Thursday, July 30, 2009

12th Street & Meighan

There is no image for this post. For this particular one, there is no need. Years after the Merita Bread plant closed - it's doors chained and rusted - I would still get a wift of that aroma. I can't explain it. Perhaps ghosts of previous employees were still baking bread in there.

I am sure my senses were being tricked after all those years, rolling down my window every day I drove by that place to breath deep that heavenly aroma of thousands of loaves of bread being baked. I can not describe that incredible warm aroma that would fill ones nostrils and soul. The intersection at 12th and Meighan has always been a busy one. No one likes being stopped at a stop light, but this particular light, allowed the traveler to enjoy a few minutes of bliss. Here one couldn't help but breath deep and sigh.

The old white building was demolished years ago and there in it's place is a car lot. Unfortunately my mind no longer plays it's tricks on me. The ghost aroma from the old factory no longer haunts my olfactory.

Monday, July 27, 2009

the lighter side of military

Television also offered military comedies such as Hogan's Heroes, McHale's Navy, Gomer Pyle USMC, Sgt. Bilko (aka: The Phil Silver's Show). I am sure I'm leaving one or two out.

I loved McHale's Navy as a kid because I always had a love for PT Boats. I also enjoyed the play between Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway.

Hogan's Heroes was a show that dad and I would watch together. Hogan's Heroes had an excellent cast and was pretty formulaic. There is a movie Stalag 17, that Hogan's Heroes was based. Stalag 17 though wasn't a comedy, but had it's humorous moments. The writers of the book Stalag 17 actually sued and won a settlement against the network CBS for infringement.

An interesting note, Werner Klemperer who played Colonel Klink was a wartime refugee. His family was Jewish and had to escaped Nazi Germany in 1935. When offered the role in Hogan's Heroes, Klempere agreed to play the part so long as his character portrayed someone that was an absolute fool that could never succeed at anything. The part was his.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garrison's Gorrilas (1967-68) replaced Combat! - but was MIA after the first season. I just learned that the pilot episode of this show was actually used as a Combat! episode. ABC took the scenario of the movie The Dirty Dozen and released prisoners into combat. This show had more of the feel of Mission Impossible instead.

Garrison's Gorrilas had the same gunfire and background music as Combat!. So it's a little strange watching different characters act in the Combat! environment. You can tell that the producers were getting kind of lax with the WWII era wardrobe, hair styles, and makeup. The women were not dressed to adorned to fit the era. Garrison's Gorillas gives the impression that WWII was fought during the 1960's. I half expected The Monkees to get up and start playing I'm A Believer during the meeting in this sequence. The show only ran a season and was replaced by The Mod Squad.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rat Patrol

The opening credits of this show is the reason I love old Willys jeeps. The Rat Patrol (1966-68) was a fun great ride. Seeing those jeeps fly over dunes with guns blazing each week was always something to look forward to. The English audiences took some offense to this show seeing how the Americans fought in Africa for six months, while the British had already been sweating it out over there for two years. There were four Rats on those Jeeps, three Americans and one Brit. The name Rat Patrol refers to the nicknames given to some of the British Commonwealth forces in the North African campaign - Rats of Tobruk / Desert Rats. The show was pulled from television in England because of the casts American dominance. This didn't seem to bother us kids here in good ol' U.S. of A. We all enjoyed sitting around watching this show smoking our Camels.

Friday, July 24, 2009

12 O'clock High

12 O'clock High (1964-67) was yet another one of those WWII wartime drama that dominated the airwaves during the sixties. The show was based on the movie of the same name. Though the character names were the same, the television series had a completely different feel to it. I can't really compare the two.

The first season remains my favorite, because of Robert Lansing. Lansing's role as Brigadier General Frank Savage, commander of the 918th Bomb Group. Lansing's character had a rough edge, and commandeering presence. To the surprise of little boys everywhere, General Savage was killed off the first few seconds of the first show of the second season. You didn't even see him get it. There was just a body slumped over the controls during a bomb run. It wasn't by Nazi flack or Nazi bullet that did him in - but because studio executives wanted a younger looking lead for the show. Paul Burke replaced Robert Lansing, but get this, Lansing was two years younger than Burke. Burke was prettier than Lansing. I read where studio execs wanted to attract more females to the war watching so they hired on Paul Burke. I also read where Quinn Martin said that Lansing was difficult to work with and that's what got him killed. I missed Lansing nevertheless.

