Thursday, November 6, 2008

That was a year that was!

Beetle Bailey and Peanuts are the new comics in town, premiering in American newspapers two months apart, and the game show Truth or Consequences debuts on that newfangled television which some folks already are calling TV. Of course, radios outnumber television sets in American homes by something like eight or nine to one. Still, there are some 100 television broadcast stations in 38 of these 48 states, and the federal census this year put the number of sets in American households at five million. TV sales, however, indicate that number to be nearer eight million.

Folks still go to the movies, though. A full-length animated film from Walt Disney, Cinderella, generates a lot of buzz at its release, and tough-guy personified actor Broderick Crawford takes Best Actor honors at the 22nd Academy Awards for his performance in All the King’s Men. The film takes Best Picture.

There are uneasy feelings at home and abroad when North Korea blatantly invades South Korea and Russia announces it has developed its own atomic bomb. Dark headlines and ominous newsreels do not dampen America’s post-war rally, however. A new concept in consumerism, something called a shopping center, designed by architect John Graham Jr. opens on the outskirts of Seattle, Washington. Decent houses are going for around $8,500, and a new set of wheels can be had for about $1,500. Fueling the new car runs around 18 cents a gallon. Wages? Oh, the average American worker brings home around $3,200 a year.

In New York everyone is raving about that new show that opened at the 46th Street Theater, Guys and Dolls. The cast includes Robert Alda, Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley, Peter Gennaro and a local comedian calling himself Stubby Kaye who, they say, steals the show as Nicely-Nicely. Tune in a radio and you’ll likely hear Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa or that new kid Teresa Brewer with Music, Music, Music. Ruth Brown tops the R&B charts with Teardrops from My Eyes, but perhaps no one is making the tears flow like Miss Patti Page singing Tennessee Waltz.

The world said a final farewell to some pretty good folks this year. Novelists George Orwell and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Restaurateur Sid Grauman and American automobile pioneer Ransom Olds. We lost the Jazz Singer, Al Jolson, and Irish-born writer George Bernard Shaw.

At the same time we welcomed several new ones into a brave new world. Names from the nursery this year to watch include Debbie Allen, Billy Ocean, Natalie Cole (yes, Nat is her proud papa), Cybill Shepherd, Julius Erving, Karen Carpenter, Bill Macy and William Hurt, Jane Pauley and Tom Petty.
But the most important new arrival, as far as this writer is concerned, came along on November 7 of this year, 1950, at St. Mary’s over on Stanyon Street in San Francisco. I did not know little Ann Elizabeth at the time, but I found here just as soon as I could.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Miller!
Post a Comment