Posts Tagged ‘Biographical’

30 Random Things… including Meadowlark Lemon!

December 1, 2015

Meadowlark

1. Gorillas are my favorite animal.

2. I once had an autographed picture of boxer Duane Bobick.

3. My favorite musician is Warren Zevon.

4. In 1978, Olympic swimmer John Naber rushed me off a pay telephone at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

5. My 1999 Toyota Corolla has over 275,000 miles on its odometer.

6. I know all of the words to the Canadian National Anthem.

7. I’m a card-carrying member of The Three Stooges fan club.

8. I once rolled ten strikes in a row the very first time I used a new custom bowling ball that I bought on eBay. Never came close since.

9. Boiling in hot water is my preferred way of cooking hamburgers.

10. Shoulders are my favorite female body part.

11. I once ran into goaltender Bernie Parent coming out of a convenience store and held the door open for him.

12. I regret not picking up the cork from a champagne bottle celebration after Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Shiek to become wrestling champion.

13. While also working at the Madison Square Garden Network in New York City, I once gave Wayne Gretzky a television set.

14. As a child, I remember throwing up in the dentist’s chair. The dentist had hairy fingers and I gagged on a loose hair.

15. I like redheaded women.

16. Of all the movies that I have ever seen, I think I have watched “Goodfellas” the most.

17. The tip of the middle finger of my right hand needed 14 stitches when it nearly got cut off in the spokes of a bicycle.

18. I always had success fishing using slices of hotdogs as bait.

19. I remember crying when I once missed an annual episode of The Grinch That Stole Christmas. Had to wait 364 days to see it again.

20. Tying a postcard to a helium balloon to see how far it travels is something I always wanted to do.

21. In my youth, I was almost electrocuted playing “Hide The Penny” at a neighbor’s house. He hid it inside a lamp fixture.

22. I unofficially once held the world’s record for snatching a pile of quarters that were first balanced on my extended elbow.

23. Seeing Meadowlark Lemon and the Harlem Globetrotters perform live was a childhood thrill of mine. Immediately following that exhibition, I got to see Billy Cunningham score his 10,000th point as a Philadelphia 76er against the Cincinnati Royals.

24. My blood type is O Positive… universal donor.

25. As a kid, I nearly choked to death on a sour ball piece of candy.

26. “Act your age, not your shoe size” was a common expression. The closet I came was wearing size 12 at age 13.

27. I once won something in a drawing from a local television station but the letter arrived AFTER the deadline to pick up the prize.

28. I stand exactly 6 feet 0 inches tall.

29. I keep currency inside my wallet in ascending order with all Presidents facing the same way.

30. I once accidentally sent my first-born child to school with a can of beer in his lunchbox. Later I had some explaining to do with the school principal.

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Red Skelton Loved To Paint Clowns

October 5, 2015

Canvas, 11x14"

Comedian Red Skelton (1913-1997) always considered himself a clown rather than a comic. He believed his life’s work was to make people laugh so he wanted to be known as a clown because he defined it as being able to do everything.

In 1943, Skelton began producing artwork but did it privately for many years. He said he was inspired to try his hand at painting after visiting a large Chicago department store that had various paintings on display.

Skelton’s artwork of clowns remained a hobby until 1964 when his second wife Georgia, a former art student, persuaded him to have his first public showing of his work at the Sands hotel in Las Vegas where he was performing.

Skelton believed painting was an asset to his comedy work as it helped him to better visualize the imaginary props he used in his pantomime routines.

When asked why his artwork focused on clowns, he first said, “I don’t know why it’s always clowns.” After thinking a moment he continued by saying. “No, that’s not true. I do know why. I just don’t feel like thinking about it.”

Jayne Mansfield Almost Was Ginger On Gilligan’s Island

September 30, 2015

Gilligans_Island

With her acting career on the decline, blonde bombshell movie actress Jayne Mansfield was offered the part of Ginger Grant on Gilligan’s Island but turned it down at the advice of her third husband.

She continued taking bit parts in small B-rated films with an occasional appearance in a respectable production. She also worked in nightclubs.

