There have been times when I've wondered whether some of my memories had actually taken place or were nothing more than dreams I'd accidentally filed away in the wrong mental folder. -Every now and then, I'll ask the internet, "Was this for real?" -This weekend, I got some concrete answers.
I remember—or at least I think I remember—when I first moved to Long Island back in 1983, that the local volunteer fire department kept a red Model T Ford on outdoor display. -If so, it hasn't been there in many, many years—or was I confusing that Flivver with the red fire chief's car that used to be on display at the Long Island Automotive Museum?
Now and then, over the past five or so years, I've asked the internet for a photo. -Today, the picture above finally popped up. Yep, it really happened.
And while on the subject of old cars, I seem to remember, back when I was just a little shaver, parents at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair were pushing their babies and toddlers around in strollers made to look like the newly rebodied Chevrolet Corvette. -I remember one evening in the autumn of '65, Dad and I, on the spur of the moment, decided to drive over to the fair to be there for its very last, very final, closing night. -The demolition equipment was already parked in place for the next day's melancholy work and as it came time to leave that wonderful place, on the way to the exit, I noticed one of the little Corvette Strollers had been tossed into the fountain surrounding the Unisphere. -It was half-floating and nobody bothered to pull it out because... well, what did it matter at that point? -So sad a memory. -But had I been dreaming or was that for real? -Been asking the internet about that one for years.
This week I hit paydirt and came up with the above image. -Yep, the little Corvette strollers had been for real.
And while we're on the subject of the New York World's Fair; I remember flying kites with my Dad in a big, open lot among the remnants of the 1939 World's Fair, right across from LaGuardia Airport. -To get to that area, we had to pass a huge conical weathervane in what used to be the transportation section of the fair, where the BUDD Manufacturing company had long ago displayed their wares. -I remember on one such outing, the weathervane had been knocked down along with a lot of other remnantal structures (for what turned out to be preparation for the building of the '64 World's Fair). -It was laying on the ground, absolutely enormous, and I was able to enter the open end, shout echoes and read a lot of graffiti that BUDD Company workers must have scrawled inside while it was being fabricated in the days before WWII. -To date, no photos of the BUDD weathervane have been available—at least not to me. -Had this monumental artifact been nothing more than a childhood dream?
Again, after years of searching, I finally found this photo on the internet. -You can just barely make out the name, "BUDD," on the side of the weathervane.
I've reached an age where a lot of memories have become lonely things; black & white photos of beloveds smiling at the camera from no-longer-existing places remembered only by the sole survivor of the group. -We of this forum understand about the underlying nostalgia attached to the artifacts we preserve. -It's no doubt a large part of the reason we do it, and it certainly makes me feel good to be a part of it. -I remember one very senior couple I met at a car show and they reminisced of a time when they courted in a Tin Lizzie just like mine. -It was such a privilege to give them a ride back in time. -And you better believe I made sure they got a photo of themselves posing in the car.
Didja' make 'em wear a moustache and funny hats Bob?
I bought my car at the tail end of August 2010, when there wasn't a whole lot left of that car-show season. -I attended a few local cruise-ins, and took some pictures, of course, but didn't get into the Spectators and Funny Hats stuff until the following year.
Two things made me do that. -First, the completely open shape of the top-down touring car with a fold-down windshield is very conducive to photographing spectators in the seats. -Secondly, I noticed that many (but not all) displayers at shows were very protective and territorial about their cars. -DO NOT TOUCH signs were hung out everywhere and that's very understandable when it comes to a rare car with flawless bodywork and unmarred paint. -But my car was just a "20-footer" with no shortage of dents and chips, so it didn't matter if people wore down the paint a little on the running boards. -For me, it's just more enjoyable to get spectators involved and I guess it's probably healthy for the hobby. -And the funny hats? -Well, I dunno... maybe I just enjoy being silly.
Bob, you're quite the writer. Nice sentiments, beautifully expressed. Thanks.
It's funny what we remember, and how we remember it. Occasionally I've been able to confirm or disprove long-held memories, and found that some of what I recall is exactly right and some is decidedly wrong.
In sixth grade I read a book that I loved. Over the following decades I remembered several things about it, but not the title. Then along came the internet, and I was able to identify it as Engine Whistles and buy a copy. I was glad to find that some of what I remembered after more than fifty years was almost word-for-word perfect. But other parts were quite different from how I recalled them, and there was some of it I had totally forgotten.
During Thanksgiving weekend in 1953 when I was twelve and my little brother was seven, our family drove up to Death Valley. At Scotty's Castle we saw Death Valley Scotty sitting in front of the castle greeting visitors. I clearly remember him sitting in a chair. Mike clearly remembers him sitting in an open car. Who is right? I have no idea. We both remember that we didn't go inside the castle because Dad was too tight with a dollar to spend anything on such stuff.
With Mike, Dad, and my cousin Ernest Parker, at Sacramento, summer 1953.
I built me a barn. It's all these things wrapped into a single place. A few old signs, an old oak wall phone or six, as much heavily embossed old cast iron tools and widgets as I can find, wiring straight out of Frankenstein's lab. If you didn't know better, you might think it IS nineteen-twenty-five, or a very unmolested place from 1880 as it might have looked in 1960. It is all this stuff I loved as a kid, .. the disappearing roadside Americana.
