Monday, July 31, 2006

Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin: "Partners"

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Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin: "Scared stiff"

 

1965: Charlton Heston and a big cast in "Major Dundee"

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The Western retro channel was showing "Major Dundee" with Charlton Heston this week.    

It was released in 1965 and includes quite a cast:   Richard Harris (Capt. Tyreen), Jim Hutton (Lt. Graham), James Coburn (Samuel Potts), and Senta Berger (Teresa Santiago).   

"Major Dundee" is the story of an officer punished by being sent to command a Texas prison camp.  The story is often a bit slow but it makes sense at the end.   

Please watch the film but you may have to view it a few times to understand what the whole thing is about.

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Martin & Lewis: "At War With the Army" was so funny!

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Martin & Lewis: "At War With the Army".......

The story of the Sullivan brothers



A couple of years ago, I was flipping channels and saw a bit of a movie about 5 brothers who enlisted in the US Navy after Pearl Harbor.   


All 5 were killed in 1942 when the USS Juneau was hit by enemy fire and exploded on the way back to port.  

It's a true story!   Shortly after, the US restructured its policy on siblings serving together. 

Later, two destroyers were named after the Sullivans. 

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The incredible life of Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

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Who are the most consequential men of the last 50 years?  Let me suggest President ReaganPope John Paul II and Dwight Eisenhower, the World War II general and then the consequential 34th President.

How about Milton Friedman, the greatest economist of our generation?

Friedman died in 2006.   He was born on this day in 1912.    We still miss him.

My Milton Friedman memories go back to college and the 1980 Reagan campaign.

First, he wrote that great book "Free to choose".   It became a TV series and many of us learned a lot by watching it.

Second, he was the leader of the "Chicago Boys" who fixed Chile after Pinochet overthrew Allende.

Friedman was a consequential man.  He left us a lot of books, essays. documentaries and a wonderful foundation for future generations!

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We remember Curt Gowdy (1919-2006)

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We remember Curt Gowdy who was born in Wyoming on this day in 1919.

A few days ago, I caught an audio clip of Curt Gowdy doing a World Series game many years ago.    What a treat to hear that voice again!

Most of us grew up watching the NBC Saturday afternoon baseball game of the week and listening to Gowdy's voice.   I recall many World Series games, too.  He was also the voice of Super Bowl and the famous Heidi game, when NBC cut off the Jets-Raiders game to broadcast the Disney movie.

In '84, Gowdy was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.    Curt Gowdy died in 2006.   He was a gem calling baseball and football.

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July 31, 1990: Nolan Ryan won # 300!

It was the evening of July 31st, 1990 and we were all watching Nolan Ryan go for # 300!

Where did the years go?   Nolan Ryan won # 300 on his second try in Milwaukee.
As I recall from the TV broadcast, Ryan got a huge ovation when he left the game in the 7th inning.   It was a classy move by the Brewers' fans.  He added no-hitter # 7 to his resume the next season!
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1953: Ronald Reagan looking good in "Law and order"

Doesn't "Law and order" sounds great for a Ronald Reagan movie?    It was released in 1953.

After all, wasn't he the "law and order" governor in who stood up to rowdy students at the universities in California?    Didn't he fire the air controllers when he became president in 1981?

I enjoyed it.  Reagan was Marshall Johnson in this movie based on a W R Burnett's novel.

It was another of the 1950's Westerns about good guys vs bad guys.    The plot was simple and Dorothy Malone was the pretty girl in the story.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

The best Lennon-McCartney song?


They say that a good song gets better and better with age....does it?

What was the best of all of the Lennon-McCartney tunes?

Over time, I've grown to love "In my life".

It was released in "Rubber Soul", my favorite of all of The Beatles' albums.

This is such a nice song, specially as we get a little older and remember all of the places that "have changed".

According to "songfacts":
"The lyrics about friends refer to Stu Sutcliffe, an early Beatle and great friend of John's who died in 1962, and another friend named Pete Shotton.

Lennon also thought of his Aunt Mimi and wife Cynthia, as well as other friends."
John & Paul do some great vocals:
"There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed

Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more..."

"Sandlot" is a fantastic movie

Want to watch a great movie?   Try "Sandlot", the story about the boys and their sandlot team.

Once upon a time in Los Angeles, there was a sandlot baseball team.   They used to play ball every day, a story that most men my age will understand.


