Deedle, dum, dum, there was a turtle by the name of Bert - Duck and Cover

Today is the 29th anniversary of Three Mile Island. It made me aware that I have grown up in a nuclear world with all the possibilities, good and bad, that come with the atomic age.

We were growing up in a world of endless nuclear power! We were also growing up in the shadow of total annihilation at any moment.

My first encounter with the possibility of a horrific death by nuclear holocaust came in the form of a movie shown to us in school called "Duck and Cover". We were shown the movie and then our teachers told us the proper way to cower beneath our desks in the event of a nuclear attack.

The absurd silliness of this preventative plan was lost on kids who were scared witless by the bomb shelters that were being built in neighborhood backyards, by the "cold war", by the nameless and faceless threat of "red commies" and by the thought of missiles humming in subterranean bays just itching to fly out and blast our little lives to bits.

We were children of the Atomic Age, we were very alert and we knew just what to do - Duck and Cover! Oh, My God. We actually believed this tripe - watch the Civil Defense movie in it's entirety below:


FIFTIES POP STARS? - Television star to pop star - not a new idea

With all the hub-bub about Hannah Montana/Mylie Cyrus I got to thinking about how many TV stars had made a record at one time or another. Turning a television star into a pop singer is not a new phenomenon. There was a whole bunch of actors from the 50s and 60s who took their turns cutting a 45 or even an album. There's a long list but a few stand out in my mind because - nerd that I was - I had these particular 45s:
  • Shelley Fabares, Mary on The Donna Reed Show - Johnny Angel
  • Paul Peterson, Jeff on The Donna Reed Show - She Can't Find Her Keys. (He also sang "My Dad" on the show, but I don't think it was ever made into a single.)
  • Johnny Crawford, Mark on The Rifleman - Cindy's Birthday
  • Richard Chamberlain singing "Three Stars", the theme song from Dr. Kildare.
  • Annette Funicello, Annette from The Mickey Mouse Club - Tall Paul
Just for a giggle and a little musical nostalgia, brought on by my earlier posts about Ricky Nelson, here's a few videos that you might enjoy:



My teen years were a time of ridiculous fashions, constant bickering with my folks and painful emotional angst. Pretty much just like everyone else in America who grew up in the twentieth century. I tend to think teenagers in earlier eras didn't have the issues with fashion or bickering, maybe only the angst. Prior to modern history I don't think teenagers were allowed any kind of freedoms so fashion choices and bickering would have been unthinkable, though I could be wrong.

I was born and raised in the last half of the twentieth century so I did have freedoms and I was given choices in my life. Most of mine, from the age of 13 until I hit college, were pretty questionable choices. Like most other adolescents I wanted to fit in and fitting in meant following trends and fads.

In the sixties, my teenage era, the trends and fads were kinda sucky. Long hair, white lipstick, hip huggers, bare feet, questioning of authority, protesting the state of the world, blah, blah, blah. Frankly, we were a pretty grungy and annoying bunch of little snots, in other words - Teenagers. It is the job of teenagers to reject all the previous generation has held dear and that includes the fashions, the music, the political views and social mores. Teenagers are really good at their jobs and I was no exception.

Of course, thanks to the Beatles, long hair was the style of the day - long and really straight hair. I had no business growing my thin, fine hair long but I did. Then I parted it down the middle and had bangs that came below my eyebrows - the "Cher" look. It was pretty ugly and, in order to look that ugly, I had to go the extra mile and iron my hair to get it straight. Add to that the current fad of wearing white lipstick and gobs of black eyeliner, toss in low slung hiphuggers in some ridiculous floral pattern, add a bunch of anti-social buttons and some beads and there you have it - the pimply faced model of a 1960s teenage girl or boy.

Oh, and don't let me forget, going barefoot, at least in California, was de rigeur! My tender little Kansas feet that were so pink and cute when I arrived in California at age 13 became calloused, dirty bottomed and were the bane of my mother's existance. Add those to the rest of the look, toss in some angry teenage attitude and defiance and you have a pretty good idea of a kid in the era of peace, love and protest.

My God, we were an ugly and surly bunch of gawky little brats. I know I was. If my mother was still alive I'm sure she'd vouch for the surly attitude and the pictures from those days are proof of the ugly. Now that I'm older than my mother was during my years of teendom I can see what a trial and tribulation I was for her.

So, Dear Mom, if you're listening, please accept my apologies for those years of ugly, snippy brathood. I'm a lot older now, a little wiser and I'm not quite the pain I used to be. I am still a bit of a brat but I'll bet you probably know that. I think the brat part was less a part of the era and more a part of my personality and I'll bet you knew that too.

Love, your daughter, Pop Art Diva also known as The BRAT in the HAT.



On Easter day, when I was young
I truly relished the Sunday fun
of hunting down those chocolate bunnies
and gobbling the head while I read the funnies.

Fruits were frozen in cherry jello,
Eggs were rainbow and peeps were yellow.
Marshmallow rabbits were colored in blue
Mary Janes and pink dresses were new.

Ham was cooking while we got dressed,
all spic and span in our Easter best.
Then off to church my family went
to celebrate this special event.

But though I loved the jelly beans
I never forgot what this holiday means.
For we were given a golden pass
because of a man who lived in the past.

May you have a Happy Easter of Grace, Rebirth and Joy.

Poem Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.



I thought I'd post a video of Ricky Nelson singing his last hit "Garden Party" just because I really liked that song and because the song was an answer to fans who booed him off the stage at Madison Square Garden in 1971 for singing "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Stones.