Some of the shows from the second season were pretty good - but that first season, that Savage season is memorable. The series soon went to living color and thus the stock war footage (which was relied upon heavily) had to be colorized. It looked kind of cheesy. I guess there was only so much WWII B-17 footage available at the time, because you saw the same footage from episode to episode. One got very familiar with each stock clip.

I've got a lot of these shows of VHS. One day I'd like all three seasons on DVD. Even though many of these shows are formulaic, they are still very enjoyable to watch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've got the complete five seasons of Combat! (1962-1967) on DVD. Seeing how I watched these shows as a little kid - I didn't know if they were going to be as good as I remembered. I wasn't disappointed. This series is one of my all time favorite television shows. What kid growing up in the early sixties didn't pretend he was Sgt. Chip Saunders on recon in his neighborhood?

Of course it wasn't but a few years later that those baby-boomer kids were doing the real thing in Vietnam.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Gallant Men

The Gallant Men (1962-63) was another television series about WWII. The show failed largely because it couldn't compete with another like show COMBAT!. I really don't remember much about it, seeing how I was so young at the time and that The Gallant Men only survived a season on air. It is nice to find a sampling of these shows on YouTube. The theme song, intro, and outro are the only things about this show that I do recall. Both Combat! and The Gallant Men were products of ABC. The Gallant Men aired on Friday nights and Combat! on Tuesday nights. From what I've read online - The Gallant Men turned out to be a little too mellow dramatic - what I'd call a soap opera with machine guns. Combat! won out - but I'd still like to see what these shows were like myself. Even if it is like a soap opera, I'd like to see them. I'd probably take an interest in soap operas if someone lobbed a grenade in the plot every now and then

Monday, July 20, 2009

space race and a shake

Who knew that back in 1967 that Jacks Hamburgers had a space program. At least a franchise in Birmingham, Alabama did. That's right, here's visual 8mm poof of a team of young astronauts climbing out of a ship in front of the press. Cuzin' Cliff himself was there to cover the news. I never knew what happened to those brave young boys that Jacks that helped to slip the surly bonds of earth. Where ever star they did reach - I am sure they were stocked with plenty of fifteen cent hamburgers and french fries.

This video is silent, so don't bother trying to turn up the volume. I don't think Jacks had audio back then - maybe that's why we never heard from the crew after takeoff. Jack's probably decided to let the big boys at NASA compete in the space race and Jacks - well - stick to flipping burgers.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

father knows best

yesterday wasn't as innocent as we think back on it.
it was though more innocent than it is today
hollywood has always known how to produce sweet deceptions
like reality tv today
isn't and wasn't real
this was not the way it was
this was tv land
the streets where beaver, bud and opie played
candy coated perfectionary
served up every night and right on time
a time when a father always knew best
my father wasn't perfect
didn't always know best
but did the best that he could
i want to be like that
i want to be the best for my family
i want to love like that tv father loved his tv children
even better
like my father loved me

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

real men know...

Everyone smoked back in the day - teachers, barbers, babysitters, policemen, preachers, housewives, firemen, doctors, lawyers, athletes, and movie stars. Everyone smoked. Even the President enjoyed a good fag. Butts were everywhere. Our world was one large smoking section. Everywhere was our ashtray. There was no ado about second hand smoke. No one knew that it could really kill until that Yul Brynner commercial. "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke, whatever you do, just don't smoke." Then our favorite cigarette smoking star John Wayne made his farewell address. The smoke seemed to clear for a while. The airwaves cleared of dancing cartoons hawking smokes. No more manly men riding the range smoking manly cigarettes like real men should. Smoking was glamorous - smoking was kool.

This post is brought to you by the American Tobacco Company. The Surgeon General says that cigarettes cause cancer - but we would like to remind you of the wonderfully refreshing clean, clear, crisp taste a cigarette offers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Jack Benny was a household name when I was a kid. Jack went from vaudeville to radio to television. He even made some movies in between. I remember him for his television show that aired in the 50's and 60's.

