Friday Photo Flashback

Its time for another edition of my Friday Photo Flashback. I stumbled upon a photo that brought back many memories making me happy and sad at the same time. Take a peak:

If I was going to put a date on this, it is probably around 1996 or 1997. It looks like it was taken at a home I lived in with my then girlfriend and future ex. It is a terrible picture of me, as I am obviously caught by surprise here. I still have hair and am still wearing glasses. I’m also sporting one of the T-shirts I had made for my DJ business. But it is not me (or the big honking computer monitor) that catches my attention – it is the stuff I can see in the background.

A lot of it I can make out just by looking at it. However, I viewed it by zooming in and a lot caught my attention. The bookshelves alone are full of fantastic memories! The book shelf on the left side of the picture holds a boat load of VHS tapes. On the top shelf I can make out some Soupy Sales Show videos and some videos we must have recorded off TV (hand made lables). On the shelf below that I can make out the VHS tapes of the Three Stooges shorts, Jack Webb’s Dragnet movie, and the Jack Palance version of Dracula. Each shelf would hold two rows of VHS tapes. So I can only see the front rows of what is on the shelf. It seems like the third shelf down is also holding video tapes, but the three hole punch on top of the computer monitor is blocking it.

This photo is obviously taken after 1994. That is when Honey Radio went off the air. Honey stuff is all over this room! Right above the three hole punch, you can make out a black and gold Honey Radio coffee mug. On the top shelf of the right book case, I can see the the Billboard Top 100 Chart book and Pop Singles book. These were part of the Honey on air studio. Behind me on the wall is a chalk caricature that was drawn of me while I was out doing a remote broadcast. I LOVED that thing, and it is long gone now. (This may be the only photographic evidence of it). Next to that is a wooden sign with the Honey Logo on it. Below that sign are two frames. One contains one of the last Honey Happenings newsletters (which has my picture in it) and the other is a shot of me and my old morning show partner.

On the wall behind me in the photo is a beautiful framed photo of the Three Stooges. I received that for Christmas one year from my parents. Under that is the top of a Blues Brothers concert poster. At one point, I used that when my partner Steve and I would don our Blues Brothers hats when we DJ’d. And right below that are the Three Stooges dolls I wrote about in a previous Friday Photo Flashback. You can see the tag on the Curly just behind my ear.

Heading back to the bookshelves. The bookshelf on the right has SO many books that I wish I still had. There is a book on Bugs Bunny, a book on World War II that I had given my grandpa, a few books with Three Stooges scripts, an amazing biography on Curly, and the wonderful Ted Sennett book on the Art of Hanna Barbera.

On the second shelf, I can make out the Milton Berle Joke books I used when I was on the radio, biographies on Stan Freberg and Jackie Gleason, and books I had forgotten about. One example of this is when Thomas Chastain offered up a new Perry Mason novel –

Another example is the books by William Harrington series with Columbo as the star –

The next shelf contains books about movies and TV shows. I had books on Get Smart, Batman, Perry Mason, The Munsters, and more. The coolest of the TV show books were two with trivia and scripts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

There are other little trinkets and treasures on the shelves I can see, but the ones on the top of the book cases are ones I wish I still had. I can see my prom glasses up there (yes, they gave high school kids in 1988 wine glasses!), I had two because I went to prom with a gal in my junior year and then my senior prom.

On the left, you can see the boxes that contained limited edition Blues Brothers dolls. I had both Jake and Elwood.

Also on the top of the shelf are Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton figures – limited editions, as well.

I had no idea there was an Alice figure that went with those two until I was searching for pictures.

Finding the photo with all of these memories was such a treat to me. I am sad to remember so many great books and things that are no longer in my possession, but the memories of them remain.

Reflections on “Blog Year One”

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One of my Facebook friends noted on his page that this weeks marks the 100th birthday of comedian Red Buttons.  Red was known for his “never got a dinner” and “I was there” bits which he did frequently at celebrity roasts.  I remembered that last year, on his birthday, I blogged about Red and included many of my favorite “never got a dinner” lines.  It was one of the first blogs I wrote when I started this Word Press Blog.  It’s hard to believe that this blog is over a year old!

The beginnings

When I began this blog, I really didn’t have any idea of what it would be.  In my head, I thought that I might blog about some things I liked.  I also knew I would probably write about some favorite memories.  I might also write tributes to important people in my life or just random thoughts to help me deal with emotions or life situations.

