Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Forward Building

above from the forward building site
below from the nytimes' streetscapes by christopher gray
THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD BUILDING, at 175 East Broadway, was built in 1912 as the Socialist paper reached new highs in circulation among its audience of Yiddish-speaking immigrants. The Forward moved out 24 years ago, succeeded by a Chinese church, but now a condominium conversion is under way.
First published in 1897, the Yiddish-language Forward was born as Jewish immigration swelled the New York sweatshops and labor unions. It had close ties to the Socialist Party, taking the name of the successful Socialist paper in Berlin. The first editor, Abraham Cahan, had to leave Russia after revolutionary activities, and it was he who molded the paper into more than just a broadside of ideology.
Cahan was convinced that to reach the working-class immigrant, he had to write of daily life, so The Forward included not just world politics but also local news, short stories and a free-for-all advice column, the Bintel Brief (''packet of letters''), with responses from both editors and readers on love, money, ethics and getting along in America.
The Forward Association, which controlled the paper, was incorporated in 1901 ''for the purpose of distributing literature, social and economic science.'' In 1906 the association bought the building at 175 East Broadway, between Rutgers and Jefferson Streets, across from the new Seward Park. Circulation continued to grow, and in 1910 the association bought the building at 173 East Broadway and filed a permit for a new 10-story structure on the two-lot site.
Shortly after that the directors of the association amended their corporate certificate to include operating a building but still ''to adhere to and propagate the principles of International Socialism.''
Designed by George Boehm, the midblock Forward Building still towers over the three- to five-story houses and tenements in the area. A common story is that it was built in reaction to the capitalist symbolism of the 12-story Jarmulowsky Bank building, two blocks away at the southwest corner of Orchard and Canal Streets, but that building was begun a year after The Forward's.
The cream-and-tan exterior has the same light tones and delicate terra cotta that Boehm used a few years later on the Chalif Dancing School, still standing at 163 West 57th Street. Above the second floor of The Forward Building, a series of relief busts depict four famous socialists, including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Above them two oversize reclining figures in classical dress against a blue background flank a torch, an image that runs through the building's decoration.
The Forward Building was completed in 1912 -- the same year the Socialist Eugene V. Debs polled 901,000 votes in the Presidential election. In that year The Evening Post reported that Cahan's paper generated thousands of dollars of profit, all used to support working-class causes like organizing consumer strikes. Circulation was 120,000.
In 1922, Oswald Garrison Villard, editor of The Nation, called The Forward ''America's most interesting daily,'' noting that the eight-page newspaper had generated assets of $1 million and given about $35,000 a year to labor and charity organizations.
Telephone directories list among the building's other tenants the Butchers' Union Local 509, the Jewish Socialist Verband (Organization), the Naturalization Aid League and the offices of the Workmen's Circle Cemetery.
The 1920's were the peak years for circulation, which reached 275,000, as the paper served both recent immigrants and those who had moved up and out of the Lower East Side. Shirley Zavin, who researched the building for the Landmarks Preservation Commission -- which designated it a landmark in 1986 -- called the paper ''the giant'' among New York's Yiddish dailies.
New laws in 1924 and 1929 tended to restrict Jewish immigration, and by 1939 the circulation was down to 170,000.

The Faces On The Forward Building: Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx

from spartacus schoolnet
Friedrich Engels, the eldest son of a successful German industrialist, was born in Barmen on 28th November 1820. As a young man his father sent him to England to help manage his cotton-factory in Manchester. Engels was shocked by the poverty in the city and began writing an account that was published as Condition of the Working Classes in England (1844). He also made friends with the leaders of the Chartist movement in Britain.
In 1844 Engels began contributing to a radical journal called Franco-German Annals that was being edited by Karl Marx in Paris. Later that year Engels met Marx and the two men became close friends. Engels shared Marx's views on capitalism and after their first meeting he wrote that there was virtually "complete agreement in all theoretical fields". Marx and Engels decided to work together. It was a good partnership, whereas Marx was at his best when dealing with difficult abstract concepts, Engels had the ability to write for a mass audience.
While working on their first article together, The Holy Family, the Prussian authorities put pressure on the French government to expel Karl Marx from the country. On 25th January 1845, Marx received an order deporting him from France. Marx and Engels decided to move to Belgium, a country that permitted greater freedom of expression than any other European state.
Friedrich Engels helped to financially support Marx and his family. Engels gave Marx the royalties of his book, Condition of the Working Class in England and arranged for other sympathizers to make donations. This enabled Marx the time to study and develop his economic and political theories.
In July 1845 Engels took Karl Marx to England. They spent most of the time consulting books in Manchester Library. During their six weeks in England, Engels introduced Marx to several of the Chartist leaders including George Julian Harney.
Engels and Marx returned to Brussels and in January 1846 they set up a Communist Correspondence Committee. The plan was to try and link together socialist leaders living in different parts of Europe. Influenced by Marx's ideas, socialists in England held a conference in London where they formed a new organization called the Communist League. Engels attended as a delegate and took part in developing a strategy of action.
Engels returned to England in December 1847 where he attended a meeting of the Communist League' Central Committee in London. At the meeting it was decided that the aims of the organization was "the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the domination of the proletariat, the abolition of the old bourgeois society based on class antagonisms, and the establishment of a new society without classes and without private property".
Engels and Marx began writing a pamphlet together. Based on a first draft produced by Engels called the Principles of Communism, Marx finished the 12,000 word pamphlet in six weeks. Unlike most of Marx's work, it was an accessible account of communist ideology. Written for a mass audience, The Communist Manifesto summarized the forthcoming revolution and the nature of the communist society that would be established by the proletariat.
The Communist Manifesto begins with the assertion, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Marx and Engels argued that if you are to understand human history you must not see it as the story of great individuals or the conflict between states. Instead, you must see it as the story of social classes and their struggles with each other. Marx and Engels explained that social classes had changed over time but in the 19th century the most important classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. By the term bourgeoisie Marx and Engels meant the owners of the factories and the raw materials which are processed in them. The proletariat, on the other hand, own very little and are forced to sell their labour to the capitalists.
Marx and Engels believed that these two classes are not merely different from each other, but also have different interests. They went on to argue that the conflict between these two classes would eventually lead to revolution and the triumph of the proletariat. With the disappearance of the bourgeoisie as a class, there would no longer be a class society. As Engels later wrote, "The state is not abolished, it withers away."
The Communist Manifesto was published in February, 1848. The following month, the government expelled Engels and Marx from Belgium. Marx and Engels visited Paris before moving to Cologne where they founded a radical newspaper, New Rhenish Gazette. The men hoped to use the newspaper to encourage the revolutionary atmosphere that they had witnessed in Paris.
Engels helped form an organization called the Rhineland Democrats. On 25th September, 1848, several of the leaders of the group were arrested. Engels managed to escape but was forced to leave the country. Karl Marx continued to publish the New Rhenish Gazette until he was expelled in May, 1849.
Engels and Marx now moved to London. The Prussian authorities applied pressure on the British government to expel the two men but the Prime Minister, John Russell, held liberal views on freedom of expression and refused. With only the money that Engels could raise, the Marx family lived in extreme poverty.
In order to help supply Karl Marx with an income, Engels returned to work for his father in Germany. The two kept in constant contact and over the next twenty years they wrote to each other on average once every two days. Friedrich Engels sent postal orders or £1 or £5 notes, cut in half and sent in separate envelopes. In this way the Marx family was able to survive.
Karl Marx died in London in March, 1883. Engels devoted the rest of his life to editing and translating Marx's writings. This included the second volume of Das Kapital (1885). Engels then used Marx's notes to write the third volume of Das Kapital (1894). Friedrich Engels died in London on 5th August 1895.

