Category Archives: Entertainment

P.T. Barnum: Marketing genius, showman and founder of “The Greatest Show on Earth”

Phineas Taylor Barnum, 1810-1891

Phineas Taylor Barnum, 1810-1891

Fun Facts about P.T. Barnum

  • John O'Neill, of the Bethel Land Trust, stands near Ivy Island in Bethel, which was once owned by PT Barnum

    John O'Neill, of the Bethel Land Trust, stands near Ivy Island in Bethel, which was once owned by PT Barnum

    Phineas Taylor Barnum was born in Bethel, Connecticut in 1810.

  • Speaking of his youth, P. T. Barnum said, “I was always ready to concoct fun, or lay plans for moneymaking, but hard work was decidedly not in my line.” Indeed, he succeeded in making a great deal of money by working hard at having fun.
  • When he was born, his grandfather deeded him a parcel of land known as lvy Island. The growing boy was constantly reminded of his property. When he was 10 years old, he went to visit his estate and discovered it to be “a worthless piece of barren land.”
  • When Phineas was 15, his father died, leaving his widow and five children penniless. Phineas immediately became clerk in a country store, where he learned the fine art of Yankee trading. During the next 10 years he was a shop owner, director of lotteries, and newspaper publisher.
  • When he was 19 he eloped with a local seamstress, Charity Hallett (who would remain his wife for 44 years and give him four daughters).
  • At 22, as publisher of the Herald of Freedom, he was jailed for libelously accusing a deacon of usury; upon his release 60 days later, Barnum was met by a band and “a coach drawn by six horses” for a parade back to town.
  • Barnum's Advertisement for Joice Heth

    Barnum's Advertisement for Joice Heth

    He made his first sensation in 1835 when he met Joice Heth, a slave who claimed she was 161 years old (she was about 80) and had been the nurse of George Washington.

  • Seeing Joice Heth’s possibilities as a human curiosity, Barnum purchased the right to exhibit her, along with the documents validating her age, and set her upon her couch in Niblo’s Garden in New York City. She was extremely popular, but when interest began to flag, a newspaper item appeared suggesting that Joice was not human at all but an “automaton” made of whalebone, indian rubber, and springs.
  • Shortly after the article was published, the exhibition hall was full once more, for Barnum always knew how to use the news as well as the advertising sections of newspapers. Finally, upon her death in 1836, when an autopsy proved that Joice had been no more than 80 years old, Barnum was as surprised and indignant as anyone else. He had learned, however, that “the public appears disposed to be amused even when they are conscious of being deceived.”
  • For the next four years Barnum was an itinerant showman in the West and South. By 1840 he was back in New York, poor, weary of travel, and without prospects.
  • The American Museum, New York City

    The American Museum, New York City

    When he heard that the struggling Scudder’s American Museum (with its collection of curiosities) was for sale, Barnum determined to buy it. “With what?” asked a friend. “Brass, ” Barnum replied, “for silver and gold I have none.” He mortgaged himself to the building’s owner, proposing for collateral good references, a determination to succeed, and a “valuable and sentimental” piece of property known as Ivy Island.

  • In 1842 he opened the American Museum in New York City and immediately became famous for his extravagant advertising and his exhibits of freaks.
  • By the end of 1842 the museum was his, and a year later he was out of debt.
  • Barnum’s American Museum was to become the most famous showplace of the century. Here, in constantly changing and elaborately advertised parade, the public could see educated dogs and fleas, automatons, jugglers, ventriloquists, living statuary, albinos, obese men, bearded women, a great variety of singing and dancing acts, models of Paris and Jerusalem, dioramas of the Creation and the Deluge, glassblowing, knitting machines, African Americans performing a war dance, conjoined twins, flower and bird shows, whales, mermaids, virtuous melodramas such as The Drunkard, a menagerie of rare animals, and an aquarium—”all for twenty-five cents, children half price.”
  • The "Feejee Mermaid"

    The "Feejee Mermaid"

    His Great Model of Niagara Falls with Real Water was actually 18 inches high; the Feejee Mermaid was really a monkey’s head and torso fused to a fish’s tail; the Woolly Horse of the Frozen Rockies had in truth been foaled in Indiana.

  • Only half in jest did Barnum seek to buy Shakespeare’s birthplace, hire the Zulu leader who had recently ambushed a British force, and tow an iceberg into New York harbor. Altogether, the museum showed over 600, 000 exhibits during its existence.
  • Among his great attractions were the aforementioned Feejee Mermaid, “General Tom Thumb,” who was viewed by over 20 million people, and the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng.
  • Barnum with General Tom Thumb

    Barnum with General Tom Thumb

    General Tom Thumb was Barnum’s greatest attraction. Charles S. Stratton, a native of Bridgeport, Conn., was 25 inches tall and weighed 15 pounds when he entered Barnum’s employ in 1842. When he died in 1883, at the age of 45, he had made millions of dollars and delighted international audiences.

  • In the first of Barnum’s many European junkets the General entertained Queen Victoria, King Louis Philippe, and other royalty with his songs, dances, and impersonations in miniature. Of the 82 million tickets Barnum sold during his lifetime for various attractions, Tom Thumb sold over 20 million.
  • In 1850, Barnum managed the American tour of the Swedish singer Jenny Lind and, with his talent for publicity, made it a huge financial success for her and for himself.
  • "Swedish Nightingale", Jennie Lind

    "Swedish Nightingale", Jennie Lind

    The immensely profitable tour of this gracious “Swedish Nightingale” was prepared with ingenious public relations but conducted with dignity and generosity by Barnum. Its success initiated the vogue of European concert artists visiting the United States.

  • In 1855 he retired from show business; he served as mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., and in the Connecticut legislature.
  • In 1857 his famous house, Iranistan, fashioned after George IV’s Pavilion at Brighton, burned to the ground.
  • The original museum burned in 1865, and new museums burned in 1868 and again in 1872.
  • P.T. BarnumThe showman’s greatest financial catastrophe had nothing to do with show business. For years he had cherished the dream of building a city out of the farmland of East Bridgeport—a benevolent endeavor, he thought. In order to attract business, he signed some notes guaranteeing the debts of the Jerome Clock Company. As a result, he lost all he owned. Thus, in 1855, at the age of 46, the great Barnum was bankrupt.
  • "The Art of Money Getting"

    "The Art of Money Getting"

    He worked his way back from bankruptcy, however, in part from successful lectures on “The Art of Money Getting, ” and by 1860 he was free of debt once more.

  • Throughout his life Barnum was a political liberal, serving in the Connecticut Legislature in the late 1860s, where he diligently fought the railroad interests, and as mayor of Bridgeport in 1875-1876.
  • A year after the death of his first wife, Charity, in 1873, Barnum married Nancy Fish, an English woman 40 years his junior.
  • In April 1874 Barnum opened his Roman Hippodrome in New York; this was to grow into the great circus. While he did not invent the circus, an ancient form of entertainment, he made it a three-ring extravaganza the likes of which had never been seen before.
  • In 1881 he merged with his most successful competitor, James A. Bailey, and under the name Barnum and Bailey the circus continued for a generation after Barnum’s death.
  • Advertisement for Jumbo

    Advertisement for Jumbo

    In what was described as “Barnum’s last great coup” he purchased Jumbo, the 61⁄2-ton African elephant (and largest elephant kept in captivity), from the London Zoo despite the furious protests of English elephant fanciers, including Queen Victoria.

