This is What America Means to Me
What Does America Mean to You?
We may think we know what it meant to these men!
but...do we ?
So today I pondered that thought pretending the date was July 4, 1776 and asked myself...
"If I was in that room, what would my thoughts be as I prepared to sign a document the likes of which the world had never experienced?"
And then it all became so clear to me !
It meant that men could be free, that they might control their destinies; that they might choose to worship in any manner; or not at all, if they elected to do so.
It meant a belief that there would be a freedom of the press, and a freedom to speak...the right to agree, and the right to dissent.
I knew that some day if these dreams were ever to come true, I would have to establish a guide to live by, and likely call it a Constitution.
I also realized that...had our American revolution failed, all of us in that picture would likely have been tried and convicted of treason, ending in a public execution at the end of a hangman's noose.
I knew that I was wealthy and could have lived the remainder of my life as a prosperous British subject.
I thought, do I care only of myself, or those less fortunate than I?
Should those less fortunate be subject to laws that were drafted in a land far from mine, or could I somehow make new ones that would apply to the home in which I resided?
I thought of a friend in Virginia named Patrick Henry who told a group of people that he would rather die than be enslaved by a foreign power when he said "Give me liberty or give me death"...and the courage it took to actually say that in a public place.
But then, after all these thoughts, one remained above all the others !
I was somehow able look into the future, and visualized some young man named Nathan Hale with a noose around his neck, looking at his executioners and saying to them that he "regretted he had only one life to lose for his country".
And then...I said to myself...
That's what I want....and where do I sign !
Years ago, so many of us studied these words in a history class, likely being too young to understand them, but today, I thought we would look closely at the amazing preamble to this document.
In today's world, American history is no longer being taught in many of our schools; and even sadder, there have been attempts to rewrite the past which brought us the freedoms those daring men sacrificed everything to achieve.
Yes, there were mistakes in some cases, but the beauty of this amazing system is the ability of "the people", not a king or queen, to make the changes in a society that evolved from a poor agrarian land to an economic power house that would, within such a short period of time in the scheme of things, become the greatest nation in the world based on that one single word...
That is what America means to me !!!
So I will conclude this piece by asking two favors of each of you:
First, read these words slowly, digest their meaning, and as you do, think of Thomas Jefferson as he wrote them and the men of the 13 British colonies who placed their signatures to this belief...
...a belief likely to have cost them everything.
And second, send us a quick note in celebration of America's 242nd birthday and tell us what being an American means to you !
May I proudly present...the preamble to the American Declaration of Independence, signed this day, July 4, 1776:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, LIberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Now it's your turn.
What does this place we call "home" mean to you?
Send us your thoughts to:
"Brothers" for Life
A pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision. "My God, this is a nightmare," the co-pilot said. "He's going to destroy us," the pilot agreed.
The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.
The B-17 Pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.
US Pilot Charles Brown
But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer "Pinky" Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened.
The German didn't pull the trigger.
He stared back at the bomber in amazement and respect.
Instead of pressing the attack, he nodded at Brown and saluted.
What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War Il.
Luftwaffe Major Franz Stigler
Stigler pressed his hand over the rosary he kept in his flight jacket. He eased his index finger off the trigger. He couldn't shoot. It would be murder.
Stigler wasn't just motivated by vengeance that day.
He also lived by a code.
He could trace his family's ancestry to Knights in 16th century Europe. He had once studied to be a priest.
A German pilot who spared the enemy, though, risked death in Nazi Germany. If someone reported him, he would be executed.
Yet, Stigler could also hear the voice of his commanding officer, who once told him:
"You follow the rules of war for you--not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity."
Alone with the crippled bomber, Stigler changed his mission. He nodded at the American pilot and began flying in formation so German anti-aircraft gunners on the ground wouldn't shoot down the slow-moving bomber.
(The Luftwaffe had B-17s of its own, shot down and rebuilt for secret missions and training.)
Stigler escorted the bomber over the North Sea and took one last look at the American Pilot.
Then he saluted him, peeled his fighter away, and returned to Germany.
"Good luck," Stigler said to himself. "You're in God's hands now."
Franz Stigler didn't think the big B-17 could make it back to England and wondered for years what happened to the American pilot and crew he encountered in combat.
Charles Brown, with his wife, Jackie (left), with Franz Stigler, with his wife, Hiya.
As he watched the German fighter peel away that December day, 2nd Lt. Charles Brown wasn't thinking of the philosophical connection between enemies.
He was thinking of survival.
He flew his crippled plane, filled with wounded, back to his base in England and landed with one of four engines knocked out, one failing, and barely any fuel left.
After his bomber came to a stop, he leaned back in his chair and put a hand over a pocket Bible he kept in his flight jacket.
Then he sat in silence.
Brown flew more missions before the war ended.
Life moved on. He got married, had two daughters, supervised foreign aid for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War, and eventually retired to Florida.
Late in life, though, the encounter with the German Pilot began to gnaw at him.
He started having nightmares, but in his dream there would be no act of mercy.
He would awaken just before his bomber crashed.
Brown took on a new mission.
He had to find that German Pilot.
Who was he?
Why did he save my life?
He scoured Military Archives in the U.S. and England.
He attended a Pilots' Reunion and shared his story.
He finally placed an ad in a German Newsletter for former Luftwaffe Pilots, retelling the story and asking if anyone knew the Pilot.
On January 18, 1990, Brown received a letter.
He opened it and read:
"Dear Charles, All these years I wondered what happened to that B-17, did she make it home? Did her crew survive their wounds? To hear of your survival has filled me with indescribable joy."
It was Stigler.
He had left Germany after the war and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1953.
He became a prosperous businessman.
Now retired, Stigler told Brown that he would be in Florida come summer, and "it sure would be nice to talk about our encounter."
Brown was so excited, though, that he couldn't wait to see Stigler.
He called Directory Assistance for Vancouver and asked whether there was a number for a Franz Stigler.
He dialed the number, and Stigler picked up.
"My God, it's you!" Brown shouted as tears ran down his cheeks.
Brown had to do more.
He wrote a letter to Stigler in which he said:
"To say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU on behalf of my surviving crew members and their families appears totally inadequate."
The two pilots would meet again, but this time in person, in the lobby of a Florida hotel.
One of Brown's friends was there to record the summer reunion.
Both men looked like retired businessmen:
They were plump, sporting neat ties and formal shirts.
They fell into each other's arms and wept and laughed.
They talked about their encounter in a light, jovial tone.
The mood then changed.
Someone asked Stigler what he thought about Brown.
Stigler sighed and his square jaw tightened.
He began to fight back tears before he said in heavily accented English, "I love you, Charlie."
Stigler had lost his brother, his friends, and his country.
He was virtually exiled by his countrymen after the war.
There were 28,000 pilots who fought for the German Air Force.
Only 1,200 survived.
The war cost him everything.
Charlie Brown was the only good thing that came out of World War II for Franz.
It was the one thing he could be proud of.
The meeting helped Brown as well, says his oldest daughter, Dawn Warner.
They met as enemies but Franz Stigler, on left, and Charles Brown, ended up as fishing buddies.
Brown and Stigler became pals.
They would take fishing trips together.
They would fly cross-country to each other homes and take road trips together to share their story at schools and veterans' reunions.
Their wives, Jackie Brown and Hiya Stigler, became friends.
Brown's daughter says her father would worry about Stigler's health and constantly check in on him. "It wasn't just for show," she says. "They really did feel for each other. They talked about once a week."
As his friendship with Stigler deepened, something else happened to her father, Warner says "The nightmares went away."
Brown had written a letter of thanks to Stigler, but one day he showed the extent of his gratitude.
He organized a reunion of his surviving crew members along with their extended families.
He invited Stigler as a Guest of Honor.
During the reunion, a video was played showing all the faces of the people that now lived--children, grandchildren, relatives--because of Stigler's act of chivalry.
Stigler watched the film from his Seat of Honor.
"Everybody was crying, not just him," Warner says.
Stigler and Brown died within months of each other in 2008.
Stigler was 92, and Brown was 87.
They had started off as enemies, became friends, and then something more.
After he died, Warner was searching through Brown's library when she came across a book on German fighter jets.
Stigler had given the book to Brown.
Both were country boys who loved to read about planes.
Warner opened the book and saw an inscription Stigler had written to Brown:
And people wonder why they are called:
Memorable Things We Bought
and Lived Through Because
"Convincing" TV Commercials
Those wonderful "Sock" Hops
When we all Needed a Good "Smoke"
Bob Taylor’s Original Ranch House
I called a long-time friend, who I first met back in 1979, Jeneane Marie, and asked her if she was hungry? It had been a few years since we had connected with this super great singer.
We ran into each other a few weeks earlier at the Bootlegger Bistro (a great restaurant frequented by a ton of locals and entertainers) and it was decided there and then, we needed to get together.
Thank God, she was hungry!
We talked about where would be a good place to go, and suddenly there was only one place to go– Where we used to go years ago, Bob Taylor’s Ranch House at 6250 Rio Vista St..
Bob Taylor’s Ranch House
This reporter arrived in our Village in late 1965, and one of the first restaurants I took my family to, after Hank Greenspun—publisher of the Las Vegas Sun— suggested it to me was The Ranch.
Taylor had started the ranch a lot earlier strictly as a fun thing to do for his friends, who would come out to his Gun club to shoot Skeet or Trap on the weekends.
A brief history is in order here:
Taylor was a world war two vet, and settled down after the war in Las Vegas.
Bob created The Gun club as a place to stage trophy shooting events for Trap and Skeet shooters, who would come from all over the world to compete in competitions, where shooters won trophies and prizes like silver belt buckles, and even an automobile in the big events, and then settle in for a hearty home cooked meal consisting of Chicago packed steaks cooked over Mesquite coals.
In those days it was a long drive from Vegas on an old two-lane road called the Tonopah Highway (now U.S. 95) to North Las Vegas, and then on a dirt road to the Club house.
You really needed to be hungry (or thirsty) to make the trip.
And, in those days, there was also an actual free-swimming pool right in front of the club.
Today the pool is gone and filled with dirt and topped off with grass and flowers.
One thing everyone knew about the man standing over the open flames of Mesquite, was that Bob Taylor had a magic thumb to cook your steak to perfection—He would press down on the steaks and the thumb which told him if it was rare, medium, or well done.
Taylor was host and chief cook in those early party days, and even after he opened it up to the public in 1955, he always tried to welcome his regulars upon arrival (I would become one of those regulars).
The ranch is widely accepted as the oldest operating restaurant in Las Vegas.
Bob enjoyed life to the fullest, dying in 2010 at 87.
He sold the ranch in 1980, and the new owners came in and left it just as it was—full of old Western décor, signature photos of famous Western stars such as John Wayne, John Payne, and Gene Autrey (you get the idea) and rustic furniture.
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret were filmed there shooting skeet in the movie “Viva Las Vegas.”
When Ann was filmed shooting, it was Bob breaking the targets just out of sight of the camera.
Oh, yeah, the dinner! It was perfect.
Jeneane had two Lobster Tails, I had an 8 oz. Filet Mignon steak with a huge baked potato.
Remembering Marty Allen and Vic Damone
Marty Allen: March 23,1922 – February 12, 2018
Vic Damone: January 12, 1928 – February 11, 2018.
Vegas History: The Frontier Hotel
Part Two of Two
In part one of this history of The Frontier, I discussed a man's dream...
...the vision of a club along a dusty highway that would become Las Vegas Blvd...
...and a man named R. E. Griffith who along with his nephew architect, William J. Moore, made a dream a reality in the construction of The Frontier Hotel.
Though Mr. Griffith passed away in 1943, his dream was realized though William J. Moore with innovations that have stood the test of time.
It was William J. Moore who was one of the first with vision to hire planes to fly both entertainers and gamblers to his resort....
...by contracting with a small airline owned by a man named Kirk Kerkorian...
the future owner of the MGM Grand Hotel.
The Last Frontier's "Little Church of the West", relocated at 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. South in 1980.....
... was also Moore's idea.
Built of California redwood, it was an authentic replica of a pioneer church, and over time a number of famous marriage ceremonies were performed, some of which were Betty Grable and Harry James, Zsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders, and Billy Bob Thornton and Angela Jolie.
Other stars included Mickey Rooney, Robert Goulet, Buck Owens, Mel Torme, Dudley Moore, and Richard Gere's nuptial to Cindy Crawford.
Elvis even "married" Ann Margaret in the film "Viva Las Vegas" at the Little Church of the West.
It's the only building on the Strip to be registered on the National Register of Historic places.
In 1951 Moore left the hotel when stockholders decided to sell the resort to Jake Kozloff, "91 Club" owner Guy McAfee and Beldon Katleman of the El Rancho Vegas for a bit more than Mr. Griffith had paid...
In 1954 the hotel was again sold.
...and in 1955, the hotel was renamed...
The New Frontier
In 1957 the hotel met with hard times and was operated as a motel, closing its casino operations, until in 1959 the resort was leased to Warren Bayley, owner of the Hacienda Hotel and Casino, who reopened the Last Frontier casino operations to the public.
The Bayley name lives on in the history of Las Vegas not through Warren, but through is wife, Judy Bayley, a noted philanthropist...
...and whose name is enshrined in the University of Nevada---Las Vegas auditorium...
In 1961 Bankers Life purchased the resort and insurance company president, John D. MacArthur, kept the hotel closed until 1965.
Mr. MacArthur, other than owning Bankers Life, is best known when you turn on PBS television and note that The MacArthur Foundation sponsors numerous specials.He, like Judy Bayley, was a great philanthropist.
Unable to find a tenant for the property, MacArthur made an attempt to tear the old hotel down and build a new hotel, authorizing $6,000,000 for the project.
A new company, The Frontier Operating Company,was then formed with new owners, one of which was a man named Steve Wynn, and the lease was transferred to the new company.
...but problems existed from the get go !
Controversy arose when some of the new owners were accused of mob affiliations and apparently, Steve Wynn, not being aware of them, got caught in the middle of the scandal, the result of which was lackluster management with a lingering threat of bankruptcy hovering over the property.
I wonder what became of Mr. Wynn ?
Nevada state officials, determined to curb and hopefully end organized crime activities, then contacted a man who was also waging his own war against the mob at that time, Howard Hughes, to consider purchasing the property.
On September 22, 1967, Howard Hughes bought "The New Frontier Resort" for an astonishing....
He changed the name to "The Frontier", and like anything Mr. Hughes touched in his life, it immediately began making a profit.
Celebrities Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante. Bobby Darin, Phil Harris, along with others including George Carlin, Diana Ross, Frank Gorshin, Robert Goulet, Bob Newhart, and Flip Wilson appeared and the hotel regained the glory it once had.
As the years passed, entertainers Wayne Newton and Siegfried and Roy, would also join that cast of performers.
The property was once again sold; this time toMargaret Elardi, a former owner of the Pioneer Club on downtown Fremont Street...and the decline of The Frontier began to accelerate.
On September 21, 1991 the Frontier began what would become a 61 month strike by 550 union workers.
Picket signs would litter the property and eventually the hotel would become a Strip eyesore, watching hotel patrons and people walking past the hotel being bothered and harassed.
It had been since 1984 that a collective bargaining agreement had been negotiated.
Fueled by hotel and casino workers represented by four unions, as a result of a cut in hourly wages, slashed welfare benefits and eliminating contributions to their pension plan, union workers from Culinary, Bartender, Teamsters, and Operating Engineers, walked a picket 24 hours a day for the duration of the strike.
In October 1997 the hotel was once again sold, this time to Wichita billionaire businessman, Phil Ruffin...
As part of the purchase, Ruffin also held an option to purchase 16.5 acres of vacant land once occupied by the Silver Slipper Casino.
Union workers agreed to end their strikes when Ruffin further agreed to a five year contract that included an additional payment of $3,500,000 for wages owed to striking workers.
Ruffin also changed the name of the hotel back to "The New Frontier".
As the 21st century arrived, on January 5, 2000, Ruffin announced that the New Frontier would close its doors forever; that he was going to implode the hotel and a replace it with a replica depicting San Francisco...a casino named "City by the Bay" that was to have been completed in September, 2002.
Legal action was then taken by Mark Advent of Advent Communications and Entertainment who created the concept of "New York New York".
Combined with high interest rates and the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the project was then abandoned.
On July 15, 2007 the hotel was officially closed, and a short four months later, on November 13, 2007, the history of the Frontier finally came to a crashing end....
...and a part of Las Vegas history that began 87 years ago in 1931 was forever no more.
Today, a fraction of the property has only been redeveloped with The Trump Tower standing in a location behind the former Frontier property.
...but those of us who have visited this city and those who now reside here, will never forget the once majestic marquee that once stood and represented Las Vegas as we once knew it...
The Frontier Hotel
Vegas History: The Frontier Hotel
...and one of those who had a "vision" was a man from Detroit who, in 1929 , had an idea of building a night club on a new highway to Los Angeles.
The Detroit man backed away from the idea, but there was another man who didn't....a gentleman named Frank Detra.
...and Frank Detra decided to pursue this idea into opening a club in 1930, naming it...
"Pair O' Dice"
Most Las Vegas historians look at "Pair O' Dice" as the first night club on a dusty three mile desert road, called "Las Vegas Blvd".
3120 Las Vegas Blvd. South.....to be exact.
It was a private club only open at night, offering fine Italian meals, had dance bands and jazz performers, and a "knock-knock" password that would open you to a world of gaming tables !
In 1931 when gambling was legalized in Nevada, the "Dice" then opened as a public nightclub, and its history was checkered with openings, closings, and more than one citation for selling liquor during Prohibition.
The Detra family lived in a smaller building next door with a furnished bedroom for an occasional visitor that rumor has it was usually someone from Chicago who worked for some guy named Al Capone and a few of his friends.
The Detra family eventually sold the "Pair O' Dice" in 1939 to a man named...
...who coincidently also happened to be the captain and commander of a Los Angeles Vice Squad !
Commander McAfee (on his meager law enforcement income...cough cough) renovated the place and renamed it the "91 Club".
A couple of years passed and after another hotel opened in 1941...
The El Rancho Vegas...
Theatre guru R. E Griffith and his architect nephew, William J. Moore, purchased an acre of land that also included the property on which the "91 Club" was located....for a staggering sum of...
No, this is no misprint...ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS !
The bombing of Pearl Harbor created a number of challenges to Griffith and Moore.
During the war obtaining building materials became difficult due to the war effort and food was also rationed.
How would they solve that problem?
They decided to incorporate the "91 Club" into their plans and bought mines for electrical wiring and other materials, while raising cattle for food and milk to be served at their new resort.
During that same timeframe, Moore had also built the El Rancho Theatre in Gallup, New Mexico...and as a result, couldn't use that name in Las Vegas.
The El Rancho Hotel/Theatre had a slogan that Griffith insisted in retaining....
"The Early West in Modern Splendor"
...and it was Griffith's belief that Las Vegas was a location in American geography where freedom and Western spirit abounded....
...a "Last Frontier"...
On October 30, 1942 R. E. Griffith's "Last Frontier" opened, and unlike the El Rancho, it was a single huge building with 3,700 trees, plants, and shrubs with several distinct but connected segments that gave the appearance of an Old Western town.
An octagonal tower that had been part of the "91 Club" was even renamed the "Leo Carrillo Room" with a largeportrait of him displayed on his horse.
Remember Leo Carrillo, or does the name "Poncho" from "The Cisco Kid" ring a bit more familiar?
And of course, we can't forget the elegant "high priced" food this newest pleasure palace provided its guests....
William J. Moore, the architect, managed the property for Mr. Griffith...
William J. Moore
... and spared no expense bringing the past "frontier" days to the hotel by purchasing a number of items of from existing casinos in the downtown area, most notably of which was a 40 foot mahogany bar with French beveled glass from the old Arizona Club on Fremont Street....
..which once housed the most fashionable house of prostitution in Las Vegas !
..which once housed the most fashionable house of prostitution in Las Vegas !
Sadly, on November 24, 1943, R. E. Griffith died, but his dream lived on through William J. Moore as its success grew and it became an important asset to the Las Vegas community by hosting charitable events and war benefit performances.
This concludes part one of this two part series of the story of The Frontier Hotel.
In part two, I'll discuss how William Moore brought the dream of R. E. Griffith full circle, and how the history of The Frontier reflects the story of how a city and valley of over 2,000,000 residents progressed together as time marched on.
Those we Lost
October thru December 2017
October 2nd...Age 66
(Rock n Roll musician and lead singer of the band "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers"...inducted in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2002)
October 6th...Age 75
(American Professional Basketball Player..."The Hawk"...named to the American Basketball Association's All Time Team...moved to NBA and named All-Star 1970-1973...his #42 jersey was retired by the Phoenix Suns...elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in 1992)
October 6th...Age 81
(MIddleweight Boxing Champion 1961-1962...known as
"The Paddington Express"
October 6th...Age 45
(American comedian....would often perform at The South Point Showroom in Las Vegas)
October 7th...Age 76
(Original member of the singing group "The Skyliners"...best know for songs"Since I Don't Have You" and "Pennies from Heaven")
Edna Frank Dummerth
October 8th...Age 93
(1944 Catcher for the "Minnesota Milllerettes" and "Racine Belles" of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League)
October 22nd...Age 85
(American astronaut who commanded Skylab 2...the first manned Skylab mission...commander of the first Challenger space shuttle flights)
October 24th...Age 89
(American actor...best known for his role as the butler "Benson" on the TV series' "Soap" and "Benson")
October 25th...Age 89
(One of the pioneers of American rock 'n roll with great songs such as "Blueberry Hill", "Ain't That a Shame" , "I'm Walkin" and "My Blue Heaven")
October 25th...Age 77
(American Actor...best known for his role as "Art Donovan" on the TV series "Lou Grant" (1977-1982)...114 episodes...husband of Ellen Travolta...sister of John Travolta and son on Bea Benaderet of TV's "Petticoat Juncton")
November 5th...Age 72
(American singer...best known for his song "Everlasting Love"
Roy "Doc" Halladay
November 7th...Age 40
(Major League Pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies...winner of 2 Cy Young Awards...in 2010 the first pitcher in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter in both the regular season and post season play)
November 6th...Age 88
(American astronaut...one of 24 men to have flown to the Moon...pilot of Gemini 11 and command module pilot of Apollo 12)
November 9th...Age 84
(American actor...best known for his role as "Jonathan Higgins" on the TV series "Magnum, P.I....nominated for 5 Golden Globes (winning in 1981) and 4 Emmys (winning in 1987)
November 13th...Age 99
(American League Baseball player for 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox as their starting 2nd Baseman ...a 9 time All-Star selection...inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985)
November 19th...Age 85
(Legendary Country Singer.....inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007)
November 19th...Age 83
(Leader of the cult, "The Manson Family" convicted of the Tate / Labiacha murders in 1969)
November 19th...Age 86
(American singer and actress...most famous song was "Don't You Know"...the first Black woman to host the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson...starred in the hit TV show "Touched by an Angel " for 8 seasons)
November 21st...Age 67
(American actor & singer...best known for his role as Keith Partridge n the TV series "The Partridge Family)
November 30th...Age 87
(American actor & singer....best known for his role as "Gomer Pyle" on both "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC""
December 7th...Age 80
(Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals...most noted for pitching for the Red Sox to Roger Maris in 1961 with Maris hitting his 61st home run breaking Babe Ruth;s home run record)
December 11th...Age 72
(British actress...best known as one of "Elvis girls" in the role of "Judy Hudson" in the film "Paradise Hawaiian Style"... also starred in the 1965 firm "Boeing Boeing" with Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis..goddaughter of British actress Vivian Leigh)
December 16th...Age 85
(American singer...a Las Vegas Icon along with former husband, Louis Prima, at both the old Sahara and Desert Inn in the mid-1950s..best known for her act with Prima and hit songs that included "The Old Black Magic", "Just a Gigolo", and "I Ain't Got Nobody")
December 21st...Age 83
(American sportscaster for 60 years...member of NBC Sports for 25 years covering the NFL, MLB, and NBA...then to CBS (10 Super Bowl Games), and eventually to ESPN...the San Diego Padres sportscaster from 2009 to his retirement in 2016...winner of the Ford Frick Award in the Baseball Hall of Fame)
Bruce McCandess II
December 21st...Age 80
(American astronaut...made to trips on the Space Shuttle...best known for being the first man to make the first untethered space walk in 1984 using the Manned Maneuvering Unit)
December 24th...Age 68
(Canadian actress...best known for playing the role of Louisa Von Trapp in the fim "The Sound of Music)
December 28th...Age 94
(American actress...best known for her role as "Sally Rogers" on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961-1966)...was the first act to open "The Flamingo Hotel" hired by Bugsy Siegel...in November, 2017, was the subject of the documentary "Wait for the Laugh")
December 29th...Age 67
(American actor and comedian...Best known for his various roles on the HBO 80s TV show "Not Necessarily the News")
Those we Lost
July thru September 2017
July 4th...Age 77
(American stage, film, and TV actor...best known for his role as "Wrestler" in the TV mini-series "Roots")
July 15th...Age 89
(American actor...best known for his many film & TV roles...1995 Best Actor Academy Award winner for his portrayal of Bela Lagosi in "Ed Wood"...winner of Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor Award for his
role as Abe Karatz in the film "Tucker: The Man & His Dream"...winner of Golden Globe Award for his portayal of Rollin Hand in the TV series "Mission Impossible")
July 18th...Age 81
(A member or Elvis Presley's "Memphis Mafia"...songwriter...wrote "Separate Ways" for Elvis Presley i 1972...also an actor in many movies and TV shows)
July 21st...Age 72
(American actor...best known for his role as "Peter McCalliser" in the films "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York...received an Emmy for his role as "Vin Makazian" in the HBO series "The Sopranos")
(July 25th...Age 90)
(wife of Frank Sinatra for 22 years until his death...a former Las Vegas showgirl and model...founder of "The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center" for victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse)
July 26th...Age 99
(American voice over actress...was the voice of numerous cartoon characters over her 60 years on radio, TV and films..including every female character AND "Rocket J. Squirrl" on the "Rocky & Bullwinkle Show"...also the original voice of Mattel's Chatty Cathy doll and "Lucifer the Cat" in the Disney movie "Cinderella")
(July 27th...Age 73)
(American actor...nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for his portrayal of "Chuck Yeager" in the film "The Right Stuff"...received a Pulitzer prize in 1979 for his play "Buried Child")
(August 2nd...Age 94)
(famed Notre Dame football coach who guided "The Fighting Irish" to NCAA National Championships in 1966 and 1973...his career at Notre Dame was 95-17-4, the 2nd best coaching record since Knute Rockne)
August 3rd...Age 87
(American actor...best known for his TV role as "Bronco Layne" in the TV series "Bronco" (1958-1962)
August 7th...Age 68
(Major League baseball player...led the American league in 1979 with 139 RBIs playing for the California Angels and named the American League Most Valuable Player...manager of the Colorado Rockies 1993-1998 and Chicago Cubs 2000-2002)
August 8th...Age 81
(American singer and TV show host...a victim of Alzheimer's Disease)...many hits including "Rhinestone Comboy", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Galveston", "Gentle on My Mind")
August 13th...Age 82
(TV & Screen actor...best known as playing "King Kaiser" in the 1982 film "My Favorite Year" and as "Lenny Koufax" in the 1999 film "Bog Daddy")
August 19th...Age 84
(1960s civil rights activist and comedian)
August 20th...Age 91
(American comedian and actor...Host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon for 44 years...former partner of Dean Martin that ended in 1956)
August 24th...Age 69
(American actor and radio host...best known for his roles on "Cheers", "Mork & Mindy" and "Murphy Brown)
August 31st...Age 91
(American actor best known for his TV role as "Oscar Goldman", the boss of Steve Austin (Lee Majors) and Jamie Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) on the TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman"...also appears in numerous TV shows and films in his career)
September 1st...Age 92
(American comedian most popular in the early 60s...the first stand-up comedian to perform in Carnegie Hall....often guest starred on many TV shows over the years...married to his wife, Sarah, for 70 years)
September 3rd...Age 67
(musician co-founder of the rock group "Steely Dan")
September 5th...Age 77
(Former Lead singer of the pop group "Tower of Power"...had been sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder as a result of a drug deal, but paroled after 36 years)
September 7th...Age 79
(Former Major league baseball player and manager of the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees...became the Yankees General Manager and was responsible for building the Yankee dynasty of the late 1970s and early 1980s)
Settember 8th...Age 78
(Country and Western singer inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010...nicknamed "The Gentle Giant of Country Music")
September 8th...Age 50
(Part of the County & Western duo "Montgomery Gentry"...killed in a helicopter crash)
September 9th...Age 85
(NHL Hockey player winning the Norris Trophy for the League's Best Defenseman in 1963, 1964, and 1965...a member of the 1961 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup champions....elected to the NHL Hall of Fame in 1975...ranked #59 in the top 100 NHL greatest players)
September 13th...Age 85
(6 term US Senator from New Mexico from 1973-2009)
September 13th...Age 87
(American actor...best known for his roles in TV's "The Sopranos" and firms "The Raging Bull", "Goodfellas", and "Casino"" playing gangster roles)
Harry Dean Stanton
September 15th...Age 91
(American actor for over 60 years....best known for his film roles in "Paris, Texas", "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Green Mile" and on numerous TV series with included "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide", and "Twin Peaks")
Setember 18th...Age 89
(American actor...best known for his role as "Morrie Kessler" in the movie "Goodfellas")
September 19th...Age 96
(Former World Middleweight Boxing Champion known as "The Raging Bull"...best known for his six fights with Sugar Ray Robinson...and the 1970 film which portrayed his life)
September 20th...Age 78
(NFL player from 1961-1968...American actor known for his roles in numerous movies including "Brian's Song", "Sharky's Machine", "Spies Like Us" and "Revenge of the Nerds")
September 27th...Age 91
(Publisher of Playboy magazine...and...his TV show "Playboy After Dark"..his "Playboy Clubs"....and his many "companions" over the years at the Playboy Mansion)
September 27th...Age 94)
(American actress...best known for her playing the role of "Marion Kerby" as "the ghostest with the mostest" in the 1953-1955 TV series "Topper"with her real life husband Robert Sterling )
September 30th...Age 96
(TV personality and host of "Let's Make a Deal" from 1963 to 1986 and again in 1991)
We'll Miss Them
Those We Lost
April thru June, 2017
April 3rd...Age 90
(Major League Baseball player...1949 Rookie of The Year in the American League...Four time Major League All-Star...hit 318 Home Runs in his career...one of only 2 players to do so without being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame)
April 5th...Age 69
(American actress....best known for her being a part of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" in the 1960s)
April 6th...Age 90
(The Master of the Insult...comedian, actor...a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson"...starred in his own TV series "CPO Sharkey" from 1976-1978)
April 11th...Age 95
("Dave's Mom"...who made numerous comedic appearances on her son's show "Late Night with David Letterman")
April 12th...Age 57
(Comedian...actor...older brother of Eddie Murphy...a member of the cast of Comedy series "Chappelle's Show")
April 13th...Age 84
(Appointed President of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1975-2002...inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2000...US Ambassador to Ireland 2009-2012)
April 15th...Age 96
(American actor...best known for his role as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in the James Bond films "Live & Let Die" and "The Man with the Golden Gun"...also played the sheriff in the Gene Wilder film "Silver Streak" and the infamous owner of the Chicago White Sox in "Eight Men Out")
Cuba Gooding Sr.
April 27th...Age 72
(American soul singer and actor...the leader singer of "The Main Ingredient" that had 2 hits songs "Everybody Plays the Fool" and "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely"...father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr.)
April 20th...Age 36
(American chef and contestant on the fall, 2016 season of "Hell's Kitchen"..an appparent drug overdose)
April 22nd...Age 56
(American actress..best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the TV series "Happy Days" and subsequent spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi"
May 5th...Age 98
(The last surviving Gold Medal winner at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin...set a world record in the 100 meter Backstroke event that would last for 20 years....aand eventually was the first man to swim the 100 meter backstroke in under one minute)
May 9th...Age 77
(Ameican actor...best known for his role as Jim Bronson on the TV show "Then Came Bronson"...riding his Harley Davidson Roadster...recorded the hit "Long Lonesome Highway" which became the show's theme song)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkHZlZQjxKs
May 12th...Age 86
(Professional Football player....playing for the Detroit Lions his entire career....1952-1953 and again after military service, from 1956-1964...a member of the Detroit Lions NFL Championship 1952 and 1953 teams...inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979...member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1959-1963)
May 13th...Age 83
(American actress and songwriter...best known for her lead in the nationally rated TV show "Pixanne" from 1960-1969...a TV show in Philadelphia for 7 years before national syndication....authored the book "The Private Life of an American Teenager")
May 14th...Age 68
(American Actor...best known for his Emmy winning portrayal of "Jim Jones" in the film "Guyana Tragedy" The Story of Jim Jones"...as "Curley Bill Brocious" in the film "Tombstone"...and...TV roles as "Phillip Marlowe" and "Cy Tolliver" in the series "Deadwood")
May 14th... Age 67
(American League Baseball umpire...paralyzed in 1991 while attempting to assist two waitresses being mugged along with fellow umpire Rick Garcia, following calling a baseball game for the Texas Rangers...was ranked as #1 American League umpire in 1991 by The Sporting News fror overall performance)
May 18th...Age 77
(Founder and one time Chairman and CEO of Fox News)
May 21st...Age 93
(American actress...socialite...buisnesswoman...philanthropist...best known for her roles in the films "Operation Petticoat", "The Sundowners", "Butterfield 8"and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father")
May 23rd...Age 48
(National Football League..."96" for the Seattle Seahawks playing his entire 11 years NFL career...number was retired in 2012, the same year he was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame...remembered as one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time)
May 23rd...Age 89
(British actor...best known for his role as "James Bond" in 7 James Bond films after replacing Sean Connery in the role...TV actor with roles as "Beau Maverick" in "Maverick" and as "Simon Templer" in "The Saint"...knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003 for "services to charity")
May 26th...Age 89
(National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981...brokered the Camp David Accords between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978...awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Carter in 1981)
May 26th...Age 85
(American Professional Baseball player....Pitching for the Detroit Tigers from 1955-1963....The Philadelphia Phillies from from 1964-1967 and again from 1970-71...pitching two no-hitters (1958 for the Tigers and a perfect game for the Phillies in 1964...elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996...went on to a political career from the state of Kentucky serving in the US House of Representatives from 1987 to 1999 and US Senate from 1999-2011)