The Faces On The Forward Building: Ferdinand LaSalle and Karl Liebknecht

On The Top:
Ferdinand Lassalle (11 April 1825 — 31 August 1864) was a German jurist and socialist political activist.
Lassalle came from a prosperous Jewish family in Loslau later Breslau, Prussia; his father was a silk-merchant and intended his son for a business career, sending him to the commercial school at Leipzig. Lassalle himself, however, had other plans and got himself transferred to university, first in Breslau and afterwards in Berlin. His favourite studies were philology and philosophy; he became a close follower of Hegel. Having completed his university studies in 1845, he began to write a work on Heraclitus from the Hegelian point of view; but it was soon interrupted and was not published until 1858.
It was in Berlin, towards the end of 1845, that he met Countess Sophie von Hatzfeldt. She had been separated from her husband for many years, and had problems with him on questions of property and the custody of their children. Lassalle attached himself to the countess's cause, made special study of law, and, after bringing the case before thirty-six tribunals, reduced the count to a compromise on terms favourable to his client.
The court case, which lasted ten years, gave rise to some scandal, especially that of the Cassettengeschichte (Casket Affair), which pursued Lassalle all the rest of his life. This arose out of an attempt by the countess's friends to get possession of a bond for a large life annuity settled by the count on his mistress, Baroness von Meyendorff, to the disadvantage of the countess and her children. Two of Lassalle's comrades succeeded in carrying off the casket, which contained jewels, from the baroness's room at a hotel in Cologne. They were prosecuted for theft, one of them being condemned to six months imprisonment. Lassalle, accused of moral complicity, was acquitted on appeal.
Lassalle took part in the revolutions of 1848-49; as a result he underwent a year's imprisonment in 1849 for resistance to the authorities of Düsseldorf and was banned from living in Berlin. Until 1859 Lassalle resided mostly in the Rhineland, dealing with the suit of the countess, and finishing the work on Heraclitus. In this time he was not much involved in political agitation, but remained interested in the labour movement.
In 1859 Lassalle returned to Berlin, entering the city disguised as a carter, and, through the influence of Alexander von Humboldt with the king, received permission to stay there. The same year he published a pamphlet on the war in Italy and how Prussia should act: he warned Prussia against going to the rescue of Austria in her war with France. He pointed out that if France drove Austria out of Italy it would be able to annex Savoy, but would not be strong enough to prevent Italian unification under King Victor Emmanuel. Prussia, he said, should form an alliance with France to drive out Austria and also to gain power in Germany. In 1861 Lassalle published System der erworbenen Rechte (System of Acquired Rights) on this subject.
In early 1862, the struggle had begun between Otto von Bismarck and the liberals in Prussia. Lassalle believed that the liberal politician Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch's co-operative schemes on the principle of self-help were utterly inadequate to improve the condition of the working classes. Lassalle himself had a fashionable, extravagant lifestyle, but now he threw himself into a new career as a political agitator, travelling around Germany, giving speeches and writing pamphlets, in an attempt to organise and rouse the working class.
Although Lassalle was a member of the Communist League, his politics were strongly opposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels thought that Lassalle was not a true Communist as he directly influenced Bismarck's government (in secret albeit) on the issue of universal suffrage, among others. Élie Halévy would later write on this situation:
Lassalle was the first man in Germany, the first in Europe, who succeeded in organising a party of socialist action. Nevertheless, if he had not unfortunately been born a Jew, Lassalle could also be hailed as a forerunner in the vast halls where National Socialism is acclaimed to-day...When in 1866 Bismarck founded the Confederation of Northern Germany on a basis of universal suffrage, he was acting on advice which came directly from Lassalle. And I am convinced that after 1878, when he began to practise "State Socialism" and "Christian Socialism" and "Monarchial Socialism," he had not forgotten what he had learnt from the socialist leader. ”
As a result, when Lassalle founded the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein (General German Workers' Association, ADAV) on 23 May 1863, Marx's supporters in Germany did not join it. Lassalle was the first president of the ADAV, which was the first German labour party, from 23 May 1863 to 31 August 1864. This party later became the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
The SDP was formed in 1875, when the ADAV merged with the SDAP (Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany), to a great extent due to Lassalle's efforts. Lassalle wanted to participate in German politics. Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel, who were Marxists and opposed reformist politics, also joined the party. From its founding, the Social Democratic Party was divided between those who advocated reform and those who advocated revolution.
In Berlin, Lassalle had met a young woman, Hélène von Dönniges, and in the summer of 1864 they decided to marry. She, however, was the daughter of a Bavarian diplomat then resident at Geneva, who would have nothing to do with Lassalle. Hélène was imprisoned in her own room, and soon, apparently under pressure, renounced Lassalle in favour of another admirer, Count von Racowitza. Lassalle sent a challenge both to the lady's father and to Racowitz, which was accepted by the latter. At the Carouge, a suburb of Geneva, a duel took place on the morning of 28 August 1864. Lassalle was mortally wounded, and he died on August 31. The final events of his life were described in George Meredith's novel The Tragic Comedians (1880). He is buried in Breslau (now Wrocław), in the old Jewish cemetery.

On the bottom:
Karl Liebknecht (13 August 1871 - 15 January 1919) was a German socialist and a co-founder of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany.
Born in Leipzig, Karl Liebknecht was the son of Wilhelm Liebknecht, one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. However, Karl Liebknecht was more radical than his father; he became an exponent of Marxist ideas during his study of law and political economy in Leipzig and Berlin. After serving with the Imperial Pioneer Guards in Potsdam from 1893 to 1894 and internships in Arnsberg and Paderborn from 1894 to 1898, he earned his doctorate at Würzburg in 1897 and moved to Berlin in 1899 where he opened a lawyer's office with his brother, Theodor Liebknecht. Liebknecht married Julia Paradies on 8 May 1900; the couple had two sons and a daughter before Liebknecht's wife died in 1911.
As a lawyer, Liebknecht often defended other left-wing socialists who were tried for offences such as smuggling socialist propaganda into Russia, a task in which he was involved himself as well. He became a member of the SPD in 1900 and was president of the Socialist Youth International from 1907 to 1910; Liebknecht also wrote extensively against militarism, and one of his papers, "Militarismus und Antimilitarismus" ("militarism and antimilitarism") led to his being arrested in 1907 and imprisoned for eighteen months in Glatz, Prussian Silesia. In the next year he was elected to the Prussian parliament, despite still being in prison.
Liebknecht was an active member of the Second International and a founder of the "Socialist Youth International". In 1912 Liebknecht was elected to the Reichstag as a Social-Democrat, a member of the SPD's left wing. He opposed Germany's participation in World War I, but following the party line he voted to authorise the necessary war loans on 4 August 1914. On 2 December 1914 he was the only member of the Reichstag to vote against the war, the supporters of which included 110 of his own Party members. He continued to be a major critic of the Social-Democratic leadership under Karl Kautsky and its decision to acquiesce in going to war. In October that year, he also married his second wife, art historian Sophie Ryss.
At the end of 1914, Liebknecht, together with Rosa Luxemburg, Leo Jogiches, Paul Levi, Ernest Meyer, Franz Mehring and Clara Zetkin formed the so-called Spartacist League (Spartakusbund); the league publicized its views in a newspaper titled Spartakusbriefe ("Spartacus Letters") which was soon declared illegal. Liebknecht was arrested and sent to the eastern front during World War I for the group's echoing of Russian Bolsheviks' arguments for a Proletarian Revolution; refusing to fight, he served burying the dead, and due to his rapidly deteriorating health was allowed to return to Germany in October 1915.
Liebknecht was arrested again following a demonstration against the war in Berlin on 1 May 1916 that was organized by the Spartacus League, and sentenced to two and a half years in jail for high treason, which was later increased to four years and one month.
Liebknecht was released again in October 1918, when Max von Baden granted an amnesty to all political prisoners. Following the outbreak of the German Revolution, Liebknecht carried on his activities in the Spartacist League; he resumed leadership of the group together with Rosa Luxemburg and published its party organ, the Rote Fahne ("red flag").
On 9 November, Liebknecht declared the formation of a "Freie Sozialistische Republik" (Free Socialist Republic) from a balcony of the Berliner Stadtschloss, two hours after Philipp Scheidemann's declaration of the "German Republic" from a balcony of the Reichstag.
On 31 December 1918 / 1 January 1919, Liebknecht was involved in the founding of the KPD. Together with Luxemburg, Leo Jogiches and Clara Zetkin, Liebknecht was also instrumental in the January 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin. Initially he and Rosa Luxemburg opposed the revolt but participated after it had begun. The uprising was brutally opposed by the new German government under Friedrich Ebert with the help of the remnants of the Imperial German Army and freelance right-wing militias called the Freikorps; by 13 January, the uprising had been extinguished. Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were abducted by Freikorps soldiers, on 15 January 1919 with considerable support from Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, and brought to the Eden Hotel in Berlin where they were tortured and interrogated for several hours. Following this, Luxemburg was battered to death with rifle butts and thrown into a nearby river while Liebknecht was shot in the back of the head then deposited as an unknown body in a nearby mortuary.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Bloom

The program was devised by writer-actress Gertrude Berg in 1928 and sold to the NBC radio network the following year. It was a domestic comedy featuring the home life of a Jewish family in New York City. In addition to writing the scripts and directing each episode, Berg starred as bighearted, lovingly meddlesome matriarch Molly Goldberg. The show began as a portrait of Jewish tenement life before later evoking such growing pains as moving into a more suburban setting and struggling with assimilation while sustaining their roots.
The Goldbergs began as a weekly 15-minute program called The Rise of the Goldbergs on November 20, 1929, going daily in 1931. The series moved to CBS in 1936 with the title shortened to The Goldbergs. Like other 15-minute comedies of the day, such as Amos 'n' Andy, Lum and Abner, Easy Aces, Vic and Sade and Myrt and Marge, The Goldbergs was a serial with running storylines. And Berg's usual introduction — in character as Molly, hollering, "Yoo-hoo! Is anybody...?" — became a catch phrase. In the 1940s, this was followed by Bud Collyer warbling, "There she is, folks — that's Molly Goldberg, a woman with a place in every heart and a finger in every pie".
When Gertrude Berg missed a couple of weeks due to illness, stations carrying the popular show were flooded with get-well mail.[ At the height of the show's popularity, Life wrote: "For millions of Americans, listening to The Goldbergs... has been a happy ritual akin to slipping on a pair of comfortable old shoes that never seem to wear out".
Radio historians Frank Buxton and Bill Owen, in The Big Broadcast 1920-1950, noted that The Goldbergs, which they considered a soap opera as much as a comedy, "differed from most of the other 'soaps' in that its leading characters lived through relatively normal situations. Even though it was the story of a poor Jewish family in New York, it had identification for a wide segment of listeners". Of the 15-minute serial comedies, only Amos 'n' Andy enjoyed a longer radio life than The Goldbergs.
The role of husband Jake Goldberg was first played by Himan Brown and later by James R. Waters. When Waters died suddenly in 1945, Berg resisted recasting the role. Instead, she simply had Molly refer to Jake, occasionally setting up dialogue in which his reply was not heard when she spoke to him.
Berg's portrayal of the Jewish mother stereotype emphasized the positive. "This series has done more to set us Jews right with the 'goyim' than all the sermons ever preached by the Rabbis," wrote one Jewish educator.
Berg was not averse to incorporating serious real-world issues that affected Jewish families. One 1939 episode addressed Kristallnacht and Nazi Germany (including a rock through the family window as the Goldbergs made their Passover Seder); other World War II-era episodes alluded to friends or family members trying to escape the Holocaust. But these were sporadic deviations from the show's main theme of family, neighborhood and the balance between old world values and new world assimilation.
The Goldbergs was so popular that performing stars in other arts sought to appear on it. Berg consented, for example, to cast Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce almost annually to sing on Yom Kippur and Passover. Another famous singer of the day, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, asked Berg directly if she could appear, and Berg wrote her into three episodes.
The radio cast included Roslyn Silber and Alfred Ryder as children Rosalie and Sammy, Menasha Skulnik as Uncle Davis, Arnold Stang (later famous as the voice of Top Cat) as Seymour Fingerhood, Garson Kanin as Eli Edwards, and Zina Provendie as Sylvia Allison, among others. In 1948, Berg wrote and staged a theatrical version of the show on Broadway, Molly and Me. A year later, she brought The Goldbergs to television.The television version ran on CBS Television from 1949 to 1951 and co-starred Philip Loeb as Jake Goldberg. He and Gertrude Berg reprised their roles in a 1950 film of the same name. The show almost didn't get to the small screen at all: CBS executives were uncertain that the show would work on television as well as it did on radio. Berg prevailed, however, and picked up General Foods as its sponsor. Berg, who continued to write every episode, insisted that no laugh track be used and made sure everyday events formed the base for the stories; she was once quoted as saying she avoided "anything that will bother people ... unions, fund raising, Zionism, socialism, intergroup relations. ... I keep things average. I don't want to lose friends."
The Goldbergs was destined to spend almost a decade on television — but not without disruptions. In 1950, Philip Loeb was blacklisted and pressure was placed on Berg (who owned the television version as she had the radio original) to fire him. When she refused, CBS dropped it from their schedule by June 1951.
Eight months later, however NBC — the show's original broadcasting home — picked up the series for the 1952-53 season (with another re-naming, to Molly, in due course), with Harold Stone and then Robert H. Harris replacing Loeb as Jake, though Berg quietly continued to pay a salary to Loeb. The rest of the television cast included Eli Mintz as Uncle David, Tom Taylor as Sammy, Arlene McQuade as Rosalie, Betty Bendyke as Dora Barnett, Susan Steel as Daisy Carey, and Jon Lormer as Henry Carey. On radio, Sammy and Rosalie had grown up and gotten married; on television, the characters were revived as teenagers.
In 1954, the show moved to the faltering DuMont network for a summer run. The shows were live, but a final version was filmed in 1955, moving the Goldbergs from the Bronx to the New York suburb of Haverville. In a way this mirrored the real life flight of many Jewish families from the Bronx to the suburbs and other parts of New York during this period. However, this was considered the death knell of the show, as it was felt that the Goldbergs were only the Goldbergs in the Bronx. That same year, Philip Loeb, beset by depression and unable to find other work, committed suicide.Gertrude Berg returned to television six years later in a situation comedy, Mrs G. Goes to College, playing Sarah Green, a Molly Goldberg-like character. Despite being retitled The Gertrude Berg Show in mid-year, the program was cancelled after one season. The Goldbergs is available to collectors and fans in a large number of surviving radio episodes and some surviving television episodes.

Hold It, I Think You're Going To Like This Picture

In honor of Bob's birthday. One of my favorite sitcoms, although I never watched it when it was began, but when it was in reruns in the 60's. I remember it was on at 5PM on channel 2
First broadcast December 16, 1958
This is an original "Bob Cummings Show" print. Bob gets to be a judge in an Air Force beauty contest. This episode features Peter Lawford, Rose Marie, and Nancy Kulp with a bonus of the original Winston and Salem cigarette commercials.

The Bob Cummings Show (also known as Love That Bob) is an American television sitcom which was produced from 1955 to 1959. The program began with a half-season run on NBC, then ran for two full seasons on CBS, and returned to NBC for its final two seasons. The program was later rerun in the daytime hours on ABC and then syndicated under the title Love That Bob. The series starred Robert Cummings as a dashing young Hollywood photographer, Air Force reserve officer, and "ladies man". Bob Collins. The character's interest in aviation and photography mirrored Cummings' own in real life, with his character's name the same as the role he played in You Came Along (1945). The series also starred Rosemary DeCamp. The Bob Cummings Show was important in the development of several careers. One of the co-writers was Paul Henning, later producer of major 1960s hits such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres. Regulars in the show included Ann B. Davis. Henning apparently remembered cast members Nancy Kulp and Joi Lansing favorably, as both had roles on The Beverly Hillbillies, Miss Kulp as "Miss Hathaway" (secretary to banker Milburn Drysdale) and Miss Lansing as "Gladys". Perhaps the biggest career boost was received by young Dwayne Hickman, a student at Loyola University in Los Angeles, who appeared as Bob's nephew and became a favorite with young women in the audience. After The Bob Cummings Show ended, he was cast as the lead in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
This program represented the height of Cummings' television career. Although he made many further appearances as a guest star and again starred in a series in the early 1960s, My Living Doll, he never again achieved the success on television that he had with this program, which was rerun in off hours until black and white television series lost almost all of their audience in the 1970s and were essentially retired from syndicated distribution. Reruns with the title Love that Bob appeared on the CBN Cable Network in the mid-1980s, and the show remains in syndication on smaller stations and networks today. The episodes appear to have fallen into the public domain.

from a Love That Bob site
* The Bob Cummings Show (Love That Bob) credits Producer - Paul Henning
* Director - Rodney Amateau
* Announcer - Bill Baldwin
* Music - Mahlon Merrick, Lou Kosloff
* Bob Collins - Bob Cummings
* Josh Collins, Bob's grandfather - Bob Cummings
* Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz, Bob's gal Friday - Ann B. Davis
* Margaret MacDonald, Bob's widowed sister - Rosemary DeCamp
* Chuck MacDonald, Margaret's son - Dwayne Hickman
* Pamela Livingstone, birdwatcher that liked Bob - Nancy Kulp
* Paul Fonda, a military buddy of Bob's, would appear occasionally, Bob thought Paul was a wolf with the women, so Bob really didn't like it when Paul wanted a date with Margaret - Lyle Talbot
* Harvey Helm, Bob's Air Force buddy - King Donovan
* Ruth Helm, Harvey's wife - Mary Lawrence
* Tommy Helm, son of Harvey & Ruth - Charles Herbert
* Mrs. Neemeyer, neighbor - Marjorie Bennett
* Shirley Swanson, blonde bombshell, Bob's model - Joi Lansing
* Collette DuBois, Bob's model - Lisa Gaye
* Mary Beth Hall, Bob's model - Gloria Marshall
* Ingrid Goude, Miss Sweden 1956, Bob's model - Herself
* Francine Williams, Chuck's girlfriend - Diane Jergens
* Olive Sturgess, Chuck's girlfriend - Carol Henning (producer Paul Henning's daughter)
* Tammy Johnson - Tammy Lea Marihugh

Life Magazine: Oliver Street

Oliver Street in the 1940's before the Smith Projects were built. Al Smith's home is visible (approximately where the car furthest away is) as is Jim Jim's on the corner down by Madison Street.

Life Magazine Teams With Google

LIFE magazine has teamed up with Google to host all their photos online through  It is quite an impressive collection going back to the 1750’s.  Here is the blurb and below is the link.
’Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1930's to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

Here is the link.
Info on the image above which I was able to find on that site:
View of new housing project with the Manhattan Bridge in the background. on the Lower East Side of the city.
Location: New York, NY, US
Date taken: October 1957
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
High resolution versions are also available

Happy 60th Birthday Bob

It's Professor Bob Nathanson's, aka Bobby Knuckles, 60th birthday on November 30th. Amazing, the guy doesn't look a day over 12! Who knew that they had overhead cameras at Tanahey, making it possible to capture Bob in recreating his famous punchball technique.

