the wabbit

This is the What's Opera, Doc cartoon. It's one of my all time favorite of the classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Like I said in yesterday's 3 Stooges post, most these early Warner Brother's cartoons were originally made for the big screen - before the advent of television. Any time I see an old WB cartoon, I think of Saturday mornings, all the Finlayson kids sitting on the living room floor on a blanket in front of the old Zenith.

Friday, March 27, 2009

3 Stooges

When we were kids, television was still a new medium. The classic made for television shows we see as re-runs today were in their first run. Baby-boomer enjoyed comedy shorts, cartoons, and adventure serials that were made for the theater. Saturday mornings were not filled with Hannah-Barbera cartoons - but more about Warner Brother cartoons, comedy shorts, and cliff hanger serials from the silver screen days of our parents.

Most of us baby-boomer boys loved the slap-stick comedy of The Three Stooges. Their two-real shorts were released by Columbia in 1958 and introduced Moe, Larry, and Curly to a my generation. When the Three Stooges came to television, it birthed a new interest in the stooge franchise. The boomer generation loved the stooges and still do!

Moe Howard and Larry Fine were a constant down through the years - Shemp Howard was the first third stooge. Later Shemp trained his brother Curly Howard to take over the part of the third stooge when he began to get rolls in feature films. Shemp returned after Curly's death. Both Shemp and Curly had their own styles and enjoyable to watch - but Curly is most people's favorite stooge of all. The best shows were the ones made in the 1930's and 40's. When Shemp died, the shows were produced for decades more with other third stooges that never measured up to the likes of Shemp and Curly.

Moe Howard always played the impatient and bossy stooge. Larry Fine once said of his old friend and stooge partner that people assumed that Moe was as mean as his character. Larry said that Moe was a very nice fellow. Years ago I came across a site developed by a guy named Bob Bernet who corresponded with the aging Moe Howard. Bob was twelve years old at the time he wrote his first piece of fan mail. Years later Bob went to visit Moe at his home in Californ after he graduated high school in 1973. The correspondences are available at that site as well as some rare photos. Both Moe and Larry died in 1974, so the letters, stories, reflections, and images are very interesting. I really enjoyed the My Pal Moe site - you might too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

try it now!!

Kids In The Hall (1988-1994) was a great sketch comedy show that I compare with the great Monty Python. This Canadian comedy troupe offered a little more of a dark edge than Python. I'm not saying that Kids is better than Python - not - but they were material was pretty darn original and funny.

This clip reminds me of me and cars.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R.A. Mitchell on punishment

I served time at R.A. Mitchell Elementary throughout the 1960's. My last year at Mitchell was 1969. I served one to six years at that institution and later transferred to serve out my public education sentencing at General Forrest Junior High School, then later Emma Sansom High School. Yes, I grew up institutionalized since I was in first grade - but I swear that I was completely innocent of all charges.

My friend Tommy Puckett mentioned the electric paddle the other day. It was rumored that our principal, Mrs. Love, had one of these in her office. Every time I passed her office door I would always try to see if I could catch a glimpse of that legendary mechanized corporal punishment machine. Back then - I imagined that the electric paddle was made from an old heavy-duty oscillating fan. In my mind's eye I could see it sitting in a dark corner - powered by a Briggs and Stratton motor - with fan blades replaced by rough hewn oak paddles. Such an implement of swift justice kept many good boys from going bad.
I guess I was a good boy because I never had to experience the electric paddle. I did have to sit on The Pink Bench from time to time. Those who were sent to The Pink Bench were those who were either waiting to be checked out by a parent or for those who had misbehaved and waiting for discipline. I didn't like sitting on The Pink Bench because you always got the "what did you do wrong" look from all the kids waiting in the lunch line (that could be a lot of kids). The Pink Bench was positioned across the hall from the Principal's office and just next to the stairs leading up to the lunch room. Even if you were sitting on the bench for innocent reasons - you were looked upon by all as if you were in trouble. So I didn't like sitting on the bench for any reason...guilt by association.

The school is still up there on the mountain, across from Noccalula Falls Park. It still looks the same - as if it were a time capsule waiting to be revisited by curious old students. I am curious. I'd like to see if the bench is still there. I'd go into Mrs. Loves old office - take a good look around the principal's old domain. I would look in every corner - and the closet behind where her desk used to be.  I'd be looking for an old dusty oscillating paddler.

