Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Hi, this is Jeff, Dedinova's nice "twin brother"! I mentioned on the podcast that I was doing research on a novel that will take place in the Spring of 1966. While looking through the old Springfield Daily News issues on microfilm at the Springfield-Greene County Library Center, I discovered an advertising character called Mr. AG (pictured above). I've been told A-G stands for Associate Grocery, which I believe is now known as Associate Wholesale Grocery.
After seeing this character, I tried to find pictures of him on the Internet, but couldn't remember the company name. I really thought it was Mr. A-P (A & P was in Springfield in 1966). I decided to Google a description of the character. Something like "grocery store - cartoon - advertising - big ears - pencil behind ear."
Low and behold, Google gave me pictures of a doppelganger known as Cheeky Charlie the Four Square Man (above). He has been used by the Four Square Supermarket chain of New Zealand since the 40s. As you notice, they look quite a bit alike. I wonder if they are cousins, clones or was Mr. A-G a rip off that disappeared after a lawsuit from the New Zealanders. Who knows.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
The new format for the podcast are a success. Jeff & Jamie's trial run as guest host of the podcast has had more hits than any other podcast on this website.This time Jeff is by himself with a musical montage on memories from the spring of 1966, the height of Batmania. Using the Airheads Radio Survey Archive as a reference, he has mixed the major hits, that have been overplayed on Oldies radio stations for years, with songs that were favorites on Top 40 radio, but have rarely been heard from since 1966.
This was the era of the British Invasion, Motown & Stax soul, folk rock, garage bands, and girl groups. Emerging sounds included psychedelia, easy listening and country pop.
How many songs will you recognize? Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
This is a trial run for a new format for the Desdinova Super Villain of the Ozarks podcast. I've turned the hosting duties over to some friends, Jeff & Jamie. They ad libbed a stream of consciousness podcast at the last minute. They will be working out the bugs for next time. Right now give a quick listen (less than 20 minutes) as they discuss cartoonist Syd Hoff, fast food restaurants Mr. Swiss and Del Rancho, the Ripley's Believe It or Not TV shows, the Playskool McDonalds playset, Andy Warhol illustrations in a children's book and a mention of the resent blog post about Laredo. Enjoy!
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Working on a possible novel, based on an earlier post on this and the previous long, I've been doing some research into the year 1966, that included some binge watching of the TV shows of that era. One old TV show I'm binge watching is a now obscure Western called Laredo, which ran from 1965 -1967. A few years ago, I posted list of what I considered the Top 10 Westerns. Laredo didn't make the list (because I wasn't familiar with it), but it is now one of my personal favorites.
From the 50s to the early 70s, Westerns ruled the television airwaves. It started with the "kiddie" Westerns, which were carry overs from radio and the Saturday matinees. The rise of the "adult" Western boom (which coincided with the rise of rock & roll) in the late 50s lead to nearly every show on TV being a Western. Eventually there was a shake out in the early 60s, where many of the new Westerns were, pardon the pun, shot down the minute they rode into town. From then on, the big guns (another bad pun) stuck around for several years, but there were occasional waves of new Westerns.
In the early 60s, there was a trend toward heavy dramas involving doctors, teachers, detectives, lawyers, psychiatrist, military members and one show, Route 66, was about two guys cruising around the country. The Westerns started fading, until 1962, when NBC launched The Virginian, a 90 minute long, color Western, inspired by the book and previous movie versions.
As the drama trend began to fizzle out, the industry decided to try again, with Westerns in 1965. The fall season saw several new Westerns, but by the next year, many had rode off into the sunset (another pun). Three Westerns were the exception. One, Big Valley, was a copy of the top rated Western and TV show, Bonanza, only with a white haired mother, instead of a white haired father. Then there was Wild, Wild West, which combined the Western with the current spy show trend. The other Western to survive that season was Laredo.
I mentioned The Virginian because Laredo was a spin off of that show. In an episode, that aired in March of 1965, The Virginian (James Drury) sends Trampas (Doug McClure) to Mexico to buy a bull for the Shiloh Ranch. Trampas manages to get into a fight over a woman with three Texas Rangers: Reese Bennett (Neville Brand, a W.W. 2 Silver Star recipient), Joe Riley (William Smith) & Chad Cooper (Peter Brown). This episode was later released to movie theaters under the title Backtrack.
That fall, Laredo debuted on NBC. It was a hour long and in color. The producers wanted the show to be a sort of Western version of the Three Musketeers and Gunga Din, with a dash of Three Stooges. In regards to the later, some of the fight scenes were punctuated by cartoon sound effects. Laredo took a cue from another NBC show, The Man from UNCLE, and was rather tongue-in-cheek. Much of the humor was derived from Chad and Joe constantly making jokes about Reese's age, weight and looks.
A little side story here: my sister laughs every time some one names a baby girl Reese. She knows they had Reese Witherspoon in mind, but she always, in the back of her mind, she pictures Neville Brand.
|L to R: Brand, Brown, Smith, Carey|
The main characters included the aforementioned Reese, a slovenly, dimwitted, hot-headed, middle-aged, former Union soldier with a face that only a mother could love and the voice that sounded like he gargled Draino, Chad the handsome, womanizing, gambling smart-ass, Joe the soft-spoken, muscular, reformed gunfight that was raised by Native Americans (explains the beads & buckskin he wears) and their stern, often frustrated boss, Captain Parmalee (Phillip Carey).
In the second season, a forth Ranger, Erik Hunter (Robert Wolders, above), was added. Probably the most unusual character on a Western since Dr. Loveless of Wild, Wild West. Erik, like Joe & Chad, was a young hunk. He looked like a cross between Michael Landon and Lee Majors, spoke like a cross between Cary Grant and Charles Boyer and dressed like a cross between Prince and Porter Wagoner. Erik is good at two things: plotting to ways to capture the criminals and stealing the woman Chad is interested in.
Unlike other TV Texas Rangers such Jace Peason and Cordell Walker, these guys tend to screw up constantly or get sidetracked by a card game, bar fight or sex. Unlike those other shows, there isn't a heavy handed moral, but more of a off - the - wall tone, closer to 70s films like Animal House and Caddyshack. Pearson and Walker were like knights, the Laredo boys behave more like high school jocks or frat boys.
The show was placed on the prime time schedule opposite some of the most popular shows of the time. Another problem the show had was Neville Brand's drinking caused problems during production.
Laredo was not rerun until the advent of cable station with exclusive Western or nostalgic programming. However, fans seemed to have a fondness for the show. The DVD sets have come fast sellers.
I actually prefer the second season shows, because they seem to be satirizing Western lore, the dialogue is funnier, schemes are more outrageous (Reese in drag) and the traditional Western score is replaced with a jazz score.
Check out Laredo. It is a fun and overlooked Western that dared to be different. I think it defiantly needs a reboot or big screen adaptation. What better way to end this post than the front and back covers of the only Laredo comic book produced.