You May Be Cool, But You’ll Never Be Johnny Cash Cool

The Wit, Wisdom and Mistakes of the Legendary American Performer

In 1964, when his recording of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about the tragic end suffered by a Native American hero of World War II) received an initially lukewarm reception at radio, Cash took out a full-page ad in Billboard demanding of programmers, “Where are your guts?”

San Antonio, TX

On January 13, 1968, Cash recorded his masterly live album At Folsom Prison, from which came a new #1 hit version of “Folsom Prison Blues.” This album and the follow-up 1969 live recording At San Quentin pushed his career to new heights. Taken from the San Quentin album, “A Boy Named Sue” (#1 country, #2 pop) became his biggest-selling single and the Country Music Association Single of the Year (1969). Cash was also voted the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year for 1969.

From 1969 through 1971, Cash hosted a prime time network television variety show that showcased his status as a national icon while featuring an eclectic mix of guest performers. A live cut from this show, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson), was a #1 country hit. Increasingly, Cash recorded and featured on his television show the work of new songwriters drawn to country from folk and rock music backgrounds.

Cash died in 2003. Two years later his life became the subject of a biographical film, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon both won Academy Awards for their performances. American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010), further strengthened Cash’s reputation as a cultural hero.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

Lisa Marie Presley Tells Thoughts on Elvis Biopic Movie

“Channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully”

The day before the May 15 release of Lisa Marie Presley’s album,  Storm & Grace, the daughter of the most famous entertainer in history sent a social media message to the world regarding the upcoming Elvis movie.

This release, her first album in seven years, is also her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut. Presley is managed by Simon Fuller, CEO and Founder of XIX Entertainment. The album was produced by 12-time GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and recorded at The Village in Los Angeles.

“When Lisa Marie’s songs arrived, I was curious,” Burnett said. “I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say. What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected, and soulful. I thought her father would be proud of her.”

“The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be,” he continued. “Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value.”

Since 2019, Lisa Marie has met several times with director Baz Luhrmann about the Elvis movie. She told Us Weekly, “I have been involved with Baz. He has come to my home and he has been emailing me… In fact, we’re going to be having another lunch at my home. He’s keeping me on top of everything. It’s been wonderful. He is a genius. I’m not getting involved with any kind of telling him what to do or how to do it or suggestions. No, no. I think this will be very stylized, very different.”

The movie follows a young Elvis, played by Austin Butler, as well as his dealings with his wife, Priscilla (played by Olivia DeJonge) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks.)

When prompted about what she thought of the Colonel Parker role, Lisa Marie said, “Tom Hanks can pretty much capture anybody as far as his acting ability and how professional he is and how deep and deeply involved he gets with the character…I’m extremely pleased. I think that it’ll be very good.”

During filming, Tom spoke about a conversation he had with Priscilla, who revealed she had great affection for Colonel Tom, which is a different perception to that which many have.

He told late night host Stephen Colbert: “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years.”

On her post, Lisa Marie revealed she has seen Luhrman’s movie twice. Her thoughts?

“It is nothing short of spectacular,” she said. “Absolutely exquisite.”

“Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully.”

“In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”

“You can feel and witness Baz’s pure love, care and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever.

“Elvis” will be released in theaters June 24, 2022.

Favorite Fan Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

10 Rare Elvis Presley Photos in the 1950s

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
Visit Graceland

Top Songs Elvis Presley Fans Wished He Would Have Recorded

Over 3,400 Elvis Fans Around the World Polled

Elvis Presley was flat out the world’s greatest singer. The King of Rock and Roll has been gone longer than the number of years he lived, but the truth of his legacy keeps marching on.

Even now, the recorded voice of Elvis has been heard by more people on earth than any other human being in history.

With his amazing versatility, he mastered and broke records (no pun intended) across music barriers.

Jack Dennis polled Elvis fans across the world from August 1-December 1, 2017 and again for CleverJourneys from January 3-May 1, 2022 to find out which songs they believe or wished he should have recorded. Over 3,400 fans (3,421 to be exact) responded.

Note: Jack Dennis (Texasjackson) was the president of the Texas Chapter of the Official Elvis Presley Graceland Fan Club in the late 1970s and at the time of Presley’s death in August 1977. He continues to maintain friendships with Elvis’ friends, family and fans globally.

Here are the top 50 songs Elvis fans wished he would have recorded.

