Friday, September 11, 2009

Korla Pandit (1921-98) and Iron Eyes Cody (1904-99)

Two of my childhood heroes on television during my childhood weren't who they said they were. Only after their deaths did the truth come out.

You probably remember Korla Pandit who was a mainstay at KTLA in Los Angeles from the station's beginnings in 1947 through the early 1960s. Korla was the fantastic organist who never spoke put played such great ethnic music. He wore a turban with a jewel and a stylish dress suit. The programs were 45 minutes long with no talking and no commercials. Even though the program lasted less than an hour, you wished it would go on much longer. Korla was born in New Delhi, India, to a Brahman priest and a French opera singer, who learned to play the organ as a child in France and England.

After his death, his website told the truth about Korla Pandit: He was born John Roland Redd in St. Louis , Missouri. His father, John S. Redd, was a Baptist minister. And they were black!

He began working in radio as a musician in 1938 in Des Moines, Iowa. A few years after this he moved to Los Angeles where his sister, Frances Redd, was working in a radio drama called the Midnight Shadow. John had been working as a musician under the name Juan Rolando. He married a fellow show business worker, Beryl DeBeeson, but because she was white, they married in Tijuana, as interracial marriages were illegal in California for many years after this. His wife came up with a new character, using one of the characters of his sister's radio series, Prince Alihabad. John's new name was Korla Pandit. Through their research they found it was a legitimate sounding name and Beryl would also be playing a role in this game and the Korla Pandit name change was made legal.

Iron Eyes Cody was famous around the world. If he was in a movie or a TV show, we knew it was authentic because he was a real Indian. We knew him to be of the Cherokee and Cree tribes and grew up in a Sioux reservation. We figured that's why the costume he wore had so many different patterns in it.

My ex-wife and I loved reading his autobiography, Iron Eyes Cody: My Life as a Hollywood Indian. He wrote about his work in Hollywood beginning in 1927 and service with the U.S. Military Academy, teaching about the history of the U.S. Army and the Indians in the Western United States. He was our hero!

Then he died. About a year after his death the story broke out that he was really the child of Italian immigrants who grew up in the town of Gueydan, Lousisiana, where his parents owned a mom and pop grocery store. We were sorely disappointed. Iron Eyes was no more an Indian than the local actors who were hired for spaghetti westerns made in Italy and Spain. His real name was Espera Oscar DeCorti.

An Indian and an Indian.. neither of whom really was...

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Blast to the Past on the Internet...

Some things never get removed from the Internet. I hope you can get a chance to do some reminiscing with these sites. It's a great way to kill time at the computer and visit your past.

You can find old TV shows, games, and commercial campaigns.

Click on the following links:

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Toys I Played With as a Child

DAISY RICOCHET RIFLE - - It was just like a real gun. Except it didn't have bullets. It even smelled like one. A friend's father (who was also a Cub Scout leader), was a detective with the Colton Police Department. He put my hands through the parafin test after I fired my rifle. Do you know, it showed that I actually fired a weapon? Wow. It really was like real.

MATCHBOX TOYS - - These were made in England by a company called Lesney Products. Supposedly, all these cars were made on HO scale, although the Ford police cruiser was much larger than the Greyhound Scenicruiser.

The wheels on Matchbox cars were uneven. Then Mattel came out with Hot Wheels in 1968. Those things would roll! So, eventually, Matchbox introduced Superfast wheels, which were almost faster than Hot Wheels.

The Lesney Company tried to make its total subsistence on Matchbox Toys and continually kept sliding down. Soon, their factories in England were shut down and they began making the cars in Asia.

Tyco Toys bought the line in 1992. Tyco also fell on hard times and was acquired by Hot Wheels producer, Mattel Toys in 1997.

G.I. JOE - - Yes, it was a doll for boys. At least my sister thought so. It gave her a chance for me, a boy to play with her dolls and get away with it. I said it was OK, so long as my G.I. Joe could have wars with her Barbie and Tammy dolls (Tammy was a Barbie wannabe made by the Ideal Toy Company).

The Louis Marx Toy Company began putting out its own cheap G.I. Joe wannabes. There was Stonewall Smith and the Montgomery Ward exclusive, Buddy Charlie.

