Thursday, June 26, 2014


When I was a kid, adults frequently told me that the characters on TV "are not real people." WHATEVER!?!? As I look back I've come to the conclusion that if I wanted to believe that Steve Austin and the Fonz are real people, I was entitled to that believe. Adults in Lebanon, Missouri were jerks.

The truth is there have been many shows that were about real life characters. The stories may not have been accurate, but these characters were real people. Here are what these people looked like. I've listed the names of the actors and actresses that played them but skipped posting a photo. Photos of the TV version are pretty easy to find thanks to Google or Pinterest.

Major Robert Roberts (1731-1795) was played by Keith Larsen on Northwest Passage.

Daniel Boone (1734-1820) played by Fess Parker.

Davy Crockett (1786-1836) also played by Fess Parker on Disneyland/The Wonderful World of Disney.

Jim Bowie (1796-1836) played by Scott Forbes on The Adventures of Jim Bowie.

Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) played by Hugh O'Brian on The Life & Times of Wyatt Earp.

Annie Oakley (1860-1926) played by Gail Davis (Gail was really kinda cute).

Bat Masterson (1853-1921) played by Gene Barry.

Laura Ingles Wilder (1867-1957) played Melissa Gilbert on Little House on the Prairie.

Eliot Ness (1903-1957) played by Robert Stack on The Untouchables.

Barney Ruditsky (1898-1962) played by James Gregory on The Lawless Years. I made an earlier post about both The Untouchables and The Lawless Years.

Greg "Pappy" Boyington (1912-1988) played by Robert Conrad on Baa Baa Black Sheep/Black Sheep Squadron.

Frank Buck (1884-1950) played by Bruce Boxleitner on Bring 'Em Back Alive. Buck wrote an autobiography called Bring 'Em Back Alive, but the TV show was more of a Raiders of The Lost Ark clone.

Dave Barry was played by Harry Anderson on the TV series Dave's World (1993-1997).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Eli Wallach as Tuco in The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Actor Eli Wallach died at age 98. He was in two of my favorite Westerns, The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, as well as an appearance on Batman as Mr. Freeze.

His death reminded me of a somewhat odd conversation about Wallach with legendary Springfield journalist/blogger Ron Davis at a going away party for Tony Messenger, when he was leaving The Springfield News Leader to go to The St. Louis Post Dispatch. Ron mentioned that Wallach had once shared a slow dance with Marilyn Monroe and how we, as journalist, would like to ask him what it was like to dance with Marilyn.

How did we get off on that subject? Ron brought up Wallach because of a strange incident that involved Tony Messenger from about a week or so earlier. It happened at what was supposed to be a panel discussion on immigration.  One of the participants on the panel besides Tony was a local talk radio show host with a huge cult following, even though this host had the mental stability of the proverbial outhouse rat. This guy is the reason I started the old blog. This guy had gotten into some battles with me on Ron's Chatter blog and Missouri Radio Message Board. I decided to start my own blog, so I could fully poke fun at this guy and make satirical comments on other news topics of the day. A person, who worked in the news department at the radio station that carried his show, told me that when he would read my blog he would fly into a mad fit cussing and throwing things. That makes me proud to find out i had that effect on him.
Franco Nero in Django

Back to the story. This host had showed up at this panel discussion dressed like Franco Nero in the movie Django. He ranted, raved and accused a local group that helps Mexican immigrants in the area of sneaking Al Qaeda terrorist into the country and changing their names to "Juan and Jose." Then he hurled a brown paper bag with two tennis balls at Tony, telling him it would be "the only sack of balls he would ever have."  As Dave Barry would say, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

We began discussing why did this talk radio host dress in this Spaghetti Western outfit, when Ron Davis put forth an intriguing idea. "Maybe he thought he would be allowed to hang Eli Wallach like in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly."

And that is how we got off on the subject of Eli Wallach. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


In the world of radio and voice-over work, there are few instances where one voice dominated the pop culture of a generation like Casey Kasem. From the late 60s through the 90s, his voice was everywhere.

