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Speedy Gonzales Deemed Politically Incorrect Speedy Gonzales, the cunning cartoon Mexican mouse that could run at blazing speeds, was first introduced by Warner Bros. in 1953. (Mel Blanc provided Speedy's voice.) By 1999, however, the Cartoon Network ceased to air Speedy Gonzales. In an interview with Fox News on March 28, 2002, Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg commented, 'It hasn't been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes.' This is widely believed to refer to Speedy's fellow mice, who are all shown as being very slow and lazy, and sometimes even appear intoxicated. This is particularly true of Speedy's cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez, who is exceptionally slow and lazy. In one cartoon, titled Gonzales' Tamales, the town mice instigate a feud between Speedy and Sylvester the Cat because Speedy has been stealing the hearts of all the females. Much of the dialogue between Mexican characters is in English and the small amount of Spanish that peppers the dialogue consists of basic greetings, goodbyes, exclamations, and misplaced references to popular Mexican foods. Criticism prompted the Cartoon Network to largely shelve Speedy's films when it gained exclusive rights to broadcast them in 1999. However, fan campaigns to put Speedy back on the air and lobbying by the League of United Latin American Citizens saw the shorts return to air in 2002. Ironically Speedy Gonzales remains a very popular character in Latin America. In Mexico, Speedy Gonzales cartoons have been part of the regular programing of Televisa's Canal 5 national channel ever since it was created. In 2010, a Looney Tunes New Year's Day marathon on the Cartoon Network showed the episode 'Mexican Boarders' featuring both Speedy and Slowpoke. On the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, the Speedy cartoons are prefaced by a disclaimer that states: 'The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WB view of society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim these prejudices never existed.'
Tags: cartoons  Speedy  Gonzales  racism 
Added: 29th January 2011
Views: 3528
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Newton Minow - Vast Wasteland Speech Despite being just 35 years old, Newton Minow became the head of the Federal Communications Commission in 1961 shortly after John F. Kennedy became president. During the 1960 election campaign, Robert Kennedy and Minow had long passionate discussions about the state of television and its influence on America. Minow became a vocal critic of the medium. Famously, in a speech given to the National Association of Broadcasters convention on May 9, 1961, Minow was extremely critical of television broadcasters for not doing more, in Minow's view, to serve the public interest. His phrase, 'vast wasteland,' is remembered years afterward. Minow said, 'When television is good, nothing—-not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers-— nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.' While some Americans applauded Minow's assault on commercial television as a welcome criticism of excessive violence and frivolity, others criticized it as an elitist, snobbish attack on programming that many viewers enjoyed. Still others viewed it as government interference with private enterprise. Related trivia: The S. S. Minnow of the 1964–1967 television show Gilligan's Island was sarcastically named for Minow to express the producers' displeasure with his assessment of the quality of television.
Tags: FCC  Newton  Minow  television  vast  wasteland  speech 
Added: 3rd February 2011
Views: 2999
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Posted By: Lava1964
Civil War News Trading Cards Civil War News was a set of 88 collectible trading cards issued in the early 1960s by Topps. The set featured the colorful artwork of Norman Saunders, as well as three other artists. The card set was characterized by vivid colors, graphic depictions of violence, death, and blood (card #21 'Painful Death' being a prime example) and exaggerations of warfare. On the reverse, each card contained a brief history of a campaign, battle, or person. The information was presented in newspaper-article fashion complete with a headline. The complete set of cards, including a checklist, was first printed for the American market in 1962 to coincide with the centennial of the Civil War. A similar series with the same artwork was later issued in Canada. A&BC produced the sets in England. The cards came five to a wax pack with a stick of bubble gum. Also included in each package was a facsimile of Confederate paper currency. The original selling price was a nickel per package. Topps later issued the cards in cellophane-wrapped strips.