During one of their games, a boy hit the ball over the fence and it landed next to "the beast" or a big dog that scared the heck out of them.


What was the big deal?   The ball was signed by Babe Ruth and they were using it without dad's permission.


Well, I've given you enough of the story.   Watch it because it is fantastic.

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You can get the movie here!




Saturday, July 29, 2006

A new book about The Beatles for a rainy day






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Rain and more rain!  So we have a little time to discover a good book about The Beatles:   






The defeat of The Spanish Armada and its consequences with Barry Jacobsen

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1957: Chuck Connors in "Tomahawk Trail"

Chuck Connors, known to most of us as "The Rifleman" made this pretty good western in 1957.     He played Sgt Wade McCoy, a veteran of the West.    I had a chance to catch this movie again.

Frankly, I kept waiting for the rifle or young Mark to come into the story.   

Nevertheless, it was a good movie and Connors was great as always.    

Great actor!

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Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28 1991: Dennis Martinez and a perfect game

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Where did so many years go? Dennis Martinez was perfect on this day in 1991.   
Dennis was born in Nicaragua and came up in the Orioles’ farm system in 1976.   
Before signing with Baltimore, Dennis caught the eyes of scouts with masterful pitching against Cuba and the US in 1974.  He beat the US, 1-0, pitching 10 innings. Then he beat Cuba, 4-3, by throwing 7 strong innings.  
Dennis won 108 games with Baltimore, including playing in the 1979 and 1983 World Series.   In 1987, he was traded to Montreal and that was really the prime of his career, including an ERA title and the aforementioned perfect game.
Dennis finished with 245 wins and a 3.70 ERA in 3,999 innings! 
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July 28, 1994: Kenny Rogers and the perfect game in Arlington

On This Day In Baseball History: July 28, 1991 & 1994 | The ...

As they say, I heard it on the radio!    Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game before a sellout crowd at the ballpark in Arlington.   He beat the Angels with one great catch by Rusty Greer in center field.    

Kenny played with Texas, New York Yankees, Oakland, New York Mets, back to Texas and then Detroit.   He won 219 games and 133 of those were with Texas.
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“Shane” the 3rd best Western ever?

Had a little time and watched “Shane”, a movie that I had seen bits and pieces of many times before.    
It was great.    
Shane is played by Alan Ladd.  He meets Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and his wife, Marian (Jean Arthur) who are small farmers in Wyoming.    He learns that there is a campaign of intimidation against the farmers.    
What a great movie.    The rest is up to you.    Watch it!  
“Shane” is # 3  in the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Westerns.     By the way, # 2 is “High noon”, another one of my favorites.
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Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 1991: Natalie Cole reached #1 with an album of her father's songs


Personality Photos | Nat king cole unforgettable, Natalie cole ...
It was a great musical moment.  Natalie Cole used modern technology to sing with her late father:  The result was a #1 album.

Natalie died on December 30, 2015, after a long and very successful career as a female vocalist.  In my opinion, this album was her greatest accomplishment.


Click here for a digital version of the wonderful album.


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"Cuban-American, Dancing On The Hyphen" by Amarilys Gacio Rassler




This is one of our favorite books about "growing up in the US".     Amarilys writes a lot about her family and recalls little things about Cuban culture.   Lots of fun!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 26, 1953 turned out to be an ugly day for Cuba


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On this day in 1953, Fidel Castro and his followers attacked the Moncada Barracks in eastern Cuba.
In fact, the attack was a disaster since more than 60 of the 185 "rebels" involved were killed. Castro and the survivors escaped and were eventually discovered and captured.
Castro was tried a few months later and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.  He defended himself and turned it into a book.
While in prison in Isla de Pinos, he wrote letters and continued to plot Batista’s overthrow.  He also enjoyed prison benefits later denied to the men and women that he executed or locked up.
After having served less than two years, he was released in May 1955 due to a general amnesty.  My guess is that Batista regretted that amnesty to the end of his life.
Castro left Cuba and went to Mexico, met Che and the rest is the history that we are all too familiar with.
Today, Cuba is a dictatorship: Thousands of executions, no one knows for sure how many died leaving the country in rafts and many are still sitting in political prisons. 
The Castro regime never allowed fair trials, free election or had a general amnesty to empty the prisons.
In short, Castro devastated a beautiful country and a prosperous island.
What are Cuba’s political prisons like?  Read Armando Valladares “Against all Hope”.  You will learn all you need to know about the legacy of July 26.
In retrospect, July 26 turned out to be a very bad day for Cuba.