Parents liked Stony Smith. His uniform was molded onto him so there weren't any clothes to buy for him. He came with all the equipment needed, including a mess kit (with tiny knife, fork, and spoon that would get lost the first time you took it outside!) He also had a poncho that could double as a pup tent... only I didn't have much luck with that. If your parents had a little more money, he even came with a Jeep, but Stony had a little bit of trouble driving it (his legs didn't move!)

Buddy Charlie: I learned later in life, as a soldier, that this was an oxymoron (like jumbo shrimp and pretty ugly). Buddy is a pal, right? Well, to a soldier, Charlie is what they call the enemy. So who was this guy?

As for G.I. Joe, the Hasbro Company got everything right, except what to call a member of the Air Force. They called him the Action Pilot. Not everyone in the Air Force can fly a plane. And there are pilots in all five branches of the armed forces, including the Army. The term for a member of the Air Force is airman, which can refer to a male or a female.

When G.I. Joe was introduced, they had the Action Soldier, the Action Sailor, and the Action Pilot. The Marine Corps complained that they weren't represented. Hasbro responded by stating the Action Soldier could be a member of the Marine Corps, as they're all soldiers. The Marine Corps retorted that marines aren't soldiers (ask your friendly neighborhood marine if he's a soldier or not!) Checking their dictionary, the folks at Hasbro realized that a soldier is, specifically, a member of the Army. So they soon had the Action Marine.

Clothes were then added. New uniforms, including Army and Marine Dress Blues. They cost almost as much as a Robert Hall suit! (Sometimes more!) My sister tried to have her Ken doll wear my G.I. Joe's uniforms but they just didn't fit.

CRASHMOBILE - - It's nice to have a toy that will break on purpose. I had the big Crashmobile and the Crashmobile Jr. The big one had a Model T type crank you'd wind up and then it would crash into something and break. Lots and lots of fun. The little one had to be pulled backwards and the same thing would happen. Boy, it sure didn't take much to excite us when we were young. If we had today's video games then, we probably couldn't stand all the excitement. I might not even be here today!

EMINEE GOLDEN TUBA - - This was actually a very popular toy for almost twenty years! It was a tiny sousaphone that sounded just like all the other toy wind instruments that the Eminee Toy Company made. These included a trumpet, a clarinet, a trombone, a saxophone, and possibly many others. Remember the Eminee Polychord Organ? It was almost the same thing, except that you didn't have to blow it. It made its own air.

You can blame the lack of funding for the lack of interest in a musical education... I don't... I blame it on the demise of the Eminee Toy Company!

TONKA TOYS - - They were rugged. They lasted forever.

One birthday present I received when I was three was a Structo Farms semi-tractor and trailer (Structo was one of Tonka's competitors) complete with lead farm animals (they didn't know better then!) The cab was plastic and was soon destroyed in a few days. I can remember my mother saying that "I should have gotten him a Tonka Toy!"

Here's what Tonka Toys are like today. (Notice the company is in Fontana.)

THINGMAKER - - It was an oven for baking Creepy Crawlers and Creeple Peeple. You had to have lots of Plastigoop to create lots of toys. The problem was, when the fad died out (but we still enjoyed making these things), you couldn't get anymore of the Plastigoop. We'd hunt down the close out stores and everyone else was buying the stuff out... sigh!

Who said the fad was over, anyway?

TOOTSIE TOYS - - These were extremely inexpensive. They were great if all you wanted to do was play with cars (and detail wasn't too important.)

They're probably one of the oldest toys on this list and they still make them today. The advertisement posted here is from the late 1930s. So all those styles are contemporary for the time!

Wouldn't I like any or all of those!

LEGOS - - I have a secret. Don't tell anyone, but if you were to give me a box of Lego bricks now, I'd probably be playing with them for the next three or four hours!

When my older daughter was celebrating her first Christmas, we gave her some Duplos (large sized Legos for toddlers). So did all our friends and relatives. We had thousands. On that Christmas night, after she went to sleep, my wife and I built houses and cars, almost until dawn. I'd probably do it again, if I had the chance!

MINI-LINDY - - These were a cross between Matchbox cars and model kits. The Lindberg Line was a company that made model kits. Mostly World War II military airplanes. The box states you could "BUILD 'N COLLECT" them. Actually, they were also quite durable and you could play with them just like any other toy car this size. My favorite was the mail truck. It looked like the one pictured here except that mine was yellow.

