Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Car Buying Experience

I have recently bought a new car and found that the times are changing. Years ago if you found a car that you wanted a salesman would take you aside and you had to haggle about the price. Just I got use to this in came Saturn. I have owned 2 Saturns and found that my first was an experience I won't forget. Everytime I tried to get the price lower they would not budge. It turned out they were as low as they could go and relied on good customer service & sales skills to get your business. I grew to really like this approach. This weekend I bought a new to me (used) car. Now I did get a good deal. It is a 2005 Dodge with low miles and you would not believe how low the monthly payments are if I told you. What I didn't like was that this time and one about a year ago when my wife got a new car was I felt like a hostage negotiator. I originally only went to look but, as expected, a salesman came up to help. Now here is where it changes. I told him I heard they were having a sale but was just there to look. He practically drags me in to get information. I give it to him but when he ask me to sign I refused. I don't believe in signing unless I am buying. Next he shows us around to ones that he thinks will match what we can pay. Hey I prefer to look by myself. If I see a Rolls Royce I know I can't afford it but at least I can dream and I might even get to sit in the car if the door is unlocked. Suddenly I saw a car that I was interested in and at the time I thought I could afford. He took my wife and I in to talk terms. Now here is where I made my biggest mistake. Since my car would be used as a trade in he asked for my car key so they could look at it to see how much they would give for it as a trade in. I gave him the key. I should not have done that. I should have said I will drive the car to them and open it so they can judge it. At least then I would still have the key. Once they had the key they had me where they wanted me. They kept telling me the price and the monthly payments. I kept being polite and saying I can't afford that so please give me my car key so we can go home and not waste each others time. They refused to give me my car. They just kept lowering the price of the car. Finally it got so low that the sales person asked if I would buy the car if he could get that price? I didn't think he could get the price so I said yes. I thought I was safe and would get my Saturn back. He got the price. Not wanting to be a liar I boiught the car. Now I am sure I got a good car. However, it was rotten customer service. I felt like it was my child and a stranger were being held hostage and when I paid the ransom they freed the stranger but kept my child. I have now learned not to give my car keys to the sales person. If I don't like the way things are going I can leave if I still have the car keys. I hope the car sales business makes quick changes. The customer may not always be right anymore but the customer always appreciates manners.
Now one of the reasons I wanted to get a newer car is that my Saturn had over 50,000 miles on it. I figured that it might start spending more time in the service station then it would in my driveway. However, it was paid off. For 3 years I didn't have a car payment. During those 3 years money was and still is tight. Now I have to pay for a car. So if any of you have and books, DVD's etc. that you want to buy for yourself or as birthday or Christmas gifts you can click on the Amazon links on the left and buy them there. If you do I get a percentage of the sale price.
Thanks and happy reading. Posted by Picasa

Marvel Comics Calendar 1977

What you see above is 90% of the cover of Marvel Comics 1977 calendar. This was given to me in 1976 as a Christmas gift from my cousin Steve. Normally I really don't like getting calendar's as gifts but this turned out to be a good gift for me. It has wonderful art from the cream of the crop of the comic book industry in the 70's. You see it gave you little bits of information on any comic book fans favorite hobby. Not just the birthdates of your favorite artist but also dates when certain books were published and when important storylines and characters took place. Now the dates may not always be accurate but I am sure they are close. As you can see I have kept this calendar for 30 years and except for a hole that something ate through the month of November, perhaps I ate too much at Thanksgiving, the calendar is in fine condition. I have found the trivia so interesting that I still read it to this day. When was the last time you heard someone say they had read a calendar and they weren't talking about the date? With Christmas only a few months away keep in mind your friends and relatives favorite hobbies if you decided to get them a calendar. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

