Huntley-Brinkley Report ended after 14 years with the retirement of Chet Huntley. John Chancellor and Frank McGee joined Brinkley for the next year on the renamed NBC Nightly News, then Chancellor went solo. ABC News started the year with Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith behind the anchor desk, until Reynolds was replaced by Harry Reasoner (in between stints on 60 Minutes) in December.
The National officially gained its name in 1969, amid an anchor change (Stanley Burke, who quit as newsreader to raise awareness surrounding the Biafran war in Nigeria, was replaced by Warren Davis) and a switch to colour. Lloyd Robertson replaced Davis in 1970.
One question this ad raises: was grey jacket/tan or mustard yellow shirt the official CBC newscaster uniform in 1970?
As for the hosts pictured, Robertson remained as anchor through 1976, while George Finstad became one of the original co-hosts of Marketplace (1972-77).
Video extra: possibly the best known line uttered on any CBC News report that year, from the October crisis, courtesy of PET.
Source: Maclean's, December 1970
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tried to go with a slightly spooky theme on last week's walk. With a stroll alongside Mt. Pleasant Cemetery as the starting point, who knew what ghoulish sights and sounds awaited?Heath St is one of Toronto's most chopped-up streets, hacked off into three sections due to ravines. The busiest portion is the main branch, running from the Rosedale ravine to almost the back entrance to St. Clair West subway station (from there to Bathurst, it's Tichester) - I often use this portion as a car/bike alternative to St. Clair. We joined Heath at the end of its Moore Park branch, where it runs into a footbridge across the Moore Park ravine.
Once across the bridge, we headed into the ravine. Our eyes adjusted to the darkness quickly, the only light provided by the occasional house up top. The path followed Mud Creek, which was appropriate given that we wandered along a combination of mud and leaves, which created a spooky squishing sound.
We emerged from the forest at the Don Valley Brick Works (City site. Lost River Walks page), where we ran into low-hanging fog.
We headed along a path that took us uphill, towards the North Slope/Wall. The higher we went, the more spectacular the view of downtown offices and the multiple layers of traffic at the DVP/Bloor/Bayview interchange. The gravel soon ran out, turning into a muddy trail that led into the woods. We lost the trail a couple of times - when we found it, it usually involved steep slopes that required slow, steady movement. We saw lights ahead, but no obvious exits, which led to two possibilities: retrace our steps and try not to slip, or hop a wealthy family's fence. It felt like a prison escape scene.
It turned out someone laid stones into the woods, which led to a driveway that we quietly dashed across. We had emerged from the wild in the Governor's Bridge neighbourhood.
More on this walk at Squiddity.
Monday, October 30, 2006
...or, how to exploit the symbolic power of your name for fun and political profit. There is no shortage of candidates taking advantage of this playbook during the current campaign.
There are variants to this playbook:
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Toronto was one of the last municipalities to allow candidates to erect signs this year, which was very noticeable if you drove out of the town. Signs in the rest of the province were in full bloom by the time the first signs appeared in Toronto last week. As I have driven around most of Southern Ontario over the past month, I've had my camera handy to capture any signs that deviate even slightly from the usual "Vote John Doe" or "Re-elect Jane Doe". You can find the growing set of pictures over on Flickr.
Today's samples come from my old stomping grounds, the deep southwest.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
For most of its life, the mall was filled with small local businesses and Windsor-based chains. Few national retailers passed through its doors over the first half of its life.
The original portion of the mall, the east corridor, opened in 1976, with A&P and The Met (Metropolitan stores) as its anchors. The Met was a second-tier discount chain owned by Gendis, who later converted it to a SAAN store. For several years, both chains operated across the street from each other. Don't really remember much about the Met, other than Dad used to pick up cutout records there and Amy and I had childhood portraits taken there. It was considered ultra-low-end shopping by late childhood. The only other Met locations I ever remember seeing were in Leamington (in a plaza that later housed No Frills) and Wallaceburg.
After a 28-year run, A&P closed its doors in 2004. The store was aging and its prices did not compete well with two other town grocers that had undergone major changes: No Frills (formerly Valu-Mart) and Sobeys (formerly Rocco's). My family had not shopped there regularly for years, preferring to grab most of our groceries in Windsor.
