item 1 >>> No, you aren’t hearing things…the Doors really do chant “Stronger than dirt,” the Ajax slogan, at the end of “Touch Me.” Exactly why is a different story. Uncle Wiki claims that Jim Morrison did it to poke fun at the other band members, who wanted to license “Light My Fire” for a Buick commercial, a deal that happily fell thru. But the line is on the LP version only, not the 45, which was out first. The story is that DJ Larry Lujack at WLS in Chicago used to sing the line over the ending on the air, and the speculation was the Doors picked up on that. Hoo nose, sez me…
item 2 >>> North Shore telephone exchanges are coming tomorrow, I promise, Some more from Boston: BOWdoin, BEach, BEllevue, HAymarket, and FOrt Hill. EASt Boston and SOUth Boston are obvious. Roxbury also had HUMbolt and RUGgles. And ASpenwall spilled over from Brighton into Brookline. BTW, when the first 3 letters are capitalized, it’s because these date to before the 1948 switch, when 3-letter exchanges were replaced by 2-letters-and-1-number. This increased the number of possible exchanges dramatically…but not enough, so that letters were eventually changed to all-numbers, which gave even more choices.
item 3 >>> Speaking of the “Andrew ate 8000” jingle, it was sung by actress and singer Judy Valentine, born Norma Baker in Boston. The web says she was also Bixter the Leprechaun on Capt. Kangaroo. I don’t recall that, and if true, they apparently missed the fact that Bixter is a town on the Shetland Islands, which is part of Scotland, not Ireland. And from the You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept…the Shetlands also has a village named Twatt.
item 4 >>> And regarding fictitious phone numbers on TV shows, the Ricardos on “I Love Lucy” had real numbers, sort of. They used a number until NY Bell told them it was in service, then they’d get a different one, thus: MUrray Hill 5-9975, CIrcle 7-2099, and MUrray Hill 5-9099. CIrcle and MUrray Hill were actual Manhattan exchanges. Reminds me of the episode where they were in Italy, trying to call home, and Lucy has no luck with the operator. Ricky gives it a try, and he gets thru. She says: That’s fine! We get an Italian operator who learned to speak English in Cuba!
item 5 >>> But here’s an interesting bit of trivia…the Mertz’s apartment building is in the East River…their address is 623 East 68th St, and as you can see in this net capture, the 500 block ends in the middle of the NY Presbyterian Hospital campus. There is no 600 block, and I’m thinking they did this on purpose…?
item 6 >>> Red Sox claimed pitcher Taylor Buchholz off waivers from Toronto. He’s from Pennsylvania, Clay Buchholz is from Texas, no relation, obviously. Didn’t they try this a year ago with pitchers Ramon A. Ramirez and Ramon S. Ramirez, both long gone. Reminds me of the Baltimore Orioles’ Robinson Brothers, Brooks and Frank. And if you realized that Tommy and Willie Davis weren’t related, you were either an Angelino, or a better kid than I. Well, I figured it out eventually.
item 7 >>> Actually, Brooks and Frank were the 2nd incarnation of the Robinson Brothers…Brooks was a team-mate of outfielder Earl Robinson in 1961, 1962, and 1964. Frank arrived in 1966. And I knew this even back then, from my baseball cards…for some reason in 1962, it seemed Topps printed up a lot of extra Earl Robinson cards. I had tons of them, him and Gordie Windhorn. Trivia quiz for Red Sox fans: Which Robinson Brother eventually played for Boston? (answer below)
item 8 >>> I’m sure when you were at High School, you had cliques…we pronounced it “clicks.” Their boundaries were ill-defined and overlapped somewhat, their membership extremely fluid. At my school, we had beeries, glories, rowdies, grinds, tools, and probably some others. To be honest, I don’t really remember now what each group meant. Except that I was a tool, the equivalent of today’s nerd.
item 9 >>> Then of course there were fairies, but not many, and by definition they were outcasts and thus totally cliqueless. And also, dinks or danks…anybody could be a dink. A dink was someone who reeked, even if they smelled fine…
item 10 >>> Talking about pyros the other day brought to mind Killer Joe Piro, the Discotheque King of the Jet Set back in the 60s. You probably saw those Smirnoff Mule ads and wondered: Who is this old dude in a vest who thinks he can dance? Old? Well, he was 44 at the time. Frank Piro was, according to his own description, a skinny, ugly Italian from East Harlem, who learned to dance to meet girls. His nickname derived from his supposed ability to wear out one partner after another on the dance floor. In the navy during WWII, he won a national jitterbug contest, and in the early 50s he was the MC at the popular Palladium Ballroom in Manhattan. He later opened his own dance studio to the stars, and he was smart, keeping up with current fads from Mambo, Cha-Cha, and Twist…to Frug, Monkey, and Watusi. He died of kidney disease in 1989 at age 68.
And here’s our boy, Killer Joe Piro, immortalized in the song “Killer Joe” by the Filipino group Rocky and the Fellers. On the piano there in this 1965 ad is Johnny Carson’s then bandleader Skitch Henderson. The “Doctor” took over in 1967.
Trivia answer: OK, it was a trick question…Floyd Robinson!…for most of his career a White Sox, finished up with Boston in 1968.
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi