April 15th is not only known to be the dreaded day that your income tax returns are due, but it’s also known (on a happier note) in the sports world as Jackie Robinson Day.
April 15, 1947 was the day that Jackie Robinson made his major league debut as a Brooklyn Dodger (now known as the Los Angeles Dodgers). He was the first black major league baseball player of the modern era.
I had the opportunity to visit the Dodger stadium on April 9, 2011 while on a Mystery Tour of Los Angeles and the highlight of the tour was a behind the scenes look at the ballpark from a point of view that many people don’t get to see.
The tour started at the top deck level so we could take in an overall view of the stadium, it took us into the Vin Scully press box, through the hallways that feed the different box suites and down to the field and dugout area. The last part of the tour took us through some more corridors past a framed number 42 jersey, the number worn by famed player Jackie Robinson and to a very large wall of Dodger player names. Jackie’s name was right in the middle.
The Mickey Mouse Club and Beach Blanket Bingo had one thing in common, Annette Funicello starred in both and in my opinion, made them what they were.
I grew up watching both, first the Mickey Mouse Club when I was in my youth and then the Beach Blanket Bingo series in my teens.
Rather than me rehash what’s already out there online, I’ve included links to some interesting sites about Annette:
This is a video from Annette Funicello’s website and is titled: “Annette’s Story: A Hollywood legend’s struggles with multiple sclerosis”. http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.985726
Back when I was in my youth, someone (probably my mom) had shown me and my siblings this Origami Fortune Teller toy that had us kids thoroughly entertained. I call it an Origami Fortune Teller for lack of a better name, because I honestly don’t remember what it was called, so during my research, that was one of the many names I found. Wikipedia calls it a Paper Fortune Teller, Cootie Catcher, Chatterbox, Salt Cellar & Whirlybird.
So what is this Origami Fortune Teller you ask? In basic terms, it’s a square piece of paper that’s folded into the shape shown below.
In researching this, I found site after site showing how to fold, how to use and how to design the Origami Fortune Teller. It’s funny to see that this simple, kid craft has survived from my childhood as well as the 85 years since it’s inception back in 1928 and is still going strong.
The following video shows one of the ways to use the Origami Fortune Teller:
I actually started this post about a week ago and I was just about ready to go public with it this past Monday, March 10, 2013, but just as I was putting the finishing touches on it, I lost the whole posting, so I had to start from scratch again. It could have been because I was trying to change the look of my blog (okay, it was directly related to my fiddling with the blog). Bummer! : |
During the 60′s through 80′s and probably 90′s too, I figure that I probably watched the majority of programming on television at one time or another, just because when using an aerial antenna on your roof, you don’t get a lot of channels, certainly not like the hundreds of channels that are available today on cable, satellite and fiber optic.
Anyway, it’s fun to look back on some of those old shows on reruns and compare what those actors, actresses and singers look like today. I must say, some of them have aged better than others.
Boy George – Singer / Songwriter – Karma Chameleon
Barbara Eden – Actress – I Dream of Jennie
Ron Howard – Actor – Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show
David McCallum – Actor – Man From U.N.C.L.E. & currently on N.C.I.S.
Diana Rigg – Actress – The Avengers
Audrey Hepburn – Actress – Breakfast at Tiffany’s – My Fair Lady
Julie Andrews – Actress – The Sound of Music
Olivia Newton John – Singer / Actress – Grease – Also past owner of Koala Blue a clothes store
James Taylor – Singer / Songwriter – Fire and Rain, You’ve Got a Friend
Joan Rivers – Comedian
Robert Wagner – Actor – It Takes a Thief
John Travolta – Actor – Welcome Back Kotter, Grease, Saturday Night Fever
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Body Builder, Actor, Governor – Terminator, Total Recall, True Lies
Sylvester Stallon – Actor – Rocky, Rambo, Cliff hanger
What do Bobby Vee, Selena, A Taste of Honey, Snoop Dogg, the Wii Music Video characters (and more), have in common?
They all performed their own version of the 1960′s song, “Sukiyaki”, originally sung in Japanese by Kyu Sakamoto. Granted, Snoop Dogg didn’t actually sing the full song, but parts of it were incorporated into one of his own songs and sung by his back-up singers.
Back in the 1960′s, we had an old wood cabinet that had a record player built into it. I remember it had a pull out drawer which the turntable sat on. I couldn’t find a photo of the player we had, but it was similar to the photo below.
