Tuesday, December 31, 2013

years ago, but...I'm still in Saigon!

on to Saigon...again   (re-post)
NBC News flew me first class to Tokyo and then to Saigon. On the leg out of Japan I had my first taste of Kobe Beef.  Never in my life had I tasted anything as good.  Beef just melting in your mouth...no need to even chew.  It was the first time I ever ask for seconds of airline food!  To this day I’ve never been able to find Kobe beef in any of the places I’ve been.  And I’ve eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the world.  What a shame.
My NBC news corespondency got off to a rocky start.  Upon arrival in Saigon there was no one to meet me at the airport.  This was not a big deal because of my experience in Saigon earlier...but it should have giving me pause because of the breakdown in the “protocol” of not greeting a new reporter.  I made my way to the NBC News office and a somewhat surprised staffer immediately contacted the bureau chief who wasn’t around... who blamed the whole thing on New York.  I found out later that a new boss was coming in shortly so the whole Saigon bureau was in a state of flux. 
I settled in at a nearby hotel which wasn’t too bad...and no rats to traverse to get to the front door.  
My reports were fed to New York via phone line at 7AM and 7PM each day...seven days a week.  During the balance of 1969 and   1970...I had more stories broadcast by NBC Radio news on the hour than any other correspondent before or since.  On any given day New York would run from three to five or more reports from me...ending with “Stan Major...NBC News Saigon”.  My parents were very proud...and I was making a lot of money based on reports aired on the network.
Shortly after I arrived in Saigon the bureau got a new boss. The new bureau chief shall remain nameless for reasons that will become painfully obvious in the next pages.
The guy (like the rest of us) had his watch ripped off his wrist by the infamous “Honda mafia” dudes.  Saigon had a bunch of them...guys doubled up on motorbikes who would rip the watch off your wrist as you were being rick-shawed down the road.  We soon learned to trade our expensive watches in for a Timex..no expansion band please.
Well..the new boss was livid about losing his watch.  
      So angry in fact that he ordered all three tv correspondents and crews...about nine staffers in all with cameramen and soundmen to be dispatched to several key places where known watch thief's operated.  He wanted to catch the culprits on film.  So...the whole war stopped on the tv side for a couple of days while they staked out the roads and bridges in Saigon on behalf of this guy’s bruised ego.
     They never did catch anything on film, of course.  We had some good guys there...like Kenley Jones and Robert Hager who wasted their time on this and were obviously embarrassed by it.  
I didn’t cover much on the TV side.  Because as radio correspondent I had to meet the two circuits seven days a week so I was landlocked in Saigon most of the time.  If there was an interview or story in Saigon that needed both tv and radio I would cover it which allowed Hager and Jones and others like the late Wells Hangen to roam the war zone for their stories.  Wells was killed in Cambodia shortly after I came back to the states.  He was an excellent correspondent...of great reputation but I’ll always remember the day he broke the cardinal rule in our building.  
He took the French made elevator, something the rest of us were warned about, and was stuck in there for awhile.  He wasn’t too happy when they finally got him out.   We all learned quickly not to trust three things made by the French:  elevators...telephones and plumbing!
Anyway, I soon learned how the Pentagon got its points across by using the media. I was dispatched to interview a General...but with the proviso that during the TV interview I ask him one very specific question which had been planted by the Pentagon with someone in New York.  So, about halfway through the interview I dealt him the planted question...he answered...and I made the Huntley-Brinkley report on NBC-TV that night.
Another interesting facet about NBC’s coverage of the war lay in the fact that I was told right off the bat after arriving in Saigon that each time I fed the circuit (reported stories to NYC) which was twice a day...seven days a week...I had to include a war story i.e. something about a battle somewhere and causalities.  This was tough at times because some mornings there just wasn’t anything to report.   But I would scratch around and rewrite something from the day before or perhaps write a short piece about a possible engagement forthcoming...just to give the impression there was still a war going on.
I never really found out the “why” of this rule  at NBC News Saigon...whether it was New York inspired or just a local edict.  There are two possible answers here:
a.  The brass in New York wanted an antiwar slant a couple of times a day and the best way to get that was an increasing American causality count. (see Iraq coverage)
b.  The local bureau wanted to insure their continued full staffing so what better way than to pretend there was a big battle everyday. 
Take your choice.
One wonders if the same ground rule applies for current Iraq coverage.


life at 30 rock!