  • Violent objections by the English only made Jumbo and the circus that much more appealing.
  • In 1882 the circus opened its season in Madison Square Garden, where it was to become an American institution; and everywhere the “big top” traveled, a “Barnum Day” was declared. Circling the arena in an open carriage as leader of the parade always brought roars of approval (and great satisfaction) to the aging genius.
  • In 1887, the great circus in its winter quarters, with most of its menagerie, was lost to fire, yet it somehow managed to continue on.
  • By 1891 Barnum’s body began to fail, though not his spirit. His child’s delight in the joke, the curious, and the splendid had set an entire nation to wondering and laughing and buying.
  • A few weeks before his death, Barnum gave permission to the Evening Sun to print his obituary, so that he might have a chance to read it. On April 7 he asked about the box office receipts for the day; a few hours later, he was dead.
  • His autobiography was published in 1855 and went through many editions.
  • He also wrote Humbugs of the World (1865), Struggles and Triumphs (1869), and Money Getting (1883).

 

Special thanks to education.yahoo.com and www.encyclopedia.com

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Christmas Lights: Illuminating the Cold Winter Night Since 1880

Fun Facts About Christmas Lights

  • The General Electric Christmas lighting outfit, the first set offered for sale to the public. Circa 1903-1904.

    The General Electric Christmas lighting outfit, the first set offered for sale to the public. Circa 1903-1904.

    The inventors of electric Christmas lights are Thomas Edison and Edward Johnson

  • Before electric Christmas lights, families would use candles to light up their Christmas trees. This practice was often dangerous and led to many home fires.
  • Edward H. Johnson put the very first string of electric Christmas tree lights together in 1882. Johnson, Edison’s friend and partner in the Edison’s Illumination Company, hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree. Not only was the tree illuminated with electricity, it also revolved.
  • During the Christmas season of 1880, strands of lights were strung around the outside of Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory. Railroad passengers traveling by got their first look at an electrical light display.
  • General Electric was the first company to offer pre-wired Christmas light strings. Prior to this, lights had to be hand wired on the tree. GE was unable to patent their string (or festoon), and suddenly the market was open to anyone who wanted to manufacture the strings.
  • Modern Christmas light decorating to the extreme

    Modern Christmas light decorating to the extreme

    In 1895, U.S. President Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored the first electrically lit Christmas tree in the White House.

  • In 1901, The first commercially produced Christmas tree lamps were manufactured in strings of nine sockets by the Edison General Electric Co. of Harrison, New Jersey.
  • It was a common but incorrect belief in the early days of electric Christmas lighting that Christmas light bulbs would burn longer in an upright position. Early decorators spent a lot of time making sure that the lamps were positioned upright on the tree.
  • Many of the earliest figural light bulbs representing fruit, flowers and holiday figures were blown in molds that were also used to make small glass ornaments. These figural lights were painted by toy makers.
  • Many of the earliest Christmas lights burned so hot that they were about as dangerous as the candles they were advertised to replace.
  • Ink Blotter advertising General Electric's new pre-wired sets of Christmas lights. The artwork is a direct copy of General Electric's cover art for their 1904 booklet advertising their first set of Christmas lights.

    Ink Blotter advertising General Electric's new pre-wired sets of Christmas lights. The artwork is a direct copy of General Electric's cover art for their 1904 booklet advertising their first set of Christmas lights.

    Early in their history, Christmas lights were so expensive that they were more commonly rented than sold. An electrically lighted tree was a status symbol in the early 1900s.

  • Until 1903, when General Electric began to offer pre-assembled kits of Christmas lights, stringed lights were reserved for the wealthy and electrically savvy.
  • The wiring of electric lights was very expensive and required the hiring of the services of a wireman, our modern-day electrician. According to some, to light an average Christmas tree with electric lights before 1903 would have cost $2000.00 in today’s dollars.
  • Early NOMA Christmas light outfit

    Early NOMA Christmas light outfit

    Albert Sadacca saw a future in selling electric Christmas lights. The Sadacca family owned a novelty lighting company and in 1917 Albert, a teenager at the time, suggested that its store offer brightly colored strands of Christmas lights to the public.

  • Christmas lights were first advertised in the Ladies Home Journal.
  • True outdoor Christmas lights were not introduced to the public until 1927-1928, almost 45 years after the first electric tree lights were demonstrated. There were sets offered for sale as safe to use outside before 1927, but they were small, dangerous and extremely impractical for the average family.
  • By the 1920’s Albert Sadacca and his brothers organized the National Outfit Manufacturers Association (NOMA), a trade association. NOMA soon became NOMA Electric Co., with its members cornering the Christmas light market until the 1960’s.
  • President Coolidge at the lighting of the first National Christmas Tree on December 24, 1923.

    President Coolidge at the lighting of the first National Christmas Tree on December 24, 1923.

    On Christmas Eve 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the country’s celebration of Christmas by lighting the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights on the Ellipse located south of the White House.

  • Montgomery Wards inadvertently gave the American public two well known Christmas treasures: the bubble light and Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer. The original story of Rudolph, a bit different than the one we know today, first appeared in a children’s giveaway booklet in 1939. The character became a runaway hit. Also, Carl Otis, the inventor of the bubble light, worked as an accountant for the company. Wards did not sponsor Carl’s invention, and he eventually sold it to NOMA. It became the biggest selling Christmas light in history up to that time.
  • Electrically lit trees did not become “universal” in the United States until after World War II.
  • NOMA Bubble lights

    NOMA Bubble lights

    Largest Cut Christmas Tree was a 221 foot Douglas fir at Northgate Shopping Center, Seattle, Washington, USA, in December 1950. (Guiness Book of World Records)

  • It is interesting to note that while Christmas is a uniquely Christian holiday, most of the major Christmas lighting companies were owned and operated by people of the Jewish faith.

Special thanks to tackylighttour.com, loc.gov and oldchristmastreelights.com

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Ice Cream Cones: One of the World’s Favorite Confections since 1904

Fun Facts About Ice Cream Cones

  • The Zalabia (waffle-like funnel cake)

    The Zalabia (waffle-like funnel cake)

    The ice cream cone was invented by Ernest Hamwi, a waffle vendor of Syrian decent, who sold Persian pastries called Zalabia (paper-thin waffles).

  • At the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, Hamwi’s zalabia cart was located nearby an ice cream vendor who had run out of dishes.
  • Hamwi came to the vendor’s rescue by wrapping the zalabia around the ice cream in the familiar conical fashion we see today.
  • Fortunately, for Hamwi, there were roughly 150 vendors at the World’s Fair and soon people would come to the fair to try the “World’s Far Cornucopia”, later known as the Ice Cream Cone.
  • Italo Marchiony patented an invention much like the ice cream cone in 1903.
  • The Modern-day Waffle Cone

    The Modern-day Waffle Cone

    The difference between Marchiony’s cone and Hamwi’s cone is that the former is made of pastry, and the latter is made of waffle, and is what we think of as an ice cream cone today

  • It takes 12 lbs. of milk to make just one gallon of ice cream.
  • The U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country.
  • It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone.
  • The biggest ice cream sundae in history was made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1988, and weighed in at over 24 tons.
  • In 2003, Portland, Oregon bought more ice cream per person than any other U.S. city.