GARTON TRACTOR - - I got this when I was three or four. I never got tired of it but I did outgrow it. It was probably the only toy I had that I did outgrow.

It had plastic make believe spark plug cables that got lost as soon as I got it. That didn't matter. It also had a hitch I could use to pull the neighbors' Radio Flyer wagons Remember the little red wagons? My brother would later have one of those and I could pull him with my tractor.

My tractor was also one of the few toys I played with that, except for the spark plug cable, never broke down. It was so wonderful. What a toy!

CASPER GE-TAR (by Mattel) - - As a musician, I never learned to play any stringed stummed instrument, such as the guitar or ukulele. That's a fact that really embarrasses me today. ( have three music degrees, Bill?)

My parents gave me several gifts when I was four years old when I had to go to the hospital to get a growth surgically removed from the front of my neck. (It was found to be benign, but it could have choked me to death!)

The Ge-Tar was like a ukulele which had a hand crank music box (in the picture, Casper is the one the boy is playing). I didn't much care for the strumming but I liked the music box. But I did get bored with the song it played. I discovered that if I turned the crank backwards it played an even better song. I never stopped playing it. I loved it. I'm sure the nurses loved it, too.

SNAP TRAIN - - This was a wooden toy train which was connected with the help of clothing snaps. My parents gave this to me when I had to go to the hospital for the removal of that growth on my neck at the age of four.

Now that I'm older I realize now why I have trouble sleeping at night. Having this train in my bed gave me a nonsleeping activity. That's not very healthy. I've been known to use my laptop computer, do my income taxes, and even eat meals in bed. I know it's bad. And now I can remember where I picked up these bad habits.

The Snap Train was made by a company in Los Angeles called Jack Built. Whatever became of it?

SOUP SPOON - - Best tool for digging holes, making lakes, castles, and houses, and filling your Mighty Tonka Dump Truck with dirt. Just remember, kids: Always ask your mother before you take anything out of the cutlery drawer when you want to play with it outside!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Colton Quiz (possibly the first of many)

Good afternoon.

One thing you enjoy doing when you get older is reminiscing over things that aren't there anymore. One fun way of getting through this is a quiz. I lived in Colton from 1966 through 1976. I remained in the area (family moved to Rialto) until going to college in Tennessee (returning periodically) and finally enlisting in the Army as a musician in 1979.

If you live in the Riverside-San Bernardino area, take this quiz. I haven't been around for almost three years now. But the answers to this quiz haven't changed. Enjoy. Post your responses as comments here.

  1. What are the specific official colors of Colton High School?
  2. What were the names of the two junior high schools that were replaced by Colton Junior High School in 1954?
  3. Who was Isaac "Cristobal" Slover?
  4. What was the name of the Colton Airport? Where was it? Which airline made regular stops there?
  5. Name the Chevrolet and Dodge dealers which used to be in downtown Colton. The Chevy place moved north (onto La Cadena Avenue) with downtown redevelopment and the Dodge dealership closed after its owner died of a heart attack.
  6. What was the former nickname of Colton? It has something to do with the shape of Colton City Hall (formerly Colton Civic Center) as seen from the air.
  7. What were the names of the two Southern Pacific passenger trains that stopped in Colton? Can you also name the two Union Pacific passenger trains and the one Santa Fe train that stopped in Colton during the 1960s?
  8. What were the five route numbers of the two highways that crossed in Colton before the freeways were built?
  9. What does joint mean in Colton Joint Unified School District?
  10. Before Bloomington High School was built, high school students in Bloomington went to Colton Union High School (having more than one high school meant that Colton was no longer a one high school high school district, the "union" was dropped, and the high school district subsequently "unified" with the elementary districts in Colton, Bloomington, and Grand Terrace.) Before Eisenhower High School was built in 1958, where did high school students in Rialto go to school?
  11. Name a dairy located in Colton. It was actually outside the city limits on Cypress Avenue.
  12. What was the major chain supermarket at the Mount Vernon Shopping Center? What about the major supermarket at the Rancho Vista Shopping Center (Rancho Avenue and Mill Street, next to the T.G.&Y.)?
  13. What was the name of the coffee shop located in front of the old Stater Brothers supermarket on I Street (later Valley Boulevard)?
  14. What were the names of the Stater brothers?
  15. Name a popular 1960s songwriter who graduated from Colton High School. His father had been the pastor at the First Southern Baptist Church (now Sierra Vista Baptist Church).
  16. For whom was Colton named?
  17. How did the Colton High School Yellow Jackets get their nickname in the late 1920s? What was the schools nickname previous to this?
  18. Name the original members of the old high school Citrus Belt League. When they were built in the 1950s, Pacific (San Bernardino) and Fontana were added to this group.
  19. For what professional sports team did Kenny Hubbs play?
  20. Name a current celebrity who graduated from Colton High School. (Not me.)
  21. Where was the first Stater Brothers market?
  22. Name a former Colton High School student who played professional football, then returned to the school to teach English.
  23. What were the three brands of fuel sold by Ray Phillips Truck Stop?
  24. What was the name of the hamburger stand across the street from Colton Union High School (corner of Third and I Streets)?
  25. What was the original name of La Cadena Drive in Riverside?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