Bad luck...good luck really happens....(re-post)

Losing an election for Congress (never really had a chance).
Accidentally setting fire to our Stone House on the farm...
but..I’m a firm believer in the “bad luck-good luck” syndrome and a couple of weeks after all that bad news...I got a call from NBC News Chicago...drove over to the Loop and went to work as a writer/editor for Floyd Kalber, Jim Ruddle, John (Bud) Dancy and a bunch of others at NBC News in the  Merchandise Mart.  The highlight (or low light) of my few months with NBC News in Chicago were the riots of ‘69 on the west and south sides.  
We could watch the fires from the windows of the Merchandise Mart.  Also...I got a real education about the liberal media...watching writers editing film to make Mayor Dick Daley look bad!  But that’s a whole ‘nother book. 
It didn’t take long for the honchos in New York to call me in because of the two earlier freelance trips on my own to Vietnam. I auditioned for the main NBC News radio correspondent slot by writing a five minute newscast and reading it into a mike as they listened in NYC.
So...I had burned down the house...got beat by John Anderson...and within six months I was an official NBC News Vietnam war correspondent!  There must be some category of psychology that has a term for this “bad luck/good luck” syndrome but I only had one semester of that subject at Bradley University earlier...and sat next to All-American basketball star Bobby Joe Mason (later with the Harlem Globetrotters) and we talked basketball instead of the subject matter...so I don’t know.  Chet Walker...later a star with the Bulls sat in front of me in English.  Nice guy too!  Bradley was big in basketball!
NBC wanted me to fly in to the New York and spend a few days getting acquainted.  Also I had to get a new passport and all the damn shots again since it had been over three years since the last bunch.
It was quite a thrill being at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for that three or four days.  I watched the guy who sits at the big desk ordering crews all over the world to catch planes (or charter them) to go cover breaking stories. 
      One day I noticed a lot of the tv monitors were tuned to an alternate channel where actor Paul Newman was visible going up and down a flight of stairs. Constantly.
Turned out he was taping a show in one of the NBC studios on the floor below and all the females at NBC news had discovered they could watch him do his thing.  It was better than a soap opera.  (Note: I just checked Pauls 1969-70 films and I think he was making WUSA...which was mainly filmed in New Orleans.)
I think they also could have watched the rehearsals for Saturday Night Live that went on all week...But I only saw a cast member or two at the small restaurant down on the lobby level when I took a lunch break with my radio boss Russ Tornabene and his buddy...Edwin Neuman.  
I couldn’t believe I was lunching with Ed Neuman...and more than once.  Ed is the only newsman, I think, who was ever invited to host a Saturday Night Live show.  Spending some time, informally, in his presence was one of the great thrills of my life.  
And then came David Brinkley.  I spent my afternoons hanging out with the Huntley-Brinkley folks in their office.  Chet Huntley was on vacation...so Brinkley, who normally does his end of the cast from Washington  had moved to 30 Rock for the week.
He invited me into his office (no more than a large cubical with a desk and old fashioned typewriter) and lit up one of his constant king sized Salem cigarettes and said in that clipped Brinkley tone...”so you’re going to Saigon”...and I replied in the affirmative...sitting straight up in my chair in awe of the audience I was being given. 
       He took a long drag on the smoke and got a kind of a twinkle in his eye. “You know, Major, you ought to go over there and be the first peace correspondent in the war.  Tell it like it really is.”
I thought about it for a moment then replied that I really wanted to stay longer than a couple of weeks.  Which was probably the length of time it would take to replace me if I did that.
I don’t know if he was serious or not...but we chatted for a few more minutes and then I let him get back to work on his evening news script.
  Later, I observed Brinkley typing quite a bit and inquired of Les Crystal...the producer of the H-B report if Brinkley actually wrote the  whole show. He said...everything but the film intros but he checked them out too.
“Do you ever edit David’s stuff?” I ask.
“Are you kidding” Crystal he laughed. “ I’d rather edit God!”!
But Crystal was worried about a piece of footage being used on that evenings’ newscast.  Seems there was a shot of a woman with a see-through blouse...and the shot was a required part of the story so it couldn’t be dropped.  When I saw Les the next day I said...”well how did the shot go?”
“Not one call” he said.  No stations or viewers called to complain. You never know.
Much later when I was doing a talk show in Philadelphia David Brinkley jumped to ABC (he told me he couldn’t stand CBS) and began his “This Week” show but for some strange reason it wasn’t going to be carried by the Philly ABC affiliate.  When I found out I got David  on my show and I started a campaign which eventually resulted in them taking his Sunday show.  It was important to him as Philadelphia was the 4th largest TV market in the country. He was forever grateful to me.

