A Good Cemetery Epitaph Versus A Great Epitaph

Epitaph One Upmanship – The Final Words Of A Married Couple

Since 1822 five generations of William Simpson’s ran one of New York’s oldest and most respected pawn shops. The final namesake to run Simpsons Pawnbrokers at 91 Park Row, William Rooe Simpson sold out to his partners in 1937, ending the continuous line of William Simpson’s to own and operate the hockshop. William Rooe Simpson died in 1957 and his son William David Simpson never went into the family pawn business. He became a doctor settling in Shelby, North Carolina.

When William David Simpson died at the age of 64 in 1988 he had this witty epitaph placed on his marker at Sunset cemetery in Shelby.

His wife Barbara “Bobbi” Taylor Simpson however Continue reading

The 60th Anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s Death- And 6 Rare Photos Of Marilyn During Her Life

60 Years Ago Today Marilyn Monroe Died

With few exceptions there not many people that are as popular decades after their death as Marilyn Monroe.

The public which normally cannot remember yesterday’s headlines has not forgotten Marilyn. Over 200 books about Marilyn will attest to that. Her films are still enticing to old film buffs and new generations of movie fans. And her face is everywhere. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #131 – John Wayne & Wife Pilar Pallete

John Wayne & Pilar Pallete Attend A Fundraiser – 1961

While recently visiting my 14-year-old nephew who lives in Orange County, CA, I asked him when he travels what airport does he fly out of?

He replied,” John Wayne Airport.”

It then occurred to me, “do you know who John Wayne is?” I queried him.

The answer should not have surprised me. The answer of course was no. “A politician,” he guessed.

I mean fame is fleeting but for goodness sake, John Wayne? Continue reading

Carl Yastrzemski Avoids A Pitch

Carl Yastrzemski Gets A Brush-back Pitch From Twins Tom Hall

The lesson in big league ball after hitting a home run used to be- get ready to hit the deck.

Pitchers would routinely throw at hitters on their next at bat after homering. And not for showboating like players do today by standing in the batters box admiring their blast or flipping the bat.

No, all you had to do in the old days was hit a home run and certain pitchers would make sure that you would end up on your keister during your next trip to the plate. A pitcher who does that today risks ejection, suspension and the batter charging the mound to pummel the pitcher.

The news slug says:

St. Paul – Minneapolis, June 9, 1969. A NEW TWIST. Boston Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski (8) twists away from home plate on brush-back pitch from Minnesota Twins pitcher Tom Hall in the 5th inning of American League game Monday in the Twin Cities. Yastrzemski lead off in first inning with a home run.  Minnesota catcher John Roseboro gloves ball. photo: AP

Continue reading

An Incredibly Frightening And Ugly Painting

The Picture Of Dorian Clown

There are many children who are afraid of clowns. Not me. I just don’t like clowns. My bodyguard Klaatu, has even had to punch out a few when they have come too close to me.

But there are few adults that suffer a severe fear of clowns. The name for this rare condition is Coulrophobia, the excessive fear of clowns.

Paintings of clowns may not bring about fear so much as repulsion. How anyone could appreciate unfunny comedian Red Skelton or his art, often involving self portraits of him dressed as a clown has always been a mystery to me.

What is worse than a painting of one clown?

A bad painting of four clowns.

While recently in Maine, I stumbled across this monstrosity. If you wish to possibly induce a case of Coulrophobia in someone here is a prime candidate.

Bad Painting of Four Clowns

The artist’s name Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #129 Titanic’s “Old Rose” Gloria Stuart When Young

Gloria Stuart

Gloria Stuart (b. July 4, 1910) played “Old Rose” in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) and was nominated for Best Actress in A Supporting Role. She did not win.

This is what Gloria Stuart looked like in the early 1930s.

Gloria Stuart 1930sVivacious and pretty, Gloria Stuart was a movie star throughout the 1930s appearing in 43 films. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #141 – Children’s Recreation On Rooftops

Children On New York’s Rooftops 1909-1910

Children playing on a roof in New York City April 28, 1910 from the series Living On (A) Skyscraper photo George G. Bain Collection Library of Congress (LOC)

In the early twentieth century the roofs of New York would offer a respite from hot days in New York. While roofs could be dangerous, the streets were full of peril with horses, trolleys and filth.

The news organization headed by George G. Bain sent its photographers up to the roofs to see life from this perspective. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #140 – July 4, 1860

Independence Day In New York Watching The Regatta 1860

July 4, 1860 regatta at The Battery. photo: Anthony

Patriotism, Parades and Pyrotechnics

In 1860 a year before the nation was split into two warring factions, New Yorkers celebrated the 84th anniversary of Independence Day in glorious fashion.

The day proliferated with excursions, theatricals, balloon ascensions, salutes, military parades, fireworks and – a regatta.

Regatta derives from Venetian, meaning a contention for mastery or contest. The New York regatta held on July 4 was a series of rowed and sailed boat races held near Castle Clinton at The Battery in New York bay.

All of the photographs seen here were taken by the firm of E. & H.T. Anthony as stereoviews. Continue reading

Managers Connie Mack & John McGraw Decide Who Bats First At The First All-Star Game

Athletics Manager Connie Mack & Former Giants Manager John McGraw Have A Contest Before The First All-Star Game 1933

Photo shows – Manager Connie Mack of Americans (left) Manager John McGraw of Nationals choose for first up with the aid of a bat.

In the game of the century played at Comiskey Park, Chicago, July 6, the picked team of the American League defeated the picked team of the National League 4-2. Photo: Acme July 6, 1933

It’s hard to believe that this is how they decided home field advantage in the American League’s Comiskey Park for the first All-Star Game, but it’s true.

Kids used to do this in pick-up games in parks to see who would bat first. Continue reading