Saturday, October 23, 2010

Did You Know…

Tonight’s blog will attempt to enlighten you with a few things that you might not have known before.

Many of the older readers of this blog will remember the 1960s ABC hit western series, The Rifleman. It starred Chuck Connors who portrayed Lucas McCain as a rancher and widowed father with a penchant for using his Winchester firearm, but only as a last resort.

During the course of his four-decade acting career, Connors was best known for his roles in films of the 1950s, which included his performance as Burn Sanderson in Old Yeller, opposite Dorothy McGuire. Did you know he was also a professional basketball and baseball player?

Connors played basketball for the Boston Celtics and baseball for both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. He was even drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL, but never suited-up for the team.

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On December 11, 1968 a film was made by the Rolling Stones of an event called the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Did you know that the film, which was released in 1996, was initially intended to be aired on the BBC? The event included two concerts on a circus stage and featured such acts as The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull. John Lennon and his fiancée Yoko Ono performed as part of a supergroup called The Dirty Mac, along with Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards.

It was not aired on the BBC as originally planned because the Stones withheld it, saying they were unhappy with their performance. Many others believe that the actual reason for not releasing the video was that The Who, who were fresh off a concert tour, upstaged the Stones on their own production. The Stones had not toured recently, and were not in top playing condition, as The Who were.

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It’s fairly well known that the New York Yankees’ payroll of over $208,000,000 is the highest in the major leagues. Did you know that the combined salary of their starting infielder is higher than the entire payroll of sixteen teams?

The $85,225,000 that Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter make is more than the total payrolls of the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Rays, Toronto Rays, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Leave It to Beaver debuted on CBS Friday October 4, 1957 with the episode third in production order, “Beaver Gets ’Spelled.” Did you know that the intended premiere, “Captain Jack”, aired the week following the premiere because it displayed a toilet tank? The display of a toilet didn't pass the censor's office in time for the show's scheduled debut.

Because Wally and the Beaver were raising a pet alligator in the tank of their bathroom toilet, “Captain Jack” has claimed its place in television history as the first American TV show to display a toilet tank.

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John Wooden, the iconic basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins, passed away on June 4, 2010. He was born on October 14, 1910. Did you know that the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was October 14, 1908? Had Mr. Wooden made it to his 100th birthday, he could have also celebrated the 102nd consecutive year that the Cubs have not won a World Series.

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Jim McMahon played quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1982 to 1988 and lead them to a Super Bowl Championship in 1985. Did you know that he played for five different NFL teams in the eight seasons he played after leaving the Bears?

McMahon played for the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals before finishing his career with the Green Bay Packers. In 1996, his last year with the Pack, the “Punky QB” added a second Super Bowl Championship ring to his collection.

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On January 18, 1952, Jerome Horwitz passed on after suffering from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. On November 22, 1955, Samuel Horwitz died of a massive heart attack. Louis Feinberg suffered several strokes before his death on January 24, 1975. Moses Horwitz died of lung cancer on May 4, 1975.

You are probably wondering why I am listing the dates and details of the deaths of these distinguished gentlemen of Jewish descent. Did you know that they made up one of the greatest comedy teams ever?

Moses Horwitz, Louis Feinberg, Jerome Horwitz and Samuel Horwitz were better known as Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard and Shemp Howard – the legendary Three Stooges. May they all rest in peace.

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And finally, did you know that I am something of a Renaissance Man? I never thought about it before, but I must be. By now you all know that I have authored a book, “Some Kenosha Softball”. I am in the process of writing its sequel. But I have done more than write.

When I was younger I enjoyed art in general and drawing in particular. In eighth grade I won an award for a painting of Chicago Blackhawk goaltender Tony Esposito. I proudly had my picture taken for the local newspaper on the steps of the Kenosha museum.

The following year at Lance Jr. High, I garnered the Kiwanis choral achievement award for the top male voice. Carol Mickewicz, the female award winner, and I were honored in an afternoon ceremony at Bradford High School.

One year later I was the second string right tackle for Tremper High School’s sophomore football team. Wait, okay, maybe I’m not a Renaissance Man. At least I was able to let you know a few things that you might not have known before. Until next time…from the booth.


P said...

I saw the Circus Stones film. It was weird and sorta "Merv Griffin-y." John and Yoko were singing (er John was singing and Yoko was sorta wailing) and the Stones had Brian in a crazy outfit (like a week before he got the boot). Very interesting to watch!

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I have it on DVD. I can't remember it it's Richards or Jones, but one of them introduces The Who by saying, "Dig The Who."