This PSA advertisement aired a lot back through out the seventies. I didn't know what VD was when I was thirteen but the song was kind of catchy. I remember the entire family sitting around the dining room table after church. I was waiting for dad's prayer - waiting to eat and for some reason decided to entertain myself with a song. Yes, I knew that it wasn't polite to sing at the table - especially when it's a song about VD.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a show that aired from 1964 to 1968 on ABC. Just think of an underwater version of Star Trek. It was a pretty good show - at least I thought it was at the time. It's been a very long time since I've seen an entire episode. The Seaview on television was an atomic powered super submarine. The Seaview that came with the playset above was powered by harnessed elastic energy.
I don't know what happened to The Seaview that Billy owned. It was probably went the way of most of our toys after being decommissioned. Chances are it was melted down with lighter fluid or gasoline. A cherry bomb would have done the trick.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
They giggled as they rolled the ball back and forth to each other - I thought of my dad who never met either one of them. He'd be all about being outside last night, being in that moment with my kids. Dad always played the best he could with his kids. Even though the polio crippled him, he always enjoyed doing as much as he could. Westbrook liked to play ball. I remember Sundays when he'd sit on a stool in the backyard and be the resident batter, letting the youngest kids run the bases for him. He'd be the picture and make sure everyone got a turn. He couldn't use his legs but he participated in his own way by organizing or coaching us in our backyard playoffs.
I remember countless times as a kid just tossing a ball back and forth with my dad. It didn't matter what kind of ball it was. He loved to play with his children. I don't ever remember getting scolded for tossing a wiffle ball or a tennis ball in the house. Dad would be there to ask us to bounce it his way - the game would continue. If there was a ball in the room - he'd never pass on the opportunity.
One thing I remember doing with dad as a kid inside was to toss cards. I'd take an old hat of his out of the closet and put it on the floor. Dad and I would take turns tossing playing cards toward the hat. We'd tally up the scores of the cards that made it into the hat and see which athlete won.
I know that dad never lost his love for playing games. I'm sure that he's on a team now that he's healed of this Earth. I know that he'll get us out there in the field as well - toss with our old man. I believe a lot of things we found simple pleasure here on Earth are things we'll also find in heaven. I look forward to that. I look forward to tossing that ball - actually see him run those bases with his own two legs. Wouldn't that be great?
I've got a hat and a deck of cards. I think I'm going to go upstairs now and teach my kids a new game.
Friday, April 24, 2009
My uncle Pat (AKA: Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson) used to drive out from Macon, GA to Gadsden at least once every year. He'd always pay me to give his car a good wash and vacuum. I was ten years old in 1968. Not only would Pat pay me for a job well done, but would often treat me to a movie too. Pat has always been a real movie buff. He would always let me pick the movie I wanted to see. I remember looking up at the posters behind the glass and chose PLANET OF THE APES. Pat was nice and didn't try to persuade me to watch something else. Like a grown-up would tolerate taking a child in to see the latest High School Musical movie - he was a real trooper. Poor Pat. Down through the decades he still asks me if I remembered going to that dreadful movie with the people dressed up as apes. He really loathed that movie and would bring it up down through the years. I thought the whole movie was fascinating as a kid. I've watched it many times since. It still holds up.
I remember my old friend Jim Thompson telling me that when he was attending Georgia Tech back in the seventies that the school had nights where they'd have marathons of all the Planet of the Apes movies. Jim was a big fan. If you think back, Planet of the Apes and 2001 A Space Odyssey both came out in 1968. They were both ground breaking movies of the day. Both movies were put into the shadow in 1977 when Star Wars came out. Star Wars set the new standard for special effects movies.
I remember kids carrying around Planet of the Apes lunch boxes and there was even a Planet of the Apes television series, animated series and comic books. Boy they squeezed that banana for all it was worth. Yes - I'll say it - everybody went ape over that movie. Every one of course except for my uncle Pat (and he's the one that paid for the ticket).
