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Cigar Store Indians Cigar store Indians (or wooden Indians) were used by tobacconists as garish advertising figures. At one point in the late nineteenth century, the cigar store Indian was a tobacco icon much like striped poles were for barber shops or three gold balls were for pawn shops. The figures were often three-dimensional wooden sculptures several feet tall; some were life-sized. They were first utilized because of the general illiteracy of the populace. American Indians and tobacco had always been associated. Since Indians had introduced tobacco to Europeans, the depiction of native people on smoke-shop signs was inevitable. As early as the seventeenth century, European tobacconists used figures of American Indians to advertise their shops. The statues began to lose their prominence in twentieth century America largely because cities began restricting the presence of intrusive objects on public sidewalks. Most surviving figures are museum pieces and collectors' items.
Tags: cigar  store  Indian 
Added: 20th June 2010
Views: 1887
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Posted By: Lava1964
Tinker to Evers to Chance Back in the day when sports writing was at its gaudy peak, scribes often used poetry in their description of people and events. The most famous sports poem is likely this one penned by Franklin P. Adams: These are the saddest of possible words: 'Tinker to Evers to Chance.' Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds, Tinker and Evers and Chance. Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble, Making a Giant hit into a double Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble: 'Tinker to Evers to Chance.' This work was first published as 'That Double Play Again' in the July 12, 1910, New York Evening Mail. The Chicago Daily Tribune reprinted it as 'Gotham's Woe' on July 15, 1910. Three days later, on July 18, the New York Evening Mail republished it under the title by which it is best known today, 'Baseball's Sad Lexicon.' It described the double-play artistry of Chicago Cubs when the team was in its heyday in the first decade of the 20th century. (Yes, the Cubs actually had a heyday.) Second baseman Joe Tinker, shortstop Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance first played together in 1902. Although the poetic lament was accurate, the Cubs' famed trio never came close to leading the National League in double plays at any time. Nevertheless all three were inducted into the Hall of fame in 1946 largely because of Franklin Adams' doggerel. Based on sheer statistics, probably only Frank Chance deserves to be there. Although all three ballplayers are long dead, their double play prowess has been referenced in numerous literary works, movies, and TV shows as varied as Hogan's Heroes and The Brady Bunch.
Tags: baseball  Tinker  Evers  Chance  Chicago  Cubs 
Added: 4th January 2011
Views: 2016
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Posted By: Lava1964
1958 New Jersey Commuter Train Disaster On Sept. 15, 1958, a horrible accident befell a commuter train shuttling passengers from New Jersey to New York City. It was a Tuesday morning after rush hour so the train had only 100 passengers--about a quarter of its capacity. Shortly following 10 a.m., Central Railroad train No. 3314 out of Bayhead stopped at Elizabethport on the western shore of Newark Bay. The train plunged off the end of an open bridge, killing 48 passengers, including a high executive from one of the larger corporations in the country and retired New York Yankees second baseman George (Snuffy) Stirnweiss. Other passengers included an investment banker carrying a brief case that contained $250,000 in negotiable bonds, a federal agent carrying a top secret device for communicating with satellites, and the mayor of a town in southern New Jersey. The accident occurred when the train plunged off the end of a bridge that had opened to allow a boat to pass on Newark Bay. Questions still remain about the accident, and why the crew ignored at least three warnings to stop and arrived at the edge of the bridge at exactly the wrong moment - sending three cars into the turbulent waters below. Although some reports suggest that the train engineer, Lloyd Wilburn, 63, suffered a heart attack before drowning as a result of the crash, the investigation later showed his train moved well above the 22-mile-per-hour speed limit for the bridge and passed through three signals notifying him and other crew members that the bridge was open ahead.
Tags: bridge  train  disaster  New  Jersey 
Added: 30th January 2011
Views: 4417
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Posted By: Lava1964
1974 Time Magazine Global Cooling Story Although Richard Nixon was featured on the cover of the June 24, 1974 issue of Time magazine, from a historian's point of view the most interesting article within that edition was a doom-and-gloom story about the inevitable onset of global cooling. Yep, global cooling--not global warming. The article said, 'Telltale signs are everywhere from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7 F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.' Hmm.