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"El Moncada 1953" and a few other thoughts with Jorge Ponce

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2013: The story of The Vikings with Barry Jacobsen & Leslie Eastman



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Andy Garcia's "The lost city" was a great movie

Let me issue a disclaimer.   I am not a movie critic.  Frankly, I don't watch movies with a critical eye but rather to be entertained.  

In recent years, I enjoyed "Gods and Generals" because I love anything about the US Civil War.  

"March of the Penguins" was well done.  
I liked "The Rookie" because it is such an uplifting story.   "I walk the line" was fun and informational about Johnny Cash.

"The Lost City" tells a story that most Cuban exiles can relate to.  This is not a pro-Batista movie or presents Cuba as a pre-Castro paradise.

This is a movie about the betrayal of Cuba by Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra.

This is about the young men who died to restore the 1940 Constitution rather than impose a communist dictator.

This is about the Cuban middle class who stood up to Batista.

This is about Fidel Castro canceling elections and bringing the Soviets into Cuba.

This is about Che Guevarra's firing squads.

I was there but too young to remember most of it. 
Yet, our home in the US was always full of Cuban stories.  My parents always reminded us of what we left behind.

I won't spoil it but the movie is about a family caught up in the turmoil of 1958-61.

Want more? Watch the movie!

The music is spectacular. The choreography of old Havana is stunning. Close your eyes and you will feel back in the elegance of La Habana.

You need to watch or download "The Lost City" by Andy Garcia.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 25, 1956: Roberto Clemente inside the park walk off grand slam!

Roberto Clemente | MY HERO
Roberto Clemente was one of the greatest players in major league history.     

Clemente broke with the Pirates in 1955 and was killed in a plane crash at the end of 1972.  He was travelling to Nicaragua to deliver supplies for the victims of a terrible earthquake.

Clemente won 3 batting titles and left the game with 3,000 hits and a .317 career average,

On this day in 1956, Clemente hit the only walk off inside-the-park grand slam in the history of Major League Baseball.   

According to news reports, the fans at Forbes Field went crazy.    No one had ever seen this before or since. 

Amazing Clemente!

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"Brief encounter" is intense but very nice

A few years ago, I caught a portion of Noel Coward's "Brief encounter" on TCM.   It is a movie from 1945.

It is the story of a married woman who meets a doctor at a train station.  It's a chance meeting and they begin to see each other.    She is Celia Johnson and he is Trevor Howard.

I had no idea that the movie is considered a romantic classic.    

Also, the movie's soundtrack is fabulous, or Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto exquisitely dropped in at different moments of the story.

Very nice movie.     What happened to the married woman and the doctor?   Watch the movie and find out!

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July 2009: Cubans in the major leagues, from Adolfo Luque to El Duque!


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Back in July 2009, we had a special show about Cubans in the major leagues.

Our panel included Jose Reyes and Vinnie Puente.


P.S. Don't forget to check "The pride of Havana":





Monday, July 24, 2006

We remember Willie Davis (1934-2020)





We remember Willie Davis who was born in Louisiana on this day in 1934.

As a teenager growing up in Wisconsin, I had to learn about pro football.  

We did not play it in Cuba.  Nevertheless, I fell in love with the Green Bay Packers, the dream team of the pre-Super Bowl days. 

Before the Steelers, 49ers and Patriots won Super Bowls, the Packers won a bunch of NFL titles.

They had a great coach in Vince Lombardi, a great QB in Bart Starr and a great running back in Jim Taylor. The Pack even had great rookies, like Donny Anderson and Jim Grabowski. I remember Leroy Williams, who used to run back kickoffs. He ran one back for almost 100 yards against the Rams!

What a great team. It was easy to fall in love with a team like the Packers.

Willie Davis was also on those teams and a great fan favorite.    After football, Davis became a successful businessman, author and speaker.

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1958: "La violetera" with Sara Montiel




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In previous posts, I've written of my love for Spanish songs and traditions.

To be honest, I didn't like this movie the first time around.  Years later, I saw it again and appreciated Sara Montiel's voice and acting skills.

"La Violetera" was released in 1958.   