Who's Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Carl Scarna

Hello, My name is Carl Scarna and I reside in Lakewood, NJ with my wife Lorraine Scarna and my 3 kids Carl Jr 34, Vanessa 25, and Stefano 21. I was raised in Knickerbocker Village on Monroe Street with my brother Robert Scarna and my parents Joe and Rita Scarna. My father used to be the manager for St. Joseph’s baseball team, which I played as the pitcher and won the championship with 15 wins and 1 loss. I received a trophy for the most valuable pitcher in 1960. Growing up I played all kinds of sports in the neighborhood such as football, basketball, ice hockey, softball, punch ball, stickball, and roller hockey. My friends from the village were willing to learn sign language taught by me and in return they taught me to improve my speech language so I can communicate with my hearing friends. I played in the Olympics for the deaf on the ice hockey team in Lake Placid, NY in. When I was 18 years old, Phillies, Mets, Baltimore, Yankees, and Milwaukee Braves scouts from the major league baseball called me in to try out for pitching unfortunately, the team scouts found out I was deaf and told me they didn’t need me but I asked, “Why did you call me then?” I mentioned that they did not need my ears but my right arm to play baseball. I had the skills to throw a curve ball and even a drop ball. Knickerbocker Village was my home and I completely miss it and loved every moment there. Till this day I still read the newspaper from the village and how much it has changed but that will never change my love for knickerbockers village. Also, I must emphasize I am a huge fan of the San Francisco Giants and the New York Rangers! If you recognize me please feel free to contact me and we can take a stroll down memory lane!
Sincerely, Carl

Martin Ritt: Hud

Dave Kehr in the nytimes of 11/24/08 wrote
It’s hard to deduce from either of these releases that Ritt — the director of “Hud” (1963), “The Front” (1976) and “Norma Rae” (1979) — was once considered a major Hollywood filmmaker. He isn’t mentioned on the front cover of either disc. Like so many filmmakers who racked up awards and earned sterling reviews during their careers, he seems to have been forgotten by history, perhaps because his movies were so deeply embedded in the times in which they were made. They draw on or react against contemporary events to such a degree that, once their contexts have been taken away, they no longer mean what they once did. Ritt, who died in 1990 not long after directing Robert De Niro and Jane Fonda in the sincere but maladroit working-class romance “Stanley & Iris,” might not have been the most able stylist in the world, but he deserves better than oblivion.

Ritt certainly deserves better than that. What films being made now are better than his? Hud is one of my favorites. The scene of Melvyn Douglas singing his heart out in the movie theater is great
Hud is a 1963 film which tells the story of a self-centered, modern-day cowboy. It stars Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal, Brandon De Wilde and Whit Bissell. The movie was primarily filmed in Claude, Texas.
The movie was adapted by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch from the novel Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry and was directed by Martin Ritt.
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas, who won against Bobby Darin in Captain Newman, M.D.), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Patricia Neal) and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (James Wong Howe). It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
Hud Bannon (Paul Newman) is an unscrupulous, arrogant, brash, and self-centered man. He has few interests other than enjoying himself and avoiding responsibility. His life is limited to drinking, starting barroom brawls, joyriding in his sporty pink Cadillac, and sleeping with women (married or otherwise). Although his elderly rancher-father Homer (Melvyn Douglas) is a deeply principled man, none of his ethics have rubbed off on Hud. Homer uses every opportunity to remind Hud of what a disappointment he is.
Also living at the Bannon Ranch is Hud's teenage nephew Lonnie (Brandon De Wilde), the son of Hud's deceased brother who died as a result of Hud's recklessness. Hud believes that his brother's death is the primary cause of Homer's anger and resentment toward him. However, Homer reveals that his disappointment runs deeper than that, saying that Hud cares about no one but himself and is unprincipled. Hud says, "My mama loved me, but then she died." (In McMurtry's novel, Hud's mother - Homer's second wife - is still alive.)
Lonnie and Hud are both attracted to the Bannons' middle-aged housekeeper, Alma (Patricia Neal), and Hud is as crude and insulting to her as Lonnie is protective. Although Hud's fondness for her is (at first) somewhat mutual, Alma keeps her distance because she has already been "around the block" with macho womanizers like Hud. (Alma comments to Hud, at one point during the film, "I've done my time with one cold-blooded bastard, I'm not looking for another.")
Homer buys some cheap Mexican cattle which have foot-and-mouth disease and his entire herd becomes infected. Hud recommends they quickly sell them to someone else before word gets out. But Homer will not resort to such unethical tactics; he calls in a state veterinarian. The cattle are quarantined by the vet, who ultimately rules the entire herd must be destroyed so as not to spread the infection. Although this will likely bankrupt the Bannons, Homer complies rather than risk spreading the disease or passing the problem onto unsuspecting ranchers. Hud is angry that his inheritance has been eroded; he attempts to have Homer declared legally incompetent, so he can usurp control of their ranch.
In a drunken rage, Hud forces himself sexually onto Alma. Lonnie comes to Alma's aid. She abruptly flees the ranch, disgusted and demoralized at Hud's brutishness. After Lonnie drops her off at the bus station, Hud happens by as she is waiting. He apologizes for his drunken assault, but not for his attraction to her. Driving back to the ranch, Lonnie spots his grandfather at the roadside. Homer has fallen off his horse during a survey of his property. Hud pulls up behind Lonnie, and both try to help Homer, but he does not survive. At the very end, Homer accuses Hud of being eager for him to die.
Although Lonnie initially idealized Hud for his charm and liveliness, he has become disgusted at Hud's treatment of Homer and Alma. After Homer's funeral, Lonnie leaves the ranch to get away from Hud, not sure if he will ever return. Lonnie tells Hud to put his half of their inheritance in the bank, then walks off. For a moment, Hud feels the emptiness of his life, which he has created by driving everyone who loved him away. But after a swig of beer and a moment's thought, he dismisses Lonnie's departure with a deprecating wave and a smile of indifference and goes back into the Bannon house, alone.

Let's Have A Union: Black Eyed Peas

(One for all, one for all)
(It's all it's all for one)
Let's start a union, calling every human
It's one for all and all for one
Let's live in unison, calling every citizen
It's one for all and all for one
We don't want war- can't take no more
It's drastic time for sure
We need an antidote and a cure
Coz do you really think Mohammed got a problem with Jehovah
We don't want war – imagine if any prophet was alive
In current days amongst you and I
You think they'd view life like you and I do
Or would they sit and contemplate on why
Do we live this way, act and behave this way
We still live in primitive today
Coz the peace in the destination of war can't be the way
There's no way, so people just be a woman, be a man
Realize that you can't change the world by changing yourself
And understand that we're all just the same
So when I count to three let's change
Got no time for grand philosophy
I barely keep my head above the tide
I got this mortgage, got three kids at school
What you're saying is the truth, but really troubles me inside
I'd change the world if I could change my mind
If I could live beyond my fears
Exchanging unity for all my insecurity
Exchanging laughter for my tears
I don't know, y'all, we in a real deposition
In the midst of all this negative condition
Divided by beliefs, different sink and religion
Why do we keep missing the point in our mission?
Why do we keep killing each other, what's the reason?
God made us all equal in his vision
I wish that I could make music as a religion
Then we could harmonise together in this mission
Listen, I know it's really hard to make changes
But two of us could help rearrange this curse
Utilising all the power in our voices
Together we will unite and make the right choice
And fight for education, save the next generation
Come together as one
I don't understand why it's never been done
So let's change on the count of one
It takes one, just one
And then one follows the other one
And then another follows the other one
Next thing you know you got a billion
People doing some wonderful things
People doing some powerful things
Let's change and do some powerful things
Unity could be a wonderful thing

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Martin Ritt

above in 1958 directing Ina Balin in Black Orchid

Born In NYC and in 1920 I found him at 140 E. 7th Street, right across the street from Tompkins Square Park. His father was a union organizer thus the strong attraction to Norma Rae
Martin Ritt (March 2, 1914–December 8, 1990) was an American director, actor, and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. Ritt originally attended and played football for Elon College in North Carolina. The stark contrasts of the depression-era South, against his New York City upbringing, instilled in him a passion for expressing the struggles of inequality, which is apparent in the films he directed. After leaving St. John's University, Ritt found work with a theater group, and began acting in plays. His first performance was as Crown in Porgy and Bess. After his performance drew favorable reviews, Ritt concluded that he could "only be happy in the theater." Ritt then went to work with the Roosevelt administration's New Deal Works Progress Administration as a playwright for the Federal Theater Project, a federal government-funded theater support program.
With work hard to find and the Depression in full effect, many WPA theater performers, directors, and writers became heavily influenced by the radical left and Communism, and Ritt was no exception. Years later, Ritt would state that he had never been a member of the Communist Party, although he considered himself a leftist and found common ground with some Marxist principles.
Ritt moved on from the WPA to the Theater of Arts, then to the Group Theater of New York City. It was at the Group Theater that he met Elia Kazan. Kazan cast Ritt as an understudy to his play Golden Boy. Ritt’s social consciousness and political views continued to mature during his time with the Group Theater, and would influence the social and political viewpoint that Ritt would later express in his films.
During World War II, Ritt served with the U.S. Army Air Forces and appeared as an actor in the Air Forces' Broadway play and film Winged Victory. During the Broadway run of the play, Ritt directed a production of Sidney Kingsley's play Yellow Jack, using actors from Winged Victory and rehearsing between midnight and 3 a.m. after Winged Victory performances. The play had a brief Broadway run and was performed again in Los Angeles when the Winged Victory troupe moved there to make the film version.
After working as a playwright with the Works Progress Administration, acting on stage, and directing hundreds of plays, Ritt became a successful television director.
In 1952, Ritt was acting, directing, and producing teleplays and television programs when he was caught up by the Red Scare and investigations of communist influence in Hollywood and the movie industry. Although not directly named by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Ritt was mentioned in an anti-communist newsletter called Counterattack, published by American Business Consultants, a group formed by three former FBI agents.
Counterattack alleged that Ritt had helped Communist Party-affiliated locals of the New York-based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union stage their annual show. Also cited was a show he had directed for Russian War Relief at Madison Square Garden. His associations with the Group Theater, founded on a Russian model, and the Federal Theater Project (which Congress had stopped funding in 1939 because of what some anti-New Deal congressmen claimed to be a left-wing political tone to some productions), were also known to HUAC. He was finally blacklisted by the television industry when a Syracuse grocer charged him with donating money to Communist China in 1951.
Unable to work in the television industry, Ritt returned to the theater for several years. By 1956, the Red Scare had decreased in intensity, and he turned to film directing. His first film as director was Edge of the City, an important film for Ritt and an opportunity to give voice to his experiences. Based on the story of a union dock worker who faces intimidation by a corrupt boss, the film is a virtual laundry list of themes influencing Ritt over the years: corruption, racism, intimidation of the individual by the group, defense of the individual against government oppression, and most notable, the redeeming quality of mercy and the value of shielding others from evil, including sacrificing one's own reputation, career, and even life if necessary.
Ritt went on to direct 25 more films.
Ritt's 1964 film The Outrage, is an American retelling of the Kurosawa film Rashomon, and stars Laurence Harvey, Paul Newman, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson, Howard Da Silva, and William Shatner. The film uses the Western genre to tell the same story as the Japanese movie. Like the original Kurosawa film, this film contrasts the stories of various witnesses to a crime. Shatner and Robinson listen to four different versions of a rape/murder, told alternatively by Harvey, Bloom, Newman and Da Silva. Harvey is the one murdered, but tells his story through an Indian medicine man. Each story is a biased opinion of what happened, and the movie never resolves which story is true (if any). Like the Kurosawa original, Ritt's film is an example of nonlinear storytelling.
In 1976, Ritt made the one of the first dramatic feature films about the blacklist, The Front, starring Woody Allen. The Front satirizes the use of front men, men and women who (either as a personal favor or in exchange for payment) allowed their names to be listed as writers for scripts actually authored by blacklisted writers. The film was based on the experiences of, and written by, one of Ritt's closest friends, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted for eight years beginning in 1950.
In 1987, Ritt again utilized extensive flashback and nonlinear storytelling techniques in the film Nuts, a film about a strong-willed, high-class call girl (Barbra Streisand) who kills a customer in self-defense. To avoid scandal, her parents try to have her declared mentally incompetent. Not helping matters is that she is distrustful of everybody, including her court-appointed attorney (Richard Dreyfuss), and is disruptive during her court hearings. The movie is based on a stage play by the same name, written by Tom Topor. The film was considered a box office disappointment in relation to its budget, although it did not actually lose money.
* Edge of the City (1957)
* The Long Hot Summer (1958)
* Hud (1963)
* The Outrage (1964)
* The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965)
* Hombre (1967)
* The Great White Hope (1970)
* The Molly Maguires (1970)
* Sounder (1972)
* The Front (1976)
* Norma Rae (1979)
* Murphy's Romance (1985)
* Nuts (1987)
* Stanley and Iris (1990)