Besides American Top 40 & American Top 10, Casey was the voice on NBC's promos in the 70s and 80s. His voice was in many of Generation X's favorite cartoons. Among those characters he voiced was Robin the Boy Wonder on The Superfriends, Alexander on Josie and the Pussycats, Dexter and Tank on Hot Wheels, Groovy on Cattanooga Cats, nephew Waldo on What's New, Mr. Magoo?, Mark on Battle of the Planets, Cliffjumper, and Teletraan 1 on The Transformers and, of course, Shaggy on Scooby Doo.

The thing that made Casey Kasem popular was his voice was friendly and his attitude was positive. So was his show. It was all inclusive. Instead of calling the show Billboards Top 40, Casey named the show American Top 40 to signify that these were the songs everyone in the nation was listening to and buying.  Yet Casey was talking to YOU and telling YOU that there were kids in other towns in America that liked the same songs that YOU did. If you felt alone in the world, Casey reassured you that you were not alone.

Casey spoke of the artist in an upbeat, positive tone. His story's about their lives made them sound like friends and relatives not "enemy combatants," as one former co-worker of mine referred to one popular musical act (He later got in trouble for making fun of a popular singer's death). In the "The AT-40 Archives," Casey gave us a history lesson and peak our interest in the music of the past. Of course, the "Long Distance Dedications" proved that you could connect to anyone in the world by simply writing to Casey and he would tell everyone with the same importance as the stories he told about the musical artist.

Sadly, the radio industry decided in the late 80s to destroy the all inclusive world Casey inhabited. Radio stations edited heavy metal and rap songs out of the countdown because they "weren't on out playlist." The major radio syndicators began trying to attract disgruntled old white men with shows preaching an "us-against-them" mentality filled with hate and intolerance.

You might say Casey Kasem's era ended long before his death this week. Radio killed his style of Top 40 and Saturday morning cartoons are gone. Luckily, we have Scooby Doo and Superfriends on DVD, as well as AT-40 repeats on some retro radio stations and through ITunes. Maybe someone will say, "We need a radio personality like Casey Kasem. He was great."

Until then, remember Casey's advice, "Keep you feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."       

Friday, June 13, 2014


I've considered doing this post for quite some time. There are some well-known public figures with a "junior" on the end of their name. Granted, some juniors are obvious as to who the senior was and what they did because junior followed in their footsteps (Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Douglas Fairbanks, John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, Ed Begley, Alan Hale, Freddie Prinze).

These are some famous juniors, who were either in another line of work or eclipsed their father's notority.

Norman Swartzkopf Sr. - Head of New Jersey State Police and narrator of the radio show Gangbusters.

Efrem Zimbalist Sr. - Violinist, composer and symphony conductor.

Harry Connick Sr.- District Attorney for New Orleans.

Robert Downey Sr. - Director of the movies Putney Swope and Greaser's Palace.

Cuba Gooding Sr. - Lead singer of the 70's R & B group The Main Ingredient (guy in middle)

Sammy Davis Sr. - Vaudeville dancer

Martin Luther King Sr. -Minister

Morton Downey Sr. -Irish crooner and radio show host

Kurt Vonnegut Sr. - Influential architect who designed many of the art deco buildings in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a photo of him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

British comedian Rik Mayall dies at 56

British comedian Rik Mayall dies at 56

SIDE NOTE: I didn't always have a blog. I started off commenting on Missouri Radio Message Board and Ron Davis' Chatter blog, where I made numerous enemies. During this time, I swiped one of Rik Mayall's catchphrases from The Young Ones.

On The Young Ones, the character of Rick, frequently would say, "Please don't make fun of the woman I love!" if the punker, Vivian, made a disparaging remark about a female celebrity (usually British TV star Felicity Kendall).He also got upset if people made fun of singer Cliff Richard.

There was an anonymous commenter on the Chatter blog, who hated former KYTV reporter/anchor Cara Connolly (above). Anytime this jerk slammed Cara Connolly, I would reply with "Please don't make fun of Cara, she is the woman I love!"

From what I understand, my comments and old blog used to cause someone at KSGF to have violent fits like Vivian on The Young Ones.       

Friday, June 6, 2014


I don't like to do the whole "why-can't-things-be-like-they-used-to-be" shtick, because when dig deep most of the stuff people are longing for is still with us or a collective fantasy memory spread by talk radio show host, televangelist or bad Facebook memes. However, when I speak of something that has changed for the worst, I tend to pick something that really needs to be addressed that nobody else is even talking about. When did we turn being "OK" or "okay" into a bad thing?