I Will Always Love You 

Originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973, “I Will Always Love You” is the number one song Elvis fans wished he would have recorded. The song won an Emmy for Best Recording of the Year by Whitney Houston in 1992 (from the movie “Body Guard”). Other notable covers were by Kenny Rogers in 1983 and Connie Talbot in 2007.

Old Rugged Cross

“The Old Rugged Cross” is the number two choice of Elvis fans. It is a popular hymn written in 1912, the year Elvis’ mother Gladys was born, by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard.

In order of Elvis fan choices here are the other 48 songs they wished he would have recorded:

3. Hallelujah

4. He Stopped Loving Her Today

5. I Fall to Pieces

🔹Need You Now


🔹Today I Started Loving You Again

🔹The Most Beautiful Girl


🔹I Love a Rainy Night


🔹Save the Last Dance For Me


🔹Fire & Rain


🔹Brown Eyed Girl


🔹All Summer Long


🔹When a Man Loves a Woman


🔹Autumn Leaves


🔹The Prayer


🔹One Pair of Hands


🔹The Lighthouse


🔹Tears From Heaven


🔹Don’t Pull Your Love


🔹Puddle of tears


🔹Crazy Little Thing Called Love


🔹Rock n Roll is King


🔹Miss Ann


🔹Shake a Hand


🔹Send Me Some Lovin


🔹I Told You SO


🔹Don’t Close Your Eyes


🔹Let It Be

🔹Me and Bobby McGee

🔹Fire


🔹Only the Lonely


🔹Piece of My Heart


🔹Delilah


🔹Only You


🔹Bohemian Rhapsody


🔹Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

🔹To Love Somebody


🔹Candle in the Wind


🔹Annies Song


🔹Oh Holy Night


🔹Sleigh Ride


🔹You Lift Me Up


🔹Behind Closed Doors


🔹The Keeper of the Stars

🔹In the Still of the Night


🔹There Goes My Baby


🔹Kansas City

🔹Sittin on the Dock of the Bay


🔹I’m a Honky Tonk Man

Favorite Fan Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2021/07/04/elvis-presley-the-rockin-motorcycle-king-in-photos/embed/#?secret=PiyyBRSf3r#?secret=bmFIRMFK45

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2021/06/10/more-rare-or-unseen-elvis-presley-pictures-from-the-60s/embed/#?secret=uTktdtSy6l#?secret=M1T0AJRS5z

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/25-more-rare-photos-of-elvis-presley-in-the-army/embed/#?secret=UOyeJk5X5D#?secret=on4xtc033j

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/20-rate-photos-of-elvis-presley-in-the-u-s-army/embed/#?secret=IgHEGbNvxs#?secret=SKZZ5wdVuD

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/20-elvis-presley-photos-you-may-have-never-seen-from-the-1960s/embed/#?secret=GgcHR62Mnp#?secret=fpAp549wBW

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/23/elvis-presley-rare-shots-from-the-1970s/embed/#?secret=fee25bCw4D#?secret=RzVA6HMpi1

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/26/elvis-presley-movies-ranked/embed/#?secret=IM0okZpvDG#?secret=K8Zg16VZEN

10 Rare Elvis Presley Photos in the 1950s

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
Visit Graceland

The Greatest Love Note Ever Was From Johnny Cash

In 1968, many years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, legendary singer Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on stage during a performance in front of an audience of 7,000 in London, Ontario. June urged him to keep singing, but Johnny refused to continue the show until he received an answer.

June said yes and the couple married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky.

Through thick and thin, they were married until June’s death in 2003. Johnny dedicated his final live performance to her, and passed away within four months after her.

The results of a British poll designated a note, written to June by Johnny, as the “Greatest Love Letter of All Time.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:

Happy Birthday Princess,We get old and get use to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

 But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me.You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess.

 John

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Visit the Johnny Cash Museum

JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

The Night Johnny Cash Set 500-Acres of Forest on Fire

Cash

Johnny Cash started a massive ring of fire on June 27th of 1965. It was in California’s Los Padres National Forest.

According to Cash’s FBI file acquired via the Freedom of Information Act, the music icon said his camper shot sparks out of its faulty exhaust system after getting stuck along the side of the road. Cash tried to gun the engine and accidentally lit the forest ablaze.

Cash’s nephew, Damon Fielder, was on the fishing trip with Cash when the fire started. According to his story, Uncle John was just drunk and allowed their campfire to get out of control. The blaze burned 508 acres of forest, spread across three mountains, and 49 of the area’s 53 California condors disappeared.

