Summer in the (Motor) City – Highlights from the 4/10 Rock and Roll Revisited

Up Front:

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Coke creates a pigeon “flash mob” in 1960 by spreading grains for pigeons in Saint Mark’s Square, Venice, Via

Quickly – How many of these slogans can you associate with their brands: “Come Alive”, “Where’s the Beef?”, “You can be sure if it’s..”, “I’d rather fight than switch”, “A little dab’l do ya”, “Number One to the Sun”, “Oh the disadvantages of..”, “That’s a speecy, spicy meatball.”, “What sort of man reads..”, “Recommended by 9 out of 10 doctors”, “So clean, your mother won’t know you.”  (Answers tomorrow)

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In the days before smartphones, this dream was considered cool. Here’s the copy that went with the picture. “What you’ll use is called, simply enough, a Picture Phone set. Someday it will let you see who you are talking to and let them see you. The Picture Phone set is just one of the communications that Western Electric is working on with Bell Telephone Laboratories. Western Electric builds regular phones and equipment for your Bell Telephone company. But we also build for the future.

Western Electric changed its name to AT&T Technologies in 1885. The brand came to an end a decade later when it was branded as Lucent Technologies, in preparation for its spinoff. The remnants of the company are now owned by Nokia and Comscope.

Would you buy a Guns N Roses turntable for $560.00? What movie supercharged Mötley Crüe @Spotify downloads? What song did Google choose to summarize how the tech company meshes with our lives? Classic Rock by the numbers today on the @Jacobsmedia blog.

Today in History:

1953 ‘House of Wax,’ the first color feature film in 3-D, starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, and Charles Bronson (billed as Charles Buchinsky), premiered at New York’s Paramount Theatre.

1955 Dr. Jonas Salk successfully tested his polio vaccine.

1956 Leo Fender patented the ‘Stratocaster’ electric guitar, the successor to his popular ‘Telecaster.’

1962 Stuart Sutcliffe, the Beatles’ original bassist, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 21. He left the band in 1961 to resume painting because his headaches were getting too severe to play.

1967 The 13-day strike by the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) ended, less than two hours before the 39th Academy Awards presentation was to go on the air.

1970 Paul McCartney made public the Beatles’ secret breakup by issuing a press release to announce that he had left the group.

1970 Keith Emerson of the Nice, Greg Lake of King Crimson, and Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster joined forces to form the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

1971 The U.S. table tennis team arrived in China, the first U.S. group to penetrate the so-called Bamboo Curtain since the 1950s.

1991 In New York City, the last automat (coin operated cafeteria) closed.

1991 Actress Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Thurston Howell on Gilligan’s Island) died of cancer at 90.

1992 Comedian Sam Kinison was killed when a pickup truck slammed into his car on a desert road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He was 38.

1999 Actress and legendary cartoon voice artist Jean Vander Pyl, is best remembered as the voice of Wilma Flintstone for the Hanna-Barbera cartoon The FlintstonesIn addition to Wilma Flintstone, she also provided the voices of Pebbles Flintstone, Rosie the robot maid on the animated series The Jetsons, Goldie, Lola Glamour, Nurse LaRue and other characters in Top Cat, Winsome Witch on The Secret Squirrel Show and Ogee on The Magilla Gorilla Show . She died of lung cancer on this date at 79.

2000 Actor Larry Linville, M.A.S.H’s Dr. Frank Burns, died of pneumonia after complications from cancer surgery at age 60.

2014 CBS said Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on The Late Show when the longtime host stepped down in 2015.

Happy Birthday to:
1915 Harry Morgan (d. 2011)
1921 Sheb Wooley (d.2003)
1921 Chuck Connors (d. 1992)
1926 Junior Samples (d. 1983)
1929 Max Von Sydow
1932 Omar Sharif (d. 2015)
1933 Poncie Ponce (d. 2013)
1934 David Halberstam (d. 2007)
1936 John Madden
1947 Burke Shelley
1950 Eddie Hazel (d. 1992)
1951 Steven Seagal
1959 Brian Setzer
1964 Alan ‘Reni’ Wren
1979 Sophie Ellis-Bextor
1988 Haley Joel Osment
1992 Daisy Ridley

Today’s Quote Worth Re-quoting: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte


Summer in the (Motor) City

With Spring here at last, can Summer be far behind?

In the 1960s, if you were growing up in Southeastern Michigan, you didn’t need to drive to Ohio for the Cedar Point roller coasters. Edgewater Park was in the neighborhood. So were Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum (now called simply “The Henry Ford“). And, if you wanted to feel the wind in your hair, watching Detroit dance on your left and Windsor on your right, you could hop on the Bob Lo Boats and cruise to Bob Lo Island.

We were amazed at how the waiters at Lafayette Coney could remember a table full of orders, without writing any of them down, and get each of our dogs prepared exactly to our specifications. We didn’t need casinos to enjoy the magic of Greek Town and the three great concert venues were Cobo Arena, Olympia Stadium and the Masonic Auditorium.

We can still recall the sounds and smells at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull when the Tigers were playing. Strohs Beer and Hygrade Ballpark Franks wafted across the outfield as we plugged transistor radio ear phones in our ears to hear Ernie Harwell, the true voice of summer in our city.

Radio was a huge part of our summertime. On summer nights, we might even have had Scott Regen whispering in the background as we watched a movie at one of metro Detroit’s many drive-in theaters. And what true Detroiter hadn’t notched his or her belt with a visit to the Detroit Zoo before we reached ten years of age?

Bob Lo Island and Tiger Stadium are only memories. Stroh’s beer is a micro brew (and tastes a LOT better than the original). Drive-ins are few and far between in an age of high definition plasma TV screens.

The Motor City.. and the entire Great Lake State still seduce us. Comerica Park is just as iconic, perhaps more so than Tiger Stadium. You can still enjoy coney dogs and the timeless magic of The Henry Ford. And even with our potholes, Michigan’s highways make getting away to Traverse City, Houghton Lake or Mackinac Island a breeze. (remember waiting for that darn Zilwaukee Bridge to come back down?)

The fireworks at the Detroit / Windsor Freedom Festival are still just as breathtaking. And many of us have continued the Detroit Zoo tradition, with our grandchildren.

Let’s go back in time to summer in the city,via the voice of Detroit in the 1960s? Listen to this WKNR air-check from July of 1964, featuring the frenetic Gary Stevens, complete with commercials and a countdown of the top songs of the week.

For those of us who came of age in Detroit, radio was a huge part of the soundtrack of summer. Wherever you may have grown up, I bet you have similar memories of the sights and sounds of your youth. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie (and Chevrolet) had their own venues and you likely had your own favorite radio station, whether it was WPDQ in Jacksonville, WIRL in Peoria or KHJ in Los Angeles. These places were more than just radio stations. They were  an attitude; an outlook on life that told the world we were dedicated to exploration, innovation and fun. That attitude is something we still celebrate. And as some of use enter the era of grandparenthood, we’ll do what our parents and grandparents did for us. Pass it on!