KCOP Channel 13 - - Very Independent - - Chris Craft Station

It went on the air in 1948 as KMTR-TV. When radio station KMTR became KLAC shortly thereafter, so the TV station became "KLAC-TV, Where everything is active." When the Copley Press, publisher of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune bought the station, it became KCOP. The Chris Craft motor boat company bought it in 1960.

All of the pioneer TV stations of Los Angeles were unique. KCOP was no exception. They made most of their own commercials in the 1950s. This was the original station that had commercials for Worthington Dodge, somewhere on Slauson Avenue in Huntington Park... I remember everything except the house number. Did you know Cal Worthington (b. 1920) was a Hudson dealer? This began when Mad Man Muntz (1914-87) was still selling Kaiser-Frazers and used cars at his lot downtown.

Anyway, KCOP had the best Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Lloyd Thaxton (1927-2008) had a musical show every day. Around the time in my life I started school, channel 13 had travel programs almost every night of the week. Bill Burrud (1925-90) had several shows. The one I remember most was the one with Hal Linker, his wife Hadla, and their son, Harold. Always wearing their Sunday best for their program, I always had a fear that if I ever flew on a commercial airliner, I'd never look good enough. By the time I made my first flight at age 15, no one cared.

Despite having studios in the middle of Hollywood (located at 915 North La Brea Avenue, two blocks north of Pink's Hot Dog Stand at 709 North La Brea Avenue), channel 13 always had a folksy, non Hollywood air about it. They had a contest which always had such prizes as a car, a trip to somewhere exciting, and a Packard Bell console color television/stereo system. They never told about the contest much on TV but there was always a poster about it at the local laundromat.

KCOP was always very different. We could always count on the station to bring cartoons, until all the stations quit showing cartoons in the late 1980s. And also the best of the worst in low budget movie classics. However, in 1995, it became the Los Angeles outlet of the United Paramount Network. Ah, but that was only two hours a night. Well, a few years later, the boat company merged with News Corporation, the owners of the Fox network.

In 2003, the station moved in with KTTV, the Fox station, at 1999 South Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles. Today, channel 13 doesn't even have its own website. Everything seems to be a KTTV hand-me-down.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What was on the Radio in Colton 1969...

In 1969 you could go to the Thrifty Drug Store at the Mount Vernon Shopping Center (I rode there on my bicycle) and, for $3.50, buy a pocket transistor radio. During the day, I wired it to the handlebars of my bike. At night, it was under my pillow.

Here are some of the things we heard:

570 kHz
Middle of the Road Music (Talk at Night)
Los Angeles

590 kHz
KFXM "Tiger Radio"
Top 40
San Bernardino

640 kHz
Variety (Full Service)
Los Angeles

690 kHz
XETRA "Xtra Music"
Beautiful Music

710 kHz
Adult Standards
Los Angeles

740 kHz
KBIG "K-Big" (daytime)
Beautiful Music
Avalon (on Santa Catalina Island)

790 kHz
Los Angeles

870 kHz
KIEV (daytime)
Country and Western (and other stuff)

900 kHz
KGRB (daytime)
Big Band
West Covina

920 kHz
Top 40
Palm Springs

930 kHz
KHJ "Boss Radio"
Top 40
Los Angeles

980 kHz
All News
Los Angeles

1020 kHz
KGBS (daytime only)
Light Pop (featuring Bill Ballance)
Los Angeles

1050 kHz
KTOT (daytime only)
Big Bear Lake

1070 kHz
Los Angeles

1090 kHz
Oldies (with Wolfman Jack) at night
and the Holy Rosary (in English and Spanish) during the day
Rosarito, Baja California