Ring of Fire

After feigning illness to avoid a court date, the “Ring of Fire” singer eventually paid a fine of $82,001 in damages.

🔹Throughout his career, Cash would often perform in prisons and recorded two live albums during those performances — Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968 and Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969.

🔹Cash was actually arrested seven times total for charges including reckless driving, drug use and public drunkenness, though he never spent more than a few nights in jail.

🔹One of his arrests was for picking flowers in Starkville, Mississippi, when he drunkenly took flowers from someone’s yard at 2 a.m. At the Starkville jail, he kicked the door so hard he broke his toe and later recorded a song about the experience.


🔹In 1981, Cash was attacked by his pet ostrich, Waldo. The big bird left him with five broken ribs and internal bleeding. The attack happened on the grounds of the exotic animal park Cash had established behind the House of Cash offices in Tennessee.

🔹In his book Cash: The Autobiograph, the musician wrote that Waldo was “not happy” to see him one day and that he swiped at the animal with a stick to show him who was boss.

“I missed,” Cash wrote. “He wasn’t there. He was in the air, and a split second later he was on his way down again, with that big toe of his, larger than my size-thirteen shoe, extended toward my stomach. He made contact — I’m sure there was never any question he wouldn’t — and frankly, I got off lightly. All he did was break my two lower ribs and rip my stomach open down to my belt, If the belt hadn’t been good and strong, with a solid belt buckle, he’d have spilled my guts exactly the way he meant to. As it was, he knocked me over onto my back and I broke three more ribs on a rock — but I had sense enough to keep swinging the stick, so he didn’t get to finish me. I scored a good hit on one of his legs, and he ran off.”

In the history of music, Johnny Cash definitely is one of the best-known names in the industry.

Cash

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JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

Pringles Can Hacks (& Things You Don’t Know About the Snacks But We Are Telling You Anyway)

How many chips are in a container of Pringles?

The cans say there is “about” five servings of 16 chips, which means 80 Pringles. When we tested four cans of Original Pringles we counted two cans with 79 chips, one with 80, and the last one had 78.

However, a can of Sour Cream and Onion chips had 82 and can of Pizza-Flavored had 81.

Pringles has 25 different flavors in the U.S. and even more internationally, when combined you can make 318,000 unique flavor stacks. Of all the varieties, the top-selling flavors are Original, Cheddar Cheese, Barbeque and Sour Cream and Onion.

When Fredric Baur, the inventor of Pringles potato chips died at age 89, per his wish, his cremated ashes were placed inside an original flavored Pringles can for burial.

Baur

In 1956, Baur, a trained chemist, used a geometric formula to create a saddle-shaped chip that would not break when individually stacked inside a cardboard cylinder in-a-can invention.

Besides a burial urn, here are other uses for Pringles cans:

Store other foods inside. Chips aren’t the only food that will travel safely inside a Pringles container. You can also safely pack a sleeve of crackers, some spaghetti or other noodles, dried beans, and more inside this handy can.

…and cookies.

Flour, sugar, and breadcrumbs are other products that can be transported via the Pringles container. The sturdy cardboard will protect the food, and you won’t have punctured bags or spilled products On your roadtrip, in the tent or inside a RV.

Make a cell phone speaker. Cut a slit near the bottom of the Pringles can. Make the slit large enough for your cell phone to sit inside. Remove the lid. The can will amplify your cell phone’s speaker.

  • Store plastic bags. Cut a small (one-inch diameter) hole in the Pringles lid. When you need a plastic bag, simply reach into the hole, and pull one out.

  • Office or hobby supplies. A Pringles can will also corral those office supplies like pens, scissors, paper clips, and glue sticks. Hobby supplies like beads, wire, artists’ paintbrushes and more will also fit inside.

  • Hair accessories holder. Use a Pringles can to keep hair ties and elastic bands together. Just put them around the outside of the can. Clips, ribbons, and bows can be stored inside the can, as well.
Dog cage?

  • Makeup organizer. You can cut down Pringles cans so that your makeup brushes, comb/brush, and other tools are easily at hand. Tape a series of cans together so they’ll stay securely upright.

