The ‘Hello, My Name is Jose Jiminez’ Eye Opener

When William Szathmary died on June 15, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee, millions of fans who knew him, did not know him by his birth name.

Eleven years prior to his death, meeting American comedian Bill Dana was a complete surprise, because I had completely forgotten about the entertainer.

Like many baby boomers growing up in the 1960s, Dana would make America laugh with his signature, “Hello, my name is Jose Jiminez” astronaut routine. It was so popular, another celebrity, a country and western singing star, would adapt his own stage introductions with “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash!”

In 2006, I had the pleasure of meeting Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, Gene Krantz, and other space related notables at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Among some of the “celebrities” I talked with were movie and television stars James Drury (The Virginian, Disney’s Toby Tyler), Lana Wood (The Searchers, Peyton Place, Diamonds Are Forever) Clint Howard (Gentle Ben, Apollo 13), and Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet). It was certainly an unexpected eye opener to spend some time with Bill Dana.

“Okay, José, you’re on your way!”


With those words, radioed to Alan Shepard as he lifted off to become the first American astronaut to fly into space on May 5, 1961, Bill Dana’s role in NASA history was sealed.

Because of his popularity portraying “José Jiménez,” Dana was bestowed the title of being the eighth of the Mercury 7 astronauts.

When he died on that June 15th in 2017, Dana was 92.

“He’ll be missed not only by the astronaut family, but many more around the world,” said Tammy Sudler, president and CEO of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “Bill Dana was lovingly known as our honorary Mercury 8 astronaut.”

First created in 1959 for “The Steve Allen Show” and later appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” José Jiménez held several positions, including an elevator operator, a bobsled racer, a Navy submariner and a lion tamer, but it was as the shiny-spacesuited, reluctant astronaut that the Bolivian character became famous (Dana was of Hungarian-Jewish ancestry in reality).

“What do you consider the most important thing in rocket travel?” asked Ed Sullivan, playing the straight man during one of Dana’s better-known skits.

“To me the most important thing in the rocket travel is the blast-off,” said Dana.

“The blast-off…” repeated Sullivan.

“I always take a blast before I take off. Otherwise, I would not go near that thing,” Dana quipped as Jiménez.

Dana’s José Jiménez routine was later released on record albums, rising to the Top 20 on the Billboard charts, which drew the attention of the real-life Mercury astronauts.

“The astronauts, especially Shepard, absolutely loved the record, and listened to it in the office after intense training sessions,” author Neal Thompson described in “Light This Candle” (Crown, 2004), his biography of the first astronaut. “Shepard even tape recorded the album and during lulls between training exercises or during test launches at the Cape would play the tapes at full volume near the Mission Control loudspeakers.”

The astronaut and comedian first met at a Cocoa Beach night club, where Shepard — from out in the audience and without the prior knowledge of Dana — took on the role of the straight man, setting up Jiménez’s replies. Soon, fellow astronauts Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton joined in.

Dana, 3rd from left with Mercury astronauts



“The club was roaring as the three astronauts took turns,” wrote Thompson. After the show, Dana hurried to a phone to call his producer in New York.

“‘They know us. They know every word. And they love us,” exclaimed Dana, as described by Thompson.

Shepard and the other astronauts’ fondness for Dana and his character led to José Jiménez becoming the unofficial mascot of the Mercury program.

In addition to inspiring the 1961 launch call between Slayton (in the blockhouse) and Shepard (on top of a Redstone rocket), Dana performed at President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball with Shepard in attendance.

The comedian also inspired a “gotcha” – a practical joke – that Shepard arranged in secret for John Glenn to discover once aboard his Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft. Opening up a pouch while in orbit, Glenn was surprised by a small stuffed mouse floating free, a reference to the “leetle mice” Jiménez would cite as fellow test subjects in his routine.