At a recent swap meet I bought a roll of lichen covered barbed wire. Many people asked what I was going to do with THAT ! Why, what self respecting barn owner DOESN'T have one of THESE hanging on the wall ??? And it was standard equipment on all TT farm trucks anyway, right ? Yup. I get it, large. Open roads, backwater places, and sleepy, forgotten hollows. Old barns, funky hunks of rusty junk, aqua and purple glass. That's what this is all about to me. Forget the cars shows. Hit the road and find the old codgers with good stories and a sparkle in their eye. THAT is the "car show" I am looking for.
Bob and Steve,
The same thing happens to me!
Someone mentions something and I begin to remember something about it.
I then do an internet search and usually find pictures or articles that make me think of other things that are connected to the original comment.
As I get a warm feeling it takes me into more remembrances and searching.
Sometimes it makes me remember songs and artists from the 50's and 60's so I begin searching, listening, and downloading.
By the time I'm done - usually due to emotional overload - I can't remember what got me started but I have relived a few years of my life, remembered friends and places, thought about opportunities missed and pursued, and wonder how I survived.
Then I think about my 2 granddaughters and realize how blessed I am to be able to see and hug them.
Ed, it seems you've answered the question.
Back when I was in second grade, my Dad (a musician, among other things) had what we called "long-playing records" which we played on something called a "hi-fi." -One particular album, "Rock & Roll with the Robins," was cut by a group of relative unknowns who would later go on to make up The Coasters (and The Drifters, if my memory is correct). -Anyway, I played that record till I wore out the hole in the middle and then never heard those songs again — not even on oldies radio.
Then, forty years later, a co-worker with whom I occasionally exchanged CDs loaned me a disc with the song, "Out of the Picture." -It wasn't The Robins, but the song reminded me of their album. -That evening, I walked into a chain bookstore and checked their computer for the existence of any Robins recordings. -Their album, "Rock & Roll" had only been reissued that very week! -Quite a coincidence, and had I checked a week earlier, I wouldn’t have found it. -Of course I ordered a copy.
Now, these songs hadn't played on radio or even in my head since I was about seven years old, but as the album was now playing on my modern CD player, I found myself singing along. -The lyrics, evidently, had been perfectly preserved in suspended animation on vintage brain cells that hadn't been activated in almost four decades. -To coin a terribly worn cliché, it was like traveling back in time — and let me tell you, it was absolutely joyous!
The Robins started recording in 1949, which certainly qualifies as the very earliest days of Rock & Roll. -They helped establish the patterns and styles that would characterize the genre. -The group’s sound was so clearly identifiable, it was imitated on The Flintstones whenever they needed to parody a teenage hangout. -I think The Jetsons used it too. -Hanna-Barbera, though frugal when it came to animation, spent lavishly on music and theme songs for their cartoon shows (and speaking of memories, I could talk about cartoons that have been lost to time as well — shows like Space Angel and Astro Boy).
But before I digress too far afield, lemme give you guys a few YouTube links to some of The Robins’ recordings. -You’ll see how this thoroughly enjoyable stuff was so early, it almost sounds like parody:
Since I First Met You
Out of the Picture
Where’s the Fire?
Bob - Now you've started my mind going again!
I have a stack of those vinyl things in the basement that run at 78, 33 1/3, and 45 RPM from the 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's.
Just looking at the jackets gives me chills - it may be time to dig out the old vinyl thing rotator (AKA turntable) and see if I can find something to turn the vibrations from the groves into an electrical signal so I can listen to them.
I might even use an analog to digital convertor and put some of them in a file on my computer.
We converted close to old 30 8mm films to digital a few months ago that include some footage of the 1919 T when we got it out of the barn and a bit of the 1922 fordoor so converting a few thousand songs should be easy.
Cartoons! I even remember the words to the "Milton the Monster" cartoon show opening song. It (I) used to drive my wife and kids crazy every time someone said "whoops, too much". I would sing all four parts.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
You guys are a sick bunch.
Burger - Please join us - Bring sick is fun!
Burger - Please join us - Bring sick is fun!
Milton the Monster:
Huckleberry Hound, Snaglepuss(sp?), Tennessee Tuxedo, Foghorn Leghorn, etc.
Trust me, .. I say "sick" as a charter member of the Sick Club.
Favorite TV show ever: Perry Mason
...and it all comes rushing out:
Plunk your magic twanger, Froggie!
Hiya, kids! Hiya, hiya!
"...the story of the violence that moved west with young America, and the story of a man that moved with it."
"I'm that man. Matt Dillon, United States Marshal: the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful. And a little lonely..."
That's my dog Tige. He lives in a shoe. I'm Buster Brown. Look for me in there, too!
"Shredded Ralston for your breakfast starts the day off shinin' bright,
Full of lots of cowboy energy, with a flavor that's just right.
It's delicious, and nutritious, bite-sized and ready to eat.
Take a tip from Tom, run and tell your mom, Shredded Ralston can't be beat!"