Tags: global  cooling  Time  magazine 
Added: 5th February 2011
Views: 7570
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Posted By: Lava1964
Vitas Gerulaitis Vitas Gerulaitis was a free-spirited American tennis player in the 1970s and 1980s who rose to third in the world rankings. His frizzy, long blond hair made him immediately recognizable. Over his career, Gerulaitis won 25 ATP singles titles, including the 1977 Australian Open. However, he consistently had trouble with the truly elite players on the men's circuit. After losing to Jimmy Connors 16 straight times before finally beating him in 1979, Gerulaitis comically told reporters, 'Let that be a lesson to you all: Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 straight times!' (It wasn't entirely true. Bjorn Borg beat Gerulaitis in all 17 matches they played, including a classic five-set semifinal at Wimbledon in 1977.) Tragically, on September 17, 1994, Gerulaitis died in his sleep while staying at a friend's guest house. The cause of death was determined to be carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a malfunctioning heater. He was just 40 years old.
Tags: tennis  Vitas  Gerulaitis 
Added: 9th February 2011
Views: 4103
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Posted By: Lava1964
Florence Sally Horner Abduction Case Florence Horner (who answered to the name Sally) was the victim of a 1948 case of child abduction. It only merited regional coverage at the time. Had it happened today, it would surely be a national media sensation. In 1948, as part of a club initiation, 11-year-old Sally Horner stole a five-cent notebook from a dime store in Camden, NJ. Frank La Salle, a 50-year-old mechanic who had served a prison term for statutory rape, witnessed the theft and saw a perverted opportunity: He told Horner he was an FBI agent, and threatened to send her to 'a place for girls like you' if she didn't cooperate with him. La Salle abducted Horner and spent 21 months travelling with her from Camden to Atlantic City to Baltimore to Dallas and finally, to San Jose--all the while using Horner as an unwilling sex partner. LaSalle posed as Horner's father on their travels, even going as far as enrolling her in local schools under false names. While attending school in Dallas, Sally confided her situation to a classmate who urged her to contact the police. Shortly after relocating to a San Jose motor court, Sally confided her situation to another resident while Frank was away looking for a job and phoned her brother-in-law and older sister in Camden, asking them to 'send the FBI.' La Salle was arrested when he returned to motor court, but he claimed he was Florence's father. However, an FBI investigation found that Horner's true father had died seven years previously. La Salle was sentenced under the Mann Act to 30 to 35 years in prison. Literary scholars believe the Horner case at least partially inspired Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel Lolita. In fact, there is a reference to the Horner case in Part II, Chapter 33 of the novel. Nabokov also uses the adjective 'Florentine' to describe Lolita--likely an allusion to Florence (Sally) Horner. Like the fictional Lolita, Florence Horner died young: She was killed in a car accident near Woodbine, New York, on August 18, 1952. Two days later the Associated Press reported, 'Florence Sally Horner, a 15-year-old Camden, N.J., girl who spent 21 months as the captive of a middle-aged morals offender a few years ago, was killed in a highway accident when the car in which she was riding plowed into the rear of a parked truck.'
Tags: kidnapping  Lolita  Florence  Sally  Horner 
Added: 11th May 2011
Views: 4480
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Posted By: Lava1964
Buckwheat Hoax 1990 ABC News found itself in an embarrassing position in 1990. Acting on a viewer's tip, 20/20, ABC's weekly news magazine, aired a "Where are they now?" segment about former Our Gang member Buckwheat. The story claimed that Buckwheat, whose real name was Bill English, was modestly employed as a grocery bagger at a Tempe, AZ supermarket. Immediately following the broadcast, dozens of Our Gang fans called ABC to tell the network they had been duped by an imposter. The real Buckwheat was named Billie Thomas--and he had died of a heart attack in 1980. Among the whistle-blowers was Our Gang alumnus Spanky McFarland who had worked alongside Thomas from 1934 until 1942. (Buckwheat stayed with the series until its conclusion in 1944.) Shortly after the hoax was exposed, a reporter from A Current Event interviewed McFarland via satellite from his home in Dallas while simultaneously interviewing English via satellite from Tempe. English came across as mumbling, evasive, incoherent, and thoroughly unconvincing. Moreover, English claimed to be the "first Buckwheat"--even though there was only one. The fallout of the debacle was that Lynn Murray, the producer of the 20/20 segment, was fired for doing inadequate research. Thomas's son sued ABC for damages. Hugh Downs issued an on-air apology on the following 20/20 broadcast. ABC News released a half-hearted, semi-apologetic media statement describing the situation as awkward "because English truly believes he is Buckwheat." English went to his grave in November 1994 still maintaining he was Buckwheat.
