Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Dr. Kildare" Debuts 50 Years Ago Today



An instant success, Dr. Kildare was the 9th most popular TV show during the 1961-62 season, but the Nelsons had nothing to do with its success.  I don't recall anyone in the family watching this series, probably because it competed against two sitcoms that we regularly tuned in:  The Real McCoys and My Three Sons.  

Dr. Kildare didn't lose much steam during its second season, finishing at #11 according to the A. C. Nielsen Company.  It dropped to #19 in its third season.  Production stopped at the end of the fifth season, medical dramas having temporarily fallen out of favor.  Briefly, as it turned out.  Marcus Welby M.D. would restore the love in September 1969/

"Hazel" Debuts 50 Years Ago Today



"Hazel" first aired on Thursday evenings at 9:30 Eastern Time. Although I had just started the 6th grade, my bedtime was 9:00 as I had a morning paper route and needed to be out of bed at 6:00. Nine hours of sleep? Seems excessive, doesn't it? But then I wasn't the type of kid who fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. I'd alternately toss and turn and stare at the ceiling. It usually took me an hour before I finally drifted off, at which point an air-raid siren couldn't have roused me.

My dad watched very little TV during the week; he usually had a meeting at church or some other ministerial commitment. He was a big fan of Hazel, though, and I remember hearing his occasional laughter through my open bedroom door on the second floor of the house.

During its 5-year run, "Hazel" was among the top-shows in its first three seasons: #4 in 1961-62, #15 in 1962-63, and #22 in 1963-64. Shirley Booth won the Emmy award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series in 1962 and 1963 to add to her collection of three Tonys (1949, 1950, and 1953) and one Oscar (1953).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Top Cat" Debuts 50 Years Ago Today



Lightning didn't strike twice for Hanna-Barbera, whose first prime-time cartoon series, The Flintstones, which debuted in September 1960, ran for six seasons. It was among the Nielsen Top 25 shows in its first two seasons.

Top Cat lasted for a single season in prime time, after which its 30 episodes found a home on Saturday morning for the remainder of the decade.

I confess to being a regular viewer during its year in prime time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Nu-Way to Shop for Groceries in Warren, Pennsylvania

Photo by Everett Borg taken in the mid-1950s


Nu-Way was the first standalone grocery store to provide abundant parking for its customers.  It was the first building to be construction in what was to become the Market Street Shopping Center.  A G

The Potato Salad Dilemma -- Solved!


Twice this summer I was disappointed with the results of my potato salad. The first time it tasted too salty. The second time, too bland.

For years I made potato salad on the fly – without using a specific recipe, just potatoes, hard-cooked eggs, celery, salt, pepper, mayo, and a little bit of prepared mustard. No set amounts – no cup of this, teaspoon of that. Such a haphazard approach always produced satisfactory, if not outstanding, results. The boys, generally not big fans of salads of any kind, always gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Maybe it’s time to learn how real potato salad is made, I told myself.

Instead of going online to find proven method – I’m particularly fond of allrecipes.com – I went to the section of the dining area where JoAnna shelves her home library of cookbooks. As if guided by a secret force, my right hand reached for a well-worn copy of the Good Housekeeping Cook Book, the 1955 edition. (The book’s almost as old as I am! From a penciled notation inside the front cover, it was apparently purchased at a used book sale.)

With nearly 700 pages of recipes and a 70-page index, not much standard fare escapes this book’s attention. Potato salad? Yes indeed. On page 304, to be exact. But such Juanny-come-lately additions to the American menu like burritos and tacos are not to be found here.

In addition to the potatoes (4 cups diced) and celery (1½ cups sliced), the Good Housekeeping “Old-Fashioned Potato Salad” recipe includes ½ cup cut-up scallions (chopped fine is how I do it), ¼ cup sliced radishes (2 large diced into small pieces is my preference), and 2 T. snipped parsley (I chop it up as I do the scallions.) Although the recipe doesn’t call for it, I add 2 diced hard-cooked eggs. In my book, any potato salad deserving of a place at the table must be made with hard-cooked eggs.