Anyway, I use to play 45 and 33 rpm records on this record player all the time, it was our primary stereo back then (hmm, I don’t even know if it was stereo). I had the 45 rpm version of “Sukiyaki” which I played over and over again, till I wore the grooves off the vinyl disk. At the time, I had no idea that this song would hit the coveted number one spot on the United States Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1963. It still remains the only Japanese-language song to ever reach the number one position on the Billboard Pop Charts in the United States.
Kyu Sakamoto was born Hisashi Oshima on November 10, 1941. He was a Japanese singer and actor, best known outside of Japan for his international hit song “Sukiyaki”, which was sung in Japanese and sold over 13 million copies. Actually, “Sukiyaki” was not the original name of the song that he performed in Japan, but, “Ue O Muite Aruko” or “I Look Up When I Walk”, which was written by Rokusuke Ei and Hachidai Nakamura. Louis Benjamin which was the owner of a British record company, Pye Records, changed the name due to concerns that English speakers would have trouble pronouncing it or remembering it. The name “Sukiyaki” is used to describe a Japanese dish that usually consists of beef. It is referred to as “Beef Hot Pot” or “Beef Stew”. The “Sukiyaki” name has no actual connection to the song.
Sakamoto died on August 12, 1985 on a domestic flight from Tokyo International Airport to Oasaka International Airport. Just 12 minutes into the flight, the plane suffered mechanical failures and 32 minutes later crashed into Mount Takamagahara in Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, 62 miles from Tokyo.
A Taste of Honey performs “Sukiyaki” on the TV program Solid Gold, 1980-81 season:
Dutch-Indonesian Blue Diamonnds perform Sukiyak in 1963
Singing group “4 P.M.”, live performance of Sukiyaki
Latin singer Selena sings Sukiyaki in Spanish
Bobby Vee Sings Sukiyaki
Wii Music Video of Sukiyaki (someone has way too much time)
Remember back in ’70s listening to songs like Sara Smile, She’s a Rich Girl & She’s Gone? These were all songs performed by Daryl Hall and John Oates, or more commonly known by their stage name, Hall and Oates. I had the opportunity to see them back in the ’70s or ’80s at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California. It was actually an afterthought to see them, so me and my friend didn’t purchase tickets ahead of time, so we wound up sitting in the nose-bleed seats (the seats towards the back of the venue were actually bleacher bench seats and not individual seats).
Fast forward 30 plus years to August 2012, my wife receives an email from a friend of ours which asked if we wanted to get together to see Hall and Oates in concert at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California on September 22, 2012. My wife responds with a definite yes.
The day of the concert arrives and we prepare to make the 1-1/2 to 2 hour drive down to Palm Springs to meet our friends. We get to our hotel where we will be staying the night after the concert and get ready for dinner. We pickup our friends at their place and we drive to our dinner destination–Lulu California Bistro on South Palm Canyon Drive. Mmmm, great food!
Time to make our way to the concert, so we head over to Indio, which is the next city to the South of us. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get over to the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and it takes another 10 to 15 minutes to find a parking spot, the parking lot is filled to capacity. After many minutes of driving around, a car pulls out of a spot and we’re there!
We’re inside and the concert is about to start. The band starts playing and the crowd is getting into the music and at about the 30 minute mark during their song, Say it Ain’t So, the audio and lights goes completely out, on the stage, in the audience, in the casino and more importantly, in the bathrooms, where many of the people went during the power outage. It takes about 15 minutes before the power comes back on and it was explained that they were running on backup generators because power went out in the area around the casino.
We’re back to enjoying the concert again and during the song Private Eye, the power goes out again, but for only a brief moment. The band completes the song, but without full stage lights or projection screens.
Despite the disruption from the power outage, the concert was great and it brought back many memories of the past.
Over the years, many music bands have come and gone, but Hall and Oates still survives today and are still actively performing and pulling in good size crowds to their concerts. During the concert, I noticed a yellow sticker on Daryl Hall’s keyboard, but couldn’t read it from where I was sitting, so I searched Google when I got home and it was advertising his, “Live From Daryl’s House” website/show.