  • Necklace holder. Put weights in the bottom of a Pringles can. Then wind a rubber band around the can, near the top. Hang necklaces and bracelets from the rubber band. Simple! And handy, too!
  • Bird feeder. Use a darning needle to poke and thread a string through the top of the Pringles can. Tie the ends of the string together. Then use a spatula or butter knife to smear peanut butter all over the exterior of the Pringles can. Then roll the prepared can in birdseed. Hang the bird feeder from a nearby tree or garden flag holder.

  • Keep paint rollers fresh. When painting, you can slip a Pringles container over the paint roller at the end of the day. The next day, the paint in the roller will be ready to go.

  • Travel Tools. We use a few select tools when traveling in our car or a RV–a tire gauge, a channel lock, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. An easy way to keep these few, but necessary, tools together and within reach is to store the tools inside a Pringles can.
Cousins?

  • Children Fun. Kids love doing this. Remove the bottom of the Pringles can. Use waterproof tape to securely fasten the lid onto the can. Gently place the lid end of the can into the water. Look through the bottom of the can to see what’s underneath the water’s surface. Here’s more ideas:

Holidays

Even More

Using chalkboard paint.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Barbara Eden to Appear at Graceland for Elvis Week 2022

Barbara Eden will make her first-ever appearance at Elvis Week 2022 on August 15 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee as a special guest at Conversations on Elvis. In memory of the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing, she will share some of her favorite memories of co-starring alongside Elvis in the 1960 film “Flaming Star.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Barbara Eden has starred in over 25 feature films, five network TV series, and 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies. Her iconic “I Dream of Jeannie” NBC Television series, launched in 1965, became an instant hit.

Flaming Star

In addition, Barbara is a New York Times bestselling author with her memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle. She most recently released her debut children’s book, Barbara And The Djinn.

Barbara also guest starred on Nickelodeon’s #1 animated Pre-School series Shimmer & Shine lending her voice, for the first time, as Empress Caliana.  Barbara keeps busy acting, making personal appearances, touring, participating in numerous charity events and home life, all of which are a part of her regular agenda.

Tickets for Elvis Week 2022 are on sale now. Click here for more information.

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Fans Rally to Help American Graffiti Actor Paul Le Mat In Hard Times

Paul Le Mat, 76, the Golden Globe winning actor famous for his roles in American Graffitti, Aloha Bobby and Rose, Melvin and Howard and other memorable movies of the 1970s-1990s, has fallen on hard times. Hundreds of fans around the world are helping.

Click here to help Paul Me Mat

“If you are a fan of American Graffiti you will want to help this actor,” a GoFundMe account set up for the 76-year-old Vietnam War Veteran states. “PaulLeMat played the award winning character ‘Milner,’ and his quiet retirement is being threatened with eviction.”

“For the last 20 years, Paul has been ill & quietly living in a rented condo in the San Fernando Valley. However, the owner must now sell immediately, and contrary to social media stats, Paul is struggling financially and he only has a few weeks to vacate. He needs our help financially.”

“This is a difficult time for everyone and like Paul, no baby-boomers, Veterans nor actors are exempt from the pandemic’s plight,” the fund manager, CR Cochrane, wrote. “Due to Paul’s illness, he has not been able to perform in an arena he loves so much.”

“We all remember being drawn into American Graffiti’s iconic cast, including the mysterious lure of “Milner’s” dark eyes as he summons Harrison Ford’s character and then leaves him in the dust; or perhaps you remember Paul’s innate camaraderie with Jason Robards in “Melvin and Howard”.”

“Paul fondly remembers those days and says he would work forever if he could, but the reality is: he cannot, and he needs our help. Let’s ensure that Paul is not left homeless & on the streets. Let’s give him the dignity he deserves, by donating what you can, and sharing his plight with friends and family. Thank you CR Cochrane (former Social Worker).”

Click here to help Paul Me Mat

Marc Sorger, who immediately donated $800 as soon as he heard, responded, “It goes without saying that you’ve inspired millions of people throughout your career. Even more importantly though, you’ve inspired people with your kindness as a good man. This world needs a lot more kindness right now. I’m paying it forward for all you’ve done and saying thank you sir, your kind heart has not gone unnoticed. ♥”

“Like so many kids growing up in the 70s Paul LeMat as John Milner was the coolest of the cool,” said Christopher Tiernan. “As I watched his other film roles I learned what a spectacular actor he is. In the age of social media I’ve been able to follow him and learn what a kind and gracious person he is. He is appreciative and responsive to his fans and quite obviously leads the life of meaning and purpose consistent with a strong faith. I’m glad to do a teeny part to help him out and wish I could contribute more.”