Marie Osmond on Crawdaddy

After seeing this posting on BookSteve's I was reminded of the above issue of the only Crawdaddy magazine I ever bought. The above photo I had to get from this site
as I lost my copy. Of course I got it because of the crush I had on Marie Osmond. I remember that they said they tried to get Marie in a bathing suit for her cover shot but she refused. (Good for you Marie!) I also found out for the first time that she was Mormon. I was probably the last person in the country to find this out. I remember that I couldn't believe that she couldn't drink caffeine therefore she could not drink most soft drinks like Coca Cola. There aren't too many Mormons in Kentucky so I didn't know this either. A few years later I had a job as an Usher at a movie theatre. My new freind there was Matt and he was of the Mormon faith. Whe he had to close at night he would always get a courtsy cup and fill it with Coke. He would always say "Now I'll be up all night." When he left others wondered why such a small amount would keep him up and I explained it to them. My cousin Steve and others I knew at the time were shocked that I bought Crawdaddy. I don't know why as there was nothing in it that wasn't in any other magazine at that time. I had never heard of the mag before. While I did see it for sale with others on the cover none of them appealed to me at the time. I don't know what happened to the mag but I have not see it since the 70's Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits

I write from time to time about stories that went on behind the scenes in the music industry. Some of what I write comes from having worked in the local broadcast industry on a part time basis. Others come from memory from what I have read in books or on the internet. One of those books that I have in my library is the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson. According to the "About the Author" section of the book Fred has worked for NBC. During his 12 years there he handled publicity for Bob Hope, Tom Snyder, Bonanza, Hollywood Squares, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Bionic Woman, Man From Atlantis, etc. His writing credits include the Counter-Clock Incident from the animated Star Trek series, Dick Clark's Rock Roll and Remember, The National Music Survey and a column for the British weekly Record Mirror. I believe I have read that he is the brother of Harold Bronson who started Rhino Records and is a freind of the Monkees. I guess that makes Fred their friend too.
Anyway this is a wonderful book full of inside information. This book is old as it ends in April of 1985 with We Are The World which was #1 when this book was published. The is an updated version at Amazon and those old fashioned book stores and libraries that I still love to haunt. If you love inside stories on how your favorites of any entertainment media are created then you need to buy this book. Take it from me you will enjoy every page. Posted by Picasa

This Day in Music History: Bill Haley and the Comets

I have decided to change the title of this part of my blog from It Was __ Years Ago Today to This Day in Music History. It just seems more fitting and you can figure out how many years ago it was when I give you the date. This day in music history actually got started several weeks ago when Bill Haley and the Comets took the song (We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock to the #1 spot on Billboards Charts on July 9, 1955. They held it for an impressive 8 weeks in a row. This was not the first rock and roll record but it was the first to be popular with a wide audience in the country and it gave Bill Haley the title that no other musician has ever held. He is considered the Father of Rock and Roll. The rock era had begun. Mr. Haley was not the one who even coined the term Rock and Roll. That honor goes to Cleveland DJ Alan Freed. Mr. Freed is the reason why Cleveland is considered the home of rock and roll and home to the rock and roll hall of fame.
In 1953 Bill Haley and the Comets were signed to Holiday Records owned by Dave Miller. At that time two songwriters, Max Freedman and Jimmy DeKnight wrote a song with Bill Haley and the Comets in mind to record it. Dave Miller however did not like Jimmy DeKnight and refused to let them record the song. Once their contract was up with Mr. Miller the group signed with Decca Records. In April of that year they went in to the studio to record two songs. One was called Thirteen Women and the other was the song that Dave Miller refused to let them record. It was Rock Around the Clock. The song was not a hit right off the bat. Mr. DeKnight decided to help it by sending copies of it to everyone he could think of in Hollywood. In 1955 the Glenn Ford film Blackboard Jungle was released and its theme song was Rock Around the Clock. Suddenly everyone wanted to buy the record. It was re-released and went to #1 on the charts.
In 1956 movie produce Sam Katzman signed Haley and his group to star in a movie called Rock Around the Clock. This was the start of bringing rock and roll to the movie and later the TV screens. So in around about way this would make Sam Katzman the father of the music video.
Bill Haley was never able to match the success of Rock Around the Clock. He was still popular enough in Europe to tour around the world. He did enjoy a brief wave of renewed popularity in the 60’s. However by the 70’s Haley fell into alcoholism. He died on February 9, 1981 at his home in Texas. Cause of death is listed as “natural causes most likely a heart attack.”

