Sun City Anthem

History & Holidays


Remembering Marty Allen and Vic Damone

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Norm Johnson

I first met Marty Allen around 1957-58, not to sure exactly, but I do remember being at a Hollywood movie studio as a reporter when he and his partner, Steve Rossi, were signing a three-picture deal with the studio. 

It was big news at the time. Then I ran into the two of them, when Joe Louis (the former Heavyweight Champion of the World) and I were at a Los Angeles TV station to appear on the Nat King Cole show. 

Nat was a wonderful host, and always had Joe on when we were promoting a fight. What a great guy. 

Like Nat, Marty was the kind of a person that once he met you, he never forgot you.
Then when I moved to Las Vegas in 1965 as a featured sports columnist at the Las Vegas Sun, we hooked up once again. 

I always looked forward to new show openings on the Strip because I knew Marty would be there. When he would see me, or I saw him, we would greet each other, and he would always have a new joke to tell me–“Hey, Norm, I got a new joke for you…” Then he would proceed to tell me the joke. And, they were always new!
Marty Allen & Kate Blackwell

Marty Allen and his wife, Karon Kate Blackwell, were just super people, and the two of them had a wonderful life together, appearing all over the world as a comedy team.   

Karon was a musical star prior to teaming up with her Bushy Haired partner, and the two were just perfect together on and off the stage.  

It’s hard to believe that they will not be working together on a stage somewhere. 

One thing about Marty was I never thought he would die. 

He survived World War II, where he was a hero and should’ve been killed. 

Allen was a survivor. He was a great funny-man. In their heyday (Allen and Rossi) had the world at their feet, appearing on all the major television shows including more than 40 times, I believe, on the No.1 variety show, CBS-TV show, “Toast of the Town” with host Ed Sullivan.
I recall when the two guys re-united at the old “Vegas World”, now better known as the Stratosphere around the late ‘80s for a run in the showroom there. 

Rossi also hosted a radio show emanating from the hotel. However, the chemistry was not there, and they parted ways again. There never was any bitterness between the two men. As far as I knew they remained good friends until Rossi passed on in 2014.
The heavens now have another comedy team to make the heavens laugh 24 hours a day.  

Heading the line to greet our friend, Marty Allen, is Steve, and the other great comedy teams of Bud Abbott and Lou CostelloAmos and AndyLaurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Martin and Louis, and The Marx Brothers to name just a few, who have been waiting for “Hello Dere” to arrive. 

Sleep Warm my friend. You are greatly missed by many.

Marty AllenMarch 23,1922 – February 12, 2018

Another wonderful entertainer left this world and very possibly joined up with Marty as they headed for the Golden Stage in the Heavens: Vic Damone, one of the fine baritone singers from the ‘40s through to the end of his life last Monday. 

He and Frank Sinatra were good friends, and in an interview, Vic admitted that he tried to mimic Sinatra. As he became better known, and sorta joined a list of Italian singers who dominated the air-waves, Sinatra praised Damone as one of the purest singers in the business; “He has the best pipes in the business,” Frank is quoted as saying.

Vic Damone

I met Vic a couple of times when he appeared in our little village. The last time I remember being with Robert and Vera Goulet when he was appearing at the Golden Nugget downtown.
He sang a number of his hits: “Again,” “Your Breaking My Heart,” “On the Street Where You Live,” and of course the biggie, “An Affair to Remember” from the 1957 movie starring Gary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
Like all the stars who leave us, they are greeted at the Golden Stage by their Peers

You can believe that the first guy to greet Vic will be his friend, Sinatra. 

Also, in that line will be Perry Como (who also helped Damone get a job with a band during his early days), and Dean Martin.

Vic Damone: January 12, 1928 – February 11, 2018.

Vegas History:  The Frontier Hotel

Part Two of Two

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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.... contracting with a small airline owned by a man named Kirk Kerkorian...

the future owner of the MGM Grand Hotel.

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The Last Frontier's "Little Church of the West", relocated at 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. South in 1980.....

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... 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 JamesZsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders, and Billy Bob Thornton and Angela Jolie.

Other stars included Mickey RooneyRobert Goulet, Buck OwensMel TormeDudley 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.

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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

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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...

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...and whose name is enshrined in the University of Nevada---Las Vegas auditorium...

... the...

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In 1961 Bankers Life purchased the resort and insurance company president, John D. MacArthur, kept the hotel closed until 1965.

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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.

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...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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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....

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...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...

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The Frontier Hotel

Dick Arendt


Vegas History:  The Frontier Hotel

Part One of Two
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This may surprise a lot of people, but the history of "legal gambling" didn't start in this dusty little spot in the desert until 1931.

...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.

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...and Frank Detra decided to pursue this idea into opening a club in 1930, naming it... 

"Pair O' Dice"

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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. 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.

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The Detra family eventually sold the "Pair O' Dice" in 1939 to a man named...

 Guy McAfee...

...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".

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A couple of years passed and after another hotel opened in 1941...

The El Rancho Vegas...

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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"...

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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.
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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...

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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....

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..which once housed the most fashionable house of prostitution in Las Vegas !

Sadly, on November 24, 1943R. 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.

Dick Arendt


Those we Lost

October thru December 2017


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Tom Petty
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)
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Connie Hawkins
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)
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Terry Downes
October 6th...Age 81
(MIddleweight Boxing Champion 1961-1962...known as
"The Paddington Express"
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Ralphie May
October 6th...Age 45
(American comedian....would often perform at The South Point Showroom in Las Vegas)
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Jimmy Beaumont
October 7th...Age 76
(Original member of the singing group "The Skyliners" know for songs"Since I Don't Have You" and "Pennies from Heaven")
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Edna Frank Dummerth
October 8th...Age 93
(1944  Catcher for the "Minnesota Milllerettes" and "Racine Belles" of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League)
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Paul Weitz
October 22nd...Age 85
(American astronaut who commanded Skylab 2...the first manned Skylab mission...commander of the first Challenger space shuttle flights)
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Robert Guillaume
October 24th...Age 89
(American known for his role as the butler "Benson" on the TV series'  "Soap" and "Benson")
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Fats Domino
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")
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Jack Bannon
October 25th...Age 77
(American 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")


Robert Knight
November 5th...Age 72
(American 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 2010 the first pitcher in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter in both the regular season and post season play)
Dick Gordon
November 6th...Age 88
(American of 24 men to have flown to the Moon...pilot of Gemini 11 and command module pilot of Apollo 12)

John Hillerman
November 9th...Age 84
(American 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)

Bobby Doerr
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)

Mel Tillis
November 19th...Age 85
(Legendary Country Singer.....inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007)

Charles Manson
November 19th...Age 83
(Leader of the cult, "The Manson Family" convicted of the Tate / Labiacha murders in 1969)

Della Reese
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)

David Cassidy
November 21st...Age 67
(American actor & known for his role as Keith Partridge n the TV series "The Partridge Family)

Jim Nabors
November 30th...Age 87
(American actor & known for his role as "Gomer Pyle" on both "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC""

Tracy Stallard
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)

Susanna Leigh
December 11th...Age 72
(British 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)

Keely Smith
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 known for her act with Prima and hit songs that included "The Old Black Magic", "Just a Gigolo", and "I Ain't Got Nobody")

Dick Enberg
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 known for being the first man to make the first untethered space walk in 1984 using the Manned Maneuvering Unit)

Heather Menzies
December 24th...Age 68
(Canadian known for playing the role of Louisa Von Trapp in the fim "The Sound of Music)
Rose Marie
December 28th...Age 94
(American 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 November, 2017, was the subject of the documentary "Wait for the Laugh") 

Danny Breen
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


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Ji-Tu Cumbuka
July 4th...Age 77
(American stage, film, and TV known for his role as "Wrestler" in the TV mini-series "Roots")
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Martin Landau
July 15th...Age 89
(American 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")
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Red West
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)
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John Heard
July 21st...Age 72
(American 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")
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Barbara Sinatra
(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)
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June Foray
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")
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Sam Shepherd
(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")

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Ara Parseghian
(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)
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Ty Hardin
August 3rd...Age 87
(American known for his TV role as "Bronco Layne" in the TV series "Bronco" (1958-1962)
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Don Baylor
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)
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Glen Campbell
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")
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Joseph Bologna
August 13th...Age 82
(TV & Screen known as playing "King Kaiser" in the 1982 film "My Favorite Year" and as "Lenny Koufax" in the 1999 film "Bog Daddy")
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Dick Gregory
August 19th...Age 84
(1960s civil rights activist and comedian)
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Jerry Lewis
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)
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Jay Thomas
August 24th...Age 69
(American actor and radio known for his roles on "Cheers", "Mork & Mindy" and "Murphy Brown)
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Richard Anderson
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)