 

Special thanks to icecream.com and summercore.com

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Police Squad!: The Short-lived yet Critically-acclaimed Show that Became a Successful Movie Franchise

Police Squad! Opening Title Sequence

Police Squad! Opening Title Sequence

Fun Facts About Police Squad!

  • Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), Norberg (Peter Lupus) and Hocken (Alan North), the main characters of Police Squad!

    Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), Norberg (Peter Lupus) and Hocken (Alan North), the main characters of Police Squad!

    Police Squad! was a television comedy series first broadcast in 1982. It was a spoof of police dramas, packed with visual gags & non sequiturs.

  • While a parody of many television shows & movies, it bore a particular resemblance to the Lee Marvin cop show, M Squad.
  • Police Squad! was created by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Jerry Zucker, who had previously worked together on The Kentucky Fried Movie & Airplane!.
  • Despite critical acclaim, the show was cancelled by ABC after just six episodes.
  • This was enough to gain a strong cult following through repeats on TV, which led to the 1988 movie version The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad! & two further sequels. Many gags from the show were recycled for the films.
  • Leslie Nielsen played Detective Frank Drebin in the series & all three films. Alan North played the role of Captain Ed Hocken on the show; in the films, the role was played by George Kennedy.
  • Peter Lupus also co-starred on the show as Officer Nordberg, while O.J. Simpson appeared as Nordberg in the films.
  • Ed, Frank and "Tall Al"

    Ed, Frank and "Tall Al"

    Ed Williams, who played scientist Ted Olson on the show, would reprise his role in the films, making him & Nielsen the only two actors from the series to appear in the movies.

  • Robert Goulet, who appeared as one of the “special guest stars” who were invariably killed off at the beginning of their episodes, would appear as villain Quentin Hapsburg in the second Naked Gun film.
  • Dr. Joyce Brothers played herself in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! She also played herself in Episode 4 of the television series.
  • The show was presented in the style of a Quinn Martin show of the early 1970s, with a portentous narrative over the opening titles which made a big feature of the show being “…in color”, followed by numerous gags.
  • Each episode would similarily play credits over a 1970-s style freeze frame of the final scene, except that the frame was not frozen – the actors simply stood motionless in position while other activities (pouring coffee, convicts escaping, chimpanzees running amok) continued around them.
  • The Naked Gun was the first of three movies based upon Police Squad!

    The Naked Gun was the first of three movies based upon Police Squad!

    One noticable difference between the series & the films is in the portrayal of Frank Drebin. In the series he is shown to be considerably more competent & straight-laced, & less Maxwell Smart-like than he is depicted in the films. The TV portrayal of Drebin was never intended to be overtly comic, merely a sendup of the ultra-serious Dragnet-like portrayal of TV cops (Nielsen’s trademark deadpan delivery was a perfect fit for this kind of parody). In the series, Drebin was intended to be the archetype of the straight man, in contrast to the rampant hilarity going on around him. It was not until the films that Drebin was changed to a more outwardly comic character.

  • ABC announced the cancellation of Police Squad! after four of its six episodes had aired in March of 1982. The final two episodes were aired that summer.
  • According to then-ABC entertainment president Tony Thomopoulos (on Entertainment Tonight), “Police Squad! was cancelled because the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it.” What Thomopoulos meant was that the viewer had to actually pay attention to the show in order to get much of the humor, while most other TV shows did not demand as much effort from the viewer.
  • In its annual “Cheers & Jeers” issue, TV Guide magazine called the explanation for the cancellation “the most stupid reason a network ever gave for ending a series.”
  • Police Squad! DVD Cover

    Police Squad! DVD Cover

    Matt Groening is quoted as saying “If Police Squad! had been made twenty years later, it would have been a smash. It was before its time. In 1982 your average viewer was unable to cope with its pace, its quick-fire jokes. But these days they’d have no problems keeping up, I think we’ve proved that.”

  • Four years later, ABC aired another law enforcement series spoof titled Sledge Hammer! which enjoyed more longevity. The show, created by Alan Spencer, featured characters that were not one-dimensional (unlike “Police Squad”), as well as more serious undercurrents to the plots. There was also a legitimate relationship between David Rasche’s Hammer & his female partner, Doreau.
  • The series was released to DVD on November 6, 2006 in the United Kingdom, & a day later in the United States. Special features include audio commentaries on several episodes, a gag reel, a new interview with Leslie Nielsen, featurettes, & a photo gallery. Co-creators David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, & Jim Abrahams recorded audio commentary, along with series writers Robert K. Weiss & Robert Wuhl.

Opening Title Sequence

The title sequence was packed with sight & visual gags. A selection:

  • Spoofing 1960s police show N.Y.P.D., the opening credits would show a red flashing squad car light going down a city street.
  • When Captain Hocken is introduced in his office, someone offscreen starts shooting the place up, with ridiculous results (people catching on fire, jumping out windows, etc; one woman even throws her baby on the floor as she runs away).
  • According to Pat Proft, had the show been renewed for a second season, this sequence would have been replaced by Mahatma Gandhi brandishing an assault rifle.

Titles

The opening sequence of each episode ends with an on-screen graphic listing the title of the episode, accompanied by an announcer’s voice-over intentionally giving a different title for the episode. The list of episode titles, with the on-screen graphic title followed by the announcer’s title in parentheses:

  • Police Squad Ending Credits

    Police Squad Ending Credits

    “A Substantial Gift” (“The Broken Promise”)

  • “Ring of Fear” (“A Dangerous Assignment”)
  • “Rendezvous at Big Gulch” (“Terror in the Neighborhood”)
  • “Revenge & Remorse” (“The Guilty Alibi”)
  • “The Butler Did It” (“A Bird in the Hand”)
  • “Testimony of Evil” (“Dead Men Don’t Laugh”)

Guest Stars

During the opening credits of each episode, a well-known actor is introduced as a “special guest star”, but is then killed off during the introduction, thus completing their appearance on the show. Stars included:

  • Lorne Greene (stabbed & thrown from a speeding car)
  • Georg Stanford Brown (crushed by a falling safe)
  • Florence Henderson (gunned down while singing in a kitchen)
  • William Shatner (dodges a salvo of bullets but drinks poisoned wine)
  • Robert Goulet (executed by firing squad)
  • William Conrad (stabbed & thrown from a speeding car)
  • A sequence was filmed with John Belushi (chained to concrete blocks underwater) but the actor died shortly before the episode was due to air, & the producers decided not to use the scene. According to the user-edited Internet Movie Database the producers wanted to include the Belushi scene when Police Squad was rebroadcast in the 1990s, but the footage could not be located & is presumed lost.