1110 kHz

1150 kHz
KIIS "Kiss Radio"
Top 40
Los Angeles

1190 kHz
Top 40

1220 kHz
Top 40

1240 kHz
KRNO "The Golden Sound"
Beautiful Music
San Bernardino

1260 kHz
Adult Standards
San Fernando

1290 kHz
KMEN "K-Men" (ABC)
Top 40
San Bernardino

1300 kHz
San Gabriel

1330 kHz
KFAC (Mutual)
Classical Music
Los Angeles

1350 kHz
Country and Western
San Bernardino

1370 kHz
Top 40

1410 kHz

1440 kHz

1480 kHz
Top 40
Santa Ana

1490 kHz

1510 kHz
Easy Listening

1540 kHz
Beautiful Music
Los Angeles

1570 kHz
Adult Standards

1600 kHz
Top 40

Do notice the lack of religious radio stations. During the 1960s these were all on FM, except for the Rosaries on XERB.

I will have more about radio in upcoming postings.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is Your Favorite Color?

Listed below are eight colors. Find your favorite color and see if the description matches your personality:

GREEN - - Nature lover, likes to sleep outdoors when possible (if the weather is right), concerned about the worlds problems.
YELLOW - - Likes to have fun, nice personality, friendly, but can be in own world at times.
RED - - Very passionate (throws oneself into whatever projects are being done or political debates or whatever), has a fiery temper, has a strong personality. (This is also true for the color ORANGE.)
BLUE - - Animal lover, likes to sleep with the window open. Concerned about local problems.
WHITE - - Very organized. Hates messiness. Very prompt. Keeps a tight schedule.
BROWN - - Likes to give instructions. Likes to talk. Concerned about people's feelings. A hard worker.
PURPLE - - Doesn't care about what people think about himself/herself. Very free thinker.
BLACK - - An intellectual who likes to talk and pick people's brains. Concerned about family.
PINK - - A fun person who likes to make friends. Tells great jokes. A very devoted and loyal worker.

Write your comments below. I've used this for the past six years and it's 99% right. I use it as part of the counseling sessions I give. I can tell so much from what a person's favorite color is.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Pleasant Thought for the Day...

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. He died 52 years later on April 23, 1616, his fifty second birthday. If I haven't accomplished anything else, I outlived him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ontario International Airport

Between August 1995 and June 1997 I was Teacher of Instrumental Music and English as a Foreign Language at Sekolah Pelita Harapan--Bukit Sentul Campus, located near Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. One of the benefits of being a teacher there was receiving money for a round trip ticket to our home of record.
When I took the job, they flew me from Los Angeles International Airport. I remember being happy that the company put us on Singapore Airlines and not Philippine Airlines. There was a Philippine Airlines plane next to our plane. It would leave thirty minutes after us. But it began loading thirty minutes earlier. And they packed it like a sardine can.
My wife was a Green Card holder at this time and had to periodically make trips to the United States for two weeks at a time. We'd go to Guam for a fraction of the cost to California and it satisified that requirement. (Continental Airlines no longer flies between Bali and Guam so I don't know what we'd do today...)
When the school had us fill out the paperwork for our travel bonuses they wanted to know the closest airport to our homes of record, not necessarily the one where we came from. I wrote: Ontario International Airport (ONT). They said we could get more money that way.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) would pay $750 per person or $3,000 for the family. I got $7,000 or $1,750 per person. I thought the extra $4,000 was a mistake. It's only 15 minutes to fly to Ontario from LAX. Why should it cost an extra thousand bucks?
The school answered that their books said that it's four hours to fly from Los Angeles to anywhere in the province of Ontario. Then I knew they didn't understand. They never knew that Ontario is a large city in Southern California. I tried to explain over and over. Too bad I didn't bring any road maps to Indonesia!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Old Time Radio... IN 1994!

When most people think of Old Time Radio (OTR) they think to the 1930s or 1940s. Some of us don't have to go so far. Los Angeles radio, 1994, had KMPC (710 kHz) still playing adult standards. There was a lot of TalkRadio, SportsRadio, and Spanglish radio. AM radio was humming 15 years ago. There was very little in the way of Top-40, although it was still around. The alternative non-TalkRadio/non-SportsRadio/non-Spanglish stations offered SUPERIOR entertainment and information.

KPLS, at 830 kHz, in Orange was the Los Angeles home of Radio Aahs. Previously, this station was the home of Catholic Family Radio, offering liturgy, music, sermons, and (really late at night) OLD TIME RADIO! As for Radio Aahs, most of the personalities were actual children with a few adult announcers and there were plenty there for supervision. The network studios were located in the Minneapolis -Saint Paul area of Minnesota and the commercials featured lots of products for which that area is famous, such as General Mills cereals and Pillsbury cookie dough.

KGRB at 900 kHz in Industry (licensed to West Covina) offered the best in popular music of the past 75 years. There were plans to offer, in addition to the NBC Radio news it had on the hour, to add NBC old time radio shows and give it the call letters, KNBC. NBC never owned a radio station in Los Angeles. Because of the illness and subsequent death of the stations owner, the planned NBC station never happened.

KNX at 1070 kHz, under George Nicholaw, offered one of the best full service AM radio stations in the country. It never offered 24 hours of news. Even during disasters, when the Drama Hour was not aired, there were other features broadcast.

But it was the Drama Hour that kept us focused on that station. The old radio shows, some of which were broadcast from Columbia Square when they first aired, were a fixture on the station until the night of October 31, 2004, when the station decided we needed more news, so they added TalkRadio and a cooking show. Bleah!

I'll have more about radio much later on.


Today is my birthday. At 4:30 PM (Philippines time) I will officially be 52 years old (this was 1:30 AM in Riverside, California, where I was born). Since I don't like the traditional birthday song that the Hill sisters wrote about 120 years ago (and it's still under copyright), let me teach you this song.

This is great:

Put another candle on my birthday cake
We're gonna bake a birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

I'm gonna have a party with my birthday cake
Come on and take some birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

We'll have some pie and sandwiches
And chocolate ice cream too
We'll sing and play the day away
And one more thing I'm going to do

I'll blow out the candles on my birthday cake
And when I do, a wish I'll make
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

Put another candle on my birthday cake
We're gonna bake a birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

I'm gonna have a party with my birthday cake
Come on and take some birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

We'll have some pie and sandwiches
And chocolate ice cream, too
We'll sing and play the day away
And one more thing I'm going to do

I'll blow out the candles on my birthday cake
And when I do, a wish I'll make
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today

"Happy birthday to you"
I'm another year old today.

Thanks, Sheriff John!

Monday, July 27, 2009

This Week's Sponsors...

Roy Phillips Truck Stop - - Flying A gasoline and Diesel Fuel. We offer unlimited parking for most rigs and a place for Colton High School students to smoke/hang out between classes. Located at the corner of Rancho Avenue and Valley Boulevard (where I Street becomes Valley Boulevard) just immediately outside the Colton city limits, so it takes at least 30 minutes for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies to get to us.

New Colton Theatre - - One of the oldest cinemas in the area, complete with a real balcony. Tonight's film is El bolero de Raquel, starring Cantinflas. Take the Ninth Street exit from the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10).

San Bernardino Valley College Indians Football - - Saturday's games pits the Indians against the Riverside City College Tigers. There will be a special half-time show by the SBVC Marching Band, under the direction of C. Paul Oxley. The game will be at the National Orange Show Stadium and begins at 7:30 PM. Come early and enjoy an exciting pregame show by the band.

Harris' Department Store
- - The finest in merchandise to be found in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Redlands. We are the exclusive retailer for Magnavox electronics. We give and redeem S&H Green Stamps.

Blue Mountain Dairy - - Colton's own dairy. We provide milk for all of the schools of the Colton Joint Unified School District. Visit our convenient cash and carry store on Cypress Street, just north of Valley Boulevard

Friday, July 24, 2009

From the Bible...

"...their normal lifespan will be no longer than 120 years."
Genesis 6:3
(New Living Translation)

God has said that human beings can't live any longer than 120 years. That is why the Guinness World Book of Records has trouble believing anyone who has lived for 140 years.

