item 1 >>> Now Playing…    Live With Me Today, the Tale of Two Riffs…or is it just one? First, released in December, 1969, LP = Let It Bleed, the Rolling Stones…

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! Rock & Roll Queen Then, live from 1971, Mott the Hoople. This song was on their 1st LP, released in November, 1969. Hoo nose?

item 3 >>> It Was True Then…when I started in radio in 1974, and I believe it’s still true. There are only 2 radio stations in the country where the call-letters of the station are the exact name of the town they’re in…WARE in Ware, Massachusetts…and WACO in Waco, Texas. Not to be confused with WARM-TV…which had those calls from 1954-56 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA. Not for nothing, but there’s a WARM radio station today…106.9 fm, playing “Today’s Soft Favorites”…you mean like marshmallows? Oddly enough, the home-page of their website gives no clue as to where they’re located…wishful thinking, maybe?

item 4 >>>  WUSS-TV, Channel ½…After WW2, TV would have boomed even faster if not for the damned government. In collecting the start-dates of New England’s pioneer TV stations, I noticed a gap between 1948 and about 1953. Well, there was a reason: the FCC put on freeze on awarding licenses to new stations in 1948, when there were just 108 stations across the country. One source says this was “to sort out the thousands of applicants, and re-think the technical and allocation standards set down between 1938 and 1946.” What was supposed to be a 6-month moratorium lasted till the middle of 1952. Thus some cities, like Denver and Portland, Ore, had no stations until after the freeze…Pittsburgh and St. Louis had just one. Most major cities still had only 2. Boston didn’t have a Big 3 until 1957. And it was this freeze that helped kill the DuMont Network. Like I said, damned government.

item 5 >>>  Punch-OutOne interesting story I came across researching the history of North Shore television was the Ham Fisher/Al Capp feud. Hammond “Ham” Fisher was the creator of the Joe Palooka comic strip in 1930…within a few years it was among the most popular in the country, spawning comic books, movies, and a radio show. He soon had other artists helping out, and one quit to start his own strip, Li’l Abner, and that of course was Al Capp. The Dogpatch gang eventually eclipsed the pugilist in popularity, and Fisher claimed Capp had stolen a character from his strip, a hillbilly boxer named Big Leviticus, seen at left. Whether Fisher or Capp actually conceived Big Leviticus is a matter of some debate, but Fisher never missed an opportunity to rail against Capp, telling fans to stick with  Joe Palooka and “avoid imitators.” Capp, for his part, spoofed Fisher as cartoonist “Happy Vermin,” as seen below…I’ve superimposed head-shots of the antagonists.

item 6 >>>  Dirty Peectures, Señor?…But the rivalry turned really nasty after the FCC freeze on new TV stations was a lifted. In 1954 Al Capp wanted to buy a TV station
in Boston…he was a New Englander, born in New Haven, raised in Bridgeport (as was Walt Kelly of Pogo fame), and living at the time with his family in Cambridge. The FCC received an anonymous packet of Li’l Abner drawings that were supposedly pornographic…some say the sketches were doctored, others say they were clipped so as to be taken out of context. Either way, it was the same trick Ham Fisher had pulled several years earlier in an attempt to get Capp thrown out of the prestigious (believe it or not) National Cartoonists Society…and they turned around and expelled Fisher, “for conduct unbecoming a cartoonist,” whatever that might mean. A year later Fisher was found dead in
his studio, of a prescription drug overdose. Joe Palooka continued on, drawn by his assistant, then others, until 1984. Oddly enough, Capp’s younger brother Elliott Caplin (their real name) was also involved in comics, but as a writer not an artist, co-creating The Heart of Juliet Jones and Broom-Hilda.

item 7 >>> Fy Me…If Alan Gagnon ever told me where they got the name Royal Aircoach for their group, I don’t remember it. But here’s an interesting match-book cover I found surfing the net…

item 8 >>> When Ya Gotta Go…Ever wonder where the restroom was in the Mayberry Courthouse on The Andy Griffith Show? There’s a fan-created blueprint of the building floating around the internet, but it has some serious problems, so I’m not showing it. Suffice to say, they theorize that it was located off a presumed-but-never-seen inside stair-well that lead upstairs to the Mayor’s office. That’s along the right side of the building as you’re facing it, along the side-street off the main street. After a meeting with the Mayor, Andy and Ellie are seen coming out onto the sidewalk from a door on that side of the building, and there are several other reference to the Mayor being “upstairs.” Altho once, Andy said he had a meeting with the Mayor, and headed out the front door, implying there was no inside access to that second floor. So where was the loo? Well, during the first season, there was a mysterious door, never opened, to the left of the jail-cells. As of the second season, the door was gone, replaced by just a wall, never to reappear. So what, they just held it in? No wonder Barney was so nervous…

item 9 >>> “Ladies and Gentlemen Sometimes”…What I could never figure out is how Danvers High School got singled out as an example of the Haircut Wars in this 1969 issue of Newsweek. Maybe the author of the piece knew someone from around the North Shore? Cool publicity nonetheless.

item 10 >>> Duck and Cover…and Listen Carefully…President Truman established in in 1951. It stood for CONtrol of ELectromagnetic RAdiation…CONELRAD. The theory was, enemy bombers could home in on US radio signals, so in case of attack, all FM and TV stations had to go off the air, as well as all AM stations except those at 640 and 1240 kiloHertz. By law, all radios sold had to have these 2 frequencies clearly marked on their dial with a Civil Defense triangle. The system was in place until 1963, when the development of intercontinental guided missiles made the issue moot. CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System, which links stations together to relay emergency information. EBS has only been used for local weather emergencies…and neither system was ever invoked on the national level…altho once in 1972, a National Alert was issued by mistake…a day many broadcasters still remember, but I wasn’t one yet. In fact, I never heard the erroneous announcement, altho I knew people who did, some of whom wrenched their backs kissing their butts goodbye…hello!

Wicked Ballsy

The King’s Speech? So which one was George VI, anyway? If you collected stamps as a kid, he’s an old friend…So that’s the guy…

shameless p-p-p-p-p-p-p…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com

Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr really blows…

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