Running Gags

Drebin getting advice from Johnny, the shoeshine guy

Drebin getting advice from Johnny, the shoeshine guy

Frank Drebin’s rank constantly changes, often many times within a single scene. He often introduces himself (in narrative) as “Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Police Squad”, which is a non-existent rank made up of three real ones (Larger police departments often have Detective Lieutenants & Detective Sergeants, but NOT all three titles.) Also, in the first episode, a witness first refers to Drebin as ‘Sergeant’ then a few lines later calls him both ‘Lieutenant Drebin’ & finally ‘Captain Drebin’.

Drebin repeatedly drives into something (usually trash cans) when he parks his car. The number of trash cans he hits indicates the episode number i.e. one in episode one, two in episode two & so on.
Each episode had a crime lab scene where Ted Olson is giving a highly suspect or dangerous lesson to a kid, in a parody of Watch Mr. Wizard, when Frank interrupts him.
Ted uses the doorway while Frank walks around the set.

Drebin would offer a cigarette to people he was interviewing with the line “Cigarette?”, to which they would respond “Yes, I know” or “Yes, it is.” Drebin’s usual response would be a slightly nonplussed “Well…”

Drebin frequently needs to meet with Johnny, the omniscient shoeshine boy who knows everything in town, for “the word on the street”. Johnny won’t actually tell Frank anything until Frank slips him a bribe (often saying, “I dunno anything about it,” or, “It’s a big city,” until he’s paid). Each time Frank leaves Johnny, a specialist or celebrity arrives, & asks Johnny for advice about their particular profession:

  • A doctor asks Johnny how to perform an operation
  • A priest inquires about Johnny’s views on life after death
  • A fireman is instructed how to fight a fire at a furniture warehouse
  • Dick Clark asks about ska
  • Joyce Brothers talks with Johnny about psychology
  • Tommy Lasorda wonders about baseball, specifically his problems with his pitching game
Act II Running Gag

Act II Running Gag

The Act II label is followed by a joke:

  • Act II: Bruté?
  • Act II: Gesundheit
  • Act II: Richard III
  • Act II: Ball III
  • Act II: Lieber
  • Act II: Yankees One

The weekly criminal is always sent to “the Statesville Prison” (a pun on State Prison). Captain Hocken recites the names of the criminals caught in the previous episodes, so by episode six, five names are recited plus the final culprit.

The glass door of the squad room has “Police Squad” written on it in gold in such a manner that whichever side you look at it, one of the words is written backwards.

The Zucker Brothers hailed from Shorewood, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. In every episode, a discreet reference is made to Milwaukee place.

Other jokes

In “Rendezvous at Big Gulch” (“Terror in the Neighborhood”), the characters work undercover in a locksmith shop. Whenever anyone enters, Norberg is cutting a key on a grinding wheel & loses his grip. The key flies up & embeds itself in the ceiling—along with hundreds of others already stuck. As someone exits the shop, the door slams & all the keys fall to the floor.

"I'm a locksmith.  And I'm a locksmith."

"I'm a locksmith. And I'm a locksmith."

Drebin, posing as a locksmith, enters a man’s office & is greeted by the resident with “Who are you & how did you get in here?” to which Drebin replies, “I’m a locksmith … & I’m a locksmith.”

The locksmith shop at one point in the episode is vandalized with a rock thrown through the window, leaving a hole where the “L” would be in “Locksmith.” In a later scene, Frank goes to the shop to open it in the morning & sees a man waiting with a big ox. The window with the hole reads “ocksmith” (ox smith), & Frank can be seen explaining to the man he doesn’t shoe animals.

Also in the locksmith shop, behind the counter is a board labelled “Car Keys, House Keys, Florida Keys (a map of the Florida Keys), Francis Scott Keys (which are red, white, & blue), Honkeys (which are all white), Turkeys, & Pot Roast”

In “The Butler Did It” (“A Bird in the Hand”), a kidnapping takes place in a Japanese garden. This consists of pots with Japanese people standing in them. Drebin asks to see the “crime scene,” so a film projector is started showing the same scene of the kidnapping shown minutes earlier in the episode (complete with a slate).

In “A Substantial Gift”(“The Broken Promise”), as Frank & Ed are driving to Little Italy, the rear-projected background scene is from Rome, Italy, including the Colosseum. Later, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is seen out of an apartment window.

In the same episode, the U.S. Capitol Building is seen out the window of the Police Squad headquarters. In another episode, the Eiffel Tower is seen out the window. In each episode, a map of the New York City & Chicago metropolitan areas hang on the wall.

In “The Butler Did It” (“A Bird in the Hand”), Frank & Ed stop to fill up at an ARGON gas station. ARGON is the name of an oil company with an ad appearing in “Kentucky Fried Movie”, in which they claim to refine oil from teenager’s faces, discarded hair combs, leftover fast food, & other sources.

VIDEO:  Police Squad! Opening Intro

VIDEO:  Police Squad!  Frank visits Johnny, the shoeshine guy

VIDEO:  Police Squad! Epilogues

Special thanks to www.lonympics.co.uk

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Pablo Picasso: Influential Artist of the 20th Century and Co-Creator of Cubism

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973

Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973

Fun Facts About Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso in his studioBorn on October 25 1881 in Málaga Spain, Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, Pablo Picasso was without question one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. Together with Georges Braque, he also created Cubism.

  • Picasso’s full name has 23 words. Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The “Picasso” is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
  • When he was born, the midwife thought he was stillborn. Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him: ‘Doctors at that time,’ he told Antonina Vallentin, ‘used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury’”
  • Picasso’s father was also a painter, as well an art professor. This would influence Picasso as he grew up.
  • In 1895, when Picasso was a teenager, his seven-year-old sister died from diphtheria. It was a traumatic event that would also influence his later work.
  • The family moved to Barcelona after the death of Pablo’s sister.
  • In Barcelona, Pablo’s father worked at the School of Fine Arts. He persuaded the officials there to let young Pablo (then only 13 years old) to take an entrance exam. To their surprise, he did very well on the exam and was soon admitted into the school.
  • Pablo Picasso was later sent by his father to study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando (in Madrid, Spain).
  • Picasso was a rebel even in his school days. He wore long dresses and long hair, going against current fashions.
  • "The Old Guitarist" from Picasso's Blue Period

    "The Old Guitarist" from Picasso's Blue Period

    Picasso was an excellent art student, but he resisted other studies and was often disruptive. He was thrown into detention often, but he didn’t mind because he was allowed a sketchpad, which he delighted in using.