Tags: trading  cards  Civil  War  News 
Added: 9th February 2011
Views: 6365
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Offensive Words Expunged From Scrabble Dictionary In 1993, Judith Grad, a kitchen-table Scrabble enthusiast was horrified to discover that the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) contained racial, religious, and ethnic slurs along with common vulgarities and obscenities. She wrote letters of complaint to Hasbro (the company that owns Scrabble) and Merriam-Webster, the publisher of OSPD. The general response was that although some words were certainly offensive, they were still words that could be found in any collegiate-level dictionary. Moreover, their meanings were irrelevant to the game. Unsatisfied, Grad contacted the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai Brith, the NAACP, and the Zionist Organization of America. That, combined with a letter-writing campaign organized by the National Council of Jewish Women, brought the 'offensive word issue' some mainstream publicity. Without consulting Merriam-Webster or the National Scrabble Association (NSA), Hasbro chairman Alan Hassenfeld, in a knee-jerk reaction, announced that '50 to 100 words' would be expunged when the next edition of OSPD was published. Predictably, serious tournament Scrabble players went nuts, accusing Hasbro of caving into censorship, political correctness and the 'language police.' A petition bearing the signatures of more than 800 tournament players was presented to Hasbro demanding Hassenfeld's decision be reversed. At the 1994 U.S. National Scrabble Championship in Los Angeles, an angry mob of more than 200 players vociferously declared their opposition to any expurgation and vowed to quit the game or even sue the NSA if any words were removed from the lists because of political correctness. An acceptable compromise was reached: Starting in 1996 a separate Official Word List (OWL)--without definitions--would be made available to tournament players through the NSA, while a sanitized OSPD would be sold to the general public. OSPD would contain no offensive words and a not-too-prominent disclaimer that it was only 'official' for school and recreational play. Since offensiveness is highly subjective, determining the words that were eventually expunged from OSPD was itself controversial. Brace yourself: Among the 303 'naughty' words you'll no longer see in OSPD are FATSO, LIBBERS, REDSKIN, GRINGO, BAZOOMS, COMSYMP, POONTANG, WETBACK, PAPIST, BADASS, REDNECK, BULLDYKE and STIFFIE.
Tags: Scrabble  words  censorship  political  correctness 
Added: 8th March 2011
Views: 3794
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Pay Toilets The first pay toilet in the United States was installed in 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Pay toilets were prevalent in restaurants and other public buildings until the mid-1970s. However, a campaign by the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America (CEPTIA) resulted in laws prohibiting them in cities and states--legislation that was widely applauded by the public. In 1973, Chicago became the first American city to enact a pay-toilet ban. At the time, according to the Wall Street Journal, there were at least 50,000 units in America, mostly made by the Nik-O-Lok Company. CEPTIA was successful over the next few years in obtaining bans in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, California, Florida and Ohio. Lobbying was successful in other states as well, and by decade's end, pay toilets were greatly reduced in America. However, they are surprisingly still in use in some places. Many people would be shocked to learn that pay toilets are once again legal as the CEPTIA-inspired bans from the 1970s have been repealed in many jurisdictions.
Tags: pay  toilets   
Added: 9th April 2011
Views: 7866
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Hot L Baltimore - Sitcom Flop 1975 ABC had high hopes when its risque and controversial sitcom Hot L Baltimore debuted in 1975. Ultimately, though, the show never captured the hearts of TV viewers and was summarily axed less than five months into its run. The show, based on a successful off-Broadway play, took place in the rundown Hotel Baltimore in Baltimore, MD. It drew its title from the cheap establishment's neon marquee, which had a burned-out letter "e" that had never been replaced. The half-hour series premiered on January 24, 1975 and was produced by Norman Lear for ABC. (It was, in fact, the first Lear property to air on ABC.) The cast included Conchata Ferrell, James Cromwell, Richard Masur, Al Freeman, Jr., Gloria LeRoy, Jeannie Linero, and Charlotte Rae. The show's plots focused on the lives of the odd assemblage of disparate characters who called the seedy hotel home. The series had several controversial elements, including two primary characters who were prostitutes--one of whom was an illegal immigrant--and one of the first gay couples to be depicted on an American television series. Because of its storylines, Hot L Baltimore was the first network television show to have a warning during its opening, cautioning viewers about mature themes. ABC gave Hot L Baltimore a full publicity campaign, but it failed to win an audience and was canceled after just 13 episodes; its last telecast was June 6, 1975. This series is notable as the first failure for producer Norman Lear after a very successful streak of mega-hit TV series beginning with All in the Family in 1971 and continuing with Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, among others.