I intend to live at least 100 years. Despite a family history of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart problems, and high blood pressure, I think I can do it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mickey Cohen (1913-76)

Meyer Harris Cohen was born September 4, 1913, in Brooklyn, New York. His mother had immigrated from Ukraine. At three, he moved with his sister Lillie to the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. Two of his brothers (Harry and Louis) became gangsters at a very early age. His father was a gangster. His brother Sam took a different route and lived the ordinary life of a hard working Orthodox Jew. Ironically, most people saw Mickey as a sweet kid with a delightful personality.

He went back to New York in 1923 and began working in the illegal alcohol business at the age of nine. (This was the time of Prohibition, when alcohol was illegal to be sold as a beverage. He would sell the drinks to his older brother who owned a drug store that did a fair business as a speakeasy.

As a teenager, he went back to Los Angeles and began boxing illegally. This led to other criminal activities. He was a smooth talker.

He spent time in Chicago and met Al Capone. Mickey worked with Al's brother Frank for a brief period. But he'd always keep going back to L.A. He became the head of the syndicate in Los Angeles, dealing mostly with illegal gambling... but packing quite a few weapons.

There was also some sex related activity, usually voyeuristic pornography. This was not such a big thing for Mickey. He preferred dealing with schemes that made money.

In 1947, he took over the role that Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (1906-47) of managing the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Much more happened, but this was not the Mickey Cohen I remember seeing when I was growing up. In 1961 he was sent to Alcatraz Prison on the charge of income tax evasion. After Alcatraz closed in 1963 he was sent to the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. He was released in 1972 on medical grounds. Diagnosed with an ulcer, it was found to be stomach cancer, and it was fatal.

Mickey lived the last five years of his life as a sweetheart of talk shows (including Merv Griffin), becoming a Christian believer at a Billy Graham Crusade (some say that was for show), and informing Attorney General Ramsey Clark (1927-) on the real activities of the mob.

He dealt with the kidnapers of Randolph Apperson Hearst's (1915-2000) daughter, Patty (1954- ) to release her. For those of you who remember that situation, the whole thing was quite confusing... One minute, you thought that she went with the group of thugs on her own free will and the next, you thought she was kidnaped. And that's what TV was like during the spring of 1974!

Mickey died on July 29, 1976, and is interred at the Hillside Memorial Cemetery.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

US Highway 466

It began in Kingman, Arizona, where Route 66 and Route 93 met. From Kingman, it followed Route 93 to Las Vegas, Nevada. From there, it went south down Route 91. Just before Route 91 got to Barstow, California, it went off on its own way into Bakersfield. It went up Route 99 to Famoso and then took a turn westward to Shandon, and west to Paso Robles. It then went south on Route 101, took a turn west at Atascadero, then ending at Morro Bay (according to my 1936 map of California...)

Probably the most famous thing that ever happened on the road was on September 30, 1955, when actor James Dean (1930-55) was killed in an accident with his Porsche Spyder. It's ironic that he had just done a TV safety spot with Gig Young just prior to that occurrence. He warned young drivers not to speed... "...the life you save may be my own!" But it was his own speed that killed him.

When John Steinbeck's novel (and later the motion picture) The Grapes of Wrath appeared, the Joad family took Route 466 to get from Barstow to Bakersfield. It should be pointed out that 466 only met Route 66 at one point, its terminus in Kingman. At Barstow, Route 466 was two miles north of town. In real life during the Depression, it was no problem to find the road... there were people on the highway 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans) decommissioned Route 466 in 1964. It had served the state as a major thoroughfare for 32 years. Route 58 went from Barstow to Bakersfield, then went elsewhere. From Famoso to Paso Robles it became Route 46. And between Atascadero to Morro Bay it was Route 41. (Actually, it was colabeled with Route 41 around Shandon and between Atascadero and Morro Bay.)

When Caltrans built a new freeway for Route 58 to the SOUTH of Barstow a few years ago, the exit for the old highway was listed as OLD HWY 58. Route 466 was completely forgotten.

However, the LoyalTubist has not forgotten the road. And here is your chance to own a piece of history. Click on this link to buy your own Route 466 hooded sweatshirt. It's available in white or gray. It shows the California version of the highway shield.

Did you know California is the only state that cuts out its US highway shields in the shape of a shield and not a rectangle? Perhaps this is the reason, in 1964, that Caltrans eliminated all but six US highways: 6, 50, 95, 101, 199, and 395.