Though some said the boos were not for Nelson, he left the stage and wrote "Garden Party". Note the references to some current pop culture icons such as Yoko Ono, Mr. Hughes and Bob Dylan. Mr. Hughes does not refer to Howard Hughes here, it is actually a reference to Beatle George Harrison who used to travel under that pseudonym.


"And the Irrepressible RICKY!" Remembering the Ozzie and Harriet Show

Today is Ozzie Nelson's birthday. Ozzie Nelson was a bandleader and the father on a popular tv sitcom back in the 50s and the 60s, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". "Ozzie and Harriet" was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid.

This was a real family that played a family on TV. Yup, Ozzie practiced nepotism and developed a show that starred his wife and his two sons, David and Ricky. Now, you may know Ricky. He was a teen idol in the 50s/60s and sang hits like "Hello, Mary Lou", "Travelin' Man", "Lonesome Town", "Teenage Idol" and, later in his career, "Garden Party".

Originally Ozzie and Harriet was a radio show that Ozzie developed to spend more time with his family. How much more of a father can you be? At first his sons were played by actors but in 1949 Ozzie decided his sons were old enough and brought them on board for the television series.

Because the show ran from 1952 to 1966 America watched Ozzie and Harriet raise their two sons, first in black and white, then later in color. We watched "the irrepressible Ricky" go from a gawky smart aleck to a gorgeous pop star and we saw David turn from a little bit of a geek into a younger version of his father.

Harriet played a much more realistic version of a TV mom than her contemporaries and did it with a quiet sense of humor and a long suffering cog around which the three men of the family revolved. Ozzie embodied the picture of an ideal dad to many of us in that era, laid back, affable and, boy, did he have a great collection of sweaters.

Of all the family sitcoms of that generation, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" was the one where we got to see a real family interact and I think that might have been the cornerstone of the show's success.

BTW, did you know that Ricky Nelson's real name was Eric?

Here's Ricky Nelson singing "Lonesome Town" on the show:


GOODBYE TO AN IDOL: Sir Arthur C. Clarke - Scientist, Author, Visionary, Dec. 16, 1917 - March 19, 2008

Photo from The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation
(Clarke died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, which is on the opposite side of the International Date Line, at 1:30 a.m. - therefore the date of the 19th as opposed to the 18th.)

Today I am saddened by the death of one of my favorite writers of all time, Arthur C. Clarke. A best selling science fiction author and acclaimed scientist, Clarke was credited with the concept of communication satellites in 1945. In fact, geosynchronous orbits are called Clarke orbits in his honor. One of his short stories, "Dial F for Frankenstein", inspired the world wide web.

Though Clarke is best known as the co-author of "2001- A Space Odyssey" with Stanley Kubrick, and later "2010, Odyssey Two", he has published over 20 novels of fiction beginning in 1951 to his last in 2007. He also wrote a number of short stories and compilations and numerous non-fiction and scientific publications. You may also remember him as a commentator, with Walter Cronkite, during the Apollo moonshots in the late sixties.

I read every sci-fi book Arthur Clarke ever wrote and even some of his non-fiction. The book that affected me most was "Childhood's End", an eerie look into the future of man's evolution and the end of the world as we know it. Though I read that book in the very early 70s, it's impact on me was so profound that I remember even individual paragraphs to this day.

Written nine years before John Glenn first orbited the Earth, the novel is a frightening concept of a humanity that is given Utopia by the supposedly benevolent Overlords. The end is a jarring take on the future of current humanity. Is it possible than mankind could evolve into an entirely new species? To quote Clarke himself, "The truth, as always, will be far stranger."

Though Clarke rewrote the prologue in 1991, after the end of the cold war and the space race, I prefer the original version. It is a book that can be viewed from many perspectives - political, philosophical, biological and even metaphysical. If you haven't read "Childhood's End" I recommend you do. If you have read it then read it again, I plan to do so myself in honor of Arthur Clarke's illustrious and prolific career.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - One of Arthur Clarke's Three Laws


HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY - Dad, I'm making corned beef and cabbage!!

Every St. Patrick's Day my father took over the kitchen to make corned beef and cabbage. This was a traditional thing to do if any part of you was Irish. It was a rare thing for my father to be in the kitchen in our house, though it was not rare for him to cook. As an executive with the Boy Scouts of America my father did quite a bit of campfire cooking. I especially remember the cobblers he would make in a dutch oven, I love those Bisquik topped cobblers to this day.

But St. Patty's Day was my father's day to rule the kitchen and he always made corned beef and cabbage and insisted that we all wear green. If you forgot your green clothing you got pinched! I made sure I had on something green - even if it was just a construction paper shamrock I'd made at school.

As a child I was never really fond of corned beef and cabbage as a meal. I disliked the smell of cooking cabbage and I was more fond of sweet foods than savory ones, but I did love the corned beef sandwiches we made from the leftovers. We also made corned beef hash, again not a favorite of mine in those days! However, as I grew older I began to enjoy the holiday and look forward to the meal and even the corned beef hash leftovers, and I still love the sandwiches! My dad made a mean corned beef!

So, today I am going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and remember my father by making my very first corned beef and cabbage meal. I still don't like cooked cabbage, but hey, it's part of the tradition and I'm really looking forward to having a homemade corned beef sandwich - on rye with swiss and mustard! I've already put the corned beef in the crock pot for a nice long simmer all day and I'll be adding the fresh red potatoes and cabbage later this afternoon.