Bulova Watch Time, eight PM.
"Cream of Wheat is so good to eat that we have it every day.
We sing this song 'cause it makes us strong, and it makes us shout hooray!
It's good for growing children, and grown-ups, too, to eat.
For all your family's breakfast, you can't beat Cream of Wheat."
The Shadow, mysterious figure who aids the forces of law and order, is, in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town. Years ago in the Orient, Cranston learned a strange and mysterious secret: the hypnotic power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him. Today's story, Carnival of Death!
"I dood it!"
"What a revoltin' development dis is!"
"Oh, Cisco!" "Oh, Pancho!"
I...am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know the stories of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak!
"Gotta clean out that closet one of these days."
Dad drat the dad dratted rattle trap!
That one pops out of my mouth from time to time.
Remember when"funnies" were funny?
Back when I went to art school, I majored in Cartooning & Animation and our teachers shared folklore of the trade. -One such yarn told of a time during The Great Depression when things were so bad for Disney, it looked like the fledgling company would go under. -And legend has it that to keep such a thing from happening, Mr. Disney decided to let go the animator who drew Mickey's tail and so, for a year, Mickey simply didn't have one.
And then there was a far less wholesome legend about the animators of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" letting off some steam by creating, during off-hours, a short feature not meant for children. -I prefer not to believe that one.
Many cartoons were too short to stand alone, so here in the metro New York area (and, no doubt, in other places), cartoon shows were hosted by an adult master of ceremonies, some in relevant costume. -"Capt." Jack McCarthy hosted Popeye cartoons, "Officer" Joe Bolton showed Dick Tracy cartoons and "ringmaster" Claude Kirshner showed Koko the Clown cartoons. -The uber-talented Shari Lewis and Sandy Becker incorporated puppet shows, skits, dances, etc., along with the usual fare of animated shorts. -Between features, they reminded us to do our homework, brush our teeth and to look both ways before crossing the street. -In the sweetest possibly way, they taught compassion, sportsmanship and common courtesy, and on one April 15th, Capt. Jack made mention that maybe today wasn't the day to ask Dad to buy us that new toy for which we were hoping. -These hosts were genuine role models and their presentations were all as wholesome as warm milk (Okay, maybe Soupy Sales rode the ragged edge of good taste, but he redeemed himself with a steady diet of self-deprecating slapstick and sweetness). -By today's standards, he was Bishop Sheen.
Some of the cartoon production companies were fairly well known and some were small, shoestring studios. -Too many TV cartoons were lost forever to time, but a handful of rarities still live on YouTube. -A few that may occupy the backwoods of your memory might be right here (but VIEWER’S WARNING: This stuff was made long before anyone was concerned about political correctness or even civil rights, so don’t go to these links if you’re likely to be offended)…
Felix the Cat (1919, Production in 1959, Trans Lux)
Superman (1941, Fleisher Studios)
Mighty Mouse (1942, Terrytoons)
The Adventures of Pow Wow (1949, Tempe-Toons)
Mr. Magoo (1949, UPA Animation Studio)
Crusader Rabbit (1950, Television Arts Productions)
Colonel Bleep (1956, Soundac of Miami)
Heckle & Jeckle (1956, Terrytoons)
Clutch Cargo (1959, Cambria Productions)
Beany & Cecil (1959, Bob Clampett)
Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse (1960, Trans-Artists Productions)
Space Angel (1962, Cambria Productions)
Deputy Dawg (1962, Terrytoons)
The Big World of Little Adam (1964, Banner Films, Little Adam Productions, Inc.)
Those who got only the cartoon Beany & Cecil and never saw Time for Beany missed a classic. It began on KTLA in 1949 and later moved to KTTV. Beginning in 1950 it was syndicated across the country via kinescope. The puppet show's leading characters, a boy named Beany (who wore a beanie) and his friend Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent, were voiced by Daws Butler and Stan Freberg. The show was popular with kids because of the silliness, and perhaps even more popular with adults because of the hip gags and satire. Eventually Butler and Freberg left the show. Freberg says they left to save their sanity. Apparently Bob Clampett was a very difficult guy to work with. The show ended in 1955, and by then Freberg was producing his classic parodies, which is a whole other subject.
The afternoon cartoon shows featuring Crusader Rabbit, Felix the Cat, and others, were a staple of local TV across the country, typically with a costumed host. In Los Angeles KNXT had captain Jet, KHJ had Engineer Bill Stulla (my little brother couldn't stand him), KTLA had Tom Hatten, KLAC had Jimmy Weldon and Webster Webfoot (a ventriloquist act), and KTTV had the beloved Sheriff John Rovick. Even into his eighties and nineties, decades after leaving the air, John Rovick received friendly handshakes and hugs from former kids who recognized him.
"What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!...Hen Hen Hen...."
Anyone here remember Seymour who did the Creature Features ? We picked him up out of Los Angeles about 1969 when we lived in the Mojave.
Speaking of cartoons. Nowadays we have the gang from A-113
I recently re-discovered the Mischief Makers whose theme song still is stuck in my head. They cut up the Little Rascals and then added silly comments like an early version of Mystery Science Theatre.