Monday, April 28, 2014

Poll #1: Candy Bars We Have Known

Time for some audience participation! 

A few days ago, I was thinking back to the 1960s, when I would spend a lot of time stuffing my face with Hershey Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Dots, and many other candies. We lived a few hundred feet from a Mom & Pop store, so there was a seemingly endless supply of candy, soda, popsicles, Tastykakes, and baseball cards, as long as our allowance held up.

I thought I would post a poll, to rank our favorite candy bars from back in the day. Vote for as many as you want (but don’t vote for all of them, otherwise the poll is moot). Let’s try to keep it around 10 items.

As a kid, I was particularly impressed with the TV commercials for Rolo and Sky Bar. On TV, the tops of the Rolo candies actually opened up (like the hatch on top of a submarine), so they could pour the filling inside! The Sky Bar featured 4 different candy bars in one! Neither of these two candy bars were usually available in my area, but I’m voting for the Sky Bar anyway, because on the rare occasion when I would have one, it was always a good day. If I chose an 11th candy bar, I think Rolo would make the cut, but I’m keeping it at 10.

This poll is for candy bars only. A future poll will tackle all the box/pack/roll/bag candy. Feel free to comment if you wish. If I forgot any candy bars, tell me that also. (Twix is a relatively new candy bar, and was intentionally left out.)

Not to influence the voting, but I needed something to appear as a thumbnail on others' sidebars:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fifty Years Ago This Month: April 1964

The New York Worlds Fair opened in April 1964.  I never got there, but I had a few postcards, and I remember collecting the Coke bottle caps that had pictures of the various pavillions under the cork seals.

The "Unisphere" was the centerpiece of the New York Worlds Fair in 1964 and 1965.

The Beatles ended March with the top 4 songs on the US charts. They started April with the top 5:
1 - Can't Buy Me Love
2 - Twist and Shout
3 - She Loves You
4 - I Want to Hold Your Hand
5 - Please Please Me

("Can't Buy Me Love" and "Twist and Shout" would remain #1 and #2 for the entire month.)

4/8 - From Russia With Love (starring Sean Connery as James Bond)
4/9 - The Carpetbaggers (starring George Peppard)

4/8 - NASA launches Gemini 1 unmanned capsule
4/10 - The Polo Grounds in New York City meets the wrecking ball.
4/17 - Shea Stadium (home of the New York Mets) opens.
4/22 - The New York Worlds Fair opens.

This was the New York Pavillion at the Worlds Fair. Like the Unisphere above, these towers remain today, and are visible in the opening credits of the TV show "The King of Queens". These towers were also featured in the movie "Men in Black", where Will Smith chased the giant bug climbing the towers.

4/1 - Hockey player Scott Stevens
4/2 - Baseball player Pete Incaviglia
4/4 - Actor David Cross
4/7 - Actor Russell Crowe
4/9 - Hockey player Rick Tocchet
4/11 - Baseball player Bret Saberhagen
4/24 - Comedian Cedric the Entertainer
4/25 - Actor Hank Azaria
4/28 - Baseball player Barry Larkin

4/5 - General Douglas MacArthur (age 84)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Dave Clark Five

VCR Alert ! (Well, it may be too late for that, so " Alert"!)

Last week, PBS showed a documentary about the Dave Clark Five on its "Great Performances" program. This was a 2-hour show, with NO commercials and (surprisingly) NO pledge breaks.

As a British Invasion fan who somehow missed the actual invasion by about 3 years (which pretty much coincided with the shelf life of the DC5), this program was of great interest to me. I had no idea it was on, until whatever show I was watching before it ended, and then I saw the "coming up next" teaser. Ugh! Not enough time to remember how to set up the VCR for recording it, because I know my son and my brother would enjoy seeing it too.

Unlike recent British Invasion DVD releases (Hollies, Hermans' Hermits, Gerry & the Pacemakers, and Small Faces), this show didn't include complete uncut performances, but it cut back and forth between performances, Tom Hanks' speech at the DC5's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2008, and interviews with band members Dave Clark and Mike Smith, as well as others (listed below).

The last half hour covered Dave Clark's post-DC5 activities, which included writing, directing, and producing a Broadway musical in the mid-1980s (which I knew nothing about) that starred Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, Julian Lennon, and Sir Laurence Olivier, among others.

Surprisingly, there were no post-1960s interviews with DC5 guitarist Lenny Davidson, bassist Rick Huxley, or saxophonist Denis Payton. Payton had passed away in 2006, lead singer/keyboardist Mike Smith passed away in 2008, a few days before the band was inducted into the HOF, and Huxley just last year.

Dave Clark
Mike Smith
Paul McCartney
Elton John
Stevie Wonder
Gene Simmons
Ozzie Osbourne
Bruce Springsteen
Steven Van Zandt
Max Weinberg
Dionne Warwick
Freddie Mercury
Cliff Richard
Julian Lennon

Whoopi Goldberg
Sharon Osbourne
Tom Hanks (in R&R HOF footage)
Sir Laurence Olivier
Sir Ian McKellen
Priscilla Presley
various UK Dave Clark Five fans from back in the day

I watched this 3 times already. Once when it first broadcast on 4/8, again on 4/11 when I thought I was recording it (I wasn't), and again on 4/13 when I finally got it to record. I'm sure I'll be watching it at least 2 more times (with my son, and then with my brother as we reminisce together).

If you are even remotely interested in the Dave Clark Five, check this out. Now available for pre-order on with an additional 2 hours not shown on TV.