I've invited a few friends over to join me and I'm going to serve Scarlett O'Hara Martinis and some nice green Spinach Balls before hand for cocktail hour, then my corned beef and cabbage will make it's debut. Wish me luck or send me a leprechaun to watch over my first corned beef as it cooks - newbie Irish chefs can always use a little Luck o' the Irish!

Dad, I hope you're watching and I hope, somewhere over the rainbow, that you're cooking a heavenly corned beef for the family up there. I hope you'll be proud of my efforts, this corned beef is for you.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Post images Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.



Albert Einstein was born today in 1879. The Big Kahuna of modern physics and creator of the Relativity Theory, Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for Theoretical Physics, and his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

I always admired Einstein - I think it was his wild hair! Okay, he was pretty smart too, but, holy cow, that hair just screamed "non-conformist" to me. I like non-conformists, I'm one myself though I think my IQ might be a little lower than Einstein's!

I like to do artistic tributes to my heros and icons that have inspired me in someway and "Everything is Relative" is my dedication to Albert Einstein. He had such an influence on the twentieth century and was a powerful influence on society and politics that he deserves iconic status in my book.

I never got the whole "universal law" positive thinking thing until I applied my extremely limited understanding of quantum physics to it. Once I related everything being made up of gazillions of constantly moving particles to thought processes I finally realized that we can and do think our world into being. I wonder what Einstein would have thought of "The Secret"?


Hey, Billy Crystal! It Would Be "MAHVELOUS" If You Could Take Me Out to the Ballgame! (Dedicated to Mickey Mantle)

Wow, Billy Crystal's going to play for the Yankees! Just one day and it's an exhibition game, but still, wow! Must be nice to be famous enough to be able to play ball at Yankee Stadium. I'm so jealous I'm kavetching! You see, Billy Crystal and I have at least one thing in common. We are both huge Yankees fans. Yup, we both bleed Yankee blue.

I've been a Yankee fan as long as I can remember. I was a tomboy and I loved baseball. Not softball, that's for girls - baseball! Besides my hands were too small to really get a good enough grip on a softball to throw it properly and what's with that weird underhanded pitch softballers use? Eeuuww! Nah uh, no sirree, it's baseball or nothin' for me!

My favorite Yankee was Mickey Mantle. I just loved "The Mick". He was my hero. I even went so far as to actually collect a few baseball cards if Mickey was on them. I left the minor leaguers to Butthead (my dippy brother) - I only dealt in Mickey! I had quite a collection of cards after a while and I had the pleasure of free chewing gum with each packet.

I traded off any card with a player whose initials weren't M.M. Needless to say I had a lot of duplicates and inevitably my brother would try to coerce me into giving him a Mickey for some other player. "You've got five of those! You don't need five!" he'd holler at me as he poked me in the arm. I was littler than my brother so I didn't poke him back but he never got one of my Mickey Mantle baseball cards! What a butt he was (hence the name Butthead)!

Of course, he had the last laugh on me. He saved all his cards and when he grew out of baseball card collecting my mother packed them away in a shoe box for him. I grew up and got interested in boys (that were not as unattainable as major league baseball players) and my cards disappeared along with my stuffed Lambie, and a headless doll. (I suspect my mother decided my interest in baseball wasn't healthy for a girl and tucked my sacred Mickey cards into my brother's shoe box where she thought they really belonged, but I can't prove it.)

Decades later Mom gave Butthead his box of cards which, by then, had become quite valuable. I'm sure he sold them off and bought something stupid, like a car or something. I wonder how much my Mickey's brought him? Oh, well there's no crying in baseball, according to Tom Hanks.

Some years later, when I had grown up and forgotten all about my Mickey Mantle obsession I was flying to Hawaii and who should they usher into first class? MICKEY MANTLE!!!! That's right, I got to fly to paradise along with Mickey and I even got up the nerve to ask him for an autograph. Do you know what he did? He pulled a baseball out of his briefcase and signed that for me - not a napkin, not an ordinary piece of paper, a BASEBALL signed by MICKEY MANTLE! What a guy! What a sport! And he was still great looking and still had that sweet smile.

I guess the Gods of Baseball sent me an air born miracle for all my years of devotion and that's what I prefer to believe! P.S. I still have that ball and it's enshrined in a glass case in a safe place where smelly little boys (like Butthead) can't get their hands on it!

You can view larger images of "Mickey Mantle Pops It!" and enjoy some trivia on "The Mick" on my Tributes Page at PopArtDiva.com. Post images Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.



Today is Neil Sedaka's Birthday. Neil Sedaka had several big hits in the late 50s and 60s including "Right Next Door to an Angel", "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen", "Calendar Girl" and my favorite "Breaking Up is Hard To Do".

He also composed quite a lot of music, including Connie Francis' big hits "Where The Boys Are" and "Stupid Cupid". But for me "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" is the song I always think of when I think of Sedaka because of my first school dance.

When I was twelve I was dragged to my first school dance by several of my friends. I'll never forget it because I had just been dumped by my very first boyfriend that very day. We had "gone steady" a grand total of five days. My ex couldn't take the ribbing from his goofy little co-horts for having a girlfriend so, sadly, our great romance was a thing of the past.

They must have played "Breaking Up is Hard To Do" a gazillion times at that dance. At least it felt that way to me. I would look across the room at the boys all clumped together and, boom, on went that song again! I don't think I could have gotten any more miserable. It was not the kind of night that makes for good diary entries!

I was a pretty typical twelve year old and twelve year old girls are highly prone to drama and angst. Twelve year old boys, on the other hand, are insensitive little twits with no social graces. It's not a combination that makes for smooth sailing in the adolescence years!