May 27th...Age 69
(Founding member of the Allman Brothers Band...previous husband of Cher)
May 29th...Age 83
(Infamous former dictator of Panama from 1983-1989...captured during the American invasion of Panama in 1989 and charged with drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering...convicted and sentenced to 40 year in a Miami prison)
May 30th...Age 75
(British actress...best known for her role as Bond Girl "Patricia Fearing" in the 1965 James Bond film "Thunderball")
June 3rd...Age 87
(Major League Baseball player...best known for the mental problems incurred during his professional career...Anthony Perkins played the role of Jimmy Piersall in the 1957 film, "Fear Strikes Out")
June 4th...Age 84
(American actor...best known for his role as "Jeff Spencer", a retired federal agent in the hit TV show "77 Sunset Strip" from 1958-1964...married to actress Ann-Margaret for 50 years until the time of his death)
June 8th...Age 62
(American actress...best known for her starring role in the 1988 film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Michael Caine and Steve Martin and starring role in the 1995 film "Mr. Holland's Opus" with Richard Dreyfuss)
June 10th...Age 88
(American actor...will always be known as the original TV's Batman...series running from 1966-1969)
John D. Avidsen
June 16th...Age 81
(Hollywood movie director...received the 1977 Oscar for Best Director for "Rocky"...also directed "Rocky 5", the first three "Karate Kid" films, "Lean on Me", "Joe", "Save the Tiger", and "Neighbors")
June 16th...Age 63
(American actor...best known for his role as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the 1978 movie hit "Animal House")
June 17th...Age 92
(Miss America of 1944)
Those We Lost
January thru March 2017
January 4th...Age 93
(One of the last survivors of the Negro American League....nicknamed "Superman" by his teammates...lifetime .336 batting average...playing for the Chicago American Giants 1941-1945 & 1950...and Birmingham Black Barons in 1956...2 time Negro League All-Star)
January 6th...Age 80
(American actress who appeared on numerous TV sitcoms including "Batman", "Bewitched", and "Green Acres")
January 6th...Age 66
(Indian born actor that had numerous roles in films over the years, the most famous of which was playing the father of an Indian restaurant and his relationship with his competitor, a French restaurant across the same street by Helen Miren in the 2014 movie "The Hundred-Foot Journey")
(Center of Photo)
January 6th...Age 78
(Member of the 60s singing group "The Contours" best known for their hit "Do You Love Me"...singing group elected to the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame in 2007)
January 9th...Age 75
(Grand nephew of Jim Beam...his grandfather was the brother of JIm Beam...family traces its whiskey making roots back to Jacob Beam who set up his first still in 1795...under his leadershp Jim Beam bourbon reached $1 billion in annual sales for the first time in 2013)
January 10th...Age 105
(English journalist...most noted for the first war correspondent to report the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939 while in Poland...at that time considered "The Scoop of the Century")
January 10th...Age 90
(American jazz & pop singer, actor and musician....recording over 60 albums during his career...spent 4 years with Benny Goodman before branching out on his own...a star in 1992 at The Las Vegas Stardust's Stardust Room)
January 10th...Age 62
(Canadian actor primarily known for his work on "SCTV" and "Saturday Night Live")
January 13th...Age 86
(photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain)
January 13th...Age 85
January 13th...Age 85
(American actor....appeared as the clumsy robot "Hymie" in the TV sitcom "Get Smart"....and the short lived Mel Brooks TV sitcom "When Things Were Rotten" as "Robin Hood..panelist on a number of TV games shows including "Password". "Match Game" and "Win Lose or Draw"...received Tony Nomination for playing "Conrad Birdie" in the original Broadway hit "Bye Bye Birdie")
January 16th...Age 82
(American astronaut pioneer on three space missions that included Gemini 9 and Apollo 10 and 17...he was the last person to walk on the moon in 1972...one of just three persons who flew to the moon twice)
January 18th...Age 86
(American soprano opera singer....associated with the Metropolitan Opera of New York for 35 years...a frequent guest on the Ed Sullivan Show)
January 19th...Age 61
(American actor best known for TV roles "Dr. Garrett Macy" on "Crossing Jordan", "Owen Granger" on "NCIS: Los Angeles, and pathologist "Albert Rosenfield" on "Twin Peaks"...son of actor, Mel Ferrer and actress, Rosemary Clooney...cousin of George Clooney)
Mary Tyler Moore
January 25th...Age 80
(Legendary TV star of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" from 1961 to 1966 and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" from 1970 to 1977)
(She "Made it After All")
January 25th...Age 77
(British actor...best known for playing the role of Joseph Merrick in the film "The Elephant Man")
January 26th...Age 91
(Ameican actor...best known for his starring role as Detective Joe Mannix in the TV hit series "Mannix" running 1967-1975)
January 26th...Age 94
(American actress best knowh in her role as Della Street in the hit TV show, "Perry Mason"...wife of Bill Willams at until his death in 1992 and mother of William Katt who starred in the TV show "The Greatest American Hero")
January 31st...Age 76
(Early American Rock "n Roll singer of the 50s best known for his hits "Do You Want to Dance" and "C'mon Do the Swim"
January 31st...Age 65
(Las Vegas icon singer, writer & producer)
(February 5th...Age 69)
(Former lead singer of the rock groups "The Outsiders" with hits "Time Won't Let Me, "What Kind of Girl is This" and Climax" with the hit "Precious & Few")
"Professor" Irwin Corey
February 6th...Age 102
(Stand-Up comedian of the 1950s who appeared regularly on "The Steve Allen Show" and "The Smothers Brothers Show" as "the world's foremost authority on everything")
February 7th...Age 71
(American actor best known for his roles in the TV series "Battlestar Gallactica", first as "Captain Apollo", then as "Tom Zarek"...also starred in the TV movie, "Dead Man's Curse" portraying the role of Jan Berry)
February 12th...Age 76
(American singer & musician...winner of 7 Grammy Awards...best known for his hits "After All" and writing the lyrics to the 1980s hit TV show "Moonlighting"
February 18th...Age 69
(The subject of the historic Supreme decision "Roe vs Wade"
ruling that banning abortion was unconstitutional)
February 20th...Age 55
(Fox News Commentator on "Bulls & Bears" Show)
February 23rd...Age 66
(Liberal radio & TV commentator...host of "The Alan Colmes Show" a national radio broadcast on Sirius Radio on "Fox News Talk"...former cohost on TV show "Colmes & Hannity" from 1996 to 2009)
February 25th...Age 61
(American actor....best known for his roles in "Apollo 13" as astronaut Fred Haise...received 3 Golden Globe nominations for the 2006-2011 HBO series "Big Love"...and an Emmy nomination for his role in the History Channel's "Hatfields & McCoys")
Judge Joseph Wapner
February 26th...Age 97
(The original TV judge from 1981 to 1993 on "The People's Court"....also served on the Los Angeles Supreme Court for 18 years...received both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star by the US Army, serving in The Pacific During World War II)
March 1st...Age 87
(A RIght fielder member of the Racine Belles, Grand Rapids Chicks, and Rockford Peaches of the All-American GIrls Professional Baseball League between 1949 and 1950)
March 1st...Age 90
(The man who could play three trumpets at once...was a guest on many late night shows including the Tonight Show and MIke Douglas Show...a member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame )
March 6th...Age 84
(for years, the historian and host on Turner Classic Movies)
March 8th...Age 95
(American boxing manager & trainer that handled 19 different world champions including Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Hector "Macho" Camacho....inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998)
March 11th...Age 60
