Sunday, March 26, 2017
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Laugh-In was a comedy factory on television in the 1960s and 1970s the way Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show are today. Regular cast members included: Publicity photo of Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, and Judy Carne as she joins the Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In cast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Lily Tomlin Goldie Hawn Ruth Buzzi Chelsea Brown Judy Carne Henry Gibson Arte Johnson All were featured by nightclub comics and show hosts Dan Rowan and Dick Martin in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Celebrity guests included: John Wayne Rita Hayworth Tiny Tim Jack Benny Johnny Carson Sammy Davis,... (Read More ...)

Tex Ritter, a country music singer, Broadway star and movie and television actor, was born on January 12, 1905.   Tex Ritter’s grave marker located at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Born in Texas, where he attended the University of Texas, at Austin, Ritter went to New York City to enter show business in 1928, after breaking in by singing cowboy songs on a Houston radio station. He was in Broadway’s “Green Grow the Lilacs” in 1931, performing a song that would become one of his signatures, and later, appeared on tv’s “Death Valley Days.” He... (Read More ...)

Uranium Fever by Elton Britt, RCA Victor 1955. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The 45 revolutions per minute (rpm) record format was introduced by RCA Victor on January 10, 1949. My first 45 rpm records were Pat Boone songs, like “April Love,” from the 1957 movie by the same name, after my parents bought me a record-player for Christmas that year, when I was 10. Our basement became the scene of fifth- and sixth-grade rock-and-roll parties, as we rotated among the basements in our Cedar Rapids, Iowa neighborhood for birthdays, the girls in our felt poodle skirts. I took my record player and... (Read More ...)

Pink Flamingo (Photo credit: Sam Howzit) “Plastics.” On December 21, 1967, the movie, “The Graduate” was released. I was finishing final exams for the fall quarter of my sophomore year at Michigan State University. I had decided that my relationship with my boyfriend was serious and I was in the process of transferring from Michigan State, where we’d met, to George Washington University, in Washington, DC, to be near him, a new hire at IBM in the DC area. It was less than two weeks before he’d be drafted. It was just slightly more than a month before we’d decide to get married, two... (Read More ...)

Who invented zip lines, anyway? A zip-line over the rainforest canopy. Taken January 4, 2005 in Costa Rica at the Arenal Paraiso Hotel’s zip-line course. This course requires self-braking using a special purpose-built reinforced leather glove Photo taken by Ken Haufle. Category:Zip-line (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Although zip lines go back in history to China and Australia, where they have been used traditionally as bridges in remote areas across rivers, and were even featured in an 1897 H.G. Wells book, The Invisible Man, it was biologists who were doing research in rainforest tree canopies... (Read More ...)

I didn’t date a lot in high school, went to neither my Junior nor Senior prom, for instance. The Righteous Brothers performing at Knott’s Berry Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, I did go to the occasional dance after Friday night football games. The Righteous Brothers released “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” in December, 1964, the middle of my senior year of high school. A not-yet-famous Cher was in the background chorus. 1964 was the the beginning of the Beatles’s craze, with “A Hard Day’s Night) and hits like “Walkin’ In the Rain” (The Ronettes) among... (Read More ...)

It was November 29, 1972. Pong, the new arcade game, was being delivered around California. Screenshot of PONG from the Atari Arcade Hits #1 software title released in 1972 by Hasbro Interactive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Why did players get so excited they launched an industry? Unlike existing pinball machines, which were mechanical, Pong was computerized. And, unlike games of the time, you could control completely what happened. You barely needed instructions on how to play. It was just two paddles, as though ping pong paddles, that you moved up and down either side of the screen, with manual... (Read More ...)

Dairy Queen in Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In my day, it was the Dairy Queen that meant teenage freedom. I walked the half-mile to high school, but the Dairy Queen was across town, too far to walk. The Dairy Queen represented freedom to drive across town and hang out with friends. The freedom to order a hamburger or a shake, and buy it with my own baby-sitting money. The freedom to delay homework until evening instead of coming right home from school. I’m not sure why I even had access to a car. We had two cars in the family and my parents both worked full-time and drove to work. But,... (Read More ...)

Launched on October 10, 1957, Zorro was that dashing, masked doer of good when the law wasn’t up to it, who carved a “Z” with his sword in the clothes of the bad guys, so they would never forget him. Movie poster for 1920 film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Played by Guy Williams and created by Walt Disney Productions, Zorro ran for 78 episodes, until July 2, 1959. How could a television show that lasted little more than a year-and-a-half be so memorable? The protagonists were mild-mannered university student, Don Diego de la Vega, recalled from Spain to his father’s ranch in the then-Spanish-controlled... (Read More ...)

On September 26, 1969, blended families hit family television in the form of The Brady Bunch. Robert Reed and Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch at the Governor’s Ball following the 41st Annual Emmy Awards, 9/17/89 – Permission granted to copy, publish, broadcast or post but please credit “photo by Alan Light” if you can (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The show lasted until March 8, 1974. Its five seasons and 117 episodes made it eligible for the minimum 100-episode threshold for syndication. Three blonde daughters of the show’s remarried mother, (we don’t know if she was... (Read More ...)