I did get over my trama and manage to attend a few other school dances following my big "break up". I am a wounded veteran of teenage love, but I've forgiven Neil Sedaka. I don't think he aimed that song at me, but I wasn't too sure on that particular night.



Sir Paul McCartney has been a Knight of the British Empire now for eleven years. On March 11th, 1997 McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was entitled to be called Sir Paul. A fitting honor for a man who, along with 3 other young men from Liverpool - John, George and Ringo - conquered America in the 1960s. We Americans fought a war for our freedom 200 years before and then we were invaded by an army of long-haired balladeers from Liverpool!

You may remember that all The Beatles received an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in 1965 but an MBE not come with the honor of the title "Sir". They could have added the MBE after their names, however. John Lennon returned his MBE in 1969 in protest of England's involvement in the Viet Nam war.

My understanding is that only the two highest rankings of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire entail admission into knighthood - Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GBE) or (GBE) and Knight Commander (KBE) or Dame Commander (DBE). A knight is properly addressed using the title and his/her forename, but never the surname, thus Sir Paul or Sir Paul McCartney but never Sir McCartney.

It's all a bit confusing to me, but it's still cool that I own the records of a real Knight! I can't really picture Sir Paul in armor, but I can see him singing to Guinevere and maybe storming a castle and slaying a dragon or two.

By the way, Non-British citizens can receive an honorary membership but are not entitled to the title "Sir". Steven Spielberg and Bill Gates are both honorary KBE - think about it, if they were British Citizens we might all be watching Knights of the Lost Arc and buying Sir Microsoft products.

This Day in History:
Birthdays - 1903 Lawrence Welk (bandleader), 1931 Rupert Murdoch (Media mogul), 1934 Sam Donaldson (newsman), 1952 Douglas Adams (author - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

1959 - A Raisin in The Sun debuts on Broadway starring Sidney Poitier

1985 - Mikhail Gorbachev is chosen to replace Chernenko

1989 - COPS debuts on TV

1993 - Janet Reno is confirmed as the first female Attorney General

1997 - Paul McCartney is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
You can view larger images of "SIR PAUL" and enjoy some trivia on The Beatles on my Tributes Page at PopArtDiva.com. Post images Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.



"The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" was the first 45 I bought when I moved to California. I was 13 years old and I was a new kid in Southern California, fresh from the prairies of Kansas and desperately wanting to fit in with the surfer culture that I encountered. I bought the record even before I ever purchased a Beatles or a Beach Boys album.

My family had moved from Kansas to Southern California that summer and I was convinced that a two piece bathing suit and the right music would help me fit in with the "cool kids" in the warm California sun. The Jan and Dean song "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and a bikini were going to be my ticket to popularity, or so my hormone addled teen brain figured.

Though I never ended up as prom queen as a result of my music and wardrobe choices, I remained a fan of surf music. I had all of Jan and Dean's records and most of the Beach Boys, as well as the Ventures and a few others mixed in with my Beatles, Stones, Herman's Hermits, Sonny and Cher and Dave Clark Five albums.

I didn't know it at the time but that song was kind of a take off on a sales pitch of used car salesmen, "the original owner was a little old lady from Pasadena who only drove this car to church on Sundays!" Jan and Dean turned that little old lady into a rock out granny with a super stock Dodge and a penchant for street races. Rolling Stone dubbed them the "clown princes of rock and roll" with good cause.

So now, some forty odd years later, I sit listening to the record only to realize that I have become the "little old lady from Pasadena". Technically, I was from Tustin, not Pasadena. I do drive a Dodge, though it's super stocked with art for my shows and my website and not glass packs, I live a life that would be considered unusual for a person my age, I embrace a challenge and I have a lead foot. I don't spend Saturday night drag racing down main street, but I don't spend it sitting home listening to today's equivalent of Lawrence Welk either. Probably not exactly what Jan and Dean pictured, but I ain't sitting home knitting and baking cookies for a passel of grandkids, so I figure I embody the essence of their heroine in the song. Yup, that's me, The Little Old DIVA from Pasadena!

Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny, Go!

This Day in History:
Birthdays: 1940 Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean Fame

1964 - The first Ford Mustang is introduced- (The first car accident I was ever in was in a 1964 turquoise Mustang with white leather seats - my friend Linda was driving and it was a minor fender bender, but it was in what was to become a classic car and we were all okay.)

1969: Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King



I AM A LIVING DOLL @ PopArtDiva.com

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of American Toys in the far away land of New York City a fair maiden was born. She was 11 inches tall, had golden hair, long gorgeous legs, feet so tiny they must have been a size 4 and, oh my, a "D" cup!

Yes, I'm talking about the Barbie doll, who made her debut at the American Toy Fair 49 years ago today. Inspired by her daughter's preference for adult women paper dolls over baby dolls, creator and co-founder of Mattel, Ruth Handler, modeled Barbie on a doll named Lili that was based on a German comic strip character. She then named the doll after her own daughter, Barbara.

Advertising the doll to children via shows like the Mickey Mouse Club, Mattel built an entire doll community. First Barbie got a boyfriend named Ken, then a best friend named Midge and later a little sister called Skipper.

In the meantime, Barbie also acquired a very cool car, a Dream House, a great wardrobe, a shoe collection that would rival Evita Peron's, and a multitude of careers over the years that would include Airline Stewardess, Doctor, Pilot, Astronaut, Olympic athlete and finally - Ta Da! - Presidential Candidate! And you thought Hillary was the first woman to run for President? Barbie beat her by fifty years!