Tags: Buckwheat  hoax  Our  Gang  ABC  20/20 
Added: 21st August 2011
Views: 2897
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Posted By: Lava1964
Dance Cards Here was a quaint custom that has sadly disappeared: Dance cards. A dance card was commonly used by a young woman to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she intended to dance each successive dance at a formal ball. They appear to have originated in 18th century, but their use first became widespread in 19th century Vienna. Typically a card would list of all the dances for the evening and their style: for example, waltz, polka, or quadrille. Opposite each dance was a space to record the name of the scheduled partner for that dance. After the event ended, the card was frequently kept by the young lady as a souvenir of the evening. Typically, it would have a cover indicating the date and sponsoring organization of the ball and a decorative cord by which it could be attached to a lady's wrist or ball gown. From the 19th century until the First World War, dance cards for the elite of Austria-Hungary were often very elaborate, with some even incorporating precious metals and jewels. In modern times the expression "dance card" is often used metaphorically, as when someone says "pencil me into your dance card," meaning "find some time to spend with me". Conversely, someone's "dance card is full" implies that even though they may be interested, they have no time for another person.
Tags: dance  cards 
Added: 3rd September 2011
Views: 2600
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Posted By: Lava1964
Worst Sports Mascot - San Francisco Crab The 1970s saw the beginning of the mascot craze in professional baseball. Before the 1984 season, the San Francisco Giants polled their fans about having a team mascot. The survey indicated that 65% of their fans preferred having no mascot whatsoever. Undeterred, the lowly Giants decided introduced a mascot--but with their own special twist: They created an 'anti-mascot.' The creature they unleashed was the infamous Crazy Crab (see photo below). The idea was to poke fun at traditional mascots. Local television commercials depicted manager Frank Robinson having to be restrained from attacking the crustacean. One critic said the mascot looked like "a wart with distemper." Giant fans were encouraged to boo and hiss the phony mascot, who was portrayed by actor Wayne Doba. The prodding worked all too well. With an awful 96-loss season soothing no souls, Crazy Crab became the object of hatred and abuse--an easy target for disgruntled fans. The crowd would hurl all sorts of things at the beast, both verbally and literally. Even the players got into the act, dumping drinks and other things into the suit. Broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, both Giant players during the year of Crazy Crab, were asked if they ever had trouble with him. Their response: 'No, we used to drill him with the rosin bag daily, so he was scared of us.' The nightmare for the bug-eyed object of derision ended after just one season. The Giants would not attempt another mascot, 'anti' or real, until 1997. Nevertheless, as late as 2010 there was an unsuccessful Internet campaign to resurrect Crazy Crab.
Tags: baseball  San  Franciso  Giants  crab  mascot 
Added: 22nd September 2011
Views: 1728
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Posted By: Lava1964
Frank Caday aka Sam Drucker Passes at Age 96 Frank Cady, 96, a character actor who played Hooterville general store proprietor Sam Drucker on the TV sitcoms "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction," died Friday in his home in Wilsonville, Ore., said his daughter, Catherine Turk. No specific cause was given. Like Mr. Haney, Eb Dawson, Hank Kimball and Arnold the Pig, Cady's Sam Drucker was a supporting cast member on "Green Acres" to lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas and his socialite wife, Lisa, played by Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, who had ditched the high life in New York City for the charms of a farm in Hooterville.
Tags: Frank  Cady,  Hooterville,  Sam  Drucker,  Green  Acres,  Petticoat  Junction,       
Added: 11th June 2012
Views: 2045
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Posted By: Old Fart

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