Thursday, January 31, 2013

“You better sit down kids…”

On this date in radio history—we have two very, very important anniversaries to observe.  Eighty years ago today, the adventures of “the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains” were first broadcast over WXYZ Radio in Detroit, Michigan.  The rider was masked because he, his brother and four other lawmen were cut down in an ambush by some really skeevy criminal types…and as the only survivor, he donned a mask (created from his brother’s vest) and tracked down those scumbags to mete out justice…and then learned that he liked leading “the fight for law and order” in the West.  Accompanied by his faithful Native American companion Tonto (the man responsible for treating his near-fatal wounds and nursing him back to health) and riding a beautiful white stallion named Silver…well, you don’t have to ask who that masked man was—he’s the Lone Ranger.

Three years after the debut of The Lone Ranger, a similar masked crimefighter took to the airwaves (making this his 77th anniversary)—similar in that he also rode with a sidekick, only in this version he drove a car (nicknamed The Black Beauty), and both programs’ theme songs were classical music masterpieces.  In the case of the Ranger, it was The William Tell OvertureThe Flight of the Bumblebee introduced the adventures of The Green HornetOver at the Radio Spirits blog, I hoist a few in the direction of these two iconic programs…and tout an excellent CD collection available at the site that no Lone Ranger/Green Hornet fan should be without (with liner notes written by one of the great ones, OTR historian and author Martin Grams, Jr.).

So with the anniversary cake and ice cream out of the way…I have news that isn’t easy for me to impart.  (No, your mom and I aren’t getting a divorce.)  About two weeks ago, I was hired by the CEO of to assume associate editor duties at the site—they will be revamping the place come this February, with articles and reviews on classic films and DVD reviews, and a regular series of columns from contributors on areas involving classic movies and classic television.  In addition, I will also be making the concerted effort to boost the site’s profile on various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter—if some of you subscribe to their Twitter feed or ClassicFlix’s Facebook page, you may have already read some of my pithy bon mots…though in the case of Twitter, it’s not easy to bon mot in 140 characters or less.

It is a superb opportunity for me, one that I enthusiastically agreed to because it allows me to write about my lifelong passions…and in complete I’m-not-making-a-joke honesty…if you have told me this would come along when I started Thrilling Days of Yesteryear nearly ten years ago I would have suggested you seek serious psychiatric help.  The great thing is that this job also compliments what I now do at Radio Spirits, continuing to maintain their blog and write liner notes for their new collections when assigned.

The sad news is…well, both of these responsibilities are going to eat up a fair amount of my time…and as such, I’m not going to be able to carry on here at TDOY as much as I have in the past.  I’m not completely closing down shop—there’s just going to be more than few occasions when a regular feature like Mayberry Mondays and Serial Saturdays will become…well, irregular.  I had hoped to be able to keep the Mayberry thing going till at least finishing out the series…and while there’s certainly a small chance I’ll accomplish that soon, I can’t promise it will happen as quickly as I would like.

I’ve made a couple of commitments to some upcoming blogathons that I plan to keep—right now, I don’t anticipate any setbacks…but again, if the people running those events find an e-mail from me in their mailbox it might not be positive news.  But I plan to look in on the place from time to time (so don’t get any ideas about camping out or eating the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls I have in the freezer) if only to keep my “skin in the game,” as the hipsters say…and if you plan to stop by the new places where I’m practicing cinematic medicine, you’re more than welcome.  (Just call first so I have a chance to do a quick tidy-up.)


Unknown said...

Congratulations on the new gig!

basura said...


I hope they establish an RSS feed for your content.

Rich G

Dan in Missouri said...

I'm glad we will still get to read your pieces.

rockfish said...

Awesome! I'm a regular visitor to their site but don't usually spend a lot of time there... If your pithy scribbling and insightful commentary that you deliver here is now going to be their website glue, count me in ! Clever of them to mine the man who made Mayberry RFD fab again for their own purposes.

Scott said...

Our loss, their gain. Hm...actually, it's your gain, too. Crap! That's a 2-to-1 loss -- we really got our asses kicked!