A couple of years later, Mansfield would be tragically killed along with two other adults in an automobile accident in Louisiana while headed for a television interview. Her three young children with her in the rear of the car survived the crash, one of which was future actress Mariska Hargitay.

Jayne Mansfield was dead at 34 years of age. Had she been a castaway member of an iconic situation comedy filmed in California, she might have lived.

Gutzon Borglum: Four Presidents Get Stoned

September 27, 2015

Mount_Rushmore

The faces of four American presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln –
are carved from a granite mountainside high above the treetops of the Black Hills.

The Mount Rushmore carving took fourteen years to complete and cost $1 million, yet this Shrine to Democracy is priceless to Americans.

Visited by nearly three million people each year, this bucket list attraction is a meaningful part of vacationing in nearby Rapid City, South Dakota.

Between 1927 and 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the 60-foot busts to represent the first 150 years of American history.

Each head is as tall as the entire Great Sphinx of Egypt and majestically perched five thousand five hundred feet above sea level.

http://www.earthcam.com/usa/southdakota/keystone/mountrushmore/?cam=rushmore_cu

Happy Trails: Roy Rogers Had Some Rough Ones

September 19, 2015

Dale_Trigger_Roy

Roy Rogers was born as Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 5, 1911. He lived to be 86-years-old.

Besides being a singing cowboy and famous western movie and television star, he had quite a rough life. I never realized how rough he had it until recently.

When Roy was nearly 35-years-old, he was left with two small girls and a newborn son, all under 6 years of age, when his second wife Arline died from child birth complications. He and Dale Evans met and got married and had nine total children between them. Four were adopted.

In 1950, Robin Elizabeth was born with Down’s Syndrome. She died just before turning 2-years-old. Their Korean-American daughter Debbie died at age 12 in a church bus accident on its return from a goodwill mission at an orphanage in Mexico. Their grown adopted son Sandy died in the military while based in Germany.

Roy and Dale Evans were devout Christians and I have a feeling that their strong belief in that faith helped get them through the hard times.

Roy Rogers has several stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted in the Western Performers Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. His own museum was prominent first in California then it moved to Missouri before closing down in 2009.

His name and wholesome character were licensed to a chain of fast-food restaurants in 1968. He made a lot of money during his lifetime but being rich and famous couldn’t shield him from suffering some heavy tragedies during his long and illustrious career.

 

Help! I’m In The Middle Of My Midlife Crisis

September 17, 2015

happy_sad_faces

No, seriously. I truly mean that. I was initially typing up a blog entry that was going to blast social networking such as this and call it an empty excuse for virtual reality.

Then it got much more darker and I was complaining about how everyone online is trying to be more clever (yikes – bad english?) than the next person. It started going on and on about a “what if” scenario occurring that caused worldwide connectivity to collapse. Thousands of people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves or how to behave.

Then I stopped and said to myself, “What’s my point?” I started questioning my own negativity and refusal to acknowledge that wordpress or facebook or twitter does help people interract with other like-minded individuals.

It’s not a vast wasteland like Newton Minow attributed to television over fifty years ago. Well, sometimes it could be but, hey, I need to steer away from being negative.

I was starting to sound bitter and miserable while complaining that bloggers are only out to try and prove how unique they think they are or are only using these sites to sell books and/or artwork.

I stopped again.

Maybe it’s not you (collectively) who is bitter and miserable. Maybe it’s me.

I’m the miserable and negative person in this picture. It was me trying to project my drawbacks and failings onto you. What’s that old expression? Misery loves company? Ding.

I have my reasons for being miserable. If you only knew.

So how do I turn this around and focus, I mean really focus, on being positive? No one said that it was going to be easy. It gets increasingly more difficult as we get older.

Each of us is responsible for our own happiness. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our freaking forefathers wrote that.

How do I find my own happiness in middle age? That’s the sixty-four-thousand dollar question.

I’m not looking to blame my parents for this but I think being negative is a learned behavior from my upbringing. More likely it’s genetic. My mother was a negative person and she suffered from depression for the last twenty-two years of her life. Actually maybe more than that.

I do have alot of negativity going on in my life. I don’t wish to post my troubles here. See “About This Blogger” if you want to make contact with me.

Thanks. I could surely use an e-friend right now.

