That went fast. The week, I mean. Splickity-lit. I've flotsam below, and will have to hold my gargantuan tale about CenturyLink until next week. It's amusing. If the company could design "the worst possible outcome," it would be this. But that's Monday.

     It's a column night, but it's the Sunday one. Short. What I really intend to do is watch two more hours of "Making a Murderer," which I find utterly compelling. It's the best true-crime documentary I've seen, I think; it's certainly the largest. Ten hours, with about 6% being stabliized drone footage of a Wisconsin junk yard. It's all in the editing - and it reminds me that I didn't even bother to listen to the second set of "Serial," and from the lack of buzz I'm not alone. They went with the Bowe Bergdahl story, because perhaps they felt his story wasn't being told, and America was insufficiently admiring. Meh.

     Nothing much to say about today, except that I am grateful for it and glad I looked out the window just as the neighbor's Christmas tree was going up in flames. Some kids came by and stuck it upright in the bank and set it on fire. Hell of a torch, and it may have softened up his garbage can.

     Cane them, I say! Cane them all! For everything! Cane the lot on general principle! (dissolves into red-faced spittle-spraying incoherence)

      Earlier this week I mentioned that I visited an antique mall in Mesa. A real craptorium. Lo, I saw an old friend. And by "Friend" I mean a creature who haunted my childhood with his mirthless maw of soul-inhalation:

      It's a Jack in the Box. Someone did their civic duty and put up nine seconds of the thing. I had forgotten only the googly eyes.

      What I truly remember is how powerful the spring was. That demon really wanted to get out.



     Awful. Kids always knew they were in for the dreck when there were Sons or Friends involved. When it's Sons AND Friends, you're in for it. Wikipedia:

The series centers on The Pink Panther's two sons: pre-teen Pinky, his brother, toddler Panky and their friends in the Rainbow Panthers crew (the pretty Chatta, fighting Rocko, gibbersh-talking Murfel, overalls-wearing Annie, and mixed-up-talking Punkin). Each episode shows the Rainbow Panthers coming together for friendship and fun as they learn all about growing up and caring for each other as they take on the a group of lions called the Howl Angels.

     One of the Howl Angels was voiced by a guy whose credits now include "Call of Duty" video games.


Oh, we're not done with this.

      Nothing major has been started in a while. A few big projects have been announced, but I have my doubts. The work around Downtown East continues; the towers are up and the apartments framed, and now they're starting the hotel on the backside of the second tower. A dull shot for future reference:


On Thursday as I passed, the cloth covering up one of the medallions on the side of the tower had been removed. They've had them up for a year, as if there's some secret.

There was a secret. Not everyone knew this, but will soon: the medallions are from the old StarTribune building.

      Here's a very short clip of how it looks today. Not a stick of this existed two years ago.




We begin the year with something new. Old, but new. Similar, but different. Longtime readers know that I got two years and change out of the sound cues for "The Couple Next Door," and how the story of finding that show led me to the home of its creator, writer, and star Peg Lynch. She died shortly after I came to the end of the 750 episodes, and that would be the end of the story - if something hadn't happened a decade and a half after the end of her CBS network run. I'm still kicking myself for not asking more about this when I had the chance, but I was concentrating on the heyday years.


The Theme.

No name in the opening credits this time around. The theme - man, that's Seventies, and I don't say that with anything but a grimace. But she was back. In 1975 someone got the bright idea to revive serialized daytime radio, and syndicated a show on "The Serial Network," with Clairol, 4-Way, and O-Cedar as the sponsors. Someone obviously remembered her work, and called her up with an offer. The result was the last gasp of Ethel and Albert, the third iteration. What began in the 30s continued in the 70s.

The husband's name this time:

Bob . . .

She wasn't kidding. His name was Bob. Robert Dryden, a radio staple. IMDB: "Robert Dryden was one of radio's busiest and most versatile character actors throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He was frequently heard on such classic radio shows as Gangbusters, The FBI In Peace And War, Studio One, The Ford Theater, Casey Crime Photographer, Mollee Mystery Theater and many other dramatic programs as well as on numerous soap operas." He did 243 "CBS Mystery Theater" shows in the 70s as well. We'll get into his performance in weeks to come.

So the husband was called by his real name. What about Peg's character?

And Peg.

Makes sense. As we'll see - and I hope to explain, without sounding like I'm reading too much into this - The Little Things in Life, henceforth LTIL, was Peg Unbound. Whatever residual scatterbrained qualities Ethel had were soft-pedaled for the most part in "The Couple Next Door," but here she's almost brassy. This Peg was more Peg than Ethel or Dear, I suspect.

In one of the shows, the card players are talking about old radio:

Here's hoping

We'll follow this show's cues and ads for the rest of the year.



As I find them, old PSAs to supply some civic-minded spinach in case they couldn't sell any ads.

PSA: L is for lobbying! And that's good.

They played these on Armed Forces Radio, reminding the GIs what they were defending.

Don't think they'd choose that subject today.

Of course, we have to have an ad. Now and then I find a great ad that tells you how much they could do with the medium.

Yeast. But not just any yeast.

Most of the time you're surprised by how little they did with the medium.

Also new this year: a Bob & Ray sketch for your Friday amusement. These leave some people absolutely stone cold; I don't understand those people. B&R - and their writers - were playing with the medium like few others, skewering the conventions with deadpan understatement, as far from the corny-gag school as you could get. If you're new to them, give the work a chance. You'll get it eventually. OR YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.

Kidding. This is an episode of a serial that made no sense and had no plot, other than Matt's vague paranoia. The entire serial was built around one idea, and it could only be done on radio. It's so ridiculous and nominally unfunny I can't help laugh every time Matt says "over here."

Like most soaps, nothing happened.

Matt Neffer, Boy Spot Welding Champion of the World

There. See? I can keep this feature Fresh and New!

He said, optimistically, after one installment.


Quite the popular record in its time. Children's songs that would be a hit with anyone from 6 to 66. At 67 either you didn't care or you were dead. Mostly likely the latter. Sorry, but take a look at the actuarial tables. Facts are facts.




Skip to the loo, m'darlin'




In 1939 Feyer returned to Hungary to be with his family, but was moved to German factories in a forced labour brigade. He was imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the last year of the war, from where he was rescued in 1945 by the Allies.

After which he made happy piano music for children.


A new feature today the 1966 Alden's Catalogue. It's a long project, and as such gets a whopping four pages per week. Have a great weekend! See you around.



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