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Shelley Berman
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)
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Walter Becker
    September 3rd...Age 67
(musician co-founder of the rock group "Steely Dan")
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Rick Stevens
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)
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Gene Michael
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)
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Don Williams
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")
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Troy Gentry
September 8th...Age 50
(Part of the County & Western duo "Montgomery Gentry"...killed in a helicopter crash)
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Pierre Pilote
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)
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Pete Domenici
September 13th...Age 85
(6 term US Senator from New Mexico from 1973-2009)
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Frank Vincent
September 13th...Age 87
(American known for his roles in TV's "The Sopranos" and firms "The Raging Bull", "Goodfellas", and "Casino"" playing gangster roles)
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Harry Dean Stanton
September 15th...Age 91
(American actor for over 60 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")

Chuck Low
Setember 18th...Age 89 
(American known for his role as "Morrie Kessler" in the movie "Goodfellas")
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Jake LaMotta
September 19th...Age 96
(Former World Middleweight Boxing Champion known as "The Raging Bull" known for his six fights with Sugar Ray Robinson...and the 1970 film which portrayed his life)
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Bernie Casey
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")
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Hugh Hefner
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)

Anne Jeffreys
September 27th...Age 94)
(American 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 )
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Monty Hall
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

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Those We Lost
April thru June, 2017


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Roy Sievers
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 of only 2 players to do so without being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame)
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Chelsea Brown
April 5th...Age 69
(American known for her being a part of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" in the 1960s)
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Don Rickles
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)
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Dorothy Mengering
April 11th...Age 95
("Dave's Mom"...who made numerous comedic appearances on her son's show "Late Night with David Letterman")
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Charlie Murphy
April 12th...Age 57
( brother of Eddie Murphy...a member of the cast of Comedy series "Chappelle's Show")
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Dan Rooney
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)
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Clifton James
April 15th...Age 96
(American 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")
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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.)
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Paulie Giganti
April 20th...Age 36
(American chef and contestant on the fall, 2016 season of "Hell's Kitchen" appparent drug overdose)
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Erin Moran
April 22nd...Age 56
(American known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the TV series "Happy Days" and subsequent spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi"


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Adolf Kiefer
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)
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Michael Parks
May 9th...Age 77
(Ameican 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)

Yale Lary
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)
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Jane Norman
May 13th...Age 83
(American actress and 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")
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Powers Boothe
May 14th...Age 68
(American known for his Emmy winning portrayal of "Jim Jones" in the film "Guyana Tragedy" The Story of Jim Jones" "Curley Bill Brocious" in the film "Tombstone"...and...TV roles as "Phillip Marlowe" and "Cy Tolliver" in the series "Deadwood")
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Steve Palermo
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) 
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Roger Ailes
May 18th...Age 77
(Founder and one time Chairman and CEO of Fox News)
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Dina Merrill
May 21st...Age 93
(American known for her roles in the films "Operation Petticoat", "The Sundowners", "Butterfield 8"and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father")
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Cortez Kennedy
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)
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Roger Moore
May 23rd...Age 89
(British 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")
Zbigniew Brzezinski
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)
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Jim Bunning
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)

 Gregg Allman
May 27th...Age 69
(Founding member of the Allman Brothers Band...previous husband of Cher)
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Manuel Noriega
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)
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Molly Peters
May 30th...Age 75
(British known for her role as Bond Girl "Patricia Fearing" in the 1965 James Bond film "Thunderball")


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Jimmy Piesall
June 3rd...Age 87
(Major League Baseball 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")
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Roger Smith
June 4th...Age 84
(American 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)
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Glenne Headley
June 8th...Age 62
(American 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)
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Adam West
June 10th...Age 88
(American actor...will always be known as the original TV's Batman...series running from 1966-1969)
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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")
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Stephen Furst
June 16th...Age 63
(American known for his role as  Kent "Flounder" Dorfman in the 1978 movie hit "Animal House")
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Venus Ramey
June 17th...Age 92
(Miss America of 1944)