Let's Have A Union: Norma Rae

The director of this movie was Martin Ritt and guess what?
from wikipedia
Norma Rae is a 1979 film which tells the story of a woman from a small town in the Southern United States who becomes involved in the labor union activities at the textile factory where she works. It stars Sally Field, Beau Bridges, Ron Leibman, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley, Gail Strickland and Noble Willingham.
The movie was written by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch, and was directed by Martin Ritt. It is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton.
It won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sally Field) and Best Original Song (for David Shire and Norman Gimbel for "It Goes Like It Goes"). It was also nominated for Best Picture and for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. The film was also nominated to the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival and Field was awarded Best Actress for her performance.

from the nation, by Robert Nathan and Jo-Ann Mort
Remembering Norma Rae: Why does Hollywood render unions and the working class invisible?
Ladies and gentlemen, the textile industry, in which you are spending your lives and your the only industry in the whole length and breadth of these United States of America that is not unionized. Therefore, they are free to exploit you, to lie to you, to cheat you and to take away from you what is rightfully yours--your health, a decent wage, a fit place to work.
"Unionized" isn't a word you hear in many American movies. "A decent wage," now there's a phrase that doesn't crop up too often. As for the evocative "your lives and your substance," poetic descriptions of the human condition aren't generally found in contemporary entertainment.
This speech is from Martin Ritt's classic 1979 film Norma Rae, delivered in an impassioned sermon by Ron Leibman in the role of an organizer for the Textile Workers Union of America, a real union at the time and a predecessor to the current trade union UNITE HERE. Norma Rae is an aberration in recent Hollywood history. The movie portrays a realistic union-organizing campaign and the fierce corporate response at the fictional O.P. Henley textile mill in the fictional town of Henleyville. As everyone knew at the time, the mill and the town were unambiguous stand-ins for J.P. Stevens and its sixteen-year war against union organizers in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and the movie accurately depicted the state of American labor in 1979.
The situation has not improved much since. The only remaining Stevens factory in the United States (owned by its successor company, Westpoint Home) is a unionized blanket mill in Maine. In other industries, union organizers are battling adversaries as unyielding as any in the days of Norma Rae. According to the labor advocacy group American Rights at Work, last year more than 23,000 Americans were fired or penalized for legal union activity.
On a human level, Norma Rae is the story of one woman, played by Sally Field, who finds redemption risking her life for economic justice, and of factory workers demanding to be treated as more than slaves. In the realm of the political, it is virtually the only American movie of the modern era to deal substantially with any of these subjects. Even today it remains iconic--a major studio movie about the lives of working people with a profound and, for its time, disturbing political message: The little guy may have a prayer of getting social justice, but he'll have to fight desperately to get it. Try to think of a contemporary American film with a similar message or a political statement anywhere near that blunt. The closest thing to a message in this year's crop of Oscar nominees for Best Picture can be found in Babel, which poses the rather mild question, Why can't we all just get along?
European filmmakers, like England's Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, don't shy from the subject of class. Loach's Bread and Roses dramatized the 1990 Service Employees International Union's Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, and Leigh's entire career is virtually a paean to the working class. This is not to say that American studios don't make topical mainstream films. A kind of renaissance seemed to be blossoming in 2005, with material as varied as Good Night, and Good Luck and The Constant Gardener. But Blood Diamond--about the 1990s civil war in Sierra Leone partly sparked by international diamond speculators--was perhaps this season's only major studio picture that could be called politically daring, and it was a box-office disappointment. In the end, of course, financially successful or not, such movies don't fundamentally threaten the established order. They're well-crafted stories delivering conventional wisdom with considerable artistic skill.
Norma Rae was different. Its subject matter, never mind its politics, was enough to make a studio executive cringe: a movie about a union. On top of that, it was a story of platonic love between a Jewish intellectual and a factory worker; in Hollywood love stories, the audience wants the heroes to end up in bed. Even with a trio of creative giants--Ritt and his writers, Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr.--this was no easy sell. Casting could have helped; stars get movies made. But several leading actresses, among them Jane Fonda and Jill Clayburgh, turned down the title role. Creative issues aside, there was the problem of location. Where would you shoot the movie? Because of J.P. Stevens's influence, taking the production to most Southern towns would be impossible, and building your own textile mill, prohibitively costly. (With help from the union, Ritt found a unionized mill in Opelika, Alabama, where management agreed to let him shoot, with mill workers as extras playing themselves.) Finally, after overcoming all the odds, when released the movie was anything but an instant hit, and only after Sally Field won Best Actress at Cannes did it gradually go from dud to box-office success.

In Search Of...An Alternative Thanksgiving

Friday, November 28, 2008

Neil Sedaka: The Diary

How I'd like to look
Into that little book
The one that has the locking key
And know the boy that you care for
The boy who is in your diary
When it's late at night
What is the name you write
Oh what I'd give if I could see
[ Find more Lyrics at ]
Am I the boy that you care for?
The boy who is in your diary
Do you recall
And make note of all
The little things I say and do
The name you underline
I'm hopping that's mine
Darling I'm so in love with you
Please don't leave me blue
Make all my dreams come true
You know how much you mean to me
Say I'm the boy that you care for
The boy who is in your diary.
......A similar sharing came earlier with Sedaka and singer Connie Francis. As Francis explains at her concerts, she began searching for a new hit after her 1958 single Who's Sorry Now?. She was introduced to Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who played every ballad they had written for her. Francis began writing her diary while the two played the last of their songs. After they finished, Francis told them they wrote beautiful ballads but too intellectual for the young generation . Greenfield suggested to Sedaka a song they had written that morning for another girl group. Sedaka protested, believing Francis would be insulted, but agreed to play "Stupid Cupid". Francis told them they had just played her new hit. Francis' song reached #14 on the Billboard charts.
While Francis was writing her diary, Sedaka asked her if he could read what she had written. After she refused, Sedaka was inspired to write "The Diary", his first hit single. Sedaka and Greenfield wrote many of Connie Francis' hits such as "Fallin" and "Where the Boys Are".
Neil and Steve Sholes decided to cut "The Diary" for his first RCA single. He had written it with Howie Greenfield for Little Anthony & the Imperials. It was ment to be their follow-up to "Tears On My Pillow", but, as Neil tells it, "I used to rush home from school every day to watch Dick Clark, and one day he said, '..and now for the follow-up to 'Tears On My Pillow', and it wasn't 'The Diary'. I said, 'Oh my God, that's an omen!'". Neil saw it as an omen that he should cut it himself. After the session, he went home with an RCA record by Mickey and Sylvia, and he scratched out 'Mickey and Sylvia' to see how his name looked on RCA.
"The Diary" did well, topping out at number 14 on the American Hot 100 in 1958

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Neal Sedaka

There's pretty strong evidence that Neal Sedaka's father lived here in 1920-directly across from where my father lived at 122 Orchard.
A quote from Neil
"My paternal grandparents were born in Istanbul, Turkey, and came to
New York around 1910. My father, Mac, born on the Lower East Side, drove a taxi for over 30 years in order to put me through The Juilliard School of Music.
"Although my upbringing was not Orthodox in nature, nonetheless the feeling within the home was that of a Jewish family with Jewish traditions. As a cohesive family unit, my wife and children attend the High Holidays in New York and it's an event we look forward to each and every year. I have a great love for Jewish culture, as does my
88-year-old mother Eleanor, who lives and enjoys life in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A few months ago they featured my biography on A&E and Mom was interviewed, which was a great thrill for all of us.