But a laurel and hearty congratulations, Ivan. This gig seems like a perfect fit, and couldn't happen to a nicer guy -- mostly because guys like that traditionally finish last, even when they do have skin in the game.

Me? I've stopped playing games with skin -- except for SCAB! By Milton Bradley ("How many can YOU pick while the clock goes tick?"). That one's a classic.

Moira Finnie said...

It's great to read that you will be sharing your knowledge and delightful wit with an even broader audience, Ivan. I am delighted for you and will be looking forward to your contributions across the many platforms you are mastering.

May I call you Ivan, Lord of All Media now?!
Moira Finnie

Chris Vosburg said...

Congratulations, Ivan, they are in excellent hands.

Coupla other things, about the masked men:

I remember clearly the shocked disbelief I felt in my '50s childhood when informed with a laugh by Latino friends here in L.A that Tonto was a Spanish word for crazy, stupid, fool, etc., but have since learned, thanks to the internet, that it more accurately carries the sense "wild one." Ah, much better.

Second, and this refers to the Green Hornet TV show of the sixties rather than the radio show, you may recall that the Black Beauty was garaged on a platform which could be flipped over to conceal it (the day limo on the other side would then pop up in its stead).

People who made the show realized that you cannot actually flip a real car over (fuel, oil, etc. will all pour out), so built miniature models of the cars on a small platform garage model and flipped that over instead.

Sadly, those who made the silly Knight Rider reboot in 2008 did not realize this, and were rudely surprised when the gimbal to which poor KITT was bolted to was rotated and the car dumped generous amounts of petroleum products all over not only their nice clean studio but the interior of the car itself (puddling on the headliner, presumably along with Michael's spare change, breath mints, etc.).

Also, they dug an enormous hole in the Santa Clarita Studios soundstage to house the gimbal assembly in, and there was no guardrailing of any kind.

After about the third crew member fell in the hole accidentally, I was compelled to quip, in my best Willam Daniels impression:

"Michael, this is very dangerous. Would you like me to call an OSHA inspector for you?"

Never did figger out why KITT had be hung upside down like a bat.

Sorry to run on so.

Page said...

Oh, Ives!
Before I forget. What kind of name is "Black Beauty" for a car? What a wimpy name.

While I'm thrilled for you and your new endeavors, I'm sad that you won't be writing here as much. Just promise that you'll tweet or leave links here for your writing, articles elsewhere. You have adoring fans and with that you have a responsibility to us to keep us updated.

You turning down a Blogathon is a new thing so you must be busy. Boy, Becky is going to love reading that.

Wishing you much success, Ives. They are lucky to have you on board.
I look forward to what you accomplish in this next chapter of your writing/editing.

Just don't go getting an ego. Okay, a bigger ego.

Jessica P. said...

Congratulations on the new job, Ivan! I'm very very excited for you! I know you will do great :)
I look forward to seeing what you bring to ClassicFlix :)

Stacia said...

Black Beauties are big nasty stick bugs! Not wimpy! NASTY! I love them, actually, but they are freakish looking and I don't recommend searching for images on The Googles.

Ivan, I've already congratulated you in private (you can all stop making naughty jokes now) but let me publicly join in the very deserved congrats! And I won't hound you about Mayberry Mondays. Much. Maybe. I make no promises.

Scott said...

Wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE! I just thought of something (hey, it happens!)...We're only up to Chapter 5 of DON WINSLOW OF THE NAVY. I can live without getting to the end of Mayberry RFD, since I already know Howard comes to a grim and squalid end -- a cuckolded suicide hanging from a motel bathroom curtain rod in THE GETAWAY -- but the U.S. Navy is in danger of losing Tangita Island, our sole strategic source of Tang. Without that, any future space race with the Russians is as good as lost, so please tell me you're going to finish it. (Not that I ever finished the 1943 Batman serial, but you're much more reliable than me.)

Lette's Haven said...

Congratulations! Your blog is superb!

P.S. those swiss cake rolls are mouthwatering!!!

Lette's Haven