     say “30” to 30 Rock...now on the Saigon(again).


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a girl who serviced the SS

or...how I could have ended up in a Czech prison camp (re-post)
        Few get a transfer in the Army.  That is just plain fact.  At least not often that's for sure!    
     I did...but it took magic.
    I worked directly under a guy why would process any transfer requests...and kill them!  But I became friendly with one desk jockey who told me how to beat the system.
    He said it depends on the strength of the unit...not only where we were but also at AFN Germany in Frankfurt...the network equivalent of CBS or NBC for the armed forces.
    If we were over-strength, he said, and AFN was under-strength...so...they could not block the transfer request.   However...he said the Colonel who ruled us all would likely “sit” on the request until we lost some men...or until AFN got some.  Then he could cancel it.
    He recommended that I volunteer for some extra duty to catch the big boss’s attention so I offered to be a courier to 7th Army Headquarters.  
    Now I must digress once again here because this was really an example when my “angel” took a hand in stopping me from starting World War III.
    I took the top secret pouch and headed for the train from Nuremberg to Stuttgart, Germany.  Things went quickly... so after dropping the pouch off I decided to check for a little “action” in Stuttgart.  It wasn’t long when another GI and I were chatting... I noticed a pretty good looking girl was taking an interest.  We introduced ourselves and the three of us window shopped and then offered to buy her a drink.  She replied...”Why not just get a room?”
   We did...and that’s the way things happen in Europe. She wasn't a hooker....but her story was fascinating.
    She said she had “serviced” the German SS officers during the last part of the war...and actually...she missed it!  
Weird to us but the way things were in in 43-44...I could understand.  She told us she was working with a group of about 20-30 young girls and that was what they did.  Probably the only way they survived.
How I almost ended up in a Czech prison camp!
    It was still not that late so I checked out of the hotel and caught the last train back to Nuremberg...figuring I could sleep on the way.  I told the conductor to wake me before we got to Nuremberg and I’m sure he understood.
    I only woke up when I noticed the train had not moved for sometime.  
  A big  burly guy in a long green coat holding a rifle was standing over me. I looked around at the empty coach and said “Nuremberg?” and he laughed.

"I AM NOT A SPY"....or How I might have started World War III...or at least ended up in a "Czech" prison as trade bait for a real spy.
   The train had reached the border of Communist Czechoslovakia.
Now I must remind you I was in uniform...which probably saved a lot of trouble for me.  American military personnel are not allowed within about ten clicks of any border...but here I was ready to get off the train and step into a cold war nightmare. 
But this fellow was a fellow "well met" and he joked that I needed some coffee so we went into the small border station where I shook hands all around and said hello to several other border guards before having my hot cup of Czecho coffee.  
It seemed the conductor forgot to wake me when we stopped at Nuremberg (probably on purpose...a left over unhappy German.)  The guard spoke excellent English and said I would have to wait for a few hours for the first train going toward Nuremberg and suggested I go back to the rail car I had been in and get some rest. He assured me they would wake me in time fore the train.   Which they did.
I thanked them for treating me well and waved goodbye and never mentioned all this to anyone.  Are you kidding..with my transfer about to be finalized!  
I did hear about something much crazier than this happening...which was kept quite for years.  Rumor had it that an American infantry officer mistakenly led his battalion across the border and into communist territory but soon realized his mistake and got the troops back before they were discovered!  And no one ever got the goods on that for the New York Times.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Re-post:drunk as hell and guarding Hitler's airstrip!