The people living at the above address were:
Heiman Sedaka 34, Dora Sedaka 30, Bella Sedaka 8, Max Sedaka 3 7/12, Sadie Sedaka 1 8/12 Home in 1920: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York
Father's Birth Place: Turkey, Mother's Birth Place: Turkey, Marital Status: Married
Year of Immigration: 1913
Neil Sedaka' father moved to Brooklyn around 1930. His father's Social Security Death listing has him born in 1914, which reinforces that the Mac or Max was his father. There are a few other Max Sedaka's on the LES at that time, but none make the case as well as the one at 131 Orchard. My father and Bruce Bueller's father Hy were friendly with members of the Sedaka (some spelled it Sedacca) family. Bruce's father Hy was friendly with a Dave. They were among the boys from the University Settlement who went to Washington D.C. to meet J. Edgar Hoover in 1935.
According toHy Bueller, Dave Sedaka was related to Neil's father

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Neil Sedaka

You tell me that you’re leaving
I can't believe its true
Girl there’s just no living
Without you
Don't take your love away from me
Don't you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I'll be blue
'Cause breaking up his hard to do
Remember when you held me tight
And you kissed me all through the night
Think of all that we've been through
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Don't say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again
We were making up again
I beg of you
Don't say goodbye
Can't we give our love just one more try
Come on baby, let's start a new
'Cause breaking up is hard to do

"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" is a song recorded by Neil Sedaka and described by Allmusic as "two minutes and sixteen seconds of pure pop magic".It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11, 1962 and was a good hit all over the world, sometimes with the text translated into foreign languages. For example, the Italian version was called "Tu non lo sai" (" You don't know ") and was recorded by Sedaka himself.
Originally an uptempo song, Sedaka re-recorded it as a ballad in 1975 and the new version peaked at number eight in February 1976 and went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart; it was only the second time that an artist made the Billboard Top Ten with two different versions of the same song.
Sedaka was born in Brooklyn, New York on 13 March 1939. His father, Mac Sedaka, a taxi driver, was the son of Turkish-Jewish immigrants; his mother, Eleanor (Appel) Sedaka, was of Polish-Russian Jewish descent.
He demonstrated musical aptitude in his second-grade choral class, and when his teacher sent a note home suggesting he take piano lessons, his mother took a part-time job in an Abraham & Straus department store for six months to pay for a second-hand upright. He took to the instrument immediately. In 1947, he auditioned successfully for a piano scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music's Preparatory Division for Children, which he attended on Saturdays. He also maintained an interest in popular music, and when he was 13, a neighbor heard him playing and introduced him to her 16-year-old son, Howard Greenfield, an aspiring poet and lyricist. The two began writing together.
The best-known Billboard Hot 100 hits of his early career are "The Diary" (#14, 1958), a song that he offered to Little Anthony and the Imperials; "Oh! Carol" (#9, 1959); "You Mean Everything to Me" (#17, 1960); "Calendar Girl" (#4, 1960); "Stairway to Heaven" (#9, 1960); "Little Devil" (#11, 1961); "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" (#6, 1961); "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (#1, 1962); and "Next Door To An Angel" (#5, 1962). "Oh! Carol" refers to Sedaka's Brill Building compatriot and former girlfriend Carole King. King responded with her answer song, "Oh, Neil", which used Sedaka's full name. A Scopitone exists for "Calendar Girl". Sedaka wrote another hit, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, for his then close friend Annette Funicello.[citation needed]
In 1961 Sedaka began to record some of his hits in Italian. At first he published Esagerata and Un giorno inutile, local versions of Little devil and I must be dreaming.
A similar sharing came earlier with Sedaka and singer Connie Francis. As Francis explains at her concerts, she began searching for a new hit after her 1958 single Who's Sorry Now?. She was introduced to Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who played every ballad they had written for her. Francis began writing her diary while the two played the last of their songs. After they finished, Francis told them they wrote beautiful ballads but too intellectual for the young generation . Greenfield suggested to Sedaka a song they had written that morning for another girl group. Sedaka protested, believing Francis would be insulted, but agreed to play "Stupid Cupid". Francis told them they had just played her new hit. Francis' song reached #14 on the Billboard charts.
While Francis was writing her diary, Sedaka asked her if he could read what she had written. After she refused, Sedaka was inspired to write "The Diary", his first hit single. Sedaka and Greenfield wrote many of Connie Francis' hits such as "Fallin" and "Where the Boys Are".

Variety Shows

I watched Rosie's variety show on Wednesday night. Now I like Rosie, she does wonderful things for nyc school kids, but I thought it was pretty bad. Reviving variety shows might be a good idea, but not this way and not the Ed Sullivan model. The good variety shows of the past had talented people, but they also had good writing. SNL is the closest we have to a modern variety show and most of the times it is pretty bad. It's not the fault of the performers. When it is good it is because he scripts are good. Garry Moore had little talent other than being an announcer, yet he put together a great acting ensemble and he had great writers. Carol Burnett sprang from the Moore show. I'm sure she succeeded for the same reasons.

In Search Of ...

I was in search of unanswered questions in Nyack recently. I stopped there on the way back from New Paltz. Nyack has always been a favorite town of mine. Little did I know I was so close to Rosie O'Donnell.
More on Rosie later. Music is Tappan Zee by Bob James
Nyack is a village in the Town of Orangetown in Rockland County, New York, United States, located north of South Nyack; east of Central Nyack; south of Upper Nyack and west of the Hudson River, approximately 19 miles north of the Manhattan boundary, it is an inner suburb of New York City, directly across from Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow and Nyack are on either bank of the largest expanse of the Tappan Zee, in the lower Hudson Valley. The village is the most urban community (village or hamlet) in Rockland County. Nyack had a population of 6,737 as of the 2000 census. Nyack is a Suburb of New York City
Nyack is one of five villages and hamlets (Nyack, Central Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack and West Nyack) that make up an area of southeastern Rockland County called The Nyacks. Named after the Native Americans who resided there prior to colonization, the village itself lies on the hilly terrain that meets the western shore of the Hudson River.
The village takes up approximately 1.6 square miles (4.1 square kilometers), with over 50% of the area consisting of the water of the Hudson River. Nyack consists mostly of low-rise buildings that lie along the river's western shore. It is in the Nyack School District.
Nyack was originally settled by Native Americans known locally as the Nyack Indians, from whom the village takes its name.
Stone Indian relics and heaps of oyster shells found along the shore of the Hudson indicate that this was a favorite fishing spot of the natives. In 1675, the first white man settled in Rockland County at Nyack. Three major industries once thrived here: sandstone quarrying for New York City building (ca. 1800-40), boat building - sloops, steamboats, and then pleasure craft and WWI & WWII submarine chasers (ca. l8l5-l948), and shoe manufacturing (ca. 1828-1900).
Nyack was incorporated as a village in 1782. Throughout the 18th century and 19th centuries, Nyack was known for its shipbuilding and was the commercial center of Rockland County. In the 19th century, a number of factories manufactured shoes. The West Shore Railroad connected the village with Weehawken, New Jersey, where ferries took passengers to New York City, until it was discontinued in the second half of the 20th century. With the completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge in December 1955, connecting Nyack with Tarrytown in Westchester County, the population increased and Nyack's commercial sector expanded.
In the 1980s, the village underwent a major urban revitalization project to commercialize the downtown area and to expand its economy. It was at that time when the Helen Hayes Theater was built and the downtown area became home to many new business establishments.
As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 6,737 people, 3,188 households, and 1,511 families residing in the village.
Nyack is also home to Modern Metro Studios and Rockland World Radio, which includes a 49-seat multimedia black box theatre in the historic F.W. Woolworth Way Building. The Village of Nyack's Mayor John Shields hosts a weekly radio program on the station.
The Blank-Fest Annual Benefit Concert series, which now takes place in 5 metropolitan areas across three U.S. states and three countries to raise blankets and public awareness for the homeless was founded in Nyack in 1997. Blankets, collected at the door, are distributed among NYC's (as well as other Cities') homeless, beginning each Christmas Eve. Blank-Fest's flagship show continues to be held in Nyack, each December, usually two Sunday's before Christmas Eve.
Landmarks and places of interest
* Edward Hopper House Art Center - 82 North Broadway - This home of the realist painter Edward Hopper was built in 1858. One room is devoted to materials about Hopper’s work and life in Nyack. Three other rooms provide space for monthly exhibits by local artists. The restored garden is the setting for jazz concerts on summer evenings.
* John Green House - Main Street - Built in 1817 by John Green of local sandstone, now covered with stucco, painted yellow. This is the oldest house standing in Nyack. Green started the first lumber yard in Nyack and later opened a store. House is a private residence.
* Julius Petersen Inc. - Foot of Van Houten Street - Old Nyack families held ownership of the yard. The John Van Houten Family, owners since the early 1800s, originally founded the yard. Then James P. Voris and passed it onto Samuel Ayers and finally it was purchased in the 1940’s by Julius Petersen who built government crafts during the war effort. Young Edward Hopper spent time drawing and sketching here.
* Nyack Library - 59 South Broadway, the 1903 Carnegie Library building.
* Nyack-Tarrytown Ferry - Foot of Main Street - Begun 1834 by Isaac S Blauvelt on vessel named "Donkey," an anglo corruption of Dutch "donk ya," or 'thank you." Ferry remained in service until the opening of Tappan Zee Bridge in the l950s. This spot was also the start of the Nyack Turnpike, first direct highway across Rockland County.
* Oak Hill Cemetery - 140 N. Highland Avenue (Rte. 9W) - 1840-present. Dedicated on June 27, 1848, it reflected a change from small family and religious burial grounds to community cemeteries. Graves include founders of Nyack, playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, actress Helen Hayes, scientist and inventor William Hand, and artist Edward Hopper.
* Red Cross Center - 143 North Broadway, A cross gable Queen Anne building, it was built by Julia and Garret Blauvelt, a physician, surgeon and director of Nyack Hospital, in 1882 and given to the Red Cross in 1915. During World War I, World War II and the Korean War, the center was a hub for food and blood drives, gathering of clothes and supplies for shipment overseas. Helen Hayes, who lived nearby was chairwomen of the war fund drive during WWII. Camp Shanks, one of the military's major wartime staging areas, rely heavily on the Red Cross volunteers and services. Today the center continues to provide clothing, food and shelter in times necessity and emergencies. The center also provides certification courses in first aid & lifesaving skills since 9/11.
* Riverspace Arts in Nyack - 119 Main Street. Home of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra
* Tappan Zee Playhouse - 20 South Broadway
* Camp Ramah Day Camp in Nyack is located in Nyack.
Notable residents
* Joseph Alessi - trombonist
* Stephen Baldwin - actor/producer
* Dennis Boutsikaris - actor
* Ellen Burstyn - actress
* Joseph Cornell - artist
* Jonathan Demme - film director
* Horton Foote - playwright/screenwriter
* Helen Hayes - actress
* Edward Hopper - artist
* Van Johnson - actor
* Princess Vera Konstantinovna of Russia
* Charles MacArthur - playwright
* Carson McCullers - author
* Greg Mitchell - editor of Editor & Publisher
* Larry Mullen Jr. - drummer for the rock band U2
* Rosie O'Donnell - actress/comedian
* Jerry Only - singer
* Mark Patterson - trombonist
* Harold Perrineau - actor
* Michael Rumaker - author
* Russell Rizner - musician
* Glint - cosmic rock band
* Bill Irwin - actor
* Noah Michael Levine - actor, writer
* Jordan Rudess - musician
* Kenn Rowell - musician, songwriter; founder, Blank-Fest international Benefit Concerts for the Homeless
* Rupert Holmes - pop singer; Nyack High School, class of 1964