“It’s not much, but I hope it helps.” commented Tina Curtis. “I’ve loved your work since I was a kid. Much love from Minnesota!”


“Nobody should be homeless and Paul should be safe,” wrote donater Mark Seek.


“I loved Paul Le Mat in American Graffiti and More American Graffiti and bought and read all his books,” said Della Patton. “Now he needs help, and I want to help him.”

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

What Macaroni Actually Means in ‘Yankee Doodle’

Some of my favorite songs in Mrs. Hobart’s music class at Gillette Elementary in San Antonio during the 1960s were “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious,” “Bo Weevil,” and “Yankee Doodle.” I often wondered what macaroni had to do with a Yankee Doodle Dandy.” So, over half of a century later, I decided to research it.

Lo and behold, the “macaroni” part of “Yankee Doodle” doesn’t literally mean a variety of pasta formed in narrow tubes.

There is in fact an explanation for the inclusion of the wheat noodle in the old patriotic classic that I so learned back in the day. It is not at all what I expected.

In order to understand why the word “macaroni” was used, it is first worth bringing up that “Yankee Doodle” was originally created by the British to ridicule Americans, but later American soldiers reclaimed the song during the Revolutionary War and held onto it, which is why we all know it by heart from singing it over and over again in our youth.

The opening, the part of the song I’m referring to, goes:

“Yankee Doodle went to town
“A-riding on a pony,
“Stuck a feather in his cap
“And called it macaroni.”

But why would he name the feather macaroni?

Well, since the song was written by Brits, a “macaroni” is one who took part in a particular fashion trend which started in 1760 among sophisticated, aristocratic British men.

The trend consisted of a look where men wore big wigs and slim clothing and the name was derived from the then-obscure Italian macaroni dish these Brits seemed to favor. In short, to be macaroni was to be fashionable. Source: Library of Congress

As the trend caught on, it varied over the years and the term took on a more broad definition – male femininity.

Macaronis were people “who exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion,” with their tight pants and big, fancy wigs. Since men usually didn’t dress like this, not the “manly” ones at least, macaronis were also referred to as “hermaphrodites” or people belonging to neither the man or woman gender.

Another common view for macaronis was that of modern day “hipsters,” because they rejected traditional ways too. More lovely words for these rebels were “devils,” “reptiles,” “monkeys” and “butterflies.”

Finally, and perhaps the greatest perspective of all, macaronis were viewed as brave. Storytellers admired their individuality and often devised folk heroes who came from their kind of society, a society that was laughed at by the mainstream population on the surface yet envied on their insides.

Wow, macaronis were seriously ahead of their time.

However, “Yankee Doodle” wasn’t being complimented in the song but rather mocked by the British via satire, thinking Americans lacked class and were merely “simpletons,” or as it was called at the time, “doodles.” The British mocked the doodle for thinking that sticking a feather in one’s cap would make them macaroni.

The macaroni trend ended in the 1780s, a short-lived ordeal, but its legacy lived on mostly through the many caricatures created and the well-known song that is probably in your head as you’re reading this – “Yankee Doodle” – where a silly man puts a feather in his hat and thinks that’s fashionable.

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Goettle HVAC and Plumbing services are located in Phoenix, Tucson, San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas areas as well as regions in Southern California.

The True Story of Fire Fighting Smokey Bear

He is not Smokey ‘The’ Bear and Other Fun Facts

The start of World War II meant that many firefighters and other able-bodied men were deployed, leaving communities to manage wildfires themselves. .

The head of the Forest Service at that time, Lyle F. Watts, decided to attack the wildfire problem by educating the public about their role in fire prevention. Watts invited the Ad Council to join the Forest Service in this new ad campaign.Watts and team soon realized that they needed a symbol or character to represent their fire prevention campaign. A forest animal would be ideal.

The Disney Studios offered one of their characters to be the “face” of the fire prevention plan. The movie, Bambi, enjoyed widespread popularity at the time, so the deer Bambi represented the original ad campaign—but Disney’s licensing contract lasted just one year.

Seeing an overwhelmingly successful first year, Watts and his team chose a bear to replace Bambi.

Two decades before, on a July morning in 1922, a case of magnesium powder exploded in a warehouse in New York’s Greenwich Village. The resulting fire was devasting and claimed the life of a heroic firefighter named “Smokey” Joe Martin.