Jack actually started out as a violinist - and was quite good. The Marx Brothers at one time wanted to use Jack to play violin for their act. Minnie Marx really adored Jack and wanted to take him on the road with her sons. Unfortunately Benny's parents didn't want their 17 year old son traveling in a vaudeville act. It was during that time that Zeppo Marx befriended Jack. They became life long friends.

Jack really wanted a career as musician - but fate wouldn't have it that way. While entertaining during WWII, he was booed by the troops. To keep from surrendering the stage - he put aside his violin and ad-libed a comedy routine. He found his calling - Jack was a natural. He once said that he never really pursued his career - he was fortunate that every fortune just happened to him.

After a long successful career - he told Johnny Carson that "if God came to me and said, 'Jack, starting tomorrow I will make you one of the world's great violinists, but no more will you ever be able to tell a joke', I really believe that I would accept that."

Jack had incredible comic timing and still to this day fun to watch. I love the whole cast of the old television show. I've got a collection of his shows on DVD - and I've been enjoying them this past week. This isn't the funniest episode of his show, but it's great to see Bing Crosby and George Burns in this episode.

Some of these episodes are can be viewed on YouTube. If you happened to watch a few more - look for Mel Blanc. You'll remember Mel as the voice of all those classic Warner Brother cartoon characters. Mel was a regular on the Jack Benny Show. Good stuff!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the passionate one

Keith Green (1953-1982) was John the Baptist with a piano. He was the passionate one. He was the most influential artist to come out of the Jesus Movement, not just because of his songs, but because of his life. Keith was probably the most well-known of the Jesus Music artists (I really don't like the term Contemporary Christian Music). While many artist were trying to make it big in the CCM industry, Keith was giving his albums away for The Kingdom. Keith was a voice in the wilderness - Keith wasn't pursuing a status of stardom - Keith was singing to increase population of heaven. To me, Keith Green represents what Jesus Music was all about - not what it became.

Make my life a prayer to You,

I want to do what you want me to,

No empty words and no white lies,

No token prayers, no compromise,

I want to shine the light you gave,

Through Your Son, you sent to save us,

From ourselves and our despair,

It comforts me to know you're really there.

Oh, I want to thank you now, for being patient with me,

Oh, it's so hard to see, when my eyes are on me,

I guess I'll have to trust and just believe what you say,

Oh, you're coming again, coming to take me away,

I want to die, and let you give,

Your life to me, so I might live,

And share the hope you gave to me,

The love that set me free,

I want to tell the world out there,

You're not some fable or fairy tail,

That I made up inside my head,

You're God, The Son, you've risen from the dead.

Oh, I want to thank you now,

For being patient with me,

Oh, it's so hard to see,

When my eyes are on me,

I guess I'll have to trust,

and just believe what you say,

Oh, you're coming again,

Coming to take me away.

I want to die, and let you give,

Your life to me, so I might give,

And share the hope you gave to me,

I want to share the love that set me free.

-Keith Green-

Saturday, July 11, 2009

artist's artist

Mark Heard (1951-1992) was the probably the most creative and prolific of all the artists to come out of the Jesus Movement. Born in Macon, Georgia - Mark became an artist's artist. He played many styles, and wrote so many incredible songs.  He produced 16 albums in his short lifetime.   As the Jesus Movement came and went - CCM seemed to offer so little in the field of unique.  Mark Heard is one of the exceptions. There is little on YouTube of his work - at least - not enough quality recordings to do his music justice.