.....welcome to your new home, Private Major (re-post)

        Like I said earlier...it WAS indeed a bumpy ride across the Atlantic. but upon arrival my "guardian angel" seemed to appear...read on: 
        When we got to Bremerhaven, Germany they lined us up and ask anyone who could type to please step forward.  This sounded like a good way to get out of supply...so I stepped forward.
    I was sent to a unit that would play a major part in my getting an eventual transfer (unheard of in the military) into Armed Forces Radio.
    I became a clerk-typist at the 2nd Armored Division headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany where the famous Nazi war crimes trail took place ten years earlier.
    This...for the Army...was good duty. Make that...great!
    We were based in an building that had been a key SS headquarters for Hitler’s military...called simply the SS Kasern in south Nuremberg. It had lots of bullet holes on it!


   The office work was easy...and every night we hit the town for beer and jazz.  They had some great jazz clubs and American soldiers were very welcome...even though  we still used script at the time...which was like monopoly money but good anyway.  
    I remember one club had a drummer who, in my opinion, was as good or better than the famous Gene Krupa.  He played so hard he kept having nervous breakdowns but boy was he hot.  He could solo on the drums for about an hour at a time....and nobody would miss the rest of the band!  I’d never seen anything like it.
    We bunked between two and four to a room...and most of the guys were smart...well educated and friendly.   Typical was one PFC who’s Dad had invented the plastic dixie drinking cup or owned the the Scott paper company or something like that ...and he had to be rich as hell.  But he didn’t act like it...he was just one of the nicest guys around.  I often wondered what happened to him.  His son is probably running the company by now.  
This was not the case later at AFN...American  Forces radio.  A snotty kid came in for duty...he let us all know his Dad owned the biggest steel mill in Ohio and he was rich and acted it.  He bought a snazzy Mercedes 300 SL and drove it around showing it and himself off. The only nice thing he did was to buy thousands of dollars worth of ham radio equipment so he (and we occasionally) could contact our loved ones back in the states. I got in on that and I thank him for it.  
However I heard that after he returned to the states he was killed driving recklessly on the Ohio turnpike in that SL.  Sad.
New years 1955 was approaching and us new guys found out what happened New Years eve.     We were restricted to the barracks but everyone bought a big bottle of their favorite hard liquor...no wine allowed... and the approach to the new year was passed by taking your bottle and a large mug and going from room to room and sampling everyone’s bottle.  Awards were given for the guys who could make it from one end of the hallway to the other and it was a really long, long building!
    About 11:30PM we were all goners...weaving all around the place and then a typical Army thing happened.  We heard the call to fall in for formation.
    Well...I’ve got to tell you it was something else.  I guess maybe I was the soberest but I was plenty woozy from the mix of the booze and could hardly make it down the stairs to the parade ground standing up straight.
    After we sort of composed ourselves in some kind of formation the sergeant yelled that five of us were needed for all night guard duty.
    Man ...it was quite a scene.  My buddies kept passing out on the ground and of course nobody volunteered so the Sarg picked five of us...and yep...wouldn’t you know he focused in on me... I guess because I was still standing fairly straight up.
    We headed back to our rooms to gather heavy coats and weapons.  But we were not allowed to take any ammunition.  That would be tempting fate with the condition we were in.

   A couple of jeeps pulled up outside the barracks and took us to our posts.
 As luck would have it I got Hitler’s underground airport.  Nothing like all the Nazi ghosts in the world gathering around me, all alone,  for the next few hours until daylight.  Lucky I was drunk...otherwise it would have got to me.
   Hitler had ordered his architect Albert Speer (of later book fame from jail) to build an airstrip next to the Nazi Rally grounds on Zeppelin Field...but the end of the runway would go underground so Hitler and his henchmen would be safe from allied bombing.  There were underground walkways from there to all parts of the city of Nuremberg and we were told to be careful because the Germans had mined all of them!  I've wondered if the mines were ever dealt with.  If the city goes up sometime you'll know the rumor was right!
  So there I was...with an empty rifle...barely able to stand up...and in the dark, cold German night all I could see was the outline a Hitler’s half completed World Congress building where he had planned to have the leaders of  his conquered nations meet once the war ended. But it didn’t work out that way.
   Finally, the dawn came and with it a jeep to cart us back to the barracks and badly need sleep.
  But it was a duty and night I’ll never forget.