When I was growing up "OK" or "okay" meant good or great. Chevrolet dealers used the term OK for its used lots (the sign is pictured above) and a popular self-help book was entitled "I'm OK, You're OK." This old laxative commercial from the 60s used "OK" as something positive.

At some point, within the past few years, "OK/okay" has become a dirty word with the service industry. Servers in restaurants, tellers in banks and salespeople in grocery and department stores seem to be offended if  when they ask "How are you doing?" you answer "OK/okay." They want to force you to upgrade your mood or condition. This seems to happen more with large national chains. The worst offender is Chilis. I love the food and the service - except when they scold you for saying the food or my life at the moment is "Just okay?!?!"  I'm sorry, when I say "OK/okay," it means "great," "terrific" or "wonderful." It is not an insult. Target is also bad about doing this.

The stupidity of this was driven home to me a few nights ago. I went to Hy-Vee to buy my groceries. As I was walking in, a Hy-Vee employee was walking out to the parking lot.

"How are you tonight, sir?" he said.

"OK," I answered, because I was feeling good and content with life at that moment.

"JUST OK?!?!" he snapped.

What did this little dweeb want me to say? "OMG! I AM MARVELOUS! I AM IN ECSTASY! I AM ABOUT TO PEE MY PANTS IN EXCITEMENT BECAUSE I'M GOING IN TO HY-VEE TO BUY STUFF TO EAT!!!" or would he want me to say, "To tell you the truth, my life is Hell. My wife left me, I have terminal cancer and I was just fired from my job. Thanks for wanting me to fake joy." Since this is a pet peeve of mine, I snapped back, "Yes, just okay!"

Later, I'm in the check-out line when this employee walks up with a grey-haired lady and two cucumbers (or two zucchini, not really sure) and says to the guy checking me out, "We are going to have to give these to that lady for the lower price because blah, blah, blah. Now I have to go back out to clean up that mess in the parking lot because blah, blah, blah."

I pay and take my grocery bags to my car. The guy walks past me on his way back into the store and he says to me, "I hope your life improves before you come back to our store." WTF?!?! Apparently, my typical easy-going nonchalant attitude upset Grumpy Gus, who was about to have a meltdown over a messy parking lot and the price of produce, so he was going to punish me for not being happier than he was. If he was in such a fowl mood, would he want me to come in to Hy-Vee dancing and singing like the guy in the pink suit at the end of Groove Tube?

In the 70s, the trend in customer service was to say "Have a nice day." It became so associated with that decade that Rhino records in the 90s released a compilation of kitschy singles from the 70s entitled "Have a Nice Day." As time wore on, a common complaint became that when a supermarket checker, fast-food worker or bank teller said to a customer, "Have a nice day" they may not know the circumstances of the customer's life at that moment: such as saying the phrase to a person who just lost a spouse. That could defiantly be said for saying "Just OK?!?!" to a customer. It is kind of like the employee is secretly saying, "I don't care if your child has leukemia or you had to file for bankruptcy, the corporate office demands that I force you to be overly happy! So help me, Pharrell Williams!" At least, "have a nice day" sounded pleasant. Asking "just OK?!?!" has a rude arrogance to it.

Think of it this way, you are happy when a doctor or EMT says you or a loved one is "OK/okay," so why should a business expect a customer to be more than "OK/okay."

Of course, my opinions are why I am considered the Super Villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! 

Monday, June 2, 2014


I post many links to obits of well-known celebrities of the past. Surprisingly, these draw quite a few people to the website. However, when a major star or celebrity passes, they usually have an obit or tribute one every major news website. That is when I give the readers of this website something different. Either a personal recollection or interesting trivia not included in other news media tributes. Last week, poet Maya Angelou passed away. I'll admit I was busy with trying to meet a deadline for a project that didn't get met (Still working on the project but now on my time schedule). Since every major news organization had great tributes to this talented poet, I decided to cover another part of her career: Calypso singer. I have seen photos of this LP, so I tracked down a viral recording for you. Enjoy!

Actress Lee Chamberlain dead at 76

Actress Ann B. Davis dies

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