  • Pablo had his first exhibit at age 13, when he showed his paintings in the back room of an umbrella store.
  • At 16, Picasso was sent to the Royal Academy of Madrid, where students drew from plaster casts and copied works of the old masters. Picasso’s father soon became angry with his son’s rebellious behavior, long hair, and strange clothes. He believed that Pablo was wasting his talent and scolded him: “why don’t you cut your hair and paint sensibly?” In 1900, Picasso left for Paris—then the center of the art world. He lived in a cold, rundown building painting constantly, sometimes surviving for days on only a piece of bread.
  • While living in Paris (1900) Pablo had lots of financial problems and he burned many of his paintings to stay warm.
  • His Blue Period lasted from around 1900 – 1904. This period was named for both the colors he favored and the subject matter of his paintings, which often depicted people with sad expressions.
  • His aptly named Rose Period took place between 1905 and 1906, during which the artist used many pink tones and often created circus scenes.
  • While in Paris, Pablo Picasso had a propensity for entertaining and had among his friends people such as Andre Breton and Gertrude Stein.
  • When the Mona Lisa disappeared from the Louvre in 1911, a friend of Picasso’s was arrested first. The friend pointed the finger at Picasso. Both men were questioned, and both men were found innocent.
  • "Girl Before a Mirror" in an example of Picasso's Rose Period
    “Girl Before a Mirror” in an example of Picasso’s Rose Period

    Picasso also had an active love life and usually had several mistresses along with a wife or a primary partner.

  • In fact, he liked women who were much, much younger than he was. Picasso had many lovers and three wives. Most of the women he was involved with were significantly younger than he was. His second wife was 52 years younger.
  • His real work and career as a painter is said to have begun around 1894 with a painting called ‘The First Communion’ which showed his sister Lola, and the more famous painting by Pablo Picasso called ‘Portrait of Aunt Pepa’.
  • No artist has ever been as famous in his own lifetime
  • Picasso painted his own variations of other artists work
  • He had no appreciation for women artists.

 

Special thanks to artmarketingsecrets.com, www.life123.com and www.21facts.com

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New Year’s: One Country’s Times Square is Another’s Burnt Straw Dummy Outside Your Home

New Year's Eve in Times Square, New York City

New Year's Eve in Times Square, New York City

Fun Facts About New Year’s Traditions Around the World

Many New Year’s traditions are similar, but some are different. Here are some interesting customs, past and present, around the world.

New Year's in Sydney, Australia

New Year's in Sydney, Australia

Australia: New Year’s is celebrated on January 1. This is a public holiday and many people spend it having picnics and camping on the beach. Their parties start on December 31. At midnight they start to make noise with whistles, rattles, car horns, and church bells to ring in the New Year.

Austria:
 New Year’s Eve is called Sylverterabend, which is the Eve of Saint Sylvester. they make a spiced punch in honor of the saint. Decorations and champagne are part of the celebration. Evil spirits of the old year are chased away by the firing of moroars, called boller. Midnight mass is attended and trumpets are blown from church towers at midnight, when people kiss each other.

Belgium: New Year’s Eve is called Sint Sylvester Vooranvond, or Saint Sylvester Eve. People throw parties and at midnight everyone kisses and exchanges good luck greetings. New Year’s Day is call Nieuwjaarrsdag – children write letters on decorated paper to their parents and god parents, and read the letter to them.

Traditional First Footing offerings

Traditional First Footing offerings

Great Britain: the custom of first footing is practiced. the first male visitor to the house, after midnight, is supposed to bring good luck. The man brings a gift like money, bread, or coal, to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the year to come. The first person must not be blond, red-haired, or a woman, as these are supposed to be bad luck. In London, crowds gather in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly circus to hear the chimes of London’s Big Ben as it announces the arrival of the New Year.

France: The French New Year is Jour des Etrennes, or Day of New Year’s Presents. Dinner parties are thrown for the entire family, where presents are exchanged.

Germany: People drop molten lead into cold water to tell the future from the shape it makes. A bit of food eaten on New Year’s Eve is left on their plate until after Midnight, as a way on ensuring a well stocked larder in the coming year.

Greece: January 1 is an important date in Greece because it is St. Basil’s Day, as well as the first day of the year. St. Basil was known for his kindness to children. Stories tell how he would come in the night and leave gifts for children in their shoes. People gather, have special meals and exchange gifts.

A Jack Straw scarecrow in Hungary

A Jack Straw scarecrow in Hungary

Hungary: In Hungary the people burn effigies, or a scapegoat known as “Jack Straw”. The scapegoat represents the evils and misfortunes of the past year. Burning the effigy is supposed to get rid of the bad luck.

India: The Indian New Year’s is started with a festival of lights called Diwali. Cards and gifts are exchanged and people finish off any uncompleted work.

Japan: Oshogatsu in an important time for foamy celebrations when all business are closed. To keep out evil spirits they hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses. The rope stands for happiness and good luck. When the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh, which is supposed to bring them good luck in the New Year.

Netherlands: People burn Christmas Trees in street bonfires and let fireworks ring in the New Year.

Pope Sylvester I

Pope Sylvester I

Poland: Known as St. Sylvester’s Eve., in honor of Pope Sylvester I. Legend is that Pope Sylvester foiled the plans of a dragon to devour the world in the year 1000.

Portugal: The Portuguese pick and eat twelve grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes twelve on New Year;s Eve. The twelve grapes ensure twelve happy months in the coming year.

Colorblind Santa? Nyet...it's Russia's Grandfather Frost

Colorblind Santa? Nyet...it's Russia's Grandfather Frost

Russia: Grandfather Frost, who wears a blue suit instead of Santa’s red, arrives on New year’s Eve with his bag of toys for the children.

Scotland: Night of the Candle. People prepare for New Year by cleaning their home and purifying it with a ritual or burning juniper branches carried through the home. The First Footer says that whoever the first person to set foot into your home on New Year’s Day decides the luck of the family for the coming year.

South Africa: The New Year is rung in with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired. On New year’s Day there is a carnival atmosphere.

South America: A dummy or straw person is ofter placed outside the home and burned at midnight

Eating twelve grapes in Spain, Portugal and Greece is said to ensure good luck for the coming year

Eating twelve grapes in Spain, Portugal and Greece is said to ensure good luck for the coming year

Spain: Everything, including theater productions and movies, is stopped at Midnight on New Year’s. The clock strikes midnight and everyone eats twelve grapes. They eat one grape for each toll to bring good luck for the next twelve months of the New Year. Sometimes the grapes are washed down with wine.

United States: The New Year is often rung in with festive dancing parties and meals. People kiss each other at midnight and wish each other a “Happy New Year”.

Wales: At around 3:00 to 4:00 am on New Year’s morning, the boys of the village go from house to house with an evergreen twig to sprinkle on the people and then each room of their house, to bring good luck. On New Year’s Day the children travel the neighborhood singing songs are are rewarded with coins and sweets.

