The United States Used To Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday
Now It Is Ignored
How We Stopped Honoring One Of The Greatest Americans
The Life of George Washington Harper’s Weekly February 27, 1864
Growing up in the seventies, we didn’t get a “winter break” at school in mid-February for a full week. School in February was closed on two days: February 12 for celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and February 22 for George Washington’s Birthday. That is if one of the days didn’t fall on a weekend!
Grammar school teachers made a big deal out of our two great presidents. We learned all about Washington and Lincoln leading up to the holidays. Washington secured our liberty and Lincoln preserved it. The two were somewhat distant historical figures, yet their importance was still to be held in some amount of reverence.
From the time he came to prominence during the Revolution, George Washington, The Father of our Country was practically worshiped by its citizens. This was true for nearly two hundred years, Washington was thought of and remembered as a great American. He was honored with place namings and later his own holiday.
That is until the late twentieth century when George Washington’s Birthday became the victim of bureaucrats.
How Washington’s Birthday Became A Holiday
George Washington’s Final Birthday 1799 Harper’s Weekly Feb. 25, 1899
George Washington’s Birthday was the first federal holiday to single out an individual’s birth date. Continue reading →
Greer Garson – Acting Talent Does Not Equate To Being A Good Talk Show Guest
Greer Garson (1904-1996) was a fine and talented actress. Anyone seeing her deeply moving performances in Goodbye Mr. Chips or Mrs. Miniver can attest to that.
Garson won the Academy Award for her portrayal as the title character in Mrs. Miniver. Six additional Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role affirm that her colleagues appreciated Garson’s acting skills.
But according to Craig Tennis, a former talent coordinator of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1968-1976, Greer Garson was not great when it came to spontaneity. Continue reading →
Barbara Stanwyck Thanks “Golden Boy” For Her Honorary Oscar 1982
In a six decade career Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) received four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a leading role. The films were Stella Dallas (1937); Ball of Fire (1941); Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). She did not win for any of these great performances in fine pictures.
Stanwyck and William Holden starred together in the 1939 film Golden Boy. It was Holden’s first starring role. And he was almost fired. But Barbara Stanwyck insisted Holden stay on the film. The two became lifelong friends.
At the April 3, 1978 Academy Awards presentation, William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck were reunited as co-presenters for the award for best sound.
This was the era before everyone handing out awards had every word scripted for them and was littered with politically correct, back-slapping fake accolades and bad jokes. What happened next was completely genuine, unrehearsed and quite touching as you will see by Stanwyck’s reaction.
Finally four years later on March 29, 1982, the Academy recognized Stanwyck with an honorary Oscar for “superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.”Continue reading →
Canned Hitchcock – Alfred Hitchcock found out how his motion pictures would look if laid end to end when Universal Studios lines up prints of all his films, starting with “The Pleasure Garden” circa 1925, and ending with his 53rd motion picture, “Family Plot,” now being edited by the master of suspense.Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot starring Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris and William Devane, has been selected to open the 1976 Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) on March 21 at Plitt’s Century Plaza Theatre as a black tie pre-release world premiere, followed by a special Filmex Society “Salute To Alfred Hitchcock” at the Century Plaza Hotel. Film drama about the search for a lost heir will open nationally three weeks later on April 9. – photo: Philippe Halsman, January 1976
IMDB lists 54 feature film credits for Alfred Hitchcock as director, not 53. Somewhere along the line someone forgot to count one of Hitchcock’s films. Continue reading →
Mongo’s (Alex Karras) Cut Scenes From Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles (1974) would never get made today. The genius humor of writers Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Andrew Bergman, Alan Uger and Norman Steinberg is now politically incorrect. Yes, the movie is vulgar and over the top. But it remains undeniably one of the funniest movies ever made.
Some of the best scenes in Blazing Saddles belong to the half-wit behemoth Mongo, played by former NFL star Alex Karras.
Here are two of the scenes involving Mongo that were not in the final cut but were broadcast when eventually shown on television.
Metallica’s James Hetfield on stage with flying V guitar photo credit : unknown c. 1984
I’ve always wondered how rock bands feel when they’ve written what they believe to be a great song and later another band records it and has equal or greater success with the song. I guess it’s one thing if the original band is successful with the tune, makes money and has an appreciative fan base. The alternative of a band making music and toiling in relative obscurity with little to no exposure and then having another band come along and make a big hit out of your song does not sound appealing. The original writers receiving composing royalties may take some of the sting out of the situation.
When a heavy metal band covers a song and makes it their own, sometimes the original rock version languishes in obscurity. Years pass and more people are familiar with the cover version and think the cover version is better than the original. Whether that’s true or not is up to the listener.
7 Examples of Rock Songs Covered and Made Popular by Heavy Metal Bands.
We’ll start off with Peter Green and the extremely original British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac. This was before they became a huge pop hit machine after Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan left the band and Fleetwood Mac added Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The song is the enigmatic Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) from 1970.
In 1979 Judas Priest put their indelible mark on Green Manalishi with dual guitars and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals. Just what is the Green Manalishi? Continue reading →
50 Years Ago Today, Game 1 Of The World Series Was Played
See How Baseball Was Played & Covered By NBC & Decide For Yourself If Anything Is Better Today
The Cincinnati Reds swept the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles swept the Minnesota Twins in the 1970 playoffs. The Reds and Orioles faced each other in game one of the 1970 World Series, 50 years ago today, Saturday, October 10 in Cincinnati.
The Late, Great Eddie Van Halen Demonstrates What A Guitar Can Do In The Hands Of A Genius 1979
David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen on stage July 1979
To express the magnitude of the importance of the passing of Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) in words is impossible.
It’s better to let Van Halen’s music speak for itself.
From Fresnomediarestoration is this live clip from March 25, 1979. Eddie Van Halen and the band are juggernauts in their desire to wow the audience.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend this tour got to see what made Van Halen so special. And for those who only know David Lee Roth as a frontman who doesn’t stick to the proper lyrics, changes phrasing and sings haphazardly, then this will be a pleasant surprise.
The first four songs performed in this video are:
Light Up The Sky.
Somebody Get Me A Doctor.
Running With The Devil.
Dance The Night Away.
Bands Lose Key Members & The New York Times Neglects An Obituary
Steve Priest – The Sweet
Pete Way – UFO
Paul Chapman – UFO
The Grim Reaper has had a robust 2020 taking more than his normal share of victims.
Celebrities, especially rock n’ roll musicians who are all approaching the age of inevitable demise have been dying at an alarming pace. But you would never know it if you rely on the New York Times for the obituaries.
Eddie Van Halen obituary placed below where the paper is folded in half NY Times October 7, 2020.
Mega-music stars are the exception and get some sort of recognition.
Eddie Van Halen was just too big to ignore. While the Times placed Van Halen on October 7th front page, it put him below the fold. Continue reading →
The 130th Anniversary of The Birth Of Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx in 1931 photo Eugene Robert Richee for Paramount
There are at least five comedians I wish were alive now to comment on the state of the world. If interviewed they could put current events into perspective. They are George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor and Groucho Marx.
Each humorist was intelligent, sardonic and biting in their outlooks on life.
My all-time favorite was Groucho Marx.
Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was born on October 2, 1890.
There are literally thousands of stories about Groucho and the Marx clan. Rather than rehash his life I’ll throw out one little known fact about Groucho from brother Harpo’s autobiography, Harpo Speaks! (1961, Bernard Gies Associates). Continue reading →