On August 9, 1944, the first Smokey Bear poster appeared. The bear was named in honor of “Smokey” Joe, and his first piece of public service artwork depicted the animal in his iconic hat, dousing a fire with a bucket of water.

A historic Smokey the Bear poster

Artist Albert Staehle painted this first Smokey Bear poster.

The ‘50s and ‘60s brought Smokey’s “ABC” campaign. This was a national push to educate the public about wildfire prevention in three easy steps, and it was broadcast to American homes through radio and TV spots.

Smokey 2

It wasn’t long before more posters of Smokey appeared. The bear gained widespread popularity. Soon Smokey Bear was featured on everything from comic books to toys. He was an undisputed success.

A real Smokey Bear

In 1950, a wildfire burned in New Mexico’s Capitan Mountains. Firefighters there found a young bear cub clinging to a tree branch. Firefighters presumed the cub climbed the tree to escape the raging fire. The little bear was alive, but severely burned. Firefighters rescued the cub and aptly named him Smokey.

News of a real Smokey Bear soon spread across the country. When Smokey had sufficiently recovered from his ordeal, he was moved to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where he continued to play a role in educating people about fire prevention.

To handle all of his fan mail–up to 13,000 letters a week–the U.S. Postal Service set up his own personal zip code, 20252, for his area in the zoo. The zip code was decommissioned in 1994, but fortunately brought back in honor of Smokey’s 70th birthday.

When the real Smokey Bear died, his body was taken back to the Capitan Mountains for burial in the State Historical Park.

Smokey carried his “only you can prevent forest fires” message into the early 2000s and placed the responsibility on us all to be careful around the campfire. Additionally, the shift in the use of “forest fires” to “wildfires” in Smokey’s messaging is present, as well.

Today, new Public Service Announcements to educate the public on different ways that wildfires are caused, including hot coals, dragging chains, and burning debris. Smokey’s wildfire prevention message was already resonating with audiences—now, they just needed actionable steps to take.

Today’s Smokey Bear

Other Smokey Bear facts

  • The Smokey Bear campaign is the longest-running Public Service Advertisement campaign in U.S. history.
  • In 1953, the Ideal Toy Company made a Smokey Bear doll. Included with the doll was a card that when mailed back gave children an official “Junior Forest Ranger” identification card. Within two years, over half a million kids had applied and received the unofficial honor.

  • Since its development in the 1940s, it’s estimated that the Smokey Bear ad campaign has reduced the number of acres lost to wildfires by 15.6 million annually.
  • Smokey does not have a middle name. (It’s Smokey Bear. Not Smokey “The” Bear.) A song about the forest icon added “The” to his name in order to make the lyrics and melody sync better. 

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
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These Vintage Trailer Transformations Will Leave You Smiling

We love to travel and especially enjoy roadtrips across America. Since we’ve been married in 2019, the two of us–along with Mr. Beefy, our “King of the Hill Country” canine–have been to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maryland.

We also enjoyed Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia…and we’ve just started.

Both of us have peculiar little quirks of interests, individually and those we share: museums, historical sites, camping, amusement parks, birdwatching, theater, concerts and roadside attractions.

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One in particular is viewing restored pieces of history, especially trains, planes and automobiles. When it comes to restoring things from the past, such as an antique or junk someone left behind, there’s plenty of room to let the imagination run wild.

Being Baby Boomers, it’s not so hard to enjoy seeing what others have done by restoring vintage travel trailers. We hope these make you smile.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Three Stooges: Secrets and Legacy

By 1940, the Three Stooges were at their peak when they starred in the comedy short You Nazty Spy! It was a hilarious hit piece as Moe, Larry and Curly openly lampooned Adolph Hitler.

The Nazi dictator was so outraged by the short that he officially listed Moe Howard, Jerry “Curly” Howard and Larry Fine as “favored casualties” on his personal “death list.”

The Three Stooges began as part of a vaudeville troupe known as “Ted Healy and His Stooges” in 1922. Howard brothers Moe and Shemp, along with violinist Larry were the original cast.

When the Stooges were offered a studio contract by 20th Century Fox in 1930, it was without troupe leader Healy. Healy took offense to this and saw to it that Fox withdrew the offer, claiming that the Stooges were his employees and couldn’t leave him.