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday To The Big KV Turkey

In his own words:
Thanksgiving is special because the Big Turkey was born on that day 61 years ago.

Leave it to Rich: working hard as usual, seeking out ways to save energy and never failing to recognize a good looking lady.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Benny Friedman: The Passing Game And The Transformation Of Football

The author, Murray Greenberg, is a tennis buddy of the LMRC slugger Allan Silverstein.
The interview comes from the University Of Michigan alumni site. With the lack of many Benny Friedman pics out there I supplemented with old football card images from Dave's. I remember I had the Benny Friedman card that was part of an All American series issued in the mid 50's. It's true, this is a book that is long overdue.
Additional articles:
From the forward, Playing the Field, How One Man Changed the Game of Football
From Kaplan's Korner

Y.A. Tittle: 45 Years Ago, KV Chatter

KVers recall the Kennedy assassination, in reverse chronological order:
We were playing by 110, not KV. And I don't remember how Teddy spelled his name, but we always thought it was presidential. Obama wanted to make peace with Lieberman.
Teddy Roosevelt lived in KV/ WOW. Maybe it was Teddy Graf. I recall talking about the events in Tanahey Park with Dave, Stevie, and probably Bobby and Marty. We all agreed at that time that, at that particular time, we very very sensitive and unprepared for an enemy (Russia?) attack. Even then we were concerned about national security. On another note. Can somebody please explain to me why Joe Leiberman still chairs the Home Land security committee? Hasn't he done enough damage?
To answer Howie's question: It did happen on a Friday. We were scheduled to play a basketball game that night on the court by the East River Drive but didn't play. We did play on Sunday at PS 110, not sure if we were just playing or it was a scheduled game. I remember Teddy Roosevelt (sp) coming down to the court telling us that Oswald got shot.
Giants lost that day to the Cardinals.
45 years ago I ran into Stewie going to my 8th grade French class, Ms. Phifer, who just about everybody detested was my French teacher. I think Booby was in my class along with Stewie's older brother, Lenny. I didn't believe Stewie when he told me the president had been shot, thought him to be kidding; as he was prone to do. Turns out he wasn't
kidding; word came over the loudspeaker a few moments later about what had happened and Ms. Phifer broke down. I didn't hate her as much after that.
The episode reached a new level when Ruby shot Oswald on national TV. I didn't see it live. My mom did, and she went crazy. I heard her screams in the living room, came running in from the bedroom to discover that the whole world had been turned upside down.
I recall Mr. Kessler. He was a cold fish. I can just picture him going on with his quadratic equations.
I was in an algebra class at Seward Park and it was announced over the loudspeaker. The teacher(I'll never forget his name-Mr. Kessler, barely paused to acknowledge anything and then kept on teaching. I ran into Jerry and David on the way home and we stood stunned for a while.
Elinor: C'mon  it was only 45 years ago, of course we were in the same class, probably since 1st grade ...I was relaying what occurred the last period of the day which was Social Studies, period 8 on Friday, Mr.Klein our  Social teacher was giving us a test, it was about 2:30 when someone came into the room and whispered something to him and I heard him respond, "don't tell them now..they're taking a test..."   .... after that we went back to our official class (Schwartzbarth) and there was an attempt to broadcast the news over the PA system ... as for who actually broke the news to us for the first time .. could have been either teacher .... by the way you remember how I signed your graduation book? ... "To the first bird that could not fly..." .. remember the nickname Birdie? ...finally, one of the all-time greatest pieces of useless information, but one we can be proud of is the we graduated from 65 in '65 ...
Howie,.... I thought we were in the same classes at 65? I was in Ms. Schwartzbarth's english class when she TOLD us what happened. We all went straight home to watch the events on TV. I was supposed to be going to my dancing school class uptown on 47th that day but of course my mother wouldn't let me go and insisted it would be closed!.....If I recall correctly, we were in 7th grade at the time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Car 54: Sylvia Schnauzer's Wedding

This episode: The Courtship of Sylvia Schnauser (3/25/1962), NBC at Sunday 8:30 PM
Created by Nat Hiken, Starring Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne, No. of episodes 60
Original run September 17, 1961 – September 8, 1963
Car 54, Where Are You? was an American sitcom that ran on NBC from 1961 to 1963. Episodes had various directors, the most recognized being Al De Caprio. A majority of filming took place on location in the The Bronx, and at Biograph Studios.
The series followed the madcap adventures of NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) in the fictional 53rd precinct in The Bronx.
* Joe E. Ross as Officer Gunther Toody
* Fred Gwynne as Officer Francis Muldoon
* Hank Garrett as Officer Ed Nicholson
* Jim Gormley as Officer Nelson
* Albert Henderson as Officer Dennis O'Hara
* Bruce Kirby as Officer Kissel
* Al Lewis as Officer Leo Schnauser (1961-1963)
* Beatrice Pons as Lucile Toody
* Charlotte Rae as Sylvia Schnauser
* Paul Reed as Capt. Paul Block
* Joe Warren as Officer Steinmetz
* Nipsey Russell as Officer Anderson
Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis would later appear together again in The Munsters (1964-1966). Much of the script was written by Nat Hiken. Joe E. Ross and Beatrice Pons were teamed once more as husband and wife (Ross played the witless Rupert Ritzik in Sergeant Bilko, Pons his wife Emma). Silvia Schnauser (Charlotte Rae) also appeared in Bilko as "The Twitch", and Gwynne made an appearance as a prodigious eater.
* The TV show's police cars used on location shots were actually bright red but on black and white film would appear dark, similar to that of real NYPD RMP units of that era (black and green with a white roof and trunk). Hence filmmakers achieved a realistic appearance without alarming bystanders during production.

