On Monday, something comes to the site, and I'm calling it the most unexpected development of 2018. I think you'll like it. If not, I've wasted my time. Also, it'll be Monday, and the number of developments unexpected or otherwise will be small, so I'll be right no matter what. Also on Monday: all the purple folders flip to yellow.



That means they go from Next Year status to Ready to Upload. (Red indicate a folder that has an uncompleted subsite.)

You probably won’t be surprised to hear this, since I crow about it from time to time, but the featured link at the bottom of the page? You know, the stuff I give you after the below-the-fold feature and the daily ephemera and text of the Bleat? It’s done for 2018. Three pages a day; fifteen a week. That’s almost 800 pages for the year. And 2019 is half done.

So the stuff that’s for The Future is marked purple, and at the beginning of the year I reset the colors to yellow, which means finished and ready to upload. I had a challenge for 2018, because - well, this will sound unbearably pretentious, but when I look at the opportunities for this site for the new year, I always think continuity and innovation. There’s always something you like (I hope), something you don’t, something you don’t care about at first but might come to enjoy. Old standards like the Gallery of Regrettable Food, Matchbook Museum, Motels, and so on.

But other things need to be shaken up, and that means a solid rethinking of one weekly feature to make it more diverse and interesting, and the return of two old standards - one of which never really appeared on the Bleat at all, but had a run elsewhere.

It'll be fun! I hope you've enjoyed this year's work.

This being Friday, it's time to load up allll the stuff I haven't used. The other day when I was killing time at the thrift store, I snapped some shots of some old albums.

This looks fun!


No more of those care-laden polkas. The new polka style is all about shedding your cares and going barefoot crazy!

I fargin' hate the Sixties:


Everything had to be relevant, man.

What kind of sound, you say? The Jagiello sound? The world has waited for years for this:



Walter "Li'l Wally" Jagiello AKA Władysław Jagiełło, Mały Władziu and Mały Władzio (August 1, 1930 – August 17, 2006) was an American polka musician and songwriter from ChicagoIllinois. A self-taught Chemnitzer concertina and drum player, who sang Polish as well as English in many of his songs. His most famous compositions include "Puka Jasiu (Johnny's Knocking)" and "I Wish I Was Single Again".

So it's not the Jagiello sound brought to you by some guy named Li'l Wally, it's Li'l Wally Jagiello bringing you his own sound.



Whoever dumped these albums off at the store, I think it's safe to say Mom and Dad are A) gone, and B) loved their polka.


A local fave.

The Six Fat Dutchmen was a polka band formed around 1932 by Harold Loeffelmacher in New Ulm, Minnesota. The band was known mostly for playing the "Oom-pah" style of polka music that originated from Germany and the German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia. They were regular performers at the then-famous George’s Ballroom in New Ulm, and were voted Number One Polka Band for seven years in a row by the National Ballroom Operators Association.

A familiar look in our land, once upon a time:


This brought back the year 1968:


Not because of the album, but because of the labels. Those were the cool things to have, and suddenly everyone had them. Your own! Personalized! Return-address labels! And they all looked the same, with that gold bar.

Another item from the bin: this popped up when previewing the site for next year's Google Ad illustrations. All the text on the page was Lorem Ipsum.


Something Daughter noted: these really shouldn't be in the same drawer.


Anything else? Hmmm . . . I saved this for a reason. Perhaps because it's a hearty, positive thought for the end of the year. It was a piece about something hopeful, and the responses were just what you'd think:


Maybe? I'd go a bit further.

Finally: This is the most symbolic image of the year.


I say that knowing that the genre of “symbolic image of the year” isn’t all that popular, and probably for good reason; it focuses the mind in ways you may have avoided. If it’s all been happy, then you find the happiest happy picture, and slap it on a Christmas card. It’s been hard, then who wants to see that? You can’t expect everyone to feel what you feel, and the smallest amount of self-awareness makes you realize it’s a form of emotional bullying. Look upon my artistic summation, and accord me status for my grief.

So this is the most symbolic image.

Obvs. it has your light-and-dark. Because no year is ever one or the other - I hope. The screw represents the gazebo, and while that sounds ridiculous, it’s not. The Giant Swede and the Crazy Uke came over one day for an old-fashioned gazebo raising, and we never got to the roof. Then Scout ran away. I plinked away at the panels on the roof beams day after day, using the power drill to put in those screws. Eventually hired someone who used something else. From time to time some parts still turn up. This one was sitting on the ledge since August, and I can no more get rid of it than I can get rid of the shell on the ledge around the corner.




And now . . . the end of a year's worth of Gildersleeve cues. I hope you've found this audio tour of high 1940s culture occasionally interesting. Yes, there's been a sameness to the cues, week in and week out - but that's because one composer drove the sound of the show, and did so with endless variations and gentle innovations.

Let's give him the recognition he deserves.


Jimmy Starr: forgotten, but that'll happen to newspapermen. And yes, you just heard the voice of the composer, Jack Meakin. His last credit? "Night of the Living Dead."

The rest of this entry isn't about the cues. This is about the most notable act of career immolation in old radio. Wikipedia:

In 1950, Harold Peary was convinced to move The Great Gildersleeve to CBS, but sponsor Kraft refused to sanction the move. Peary, now contracted to CBS, was legally unable to appear on NBC as a star performer, but Gildersleeve was still an NBC series.

That's not how John Dunning's Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio puts it.Yes, there was the CBS talent raid, but Peary also wanted more money, and was bored with the role. You can understand why. It was the same show, more or less, week after week, and even though they had the usual ratings-goosing tricks - the baby, the wedding - Peary felt unfufilled He wanted to sing! Do more voices!

So NBC replaced Peary.

This wasn't just a Bewitched-Darin-type switch: Peary was so vocally distinctive, it seemed that no one could recreate the role.

As it happens, they had someone in reserve: the best Gildersleeve impersonator in the business, William Waterman.


The first show was full of references to the fact that they'd changed Gildys.



So you're listening, and you hear a new name. You're thinking . . . what will he sound like?



He's coming back! The character, not the actor. The character! Mistuh Gilduhsleeve, Unc!




Here he is! And I'll be damned if he doesn't sound almost exactly like he should.





He's a new man.

You even look different.





Unky, what have done to yourself?



In other words, they're hitting this straight on from the start. They didn't have to, but they reveled in the chance to build in these winks and nods.

Remember: this is radio. People can't see the difference. But chances are they'd read about it.




As for that last line: Waterman was taller than Peary.





Time to go meet Hooker. Wonder if this i a shot at Peary.





Waterman didn't do the old Gildy laugh; he retired the "Dirty Chuckle" as Peary's thing. But here you hear him try out his own trademark laugh.





But later on - just to show he could - Waterman ran through some other Peary mannerisms.



This was 1950. The show ran until 1957. Dunning is correct when he said it sounded like "a happy show before and after Peary's departure." A practiced ear can hear the difference when exposed to a random ep, but it really was an impressive piece of mimicry.

Peary, meanwhile, had a new show on CBS. Freed from the constraints of the Gildersleeve character, what did he do? He recreated nearly every element of the program's mood and characters.

The show was panned, and short-lived. He never had a big radio show again. He lost a lot of weight, shedding the Gildersleeve girth, and eventually surfaced as a DJ on an LA radio station. He also popped up in a few TV shows.

Peary died on Marc 30, 1985. Waterman, ten years later.



Happy New Year, baby:



That's not the most comforting photo of Guy.




That'll do; see you around. New Gallery addition today. Happy New Year! See you on a Monday . . . with a big surprise. That's right: MONDAY. The First. January the One. No vacation, but something . . . well. You'll see.


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