I checked out the website and it was great, Daryl invites other musicians to his house and they play a combination of that artist’s songs as well as Hall and Oates songs. There was a session between Diane Burch (who I’ve never heard of before) and Daryl. Diane’s song “Nothing But a Miracle” fast became one of my favorites from the site. I actually like this arrangement better than Diane’s original on iTunes. Check it out at the link below:
In case you’re interested. Amazon.com is having another one of it’s 100 albums for $5 each sale again, that’s about 1/2 off of what they usually cost. There are some newer albums and older ones too. Granted, you’re not going to find today’s top vocalists, but if you want to add to your audio collection, you just might find something here. Just click on the following link to go directly to the album site: 100 Albums for $5 each
Who tooted? If you asked my little niece this question, she would probably deny that it was her and point to her accuser, because in her vocabulary, the word “Tooted” means to pass gas, fart, break wind…need I go on?
However, because of my broad intellect , “Tooted” could mean a number of things and in this particular case, it means to honk, blow, or toot a horn, (see how smart I am). I recall on long road trips with my family, my dad taught me the “secret” truckers gesture that makes them toot their air horns.
Many trucks had air horns that were typically mounted on top the roof of the tractor or cab portion of the big rig. These were no doubt much louder than the wimpy factory installed horns that came on the truck. And there was a cord, cable or chain suspended from the ceiling of the truck, that when pulled, honked the horn.
Well, back to the “secret gesture”. So here’s the scenario, you’re a kid in the back seat of the family car, and as you pass a big rig truck, you look up into the cabin at the driver and make eye contact. When he’s looking, display the “secret gesture” at the driver, and with any luck, he’ll toot his air horns for you. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
To perform the secret gesture, you bend your arm at a 90 degree angle with your clenched fist pointing up. Then pump your arm up and down. Simple, but effective. You now know how to do it!
Laura Bush knows the gesture and even Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel knows it.
Check out this YouTube video of a new generation of kids on the sidewalk using the secret gesture (sorry their video is so shaky). I’m starting to think that this is not really a secret anymore.
I was the proud owner of a first generation version of both the Creepy Crawler (Thingmaker) and Incredible Edible toys back in the ’60s. The Thingmaker was a very entertaining toy back in those days. It allowed me to make all kinds of different types of bugs and a multitude of other shapes, in an unlimited number of colors based on what color Plastigoop I used and/or mixed together.
I especially remember the strong smell of Plastigoop as it heated up and started to bubble in the metal molds. The fumes were probably toxic, but who cared about safety back then. I probably lost a mass of brain cells making Creepy Crawlers all day long. I’m sure my friends and family are saying to themselves–now that explains a lot.
Us kids were given all kinds of potentially dangerous toys back then, remember the chemistry set? Can you say chemical burn or BOOOM!!!
The Incredible Edible set was similar to the Creepy Crawler toy, in that it used molds to form different shapes and a heating element to cook it, but it used an edible liquid called Gobble De-Goop, that when heated, turned into what I can best describe as the consistency of a Gummy Bear. The taste was indescribable, not too bad, but not great either. If they had sold these at the candy store, they would definitely not have been my first choice.
I was amazed to see that they still make the Creepy Crawler toy. The toy has changed hands a few times since Mattel manufactured it in 1964, and it has become safer to use (that’s no fun). I also found out that they created a Saturday morning cartoon called, what else, Creepy Crawlers, that lasted two seasons.
You Asked For It was an American television show that aired from 1950-1959. Viewers were asked to mail in requests for things they wanted to see on the show. The program showed how things worked, a behind the scenes look at movie effects, curiosities, etc.
The one episode that I remember seeing, was how they made it look like an actor was riding on a moving horse (close-up shot). The horse or fake horse was actually stationary (but would rock back and forth) and the background scenery would move behind the horse creating the illusion that the horse was moving forward. I believe it was in this same episode that they show how they used red colored wax bullets, so when they shot someone in say, a western movie, it would appear as though the person was shot and bleeding.
You know how they say that “Everything old, is new again”. Well, there are a number of current day television shows that take you behind the scenes of how things are done, such as “How It’s Made”. This is a show on the Science Channel and they have a series of episodes that show how just about anything is made. This is somewhat similar, but not quite, because they only show how things are made (hence the title How It’s Made) and they don’t show how special effects are done or any of the other curiosities someone might request. Even good ol’ Mister Rogers on “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” took you on field trips to show how things were made.
But the one show that comes the closest to the “You Asked For It” show, is a kids show called “Curiosity Quest”. Just like “You Asked For It”, they ask for viewers to send in requests for what they wanted to see. They’ve been to places like, the Vermont Teddy Bear factor showing how the bears are made, how bread, bikes, snowboards are made, to how they train fire fighters. A great show, even for adults that are curious about these things.