When the weight of this world crashes down on you

God will listen to you
When the sky turns black and your thoughts turn blue
He will listen to you
He will listen to you
Always listen to you
He understands how His children feel
He will listen to you
When the river of tears cannot be contained
He will listen to you
Like a drowning man in the pouring rain
God will listen to you
He will listen to you
Always listen to you
He understands how His children feel
He will listen to you
When the light explodes in a world gone wrong
He will listen to you
When your heart beats strong with a grateful song
God will listen to you
He will listen to you
Always listen to you
He understands how His children feel
He will listen to you

from "Eye of the Storm"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

perhaps lingering too long on Norman

"The light of hope, however, that lifts my spirit is the knowledge that Larry's profound contribution to the work of God's Kingdom is eternal and that his struggles with his own demons is over."
-Randy Stonehill
February 25, 2008

The past few posts have been on Larry Norman.
I've had Larry on my mind this week for some strange reason. I haven't had time to dig up his CD's and listen to them. A movie was released a few months ago about the man - Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman. I doubt if it will ever play in my neck of the woods, but maybe it'll end up online one of these days. Fallen Angel is produced by the same people that recently made the one about Lonnie Frisbee. Frisbee's story has been compared to that of Samson - and Norman to King David. Both movies tell the stories of two very flawed leaders of the Jesus Movement. I have such mixed feelings about these talented men who allowed themselves to be bested by their personal demons. Norman broke Stonehill's heart with his indiscretions - causing a divide between their friendships.

Stonehill did the soundtrack for the movie, and was also interviewed in it. The trailer can be seen on youtube. I don't know what good such a movie does. Does the producer of this film revel in these Christian's failures? Maybe we need to see these lives honestly, not just what we want to see or remember.

I respect Norman's talent and his great contribution to the Jesus Movement. What do you do with evangelists that fall from grace amid the whole world watching? It's all so bittersweet. Frisbee died of AIDS and Norman's heart eventually gave way. The enemy so wants to take out those servants with such great influence. It's heartbreaking. We can not truly serve God and think we can cohabitate with our sins. We truly need to always be pursuing holiness unto the Lord. Yes, there is grace and forgiveness - but our sin - will always taint our offering. God be on all saints living. Keep us true to your calling. Keep us close and help us keep close to you. I don't want to miss your mark with my meager offering.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2004 interview

Norman gives a great interview. There's a lot of background noise, but his voice is very clear. Good stuff.

a small circle of friends

I'd never heard nor seen this version of Norman's 'Song For A Small Circle of Friends'. Here Norman really delivers a lot more than lyric in this lighthearted love song for his friends. I really like this version because its playfulness. I've never seen Larry Norman in concert. This video gives me a closer look at the man I've only known through vinyl recordings all these years. The version of 'Song For A Small Circle of Friends' that I am acquainted with was from his 'Bootleg' LP release in 1972. The lyrics are slightly altered, but the names were not changed to protect the innocent. If you love Norman - you'll appreciate this.

Monday, July 6, 2009

forced to sing good news

My pastor, Jim Bentley, unintentionally unleashed an old repressed memory of mine. It wasn't a painful memory - just a crappy experience I had as a young teenager. Jim had mentioned Ralph Carmichael's 'Good News' during the service yesterday. His youth group sang it back in the late sixtiesThe kids at Bellevue United Methodist Church sang it in the mid-seventies.

Our choir director/youth pastor was all about pulling the kids together and hitting the road. My mother talked me into by using Brooky as bait. She said that I would like being part of this because Brook was going to be playing guitar with the youth choir. Everyone would go on a tour and sing - then all go to Disney World afterward. Now, like any red blooded American kid, I liked the idea of Disney World. The reason I signed on was because Brooky was going to be going too. No way did I like the idea of having all my Sunday nights taken up with choir practice. Brook was there for some of the practices, but pulled out of the choir just prior to the purchase of the choir's matching polyester outfits.

Talk about adding insult to injury. The outfits were not only tacky, but terribly uncomfortable. White and cobalt blue checkered pants, purchased from Owens Men's Wear in East Gadsden. The pants felt like you were wearing Slinky's on each leg. Touring around in those blue pants in the middle of Summer made me aware of every drop of sweat beading out of my poor body. The inseam of at polyester nightmare wore a kid's crotch raw. I wanted to pull out like Brook did, but it was too late. The outfits were already purchased and I HAD TO GO.

We drove all around the pan-handle of Florida singing at various Methodist churches in that yellow non-air conditioned school bus that had been painted up to look like the Partridge Family 's bus. It was a miserable trip. Sing somewhere and then get back into that yellow cattle car and drive and drive down that road in that damn child broiler. Hours upon hours in that insufferable heat with no way to sleep in those upright school bus seats. I remember stretching out beneath the bench seats on the rubber mat that was the flooring. The vibration kept the naps from being very long.