Sammy Davis, Jr. Meets Archie Bunker

One of the most celebrated televised episodes of the classic and controversial All in the Family aired in 1972. It’s the tale about the time entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. stopped by to visit the Bunkers.

It begins with a briefcase he left in Archie’s cab and ends with the kiss of infamy. Very few people are aware that the writer of this episode was Bill Dana.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS



🔹Born William Szathmary in Quincy, Massachusetts on Oct. 5, 1924, Dana served as a gunner and mortarman in the U.S. Army during World War II.

🔹He began his career in comedy as a page and a writer for other comedians’ stand-up routines.

🔹Dana was also a screenwriter for television and movies, writing the Emmy-Award-winning “All in the Family” episode, “Sammy Davis Visits Archie Bunker” (1972), penning jokes for the “Donny and Marie” show (1977-1978), and co-writing the script for the “Get Smart” film “The Nude Bomb” (1980).

Dana also showed up as José Jiménez in a number of TV cameos, including as part of a 1966 episode of “Batman,” appearing alongside the late Adam West and Burt Ward.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Was Natalie Wood Murdered?

“…intentional accident,” said her sister Lana.

When Hollywood legend Natalie Wood starred in the 1983 movie Brainstorm,  there was no way of knowing it would be her last.

NOTORIOUS AMERICAN CRIME CHRONICLES is a CleverJourneys ongoing series exploring American history from a perspective that burrows deep into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and our justice system.

The science-fiction movie, co-starring Christopher Walken,  explored the intriguing and dangerous possibilities that came with intruding into someone else’s mind. 

Natalie died before the film was finished. Despite resistance from studio executives, the director, Douglas Trumbull, creatively found a way to complete Brainstorm

Walken and Wood in BRAINSTORM

Trumball used Natalie’s younger sister, Lana Wood, for some “long shots and shaded profiles” to successfully complete the movie. Brainstorm was a hit and went on to receive a total of six award nominations.

Natalie started out successfully as a child actor and by the 1960s she was featured in Hollywood classics such as West Side StoryGypsy, and Sex and the Single Girl.

She put her acting career on hiatus in the 1970s and had a child with Robert Wagner, whom she had previously married and divorced.

🔹While on a yachting excursion with Wagner and Brainstorm co-star Walken off Santa Catalina Island on November 29, 1981, Wood’s body was mysteriously found floating about a mile away from the yacht.

🔹An autopsy revealed that she had bruises and abrasions on her body, as well as a cocktail of pain medications and alcohol in her system.

🔹Her death was ruled to be an accidental drowning and hypothermia.

🔹To this day, no one is certain how Natalie got in the water in the first place, although then-Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi suggested that she may have slipped and fell given the alcohol in her system.

🔹Wagner claimed that there was no foul play on his part, although he admitted later that the two had a big argument right before Wood disappeared.

In 2006, I had the pleasure of meeting Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, Gene Krantz, and other space related notables at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Among some of the “celebrities” I talked with were movie and television stars James Drury (The Virginian), Clint Howard (Gentle Ben, Apollo 13), and Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet). However, I was especially excited to spend some time with Lana Wood.

Lana followed her sister into the movie business and as a child starred in The Searchers with John Wayne. She had a recurring role in the TV hit Peyton Place in the 1960s. My favorite role of hers was as Plenty O’Toole in the 1971 James Bond spy movie, Diamonds Are Forever with Sean Connery.

I gave her my business card and we chatted for a good while. She was very open and candid during the interview, especially when asked about the death of her sister.

My autograph from Lana Wood

“First, Natalie was absolutely terrified of the water and swimming, so I never bought into the idea she went out at 10 o’clock at night in a dingy,” she said.  Additionally, Wood’s sister asserted that Wood was terrified of water and under no circumstances would have gone in on her own accord.

“The things they (Wagner and Walken) were saying that Natalie did that night were just not credible,” Lana was certain. “Searchers found her in her nightgown about a mile away. That totally goes against her personality, her character.”

“I knew her all of our life and she was always concerned about how she looked and where she was going,” Lana continued. “Our mother, was an aggressive stage mom, especially with Natalie. It was drilled in her head to be dressed right, day or night, here or there.”

“Do you think her death was an accident?” I asked point blank.

“No, if it was an accident, it was intentional because of their fight on the yacht,” she responded. “I believe her death was intentional and the man who killed my sister was not Christopher Walken. It has been over 20 years now and it continues to haunt me.”

🔹In 1983, the coroner officially ruled Natalie Wood’s death as an accident.

🔹Her death certificate reads, a “probable drowning in the ocean.”

🔹In 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the investigation into the mysterious death.

Since the night of her death, more information has come to light:

🔹The yacht captain and Christopher Walken both heard Wood and Wagner fighting that night, per Vanity Fair.

🔹Questions about why no one called for emergency assistance when Wagner discovered his wife missing have never been answered. It wasn’t until a few hours later when the incident was reported.

🔹Over time, new witnesses, including people who were in their own boats at that time, came forward indicating they heard arguing and a woman shouting for help on that night.

🔹Natalie’s death certificate was amended in 2012 to change the cause of her death from “Drowning” to “Drowning and other undetermined factors”.

Finally, during the last week of May 2022, the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. announced they cleared Robert Wagner, 92, in its investigation into the death of Natalie Wood.

“All leads have been exhausted and the case remains open,” they said. “If additional leads surface which have not already been investigated, the case will be reassigned for investigation.”

WOOD’S AUTOPSY

🔹When Natalie Wood’s death investigation was reopened, her cause of death was changed to “undetermined.”

🔹Her body was found dressed in a plaid, flannel nightgown, argyle socks, and a red down jacket.

🔹Wood’s blood alcohol content was 0.14%, which was higher than the legal driving limit.

🔹Pain and motion sickness medications were found in her bloodstream.

🔹Bruises were found on several parts of her body, such as the ankles, knees, and wrists.

🔹In the 1981 report, the bruises were attributed to hitting her body on the side of the yacht, as she struggled to get back up after falling over.

🔹However, the new coroner’s report, after the reinvestigation, states that the bruises occurred before Wood even fell into the water.

“The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to entry in the water.”

🔹The yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern, revealed in an interview that he lied during his police interrogation. When asked whether he thought Wagner was responsible, he answered, “Yes, I would say so. Yes.”

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Happy 82 Birthday Sir Tom Jones, From My Mom in Heaven

Knowing I’m an advid autograph collector, my mother, Geraldine Dennis was always on the lookout and obtained several signatures for me.

In April 1969, she took me to a Tom Jones concert with my cousins Carolyn Sanders Gerland and James Johnson at the Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio, Texas. Gladys Knight and the Pips and comedian Norm Crosby also appeared.

They performed on a stage, in the center of the arena, with an amazing orchestra on one side. I was only 13 and the entire show was incredible. Tom Jones sang such hits as “It’s Not Unusual,” “Delilah,” and “Help Yourself.”

I was mesmerized by the strength in his voice and boldness of his showmanship. (It would be three years later, in April 1972, when I would see Elvis Presley for the first time at that same arena…and up until that concert, never did I believe Tom Jones could be beat. LOL.)

Elvis & Tom, 1969

For years Mom would laugh and say, “When I die I want to come back reincarnated as a gospel backup singer so I can stand behind Tom Jones and watch him work on stage.”

She meant it.

On her 50th birthday we took her to the Magic Time Machine restaurant. It first opened in 1973, the year I graduated from high school, and continues to be a fun favorite in San Antonio.

 The Time Machine is like no other restaurant I’ve ever seen, with no two seating areas alike. In San Antonio, you can sit at the Sweethearts Table, in The Attic, a Thatched Hut or even an old Refrigerator. Mom loved the salad bar, a shiny red 1952 MG-TD Roadster modified to serve as a soup and salad vegetables.