The franchise kept churning out movies. The original movie concept was drafted by non other than Rod Serling. I liked the third movie Escape From Planet of The Apes as much as I enjoyed the first movie. Even as a kid I didn't care for all the following sequels. The sequels just kept going downhill. The fifth and last installment, Battle for Planet of the Apes, was laughable because they didn't have the budget to pull it off. The grande finale looked like a bunch of guys playing army in a cow field.
Here's to Planet of the Apes. A movie that didn't make it on the list of the greatest movies ever made, yet deserves a little praise for it's contribution to motion picture history. I can't think of that movie without thinking of my sweet uncle who took me to go see it. Thanks Pat!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As most of you know, Lee Van Cleef played a bad guy in Cooper's High Noon. Gary Cooper and Cleef go back a long ways. I've decorated the dining room to look like an old Western saloon. All the dead cowboys said they'd show up to smoke a cigar and give a toast to the guest of honor. I guess everyone will be talking about cowboy movies that night. It's no coat & tie affair - just wear some comfortable duds. I've invited all of my guest to bring their sidearms. We're going to do some target practicing off the back porch before the sun goes down. Walter insisted that he'll do all the cooking on the grill. Randolf insisted on bringing the steaks. Roy Rogers called and invited himself - said he was going to bring his guitar and give us some cowboy music by the fire. I expect the party will run late into the night.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This is a classic moment from the old Carol Burnett Show. Tim Conway is a funny guy - but he really shinned on the Burnett show. Tim was known for going off script and ad-libbing his way out of a skit. The cast never knew where he was going to go when the curtain went up. This clip is TIm Conway at his best. He's making it up as he goes.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Brook had seen this movie before I did. I guess he wanted to share the experience with someone - so he took his little brother down to the Pitman Theater to watch it again. He excited me prior to going and on the way down there by recounting scenes from the movie. Back in the day, the Pitman theater would bring popular movies back to show over and over again. Ten Commandments and Gone With The Wind were two of the movies that I remember returning annually to the big screen. It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was a movie that the Pitman would often resurrect. I guess Brook took me to see the movie in 68 or 69. I think I was ten or eleven years old at the time.
It was a long movie. Stanley Kramer cut the movie down from his five hours running time to 192 minutes for the premiere release. Unknown to Kramer - United Artist studio execs hacked the film down to 162 minutes in order to get more showings within a day. Some of the footage has been found but much was lost. Most of the found footage has been added but not all of the found footage has been properly restored. There are several versions and lengths out there.
Stanley Kramer before his death approved of the production of a sequel to his original. Sid Caesar and Johnathan Winter's have been rumored to make an appearance. The basic concept of the new movie is that the original fortune found and lost was counterfeit. Who knows if this is going to be good or not. There are not that many great comedies out there today - most are disappointing. Not many remakes of original classic are worth the ticket. I know - I will probably go and see it nevertheless.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Peter Lorre almost always played the sad eyed villain from forties until has death in 1964 at the age of 59 years old. We loved watching him in film noir playing sinister characters. The years before his death - we enjoyed his low budget horror flicks at the drive-in produced by Roger Corman. Lorre is so much fun to watch.
I will say this. There was never a doubt in my mind that the guy was a sweet fellow. Peter Lorre, like Moe Howard, is a man that I would have liked to have met and had a conversation with. This short Youtube clip reflects a little of the kind of guy Peter Lorre was like in real life. He played the creepiest bad men - but boy wouldn't it have been great to have had met him.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
I remember back in the early seventies there was A LOT of talk about Armageddon and the second coming. It seemed that everyone was reading a book called 666 by Salem Kirban. Larry Norman had a song out by that same name. We at F.R.E.E. House were all having fun jumping up in the air in unison at any given moment that we called RAPTURE PRACTICE. Remember that one?
I guess I was about twelve or thirteen at the time. I remember a group of us was walking along the sidewalk toward El Burritos. Emory Boggs and my sister Irene were walking a little in front of me and Brook was walking with Beth Lane and Christy Hardy behind me. I think that's right -I hope I can tell this right. Anyway, one minute I am surrounded by young Christians and the next moment wasn't. After all that talk about rapture, the anit-christ - all of a sudden in a twinkling of an eye - I WAS LEFT BEHIND!
