item 1 >>> “How many cookies did Andrew eat? Andrew ate eight thousand.” No doubt you heard that jingle on the radio growing up. Some people remember it as being for an all-night drug store, but it wasn’t: “How do you keep your carpets neat? Call ANdrew 8-8000.” Yup, a carpet-cleaning company, Adams & Swett, which is still in business. If you’re interested in old telephone exchange names, where they came from and where they went to, I’ve just posted an article I wrote back in April called “Number Please?” http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com It’s done from an Upper Upstate NY perspective, but the history part applies to everyone. Sometime soon, I’ll review North Shore exchange names, but I thought I’d start with Boston…and believe me, there were a ton of them.
item 2 >>> In the town where you grew up, you probably had only one telephone exchange…like GAzachstahagen-8. In Boston, different story, obviously. The following is not intended to be be exhaustive, but I think I’ve caught most of them. In Boston proper, you could call CApitol, CIrcle, COmmonwealth, COngress, COpley, DEvonshire, HAncock, HUbbard, KEnmore, LAfayette, LIberty, RIchmond, and SHerwin. Southie had ANdrew and CIty Point. LOgan for East Boston, and CHarlestown for guess where? Alston/Brighton exchanges included ALgonquin and STadium. And points south…Roxbury (GArrison, HIghlands), Dorchester (AVenue, BAyside, COlumbia, GEneva, JEfferson, TAlbot), Jamaica Plain (ARnold, ENdicott, JAmaica), Roslindale-West Roxbury (FAirview, PArkway), and Hyde Park (EMpire, HYde Park). The Mattapan section of Boston shared several exchanges with the town of Milton, including BLue Hills, CYpress, CUnningham.
item 3 >>> The Hub also had 2 informational exchanges…you could dial MEridian-7 for the time, and WEather-6 for weather conditions. Then there was the fictitious 555 exchange, sometimes referred to as KLondike or KLamath. In fact, in “Back to the Future,” Dr. Brown’s number in the 1955 phone-book began with KLondike-5…
item 4 >>> And just as an aside, I try really hard to practice what I preach…notice in item 3, I wrote “The Hub also had 2 informational exchanges.” Yes, I was tempted to say “special exchanges,” but in an age where everything & the kitchen sink is special, I’ve long concluded you need a really special reason to use that word, so I chose not to. Unless of course it really is appropriate, as in “special reason.” End of aside.
item 5 >>> I mentioned Cape Cod Mooncussers yesterday. “The Mooncussers” was a 2-part show on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. It aired in Dec, 1962, starring Kevin Cochran, Oscar Homolka, and Lee Aaker of Rin Tin Tin fame. The 2 parts were combined for a theatrical release in Europe, and I believe that version is now on DVD. Also, the action was shifted from Cape Cod to Long Island. And I should mention there’s a documentary film company down the Cape called Mooncusser Films.
item 6 >>> …not to be confused with another Disney theatrical film, “The Moon-Spinners” from 1964. It’s sort of a Disney try at Hitchcock Lite, with Hayley Mills and Peter McHenry finding love among the jewel smugglers of Crete.
item 7 >>> I have to confess, I had so much fun with the Soviet-era jokes yesterday, I’m gonna do it again real soon, but here’s a taste…How many people did Stalin kill? Estimates range from 7 to 60 million, but a consensus among historians appears to be forming around the figure of 20 million. And human nature being what it is, the Soviet people joked about it. A KGB agent reports to Stalin: “Sir, we’ve found a man who is your exact double.” Stalin says: “Shoot him!” The agent says: “Maybe we could shave off his mustache.” Stalin replies: “Good idea, then shoot him! Ili tak.” In Russian, that’s literally “or so,” meaning something like “this way is OK too.” It become an sarcastic catch-phrase among the Soviet people.
item 8 >>> Here’s something they were probably too busy to teach you in history class: When it comes to the names of US Presidents, the 27th President, William Howard Taft, marks a turning point. After him, every President has a middle name. Before him, only 7 of 26 did. These were John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, James Knox Polk, Rutherford Birchard Hayes, James Abram Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Hiram Ulysses Grant, who became Ulysses Simpson Grant when he entered West Point. And yes, Harry S Truman had only a middle initial, without a period to boot. So anyway, if you’re arguing with someone about something, and decide to go all ad hominem on his butt, you can say: “Aw, you’re so dumb, you don’t even know George Washington’s middle name!” What can he do?
item 9 >>> …well, actually there sort of is something he can do, taking a cue from U. S. Grant…his assumed middle name was also his mother’s maiden name. So was Polk’s and Hayes’s. So just for fun, let’s play Alternate Universe History with some of the POTUS’s…George Ball Washington, John Boylston Adams, Thomas Randolph Jefferson, Andrew Hutchinson Jackson, Martin Hoes Van Buren, Millard Millard Fillmore (sorry…), Abraham Hanks Lincoln, Grover Neal Cleveland, William Allison McKinley, and Theodore Bullock Roosevelt.
item 10 >>> …and while we’re at it, post-Taft presidents who had mother’s-maiden-name-as-middle-name were FDR, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41, and would you believe, Thomas Woodrow Wilson.
They don’t make print ads like they used to, I don’t care who you are…
shameless plugaholics anonymous…
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi