DGHC 4/20/2011

item 1 >>> Now Playing  Chinatown  The Move is the greatest 60s British group nobody ever heard of…they morphed into ELO in the 70s…

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!  For Those Who’ve Seen Everything   I don’t know what the frack this is…and I don’t want to know, that’s how cool it is…

item 3 >>> Which Came First?We have a tendency…both back in the day when this stuff was new, and looking back on  it today …to assume that of 2 similar things, the one we were aware of first was the one that came first. So half the time you’ll be right thru sheer luck. I found one like that recently…I always sort of assumed (OK, I never thought really about it that much) that the jinx character in Li’l Abner…Joe Btfsplk…was Al Capp’s take-off on the rascally Mr. Mxyzptlk. Other way around, turns out…Joe debuted in 1942, Mixie first appeared in the Superman comics in 1944.

item 4 >>> Speaking of Old Comic Strips…For some reason I got to thinking about Bringing Up Father…aka Maggie & Jiggs. It was one of the longest-running strips of all time, starting in 1913, petering out in 2000. As originally created by George McManus, who died in 1954, it was the story of Shanty vs. Lace Curtain Irish…the hod carrier (see left) Jiggs having won the Irish Sweepstakes…suddenly he’s a “swell” and a “toff,” altho he longs to hang out at Dinty Moore’s tavern with his old cronies. Restaurant owner James Moore, where McManus liked to eat, was convinced he was the inspiration and changed the name of his place to Dinty Moore’s, which eventually lead to that line of canned goods. The plot was how his upwardly mobile wife Maggie tried to “bring him up” to high society standards, but by the time us Baby Boomers were reading it, it was just a rambunctious husband and wife strip, the ethnic connotation having long since faded away. Below middle, plastic versions by Marx. Not for nothing, but their daughter was named….if you said “Nora,” you’re OK in my book…

item 5  >>>  Word of the Day: “Epicene”…In its traditional sense, it’s a synonym for “hermaphroditic”…but nowadays it means first names that are given to both men and women. And since such traffic seems to go only one way (male –> female), the most notable are the men with names like Joyce Kilmer, Vivian Stanshall, Evelyn Waugh, Shirley Povich, Ashley Wilkes, all the way to today’s Madison Baumgarner, a pitcher with the S.F. Giants. Seldom the other way, but occasionally: like Alice Cooper and “a boy named Sue.” Jocelyn was a 9th century French monk. And I always thought movie and later TV exec Pat Costello was Lou’s wife…turns out it was his brother. Anyway, add one more to the list…Jiggs.  As with most given names not derived from a saint or someone in the Bible, Jiggs is from a surname…thus it was that in Bringing Up Father, Jiggs never had a last name, since that was no doubt it…Jiggs. And the female counterpart would be Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut, who with sis Barb made up 2/3rds of the singing group the Angels, of “My Boyfriend’s Back” fame.

item 6 >>> Speed Merchants…I happened to have the MLB Channel on Monday night when they told me I had just “witnessed history,” an Aroldis Chapman pitch clocked at 106 mph, breaking his supposed record from last year of 105. Well, even with today’s hi-tech gadgets, there is always some dispute, dear friends…and sure enough, other readings pegged it at 103, which still ain’t hay. And when you see a clip of that pitch, man, it is wicked fast, noticeably faster than normal. But it got me thinking about the legendary Steve Dalkowski, said to he the fastest to ever chuck a horsehide spheroid. He never made it to the Majors, his speed matched only by his wildness. His career in the minors lasted from 1957 to 1966, and when it ended, The Sporting News ran the headline LIVING LEGEND RELEASED. He once threw a no-hitter, losing 8-4, striking out 24 but walking 18, with 6 wild pitches and 4 hit basemen. In an Eastern League game, he struck out 27 and walked 16, throwing 283 pitches. In another game, he was pulled in the 2nd inning after 120 pitches. In 1960, he walked 262 in 170 innings. (The Major League record is 208 by Bob Feller in 1938, and he needed 278 innings.) Dalko also struck out an even 262 that year, and for a period of several seasons, 3 of every 4 batters he faced either walked or struck out.

The man Earl Weaver called “faster than Nolan Ryan” finally looked set to join the Bigs in 1963, as this baseball card attests…but an injury to his pitching arm while fielding a ball in an exhibition game effectively ended his chances. So how fast? Never measured, but those who saw him saw him generally pegged his top speed at between 110 and 115 mph. Oof!

item 7 >>>  Lotta Leather…Yeah, when the pitcher’s throwing 100+, is there a special catcher’s mitt for that? Below are some of the elephant ears used for knuckleballers…the photo in the lower left is one of those beauties which Google Images finds, then when you click on the web page, it’s no place to be seen…so no details…

item 8  >>> Close, But No Cigar…I mentioned a few days ago that 6-month period in 1970 when there were 19 soap operas running at the same time, said to be a record. I wondered if that might have been topped sometime in the 1950s, considering soaps were 15 minutes long in those days, hence in theory, time enough for twice as many. And despite the fact that only CBS and NBC were making them, we indeed did come oh so close…the best I could find was 18, as diagrammed below…8 on the Eye…and 10 on the Peacock, of which there were a mind-numbing 8 in a row, from 3-5pm. Only the last one is a quibble: Modern Romances didn’t have a continuing cast, but was an anthology, with stories lasting weeks or months. But it is classified as a soap opera, then and now, and that’s good enough for me. The number 18 lasted from July 5, 1954…when NBC introduced 4 new shows (ATTL, GW, CMM, and FL)…until December 31 of that year, when ATTL was axed.

item 9 >>> The Duchess…Also when I mentioned General Hospital the other day, I was going to put in something about my heartthrob on that show, but ran out of space. And that would be Denise Alexander, in the role of Laura’s mother Dr. Lesley Williams Faulkner Webber. Altho come to think of it, on soaps it wasn’t just “who’s the father” that was in question, but also “who’s the mother,” given the ubiquitous babies-switched-at-the-hospital routine. What you GHers might not have realized was that by that time, she was a sudser veteran, having started on Clear Horizon, the short-lived soap about astronauts and their families at Cape Canaveral in 1960…and she had made her screen debut in 1952 at age 13. The shot (below, left) is from the Twilight Zone episode, “Third From the Sun,” also from 1960.  And one of her GH beaus, can’t recall which, nicknamed her “Duchess,” which even back then had an old-fashioned zing to it that I liked.

item 10 >>> Bonus Duchess….Chic Young, the creator of Dagwood & Blondie, also did this pantomime strip, Colonel Potterby and the Duchess (any connection to the Colonel on M*A*S*H, I wonder?) with a slightly more stylized look to it…like notice the Colonel’s “feet”…sort of puts you in mind of the Power Puff Girls. I always thought the Duchess looked a lot like the Bumstead pooch Daisy. But overall, seems like a take-off on Maggie & Jiggs, nez pah?

Wicked Ballsy 

I’m pretty sure the joke is, the grease-rack will get them up in the air to see the game…I’m pretty sure…but then again, it took me a while to get that “relief-to-Japan” B.C. strip from the other day, so hoo nose?

shaymlesssly mispelld plugz…

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/p/resume.html

Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr so still über-blows turbo…

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