Monday, March 23, 2009

this is just wrong

This Batman squirt gun is wrong on so many levels. The first thing you notice is that Gotham's favorite caped crusader has a trigger in a naughty place. I didn't notice until posting this image where the plug is located. Need I bother pointing out other obvious features of this old boy toy that strikes of perverted. This was a real toy ladies and gentlemen - a real toy. Surely someone at the toy company that manufactured this item knew what was being put out. Surely someone along the assembly line were snickering.

There has been speculation of Batman and The Boy Wonder's sexuality. The creators of the comic book super heroes said that Batman and Robin were not meant to be gay (maybe they were just drawn that way). Poor guys - Bruce and Dick are seen around each other constantly (in and out of costume) and someone is bound to think something of it. Don't these guys deserve a little slack? Must we assume that just because someone is working, living, and sleeping together, that they must be homosexual? Well?!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Serling's other show

"Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of three paintings, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector's item in its own way—not because of any special artistic quality, but because each captures on a canvas, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare."
-Rod Serling (intro)

Forty years ago I was a kid.  Forty years ago, there was a television show that gave me the heebie-jeebies.  That show was Night Gallery. Rod Serling would begin each show exhibiting eerie paintings. Each eerie painting had an eerie story to tell The show was woven together as Serling would walk from canvas to canvas in his dimly lit gallery of macabre art and give a brief Twilight Zone-ish intro.

Night Gallery was Serling's follow up to The Twilight Zone. Night Gallery wasn't as good as The Twilight Zone - but it did have it's merits. The show wasn't like Twilight Zone - Gallery was had more of a gothic feel and stories were horror stories.  Where TZ was insightful, NG was creepy.  My understanding is that Mr. Serling wrote a good many the stories and hosted, but wasn't involved on the production end.

I first watched the show while spending the night with Billy Daugette one Friday night in 1970.  The show that aired that night was 'Dead Man and The Housekeeper'.  If you haven't seen it, you can watch it via Hulu here.

That particular showed scared the crap out of me. That particular episode had the look and feel of an old American International Film. I remember Night Gallery, being freaked out with Billy that night over that creepy episode. After that experience - even the intro of Night Gallery gave me the willies.

The series went downhill due to bad decisions by studio execs (naturally). They started incorporating some failed psychic series (The Sixth Sense) starring Gary Collins. So if you ever see Gary Collins in a Night Gallery episode - just know that it's not a bona-fide Night Gallery episode.

Rod Serling was a paratrooper and a demolition specialist during WWII and awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. During his service, he watched as his best friend was crushed to death by a heavy supply crate dropped by a parachute onto the field. After the war he suffered from many nightmares and flashbacks because of his wartime experiences. It is believed that Rod brought that dark side to television by way of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

dad can i borrow the car?

This is a 1970 short by Disney, narrated by a young Kurt Russell. The film is a take on the car culture of the 1960's. This is a two part YouTube video and worth watching both parts if you have the time and interest. I remember watching this on Wonderful World of Disney decades ago. I particularly remember the show's intro - the racing pen stripes.

Funny how the clean cut actor, Kurt Russell, of Disney ended up starring in movies like The Thing, Escape from New York, and Death Proof.

There is an old comedy that Kurt starred in that I'd like to watch again called Used Cars (1980). I remember seeing that one at the Rebel Drive-In as a second feature. Until that time - I never thought of Kurt as an comedic actor - let alone an action star. He'd redefine himself through out the eighties.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

baby laugh-a-lot

I don't know why this doll didn't go over as big as Remco had hoped. Wouldn't you want to buy this doll for your daughter? I know that I wouldn't.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walmart special

Okay, this is the Stuart tank that was being sold at Walmart a couple of years ago. Somebody bought one and added a little realism to it. No - I'm pretty sure the sound f/x were dubbed in. If it really made the tank noise...I would have spent the money and dealt with my wife's wrath.

The only down side to having only girls...is that I can't justify buying expensive boy toys (literal boy toys). Sure, we can spend $125.00 on a life size Barbie that my girls never played with - but a tank is out of the question.

I think this toy would make for a great defense if I ever was exposed to radiation and shrunk to G.I. Joe size (see yesterday's post) The up side is that I would have an olive drab wardrobe waiting for me if ever I get small.

Remco Tiger Joe!

This post is for Michael Bynum.

I wanted the Tiger Joe Tank too, but it was off the market by the time I knew they existed. There was a kid who lived down at the end of Red Oak Road that had one of these bad boys. It was no longer functional, but still cool never the less.

The Remco Tiger Joe Tank wasn't remote control. There was a wire that ran to a hand-held control box. I've seen a few remnants of Tiger Joes at antique stores from time to time. I found the hull of one in an Attalla consignment shop that I nearly bought to give to Michael.

A few years ago I saw a 1/6 scale remote control tank at Walmart for a little over $100.00. Ouch! The little kid in me still wanted my Tiger Joe - and that tank at at Walmart could run circles around that Tiger Joe.

I passed on the tank. What would my wife say if I came home with a hundred dollar chunk of plastic? It wasn't a small toy...where would I park it? I really thought about it folks. The tank was so big that I would have to park it in my garage.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

This movie is why I don't own a cat. Who knows if and when I'll be exposed to some kind of radiation and start shrinking. What if I started getting smaller and all the doctors, scientist and kings horses and men equipped with all that modern medicine has to offer can't stop me from my ever shrinking disease. What if all the Viagra and Cialis in the world could not stop me from becoming smaller than an atom. I don't want a predatory cat in my house - nor do I want spiders in my basement.

If I start getting small - the first thing I am going to do is go to Radio Shack and buy one of those Stuart Little cars. I'm also going to get me one of those soldering irons for personal defense. I'm going to buy me a lot of firecrackers and keep my powder dry. I'm going to be ready for when that day comes. I'm going to be the last little man standing. I'm going to be like a wee little Omega Man. I'm going to go out in the blaze of teeny tiny glory.

Do any of you remember seeing this movie? I remember watching it on Tom York's Dialing for Dollars (out of Birmingham, AL) after school. The introduction of the atomic age brought us all kinds of scary movies from Hollywood in throughout the fifties. There were giant men, giant women, giant ants, giant spiders. It seems that exposure to radiation made objects get huge. This movie though - a guy get's small. This is probably the greatest nightmare a guy could possibly imagine happen to himself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What it was, was football

Andy Griffith football monologue (1953) was the catalyst that propelled him into stardom. This youtube video is features illustration work of Mad Magazine artist George Woodbridge.

The first time I heard this routine was at my cousin Eric Chunn's house. I'd go over to their house in the Summer and spend a week with him - swimming at Chunn's Lake or playing army. The Chunn's had the Andy Griffith LP. I remember us sitting down by their record player and listening to it on Saturday morning.

Andy also had a routine about Romeo and Juliet that he incorporated in one of the Andy Griffith Shows. This youtub video is a double treat, not only because of the football story, but because of the intense illustration work.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Winters on Spring

This more of Jonathan Winters. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

robin william's real father

I found a very funny clip of Jonathan Winters on the old Jack Paar Show (1964) involving a stick. YouTube failed to post the clip here at Boomerville, but you can go there and check it out. Funny stuff. I wish YouTube had a clip of The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters television show. While standing out front of Vineyard last Saturday, Danny Daniels reminisced about Jonathan Winter's old show. I had almost forgotten that old gem. I had picked up a couple of orange and white traffic cones from the sidewalk (left over from First Friday) and exclaimed that I was Madonna's mother (the singer - not the virgin). Danny started talking about Winters. Yep, that's where it started with me.

I remember watching The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters as a kid and started improvising comedy bits with inanimate objects the house. I remember going down in our basement from time to time and mimic the same kind of ad-lib humor that Johnathan would do in his cluttered attic on television.

I remember watching the Wacky World on our old black and white Zenith. I remember being made to do homework while the show was going on - and all I could do was hear the laughter down the hall. I remember not getting to watch Jonathan frustrated mini-me to no end.

The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters wasn't a tight show. You could tell that it had to have a loose format to all Jonathan creative elbow room. I don't know if there ever could be a show that could properly showcase Winter's brilliance. The Jack Paar Show was an excellent venue for Jonathan. He had Paar to throw him a stick and let him run after it. Maybe that's what Jonathan needed all along.

I remember Robin Williams taking on Winters to play the role of his son in Mork & Mindy (back in the early eighties). It didn't really work - but it was nice seeing the two work side by side. I've seen Winters and Williams on stage together several times since. You can tell that they admire each other but seem to step on each other's feet. Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams share the same free flowing comedic ad-lib gene. Robin gives credit to Jonathan for the early influence - for being a mentor of sorts.

This Jack Paar clip from 1964 is a wonderful sampling of Jonathan Winter's brand of spontaneous combustion humor. Great stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the savage season

One of my favorite television shows as a kid was Twelve O'clock High (1964-67). This series was based on the movie of the same name (great movie by the way). Robert Lansing portrayed the roll of Brigadier General Frank Savage for the first season of the series. Studio executives decided to take on a younger looking actor to appeal to a younger audience, so they killed off Savage after the first season. They replaced Lansing with an Paul Burke who in real life was two years older than Lansing. Burke did a good job as Colonel Joe Gallagher, but as a kid I missed Savage.

Twelve O'clock High's first two season was shot in black and white so that WWII footage could be used. When the show went into living color, the old war footage was colorized and just wasn't passable. One scene that I remember is when a B-17 had to be put into a dive to put out a fire in an engine. The frames were tilted of a B-17 footage in flight to look as if the plane was diving. The funny thing is that the clouds were tilted too.

There were some good stories from the Burke seasons but nothing surpassed what I call the Savage season. The studio had it right that first season and then started messing with a good thing.

I had not seen this show in decades until Gina and I moved up to Bowling Green, KY in 1990. There was a Nashville station airing reruns late at night. I had every intention of putting the timer on to tape the shows but I couldn't resist staying up and watching them. I have a good many of these shows on VCR. For all the flaws and many weak story-lines - the show is still entertaining after all these years.

I have the complete five seasons of COMBAT! on DVD and waiting for Twelve O'clock High to eventually make it's way to disc.

Monday, March 9, 2009

now do you understand

He wasn't Red Beard The Pirate when I first met him. Randy Matthews was one of the early pioneers of the Jesus Music / Gospel Rock music that emerged from the Jesus Movement back in the mid to late sixties and through out the seventies. Randy was signed on Word records and later Myrrh Records was created for his second release.

I didn't know who Randy Matthews was when Christian Brothers Sound Company made their way down to Birmingham's BJCC. The concert was a brought to us by Ekklesia Productions, which is where I first heard of a guy named Wendall Miller. Wendall brought a lot of the "names" to our area. Again, I had never heard of Randy Matthews before that night - but he gave an unforgettable concert. I knew that when ever I got to a place where I could man a guitar- that I wanted to do the kind of stuff that Randy did that night. That night Randy laced his original songs with stories, riddled the evening with so much laughter.

He had just come out with the double album Now Do You Understand (1975), which included the memorable song Didn't He. It was a live album which much of the stories and songs he did that night are contained within that production. I went home from that concert and learned a lot of Randy's songs. I emulated his energy and impersonated his voice as I banged on Brooky's Yamaha FG-180 in the living room for at a time. There was a time when I could pretty much mimic the whole live album - stories, songs, and every voice inflection by heart. I was on a mission to understand what he did on stage that night. I had never in my life experienced someone that could get on stage and fill a room with that big a sound all by himself. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to sing songs from the heart like that. I wanted to make people laugh and tell them about Jesus.

As I think back on Randy Matthews, I think about my beginnings as an singer/songwriter, storyteller and performer. He was my primary influence back in '75 when I was seventeen.

Later, in 1993, when I was still living in Bowling Green, I got a call from an old friend Wendall Miller. I had not seen nor heard from him in well over a decade. It was quite a surprised to hear his voice after all those years. Wendall and I talked for a long time. I had come out with my STAND CD and was singing around a good bit back then. Wendall asked me if I'd drive down to Alabama and sing for the students at Livingston University. Wendall was then the head of the campus ministries. I laughed, "Wow, I'm being booked for a concert by Wendall." I told him that I'd come down and that I looked forward to seeing him.

When I arrived on campus, I saw my promo materials everywhere. The only thing was, Wendall failed to mention on the poster that I was singing. He wrote - David Finlayson - STAND UP COMEDY. I then remembered during our phone conversation, Wendall asking me if I still clowned around. It's what he remembered me doing in my late teens when we saw each other. I told him that I did. I told him about the CD release and that I was playing a lot. While walking down those halls of Livingston University (now University of West Alabama) - my stomached tightened every time I passed a poster on a wall. There was my head shot and name with the caption reading STAND UP COMEDY! What has Wendall done to me?

Wendall was an excellent host. He treated me off campus to a steak dinner and we talked about the Ekklesia concert days. He told me about the Kieth Green concert at UAB, and I commented on the Randy Matthews concert in 1975. He said that the magnitude of that event was a big surprise to him. He said that he booked Randy to come down and Monty Matthews (Randy's dad) sent him a press kit. Wendall took the press kit to the Birmingham newspaper and left it with some guy. This fellow at the newspaper was familiar with Monty Matthews. Monty was the baritone of the Jordanairs, Elvis' first back up group. Any who - the newspaper guy gave the Randy Mathews concert a full page spread. Wendall was surprised to see that kind of free PR and was even more surprised at the turn out. The BJCC auditorium was packed to the rafters.

Wendall, Gina and I sat at the restaurant talking for a very long time. I asked him lots of questions about those events and about the people connected to Ekklesia Productions of that day. Christian Brothers Association gang in Gadsden and the Birmingham and Ekklesia gang saw a lot of each other back during that time. We'd go down to their concerts, often furnishing sound reinforcement and they'd come up for our festivals (NO JIVE JESUS IS ALIVE FALLS FESTIVAL).

So the three of us made our way back to the Livingston campus after we spent all that time catching up. I was still nervous about going into an environment where the audience EXPECTED a stand-up act. Wendall had promised me a sound system when I got there. The sound system was something heavily upholstered from the sixties - and was in terrible shape. I discovered at the eleventh hour that I simply couldn't use it. I had to have a P.A. for that room to sing.  I knew by the time the second song that my voice wasn't going to last. There I was - all those eyes looking up - and I had to do something. I put the guitar down and started telling stories and diving into ad-lib - and stirred up the room.

After it was over I went back to Gina and Wendall who had been sitting together at the back of the room. They said they were in stitches the entire time. I asked Wendall how long I had been up there and if I had done enough. Gina said, "David, you were up there 3 hours and we couldn't stop laughing!" I had no idea.
Gina later told me that she hurt the next day from laughing so hard and so much.  I knew I had gotten some response from the front, but the lights were on the stage and I was blind to the audience beyond the fourth row.

That evening at Livingston, I had never before performed stand-up comedy. I felt God winking and letting me know that He made me to be funny ~ this kind of joy giving. I drove back to Bowling Green having a definite confirmation that God had use for even my silliness. It might not make any sense to others, but that moment in time still means something to me. All those years in churches that people treated humor as beneath God's holy approval. All those years around Christians who thought of the silliness and laughter as a sign of immaturity. God said, "This is David, and this is why I made you."

So I'll just close this long convoluted telling by saying, "Thank you God for making me the way you made me. Thank you God for making people like Randy Matthews - the guy that beat the hell out of guitars, made people laugh till it hurt, open up the hearts wide enough to plant your seed."

...and thanks Randy for the influence.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pressing On

I was thinking of Dylan's PRESSING ON today. It was from his SAVED album.

"Years ago they ... said I was a prophet. I used to say, "No I'm not a prophet" they say "Yes you are, you're a prophet." I said, "No it's not me." They used to say "You sure are a prophet." They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, "Bob Dylan's no prophet." They just can't handle it."

Dylan released three Christian albums, SLOW TRAIN COMING (1979), SAVED (1980), and SHOT OF LOVE (1981). Slow Train was a critical hit. Saved got mixed reviews but I love the album.

The Jesus Movement of the seventies had a big influence on my life. I never understood why they took the name of Jesus out of the music and turned it to CCM. To me, most of all the music that followed was more about the industry rather than the movement. It was nice while it lasted.

PRESSING ON a beautiful song that I'm going to learn to sing in the very near future.

Friday, March 6, 2009

little cowboys everywhere

The above is a picture of my older brother and sister, Brooky and Jennie, playing cowboy together.

There was a time when little cowboys and cowgirls were everywhere. I am sure there are many of you ever aging boomers out there that have photos of yourselves dressed in your western duds - with your Radio Flyer wagons circled to fight off them Injuns. I sure do miss the politically incorrect days.

