Monday, January 28, 2008

an audio flashback with Huntley and Brinkley

This weekend I had the rare privilege of doing something that is dear to the hearts of many a record collector. I opened a 43 year old sealed album. Those of you old enough to remember must have fond memories of going to the local Korvette's or Shopper's World and spending your few pennies on that all important album and then, getting it home carefully putting your fingernail in the album's plastic and splitting it oh so carefully so that the outer plastic wouldn't tear. Paper cuts be damned. Ah!

It seems fitting that I did this to an album that is a time capsule of the top news items for 1965. Huntley and Brinkley, next to Cronkite were the most respected newsmen in the country. They made four of these albums from 1963-66 that condensed the biggest stories of the year. This year on the list were the Vietnam War protests from the "New Left", black-outs in New York, the Watts riots, Pope Paul VI visits New York, Stevenson and Churchill died, etc... I often with the blog, wax nostalgic about 'the groovy 60's', or they don't have that anymore, or we are sure screwed up today... but after listening to this, things didn't seem too bright and sunny then either. So if you have 50 minutes or so, sit back and listen to this 'way-back machine'.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Art of Living With Yourself... 1964 Style.
I recently borrowed a bunch of ephemera-tastic instruction booklets from my friend Dan. This one is from a series of books made by The Mental Health Society of Chicago for Western Electric Company for their "Book Rack Service". I'm assuming when you had a break in their green painted brick lunchroom you'd find these in some metal rack. I suppose it's better than actually talking to your co-workers.
I've scanned the whole thing. Not only because the drawings are fun, but I love the positive pop psychology: Turn your negative energy into positive work energy; Don't take your job home; don't be an asshole; no one is out to get you; love your neighbor. These themes still can be found at least every other day on news websites.
Please note however, the very strange drawing to illustrate 'What are people thinking about me..." I'm pretty self-conscience and may worry that people think I'm fat or boring, but never someone with a giant baby's head! Enjoy... I've more of these coming soon... Stay tuned. Now remember: don't Read This Book... We're Talking to You...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Am a Disco Dancer

thanks Graeme for forwarding this to me...

I'll be back to posting regular soon. I've been busy, busy with work... ARgh!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

RIP Vampira!

Maila Nurmi died (I guess, again) at age 85. She never did win her lawsuit against Elvria who pretty much stole her show. I used to love TV horror movie hosts. In Chicago we had Svengoolie in the 70's played by local deejay Jerry G. Bishop, and then Ron Koz took over in the 80s as the Son of Swengoolie. He's still on on ME TV a local UHF station that plays old TV shows. I don't really have a television set anymore, so I never see him. But the memories are fresh.

These TV hosts were like friends. Sitting at home alone on a Saturday night, it was great to have someone watching the cheesy horror movie with you. I couldn't tell you what movies I watched, but I still remember some of their skits. Rubber chickens, song parodies, sound effects during the movies. If you are from Chicago, you'll know the running joke of "Berwyn". If not, it won't make any sense.

The original Swengoolie, Jerry G. Bishop. Man, that music takes me back to many cozy times I had with my b/w TV on the rusting metal stand.

So RIP Vampira. You were one of the pioneers for us lonely hearted TV watchers.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brother Was His Face Red
or Crumbling Right off the Press circa June 22, 1935

I've been meaning to post this Chicago American newspaper for some time. I believe I found it at an estate sale lining the drawer of an old cabinet. It is impossible hold as it is turning to dust, so I wanted to scan what's left before it disappeared forever.

I've heard stories of people being robbed and stripped of their clothes, but it looks like in 1935 it was an epidemic. Here (above) the headline shows George Barnes as he recreated his ordeal of being in his underwear and trying to get the attention of someone in his house. I'm sure his mother was very proud of this and showed it to all the neighbors. I'm a huge old radio fan, so I always love to look at the radio listings sections in these newspapers. So many of these regular broadcasts were never saved. I was going to include the Jack Benny Show from this date, but my collection is only semi-complete. I've only a few shows from 1935 and this date's show isn't one of them. My guess is that it didn't survive.

