While every network is showing Muhammad Ali in boxing retrospectives, we wanted to show something completely different.
For those who do not remember Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, it was the first TV show to do what so many other shows would later try and imitate; capture regular people’s reactions to extraordinary, sometimes crazy situations.
The day Muhammad Ali shows up in a New York City school classroom is one of the greatest stunts the show ever did. The reactions of the children are priceless.
I remember vividly seeing Muhammad Ali on Candid Camera when this episode aired in 1974 and thinking “how come no celebrities appear at my school?”
This video just displays a totally different side of Ali. It also shows how popular Muhammad Ali was to an entire generation, especially kids. This clip is only five minutes long, but it is hilarious.
Today, September 9, 2015 marks the first day of school here in New York City. It might seem like a cliche now, but in the not so distant past, on the first day of school, many children really did present their teachers with an apple, as shown here in this 1937 NYC Schools photo.
The mode of dress may have changed, but the excitement and trepidation of the first day of school hasn’t.
Avery Corman Talks About: Dating, Restaurants, High School in The Bronx, The Advertising World, Getting Published and Having His Books Adapted To Film
We continue our interview with Avery Corman, author of the new book My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir (Barricade Books) 2014, and his story of growing up in the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s.
Divided into 5 parts the first two parts of the interview can be seen here.
In part 3 Avery Corman discusses dating, blind dates, sex, going to the movies, the differences between eating out and restaurants, dessert havens like Krum’s, Addie Vallins and Jahn’s and the coming of television.
Part 4 Avery Corman recalls his high school years at DeWitt Clinton High School and his decision to go to New York University. Upon graduating Continue reading →
After graduating college Corman was working on the fringes of advertising and with the encouragement of a friend, Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns; I’m Not Rappaport; etc), he took a stab at writing a book. That effort was published as Oh God! A Novel (1971). After that hurdle Corman never looked back and he became a full-time novelist. Oh God! was eventually made into a very popular movie in 1977 starring George Burns and John Denver.
Some of Corman’s other acclaimed novels include The Bust-Out King (1977), The Old Neighborhood (1980); 50 (1987); Prized Possessions (1991); The Boyfriend from Hell (2006) and his most famous work, Kramer vs. Kramer (1977) which was adapted into a movie in 1979 and was the winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Avery Corman’s success must partially stem from his middle-class upbringing in the Fordham section of the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s, where he admits he was not the best student when it came to math and science, but did well in the humanities and was surrounded by a loving, extended family.
My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir is more a series of vignettes rather than a straight autobiography and that style comes off well. Corman shares his memories of childhood during World War II up until he becomes a successful author in the late 1960’s. He paints beautiful word pictures, sometimes tinged with sadness, of growing up in a wondrous place that no longer exists. Most of the stories offer short bursts of family life, games, food, education, sports and all the things that contributed to making the Bronx a special place to grow up in.
Corman’s stories resonate with a tender glow of friendships, family and the feeling that neighborhoods were once really neighborhoods, where the familiarity of rituals, people and places were ingrained in the surroundings.
Here are parts one and two of an exclusive interview with Avery Corman.
Part I, Avery Corman talks about what made the Bronx a special place during the war. His unique living situation and school life.
1961 Documentary – New York City Junior High Schools
The New York City Junior High Schools or Middle Schools as they are called now, were once the breeding ground for a well-rounded education. My parents and grandparents were the products of the old New York City public school system and they never went to college. Yet they could read and understand Latin, had beautiful handwriting, could type, played and studied music and developed “the lifelong habit of turning to books for the information they needed.”
In 1961 students learned how to make things because the U.S.A. was still an industrial society and could actually design and manufacture useful products.
As shown in this 20 minute film, everyone learned about electricity, the elements of printing and participated in the novelty shop; where they could “build things for use and for pleasure.” There was what would now be termed sexism – girls learned millinery work, domestic arts, dressmaking, respect for manual labor and “neatness,” while boys learned the manly arts of metal, wood, print, plastics and electrical wire. But up until the 1970’s gender work roles were applied in most of the fields of employment.
The children were taught “ideas and facts in citizenship, current affairs, history, geography, and government, to appreciate democratic ideals.”