The dressing is what enhances and brings together a variety of flavors: 1 c. mayo, 1 T. vinegar, 2 t. prepared mustard, ½ t. celery seeds, 1½ t. salt, and ⅛ t. black pepper.

After allowing the ingredients to mingle and tingle in the refrigerator for at least two hours, the salad is ready to be enjoyed. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted. As a result, I will be combing through the book for other classic recipes to revive.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Car 43, Where Are You?" Debuts 50 Years Ago Today



Created and produced by Nat Hiken, whose greatest claim to fame is The Phil Silvers Show, one of my all-time favorites.

In its brief two-season run, "Car 54, Where Are You?" was regular Sunday night viewing in the Nelson household. OK, so I ruled the TV dial at 8:30. (Eastern time.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

"The Defender" Debuts 50 Years Ago Today



The Defenders, starring E. G. Marshall and Robert Reed as a father-and-son team of lawyers, debuted on CBS on Saturday, September 16, 1961, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. The show followed Perry Mason, in its 5th and what would turn out to be its most popular season.  In its 4-year run, The Defenders reached the Nielsen Top Twenty once, in its 2nd season.

The Defenders is especially notable for two things.  Its stories dealt with such controversial issues as abortion, civil disobedience, political blacklisting, capital punishment, custody rights, and euthanasia (or what was more commonly referred to at the time as 'mercy killing'.)  In addition, its guest star line-up featured a number of actors, relative unknowns at the time, who would to on to great critical and popular success in movies and theater:  Gene Hackman, James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, and Jon Voight.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Campbell's Soup: A Marketing Icon

Today's label.

A magazine advertisement from 60 years ago.

Not the High Point of a Mad Man Career

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You Grew Up in Warren PA if you remember a 1962 production of "The Queen's Pudding" at Jefferson School


Row 1.  Dave Blair, Ben Taylor, John Hornstrom, Jim Seeley.

Row 2.  Carol Mohney, Becky Barker, Pam Berkbeck, Paul Nelson, Jim Hunter, Mike Hackett, Nick Szeverenyi, Bob Morelli, Bob Feldman, Bob O'Connor, Debbie Jones, Leslie Stein, Lynn Reynolds.

Row 3 (choir robes).  Susan Smith, Georgia Smith, Mary Sandblade, Mickey Connolly, Mary Jane Nasky, Peggy Wright.

Row 4.  Nancy Niedzialek, Susan Probst, Nancy Morse, Mary Whiteshot, Sharon Nuhfer, Mary Lauffenberger, Trudy Taft, Cam Tassone, Gail Benson, Amy Dunham, Sylvia Chittester.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Really Roundy's? Sunflower Oil Organic? Palm Oil Organic?

All you need are roasted peanuts organic. And maybe a little salt.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barbara Stanwyck for Star-Kist Tuna


1950 was a busy year for the great Barbara Stanwyck.   In addition to a Star-Kist sponsorship and the excellent film noir The File on Thelma Jordan, she starred in three other movies in 1950, including this clunker with The King.


Barbara looks more like Marie Windsor or Jane Wyman in this garish publicity poster.

From 1960: A Wonder New World of Fords




Friday, September 2, 2011

"Don't sit so close! You'll ruin your eyesight!"

The Claim: Sitting Too Close to the TV Is Bad for Your Eyes. (The New York Times, 6/7/2005)


Double Default on the Good Character Requirement


From the pageant rules and regulations.

Entrant must be of good character and possess poise, personality, intelligence, charm, and beauty of face and figure.