Bellel Seeks Out Bells

I got an email from a KVer who wasn't sure what a chocolate bell was. I made the "sacrifice" to get one to dissect

A Happy KV Thanksgiving

from Susanne Pelly Spitzer
My mother's cooking abilities were the stuff of family legends. She declared rice to be cooked when it turned to glue and boiled over the edge of the pot, and loved eating raw hamburger. She ate directly out of the ice cream container, forgot to replace the top off of the orange juice container, left food out on the stove overnight, and created a host of food-borne illnesses. My childhood was a miasma of "stomach flu" interlaced with respiratory infections. Since she worked at a job where women were not supposed to have children, it was up to me to stay home, get sick, and clean up after myself. It is no wonder that all three of her children became good cooks in self-defense.
It was not until I read Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone that I realized other people also had mothers who regularly had green food in the fridge and bragged in their 70's about "never throwing food out of the refrigerator." I could only conclude that my mother ate it regardless of its state of degradation, or it walked out under its own power. Maybe both.
At her funeral, my siblings and I spoke about her odd life. She was near-homeless during the Depression, moving before the landlord demanded the next month's rent from her widowed mother. Her children drove her crazy with their independent ways, staying out too late in high school, going to an Ethical Culture youth group, and camping illegally outside of state parks with a blanket and a pillow. She graduated from college when she was in her 60's.
But it was our description of her attempted prowess at mastering culinary arts that brought the most laughs from our relatives and gasps from the officiating rabbi when he realized the funeral was becoming a "roast". She had a huge drawer of rusting cooking gadgets, most of which she never mastered. She had stained cookbooks which she rarely used and were close to disintegration. Her spices appeared to date from World War II, but like most Depression survivors, she could not bare to throw them out since there was still some left in the ancient canisters.
However, the story we remembered best was that of the Thanksgiving that Bob T. came to dinner. He was a refugee from Nazi Germany, and my sister's boyfriend. I don't know what he expected, but it was probably not a turkey that had been cooked to death, and way, way beyond. My mother managed to saw off a piece of the bird. Bob dutifully began trying to chew his way through the skin. And chewing, and chewing. Finally, after several minutes of diligent but useless mastication, he admitted defeat and spit it out. He looked at her, and in his politest tone remarked, "Mrs. Pelly, I have eaten many turkeys in many places, but this is the finest turkey shoe-leather I have ever had the fortune to try to eat!"
Many years later, I was home alone at Thanksgiving. My parents were inveterate travelers in spite of not knowing how to drive a car. This may be the time when they left me alone at 16 for a month and went to Europe. In any event, I agreed to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my brother who was living at college, and then I panicked. In the era before Butterballs and other self-basting turkeys, I had no clue as to how to make one, let alone a whole dinner. I remember that he was annoyed that I didn't get the timing of the side-dishes right, and the dinner went on much longer than it should have. But I got the turkey right, and here was my secret: I stopped every single woman I met in the elevator in the F building that week, and asked them how to cook a turkey!
In graduate school in Minnesota, there were many of us in our department without families nearby. Given my dislike for shoe leather, it was just as well. Now a veteran turkey cooker, I teamed up with a guy named Sid who also had a tailor for a zaide, to make the bird for all of us. I was a little leery, as he kept suggesting to each female graduate student that he could have a little fun with her, and some Mazola oil! Luckily, he behaved himself around me and we all ate well. But not before we had to cut the bird open with a scissors. It seems the two grandchildren of tailors did too good a sewing job on the turkey, and we had to resort to surgery!
Sid moved on to Washington, thank goodness, and became a political consultant. His oleaginous nature probably suited him better there. After 35 years from the date of the Thanksgiving of the too-expertly sewn turkey, my other friends from graduate school, their families, and ours still spend Thanksgiving (without fighting) and many other days during the year together by choice. They are all gourmet cooks, and my kids would not dream of going elsewhere. Happy T-day to y'all, and may all your turkeys be chewable!

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Al Lewis

I'm pretty confident I found Al in the 1930 census. He was 8 year old Alex Meister and he lived at 117 Liberty Avenue. I hereby grant him "who's almost who status by virtue of his:
1. Connection to the Rosenbergs
2. The fact that this address was four blocks away from Sue Schumer (Sider)and her family
3. The fact that he could have attended Thomas Jefferson High School at the same time as Moe Nathanson.
Part 2 of the Al Lewis Interview:
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: I armed myself with facts and figures. You know what I mean? You know, but that’s how my mother was. My mother, you know, a little lady and fearless.
AMY GOODMAN: “Grandpa” Al Lewis on Democracy Now!, April 10, 1997. He died this past Friday in Roosevelt Island at his home. We will come back to the interview that Bernard White and I did with him in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: The theme of The Munsters. “Grandpa” Al Lewis was one of its stars. He died this past Friday in Roosevelt Island. We’re going to go back to the interview that I did with him with my colleague at WBAI, Bernard White, on Democracy Now! It was April 10, 1997.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to W. E. B. DuBois for a minute. As you, a few years later—
AMY GOODMAN:—a few decades later when you met him, from the story you are telling about your mother. What was he like? And how did you find his concerns and what he talked about similar to what your mother cared about?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: My meetings with the good doctor were not social meetings. I never—pardon me, I think I was once in his house at Grace Court, when he lived at that beautiful house.
AMY GOODMAN: In New York City?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: By the river. Near Hick’s Pine, Orange, Pineapple, you know, in that area. I think I may have been there once, and that was some kind of a party—I don’t remember. Arthur Miller had a house there, Norman Rosten had a house there. I don’t know. It was some kind of a party or something. My conversations were never lengthy conversations. I would meet him at certain situations where he needed protection, you know, all kinds of crazies in this world. You know what I mean? And I was there to trump an ace. You know what I mean?
And so we talked five, six, seven, eight minutes and, you know, and as again, I would say the good doctor, as far as I can remember, never participated like—tonight is a demonstration, you know, in the killing, you know, of this young man Cedeno. Now the good doctor wouldn’t be in the crowd. He would address the crowd if they asked—you understand what I’m saying? And so, if he had to go there to address the crowd, me, guy named Popeye and a few other guys would make sure that there ain’t no crazies around, you know, and if they are, you pay the price. That’s it.
AMY GOODMAN: So he didn’t join demonstrations?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: I’m sorry?
AMY GOODMAN: He didn’t join demonstrations?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Well, I don’t know what you mean by joining them.
AMY GOODMAN: He didn’t march.
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: You mean, did he march with a picket sign? I never knew of him to do that. I knew him even before he married Shirley, you know, Shirley Graham. In his later years he married Shirley, and then they both went to Tanzania, because of the trial—you know, arrested and handcuffed—embarrassing
AMY GOODMAN: Why was he arrested?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: So-called Smith Act communist. Why was Paul Robeson? They took his passport away. You know, it’s like Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
AMY GOODMAN: You knew Paul Robeson?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Oh very well, very well, very well. Knew him very well. Oh, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you get to know—
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Knew him first as a football player. Yessiree, All-American, and it’s a damn shame—you are not supposed to say “God damn.” Can’t say that, because a lot of these Christian people listening are going to jump up in the air. But it’s a damn shame that he’s not in the football hall of fame. That’s right. He was a great, great football player. Besides, most people don’t know he was an LLB. He was a lawyer. Had his law degree. Didn’t practice but he had a law degree. Yeah. Brilliant man. Brilliant linguist. Great singer. Great actor.
BERNARD WHITE: So how—you used to hang around with him also?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Yeah. You know, hey, you know, with the boys. Boys in the hood.
AMY GOODMAN: Remember this one?
BERNARD WHITE: I think I hear you clapping.
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Yeah, that’s me.
AMY GOODMAN: 1965, Paul Robeson.
PAUL ROBESON: [singing] When Israel was in Egypt’s land / Let my people go / Oppressed so hard they could not stand / Let my people go / Go down, Moses, way down Egypt’s land / Tell old Pharaoh / Let my people go.
BERNARD WHITE: I’m really glad that you went into acting.
BERNARD WHITE: I’m glad that you went into acting.
BERNARD WHITE: Because singing is not your thing.
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: No. But you don’t understand. You see, you don’t understand. I have been in musicals on Broadway, and they asked me, “Do you sing?” I said, “Yes, I sing poorly, but passionately.”
BERNARD WHITE: That you do.
AMY GOODMAN: What did you sing on Broadway?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Last thing I did on Broadway was Do Re Mi, a musical, Comden and Green, Jule Styne, Phil Silvers, Nancy Walker.
AMY GOODMAN: What did you sing?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: 1960—let’s see. We opened Christmas week. David Merritt was the producer. Garson Kanin was the director.
AMY GOODMAN: But what did you sing?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: What did I sing?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: What did I sing? Oh I sang—I didn’t have a solo, obviously. It was white backlash, I think. Great—there was one great song in there that Julie wrote, may rest in peace. [singing] Make someone happy / Make just one someone happy / And you will be happy, too.
I sing better than you, Bernard. You know that?
BERNARD WHITE: Oh, come on now. We’re going to have to have a contest.
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: I agree. You know me.
BERNARD WHITE: You still say that, and you’ve heard me?
“GRANDPA” AL LEWIS: Yeah, you know why? Because you don’t sing with feeling. You know, funny thing. I was—years and years ago, what’s his name—first name, Wilson, the black band leader. He had a jazz show in L.A. on KGOL, I think it was, and he was interviewing the conductor, Zubin Mehta, you know, famous, world-famous conductor, and Zubin said a very interesting thing. They were talking about—they had played a record or something, a gospel song. And he said, “For me, it’s not judging whether the singers are great or spectacular or just okay, but when I hear them sing, I believe them.” Hear that? Now when I sing, they believe me!
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Al Lewis. In a few weeks, he’s going to be celebrating his birthday on April 30. He’s going to be 88, and what a life he’s led through this 20th century. When he finished up the Broadway run of Do Re Mi with Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker, he was summoned, along with Fred Gwynne, to test for The Munsters, and we’re going to talk about that with him when we come back. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: And that was “Grandpa” Al Lewis, interviewed April 10, 1997. His age—well, there are different stories about his age. While he was alive, we thought he now was 95. But it turns out, according to his son, in fact, he died at the age of 82. He died on Friday at Roosevelt Island where he lived. Our condolences to the Lewis family.