The only upside to that trip was losing 25 pounds of weight in the two weeks during that trip. With the heat and the loss of appetite for fast food at virtually every stop.  By the last shows on the trip, I was bowing out. I was sick of the outfits, sick of the music, sick of the cheesy Christian faux joy. SICK I TELL YOU! I can still hear the music in my head all those long decades afterward. I swore off musicals and choirs after that venture. I wasn't going to get lured into one again.

Well...a few years later my sister and brother in-law were over the Central United Methodist youth. I wasn't going to get in their musical, 'Naphtali' by John Fisher. Like an idiot, I let Jennie persuade me to 'help them' with this musical. Well, shame on me, it was truly the last time I was suckered into a choir/musical.

Never again.

time to run

Time To Run (1973) was a movie put out by World Wide Pictures. For it's day, it was a well made Christian film. Most movies of that era were cheesy flicks which were watched only by captive audiences at youth lock-ins. Time To Run was a big deal. Heck, it was the first Christian propaganda film that I ever remember seeing at a movie theater. It was the first film that I recall that you'd have an alter call at the end of the movie. I kid you not. Sodas, Brown Cows, hot buttered popcorn, and a born again experience. People went to see this movie in droves and people went down to the front when Billy Graham gave an invitation. Clergy and youth directors from all over the country were asked to take part in this great celluloid soul harvest.

I really don't recall much about this movie other than the guy was on the run from God. The movie ended when God finally caught up with the running man and everybody get's saved in the end...including the audience. I remember enjoying the soundtrack. It was Time To Run that I first remember hearing Randy Stonehill. He sang 'I Love You' (from Stonehill's BORN TWICE LP) in which his pal Larry Norman later covered in IN ANOTHER LAND. Stonehill also sang a song called 'Gone Away' which I would love to hear again today.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

leaving earth's atmosphere

Everyone has been talking about dead people this past week. Karl left today. His death wasn't a surprise like Michael Jackson. Last week when I heard that Ed and Farrah had died...I was wondering who was going to be next. You always hear that celebrities die in threes. Karl's passing makes four. Who's next? The Reaper isn't in California for the sun. Stars are falling. As a Christian I offer up a prayer for each one of their souls - and for their families as well. I hope they found Jesus before they met Him face to face.

Celebrities are mortal too. They get sick, age, and die like you and I. There's no face lift, implant, New Age belief, or vitamin that will stop death. We are all terminal. Our days are all numbered. Earth is just our launching pad for the rest of our eternal selves.

I'd like to take this post and ask my fellow citizens of Boomerville, USA if you are right with God. Are you where you need to be spiritually? Is there someone you need to make amends to - forgive or ask for forgiveness? Is there something you need to do this day that you've put off doing toward The Kingdom? You might not have tomorrow. You might not have the rest of this day. Are you where you need to be - if not - what do you need to do to get there?

I have a suggestion. Just do it. Surrender if you need to surrender. Swallow pride if you need to humble yourself. Step out on faith in spite of any fear that might be holding you back. If you don't know what to do - simply ask for help. Let's seize this short time that we are given and find ways to glorify God with our numbered days. There are no easy streets here on Earth. Let's set our hearts and minds toward pursuing God no matter what the cost.

Yours Truly,
David Finlayson

Mayor of Boomerville, USA

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I'll go ahead and post another Moody Blues song since Brook mentioned it in the last comment. 'Question". I was listening to a lot of The Who back then - because Brook had a collection of The Who behind the couch. The area behind the couch in the living room concealed the turntable, of LPs, guitars, amps, etc. It was a messy but nice place...but I digress.

The sound Question is distinctively Moody Blues - but I can't help but think of The Who when listening to it. Could you image Pete Townshend playing guitar part in Question? Could you also image Roger Daltrey singing this song? I always could. You can almost take this song and plop it into the rock-opera 'Tommy'. Question, I guess, because of it's rushing acoustic charge, links my mind to The Who's Overture.

You guys know me - sometimes my mind makes unusual associations. This one, I don't think is that strange.