(American singer, songwriter & producer....founder of the American family rock group "Sister Sledge"...best known for the song "We Are Family"...a member of the "disco era")
March 18th...Age 90
(Legendary Member of the original "Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1986...there will only be one like him....his greatest hits included" Johnny B.Goode", "Maybeline", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Rock & Roll Music"...the list goes on and on...inventor of the famous "Duck Walk")
"The Duck Walk"
"Johnny B Goode"
"Roll over Beethoven"
"Rock & Roll Music"
March 21st...Age 77
(The General Manager of the Chicago Bulls from 1985 to 2003...built the team that included Hall of Fame players Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen that won 6 NBA championships during the 1990s)
March 21st...Age 87
(Television pioneer introducing numerous game shows which included "The Dating Game", "The Newlywed Game", and "The $1.98 Beauty Pageant"...but best known for his zany antics on his "The Gong Show"...wrote Freddy Cannon's biggest hit, "Palisades Park")
March 22nd...Age 82
(Baseball pitcher, manager, and executive General Manager...managing the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series Championship in 1980...coming to the Chicago Cubs as General Manager in 1981 obtaining Hall of Fame players Ryne Sandberg and Dennis Eckersley...Cubs won the National League East in 1984...their first divisional championship since 1945)
March 23rd...Age 92
(American actress best known for playing the love interest "Edie Hart" of Peter Gunn on the TV series "Peter Gunn"....also played in the Elvis Presley movie "Kid Galahad")
March 24th...Age 79
(Former music conductor for Frank Sinatra and numerous major entertainers during his career)
March 28th...Age 72
(German-Austrian actress and former wife of Tony Curtis...winner of 1961 Golden Globe for Best Newcomer of the Year...starred in a number of fims which included "Town Without Pity", "The Last Days of Pompeii", and "Taras Bulba" in which she met Tony Curtis)
A Page in the History of America
After you've devoured the turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, if you're like so many of us, you'll likely sit back, wait a few moments, have a cup of coffee, and finally have dessert...
...and American tradition...
...a piece of pumpkin pie, probably obtaining one from a local casino since that appears to be a favorite "gift" they offer year in and year out...
...a pumpkin pie that undoubtedly you will likely spend $200 to get
But...why pumpkin pie?
That's what this "history" article is all about !
How did it become an American tradition?
Most believe It all goes back to approximately 1620 when the early English settlers settled the Plymouth colony in southern New England.
How often have you seen this picture of the first "Thanksgiving" with the settlers and Native Americans joining in a feast of togetherness?
Well now, enjoy the tale, but that's about as true as the moon consisting of cream cheese, because the original colonists had no stomach for it...
...until starvation confronted them, and the Native Warnpanoago tribe made them aware of a certain type of "orange squash" that allowed 60 of them to survive their first year of colonization in the Americas as a way to make bread without a great deal of flour.
Some scholars believe that pumpkins originated in South America some 7,000 years ago as a type of squash, making its way north to the New England area. Others believe it is native to North America.
Native Americans originally prepared pumpkin slices and roasted them directly on hot coals...and the pilgrims, through their European influence, "doctored" them up with milk, honey, and spices before baking them on hot ashes, creating a pudding that produced a sweeter (and palatable) taste.
There was no crust; merely a pudding that was placed in the shell of a pumpkin stuffed with sliced apples.
By 1654 the "orange squash" still hadn't reached much popularity when a New England ship captain stated that the area had prospered with people preparing "apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin pies".
By the early 18th century pumpkin pie began its popularity when a woman named Amelia Simmons combined a pair of original pumpkin pie recipes, one of which was similar to today's custard version.
Believe it or not, pumpkin pie would even have a political significance as the early and mid-19th century developed.
As the nation grew closer to civil war, pumpkin pie would eventually be entwined in the debate over slavery.
Abolitionists from New England would make mention of their favorite dessert in novels and poems which in turn brought strong objection from the South, referring to it as a "Yankee dessert" and a move toward imposing Yankee traditions on them...
...especially after President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.
When the Civil War concluded, the Thanksgiving holiday would be looked on as means of healing the nation's wounds bringing it together in a common feast on the fourth Thursday of each November.
As time proceeded pumpkin pie would become an American tradition, and in 1929 the Libby Company of Chicago introduced a canned pumpkin that would become a fixture in its own right, replacing the need to roast and strain the "orange squash".
Today, modernization has allowed us to purchase the pumpkin pie rather than prepare it ourselves.
So...if you still do make your own pumpkin pie, know as you open that can, or if you purchase one from a grocery store, or receive one from a local casino...
...that its past was filled with centuries of Native Americans, colonists, editors, anti-slavery proponents and culinary entrepreneurs whose combined efforts allow you to enjoy a delicacy that is every part of the American spirit as Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Anthem Opinions sends our wishes for a wonderful holiday to all of you, a people who have endured for almost 400 years since those daring Pilgrims crossed the shores of the Atlantic Ocean...
...surviving due to the generosity of an existing Native American population...
...in search of what the most precious gift man can obtain....
Vegas Loses a member of the Fabulous
Anthem Opinions is sad to inform our readers of the passing of yet another Las Vegas icon....
Together with his brother, Frankie, and sister, Chrissi, The Scintas had long been a mainstay in local Las Vegas entertainment.
In 2013, sister Chrissi...
... was forced to exit the group due to problems with her throat, and now, due to multiple stokes, brother Joey's passing leaves Frankie as the sole original member of The Scintas.
Joey Scinta was 69 years old.
Frankie will continue the tradition of The Scintas...
with Janine Valentine...
...each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at The Plaza in downtown Las Vegas.
Our sincere condolences to the Scinta family.
Anthem Opinions Administration
Think England's Stonehenge is amazing ?
You don't have to go far to find one of our own....near Phoenix, Arizona....
The Anthem Veterans Memorial
This Memorial even has a plaque pedestal to explain it all.
Archaeologists of the future won't have to “guess” what this site is all about!
Once a Year, at 11:11 AM, the Sun shines perfectly on this Memorial.
At precisely 11:11 A.M., on the 11th Day of the 1th Month (Veterans Day), the Sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.
The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces.
The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.
The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones.
The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military.
They are staggered in size (from 17’ to 6’) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence: the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, and the United States Coast Guard.
Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. service men and women, symbolizing their support for our Armed Forces.
The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag.
The circle represents an unbreakable border.
Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin, was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.
Anthem Veterans Memorial
41703 Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, Arizona 85086
Pictures only Seniors Will Understand...and...Appreciate
(Part Two of Two)
Grandma Let Us Do Everything. Well, maybe that hasn't changed so much, but we LOVED eating off the beaters!
Sometimes Your Food Came On Roller Skates!
We got DOWN at the Sock Hop!