“The thing that sets The Magic Time Machine apart is our zany cast of characters who transport our guests into another point in time,” their website bills themselves. “Our servers dress in costumes representing popular pop culture icons from the past, present, and future. The entertainment comes from the humorous interaction with your server in a family friendly environment. Pirate or Princess? Hero or Villain? We have characters for every occasion and group. At The Magic Time Machine, ‘Laughing Aloud is Allowed’!”

It was a fun night that January 17, 1988. Elvis was in the house and Mom told her friends Wayne and Betty Lewis, “I wished Tom Jones would make an appearance too” and explained her reincarnation wish.

We had great laughs but it was especially joyful to see her open my present to her—an 8×10″ glossy personally autographed picture of Tom Jones. The smile and happy tears on her face endure in my thoughts even today.

I took mom to see Tom Jones two more times (she had even seen him in Las Vegas) both in San Antonio’s Majestic Theater and the Laurie Auditorium. Each time she repeated her reincarnation wish–“gospel singer behind Tom Jones.”

When Mom died in September 2006, the funeral at First Baptist Church in Boerne, Texas was full. My sister Bobbi Shipman and I both addressed our dear family and friends, some we hadn’t seen in decades. Of course, there was great emotion and sadness.

To end it all, a gospel group from a Black San Antonio church led by Janet Givens (she has sang to royalty and backed up Michael Bolton) practically blew the stained glass windows out of the church with their songs. They concluded with “Oh Happy Day!”

Mom’s funeral was appropriately uplifting…just like her.

Happy Birthday Sir Tom Jones

I imagine that as Sir Tom Jones celebrates his 82nd birthday here on Earth June 7th, Mom will be wishing him good will and happiness from Heaven–and looking at his behind.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

America Celebrates a Century of ‘Our Gang’ Comedy Classics

Who Can Name These Little Rascals?

It All Began in 1922 by Film Producer Hal Roach

.

The first long term contract ever given to a Black actor in Hollywood was written for Fred Morrison.

Frederic Ernest “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison, born in New Orleans started out in films called the Baby Marie Osbourne series. He earned his “Sunshine Sammy” nickname for his big smile and easygoing personality. 

Producer Hal Roach had originally planned on giving him his own series, but “The Sunshine Sammy Series” failed after a few attempts. Hal and his wife brainstormed the idea of expanding it, not on just one character, but to a band of “Rascals.”

Mrs. Roach, very impressed with Morrison, suggested that her husband should get the 7-year-old under their studio contract. With the addition of more children, the “Our Gang” series was born.  Sunshine Sammy Morrison ended up working in the aerospace industry and died of cancer when he was 76.

When Roach first started making the shorts way back in 1921, the “Our Gang” the short films were shown in theaters prior to the main picture. When they eventually made the jump to television, the series became “The Little Rascals.”

After the 23 years of “The Little Rascals” run came to an end, 220 films had been made. Reruns ensured generations of fans would continue to enjoy the series.

PETEY THE CIRCLE EYED DOG

Who remembers Petey, the adorable dog with the black circle under his eye?

He was portrayed by a pit bull named Pal who had the naturally-occurring marking—accented with makeup to complete the ring.

Pal was introduced into the series as just a 6-month-old pup. He became a massive star and the beloved family pet of trainer Harry Lucenay. Tragically, in 1930, Pal passed away after being poisoned.

“The Little Rascals” was still going strong, and the gang needed their Petey. Pal’s own son, Peter, stepped in as the new “Perry.” Makeup artists drew the distinctive circle around Peter’s opposite eye, in tribute to his much-loved father.

ALFALFA

Carl Switzer spent five years portraying the very popular role of “Alfalfa” in 75 films. When he became to old for the part, his intention in 1940 was to continue his career in show business. Often uncredited, Switzer appeared in small parts in nearly sixty films, including My Favorite Blonde (1942), The Human Comedy (1943), Going My Way (1944), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), State of the Union (1948), Pat and Mike (1952). Switzer even played a slave in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).