Not bad for a woman who's measurements were rumored to be 38-18-34. Just goes to show you that a little plastic never hurt any woman's career! Of course, I always wondered why Barbie never toppled over with those teeny feet and the top heavy figure but maybe that's why we got a stand for her in the box.

I got my Barbie the year they came out, 1959, I was eight years old. I think there were only 350,000 made and my parents managed to get one for me. My Barbie doll was not a blond but a brunette and she came in a black and white stripped bathing suit, with little black sling back shoes, a pair of very cool cat's eye sunglasses, a little pink book and the stand. I was given a couple of additional outfits but I immediately started my campaign to fill my Barbie's closet with the entire designer collection. I had a pretty admirable wardrobe, including the wedding dress, in the end.

I also got Ken (of course!), then Midge, then Skipper - and I seem to remember a doll called Toni with a platinum blond bubble cut! I also acquired the jazzy peach and aqua sports car (which for some reason I will insist is an Aston-Martin), a black carrying case, and a few other necessities for the proper Barbie owner. I never did get the Dream House or the other house sets - even in those days I wasn't all that domestic!

My Ken came with fuzz for hair which didn't last too long. Sadly my Ken was bald within a year and I was using modeling clay for a toupee. I swear to God, I was the hair club for Ken! And, if you remember, Ken was NOT anatomically correct! Poor Ken, castrated before he even left the factory, but then sex did not exist in the late fifties or so they would have liked us to believe.

Sometime in my early teens I traded my original Barbie to another little girl for something stupid and my mother had a fit. She made me go back and un-trade - I was absolutely mortified. Decades later that decision made me a nice chunk of change when I sold my original Barbie to a collector, along with the rest of my Barbie collection. I kinda wished I'd kept that cool peach and aqua car though.

I like to think my Barbie ditched Ken, decided against being President, became an internet billionairess, selling out before the dot com crash and ended up sailing the oceans on her Dream Yacht with a slew of hot cabin boys who looked a lot like Woody from Toy Story (I'm a big Tom Hanks fan). Or maybe there's a company out there with a Pierce Brosnan doll that my Barbie hooked up with after her split with Ken.

Whatever her fate I wish her well and I would like to send my wishes for a very Happy Birthday and thank her for all the wonderful make-believe she brought me.
This Day in History:

Birthdays - 1920 Carl Betz (actor), 1918 Mickey Spillane (Frank Morrison) (writer), 1902 Will Geer (Ghere) (actor), 1934 Yuri Gagarin (Russian cosmonaut), 1934 Joyce Van Patten (actress), 1936 Marty Ingels (Ingerman) (actor), 1937 Mickey Gilley (country singer), 1940 Raul Julia (actor), 1943 Trish Van Devere (Patricia Dressel) (actress), 1943 Bobby Fischer (chess champion)

1955 - James Dean debuts in East of Eden

1959 - Barbie is introduced to the world.

I AM A LIVING DOLL is available at PopArtDiva.com as archival prints or giclees on gallery wrap canvas. Post images Copyright 2008 by PopArtDiva.com. All rights reserved. No permission is given to copy, distribute or reproduce without written permission from PopArtDiva.com.

Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees!

In 1965 Beatlemania was a national pandemic. Teenyboppers all over America were swooning and spending all their babysitting and lawnmowing money on Beatles records and paraphenalia. True to our American entrepreneurial spirit, this would light a bulb over some marketing genius' head and the thought was, "Hey, Hey, we can grab some of that - get me four mop headed American boys!" and The Monkees were born.

So with a casting call and rounds of auditions, America got it's own version of the Beatles with George Michael "Micky" Dolenz, Jr., Robert Michael "Mike" Nesmith, Peter Halsten "Peter Tork" Thorkelson and - ooops! - British born David Thomas "Davy" Jones. Hey, one Brit's okay, and he was the cutest little bugger!

The television series was sponsored by Kellogg's and Yardley Cosmetics and the first broadcast of the show was on September 12th, 1966 on NBC. The show lasted for two seasons with the final episode run on September 9th, 1968. I'll bet you didn't know that the show won and Emmy Award in 1967 for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Though The Monkees were criticized for being a poor man's substitute for The Beatles, the show itself used some groundbreaking techniques such as talking to the camera (breaking the "fourth wall"), jump cuts, fantasy sequences and other innovative methods that were the forerunners of the music videos of MTV and VH1.

It was really kind of a fun show and I admit to watching it frequently - hey, I was only 15 at the time - and it was really enjoyable to watch, even if it was manufactured in La La Land! Now, with things like American Idol, I guess everyone figures they can whip up a superstar, but in those days real music was not something generated in an office by suits. To the surprise of many, The Monkees, originally hired as actors for a television show modeled after the Beatles movies "Hard Day's Night" and "Help", soon became a real pop group instead of the fictional one they were originally hired to portray.

Along with two seasons of the show, Dolenz, Nesmith, Tork and Jones produced six albums (four of which hit #1 on Billboard), numerous hit singles and even a movie entitled "Head". The Monkees have earned a place in pop culture with songs like "I'm a Believer," "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," "Daydream Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday." And I think every boomer from that era can sing along with the title theme:

Here we come
Walking down the street
We get the funniest looks from
Everyone we meet.

Hey, hey we're the Monkees,
and people say we monkey around.
But we're too busy singing,
to put anybody down.

