Archive for January, 2011

Goodnight, Folks

January 13, 2011

On January 11, 2011, the last member of the original Ozzie and Harriet Nelson family passed away into history.  David Nelson died at age 74. 

Sadly, his passing went without much fanfare.  His star had dimmed long ago, as had the rest of the Nelson family’s.  Many Americans today probably have no real idea who he was.  However, the impact of David and his family can still be felt in America.  The phrase “Ozzie and Harriet” has become an American idiom meaning “the ideal family existence”, based on the longest running non-animated TV sitcom in history, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

We all have our favorite TV shows from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  For some of us, it’s Leave to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, Gunsmoke or others.  For me it will always be The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. David’s passing leaves me feeling a bit sad, but also nostalgic about how deeply the Nelson family sitcom is woven into my consciousness.

I first started watching Ozzie and Harriet (O&H) in the 1980’s, when the Disney Channel began airing episodes.  At that time, the Disney Channel was a great place to catch classic films and TV series from the 1950’s – things like Swamp Fox, Davy Crockett, The Mickey Mouse Club, and old animated short films.  Its so sad the folks at the Disney Channel have forgotten their roots.  Anyway, I taped dozens of episodes of O&H and still have them.

O&H was not a top-ten TV show.  The Nelsons didn’t have the showbiz feel of Lucille Ball or Milton Berle.  Even the Cleavers had a polished, Hollywood air, but the O&H show had an oldtimey, family feel.  In fact, it felt more like radio on TV.  That may not sound like a compliment, but it is.  The dialogue carried the show.  It had a few sight gags, but they were secondary to the straight-man and joke-man act of David and Ricky – great lines like these:

Ricky:  …have you seen my muscles lately?

David:  Whats the matter, can’t you find ’em either?

The sitcom was a showcase for Ricky’s musical talents, of course, skyrocketing him to rock and roll greatness in short order.  O&H have been credited for creating the first “music videos” 30 years before MTV.

I spent so much time with the Nelsons, I am confident I use lines from the show almost weekly (as well as comedic lines from Jack Benny, Abbot and Costello and others located in my vast store of useless knowledge).  By the way, I just realized “my vast store of useless knowledge” is a line from an episode of O&H delivered by Thorny (Don DeFore).

The most recent outbreak of my O&H obsession came in the form of my own version of an oldtime radio show…Hey, Dad.  You can listen to my own family carrying on the tradition of the Nelsons at the link above or here.  I hope to provide a new episode every now and then.

It’s a sad week for America, losing the last of the Nelsons.  I hope their brand of optimistic, ideal family living and simple, dialogue-driven comedy is never completely lost from our collective consciousness.  It won’t be from mine.

In tribute to David and his family, I’ll just say what Ozzie used to say at the end of the final Hotpoint or Eastman Kodak commercial.  “Goodnight, folks.”

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Retro Disneyland Find

January 5, 2011

I was in a local antique store a couple weeks ago and ran across a bunch of old postcards from the 50’s.  Well, being me, I couldn’t pass these up without browsing through all of them…when lo and behold, I struck pay dirt.

My original Disneyland postcard booklet is in excellent condition.  The pictures on the inside flaps are clean and vivid.  This booklet sold for 15 cents at Disneyland.  The date is definitely pre-1971, when the Indian Village met its demise (reportedly after a labor dispute with the real native Americans Disneyland had contracted to work this area).  I haven’t been able to nail down a certain date, but I found another similar 15-cent postcard set online on which someone had written “1960”.  I know the Mine Train was upgraded to include Rainbow Caverns and the geysers in 1960 (both depicted here), so the booklet was obviously produced in 1960 or later.

I think my favorites are several images from the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland attraction, which I remember well from my boyhood days – especially the waterfall at Rainbow Caverns, the spouting geysers and the bears in the water beneath the bridge.  It was a great attraction and is a favorite of Disneyland old-timers.

This train ride eventually closed in 1977 and was converted to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  I can vividly remember the commercial for Big Thunder Mountain from its debut in 1979.  Here it is:

Enjoy these images of this great antique store find.  And check out that awesome hand-drawn painted desert scene with the obligatory 3-armed saguaro cactus.  So cool!

Thanks for a Great 2010!

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 44 posts. There were 22 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was February 10th with 34 views. The most popular post that day was Call Me “Googie” .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were helpthomas.com, facebook.com, itaunewsinfo.com, tryje.info, and ohamerica.us.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for dale hawkins, tangled wires, davy crockett, jackie wilson reet petite, and it’s the great pumpkin charlie brown.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Call Me “Googie” August 2009


2

$3 of Retro Heaven August 2009
3 comments

 

3

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown October 2009


4

Thomas Yearsley August 2010


5

The Real “Moonwalkers” July 2009