This blog was meant for me.  It was to be a “sort of” therapy for me.  I envisioned it as a way to keep track of thoughts, write down stories I didn’t want to forget, and occasionally just vent. I had often joked about writing an autobiography, and in a way, this blog has become “chapters”.

I never thought that anyone would actually want to read these blogs (unless, of course, the blog mentioned them)!  Yet, here I am over a year later and I have “followers” – people who actually make it a point to read this no matter what the topic.  It humbles me.

Looking Back

The last few years of my life have been full of many changes:  job changes, deaths, divorce, depression, stress, remarriage, happiness, bliss, and the rekindling of old friendships.  It is interesting to go back and see the variety of topics this blog has covered through it all.  It really is a hodge-podge of randomness.

There is no shortage of posts about music here!  My iPod selections and the various connections that I make with songs, events, and people in my life are well documented.  There are so many great songs!  Musical blogs are among my favorite to write.  I recently started following another blog (PowerPop) which shares many of my musical tastes and I have enjoyed some great conversations with the owner of that blog.

My love for movies is also represented by blogs I wrote about movies I watched for the first time and movies I have watched over and over.  Television is also represented by a salute to the Dukes, childhood memories of School House Rock, TV Catchphrases, and my favorite cartoons. My hatred of movie and TV remakes was one of my very first blogs.

My radio career is also reflected in this blog.  You’ll find blogs that include some of my favorite radio stories, about listeners who became friends, my first morning show partner, radio mentors, radio bosses and co-workers, and encounters with famous people I met during my career all make up a good chunk of this blog.  One of my favorite blogs about radio is the World Radio Day blog, which thanks many of those people.

My family and friends, who are very special to me, are also well represented in this blog.  Tributes to my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my children, and my uncle/Godfather often were very emotional to write.  A blog about those teachers who were so influential and helpful to me was one of the easiest to write.  As my first wedding anniversary approaches, a long overdue blog about my wonderful wife will appear here.  One of my favorite blogs was about the trip to Florida that my wife and I took, which also doubled as our honeymoon.  Re-reading that one brings back many happy memories!  It still amazes me how we were able to keep it a secret.

The Christmas holiday spawned many blogs.  Blogs about Christmas memories, Christmas specials, Christmas characters, Christmas songs that drove me nuts, Christmas coffee, and yes – even a letter to Santa!  Christmas remains one of my favorite times of the year.  One thing I was unable to really blog about was the Christmas songs I love.  My friend, Chris, asked me to do that and I started it … just never finished it.  Consider it a head start for next year!

It was always fun for me to write about famous people.  As you look over the list of those who I wrote about, it is easy to learn a lot about me and what I like.  Comedians Red Buttons, Jackie Gleason, Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Soupy Sales, and Rich Little give you a glimpse and who and what I find funny.  Musicians Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Weird Al Yankovic, Frank Sinatra, and, of course, Dean Martin give you a picture of my musical tastes. Other blogs about Mr. Rogers, Jack Webb, Christopher Lloyd, and Wolfman Jack expose you to other aspects of who I am.

At times, my blog can tackle serious topics, too.  Breast cancer is a big one.  Cancer, in general, is a big topic. It took many people from me.   I foresee a blog about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the future. I’ve been there and they do amazing work.  The importance of Music Education in schools is another great cause I will always fight for!  I have yet to write about Autism, but that is definitely on my list of future topics.

One of my favorite blogs summed up a lot about the past and the changes that occurred in me and my life over the past two years.  The subject was “Negativity, Judgement, and Happiness”.  Moving from sadness to happiness and moving from away from negativity and finding positives made a lot of difference!  Living with a positive attitude was such a game changer – and life is good.

The Future

Not so long ago, I was told my someone once close to me to stop writing.  “Nobody wants to read about that crap!  It is a waste of time.  Stop trying to be creative. Nobody cares about what you like and don’t like!”  If I have learned anything from Facebook and this blog, it is that people do care!  People do like to read what I write!  In the end, I don’t really write for others, I write for myself.  The fact that other people read this blog and get some enjoyment out if it is a little bonus.

In future blogs, I will continue to write about things I love.  I will write about things that people want to know about.  I will continue to participate in Blogathons (I have a few coming up that I am excited to write for) on various topics like movies and music. I will continue to write about things in my personal life.  I will continue to write – because I enjoy it.  The minute this is no longer satisfying and I feel that I have written all I can write … I will stop.  Until then, thank YOU for reading my “various ramblings”.  I appreciate you!