With Ted Healy exerting full control over the Stooges in these early years, the trio found its professional life to be difficult. Healy was harsh and irritating.  Although he had made Moe the trio’s business manager, for Shemp the fun was gone. Shemp left the Stooges to make comedy films in Brooklyn.

Curly, Moe’s younger brother, was recruited to replace Shemp. In reality, Curly was a quiet man who kept a low profile in public and preferred the company of dogs to people. He only acted as he did on screen when he was with the other Stooges and preferred to keep a low profile.

Healy’s tyranny grew and was becoming more unbearable to be around as he began drinking heavily. A huge rift grew between him and the Stooges until 1937.

On the night his son was born, the quick tempered Healy drove to Sunset Strip to celebrate. He died mysteriously that evening, allegedly of a heart attack at age 41. Bruising on his face, coupled with reports of him starting a fight soon surfaced and coupled with his aggressive nature keep the idea of him being killed  lingering to this day.

The Stooges were soon signed by Columbia Pictures with a heavy requirement to produce at least eight short films in a period of 40 weeks. Their hard work paid off and they became immensely popular with audiences who lapped up the trio’s hilarious antics. However, the trio were purposely being kept in the dark about their fame by Columbia president Harry Cohn, who saw them as a cheap commodity with enormous market potential.

Cohn kept an open option placed in their contracts so that every year they would have to re-sign. This tactic caused the Stooges to believe they were unpopular with audiences, and thus Cohn could fire them at will.

On top of Cohn’s open contract, the Stooges were not paid as much as their box-office draw suggested. When they first signed the contract with Columbia, they earned $1,000 a week. This was good money in the 1930s, equivalent to over $16,000 in 2022. They quickly realized that they were being treated as one single performer, which meant they had to split that $1,000 between them.

It wasn’t until 1934, that the Three Stooges became Oscar nominees for their film Men in Black, which was a spoof of the Clark Gable/Myrna Loy film Men in White (1934). This was the the Stooges only nomination ever, but two good things came about:

🔹It brought heightened respect and absolutely shut their critics up at the time.

🔹Their earning, divided by three, grew to $7500 per week (2022 value is over $121,500 each week).

The Stooges were recognized for their hilariously dangerous stunts in their films. Usually these were faked for the camera, but sometimes they weren’t. In a scene when a character acted as a human dartboard, Larry got a fountain pen lodged in the back of his head. In another gag Curly had to get stitches in his forehead, and within hours he was back on set wearing a wig that covered the bruising.

While filming Three Little Pigskins (1934), the Stooges drew a line in the sand. They were supposed to be stampeded by a group of professional football players, but they stood their ground and refused. Stunt doubles were called for the scene and they ended up getting seriously injured, suffering cracked ribs and broken bones.

Curly

A common skit seen in The Three Stooges films was a manic Curly running around in circles. In later scripts this was written in on purpose because audiences thought it was hilarious. But it actually began as complete improvisation for whenever Curly forgot his lines.

The Stooges used many physical idiosyncrasies for the sake of comedy. But one of these was not faked; it was caused by a childhood accident.

Curly’s limp was a hilarious antic of his character’s appeal and he worked to make it more comical in their Shorts and Live acts. The limp was actually natural, a result of having shot himself in the ankle when he was cleaning a rifle as a child.

Jerome “Jerry” Horowitz originally shaved his head to secure the part of Curly after his older brother Moe told him a studio executive didn’t believe he looked like a person that could make people laugh. He actually had a thick mop of hair and a handlebar mustache, but shaved it all off. Although successfully funny, the shaved head embarrassed him because he felt women didn’t find him attractive. He would take to wearing hats often to cover up his bald head. This anxiety led him to drink and eat excessively when touring, and by the mid 1940s his weight was causing him serious health problems.

Moe noticed it was becoming more difficult for his little brother to perform in their films. Curly’s career came to a screeching halt in 1946 when he suffered a stroke. He was able to appear briefly in one last Stooges film as a train passenger before suffering a second stroke and spending his final years in a wheelchair. Jerry “Curly” Howard was the first of the Stooges to die, at just 48.

Moe

Moe truly was the brains for The Three Stooges and their films were always popular with audiences. To Hollywood, they were seen as B-movie pictures in the industry. Because of this, they were often forced to cut corners and work on sets that had previously been used by other films.

It wasn’t merely sets that they borrowed, but also props and entire wardrobes left over from other productions.

