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.

Friday, July 17, 2009

School of the Day

John F. Kennedy High School
Barstow, California

Go Spartans!


The Lion Cub Scout Rank

When I heard the Boy Scouts of America were discontnuing the rank of Lion I cried. I joined the Cub Scouts when I was eight. I was a third grader at North Oceanside Elementary School in Mrs. Butler's class.

By that time, the girls were already in their second year of Girl Scouts, as they started Brownies in the second grade. Cub Scouts began one year later. My school didn't have Cub Scouts at the time. There were some older students who belonged to packs (Cub Scouts don't have troops, they have packs) sponsored by service organizations and churches.

We were then attending the First Methodist Church in Oceanside with a neighbor driving us there every Sunday morning. They didn't have a pack.

A woman we knew from church, Claudia Joslyn (whose son Michael was in my class), wanted to start a new pack and be a Den Mother at North Oceanside School. And so it started, meeting in the Joslyn home, about a block from school, in September 1965. We met Tuesday at 4:00 and finished about 5:45. The entire pack was made up of Den 1. That was Pack 710 of Oceanside, California.

Dues were ten cents a week. Once we passed the requirements to be a Bobcat (the first rank) we could wear a uniform. If a Cub Scout came to a meeting without a uniform, there was a fifteen cent fine. You never saw a Cub Scout from Pack 710 wearing jeans with his uniform. Everything had to be official. Mrs. Joslyn and some of the other mothers knew where to get second hand uniforms for a dime or a quarter at the Salvation Army or the Goodwill.

We made crafts. We went on field trips to local cultural, historical, and natural sites. On Saturdays we had activities with our fathers. These were usually barbecues or softball games. (My dad hated sports.)

I passed the requirements for Wolf in record time. I earned one gold and three silver arrow elective points. Most of these were for cooking.

In May 1966 my family moved from Oceanside (near San Diego) to Colton (near San Bernardino). I joined Den 3 of Pack 48, sponsored by Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School, where I attended until the new Paul J. Rogers Elementary School was completed during the 1966-67 school year. Everyone in Den 3 made the transfer to the new school. Most of the members had family members who worked at the Blue Mountain Dairy (located not far from where I lived at the time on Cypress Avenue... I used to get cheap Popsicles there during summer).

My requirements for the Bear rank went well and I earned it quickly. Then we got some bad news: The rank of Lion was going out. So my pocket wouldn't look like the picture above, with the three ranks like that. Instead, it would look like the one below, with only two ranks. It was rather disappointing. Also, the secret meaning of Webelos, the pinnacle rank in Boy Scouts was going to be different, too. We learned that it meant, "Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout," with some vowels added. The new meaning would be, "We'll Be Loyal Scouts." Actually, that made more sense.

When became ten years old, we wouldn't be in the same den anymore. There was a new Webelos Den. And there were no Den Mothers. Men were now in charge of the show. And now we would be Webelos Scouts, with our own variation of the Cub Scout uniform. And we got to earn neat activity badges. It ended up not being so disappointing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Salute to the Lifetime Membership Department Stores

A lifetime is a long time. It's too bad our lifetimes were longer than yours!
  • Fedco
  • Gemco/Memco
  • ABC (not the Hawaiian souvenir chain)
  • F.O.R.E.
  • Unimart
  • Fedmart (had its beginnings as a membership store)

Today's Sponsors


by Topper Toys

Salvo Detergent

KHJ-TV, Channel 9
An RKO-General Station
Los Angeles, California

Sir George's Royal Buffet

Pillsbury Funny Face
drink mixes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sears, Roebuck, and Company

Founded in 1886 by Richard Warren Sears (1863-1914) and Alvah C. Roebuck (1864-1948), Sears Roebuck began as a mail order service to sell goods to people who lived on farms far from any major city or small town. Sears wasn't the first to do this. Way back in 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844-1913) began publishing his leaflets to the same target group, which also led to a large catalog in 1883. Sears began its big catalog in 1896.

Sears had its own manufacturers producing many of the products it sold. It also borrowed some of the ideas from Montgomery Ward. The idea, "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back," was invented by A. Montgomery Ward. Both firms were based in Chicago.

It was in 1925 that Sears had its first retail store. Ward's didn't get one until the following year. Sears became known as the World's Largest Store. It bought a radio station, WLS, and later sold it to the Prairie Farmer magazine. The Sears advertisements continued being broadcast on that station.

One could buy a house from Sears: The house came in a kit. If a customer had a small parcel of land, Sears sent all the materials needed to build a frameless bungalow or cottage. What was the saying? "Just add water"? These Craftsman houses became famous. In Riverside, California (my birthplace), students at Polytechnic High School (then all-male) built many of the residences in the downtown section. Today, more than 80 years later, they are considered classics.

Sears began selling Allstate Insurance in 1933. In the 1952, when the automotive firm Kaiser-Frazer had trouble selling its compact car, the Henry J, Sears began selling them under the Allstate monogram.

Between 1908 and 1964, Sears manufactured sports equipment (including rifles and bicycles) under the J.C. Higgins banner. James C. Higgins (d. 1950) was an accountant at Sears in Chicago from 1898 to 1930.

Like most department stores, Sears had a candy counter and a dining area. These lasted into the 1990s.

The last products Sears tried were credit cards (Discover) and bank accounts (Sears Bank).

One of the signs that Sears was going through tough times was the cancellation of its catalog.

When I was growing up, these catalogs were in my house:
  • Montgomery Ward
  • Sears Roebuck
  • Aldens
  • Western Auto (more than auto parts)
  • Spiegel
  • J.C Penney (though we didn't get it in California until the late 1970s)

Except for Western Auto, which had very limited clothing selections, these catalogs were the closest thing to pornography in my world as I was growing up, at least in my room. However, Ward's, Sears, and Spiegel either padded the model's clothes with tissue paper or airbrushed certain areas of the bodies. Not Aldens. They let you see everything. And like Playboy magazine, which was not doing full frontal pictures at this time, when the model wore panties, you saw her from the rear. There were no hipsters or bikinis at that time either. I guess I had to do without a lot of what kids take for granted today. They can see a lot more on cable TV when their parents go away... We could go to Stater Brothers and try to sneak a peak at the "men's magazines" there, but it was very risky... (Believe it or not, until I was in junior high, those mags were not hidden from children's view...)

You're probably wondering why I got semi-graphic at this point. I was thinking about the episode of the Waltons TV show when Grandpa had to spend some time without Grandma. So he kept a Sears catalog under his bed, turned to the women's undergarments section.

Sears canceled its catalog five years after Ward's canceled theirs. I tried to save the 1985 Christmas catalog, but I lost it on one of my moves. Sears canceled its catalog in 1993. Today the only catalogs left are J.C. Penney and Spiegel, although the latter seems more like a women's fashion magazine today.

Eventually, Sears sold off Discover and the bank. They even canceled their own credit card for a brief period. Sears was shedding parts of itself and it was hurting. The culprit was said to be Wal-Mart, although this was just the result of a changing world and competition. Consider that sixty years ago, there were seven major automobile manufacturers in the United States and today there are only three, and those might not last.

Sears ended up merging with Kmart, one of Wal-Mart's competitors, to form the Sears Holdings Corporation.

By the way, Sears still publishes a catalog in Canada, though it's extremely difficult to obtain in the United States.