I was right behind Emory and Irene when they walked into to El Burritos. The big engraved wood door did have time to close before I got to it - but I wasn't that far behind them. When I opened the door - Emory and Irene were no where to be seen. I then walked back outside and couldn't see Brook, Beth, or Cristy anywhere. They were right behind me I tell you. I stepped on out from the entrance of the restaurant and stood out on the sidewalk. There was no one there. No body - no voices - I was El Burrito ALONE - all was quiet. It was a frightening moment for me. Apparently I wasn't the Christian that I thought I had been. I was momentarily terrorized.
All of a sudden, Emory walked out the front door and asked where everybody was. Whew! Emory's immediate appearance was living proof that rapture had not taken place. Brook, Beth, and Cristy came from out from the glass entryway of a nearby store. Something had caught their eyes and they stepped off the sidewalk. I found out later that both Emory and Irene had to go to the bathroom real bad and had dashed to the restrooms as soon as they went inside.
Well - that explained that. Even though there was a logical reason for every one's momentary rapture - my little heart was beating like a rabbit for quite some time. It might seem humorous looking back - but it was terrifying to live through.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The closest franchise in the 60's and 70's was in the Birmingham Roebuck area. Shakeys Pizza Parlor was another reason to drive down to Birmingham, AL. I went very few times but many young men drove their dates from Gadsden to eat at Shakeys. I remember my older sister Jennie bringing me a styrofoam faux straw hat from a date to the Birmingham Shakeys.
I loved Shakeys because they showed old silent movies on a screen while you ate your pizza. The room was filled with the sound of a player-piano in the corner set on auto-pilot. It was a very lively environment. Did you know that Shakey Johnson used to play piano for his patrons in his old Sacramento location? I found some interesting tidbits of info at Wikipedia. I had no idea until I was Googling for a Shakeys image to post that the franchise was still going. It's been well over twenty years since Shakeys left the Birmingham area.
I remember the Shakeys in Macon, GA. My Uncle Pat lived in Macon for years. Dad, Mom, and I would got to Shakeys every now and then (at my request) when visiting Pat. A strange thing happened while at the Macon Shakeys. We were all sitting around a table when we were approached by Randy Bradford. Randy is one of Ray & Doris Bradford's sons. The Bradfords live East Gadsden. Ray and Doris were good friends of my parents. Randy just happened to be sitting at the table with a group of friends, when we sat down. I guess this happened about thirty years ago.
There are only two Shakeys parlors this side of the Mississippi River. There's the one in Auburn, AL and one in Warner Robbin, GA (not far from Macon). If I'm ever in either neighborhood, I'll be sure to stop by for a slice.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Long before Gadsden got her own shopping mall - people would drive down to Birmingham to the Eastwood Mall. Click on the link to go to a website with lots of images. Gadsden residents (67 miles north of B'ham) began regular trips down to Birmingham to shop. Built in 1960 adjacent to the Starlite Drive-In was touted as the South's largest mall. It was larger than any mall that was in Atlanta, GA. Newman H. Waters, who owned a chain of drive-ins including the Starlite, was the developer and owner of the Eastwood Mall venture.
One of my earliest ventures to Eastwood Mall was with my parents back in 1969. It was an odd coincidence that the Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin's movie Paint Your Wagon opened that week I went there. My 10 year old mind was wondering if it were Clint Eastwood's mall. As part of the theater's campaign, they had a wagon with Paint Your Wagon painted on the covering of the wagon. We didn't go to the movie, but I remember a lot of people there. In the mid-seventies - the theater premiered STAY HUNGRY which was filmed in Birmingham and co-starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold was present for the show's opening but he went pretty much unrecognized by the movie goers.
The mall brought all kinds of businesses along that long strip of US 78. If you were going to spend the day down in Birmingham, chance were you'd be heading down toward Eastgate. Malls are everywhere now - but Eastwood Mall was my first mall experience. It was pretty mega for it's day. The mega-malls that came along later dwarf the old Eastwood, but Eastwood was THE PLACE to shop for many years Any time I passed the place over the past few decades, I would think of it's former glory. It had seen it's better day and was leveled a few years ago. I ran across the site I linked to and brought back some old memories.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Hello fellow citizens. Do you remember the days when you watched those ancient educational films in school? When I was a kid - we watched plenty of them. And say - do you remember when capitalism was a good thing? That's right - capitalism - that evil and greedy free enterprise way of life. Why capitalism used to be even taught as a good thing. We've come a long way since then baby.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Most of the movies we saw as a family when I was a kid were at Rainbow Drive-In. One of the most vivid memories of Rainbow Drive-In was when the family went to see Disney's THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961). This movie was in black and white and still looked incredible to see the Flubber Mobile seemingly fly around over the cars against the night sky of Etowah County. I believe we went to this movie during a 1963 reissue. I think we saw it as a double feature - with SON OF FLUBBER (1963). This movie also starred Fred MacMurray, and was Disney at it's best - very funny.
I don't recall dad and mom ever taking us to The Rebel. I went to The Rebel more in my teen years with Brooky and Jamey Moore. We'd see all the Spaghetti Westerns, Hammer & American International horror films there.
I've always have enjoyed the drive-in. I can recall a bunch of times growing up when dad or mom would ask me what I wanted for my birthday and I would say, "I want to go to the drive-in." The last movie that my parents ever took me to see at the drive-in was at the Rainbow. George C. Scott was filling the boots of George S. Patton. Man that old general sure could cuss up a storm. I was really surprised that dad let me watch the whole movie without leaving early. I think PATTON (1970) was a movie that not even dad wanted to leave - cussing or not. Mother said that dad enjoyed that movie.
I look forward to going to the drive-in real soon. We've had some perfect nights for it. Often I'll take a buddy (Jose") - sometimes a bunch of friends. My girls love the drive-ins as much as I do. We've got to be on the look out for some family oriented double features. Every now and then, when I don't have a friend and yet still have a hankering - I'll go at it alone. I drove out to the Centre Drive-In last Spring in my VW and sat out there in on a brisk night. Being home-bound this past week has really got me wanting to drive up to Sand Mountain or Centre and enjoy a show under the stars.
By the way, I ran across this Rainbow Drive-In handbill (as seen above) about ten years ago. The movies date back to 1968 and 1969. I didn't go to any of these movies, but I like the way theaters used print to promote coming attractions. This is the inside and outside of the handbill. It folds in the middle - you should be able to tell which side is the front. It's an interesting piece of local memorabilia. Though I probably saw more movies at the old Rebel Drive-In, the Rainbow Drive-In was the nicer establishment.
Bobby Scarboro's Collection (now at Gadsden Public Library) has many images of the Rainbow. One of my favorites images is that of Sunday morning services at the drive-in there. It's really humorous. You'd just pull up in your car and hook the speaker to your car. Vwa-lah - instant service. I kiddeth thee not.
Maybe dad picked it up while in the lobby of the Ritz when we were entering to see How The West Was Won. I believe the reason dad kept this hand bill was because he liked to keep graphic samples of design that appealed to him. It was after all it was a hobby of dads to lay out brochures for friend's business ventures as well as to design logos for businesses that he helped incorporate.
It was his enjoyment of graphic design that initially drew me into that direction. Dad was an attorney but had a good eye and interest in graphic design. His older brother Wofford Finlayson was a successful freelance artist in Columbia, SC. Perhaps dad was influenced by his older brother's profession. I would often help dad as a youngster - by helping him to hold a ruler or help him with the rubber cement. I believe that dad kept this hand bill because he liked what he saw. I too have done this down through the years. I find a brochure that I like and keep it for reference. I don't do it as much as I used to - but I do occasionally keep a piece that attract my eye.
I didn't see Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation until about ten years ago, when it was aired on a cable channel. I like Jimmy Stewart and have always had this thing for Maureen O'hara (since The Quiet Man). I'll watch just about any Jimmy Stewart movie that is showing - good or mediocre. I just like Jimmy. At the time this movie came out, he was doing mostly westerns. This particular movie, Mr. Hobbs, was actually pretty successful. Wikipedia states that Mr. Hobbs inspired several other light-comedies for Jimmy the following years. He won two Golden Globes for Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation. Again, this to me isn't what I consider a great Jimmy Stewart movie. I kept hold of the hand bill because of the cool illustration and what makes it special is that it is an advertisement for the old Ritz theatre.