Curly, Shemp & Moe Howard

Being the business manager of the team, Moe was also the most money conscious of the brothers. He felt responsible for making sure the small budgets on the films made good use of their limited resources and props. Though there were many pie-throwing scenes in the films, there were not actually that many pies available on set, so Moe felt it was important to always hit his target. He developed a way of throwing the pies; he could tell by the weight of the pie how far it could travel and how likely it was to hit some unlucky person in the face.

Moe’s head was one of the most instantly recognizable of the trio’s due to its bowl-cut style. Ironically, it was Moe who had curly hair as a child, as his mother had wanted a daughter and decided to grow her son’s hair out. A nasty dose of school bullying caused Moe to cut his hair by himself, and he kept the bowl cut for the rest of his life.

Larry

Larry Fine, the most musically inclined of the three, had unique violin-playing skills. This came about when he was very young. Larry’s father was a jewelry maker and used acid to etch his jewelry. Larry tried to drink the acid one day, and his father knocked it out of his hand. Some of the acid landed on Larry’s arm, corroding its skin and muscle. To help strengthen the damaged muscles in his son’s arm, his father sent him to violin lessons, which seemed to help restore some of the damage.

As a man, Larry absolutely loved dancing. He would dance at any opportunity and was often found at the Triangle Ballroom in Brooklyn. Often, he would be late for filming and rehearsal because he was overcoming the effects of his many nights out at dance halls. In his retirement, when he was confined to a wheelchair, he would attempt to dance even though he was mostly paralyzed.

Shemp

After Curly’s first stroke, Samuel “Shemp” Horowitz rejoined the Stooges. For the films made in this era, Shemp found that directors and movie executives wanted him to play a similar role to the one played by Curly before he had left. Audiences had reacted to Curly the best, but Shemp didn’t want to mimic his brother’s style. When he did try, critics and audiences found his performance to be lackluster.

On November 22, 1955, Shemp was coming home after attending a boxing fight. He had told a joke and lit a cigar when he hunched over to Al Winston and burned his friend. He died of a heart attack. Having just completed four out of eight scheduled films, producer Jules White used stand-ins footage of them that was cut alongside pre-existing footage of Shemp to give the impression that he had completed these films.

In the years since, body doubles used to replicate an actor who has passed away has come to be known as a “fake Shemps.” Some examples include using Fake Shemps for Natalie Wood, Bela Lugosi, Bruce Lee and John Candy after their deaths during productions of Plan 9 From Outer Space, Brainstorm, The Game of Death, and Wagons East, respectively.

The 1950s were an usual time for the Stooges. On a personal level, Moe and Larry were dealing with the deaths of Curly Howard and Shemp Howard. However, professionally the act was experiencing a new rush of popularity thanks to their shorts airing on television. By 1959, all 190 Stooge shorts were airing regularly on television.

When Joe DeRita replaced the late Shemp in the mid-1950s, he wore his hair in a style similar to Shemp. Because of the awesome popularity of the group’s shorts on television, DeRita was asked first to buzz his hair, then totally shave his head in an attempt to resemble Curly Howard. He was dubbed “Curly-Joe.”

The Three Stooges remained active throughout the 1960s, appearing in full length feature films such as:

🔹Have Rocket Will Travel

🔹It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World

🔹The Outlaws Is Coming

🔹Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze

🔹The Three Stooges Meet Hercules

🔹Snow White and The Three Stooges

🔹The Three Stooges in Orbit

They filmed the pilot of a potential travelogue/comedy hybrid show known as Kook’s Tour. The series would’ve followed the “retired” Stooges to various real locations around the world. However, tragedy struck during production…

Their syndicated shorts continued on television, and they had a successful live tour. By the end of the decade, age had begun to catch up with them, making their traditional brand of slapstick stunts untenable.

They began filming a pilot program for television to be called Kook’s Tour in 1969. Before completion, Larry Fine suffered a massive stroke, paralyzing him. Fine would spend the next five years in a wheelchair. After several more strokes in late 1974, he died in January of 1975.

In 1974, the Stooges, with Moe, Curly-Joe, and the yet-to-debut Emil Sitka, were scheduled to star in the film Blazing Stewardesses. The casting was announced, and publicity photos were taken. Just prior to production, Moe Howard was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to disband the Stooges. He passed away in March of the following year.

Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983, The Three Stooges continue to live on in the numerous remakes, re-releases and animated adventures that have been released over time.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.