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,
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
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 Overture
—The Flight of
introduced the adventures of The Green Hornet
. Over 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
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
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
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
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
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.)
Congratulations on the new gig!
I hope they establish an RSS feed for your content.
I'm glad we will still get to read your pieces.
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.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.)
Congratulations! Your blog is superb!
P.S. those swiss cake rolls are mouthwatering!!!
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