Here's an interview I did recently for AFRTS archives:http://afrtsarchive.blogspot.com/2014/01/stan-major-afn-1955.html




James Dean...in the Army?

When he crashed into that other car and died instantly...many were left wondering what his future might have been.
Well...we know a little about that.
He was draft eligible....from his hometown of Fairmont, Indiana.
Picture it...James Dean the original “rebel” in the U.S. Army for two years.
What would he do?  How would he act?  Well...we’ll never know.
We can measure what he might have done by comparing him to Elvis Presley who was in the Army in Germany in 1956 when Giant was released just after Dean was killed.
They both were superstars...both from small towns...where manners are taught...and reactions are typical.
     What you do in a small town where everyone knows you is quite different than drinking coffee on the Sunset Strip in LA with your “groupies” at 3AM. There you are playing your part.
I think Dean would have been fine with the Army.  He probably would have been sent overseas to Europe ala Elvis...and I believe it would have been his very first trip out of the United States so that in itself would be exciting for him.
The Army doesn’t encourage personality problems and as big a star as Elvis was...he was good enough in the khaki to make Sergeant.  I was ok in the Army in Germany and never got past PFC.
Dean would have come back more mature...we all did.  
Serving for two years of your life helps make you a man and that effect would have been beneficial to James Dean the actor as he renewed his profession in Hollywood.
Now as to what kind of scripts would be available to him after two years “missing in action”...well..that’s anyone’s guess.
It’s intriguing to think on that....and sad that we’ll never know.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

James Dean...I remember

James Dean lives on...

  In the mid fifties when I was back from Germany and working at the Beverly Hills P.O....I was going through my James Dean phase.
I went to see Bill Blast...his best friend who was kind enough to see me for a hour and answer a lot of stupid questions....but he didn’t seem to mind. (He even showed me a letter from his friend actor Roddy McDowell on the set of “Cleopatra” where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were carrying on in full sight of the press and since she was still married to singer Eddie Fisher...some cast members were waiting for the police to come and bust them all. Seems Italy frowns on adultery.)  
I drove north to the infamous intersection where Dean crashed into another car dying instantly....I took the same route he took.
I had already visited his grave site in Fairmont, Indiana...and  was repelled by the chipped off areas of his tombstone...some people have no regard for anything.
On my way to California from Chicago I got off the Texas interstates and drove to Marfa and was given directions to the Giant filming location south of town.  
There I parked and collected small pieces of the set laying on the ground which I would later cement to baseboard...making  a strange looking memorial from the movie.
Then, also, when doing my radio talk show in New Orleans in the 70’s I had the honor of having actor Chill Wills on my show. I questioned him about Dean as they spent a lot of time shooting scenes in Giant together. His consenses was the kid was a great actor but messed up in the head.  Also Chill confided that he didn’t think Dean took a bath the whole time in Marfa.  As Liz Taylor was kind of his “mommy” then I doubt she would let him stink up the set.
I would soon get over all this but before that happened I bought a copy of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry.  Just like Dean I was enthralled by it.  But I didn’t take it as seriously as he did...although I would recommend it to anyone because lessons can be learned from it. 
        “To forget a friend is sad...for not everyone has had a friend.”
Remember the fox.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

my plane ride to prison

up, up, and away  
...ugh...not again!
If you read my previous posts about my declaration of NEVER flying in a light plane or chopper again (after three tours of Vietnam...the last for NBC News) then you’ll be amazed that I caved in and did it.
Also because of the tragic death of my friend Bob Collins of WGN Chicago and the crash of NBC News  Chicago anchorman Floyd Kalber into a cornfield not far from our farm (he was unhurt!) well... you know my real feelings.
I was at WIOD Miami doing two hours of talk nightly from 7-9PM  
The state of florida was going to “fry” John Spenkelink on May 25, 1979 in the prison in Starke, Florida not far from Gainesville.
I told our boss I’d go up there and tape my next show and he said the traffic guy...Walt Mcdonald...would fly me up and back in his plane.
I wasn’t happy about that but Starke had no airport for jet planes so what else could I do.
Walt was a great guy and a lot of fun and (thank god) a really accomplished pilot.  We had first met in Philly where he did traffic reports for WWDB the Talk Station when I was there.   Now he did the same for us in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.
All the way up there (it was evening...getting dark) I was tense and he sensed it and tried to take my mind off it but didn’t succeed.
Once there with my feet thankfully and safely on the ground I went about covering the story.  The press was massive as this was the first execution since the Supreams had made it legal again.
One of the first press guys I ran into was my old combat correspondent buddy from Saigon...Kenley Jones.  He was happy to see me and in from Atlanta to cover the killing festivities for NBC News.
They fried Spenkelink...and I taped a bunch of stuff and Walt and I headed for the airstrip and his plane.
I’d like to say I slept on the trip back but I didn’t.  
After we touched down at the small airport near the radio station...I renewed my vow “never again”...but not outloud.
I thanked Walt for the  good job and we went our separate ways.  but...for me...never again, again!
I know what some of you will say.
“You're safer up in that plane than on the highway!”
thanks...but I’ll stick to the highway.