Sunday Drives Were A Thing: That's right - on Sunday, many of us would load up the family car and just go cruising over to the neighbors or just around town!
There Was One TV. And, surprise, we didn't argue all night about who should get to watch their favorite show. Most of the time, we all liked the same shows!
The Playgrounds were VERY Different: At recess, we'd swing from the monkey bars with wild abandon and often even stand on the swings and go as high as possible. And still, we survived!
(Can You Imagine Your Grandkids doing this today?)
TV Had "Sign Off" Messages. Remember these?
TV would go off at midnight and sometimes even go as far as playing the National Anthem all night.
Just One Hula Hoop Wasn't Enough: Some of us could do multiple at a time!
We didn't Text, But We Did Pass Notes! And we were experts at not getting caught!
We Had Xylophones That We Kept on a Pull String. That's right - there was nothing like the Pull a Tune!
We Got Bottled Cokes and Loved Them: That’s right - no cans or plastic bottles back then. We were 100% excited when we'd find a cooler like this to get that ice cold bottle.
To Sun City Anthem resident, John Schmidt...thanks for allowing us to appreciate what we had.
Anthem Opinions sends our thanks to resident, John Schmidt, for allowing us to take this trip down memory lane.
Pictures only Seniors Will Understand...and...Appreciate
(Part One of Two)
Cars Were Colorful! Most cars these days look fairly bland, but in the 50's, our cars were big, bright, and fun!
We Got Dressed Up for Birthday Parties. And sometimes there was even a pony there!
We Played in the Streets: We didn't have to text our friends back in the day - we'd all just come outside and get to playing!
Gas Was Very Cheap: On some days, it was only $0.20 a gallon, and beyond that, the people at the station could also fix just about anything!
Ben Franklin 5-10 Was Everything: We loved going to these stores. They had just about anything and everything you could think of.
If it Wasn't the Ben Franklin, it Was the A&P!
Our Skates Got "Locked" with a Key. They were also made almost entirely of metal and very hard to skate on!
The Drive-In Was The Place to Be: This 1950's photo from South Bend, Indiana shows how popular they were!
Car Seats Were More Like Couches: That’s right - they were big, long, and you could slide all the way across!
(Guys...we're talking about the car seats...not the passenger)
The Freezer Actually Had to be DEFROSTED!: That's right, every now and then you'd have to manually defrost the freezer - sometimes took all day with a lot of scraping!.
Tomorrow...Part Two of Two
A Thrill on Blueberry Hill
My Blue Heaven
Delivered by his grandmother, a mid wife in a small Louisiana Creole home, Antoine Domino Jr. would enter the world on February 26, 1928, in New Orleans.
His father, a renown violinist, set the stage for his subsequent love for music, something that Antoine Jr. at first, did not wish to pursue as a career, but rather a hobby, loosely playing the piano in local bars at the age of 14.
One afternoon while attending a neighborhood BBQ, a local bandleader named Billy Diamond was asked to hear Antoine play.
Diamond was so impressed that he subsequently asked Antoine to join his band, "The Solid Senders" at the Hideaway Club in New Orleans.
Diamond enjoyed his piano playing so much that he would later say Domino reminded him of two other renown pianists, Fats Waller and Fats Pichon.
He also noticed that Antoine had quite an appetite, and from that day, Antoine Domino Jr. would forever be known as Fats Domino.
He also noticed that Antoine had quite an appetite, and from that day, Antoine Domino Jr. would forever be known as Fats Domino.
He only had 4 years of formal education before he left grammar school to work as a helper for an ice deliveryman, but as the years passed, he had other ideas as to his future.
He enrolled in a local community college with the intention of studying "shipping management" after he married at the age of 19.
It was marriage to his beloved Rosemary, a marriage that would last for 61 years until her death in 2008...and bear 8 children...
... that he would become close to his brother-in-law, a jazz guitarist named Harrison Verrett.
Verrett would convince Domino that a future in music would bring him greater success than a black man entering a world dominated by white managers.
And so...the career of Antoine "Fats" Domino would commence.
He signed his first record with Imperial Records in 1949, performing his first song entitled "The Fat Man" with Domino vocalizing while playing the piano.
It ended up selling 1 million copies....
It ended up selling 1 million copies....
...considered the first "rock & roll" record to achieve that success.
Domino would cross into the pop mainstream in 1955 with one of his greatest hits:
In 1956 came...his biggest hit...
...selling over 5 million copies.
From 1956 to 1959, it just kept rolling for Domino.
(#4 on Pop Charts)
(#6 on Pop Charts)
(#8 on Pop Charts)
Fats would leave the Imperial label in 1963 after the company was sold. He had recorded 60 hits, 22 of them double sided.
His last hit for Imperial was a song close to his Louisiana heart that was released in 1960.
(#6 on the Pop Charts)
...moving to "ABC Paramount" where attempts to "change" his familiar style failed.
During his golden years with Imperial Records, Domino would earn over $10,000 per week as he toured the country with a sound that has never been duplicated since !
1964 brought the "British Invasion", but that didn't stop "The Fat Man" from filling one arena after another year after year.
He was "rock & roll royalty", and has been credited with selling millions of records in the 1950s, second only to Elvis Presley.
In 1986 he was inducted into the "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" in addition to receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award".
Rarely would he leave his Louisiana home on tour because "he couldn't get any food that he liked". He lived in a working-class neighborhood in the "Lower Ninth Ward" and was a familiar sight to many, driving his pink Cadillac.
In 1998 President Clinton awarded him the "National Medal of Arts" and in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine would rank him #25 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."
One of the saddest moments in his life came in 2005 when he refused to leave his home during Hurricane Katrina. Domino would not leave his wife, Rosemary, who was in ill health.
Initial reports declared he and his family did not survive, and prior to his rescue, his community mourned...
.. but ultimately they were rescued by a helicopter and taken to a shelter in Baton Rouge.
He had lost everything...all his awards, the memorabilia, and his home.
President George W. Bush made a personal visit to him, replacing his "National Medal of Arts" and RIAA and Capitol Records, which owned Imperial, replaced his gold records as well.
He returned to the stage in 2007, performing to a packed house in New Orleans.
Some the greatest recording artists of all time loved Fats Domino and the influence he provided them.
At an Elvis Presley Las Vegas concert, Elvis stopped his concert when he saw Fats in the audience and said:
"This gentleman was a huge influence when I started out. I can't sing like Fats Domino, I know that".
Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded Domino songs, and it's been reported that the song "Lady Madonna" was performed in Domino's style.
As a matter of fact, Fats Domino's last Top 100 recording was performed in 1968...his version of "Lady Madonna".
Fats Domino passed away on October 24, 2017. He was 89 years old.
And I...with the lady who would become my wife, was fortunate to see him in concert while visiting Las Vegas in the late 1980s.
In his typical humble manner, I'll never forget what that little fat man with the crystal clear voice untouched by time would say as he entered the stage being greeted with a standing ovation and applause...
He sat at his piano, looked at the audience and simply said:
"What do you want to hear?"
...and two hours later, we still wanted more !
Thanks Fats...losing you was losing yet another part of our youth !