Miss Oshkosh cited for stealing. Pleaded no contest in shoplifting incident. (Oshkosh Northwestern, 9/1/2011)

Excerpt: "Veijzahn seemed to be in somewhat disbelief that all of those items were found in her purse and stated that shed did not know that they were all in there and again she said that she did not have her purse with her the entire time that she was in the store, that these two other friends had it for a short period of time and that they must have placed all of those items in her purse," Officer Karl Wendt wrote in the police report.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Time Out for Target


I planned to purchase a slow cooker, crockpot in the original English, for Eddie’s apartment this afternoon. Before leaving the house, I checked for reviews and evaluations on a consumer website. To no surprise, Hamilton Beach (the brand that we currently own) and Rival (the original manufacturer of this appliance) garnered the best ratings.

Sidebar. My parents purchased a Rival crockpot for me when I graduated from library school in the summer of 1975. (The first one became available to the general public in 1971. ) After using at least three replacement models, I’m convinced that the original Rival is the best of the lot. The Hamilton Beach version we have now, for example, has its temperature control set too high. Whenever a recipe calls for a 6-hour cooking time on “low”, I turn the dial down to “warm” for the last two hours. Liquids never bubbled in old Rival, but they’ll do so after four hours on “low” with the Hamilton Beach. Manufacturers always have to tinker with their products. They can’t, as they say, leave well enough alone.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

After browsing Target’s inventory, I selected a standard-design 7-quart Rival mode – no temperature probe, no clip-tight gasket lid – on sale for $29. ($11 off the regular price. I’d also selected a four-pack of Hanes boxer briefs for $10.) Plus I noticed a sign on the front door that proclaimed, Use your Target red card and automatically get 5% off.

I hadn’t used my Target Visa card in months, but I figured what the hell.

“It won’t accept your card,” the cashier informed me about ten seconds after I swiped my card. “Why don’t you try it again.”

Same result.

“Maybe there’s not enough on the balance,” she offered.

“I haven’t used this card in awhile,” I said. “There’s nothing on it right now.”

“Is it expired?”

“No, it’s good through May of 2013,” I replied, holding up the card as if showing my ID.

She shrugged, as if not sure what to do next.

“Do you think I could still get the discount, considering I’m using the card in good faith?” I asked, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice.

“I can’t authorize that. Do you want to talk with a manager?”

I said I did, even though, as I noticed out of the corner of my left eye, at least three people behind me waiting to make purchases.

I always pick the wrong line, I’m sure they were all bemoaning, slowing working themselves up to a higher level of frustration.

As I was also doing.

Picking up their “vibe”, I started to chime in and silently berate myself

If you were one of those people waiting, you’d be seething with impatience by now, calling the person holding up the line a loser, or worse, thinking ‘just pay the extra two dollars, Gomer, and move on!’

The cashier had barely explained the situation when the manager, a fleshy 20-something with a dark, thick helmet of hair, interrupted her, turned to me, and blurted out, “We can’t help you with that here. We don’t have access to the records.”

He made a “what can you do” motion with his hands for emphasis.

I would have preferred to hear something to the effect, “Let me take you to the customer service desk and see what we can do for you,” with an arm extended to point me in the right direction.

At this point, I felt like Ralph Kramden in one of his “bang….zoom….right in the kisser” attitudes. Not a happy customer.

Back in the car, I pulled out my Target card again and studied the front side of it.

Cardholder since 03/98.

Valid thru 05/13.

Obviously not a “valued” cardholder, I thought.

I called the toll-free customer-service number, and the woman who took my call confirmed that my account had been closed. The reason? I hadn’t charged anything in more than a year.

“Guess that must have been somewhere in the fine print,” I said, trying to make light of the matter. “Does this mean I have to go through the whole process again?”

Of applying for a card. I assumed she knew what I was getting at.

She turned up the brightness in her voice a notch, explaining that I’d be able to get a “temporary” card. Which is what, apparently, I had all along.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll just go elsewhere,” I concluded and hit the “end call” button on my iPhone screen.

Goodbye, Target. Hello, Shopko.

At least for the time being. Target deserves a time out.

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