This Day in History - March 8, 2008

Birthdays - 1910 Claire Trevor (Wemlinger) (actress), 1918 Alan Hale, Jr (actor), 1923 Cyd Charisse (Tula Finklea) (dancer, actress), 1943 Lynn Redgrave (actress), 1944 Susan Clark (actress), 1945 Micky Dolenz (singer, drummer)

1936: First stock-car race run at Daytona

1948 - The Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in schools is unconstitutional.

1951: The Lonely Hearts Killers are executed

1957 - Egypt opens the Suez Canal

1969: Firebird Trans Am debuts

If you're into sixties art stop by my Tributes in Art Page for some retro dedications to my favorite music groups of the sixties!



"I KID YOU NOT" - Jack Paar, returned to The Tonight Show 48 years ago today with this quip, "As I was saying before I was interrupted.", after leaving the show in protest over NBC censorship. Paar came to be known as the Prince of Late Night TV after retiring from The Tonight Show, abdicating his thrown to Johnny Carson.

This started me thinking about just how old The Tonight Show is and how many hosts have sat on that thrown of late night talk shows, how many guests have told their secrets and how much history has flickered across the camera lens in the final hours of week day nights.

The Tonight Show is the Mac-Daddy of all late night talk shows. It started in 1954 with Steve Allen as host. When Allen retired Jack Paar took over the seat on the stage and became a late night favorite, making himself and The Tonight Show a bedtime must in the bedrooms of middle-class America.

In 1962, when Paar permanently left the show, Johnny Carson took over and became the reigning King of late night with 30 years of shows as his legacy. Carson handed the crown to Jay Leno in 1992. But, did you know that Ernie Kovacs was a host for a short while in 1956 to 1957? Guests hosts have included Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, John Davidson, David Brenner, Jerry Lewis, McLean Stevenson and, of course, David Letterman. Were you aware that news anchor Hugh Downs was the announcer for Paar?

The Tonight Show, has been on the air and in bed with America for 54 years, making it the longest running talk show in history. It is the third longest entertainment show in history, following after the soap opera Guiding Light and Hallmark Hall of Fame. This alone would earn it pop culture status.

But the real pop culture in this show lies in the guests and the history it has presented to American viewers for over half a century. Guests have included some of the most influential and powerful people and most of the famous and infamous entertainers in the world. Everyone wanted to be on The Tonight Show. For comedians it was their "golden ticket" and if Johnny asked you to come and sit down with him after your gig that was the thumbs up.

Remember the wedding of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki? How about The Great Carnak and the animals that always managed to get out of control. Do you remember Ed Ames and the little ax that almost made him Edie Ames? The streaker? Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band. How many times did you go to work the next day and talk about The Tonight Show? Yeah, me too.

For about an hour and a half, five nights a week America could snuggle up with Steve, Jack, Johnny and now Jay and get their daily dose of the Who's Who in American Pop Culture. It's been a nice marriage between American and The Tonight Show and it's heading towards it's Diamond Jubilee.

Heeeeeere's Johnny! Check out Johnny Carson's Tonight Show Website for more fun info
This Day In History

Birthdays - 1942 Tammy Faye Bakker (talk show hostess, evangalist), 1942 Michael York (actor), 1942 Michael Eisner (CEO Disney Company, 1940 Daniel J Travanti (actor), 1934 Willard Scott (Television weatherman)

1946 - Joan Crawford wins the Oscar for Mildred Pierce

1960 - Jack Paar returns to The Tonight Show after a month long protest on censorship.



This Blog received a Thinking Blogger Award

I just received a Thinking Blogger Award from KATHIE M. THOMAS. I'm very honored to have been the recipient of this meme tag and thank Kathie for the nod!

The participation rules are simple:

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
  2. Link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
  3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’.
I am going to tag these 5 blogs as the blogs that make me think and keep me interested and inspired:

Rosie's Boomer Review,
Bev's Baby Boomer Talk,
Malcolm's Pop Culture Dish

AND - If you're into retro and pop culture stop by and read my latest posts on POP CULTURE OF YESTERDAY V. TODAY on this blog's main page!

"AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS" when you have the Right Stuff!

This Day in History:

Birthdays - 1475 Michelangelo (de Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) (Renaissance artist), 1906 Lou Costello (Cristillo) (comedian, actor), 1923 Ed McMahon (radio/tv announcer, pitchman), 1926 Alan Greenspan (economist), 1927 Leroy Gordon 'Gordo' Cooper (U.S. astronaut), 1942 Ben Murphy (actor), 1945 Rob Reiner (actor), 1959 Tom Arnold (actor)

1899 - Bayer patents the aspirin

1930 - Bird's Eye introduces frozen foods to the freezers of America.

1951 - The Rosenberg trial begins - Famous Atomic Bomb Spy Case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

1981 - Walter Cronkite retires with his trademark sign off "and that's the way it is"

Taking a look at today in history I see a lot of names that were a big part of my life. Of course, Michelangelo's birthday is a cause for celebration for any artist, but I also see a few people who were household names in my youth.

Ed McMahon - Johnny Carson's sidekick for so many years on the Tonight Show. It makes me wonder who's Jay Leno's sidekick? I don't even think he has one - unless you count the band!

Gordon Cooper - a particular hero of mine as he was one of the original Mercury Astronauts and I'm a big fan of the Space Program. Along with John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, Gordon was one of the Mercury Seven - the first American astronauts. These were the boys with the "Right Stuff" - the courage to ride a rocket of steel and fire into the unknown and we loved them all - although I always had an extra little soft spot for John Glenn.