Special thanks to AssociatedContent.com

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Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ: The Launchpad of a Lyrical Legacy and a Band Unlike Any Other

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, released January 5, 1973

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, released January 5, 1973

Fun Facts About Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ

General Info

Bruce and the E-Street Band (L to R): Danny Frederici, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, Gary W. Tallent, Bruce Springsteen, David Sancious, Clarence Clemons

Bruce and the E Street Band (L to R): Danny Frederici, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, Gary W. Tallent, Bruce Springsteen, David Sancious, Clarence Clemons

Springsteen and his first manager Mike Appel decided to record the album at the low-priced, out-of-the-way 914 Sound Studios to save as much as possible of the Columbia Records advance and cut the record in a single week. Both “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night” were released as singles by Columbia, but neither made a dent in the US charts. Ken Emerson wrote in Rolling Stone magazine, “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ . . . was like “Subterranean Homesick Blues” played at 78 RPM, a typical five-minute track busting with more words than this review. . .” In 2003, the album was ranked number 379 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. On November 22nd, 2009, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ was played in its entirety for the first time by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, to celebrate the last show of the Working on a Dream tour. This marked the E Street Band’s first-ever performance of “The Angel”. Professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow used a finisher called Greetings from Asbury Park during his spell in Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Track by Track

E-Street Band pictured on the back cover of the album

E Street Band pictured on the back cover of the album

Blinded by the Light

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released a version of “Blinded by the Light” on their album The Roaring Silence. The song reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 on 19 February 1977 and #1 on the Canadian RPM chart the same day. The song is notable for lead vocalist Chris Thompson’s garbled enunciation, especially of the phrase “revved up like a deuce” which has led many fans to interpret it as “wrapped up like a douche”. The original Springsteen lyric is neither of the above, instead being “cut loose like a deuce”. Springsteen once attributed the popularity of the Manfred Mann version partially to Thompson’s enunciation. The Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recording of “Blinded by the Light” is Springsteen’s only Number 1 single as a songwriter on the Hot 100. In 2002, Danish act Funkstar Deluxe released its disco version of this song. In 2007, several remixes were released by the German DJ Michael Mind as Michael Mind featuring Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, adding electronic beats to the major hit of 1977and rising to number 12 of the German charts. A ska version can be found on Springsteen’s Live in Dublin album, recorded with the Sessions Band. Lil’ Wayne sampled this song on his song “Blinded” from a mixtape released by The Empire Entitled The Drought Is Over (The Reincarnation).

Growin’ Up

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

It is a moderately-paced tune, concerning an adolescence as a rebellious New Jersey teen, with lyrics written in the first-person. The lyrics feature a chorus that is progressively modified as the song continues, with the first chorus being “I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd but when they said ‘Sit down,’ I stood up,” while the second chorus switches to “clouded warmth…’come down,’ I threw up” and the third finishes the song with “mother breast…’pull down,’ I pulled up.” The track soon became a live favorite for the Springsteen audiences and Springsteen often told a long history of his problems with his father as an intro to the song. A version of this history can be heard on the live album Live/1975-85. The song has been performed live about 270 times. An acoustic version of the song, part of Springsteen’s 1972 audition for CBS Records, appears on Tracks and 18 Tracks. The song was featured in the 1999 film Big Daddy and the 2007 film Gracie. David Bowie recorded a version of this song in the early stages of the Diamond Dogs sessions with Ronnie Wood on lead guitar. In 1990 this was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc reissue of his Pin Ups album, and in 2004 it appeared on the bonus disc of the 30th anniversary edition of Diamond Dogs. The song has also been covered by Any Trouble, John Hammond, Jr., Portastic and Alvin Stardust

Mary Queen of Arkansas

Springsteen played “Mary Queen of Arkansas” at his audition for John Hammond at CBS Records, who signed him to his first record contract on May 2, 1972, although Hammond was less impressed with this song than with “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” or with “Growin’ Up”. The day after signing the contract, Springsteen recorded “Mary Queen of Arkansas” as part of a 12 song demo for Hammond. The demo version of the song was released onTracks in 1998. The song is one of the slower tracks on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., played on acoustic guitar, and the lyrics of the song may be about a drag queen. The lyrics are dense and pretensious, and appear to be an attempt to imitate Bob Dylan. “Mary Queen Of Arkansas” is a slow, quiet acoustic song with a faint country feel to it. The lyrics contain repeated references to the circus (a theme explored in deeper depth on his The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle) as in “Well I’m just a lonely acrobat, this live wire, she’s my trade” and “The big top is for dreamers, we can take the circus all the way to the border.” It is a love song, devoted to “Mary.” Like most of Springsteen’s songs, particularly the first album, the lyrics are evocative though not detailed. The song appears to be sung in the first person, by a slave in the antebellum American south, to his white mistress, with whom he is having a clandestine affair.

Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?

The earliest known photo of Bruce with the entire Line-up #1 of The E Street Band, snapped in December, 1972, early in the Greetings Tour

The earliest known photo of Bruce with the entire Line-up of The E Street Band, snapped in December, 1972, early in the Greetings Tour

The song was part of the demo that Springsteen recorded for John Hammond of CBS Records in advance of getting his first recording contract. This demo version was released on Tracks in 1998. The song is loosely based on a bus ride Springsteen once took to visit a girlfriend in uptown Manhattan. As a result, the song is basically set in Spanish Harlem, although it contains some anomalous references, such as to actress Joan Fontaine. The characters are more thinly sketched than in other songs on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., but the song does contain the incongruous rhyming of other Springsteen songs of the period and is full of good humor. Springsteen only rarely plays “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” in concert, but when he does it is usually enjoyed by the fans. “Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” is a beat-style pastiche of a journey through city streets. It is fast-paced and has no chorus. One recognizable theme is a movement towards the sky, as in the lines “drink this and you’ll grow wings on your feet”, “interstellar mongrel nymphs” and “(Mary Lou) rides to heaven on a gyroscope.”

Lost in the Flood

A sparse, piano-driven song, seemingly about a Vietnam War veteran. This is the first of many epic Springsteen songs that elicit strong emotions, usually of despair, grief, and small glimpse of hope. The treatment of veterans in the United States has always been a sore spot for Springsteen. The lyrics tell a loose story, invoking a series of images that appear to somewhat tell a story or perhaps three different stories for each of the three verses The first verse is about “ragamuffin gunner” and has a recurring theme of religion, including references to the “hit-and-run” pleading for “sanctuary” and hiding beneath a “holy stone,” while “breakin’ beams and crosses with a spastic’s reeling perfection” and “nuns run bald through Vatican halls, pregnant, pleading Immaculate Conception.” Finally, “everybody’s wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood.” The second verse is about a “pure American brother”, “Jimmy the Saint”, perhaps the same person as the “ragamuffin gunner” from the first verse. This is the beginning of Springsteen’s use of automobile themes (along with “The Angel”), as the pure American brother “races Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock Super Eight” and “leans on the hood telling racing stories.” Eventually, Jimmy the Saint gets into some sort of accident (described as running “headfirst into a hurricane”) and presumably dies since “there was nothing left but some blood where the body fell.” The third verse concerns a series of people on the streets of a city, presumably New York. They include “Eighth Avenue sailors in satin shirts,” “some storefront incarnation of Maria,” “Bronx’s best apostle,” “the cops,” “the whiz-bang gang” and “some kid” who gets shot in the ensuing gun fight and holds “his leg, screaming something in Spanish.”