In Memoriam

Those We Lost

January thru March 2017

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Art Pennington
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)
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Francine York
January 6th...Age 80
(American actress who appeared on numerous TV sitcoms including "Batman", "Bewitched", and "Green Acres")
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Omi Puri
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")
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Sylvester Potts
(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)
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Parker Beam
January 9th...Age 75
(Grand nephew of Jim Beam...his grandfather was the brother of JIm 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)
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Claire Hollingworth
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 that time considered "The Scoop of the Century")
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Buddy Greco
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)
Tony Rosato
January 10th...Age 62
(Canadian actor primarily known for his work on "SCTV" and "Saturday Night Live")
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Anthony Armstrong-Jones
January 13th...Age 86
(photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain)
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Dick Gautier
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")
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Eugene Cernan
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 of just three persons who flew to the moon twice)
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Roberta Peters
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)
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MIguel Ferrer
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)
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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")
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John Hurt
January 25th...Age 77
(British known for playing the role of Joseph Merrick in the film "The Elephant Man")
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Mike Connors
January 26th...Age 91
(Ameican known for his starring role as Detective Joe Mannix in the TV hit series "Mannix" running 1967-1975)
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Barbara Hale
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")
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Bobby Freeman
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"
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Tony Sacca
January 31st...Age 65
(Las Vegas icon singer, writer & producer)

Sonny Geraci
(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")
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"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")
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Richard Hatch
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)
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Al Jarreau
February 12th...Age 76
(American singer & musician...winner of 7 Grammy known for his hits "After All" and writing the lyrics to the 1980s hit TV show "Moonlighting"
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Norma McCorvey
February 18th...Age 69
(The subject of the historic Supreme decision "Roe vs Wade"
ruling that banning abortion was unconstitutional)
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Brenda Buttner
February 20th...Age 55
(Fox News Commentator on "Bulls & Bears" Show)
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Alan Colmes
February 23rd...Age 66
(Liberal radio & TV 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)
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Bill Paxton
February 25th...Age 61
(American 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")
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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)


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Shirley Palesh

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)

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Wally Pickal

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 )

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Robert Osborne

March 6th...Age 84

(for years, the historian and host on Turner Classic Movies)

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Lou Duva

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)

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Joni Sledge
March 11th...Age 60
(American singer, songwriter & producer....founder of the American family rock group "Sister Sledge" known for the song "We Are Family"...a member of the "disco era")
 Chuck Berry
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"
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Jerry Krause
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)
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Chuck Barris
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")
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Dallas Green
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)
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Lola Albright
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")
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Vincent Falcone
March 24th...Age 79
(Former music conductor for Frank Sinatra and numerous major entertainers during his career)
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Christine Kaufman
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)


Pumpkin Pie

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 
"free" !

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... search of what the most precious gift man can obtain....

Dick Arendt
Anthem Opinions

Vegas Loses a member of the Fabulous

Anthem Opinions is sad to inform our readers of the passing of yet another Las Vegas icon....

Related image

Joey Scinta

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.

anthem veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (9)

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.

anthem veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (1)

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.

anthem veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (2)

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.

anthem veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (3)

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 veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (4)

Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin, was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.

anthem veterans memorial                                                             arizona by                                                             renee                                                             palmer-jones                                                             (5)

Anthem Veterans Memorial
41703 Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, Arizona 85086
(623) 742-6050

  1. From Marty Opinions

    I find it somewhat interesting that "the other blogger" couldn't at least make some reminder that today is Veteran's Day.

    It comes with a wealth of events thanking the Vet's for their service.

    "He" didn't have any of it.

    So sad of this individual to not say anything about this day, or even recognize it.

    Obviously he must still live in the past when our troops were cast aside by those that didn't like their presence, or didn't like what this country stood for.
  2. From Robert Opinions

    Too bad our ANTHEM doesn't spend money on things like this (rather than on legal bills, etc.)


Pictures only Seniors Will Understand...and...Appreciate

(Part Two of Two)

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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

now in

My Blue Heaven

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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.

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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 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....

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...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:

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In 1956 came...his biggest hit...

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...selling over 5 million copies.

From 1956 to 1959, it just kept rolling for Domino.

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(#4 on Pop Charts)
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(#6 on Pop Charts)
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(#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.

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(#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".

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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...

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.. but ultimately they were rescued by a helicopter and taken to a shelter in Baton Rouge.

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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.

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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:

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"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".

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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:

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"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 !

Dick Arendt
  1. From Robert Opinions

    Wonderful- something other blogs wouldn't know how to write.
  2. From Jill of Opinions

    Beautiful tribute to a remarkable entertainer.
  3. From Buddy Opinions

    Nice !
  4. From Phillip Opinions

    A dandy tribute! Just dandy.
    1. From Linda Opinions

      Beautiful eulogy!
      1. From Barbara Opinions

        Very interesting. Great job writing.

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