Look how pretty Ethel Merman was then.
The next thing I always go for in an old newspaper are the movie listings. It's amazing that there were so many movie theatres in Chicago. Practically one every couple of blocks in heavily populated neighborhoods. The majority of these no longer exist except for The Admiral (now a high priced strip club), The Logan still shows second run features, The 400, The Vic (still a movie theatre when bands aren't playing there), The Davis (still going strong although they've cut it up into six theatres), the Apollo just had some sort of restoration, but they just do live shows now, and the Colony is still standing, but has been empty for years. The Uptown is a huge theatre taking up almost a full city block. There has been a movement to restore it for years, but they never seem to get very far before a new crisis happens causing a halt in the restoration. I've lived nearby it for twenty years and I've never seen inside. The Music Box is probably the last of the working movie theatres that is still thriving. They still have the original organ and for the most part it's still looks the same. The Portage recently re-opened and they are currently the home of the silent movie festival. But I think that's it for the standing working movie houses. Have I missed any?
I'm sure you can still sell your gold for cash, but I can't imagine that I would just put my old 'useless' gold in a box and mail it to some pawn shop on south Wabash street.

Last year on Irving Park Road, a building was torn down to put up a new awful condo in the Bushian style. For the while that the old building was down a near perfect ghost ad appeared on the building next to the vacant lot for Gold Dust Washing Powder. I kick myself for not taking a photo of it. It was funny for a couple months to drive down busy Irving Park road and see larger than life and clear as can be this logo with the two Pickaninny children. Now, I've got to blow my nose, this paper dust is making me sneeze!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hey Tobacco Mouth
As of January 1st there is a ban on smoking in any bar or restaurant. The smokers of Chicago have to step outside to puff. I've not been out to a bar or club since the new year, so I'm not sure how this is playing out in the real world. I couldn't be happier. No more coming home and having to burn my clothes, or waking up in the middle of the night to take a shower to rinse the stale smell of tobacco off my skin.

Of all my bad habits, I've never picked up the smoking one. Perhaps it's because my parents smoked when I was very young. The smell of smoke brings back memories of being car sick; They would often drive while smoking with the windows up. My parents quit soon after the surgeon's general warning in the 70's. They quit cold turkey. One day they were smoking, the next they weren't. I've never really asked them how or why this happened.

From then on, the only time I smelled smoke was when my aunts and uncles came over. The smell of smoke in the house always was the scent of company. The fact that all my aunts and uncles never lived past 75, while my parents still alive in their mid-80s seems to back up the surgeon general's health claims.

Currently, I'm dealing with my neighbor's smoking habit. Her cat has asthma, which her vet told her was caused by her 1 1/2 pack a day habit. Since her cat is the whole world to her she's decided the best thing to do is to no longer smoke in her house. So she's been smoking in the hallway, outside my kitchen door, so I'm now benefiting from her smoking.

Since she's 75, it's difficult to tell her to stop, but I struck a deal where she can't smoke in the evenings when I'm home, but only when I'm at work. She said something about smoker's are losing their rights and I suggested as nicely as I could that she go on the patch for her cat's sake as well as her own.

Well I'd probably be as irritated with people if suddenly I couldn't drink wine anymore. Anyway, how about these Disney caps for the Listerine smokers toothpaste!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Crazy story on the news wire

It makes me happy somehow to think that Sinatra is still able to take a break from the afterlife to vacation in Cuba and have a belt once in a while. Although the sight of a crouching Sinatra must have been a little disturbing.


London, Jan 1 : Jude Law had an unexpected birthday guest at his 35th birthday bash at Havana - late singer Frank Sinatra.The British actor claims that he had a vision of Sinatra raiding his mini-bar in his suite at Havana's celebrity-infested Hotel Nacional de Cuba on Dec 29.Apparently, Law was staying at the same suite, which Sinatra used to request during his Cuban jaunts."Jude had no idea that Frank used to stay in the same room. You could see he was really spooked by his sighting," the Daily Star quoted a hotel source, as saying."He'd sampled lots of the hotel's rum cocktails to celebrate his birthday so he thought it was just a drunken vision. But when we told him of the situation, he came clean about seeing the ghost."He swore he saw Frank crouched at the mini-bar, rummaging through the bottles and snacks," the source added.The insider said that Jude was so shaken after the incident that he requested for a new room."Poor old Jude was relieved when we finally put him in a different room, although we didn't tell him that Winston Churchill used to stay in it, just in case," the source said. Law spent Christmas at the hotel with his ex-wife Sadie Frost and their children.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Album Sleeve Faces
Land-o-Links posted this sometime last week and it's been a hit each time I've shown it. So in case you missed this site...

OhNoTheyDidnt had people on his blog to post photos of themselves with record covers replacing their face or other body part. Some of the results are pure digital genius.

Go HERE to see them all, but these are some of my favorites.