Farewell to Some of Those We Lost in 2014

It seems like a lot of notable people in the field of entertainment in 2014. As they do every year, the folks at Turner Classic Movies put together an “In Memoriam” reel in honor of those in front of and and behind the camera….and, inevitably, a notable person died after this compilation was put together, that person being Luise Rainer, who died on December 30th at the age of 104. UPDATE: Actor Edward Herrmann died on December 31st at the age of 71.

Those who stand out immediately in my mind include James Garner, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Joan Rivers and, most of all, Robin Williams. His death is going to hurt for a long time to come.

TCM Remembers 2014:


My 2014 Blogging in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog….clever little monkeys, aren’t they?

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 770 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I hope to keep those stats helper monkeys busier in 2015….and I hope to keep my readers entertained. Thanks to all of you! 🙂

Video of the Day


Back in 2000 Noel Blanc teamed with Warner Bros. to create this tribute to his dad, “the man of a thousand voices”, Mel Blanc. This “living” artwork was called a Power Picture and it moved to a synchronized soundtrack of sound bytes of Mel speaking about the characters and clips of the characters.

Of special note is the final statement from Mel in which he says, “Life is a great thing. You live once, love what you’re doing….you’ll live to a long, healthy life.” That came from a May 1984 conversation that my best friend Walt Mitchell and I had with Mel while visiting with him in his hotel room in Schenectady, NY where he was appearing to deliver one of his college talks. Walt and I were honored when Noel asked us to contribute a sound clip to this wonderful project.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

“We have met the enemy and they are us!” ~Walt Kelly, Pogo, 1971

Going Bananas

I love silly songs and this has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. Here is Guy Marks performing his hit novelty song, Loving You Has Made Me Bananas.

Celebrating 15 Years of Being Online

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15 years ago today I went online for the first time, thanks to the Webtv unit that my mother gave me for Christmas….by the time I got it hooked up and then signed up for the service, it was the wee hours of December 26th, 1999.

webtv logo


webtv plus unit

Webtv was a service from Microsoft that allowed you to use your tv set to connect to the internet using dial-up “technology”. Rather than try to explain how it worked, watch this video instead.

Yeah, it was primitive but it was a way to learn about using the internet before I eventually graduated to a laptop in October 2001. By that point Microsoft was allowing Webtv (which was rebranded MSNTV) users to access their MSN and/or Hotmail accounts on both their Webtv units and their computers at no extra cost. I did this until a little more than 5 years in December 2006, when we subscribed to Time-Warner’s high speed internet service, which I continue to use to this day. MSNTV, by the way, was discontinued on September 30th, 2013.

I have enjoyed being on the internet during these past 15 years….I’ve met all sorts of people online and used so many different services from banking to shopping to YouTube, MySpace (remember them?), Facebook and Twitter. Oh yeah….I also went from blogging on TypePad to WordPress….a definite improvement!

Anyway, I just wanted to observe the anniversary of the beginning of my access to the internet. The technology has expanded at such a breakneck speed since then and some day I’ll catch up with it all. Until then, whenever I become frustrated with my 8 1/2 year old laptop, I’ll stop and remember what things were like in the dark ages when dial-up and Webtv were state of the art technology.

Scary, ain’t it?


Remembering a Legend….Jack Benny


Jack Benny February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974


40 years ago today the world lost one of the greatest comedians who ever lived when Jack Benny died at the age of 80….of course, Jack would have insisted that he was 39.

Jack Benny’s career ranged from vaudeville to radio to movies to television to concert stages to personal appearances….and he continued to perform almost until his death from pancreatic cancer. He was even set to co-star with Walter Matthau in the film The Sunshine Boys….that role would played instead by Benny’s best friend of 55 years, George Burns. I’ll bet that Jack would have been pleased that George’s career was revived by his Oscar-winning turn in the movie.

NBC aired a half-hour tribute tribute on December 27th that was hosted by Tom Snyder and CBS aired the following hour-long tribute on December 29th, the day of Benny’s funeral. Hosted by Charles Kuralt, this special includes comments from Benny’s co-stars Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Frank Nelson, Don Wilson, Dennis Day and Mel Blanc, plus Milton Berle, Danny Thomas, Danny Kaye, CBS founder/chairman William S. Paley, Bob Hope’s eulogy at the services and a wonderful clip to end the broadcast….Jack and Gisele MacKenzie with their classic violin duet of “Getting to Know You”.

Today’s Christmas Video

today's christmas video

For may years WPIX in New York City aired their annual Yule Log starting on Christmas Eve and continuing into Christmas Day. It consisted of footage of a crackling fire in a living room fireplace and was accompanied by Christmas music simulcast from WPIX-FM. On this Christmas, I’d like to share this tradition with you. May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

Today’s Christmas Video

today's christmas video

Since today is Christmas Eve, today’s Christmas video is The Night Before Christmas, a 1905 film by Thomas Edison, featuring one Edwin S. Porter as Santa Claus.

Today’s Christmas Video

today's christmas video

Here’s a nice compilation of clips of Andy Williams with the Osmond Brothers and his own siblings, the Williams Brothers from Christmas editions of The Andy Williams Show. This is from the DVD The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Shows and features commentary from Donny Osmond and from Andy himself.

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