The Angel

Bruce and "The Big Man" Clarence Clemons

Bruce and "The Big Man" Clarence Clemons

Released as the B-side to Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” single. The song was part of the demo that Springsteen recorded for John Hammond of CBS Records in advance of getting his first recording contract. At the time Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was released, Springsteen considered it his most sophisticated song. It has had virtually no live performances. The lyrics describe a man referred to as “the angel” and a woman who is “Madison Avenue’s claim to fame in a trainer bra with eyes like rain.” This song has a fully-developed automobile theme, including some lines such as “The interstate’s choked with nomadic hordes/in Volkswagen vans with full running boards dragging great anchors/Followin’ dead-end signs into the sores/The angel rides by humpin’ his hunk metal whore”. Another notable line is the historic “hubcap heaven.” Bruce took one of his early rare photos in front of this site in Monmouth New Jersey. The referenced “Hubcap Heaven” is now known as “The Hubcap Farm” and is still in business. Bruce once said he would never play this song live, and he went 23 years keeping that promise. In London in 1996, on his acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, Bruce played the song. Until later 2009, that had been its only live performance. However, on November 22, 2009, in Buffalo, New York, which was the final 2009 show of his scheduled Working On A Dream Tour, he and the E Street Band performed the song, along with the rest of the Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. album. It was the first performance of the song with the E Street Band Richard Davis, upright bass player on “The Angel” also played the bass on Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks.

For You

This song was later included on the compilation album The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Advertisement for Greetings

Advertisement for Greetings

It has also been covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Greg Kihn. Like most of the songs on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., “For You” was recorded at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York between July and September, 1972. Musicians participating in these sessions included future E Street Band members David Sancious, Garry Tallent and Vini Lopez. It is a climactic, percussion-driven song. Unlike many other songs on Springsteen’s debut album, it takes the time to pace and build. The lyrics are about a woman who has attempted suicide. She does not need the singer’s “urgency” even though her life is “one long emergency” as Springsteen sings in the chorus (along with “and your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free”). The singer is committed to doing anything to save her, and admires her ability to hang on. Once again, the lyrics are evocative of images and not details, and little can be said in description. Like “Blinded By The Light” and “Spirit in the Night” (on The Roaring Silence), this song was covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band for their album Chance. As with Manfred Mann Earth Band’s previous Springsteen covers, they used a more forceful, rockier sound for “For You” than Springsteen did. The Earth Band version built from a more temperate beginning to an explosion of sound in the bridge, and incorporates five guitars and an impressive keyboard solo by Manfred Mann 3/4 of the way into the song. The song was also included on the compilation albums The Best of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Blinded by the Light & Other Hits. However, the single release did not achieve the success of their other Springsteen covers. The song was also covered by Greg Kihn on his 1977 album Greg Kihn Again. Kihn’s cover received favorable comments from Springsteen. It was also included on the compilation album Best of Kihn. This song was also covered by The Format on their “B-Sides and Rarities” album.

Spirit in the Night

The second single released from the album. A cover version performed by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was released on the album Nightingales and Bombers and as a Top 40 single.It was one of the last songs to be written and recorded for Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Springsteen had recorded 10 other tracks for the album, but Clive Davis, president of the record label that was releasing the album, was concerned that the recorded tracks did not have enough commercial appeal. As a result, Springsteen quickly wrote and recorded two additional songs: “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded by the Light”. Because these songs were added so late in the recording process, several of Springsteen’s band members were unavailable to record these two songs. As a result, the recording lineup for “Spirit in the Night” was limited to Vini Lopez on drums, Clarence Clemons on saxophone, and Springsteen himself playing all other instruments. Although “Spirit in the Night” was one of the last songs written for the album, it did grow out of an earlier version of the song that Springsteen had played live prior to receiving his recording contract. Although most of the songs on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. were packed with lyrics to the extent that sometimes they overwhelm the musical arrangements, “Spirit in the Night” has been described as the one song on the album on which the music and narrative fit together. Clemons’ sax playing and Lopez’ drumming match the freedom and ebullience described in the lyrics. The lyrics themselves describe a group of teenagers — Wild Billy, Hazy Davy, Crazy Janey, Killer Joe, and G-Man — going to a spot called “Greasy Lake” near “Route 88” for a night of freedom, sex, and drinking. But although their escape to the freedom of Greasy Lake is short lived, the emphasis is on the friends’ togetherness. Although the release of the song as a single was unsuccessful in the U.S., “Spirit in the Night” has remained a live favorite in Springsteen concerts. Live versions of the song have appeared on the live CD Live/1975–85 and on both the CD and video versions of Hammersmith Odeon London ’75. Bruce SpringsteenThe studio version of the song was released on the compilation album The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Although Greasy Lake, where the action takes place, is a mythical place, drummer Vini Lopez has stated that it is actually a composite of two locations that band members used to visit. One was Lake Carasaljo, near the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and New Jersey Route 88 in Lakewood, New Jersey. The other was a swampy lake near Garden State Parkway exit 88.

The Greasy Lake in the song inspired a short story named “Greasy Lake” by T.C. Boyle. Like Springsteen’s characters, Boyle’s characters are restless and looking to party, although they have a more dangerous edge than Springsteen’s.

It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City

A live version is included on the DVD of the Hammersmith Odeon concert that is included in the Born to Run (30th Anniversary Edition) and the Hammersmith Odeon London ’75 CD.

The song has also been covered by David Bowie. John Sayles included this song in a high school lunchroom scene of his movie Baby, It’s You This is the song that impressed producer Mike Appel so much that he quit his job to become Springsteen’s manager, even though Springsteen did not have a record contract yet. This was also the first song Springsteen played at his audition for John Hammond at CBS Records, who eventually signed him to a record contract, on May 2, 1972. The following day, Springsteen recorded “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” as part of a 12 song demo for Hammond. The demo version of the song was released on Tracks in 1998. The version included on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was recorded during the summer of 1972 backed by future E-Street Band members David Sancious on piano, Vini Lopez on drums and Garry Tallent on bass. “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” is a fast paced song. It is a solid rock ‘n’ roll song when played in concert. Its tone is cocky and arrogant. The first person lyrics contain religious imagery and brag about the singer’s street credentials, in the tradition of Bo Diddley lyrics. The young singer is growing up on the streets of a city, and who is trying to stay “good” and do what he believes is right. Unfortunately, “those gasoline boys sure talk gritty” and he is inexorably dragged into some very unsaintly activities. One of the more quoted lines is “The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street/Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat/I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat/It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street.” VIDEO:  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – “Growin’ Up” VIDEO:  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – “Spirits in the Night” Special thanks to Wikipedia.com, About.com and RollingStone.com

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All in the Family: Classic 1970s Norman Lear Sitcom That Brilliantly Lampooned Bigotry

All in the Family ran on CBS from January 12, 1971 through April 8, 1979

All in the Family ran on CBS from January 12, 1971 through April 8, 1979

Fun Facts About All in the Family

  • Cast: (from left) Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic, Rob Reiner as Michael "Meathead" Stivic and Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker

    Cast: (from left) Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic, Rob Reiner as Michael "Meathead" Stivic and Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker

    Most viewers perceived the show with satirical intent, and therefore its impact would reduce prejudice