Ironically, I shot these pictures in what would have been the store's 30th anniversary month. Happy birthday - let's look at the ruins!
The closed-off section on the right is the north corridor, where the demolition started. Halfway down is where the original mall leads into the early 80s addition, the entire west half of the building. Unfortunately, most of my interior shots of this side of the mall didn't turn out, but Labelscar has pictures from 2004 in its profile of the mall.
The Christmas Martian, my introduction to (dubbed) Quebecois cinema. Evenings, the theatre was a first-run two-plex in all of its incarnations. It closed for good around 1988-89 - I think the last movie I saw there was The Naked Gun.
After that, it became the town bingo hall. If you belonged to a high school organization or team, it was almost inevitable that you had to work a fundraising shift or two at the smoke-clogged bingo. Non-smoking area? Hah! Players would sit with half-a-dozen dabblers and mounds of rabbit's feet, puffing away as the numbers were called. After I headed off to university, the space did a 180, as the bingo was replaced by the relocated town medical clinic.
For the first few years after I left town for university, little changed. I'd come home and it felt like a time warp. Then slowly, I noticed the odd business closed or in a new location, new equipment in parks and the trees looking much taller in my old neighbourhood. The century turns and boom! Local factories shut. Large grocers step in. Long vacant buildings downtown come down to be replaced by condos.
Even though I could count on one hand the number of times I'd been in Fort Malden/White Woods Mall since I stopped dropping off high school yearbook pictures for developing, its looming disappearance is the thunderbolt that shows my childhood landscape is starting its vanishing act.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Plot summary, via the New York Times. Murder, gender-bending, South Africa, booze and romance...what more could you want in a movie? I love the descriptions used for the characters, be it "Love-a-little Loochia" or "his cool debonaire ways and fearless, insolent tongue".
Anna Q. Nilsson (Desmond, 1888-1974) was a star throughout the teens and 20s. She briefly retired with the coming of sound, then returned to play uncredited bit roles, mostly in musicals, through the 40s and 50s. Her last movie appearance was in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). The Q? It stood for Quirentia, the saint of the day she was born.
James Kirkwood (Druro, 1875-1963) had both acted and directed in the teens, the latter mostly with Mary Pickford. His acting career ended with The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956). His son, James Kirkwood Jr, won a Tony for co-writing the book for A Chorus Line.
Tully Marshall (Blauhimel, 1864-1943) made his screen debut at 50, after a long stage career. Specialized in nasty characters early on. Final credit: Hitler's Madman (1943).
First National was a major studio for its short existence. Formed in 1917 as a theatre chain by owners as an attempt to fight Paramount's increasing stranglehold on film bookings. The company quickly gained prominence when Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford signed on to produce films for them (though sour experiences with FN management soon led them to form United Artists). A large studio was built in Burbank in the mid-20s...which soon became the home for the company that purchased FN in 1928, the rapidly-rising Warner Bros. The First National name lived on for the next few decades, due to legal requirements and tax loopholes (Casablanca was a WB-FN picture).
As for the other pictures listed: Flaming Youth was one of the first movies to revolve around flappers - only one reel exists today. Anna Christie was the first film version of Eugene O'Neill's play, eclipsed by the 1930 version that launched Greta Garbo's sound career. It was also one of the last films produced by Thomas Ince before his mysterious death on William Randolph Hearst's yacht in 1924.
Source: Photoplay, November 1923
Thursday, October 19, 2006
On Monday, I picked up the keys to my new digs. As this would be the last time the apartment would be in its pristine state, I brought the camera along and snapped a few shots. For the curious, the two pics on the left will be the bedroom/office, followed by the living room and kitchen. People who have visited the bunker will notice two distinct new elements - sunlight and closets.
Now begins the fun of determining the precise layout of the apartment...
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I should know to stick to back roads.Driving down to Montreal last Friday was an exercise in frustration whenever my wheels touched 401. Numerous construction zones, inexplicable traffic jams, much like recent travels along 401 from Toronto to Windsor. I thought I'd mix freeway and backroad travel, but should have stuck entirely to the latter.
Especially when odd discoveries were made.
After filling up in Napanee, I headed along county roads to the north of 401, an area I'd never been through before. Among the towns I passed through was Yarker, northwest of Kingston. At the town's main intersection, I saw a bridge ahead of me and decided to check out the view from it.
The name of the street next to the bridge caused me to do a double-take.
Choctaw Ridge...next to a bridge...cue the record player in my head. The only thing missing was a sign indicating this was the Tallahachie Bridge (I didn't see any signs namimg it).
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Today, an ad from a classic comic book advertiser, Grit, which billed itself as "America's Favorite Family Newspaper".
The paper's philosophy was summed up by publisher Dietrick Lamade around the turn of the century:
Always keep Grit from being pessimistic. Avoid printing those things which distort the minds of readers or make them feel at odds with the world. Avoid showing the wrong side of things, or making people feel discontented. Do nothing that will encourage fear, worry or temptation... Wherever possible, suggest peace and good will toward men. Give our readers courage and strength for their daily tasks. Put happy thoughts, cheer and contentment into their hearts.
According to Grit's official history, the paper reached its peak circulation around the time this ad appeared - one-and-a-half million subscribers in 1969. Over time, it flipped owners, reduced its frequency and evolved into a farm lifestyle magazine.
As a friend noted, it's odd to see that one of the questions asked of potential Grit newsboys is "are you a boy?" Sexism and ageism in one fell swoop! I imagine they didn't want 57-year olds pushing Grit to traditional nuclear families, even if the boy pictured looks like 13-going-on-57. The model changed shortly after this, as that crew-cut was definitely passe by the early 70s (all I have to do is look at my Dad's yearbooks from his first few years teaching in A'burg for proof). This is the nerdiest Grit kid I've encountered, though far from the geekiest...
Also note that it's not tips or a guide that are offered to budding businessmen, but "selling helps". Yes, selling helps, otherwise the kid wouldn't make his 7 cents an issue.
The issue this ad was scanned from marked a milestone for the God of Thunder, as it was artist Jack Kirby's last issue. Kirby co-created Thor with Stan Lee in 1962, intermittently drew the first year of the series, then settled in permanently by 1964. Kirby left Marvel in 1970, heading over to DC to draw, write and edit a variety of series over the next five years, including the "Fourth World" series (New Gods, Mister Miracle, Forever People and tie-in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen), The Demon, OMAC and Kamandi.
Lee stayed on Thor as writer for another year. The series rolled along as one of Marvel's most run-of-the-mill titles until artist/writer Walt Simonson gave it a shot in the arm in 1983.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
990: ONE FINE SATURDAY IN MICHIGAN
Spent the long weekend back in A'burg, which included the usual trip over to Detroit with Amy.
Everywhere we went, the only subject of conversation was that afternoon's Tigers/Yankees playoff game. I would have listened to it, except that their current flagship radio station, WXYT, has a weak signal. Happily, the Tigers won their first playoff round since '84, the Yankees went down in flames and no burning police cars were reported by local TV stations.
Two shots from the intersection of Woodward Ave and McNichols Rd (the name through Detroit of 6 Mile Rd), which marks the northern boundary of Highland Park.
Left: WJLB has long been one of the leading urban contemporary radio stations in Detroit, stretching back to their "strong songs" TV campaign in the 80s. Not sure how to explain this ad, other than they're tapping into the largely neglected radio-in-the-shower market.
Right: Based on the colour of this building, would you trust these cleaners to separate your reds from your whites?
We continued along Woodward into Ferndale.
Left: Looks like the fat lady was blinded by the light that morning. I can't think of the name of the club whose window this sits in, other than it's by the start of the downtown Ferndale strip along 9 Mile west of Woodward. From the reflection in the window, you can tell who holds down the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward.
Right: The Bangkok Cafe has long been a favourite in the family, ever since we discovered it while shopping at the long-gone Sam's Jams record store. The decor is not much to look at, but the food...let's say that in 15 years we've never had a bad meal. It's not fancy, just simple stir-fries. Medium spicing is usually my threshold of pain here.
After a few hours of shopping, we headed north along Rochester Rd to catch fall colour. We were in the apple belt and stopped at a cider mill north of Rochester (recent Detroit Free Press taste test). It proved to be the most sedate-looking of any we passed, especially those on Van Dyke Rd. The smell of fresh cider doughnuts dominated. Amy gave them a thumbs-up.
South of Leonard, we passed this bus shelter. We suspect a regular school bus rider designed it. - JB