Author Archives: B.P.

What Are Orioles Diering, Miranda & Ferrarese Celebrating In 1956?

Chuck Diering, Willy Miranda & Don Ferrarese Did Have A Good Reason To Celebrate… We Just Had To Figure Out What It Was.

Diering Miranda Ferrarese Yankee Stadium 1956

Orioles shortstop Willy Miranda is so tired that he required his teammates dry his hair off with a towel.

Actually its a  celebration of sorts taking place in the locker room thanking Mr. Miranda.

When I first came upon this photograph it had no identifying features except the names of Chuck Diering, Miranda and a badly misspelled Don Ferrarese. No year, no place, no story – nada. Continue reading

Jackie Robinson Steals Home…Again

May 18, 1952 Jackie Robinson Steals Home

May 18 1952 stealing home  photo AP

New York, May 18 – Artful Dodger Steals Home
Across home plate in a cloud of dust comes Brooklyn Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson as he completes one of baseball’s most daring maneuvers — the steal of home. Chicago catcher John Pramesa tries too late to put the ball on the speedy Robinson whose fourth inning larceny came with the bases full at Ebbets Field today. Cubs pitcher Willie Ramsdell was the victim of the play as Robinson beat the throw to the plate. The Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-2. (AP wirephoto)

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Old New York In Photos #113 – 42nd Street Looking West 1906

42nd Street Looking West From Sixth Avenue c. 1906

42nd Street c 1906 Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at RiversideOur photograph of 42nd Street is from the Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography. Keystone was one of the leading providers of stereoviews at the turn of the century.

The Keystone photographer shot this unusual second story viewpoint sometime around 1906.  The New York Times Tower Building was the new addition to the city’s skyline. Continue reading

What’s So Unusual About Platt Rogers Spencer’s Tombstone?

This Tombstone Is Unique. Do You Know Why?

The Penmanship of Platt Rogers Spencer

Why is it that when we see an old postcard people remark that the handwriting is so beautiful? The graceful penmanship all looks similar because millions of people in the mid-nineteenth and up to the early twentieth century were taught a single method of handwriting.

This calligraphy type of writing was invented by Platt Rogers Spencer and called the Spencerian style and method of penmanship.

Spencer’s unique tombstone at Evergreen cemetery in Geneva, OH is the first grave marker to display the cursive handwriting that he developed and popularized.

Platt Rogers Spencer

Platt Rogers Spencer was the youngest of a family of ten children. He was born November 7, 1800, in East Fishkill, New York. He lived there and in Windham, N. Y., until he was nine years old, when he moved with his widowed mother and family to Jefferson, Ohio, which was then wilderness country.

There, Spencer developed his love of writing and devoted his life to the art of penmanship. Continue reading

5 Of The Greatest UK Hard Rock Songs You (Probably) Never Heard Of

Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)

Slade photo Paul Cox

Slade on stage photo Paul Cox

I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #95 – Planet of the Apes, Maurice Evans – Dr. Zaius

Planet of the Apes Star Maurice Evans Talks About Playing Dr. Zaius

Maurice Evans getting finishing make-up touches for Planet of the Apes photo Keystone
The Most Challenging Operation In History

The biggest and most challenging makeup operation in the history of Hollywood is currently underway for a new film called “Planet of the Apes”. One hundred artists and laboratory men have been given the job of turning out a cast of ape-like beings who inhabit another planet.

Faces of the apes are especially difficult to make since they must be pliable and able to express emotion. Experiments have been going on for a year to be ready for the commencement of the $5-million production.

The makeup substance is made partly of foam rubber and allows the actors to sweat without effecting their grotesque looks. Makeup men start on the cast as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to be ready for filming.

Story of the film is about astronaut Charlton Heston who lands on the weird planet peopled by sophisticated apes. Chief ape is played by Maurice Evans. – photo Keystone Press Agency 1967

The original choice to play Dr. Zaius was not Maurice Evans, but Edward G. Robinson. Supposedly Robinson could not bear the grueling makeup regimen and bowed out before filming began.

According to John Chambers, head makeup man for Planet of the Apes it took three and a half hours to turn a man into an ape. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #112 – Cortlandt Street 1908

Cortlandt Street – Spring 1908

Detroit Publishing Cortlandt Street 1908 New York City

Cortlandt Street 1908 via Detroit Publishing Co. collection held at the Library of Congress. (click to greatly enlarge)

Our view made by the Detroit Publishing Company is looking east from the corner of West Street along Cortlandt Street towards Broadway. Unlike some of their photographs, this one is copyrighted 1908 and that can be  confirmed by advertising in the background.

The street is named after one of Dutch New York’s leaders Oloff (Olaf) Stevense Van Cortlandt. Continue reading

Five Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Were Cover Versions

 Original Songs Made Popular By Other Bands

Badfinger photograph

Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland

There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.

First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.

Hanging on the Telephone

Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”

The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song  after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.

The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says,  “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me  unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”

The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.

Without You

Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including  Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.

Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.

But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.

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Old New York In Photos #111 – Grand Central Depot 1875

The Original Grand Central Depot 1875

Grand Central Depot 1875 Our 1875 view is looking north on Fourth Avenue to 42nd Street. The street is packed with activity including horse drawn omnibuses, delivery wagons and pedestrians.

This albertype photograph prominently shows the first Grand Central built by railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Designed in the Second Empire style by architect John B. Snook, the depot was built between 1869 and 1871.

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The “Prince” Who New York’s Prince Street Is Named After

Was New York’s Prince Street’s Name Derived From Royalty?

Prince Street Bromley & Robinson 1879 Atlas of New York

Some of the original names given to the streets of New York when under Dutch and English rule have survived to the present day.

Many streets owe their name to local landmarks or the aristocracy and heroes of 17th and 18th century New York, including Delancey Street, Duane Street and Houston Street named after James De Lancey, James Duane and William Houstoun. Continue reading