Westerns were very popular in the 50's and 60's. Little kids wanted to emulate their favorite movie or television stars. Probably the brightest cowboy star to shine from radio, film & television was none other than the King of the Cowboys himself - Roy Rogers. Roy formed Sons of the Pioneers, and later graduated to the silver screen where he rode along side the greatest movie cowboy of all time - John Wayne. Roy's radio show eventually crossed-over into a very popular television show, The Roy Roger's Show, that was loved by kids everywhere. Roy Rogers had a big influence my generation when we were jest little sprigs. You might say that it was quite the phenomina. Both Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans were very popular in their time. Both were devout Christians and great advocates for adoption. Roy and Dale wore white hats in a time when white hats really meant something. They were bona fide true to life - real good guys. HAPPY TRAILS, their theme song was written by Dale Evans. Almost any baby-boomer can sing the song word for word at the drop of a white hat. The song is a classic with a beautiful sentiment - yes Roy and Dale - happy trails to you until we meet again!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

marty feldman show

Most people remember Marty Feldman from his role in Young Frankenstien as Igor. He started out as a writer and first got in front of the camera in AT LAST THE 1948 SHOW. The first time I remember seeing Marty's quirky brand of humor was in his British comedy series MARTY, (later Marty Feldman's Comedy Machine). I wish more of these old shows were available on YouTube. I'll scarf them up if I ever see them on DVD.

Marty was a funny fellow. The show MARTY as I recall was basically funny shorts back to back - much like those of Monty Python's Flying Circus. In fact, John Cleese wrote for Marty Feldman's series. If you ever get a chance to see AT LAST THE 1948 SHOW you'll experience the beginnings of the Monty Python troope. I found the DVD's of the show a few years ago at Big Lots and bought them. I never watched them hoping that I could have a guy night at my house sometime.

Marty came out with a string of Gene Wilder movie comedies after Young Frankenstien was such a huge hit. He was still at his peak when he died of a heart attack (1982 ) during the making of Yellow Beard.

Watching this clip from his old series you'll see obvious influences of the great silent days of hollywood. No wonder - Marty was a huge fan of my favorite silent film star Buster Keaton.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

magic bus

Jimmy, a friend of mine, has a cool old VW bus. Jimmy is a drummer and his bus is basically a rolling drum case. It's true, Jim plays a good bit and the cargo area allows the perfect amount of space for his equipment.

I love the look of the old VW buses.

I posted not too long ago about a friend of mine, Jim Young, whose dad had a VW bus. Back in the CB radio (got yer ears on) days of the seventies, they were referred to as micro-buses. These vans were around long before mini-vans rolled into the picture. Even though a VW is a mini sized van - I can't bring myself to call them mini vans.
VW buses are one of the many icons of the rebellious sixties. Even the Pixar animation CARS has a hippy car character that's a VW bus. I don't recall ever seeing a painted up psychedelic bus when I was a kid because I didn't grow up in California. I grew up in Alabama. I saw plenty of hippies and painted VW buses on television - but not too many up close.

The buses, like the bugs, have a certain mystique about them. I see fewer of them than I do the beetles and bugs these days. It's always nice to pull up at church and see Jimmy unloading his kit from his rolling drum case. Peace brother.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

and now the rest of the story

Paul Harvey died yesterday. He never quit - he kept going as his voice weakened and faded in time. He lost his voice for three months back in 2001 - thinking he'd lost it for good. He gave God the glory for restoring his voice. He continued on - he never quit - never retired. He kept on after his wife (and business partner) Lynne died in May of last year. Occasionally he would speak of her on his show and his voice would give a little - but he kept on.

This Monday, after fifty years, Paul won't be behind his microphone. He has gone home, rejoined with his loved ones. There will not be a silence in his wake. His mantle rest upon the shoulder of his son, Paul Harvey Jr, whose voice and views on life and times are just as familiar as his father's.

Paul Harvey's voice carried a long way, from before my time. I heard him on the radio through out my early years. He was always there - and now he's not. Paul Harvey, Jr said after his dad's passing
"So in the past year, an industry has lost it's godparents and today millions have lost a friend." I believe America feels that way about Paul Harvey, he was more than an broadcasting icon, he was a friend to us all. God speed.

"Don't let noisy news distress you, don't let the headline writers rain on your parade...My goodness, there's resiliency in this country we've not yet begun to use."

And now, page two ...

-Paul Harvey