Sara died in 2013 and left behind quite a legacy of movies and recording, including "Vera Cruz" (1955) with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster and "Run of the Arrow" (1957) with Rod Steiger.


It's a nice movie.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Boone baseball family

Ray Boone joined the fathers & sons list when his son, Bob Boone, made his Major League debut on September 10, 1972.
Bob Boone joined the fathers & sons list when his son, Bret Boone, made his Major League debut on September 19, 1992, then added another name to the sons “column” when his second son, Aaron Boone, made his debut on June 20, 1997.
The Boone family was the first in baseball history to be included in the Baseball Grandfathers, Fathers and Sons section of the Baseball Almanac Baseball Family Tree.
Ray Boone was an All-Star in 1954 and 1956Bob Boone was an All-Star in 197619781979, and 1983Bret Boone was an All-Star in 19982001 and 2003Aaron Boone was an All-Star in 2003.
The Boone family was the first in baseball history to send three generations of players to an All-Star Game.    
A few years ago, Bret Boone wrote a book about his baseball family.
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We remember Pee Wee Reese





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Harold Henry Reese was born in Kentucky on this day in 1918.   We know him as Pee Wee Reese, the great shortstop of the Brooklyn Dodgers who won 7 NL pennants.   


Pee Wee Reese hit .269 with 2,170 career hits & 1,338 runs scored.   He missed 3 full seasons to military service.

Reese's greatest contribution was his leadership in bringing Jackie Robinson along as the first black player in major league baseball.    In 1947, Pee Wee embraced Jackie in front of Cincinnati fans who were yelling obscenities at him.    It showed everyone that Pee Wee was also a great player and a man of character.

Reese was inducted to The Hall of Fame in 1984 and died in 1999.

By the way, one of the greatest books about those legendary Brooklyn Dodgers is "Wait till next year" by Doris Kearns Goodwin.



World War II: The great military leaders with Barry Jacobsen


CLICK TO LISTEN:

World War II: The great military leaders with Barry Jacobsen 07/22 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts:

Guest:

Barry Jacobsen, military historian and blogger.......we will remember the Allied and Axis commanders: Ike, MacArthur, Nimitz, Monty, Zukov; and on the Axis side, Von Manstein, Guderian, Rommel, Kesselring, Adm. Yamamoto, General Yamashita.......
and other stories of the war...........




1964: Campy's super debut in the big leagues


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On this day in 1964, A's rookie Bert Campaneris hit 2 home runs in his Major League debut.

This is how SABR remembered the day:
After an overnight plane trip, he arrived in Minneapolis the next day two hours before the start of the A’s game against the Twins, and had an unforgettable major-league debut. Playing shortstop and batting second, he sent a pitch by the Twins’ Jim Kaat over the left-field fence in his first at-bat. In the seventh inning he hit another home run. He turned in a brilliant defensive play, singled, and stole a base in the A’s 11 inning victory. Campaneris became the second major leaguer to hit two home runs in a debut game, after the St. Louis Browns’ Bob Nieman, who did it in 1951.
Campy became one of the best players in the AL and a key component of the A's who won the World Series in 1972, 1973 & 1974.

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July 23, 2009: Mark Buehrle and the perfect game



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Mark Buehrle was an outstanding pitcher:  214 wins & 3.81 ERA.
 
He threw a no-hitter against a very tough Texas lineup in 2007.
 
 
Every perfect game has its moments. (In 1994, I remember watching Rusty Greer saving Kenny Rogers' perfect game with a diving catch!)
 
Around the 7th inning, one of the Rays hit a shot down the left field line. It was foul by an inch!
 
In the 9th inning, Dewayne Wise made one of the greatest catches in major league history.
 
How in the world did this guy catch-up with the line drive, jump over the fence and hold on to the ball?
 
Congratulations to Mark Burhle for pitching the 18th perfect game in MLB history on this day in 2009.

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"Gentleman's Agreement": A very nice movie from 1947

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We remember Gregory Peck who was born in California in 1916 and died in 2003.

God for the retro movie channels.   It has connected people like me with the movies made before I was born or too young to watch.    

Let's add "Gentleman's Agreement" to that list of movies.   It was released in 1947.   

The plot goes like this:  
A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on Antisemitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.
The  cast was Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and John Garfield.     Peck played the journalist and McGuire the pre-school teacher.     

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