Walter Cronkite - the man who's face I saw on every important event of my childhood and my youth. From the assasination of J.F.K., the moon landing, Viet Nam and Watergate this was the man we turned to for our news and who shared so much of our sorrows and joys with us. I will never forget the tears in Mr. Cronkite's eyes as he told the nation about the death of President Kennedy. I remember this scene so well - the glasses coming off, the blinking eyes and the clearing of his throat as he stuggles to keep his emotions in check - watch that exact moment here (from around 1:40 minutes into the video until about 2:10 minutes). That moment is almost as memorable as watching little John-John salute his father's casket as it rolls down Pennsylvania Avenue during the funeral procession.

And, of course, Bird's Eye - Thank you, Clarence Birdseye for the TV dinner!! I don't know if many of you remember them, but I had some of those first frozen tv dinners because my mother was a working mother and they must have seemed like a miracle to her some days. It's hard to believe how that little tin of food has become such a huge industry in today's world!

And now, since it's well past lunch, I'm heading off to my freezer for a wee nosh and some nostalgia!


The King, The Lizard King and Four Young Men From Liverpool

Have You Seen The White Rabbit? is my artistic tribute to the Rock and Roll icons of the Haight in San Francisco of the sixties. This image is not for sale, but there is some great trivia on the famous bands of the Haight on my page.
This Day in History

Birthdays - 1958 Andy Gibb (singer), 1939 Samantha Eggar (actress), 1938 James Wainwright (actor), 1936 Dean Stockwell (actor), 1927 Jack Cassidy (actor, father of David Cassidy and Shawn Cassidy), 1908 Rex (Reginald) Harrison (actor)

1960 - Elvis discharged from army

1962 - George C. Scott refuses Oscar nomination

1963 - The Hula Hoop is patented

1969 - Jim Morrison is charged with lewd behavior at a Miami concert

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Hula Hoop patent. Just recently the inventor of the hula hoop passed away and you can read more about that on my January 28th post, The Hula Hoop is Dead.

In 1960 Elvis was discharged from the Army, coming home to a changing music scene that was about to be bombarded by the British and a whole new sound. The King was about to be dethroned by four young men from Liverpool who would turn the world on it's ear.

Also on this date in 1969, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors was arrested for lewd conduct at a Miami concert. It was a big brouhaha where he tore off his clothes on stage and "exposed" himself, according to witnesses. Morrison was eventually convicted of two misdemeanors; open profanity and indecent exposure. Some say this was the beginning of the end for the the rocker/poet, also known as Mr. Mojo Risin' and The Lizard King, as he moved to Paris shortly after and died before his appeal for this charge would come to trial.

I remember the incident as being one in many during those years - don't forget 1969 was also the year of Woodstock and Altamont. I graduated from high school in 1969 and it seemed the entire world was going to hell in a hand basket around me, or at least part of it was. Peace and love was beginning to unravel into sex, drugs and rock and roll and our rock idols were falling down drunk off their pedestals all around us.

Here's Elvis in his first movie made after the Army and a YouTube clip about Morrison's Miami incident:

Just the Facts, Ma'am!

This Day in History:

Birthdays -1969 Chastity Bono (singer), 1958 Patricia Heaton (actress), 1953 Kay Lenz (actress), 1939 Barbara McNair (actress)

1933 -Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in as the 32nd President of the United States

1938 - The Lone Ranger movie serial is released

1944 - The head of Murder, Incorporated, the largest crime syndicate in the United States, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, is executed at Sing Sing prison in New York.

1966 - John Lennon is quoted out of context stating that The Beatles "are more popular than Jesus Christ", setting off controversy, bans of Beatles music and a storm of anti-Beatle sentiment.


I'm taking the day off! I've been a good little pop culture poster and a busy bee of an artist and I'm pooped so no pop culture story today! "Just the facts, ma'am!" (thank you Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet for my tag line, lol)


THE TELEPHONE IN OUR TIMES- From Party Lines to Star Trek

This Day in History:

Birthdays: James Doohan (Scotty/Star Trek - STO), Jean Harlow, Alexander Graham Bell

1931 - The "Star Spangled Banner" becomes the official national anthem.

1949 - The Tucker Company goes out of business.

1991 - The Rodney King/Police Brutality incident begins.
THE TELEPHONE IN OUR TIMES- From Party Lines to Star Trek

Today is the birthday of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. This, of course, got me thinking about how much the technology of phones has changed in my lifetime. When I was a child we had one of those heavy, black handsets with the rotary dial and we were on a party line.

A party line, for those of you too young to know, was a shared telephone line. You could pick up your phone and hear the conversation of those who shared your line. Proper etiquette stated that you would immediately hang up and wait until the line had cleared to make your call, but, let's face it, more often than not you would listen for at least a second or two - it's just human nature! Since I was so young and not allowed to use the phone this was not a problem for me, but I do remember a few times it caused my sister (then a teenager) some anguish if she was waiting for a call from a boy!

I don't remember when we went to a private line, but I do remember our telephone number in those days. We didn't use all numbers, we used a word prefix, and ours was Murray. My phone number would be said Murray x-xxxx (the x's were the numbers). We said Murray but wrote and dialed MU-x-xxx. Now when you dialed MU you were dialing numbers, but we never translated those letters into numbers for some reason. If we had the phone number would have equaled the traditional seven numbers of a local call. Interesting, huh?