In early 1959, Switzer was breeding and training hunting dogs. He was hired to train the hunting dog of a man named Moses Stiltz. While training the dog, it took off. Desperate, Switzer offered a reward.

The dog was returned, Switzer ended up paying up, then decided to go to Stiltz to try to get his reward money back. The two men got into a fight, and Switzer was shot in the groin. He died when he arrived at the hospital.

JACKIE COOPER, A TOUGH RASCAL

Jackie Cooper passed away in 2011 and the world mourned the loss of the Superman film’s Perry White. Older fans knew Cooper had been one of “The Little Rascals.” 

Director Norman Taurog, told the young actor that he would shoot his dog if he didn’t cry on command during the filming for a 1931 film.

In “Our Gang,” Cooper was called “the little tough guy,” and unlike many of the kids who came and went through the “Rascals” roster, Cooper stayed in show business. (Which wasn’t entirely surprising, as his father was a studio production manager, and his uncle was the director that threatened to shoot his dog. He’s pictured signing his contract with MGM.)

OTHER NOTABLE RASCALS

🔹Norman “Chubby” Chaney died of a heart condition when he was 21.

🔹Billy “Froggy” Laughlin was riding a scooter when he was hit by a car and killed.

🔹Alfalfa’s brother, Harold “Slim” Switzer, took his own life at the age of 42. 

CAN YOU RECALL THESE RASCALS?

Then & Now, Cast of 1994 Movie

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Attempt at Being Indoctrinated That I Remember Most

With a long, overdue message to a university professor…

Texas State University in San Marcos, between Austin and San Antonio, was known as Southwest Texas University during the summer of 1976. Barely beginning my junior year, a significant paradigm challenge and among the first major attempts at indoctrination took place in a Flowers Hall Sociology class.

“Is God so powerful, that He can create a rock so heavy even he can not lift it up over His head?” our professor asked the class.

Several classmates attempted to answer but were torn into by the professor’s stern logic.

I took a moment to bow my head.

A girl in the desk to my left, did the same. Several others also followed.

“Oh, come on now, please spare me,” he theatrically clinched his two fists together and began shaking them below his waste. “What do you believe? Did your Jesus, your God, shake himself like this and spew out a universe?”

The girl next to me picked up her belongings and walked out into the hallway. He slammed the door behind her.

“Any of you children, still sucking your momma’s teats, after this had better get out now and prepare to drop out for good.”

Flowers Hall entrance

A few students walked out and politely closed the door behind themselves.

He turned to us and sarcastically asked, “So how does this Jesus purport to be the almighty God anyway? When he prays to God is He praying to himself?”

Of course, gullible as some of us were, none of us had the knowledge and ability to debate him. The professor’s word was the final discussion and ruling on the subject. I’m guessing he voted for William Jefferson Clinton later that year, and if still around, voted for Joe Biden and the likes of Beto O’Rourke in 2020.

Decades later, I know the answer to the mad professor’s question.

How could the prayer of Jesus to the Father be the same as us praying to the Father when he demonstrated to us that he himself answers our prayers in John 14:13?

WHATEVER YOU ASK IN MY NAME, THIS I WILL DO, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON.

John 14:13

Now if we took the professor’s meaning of prayer, we were limited in our ability to debate him. His term for “pray” really just means a human speaking to God. Of course, this wouldn’t make sense because Jesus himself says He answers our prayers.  So if Jesus can answer our prayers, He couldn’t be just human.  

The fact that He can answer the prayers of humans, yet prayed Himself, shows both that HE IS GOD and that His prayer to the Father is of a different nature than ours.

A human being can’t both answer human prayers and pray to the Father as a human being.  Either he can’t answer prayers (but He can), or His prayer is not just a human-to-God interaction.  So the fact that Jesus can answer prayers proves that He is God while also being able to talk with other persons in the Godhead.