The Fine Line Between Sheer Brilliance And Insanity

September 16, 2015

vinnie

I didn’t even know who American pianist/composer/author/comedian/actor Oscar Levant was but now feel the need to apologize for paraphrasing him.

Natalie Wolchover of LiveScience asked the same question, “Why Are Genius and Madness Connected?”

Her views: “Many of history’s most celebrated creative geniuses were mentally ill, from renowned artists Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo to literary giants Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allan Poe.

Today, the fabled connection between genius and madness is no longer merely anecdotal. Mounting research shows these two extremes of the human mind really are linked — and scientists are beginning to understand why.”

The rest of her research becomes scientific and goes into explaining details about bipolar disorder. http://www.livescience.com/20713-genius-madness-connected.html

Not exactly the direction where I was heading but one of life’s little mysteries, only less mystifying.

Ty Cobb Was Much Taller Than I Ever Imagined

September 16, 2015

ty_babe

I’ve heard and read all the stories about Ty Cobb.

He is baseball’s all-time leader in batting averge. His lifetime percentage is .367 — led the major leagues 12 times in that category. Three times, he batted over .400.

It is common knowledge among baseball historians of how nasty and aggressive Cobb’s competitive spirit was.

How driven he was. How hated he was. By his opponents. By his own teammates. He had a reputation all his own.

To be fair, I have also read of other descriptions of Cobb as being a charitable man. Some accounts say he wasn’t as vile or as despicable as the media made him out to be.

However, when I stumbled upon a picture of him standing next to the legendary Babe Ruth, I was shocked by how tall Cobb
was.

I knew that Ruth stood about six foot two inches. The two Hall of Famers were just about standing eye-to-eye.

I somehow thought that Cobb, being the prototype lead-off hitter, was maybe five foot nine inches or perhaps five foot ten inches in height. Tops.

So I reached for my old copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia. The bible of baseball information. The book is huge. Over 1700 pages. Three inches thick.

I looked up “Tyrus Raymond Cobb.” Twenty-four seasons in the major leagues. Mostly played with the Detroit Tigers. Two seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Lo and behold: Six foot one inch.

To quote broadcaster Mel Allen, “How about that?”

That definitely surprised me.

Just 3 Three Stooges? Guess Again. Try 23!

September 12, 2015

23_notches

1) Moe Howard

2) Shemp Howard

3) Kenneth Lackey – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1925 “Earl Carroll Vanities”

4) Dave Chasen – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1925 “Earl Carroll Vanities”

5) Larry Fine

6) Curly Howard

7) Fred Sanborn – 1930 “Soup To Nuts”

8) Eddie Moran – Healy Replacement Stooge

9) Sammy (Glasser) Wolfe – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

10) Paul “Mousie” Garner – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

11) Dick Hakins – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1931 “Crazy Quilt”

12) Jack Wolf – Healy Replacement Stooge

13) Sam “Moody” Braun – Healy Replacement Stooge

14) Lou Warren – Healy Replacement Stooge

15) Bobby Pinkus – Healy Replacement Stooge

16) Jimmy Brewster – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1936 “San Francisco”

17) John “Red” Pearson – Healy Replacement Stooge in 1936 “San Francisco”

18) Frank Mitchell – performed live with Curly Joe and Mousie Garner

19) Joe Palma – fake Shemp double after his death

20) Mantan Moreland – Black comedian considered to replace Shemp

21) Joe Besser

22) Curly Joe DeRita

23) Emil Sitka – Considered to replace Larry after he suffered a stroke

Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe on the Pacific Coast Highway

September 12, 2015

cafe

Back in the 1930’s, this spanish-styled building on the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu was home to actress Thelma Todd. She lived in a top floor apartment overlooking the ocean and her restaurant, which she co-owned with director Roland West and his wife Jewel Carmen, was located below.

In mid-December 1935, Miss Todd, who bears a striking resemblence to present-day actress Drew Barrymore, was mysteriously found dead inside her garaged automobile just up the hill from the popular inn. She died from carbon monoxide poisoning but theories surrounding her tragic death vary from accidental to murder to suicide.

The property, allegedly still haunted by her ghostly spirit, is worth around $8 million dollars today.