(A little aside here - do you remember the Glenn Miller song "Pennsylvania 6-5000"? Well, here's another little pop culture tidbit: Pennsylvania 6-5000 is the oldest known continuing phone number in New York, owned by the Hotel Pennsylvania since 1919 it has been in continuous use since that date. The hotel was host to many of the big bands of the 30's and 40's and inspired this song. (If you add the area code for New York (212) and dial you will still get the Hotel Pennsylvania and you will hear a portion of their famous song!) Sometime later a there was a scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's where this very number was requested from an operator, then there was the movie spoof "Transylvania 6-5000. A very famous phone number indeed!)

Anyway back to the telephone itself. I remember when phones started to come out in colors - red at first, then later we owned a pink phone! Pink, oh my, we were styling then! I also remember being very envious of a high school friend who got her own pink Princess phone with her own private line! That was spoiled in the sixties!

I remember when push button phones came out, when wireless handsets came out and then the first cellular phone technology. Of course, Motorola and others had "mobile phones" for some years by then but they were radio phones and only for the very wealthy or very important. When the first cell phones came out for the general populace they were still pretty pricey but affordable if you really needed the technology.

I got my first cell phone in 1986. The phone was the size of a woman's handbag, weighed about 5 pounds and had a base with a carrying handle and the handset was attached by a standard phone cord. The phone cost me about $2,000 and the service cost me about $2.00 a minute plus a base fee. My bills ran around $300 and $500 a month. I had a legitimate need for a mobile phone for my business, but many people thought it was an expensive toy. I believed that someday cell phones would replace land lines, but most of my friends thought I was crazy.

Today I, in fact, do not even have a land line telephone. I see no need for one. I still travel and need a mobile phone and, frankly, I don't see the advantage of the added expense of an outdated land line. Not only do I use the cell phone for calling, text message, sending photos to prospective clients, but I can connect to the internet for information at my fingertips. My phone is also a smart phone so I can write my blog posts and even upload them directly to my blogs. I can also film and upload videos to my YouTube and blogs.

What a difference fifty years makes. From the fantasy of the Dick Tracy watches of my childhood and the Star Trek communicators of my teens, the phone has now gone where no man has gone before.

And speaking of Star Trek, today is also the birthday of James Doohan who played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the engineer on the original Star Trek series. I am and always have been a Star Trek fan from the beginning of the series in the sixties and Scotty was one of my favorite characters. I was saddened by his death on the 20th of July in 2005 and will always think of his classic "We hanna got the power, Captain!" when I think of him. Happy Birthday, Scotty - I'm betting you've got the power now.


A TYPICAL SUNDAY IN THE FIFTIES - The Rituals of Family Life

Yes, Jesus Loves Me is a Pop Art Image of the classic portrait of Jesus that we had in our home when I was a child. This image is available as archival prints or giclees on canvas in various sizes at PopArtDiva.com in my Pop Art Section.

This Day in History:

Birthdays: Author John Irving, Jon Bon Jovi, Karen Carpenter, Desi Arnaz, Theodor Geisel alias "Dr. Seuss", Mikhail Gorbachev

1944 - The Academy Awards (Oscars) are televised for the first time.

1972 - The Pioneer 10 is launched to Jupiter.
A TYPICAL SUNDAY IN THE FIFTIES - The Rituals of Family Life

My family was a typical mid-western family. We had a swing set in the backyard, a little wiener dog* named Rin Tin Tin (Rinty), a '55 tan and white Chevy, a small two bedroom, one bath house in the suburbs of Wichita and that classic picture of Jesus in our home. I shared a room with my older sister and constantly stole her diary to read, thus insuring my claim to fame as a little terror.

We did the ordinary week day chores like work and school, went "uptown" to shop on Saturdays and on Sundays we always went to church. My parents were Presbyterian, though I didn't understand what that meant I knew that's what we were. Sunday mornings my mother would dress us in our "Sunday best" and march us into the Chevy to go to church and Sunday school. It was our Sunday ritual, church first, then the Sunday dinner.

In those days we dressed up to go to church. For me that meant a little dress complete with petticoats, Mary Janes in either white (summer) or black (winter) and gloves. Yes, we always wore gloves because that's what little ladies and grown up ladies did. On Easter we always had a new dress, shoes and the additional thrill of a new hat and maybe a little matching purse. That Easter dress would be our "good" outfit until we grew out of it or the next Easter rolled around. Our religious ritual was based on social networking and frilly clothes.

After church we either went out to have dinner at a restaurant that served fried chicken or we went home and Mom made fried chicken. I always got the drumstick - why do they always give the drumstick to the youngest child? And if we had cherry pie I always ended up with the piece that had a pit for which I was given a penny. The "Ritual of the Chicken and the Cherry Pit".

I don't think there were many Sundays that deviated from this pattern. For that matter most of my childhood centered around rituals. I could always count on a chocolate bunny and dying Easter Eggs for Easter, a home made costume and popcorn balls on Halloween, Black eyed peas on New Year's Day (for good luck), sparklers, fire crackers and watermelon in July and a number of other practices and events that had become the customs of my childhood. These events formed the security of my world and my parents knew their importance. Holiday rituals were a big deal.

I remember how much I looked forward to each seasonal event, each Sunday dinner and the activities I took part in with my family. Looking back at these times are some of my fondest memories. I often wonder if people have lost the art of ritual in today's world. We are all so busy. Parents go one way and the kids go another. Have the rituals been replaced by schedules?

I hope not. Schedules make lousy photo albums, home movies and memories.

* Yes, it was a dachshund, but I swear we called her a "wiener dog", and yes, she was a female - hey, I didn't name her Rin Tin Tin, my dippy brother did!