Along the years, I read this statement when studying the Bible:

that will I do; he does not say, that he would be a Mediator between God, and them, an advocate with the Father for them, and would intercede, and use his interest with him that it might be done, which would have been saying much, and all which he does; but he declares he will do it himself, which is a proof of his deity, and an instance of his omnipotence.”

Jesus’ prayer does not negate his Deity

🔹The word pray does not always have to mean a communication between God and Man.

🔹Jesus used the term “pray” as being a dialogue between two individuals of the same essence.

🔹One of the methods of instruction employed by Christ was leading by example. Hence if Jesus prayed, then all the more should we.

🔹If Christ prayed to the Father in like manner to our appeals and requests to God , then it wouldn’t make any sense because Jesus said that He, himself, could answer our prayers.  

🔹If He can answer our prayers, He must not be separate from God.  

🔹If He can answer our prayers, His prayer to the Father is of a different nature than our prayer to the Father.

Dear Professor, There is no contradiction between Jesus praying and the idea of Him being a member of the Trinity, (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the Word made flesh.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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.

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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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Visit Graceland

Warning: Not Politically Correct Information For Manly Men Only

When someone from Hollywood or CNN or The New York Times uses the term “toxic masculinity,” it does not always set too well with me. Maybe it’s because I’ve had enough of liberal and social engineering buzz words and phrases such as “phobic,” “racist,” “discrimination,” and “fascism.” It may be because it is obvious that not all masculinity is toxic.

🔹Originally coined by artificial mythology from the men’s movement of the 1980s and ’90s, it refers to a common male stereotype that promotes aggressive behavior, dominance over others, and stunted emotions.

🔹These buzz words have all been widely appropriated by cultural Marxists.

🔹For instance, in the classic sense, “discrimination” meant a sound judgment, based on the awareness of differences and determinations. In the midst of the twentieth century, the rising Socialist Left appropriated the word and turned it upside down.

🔹To millions of us, their Marxist tactics are nothing but a consummate hypocrisy at work here, as the Big Left constantly practices ideological and class discrimination.

🔹In the name of opposing “discriminations,” liberals actually discriminate through “affirmative action” and “diversity.” Their intent is to dispose whites by parceling out employment and positions to less able people on the basis of their purported victimhood—which itself implies an anti-white, anti-male charge.

🔹Cutting through the scrap, it is all but another tool for ideological bludgeoning…and indoctrination. Those who control the institutions will scream against “unfair criteria” of discernment while applying their own. The real victim and charged is always the same.

🔹The words “phobia” or “phobics” are used by real idiots to smear conservatives and normal people who showed reluctant to leftward pushes. 

🔹Identifying and rejecting the very thought structure of liberal bias will free us of being vulnerable to bludgeoning or ideological conditioning. 

🔹Another favorite of the media and other Libtards is the term “Far Right.” Actually many people in the middle of the true political spectrum are being labeled such. It gives liberals self permission to publically downgrade those who have superior integrity, intelligence and believe in God.

🔹The Left and their “peaceful protesters” goes so far as to equate good All-American law abiding citizens to “fascism,” Hitler, the Holocaust, and so on.

Something masculine to offend someone

Reason

You know what really irks me,
That nagging question that comes about,
Why is it so important to be aligned with the status quo,
When we really should learn to live without.

That mindless herd mentality,
Leading us towards what is planned,
For each and everyone of us,
Unless we learn to look away,
As I know we can.

And yet so predictable and obvious,
To one that stands well clear,
Of the influence that is most potent,
That of one of fear.

So that might be the first step,
When you see a big scare coming on,
Be more than slightly suspicious,
Or your reason will be gone.

And if it is when you’re thinking,
You haven’t got a clue,
Just look again for that reason,
To see just what’s been done to you.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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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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.