the Apple Holiday spot debate

while the debate about the Apple holiday spot continues......

......there's no debate about the Miller Christmas Card...

.........it's the best one ever (re-post)


            copy the above... and paste and enjoy!



It might be, it could be, it IS!

Baseball broadcast legend Harry Caray and open mics...

I was a disc jockey at WGEM Quincy, Illinois back in the Harry Caray/St.Louis Cardinals era....long before the Cubbies.
About an hour before game time the St Louis engineer(s) would often test Harry and Joe Garagiola’s mikes and then leave them open.  
oh boy!
Harry was great at play by play...the best EVER in my opinion.  But he did have an eye for the ladies.
When he spotted one in the stands that impressed him he’d shout over to Joe:
“Look that the boobs on that blond would ya!”
It was fun for any anyone listening in cue (off the air we hope) on some 150 or more stations each day!
To paraphrase Harry Caray’s famous home run cheer:
“It might be...it could be...it is...a buxom blond!”
He WAS the best!


Friday, December 27, 2013

From Ben-Hur to my front seat!

Finlay Currie...and life as an actor.

From Ben-Hur to driving tester!

For many years I’ve wondered about the old guy who gave me my first California drivers test in Los Angeles back in the late 50’s.
When he slid into the passenger seat I looked at him in awe.  I’d seen him on the screen...I was sure.  
I didn’t know or ask him his name.
We were both just concentrating on the test and he passed me this first time around.  The word is nobody passes that first test.
I’ve been on the lookout for years because I know I’ve seen him in films and thanks to LISTAL on the web...I finally found him.
He was Finlay Currie...not a real famous name but a man who worked in many films but never struck it rich.
He had small parts in Ben-Hur...Quo Vadis...Solomon & Sheba....Ivanhoe and a larger part in “Great Expectations”.  He worked a lot...but much of it was television where he probably was not paid that much...therefore the California Drivers License offices allowed him to make some money in between film work.
You have to understand...there were stars making a bunch of money but there were also alot of others who just had to eat.  The fact that he was a drivers license officer does not detract from his talent or achievements in Hollywood but it’s an example of what actors have to do to get by.
You can go here to find his picture or just Google his name:

If the excellent actor Finlay Currie never worked as a driver tester, my apologies, but he must have had an identical twin then.  His picture explains what I mean.  Hard to mistake a face like that!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

long ago...and far away

My 8th grade pin up girl (in pain) :  Susan Peters?

The question mark is I’m still not sure. It was long ago and far away (my favorite 40’s song)...and my sister Sallee is sadly gone...she might have remembered.
I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I was taking a ride with my friend’s Dad out to a small creek we liked near my Effingham, Illinois home.
The father drove into a bumble bee nest....and not knowing just what to do..I panicked and got out and ran.  The bees zeroed in on me.
I was stung over twenty times and it really hurt.
Mom and Dad took me to the doctor and then home where I insisted that they let me sleep on a nice cool screened in patio rather than in my bedroom.  I was there about five days I think before I could even move a little bit.  And I would only eat red raspberries! 
For companionship I had seen this actress’ picture in a magazine and I cut it out and pinned it up on the wall where I could see it all the time.  I think it was Miss Peters...who (I didn’t know it then ) had an even worse mishap from a discharged rifle that paralyzed her and basically ended her career.                Anyway the brown eyes and hair reminded me of my first “crush”...my cousin Jerry in St. Louis so I liked it.
This was all going on at the height of the polio epidemic and the Doctor making a couple of house calls (remember those?) thought my immunity had dropped and I might have had a very light touch of THE polio disease.  After I got better he told my parents that IF I did get a touch of polio and was fine now...that meant I would never become afflicted with that terrible disease again.  Who knows.  The vaccine had not been developed yet.
I found Susan Peters pic(s) on a wonderful movie star website and here it is:

I also was able to identify a great old motion picture actor who gave me my first California driving test.  See next post on that!


red carpet...who are these people???