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Just the Quotes, Ma’am

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Ladies and gentlemen, the blog you are about to read is true.  Today in 1920, the great Jack Webb was born.  The name Jack Webb immediately makes you think of Sgt. Joe Friday on radio and TV’s Dragnet.  The show began on radio in 1949 and transitioned to television in 1951.  It ran for 9 seasons on radio and a total of 16 seasons on TV.  Jack Webb produced the show and wanted it to give listeners (and viewers) a sense of the heroism and danger that a policeman deals with daily.  The show opened with 4 ominous notes that still, some 69 years later, are instantly recognizable.

There were also two Dragnet films which Webb starred in.  The first was in 1954 and the second in 1966.  In the 1954 film, actor Stacy Harris plays Max Troy, who has some very funny lines.  During an interrogation, for example, he says, “If you’re gonna eat onions, why don’t you find a closet!”  When confronted with evidence he tells Friday that it isn’t enough and says “That’s all the evidence you got?!  You take that downtown and they won’t let you in the washroom with it.  Now get off my back and hand me that ashtray!”  Webb, of course, has his share of great lines, too.  My favorite is when Troy’s friend starts to get up.  Friday sneers and says, “Unless you’re growin’, sit down!”

Prior to Dragnet, Jack played Pat Novak, a private investigator on the radio series Pat Novak for hire.  This show played almost like a film noir movie.  I love film noir because the dialogue is just so damn cheesy!  You eat it up!  What follows are some of my favorite Pat Novak lines.  Feel free to use one or two in conversation today in Jack Webb’s honor:

“She was at least 50, because you can’t get that ugly without years of practice.”

“He’s a good guy who never learned that if you keep your foot on the bar rail for twenty years, it will do more good for your arches than it will for your brain.”

“She walked with a nice easy swing of a satisfied leopard. And for a smaller leopard, she had pretty good spots too.”

“She stood leaning there for a minute, sort of a girl who moves when she stands still. She had blonde hair. She was kind of pretty, except you could see somebody had used her badly, like a dictionary in a stupid family.”

“His head was over to one side, and his body was twisted over the other away, as if he couldn’t make up his mind which direction to die in.”

“Somebody had gone duck hunting in the middle of his back.”

“She’d been traded around more than a Red Sox pitcher.”

“Houdini couldn’t get out of that one in two hours, with both hands, and a can of olive oil. It was like chasing cyanide with a bucket of Brandy: it tastes bright, but it’s only a matter of time.”

“For some reason, I felt like a man in quicksand complaining about his height.”

“I hit the floor and made Rip Van Winkle look like an insomnia victim. I didn’t like the floor, but it was in better shape than my face. I don’t know how long I was there, but it must have been a couple hours. I rolled over once and tried to get up, but it was like trying to barbeque a cake of ice.”

“I was up to my knees in mud and didn’t even know it was rainy season.”

“When I came in, she was sitting on the couch, drinking my whiskey. She could have all she wanted–a 1949 panther model, just the right amount of size 12, in a dress that looked like a well-tailored fig leaf. When she was through looking you over, you felt like the Sunday suplement.”

“I woke up with a head the size of Rhode Island. I rolled over and tried to get up, but I was about as strong as a moth in a wind tunnel. The room was dark and I couldn’t see very well. There was a stale, musty odor, could have been a marathon dancer’s dressing room, with a little fixing up, the sort of place you wouldn’t be found dead in. There was a guy lying next to me who didn’t feel that way about it. One look at the guy and I could see he was dead from the crew cut down. Somebody had wrapped a towel around his throat and forgot to say ‘when.’”

“I should have got out of there right then, but I use my brain like a bottle of medicine: a small dose every three hours.”

“We tried to follow the car, but it would have been easier to win the Kentucky Derby on a pogo stick.”

“I’m not crazy about waking up with strangers sitting on my bed, especially if they’ve got baritone voices.”

“My head must have looked like a jackpot–everyone in town was hitting it.”

“The rain hadn’t helped the alley much. It’s like washing your kid’s face and finding out he was ugly to start with.”

“He was a tough, hard cop, with a heart big enough to hide behind a piece of birdseed.”

“He was smiling like a vulture with the first option on a massacre.”

“Joe Feldman wasn’t very friendly. He sat over in the corner of the cab and he didn’t say a thing. He just kept looking at me and waiting, like a guy feeding arsenic to a rich aunt.”

“The veins stood out in his face and made a pattern as if he slept on an alligator bag instead of a pillow.”

Happy Birthday, Jack!