Tags: Hot  L  Baltimore  sitcom  flop  Norman  Lear  ABC 
Added: 29th August 2011
Views: 3674
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Nancy Kulp-Buddy Ebsen Feud - 1984 Nancy Kulp and Buddy Ebsen starred together for nine seasons on The Beverly Hillbillies, one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. From 1962 to 1971 Kulp played prim bank secretary Miss Jane Hathaway. Ebsen played the patriarch of the oil-rich, unsophisticated Clampett clan. In 1984 Kulp, a Democrat, decided to run for Congress in her home state of Pennsylvania. She attempted to unseat popular 12-year Republican incumbent Bud Shuster in the state's 9th District. During the campaign, Kulp made an offhand remark that all the surviving cast members from The Beverly Hillbillies were supporting her. Ebsen, a lifelong Republican, wanted to set the record straight: He dispatched a note to Kulp from his California home. It read, "Hey Nancy, I love you dearly, but you’re too liberal for me. I’ve got to go with Bud Shuster." The rift between the two actors was further exacerbated when Ebsen did a radio spot for Shuster in which he reiterated his objections to Kulp's liberal politics. Kulp believed Ebsen's intrusion into Pennsylvania politics was "cruel." Embittered, she terminated their friendship. On election day Shuster soundly trounced Kulp by about a 2:1 margin. Apparently Kulp and Ebsen only reconciled shortly before Kulp's death from cancer in 1991.
Tags: Nancy  Kulp  Buddy  Ebsen  Beverly  Hillbillies  politics  feud 
Added: 18th September 2011
Views: 14984
Rating:
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: 1989
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Polio Vaccine Campaign 1954 From 1916 through 1952 the United States and Canada experienced horrible outbreaks of polio every few years. At one point, one out of every 5000 children was diagnosed with the dreaded disease. Polio is a virus which can be contracted through contacting bodily fluids from someone already infected. Early symptoms might include headaches and a runny nose. However, once the virus moves to the central nervous system, it can cause paralysis and even death. Sneezing and coughing accelerate the spread of polio. Therefore there was justifiable panic in communities when outbreaks occurred. Public gathering places would be declared off limits. (Swimming pools were typically the first places to be closed.) Municipal parks would be eerily vacant. Researchers later determined, somewhat ironically, that young children were most susceptible to polio because most North American births in the 20th century occurred in the sterile environs of hospitals. These newborns did not naturally come in contact with small amounts of the disease as did their ancestors who were born at home. Accordingly, their immune systems did not develop sufficient resistance to the virus. Researchers Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin worked separately to find a cure. Both believed that by exposing children to minute traces of the virus through immunizations their immune systems would build up a lifetime immunity to polio. Salk favored vaccine containing the dead polio virus while Sabin favored live-virus vaccine. In 1954, two years after the terrible 1952 outbreak, more than 1.83 million children volunteered to be "polio pioneers" and serve as guinea pigs for Salk's virus. As a reward for their bravery, each was given a lollipop, plus a button and certificate acknowledging participation in the program. None of the volunteers contracted polio.
Tags: polio  research  vaccine  volunteers 
Added: 13th May 2012
Views: 2307
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
AfterMASH TV networks can't leave well enough alone. In February 1983, MASH exited the airwaves in a blaze of glory after 11 successful and brilliant seasons of quality television. Seven months later, CBS reunited a few of its characters in a sequel titled AfterMASH. (The title was intended to be a pun on "aftermath".) The show was set immediately following the end of the Korean War and chronicled the adventures of three characters from the original series: Colonel Potter (played by Harry Morgan), Klinger (Jamie Farr) and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher). By several quirks of fate, all three end up working at a veterans' hospital in Missouri. Rosalind Chao rounded out the starring cast as Soon-Lee Klinger, a Korean refugee whom Klinger met in the last two episodes of MASH and married at the end of the series. AfterMASH premiered on September 26, 1983 in the same Monday night 9:00 p.m. EST. time slot that MASH once had. Curious and faithful MASH fans provided vast audience numbers for that first broadcast. AfterMASH debuted at #1 in the weekly TV ratings--the first time a new show had done that since Laverne and Shirley. It finished 10th out of all network shows for the 1983-1984 season according to Nielsen Media Research television ratings. For its second season CBS disastrously moved the show to Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. EST., opposite NBC's top-ten hit The A-Team. CBS launched an optimistic marketing campaign featuring illustrations by Sanford Kossin of Max Klinger in a nurse's uniform, shaving off Mr. T's signature mohawk, theorizing AfterMASH would take a large portion of The A-Team's audience. The exact opposite occurred: AfterMASH's ratings plummeted to near the bottom of the television rankings and the show was canceled just nine episodes into its second season. Twenty-nine AfterMASH episodes had aired, one was shown as late as May 1985. A thirtieth episode was completed but was never broadcast. Comparisons to the original MASH were inevitable and largely unfavorable. In 2002, TV Guide listed AfterMASH, perhaps uncharitably, as the seventh-worst TV series ever.
Tags: TV  AfterMASH  sequel 
Added: 19th June 2012
Views: 2171
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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