Red Carpet crap.....

Welcome, folks, to a new world of red carpet mediocrity.
You see them on the covers of the photo mags while waiting to check out.
The same faces are all over the entertainment shows early every evening. 
Their faces and shape are becoming famous...but...why?
Have they every accomplished anything in their chosen fields?  What are their chosen fields anyway?  Do they have any talent?  
Or is their real talent finding a camera and posing as the film whirls away...knowing that just that shot of them doing absolutely nothing will be in our living rooms shortly.
Come on you know the names...maybe.  Kim...Jessica...Lindsay..
Paris....etc.  Did I miss any?  Probably.  I just don’t know them.
But ask me about Julia, Meg and Sandy and I’ll talk all day!
Who cares if Meg wrestled Russell in her trailer in Ecuador or the same thing for Julia and Danny in Mexico and Sandy well...bye -bye ugly tattoo guy.
See...the thing about this trio of stars and I do mean real stars...is simply in addition to their proclivities mentioned...they have something these young poppies will never have.  
In the old days of Hollywood they called it...IT. Like...boy has she got IT!
This summed up their entire personna...which includes behavior on and off the screen...but above all talent!
Two of the trio won Oscars...and the other, Meg, did fine with the Globes.  Can you see Lindsey or Paris doing that????
So....brace yourself folks for mediocrity.  Cause that’s what the media is foisting on us by the truckloads.
Now, don’t get me wrong.  There is a long list of really hot and talented female stars in Holllywood...but as long as the Lindsay's and Paris’ of the the world get all the air and print time...Reese, Natalie, Kristen, Keira, Amy and another couple dozen I could mention won’t stand a chance of breaking through the MEDIOCRE barrier we’ve got now.
For me...I’ll continue to search Google news for tidbits on my trio...thank you.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Re-post...last net & Bill Leavell

the final network....

In late 2002 Bob Long the car guy told me to contact the National Radio Network in Boston and talk to Alex Langer the President.  Bob said he was interested in possibly making a change on their am drive show.  This would be competing with my old friend Doug Stephan...but that’s the way things go in this biz.
National net owned stations in several huge markets including Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh and the show was carried on KSDO SanDiego which was a deal maker as far as I was concerned.
Langer also made a deal with the Cable Radio Network to carry his shows.
So with a good board operator in Boston named Tim Mello we kicked it off at 6 am in morning drive and a few of my old stations came on board right away...WGNU St. Louis and WJNT AM & FM Jackson, Mississippi welcomed me back to their airwaves.  Also joining me was KFNX in Phoenix!
My station list was around 25 which was not bad for a start.  The internet was growing quickly and all National Net shows were on the web.
Doc Leavell came on with me a couple of times a month or even more so the talk was good and at least I sounded awake!  Other guests included Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs and I got on the selective list of authors and political big whigs so the show went fine.
It was later that year when Bill Leavell and I began the process of discussing the pro’s and con’s of all the Presidents of the United States. We would deal with one President a show...beginning with George Washington...and going all the way to George Bush.  
Doc had a knack of digging out unusual facts about these men and their wives and family and it made for great listening.  My only regret is that we didn’t make copies of this for a package that could be offered to listeners or even libraries for reference.
This series was the highlight of my national broadcasting experience.
We continued on in the early morning hours for a year but due to a lack of advertising (partly my fault) Alex Langer decided to end it.
I understood his problem as he was probably offered paying deals for network time.
We ended on a good note with me thanking Alex and Alex saying what a great guy I was.
He picked up Doug Stephan’s show.
I continued to get new cars to review and appeared on Bob Long’s Autoworld program for years.
don’t go away...it still ain’t over.