This blog post has no real purpose other than to share the Ritz hand bill with you. I've got another little hand bill I'll share with you next time.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I've seen the movie many times down through the years. It sure seems like a pretty tame western. Then again - as I grew up I was exposed to the likes of Sergio Leone and Sam Pechenpah. Westerns got pretty gory as the sixties played out.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I just got an email from Mair Humphries with the following text. It seems a appropriate that I post it here at Boomerville, USA.
I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20.00.
Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2,000.00 will only buy a used one.
If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. 25 cents a pack is ridiculous..
Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 10 cents just to mail a letter.
If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage.
I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it.
Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the President.
I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.
It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.
It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.
I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.
There is no sense going on short trips anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel.
No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $35.00 a day in the hospital, it's too rich for my blood.
If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it.
Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Andy Griffith left Mayberry in 1969 to pursue a three movie deal with Universal Pictures. His first project was this move - Angel In My Pocket. The movie was a comedy that didn't do so well at the box office (for obvious reasons). Andy Griffith wasn't happy with this production either. That's why he backed out of the deal with Universal and didn't do the other two films.
I remember the family going to this movie when it came out. Dad and Mom loaded the station-wagon with the all six Finlayson kids and we hit a drive-in. Most of the movies we went to see as a family were at the Rainbow Drive-in on Rainbow Drive. I recall only one movie that the entire family went into a theater. It's cheaper to entertain a carload of Finlaysons rather than a row load of Finlaysons. I remember enjoying the movie as a kid - but recall it was odd seeing Andy as a preacher and not a sheriff.
Even though this movie was a disappointment to Andy Griffith - it would have been nice to see him star in other rolls during that post-Mayberry period. Who doesn't like ol' Andy?
This kind of movie is typical of the kind of family entertainment coming out of Hollywood during the 60's. The movies I recall that were "family" oriented were mild comedies at best.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I saw Follow Me Boys when I was eight years old and it made me want to join the Boy Scouts. I eventually did. I remember one jamboree when I saw the film a second time outside against a sheet. I have always been a singer - even as a kid. As corny as that song Follow Me Boys is - I remember singing it on hikes when I was a Tenderfoot. Did you know that after the movie came out - the Boy Scouts came very close to adopting the song Follow Me Boys as their anthem? I wonder how many kids during that day were influenced to join the scouts by that movie? I wonder how many grown men volunteered their time to scouting because of that movie?
Follow Me Boys was made back when Walt Disney produced Americana on a daily basis. This is the first of ten Disney movies that featured Kurt Russel. It's the only movie I recall ever seeing that focused on the Boy Scouts. Seeing this movie again reminded me of the works Frank Capra and Norman Rockwell. Both artist dealt with an ideals of America and not necessarily realistic. Their work however did encourage the better angels of our nature. As idealistic as this movie might be - it manages to lead me down some very familiar trails of my youth.
Before watching the movie yesterday, I was wondering if I'd be disappointed by it. The plot is predictable. The characters are stereotypical and right out of a Rockwell painting. I rediscovered that I am still an old sap when it comes to this movie. This fifty year old boy was still touched. I'm sure there are plenty of people that would watch it and laugh - but I have to say - it still to this day makes me want to go and join the Boy Scouts.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I don't remember the model, but my dad used to have one of these station-wagons. It was powder blue. There were no min-vans back then. Dad and mom used to haul their six kids around in station-wagons. We later owned a wood-paneled Kingswood Estate.
It was the vacations that I remember the most. Those trips crowded with singing siblings and no air conditioning. (Visit Boomerville blog 12/24/08 at http://boomervilleusa.blogspot.com/2008/12/columbiaand-other-trips-in-my-mind.html)
We owned at least three different station-wagons. The Ford is the one that stands out the most.