The above photo of Bill Haley and the Comets I got from this auction site.
Below you can see Bill Haley preform his biggest hit live when he was in concert in Austria in 1976. Just click on it and click on the control panel to view the preformance.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An Unlikely Group

I mentioned before how Tony Orlando and Dawn were an unlikely musical group. Well here is the reason why. You see Mr. Orlando started out to be a teen idol in the early 60’s. He had two hits on his own that made the top 40. However, by the 70’s he was just working as a studio singer. Producers from Bell records came to him one day to ask if he would sing on one of their records. The song they had was recorded by a group called Dawn but the record company didn’t like the lead vocals. Mr. Orlando agreed and recorded the song Candida. He thought that would be the last he would hear of the song. Radio stations loved it and gave it heavy rotation. It wasn’t long before it was a hit and reached #3 on the Billboard charts. Bell asked Tony Orlando and Dawn to record another song. The song the recorded was Knock Three Times. It went to #1 for 3 weeks on the charts. Bell Records wanted a group to tour but they were only studio singers and fake groups calling themselves Dawn were touring the USA and England. Dawn had two hits on the charts and the group members had not even met yet. Mr. Orlando lived in New York and Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson lived in California. Mr. Orlando kept calling Miss. Hopkins to find out what he could do to get the two girls to tour with him. Neither one of them wanted to tour and Miss Wilson was about to get married. Finally to just to get rid of Mr. Orlando she told him that she and Miss Wilson had always dreamed of a first class trip to Europe. She said they would do it if they could get that. She thought that was the last time she would hear from him. He called her bluff. The next time he called it was to tell her that he had booked a tour of Europe and it was first class all the way. Telma had to call Joyce and tell her she had to postpone the wedding because they were going to tour Europe. Before the 70’s were over the group had 2 more #1 singles with Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree and He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You) and their own television series. To me this is one of the most unlikely success stories I have heard. Now if someone would read something I put on this blog and produce or publish it that would be a wonderful success story too.

P.S. I just found this out before this article went to post. This is how Tony Orlando and Dawn got their own TV show. After Knock Three Times was a hit in 1971 they had a hard time getting another one. Then in 1973, just as they were thinking of breaking up, their producers asked them to record a song that everyone thought would be a hit. Everyone but Tony that is. However, it was a song he just could not get out of his head. He said he found himself singing it around the house. So he gave in and Dawn recorded Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree. Tony was wrong the song was a smash hit and went to #1 on the charts for 4 weeks. The song was nominated for a Grammy and Dawn preformed it live. Watching the show was Fred Silverman of ABC. They were only on for about 3 minutes but he liked what he saw. He got some tapes from their manager of TV shows they were on in England and then went to see them in concert. After that he signed them up for a 4 week summer series. The rest is broadcasting history. The song itself has never died. It is the second most covered song of the rock and roll era. Yesterday by Paul McCartney is the most covered song of that era. Every time someone comes home from prison, war, etc. You know that song is playing somewhere. Posted by Picasa
Dick Tracy Tv Show Intro

Here is the introduction to the TV pilot for the TV series Dick Tracy. It never made it to series. It was produced by William Dozier who produced Batman and Green Hornet. If you regonize the star it may be because he was on a soap opera for many years. I believe it was All My Children. Also you can see that Eve Plumb was to be on this show before she was cast in the Brady Bunch.