  • Thirteen percent of Americans watched every week

  • Six percent of Americans never watched

  • Thirteen percent of non-viewers did not watch because it was offensive

  • On average sixty-two percent of viewers preferred Archie over Mike

  • Thirteen percent of viewers believed Archie made better sense than Mike

  • Archie wins forty-two percent of the time

  • Lionel makes fun of Archie six percent of the time

  • Gloria makes fun of Archie two percent of the time

  • Edith makes fun of Archie thirty six percent of the time

  • Mike makes fun of Archie forty six percent of the time

  • Twenty percent of viewers believe the show has made them aware of prejudice

  • Twelve percent of US adolescents believed Archie was extremely funny

  • Twenty-two percent of US adolescents believed ethnic slurs were not wrong

  • Eighty-four percent of viewers believe Archie is not reasonable

  • Ninety percent of viewers believe Mike is usually right

  • Mike begins bickering at 4.94 percent

  • Viewers believe Archie is in control 15.7 percent of the time

  • Sixty-nine percent of viewers believe AITF has a serious purpose

  • Sixty-eight percent of viewers identify with Mike

Archie-isms

A

adult-er-ess (adult female)
air-a-plane (airplane)
alexander graham booth (john wilks booth)
a-rhab (arab)
a-ri-ba-du-che (arrivederci)
arterial influction (arterial Infarction)
assiatic nerve (ciatic nerve)

B

All in the Familybeaurocraps (beaurocrats)
bequerred (to give to)
berieve (grieve)
buttinsky (a person who is nosy)
birth patrol (birth control)
bisontonical woman (bionic woman)

C

chinooka (hanukah)
chinkiepuncture (acupuncture)
constitionalists (constituents)
consecration (concentration)
corpsuckels (corpuscles)
cuisini (zuchini)

D

Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker

Carroll O'Connor

detergent (deterrent)
detergerate (regurgitate)

E

entramanore (entrepreneur)
ecrology (ecology)

F

Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker

Jean Stapleton

female intermission (female intuition)
finixiate (asphixiate)
floorplay (foreplay)

G

garlic stones (gall stones)
groinocologist (gynecologist)
geronimous zones (erogenous zones)
groan (groin)
Guatemoola (Guatemala)

H

homosapien (killer fag)
house of ill refute (house of ill repute)
his-mones & her-mones (hormones)

I

iminent (intimate)

Rob Reiner as Michael "Meathead" Stivic

Rob Reiner

incremented (cremated)
ipso fatso (vice versa)
ivory shower (ivory tower)
incest (incense)

J

jetlock (jet lag)

K

kromo-stones (chromosomes)

L

lufrans (lutherans)
last will & tenticle (last will & testament)

M

menstrual show (minstrel show)
mental pause (menopause)
minororities (minorities)

N

nave (nieve)

O

P

pillow of salt (pillar Of salt)
poke-ya-nose mts. (poconos mts)
poisbyterians (presbytarians)

Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic

Sally Struthers

premartial sex (pre-marital sex)
prederranged (prearranged)
orevert (pervert)
prostate server (process server)
pernt (point)

Q

qualifidations (qualifications)

R

rectal nerve (retnal nerve)
rosemarie (for stephanie on ABP)

S

shemoglobins (hemoglobins)
sympathize (synchronize)
strategies of war (tragedies of war)

All in the Family

All in the Family

santy’s ga’nomes (santa’s gnomes)
six thousand dollar man (six million dollar man)
suppository remarks (derogatory remarks)
saniquarium (sanitarium)

T

trampaloon (trampoline)
transversive (transvestite)
terlit (toilet)

U

urology (eulogy)

V

veal scallepeepee (scallipini)
venereal (funeral)
Vertizontal (horizontal)

W

wild hornets (wild horses)
weirdwolf (werewolf)
woman’s lubrication (woman’s liberation)

Norman Lear

Norman Lear

X

Y

Z

zeberellas (female Zebra’s)

 

Special thanks to Allinthefamily.com

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Carillons: The World’s Heaviest Musical Instrument

Loch Haven University Carillon

Loch Haven University Carillon

Fun Facts About Carillons

The Carillon at New York's Riverside Church

The Carillon at New York's Riverside Church

carillon is a musical instrument that is usually housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A carillon is played by striking a keyboard called a “baton” with the fists and by pressing the keys of a pedal keyboard with the feet. The keys mechanically activate levers and wires that connect to metal clappers that strike the bells, allowing the performer, the carillonneur, to vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key.

The carillon is the heaviest of all musical instruments; the total weight of bells alone can be 100 tons in the largest instruments.

The greatest concentration of carillons is still found in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Northern France, where they were symbols of civic pride and status. Some of the most spectacular are now protected by UNESCO as part of the world heritage site the Belfries of Belgium and France.

The world’s largest is housed in New York City’s Riverside Church.

Since each separate note is produced by an individual bell, a carillon’s musical range is determined by the number of bells it has. Different names are assigned to instruments based on the number of bells they comprise:

  • Carillons with 23 through 27 bells are referred to as two-octave carillons. Players of these instruments often use music arranged specifically for their limited range of notes.
  • The “keyboard” of a carillon is called a baton console.
  • concert carillon has a range of at least four octaves (47 bells). This is sometimes referred to as the “standard-sized” carillon.

The Riverside Carillon in New York City has (or did have—there may be other instruments with larger bourdons) the largest tuned bell in the world, which sounds the C two octaves below middle C on the piano.

  • Travelling or mobile carillons are not placed in a tower, but can be transported. Some of them can even be played indoor—in a concert hall or church—like the mobile carillon of Frank Steijns.
  • Modern imitation instruments (such as those made by Schulmerich) use semantra
    (rectangular metal bars roughly the diameter of a pencil, but of varying lengths) struck by an electric solenoid. They may be played from a keyboard, organ console, or by means of music rolls. The resulting sound is electronically amplified and broadcast by loudspeakers. Although called “carillons” or “electronic carillons”, their sound does not conform to the definitions given by the World Carillon Federation or the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. The GCNA as of 2000 has disqualified all instruments in which more than 12 bells are played electrically. Twelve bells are allowed so that automatic chiming of tunes may take place. Chiming means that one bell at a time is usually played.
A Carillonneur

A Carillonneur

The carillonneur or carillonist is the title of the musician who plays the carillon. The carillonneur/carillonist usually sits in a cabin beneath the bells and presses down, with a loosely closed fist, on a series of baton-like keys arranged in the same pattern as a piano keyboard. The batons are almost never played with the fingers as one does a piano, though this is sometimes used as a special carillon playing technique. The keys activate levers and wires that connect directly to the bells’ clappers; thus, as with a piano, the carillonneur can vary the intensity of the note according to the force applied to the key. In addition to the manual keys, the heavier bells are also played with a pedal keyboard. These notes can either be played with the hands or the feet.

To a musician’s ear, a carillon can sound “out of tune.” Poorly tuned bells often give this impression and also can be out of tune with themselves. This is due to the unusual harmonic characteristics of foundry bells, which have strong overtones above and below the fundamental frequency. Foundry bells are tuned to have the following set of partials (overtones):

  • Octave above prime
  • Fifth
  • Minor third
  • Prime and strike tone resultant
  • Hum tone (an octave below prime)

Additionally, there is a major 10th, 12th, and 15th which are not typically individually tuned, but are usually present anyway. They all combine to create a “resultant” pitch, which is in unison with prime on a well-tuned bell. Properly tuned bells emphasize the fundamental frequency of the bell.

Special thanks to absoluteastronomy.com

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