Bat Clips

As my wife and I were returning home from our niece’s birthday party we made a stop at Walgreens. Here I saw something that I normally would have passed up but took a chance and found something I really liked. Now the outside of this DVD says that Bat Clips is an inside look at a Superhero phenomenon. They should say it is a glimpse. The back says that Batman has been at the top of movies, TV shows, comic books and fan conventions for 50 years and they have rare footage. Yes they do have rare footage but it is all about the 60’s Batman series. If I had seen it all before I would have been disappointed but there are some things that I had not seen. For instance you get to see the promo film that was only seen by network executives that sold them the idea to use Batgirl. She helps Batman and Robin defeat Killer Moth just as she did in the comic book. This is the only time Killer Moth fought the TV Batman. Killer Moth stuck mostly to fighting Batman in the comic books. It has a Batman and Batgirl promo for the ERA and for the Batman movie as well as the TV series. In the 80’s Fox TV aired a late show that for awhile reunited the cast of old shows from the 60’s. The highlight of this was reuniting the cast of Batman and Gilligan’s Island. On this DVD someone had a camcorder and you get to see backstage footage on what happened after the show ended. It was nice to see Alan Napier again as I believe this was his last time with the cast. You can tell he is not in good health. You get to see Adam West, Burt Ward, Yvonne Craig, Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin again. There is a fan convention with Adam West dressed as Batman. The convention must have been from the 80’s as he says he has been dressing as Batman for over 20 years. Also, the song Got My Mind Set On You by George Harrison can be heard playing in the background. Some of his comments were fairly suggestive but they say that he was always trying to slip those into the show too. So most of this was from the 60’s and 80’s and there is no mention of his early days in comic books or any of the animated cartoons or the movies about him in the last 20 to 25 years. Still while some of this has turned up on bootleg material at conventions, so some of you may have seen it, they are now available for over the counter purchase. If this had cost me $9.95 or even $4.95 I would have been disappointed. However, at Walgreens it was a steal for just $1.00. That is right only a dollar. So keep your eyes open at any Walgreens or any store that might carry Bat Clips. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

Variety Shows: Shields and Yarnell

After spending the first half of a decade getting pop artist to host variety shows where else could the TV networks go to get someone to host a show? Why street mimes of course. Robert Shields was a street mime in San Francisco who took a lot of abuse but his unyielding spirit helped him to rise up and become one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Dancer/ actress Lorene Yarnell saw him and joined his act. Later the two got married. On June 13, 1977 CBS aired the first episode of their variety series Shields and Yarnell. Joanna Cassidy and Ted Zeigler were regulars on the series with music provided by the Norman Maney Orchestra. The mixture of comedy, mime and dancing made the show an instant hit as nothing like this had been seen on television for quite sometime. One of their more popular sketches was called Clinkers. It was about two robots adjusting to their new life in the suburbs.
The show got picked up as a mid season replacement after its summer run was over. In January of 1978 the new series began. The regulars on the show had changed and were now played by Gailard Sartain and Flip Reade. The future seemed bright for this new variety series. However, there was one thing these mimes had not counted on. Laverne and Shirley was their time slot competition. The 1950’s based sit-com was one of the top rated shows that year and in two months they caused the end of Shields and Yarnell’s television career. The last episode aired on March 28, 1978. I may be wrong but I believe this was the last variety series produced in prime time. The two eventually divorced. They do get back together professionally from time to time to do a tour.
I had fun doing this series on variety shows. I had planned to end it with Donny and Marie but suddenly remembered this series and just had to say something about it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rest In Peace Mike Douglas

I just found out that longtime talk show host Mike Douglas just passed away. This show was always on in my house. It was one of the few talk shows that I liked to watch. Yes, there was Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin. They were ok and who knew what crazy guest Phil Donahue was going to have on next. Who knew most of the industry would follow Phil's lead? Then there was Mike Douglas. He did the kind of talk show I liked. He kept it fun. I wish I could remember more about the show. He had alot of musical and comedic guest. One tried to tell him how some people naturally say some words funny and get a laugh with them. After saying a series of words Mr. Douglas showed he said the word purple in a funny way. Not the best memory but means something to me. Roger Miller was also on the show and bragged about how he can rhyme anything. Mike put him to the test and he didn't rhyme very much. Having had a few hit songs with big bands he sang with Glenn Campbell, Rita Coolridge and John Lennon. Mr. Lennon and his wife Yoko hosted the show for an entire week. It was an event that is still talked about to this day. In the 70's there was a song to promote his show. It was "Mike makes your day! Happy and goofy and you'll like him that way!" My Mom was a fan of the show and she mentioned how the song was true and she felt better after watching his show. As the article in the issue of TV Guide above says he was the Dean of the school for housewives. Most talk shows today try to educate you or pander to the lowest common denominator in the human condition. Mike Douglas's show made everyone who watched his show feel happy. Not a bad legecy to leave behind.
The above cover is from TV Posted by Picasa

What Should Be Our Attitude In Prayer?

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, "Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, 'Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Yes, your servant is listening."
1 Samuel 3:8-10 NLTSpeak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on Thee; hushed my heart to listen in expectancy. Speak, O blessed Master, in this quiet hour, let me see Thy face, Lord, feel Thy touch of power.
Emily May Grimes
God revealedGod revealed himself mightily to the prophet Elijah, sending fire to burn the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. But later, as Elijah moped on the mountain, the Lord taught him an important lesson. There was a wind, an earthquake, and a fire—but the Lord was not in any of these. Then came a still, small voice. That was how God chose to speak to His prophet. The same is true today. We long for fire from heaven to silence the skeptics once and for all, but God doesn't usually work that way. Long ago He revealed Himself as a helpless baby sleeping in a dirty feed trough, and today He speaks quietly to ordinary people like you and me—if only we are still enough to listen. That is the sentiment expressed by Emily May Grimes in the words of the hymn, "Speak, Lord, in the Stillness."
From The One Year Book of Hymns (Tyndale House) Posted by Picasa

Variety Shows: Donny and Marie

ABC’s search for a hit variety series came to an end in 1976 with the Donny and Marie Show. Like some of the other shows we have discussed the host were related to each other. However, this time they were brother and sister not husband and wife. This way the network didn’t have to worry if they would get divorced and the show would be canceled as a result of marital problems. Rumor has it that Fred Silverman saw Donny and Marie Osmond co-host the Mike Douglas show and thought they could host their own show. He was right and signed them up. Sid and Marty Krofft were asked to produce the show. The first episode aired January 16, 1976. Donny was 18 and Marie was 16 when the series started but both were show biz veterans. Donny was four when he and his brothers were regulars on the Andy Williams show. Marie was also introduced to audiences on Andy Williams show and a few years later started a solo country singing career. Her big hit was Paper Roses. So as you can see these were not two rookies who were going to be taken advantage of. Paul Lynde, Johnny Dark and almost every member of the Osmond family were frequent guest on the series.
The show was designed to appeal to all family members. However, with the two stars being teenagers they became instant teen idols. My cousins and our friends in my area jokingly referred to the show as the Who? And Marie show. With a girl as pretty as Marie Osmond there were a lot of red blooded American boys that tuned in but might not have admitted it to their friends. Most girls I knew had no problem admitting they watched it because of Donny Osmond.
The music was pretty good. No matter what your taste is in music you have to admit they can sing. The comedy, while it was funny it was usually pretty corny. But that is what you usually can expect from most family comedies. The kids laugh at the old jokes since it is the first time they have heard it. The adults laugh because the delivery was very funny even though they already knew the punchline. As an example one time Donny’s brothers ganged up on him and dumped him into a giant whipped cream pie. Donny just looked up and said “I think I finally made a big splash on television.”
By 1977 the Osmond family decided they wanted to go home to Utah. They had a studio built in which to produce the show. The first episode they produced was the 1977 Christmas episode. The shows guests were the entire Osmond family, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Paul Lynde.
By this time Donny and Marie wanted to appeal more to adults. Marie hired Bob Mackie to design her gowns and had her 18th birthday on the show. In the final season Donny turned 21 and had his wife on the show. In the last few months the name changed to the Osmond Family Show. It ended its run on May 6, 1979.
Marie resumed her country singing career and sells dolls that she made on the QVC cable network. Donny has appeared on Broadway and was the host of the game show $20,000 Pyramid. Later Donny and Marie hosted a talk show together called…the Donny and Marie Show. It lasted one season.
The above cover is from TV Posted by Picasa