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Parting Thoughts On American Idol

Posted on April 8, 2016 By In Nostalgia , Writing With no comments

Up until 2003, I thought Reuben was a sandwich with sauerkraut. And then came Ruben Studdard on American Idol. “Ruben! Ruben!” At the time, I was working two fulltime jobs and didn’t have time for television but the talk about the Alabama contestant was unavoidable.

Yes. It’s true. I missed Season #1 and a singer who is now one of my all time favorite singers. Kelly Clarkson is amazing.

In fact, my life didn’t normalize until Season #4, which was my first opportunity to tune into the biggest TV ratings hit of all time. At least I was there to see the artist who become the most successful of all the Idol contestants. Did you catch the words Carrie Underwood whispered last night at the conclusion of her solo performance? I ran the recording back a few frames just to make sure I was right. “Praise the Lord.” Thank you, Carrie. Well said.

Just as a side note and probably nothing that the critics have ever bothered or wanted to point out. (Not politically correct) How many of these talented kids learned to sing or developed their talents singing in church?

So, I was a late bloomer and didn’t get on the American Idol train until the 4th Season. Missed some amazing talent. Lets here it for reruns.

In Season #5, an Alabama singer was again making a bid for the top spot. “Soul Patrol” and Taylor Hicks.

Favorite season? Oddly enough, Season #10. That’s the year that my wife and I adopted Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. “Baby lock the doors and turn the lights down low.” Still pulling for them to have a successful career and to stay true to themselves.

Ever since I have been a fan. There was only one time when I was ready to jump ship. Niki Manag and Mariah Carey. Need I say more?

Critics said, as recently as yesterday, that Idol died when Simon Cowell left. Well, it never died for me. In my mind, American Idol wasn’t about Simon, Randy, Paula, or Kara. I remained loyal to the show because of the amazing young talent and their heartwarming stories.

For anybody whoever doubted the level of talent exhibited on Idol, we were treated to a tasteful sampling of it last night. There were definitely some “wow” moments. Thanks for an incredible show.

In the end, Idol was a popularity contest which means that the best talent doesn’t always win. But, as we learned, you didn’t have to win the crown to have a successful career.

As an old DJ, I’m proud that one of ours was the show’s host. Great job, Ryan. I’ll reserve my thoughts on Brian Dunkleman. Even my spellchecker is struggling with that name.

And despite what the critics and Simon Cowell had to say on the matter, the best REAL judges were Harry, Keith, and Jennifer.

There you go. My two cents worth about a television program for the history books.

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Childhood Memories

Posted on October 19, 2015 By In Nostalgia With no comments

Frequently, when making an online purchase or filling out a web form, I am required to give my birthdate. Then there is that menacing dropdown box listing all the years. Really? Keep scrolling down…and scrolling…and scrolling. There it is, 1947, near the bottom of the chart.

Wow. The 40’s. I’ve never considered myself a child of the 1940’s. Not even a child of the 50’s. Throw out the history book. Don’t need one. I was there.

My new novel, After the Storm, is set in the first half of the 1950’s, which has required considerable era related research. The exercise has helped bring to mind some of what I was exposed to in my earliest years.

My first grade class (1954) was one of the first to be introduced to the polio vaccine. We were taken by school bus to Winchester, VA where we all were inoculated for protection from a disease that had reached epidemic proportions among children. My brother, Gary, was one of the casualties at age five.

My first recollection of anything related to politics was a President named Eisenhower.  Once, when visiting a friend in Middletown, VA…the President’s motorcade came through the town and I recall sitting on the front porch, sipping on a RC Cola, awaiting his arrival. My friend preferred warm sodas. They were more suited to loud belching, which I suppose is what we were doing as the entourage passed by. I know. Weird.  Maybe that’s why I recall so little about the 50’s.

You think that was strange? Check this out. A popular kid’s show at the time was Winky Dink and You. Aired from ’53 to ’57. What I remember most about that show was the “magic drawing screen.” It was a sheet of plastic that attached to the TV screen on which you could draw with crayons. There would be pictures that appeared in the TV show that you could trace and then you were given assignments to add other elements, like eyes, or a nose, or leaves on a tree. By today’s high tech standards Winky Dink was pretty rinky dink, but it was one of my favorite toys. To be fair, Bill Gates had high praise for the program.  It was the first ever interactive TV show.

I love the research capabilities of the internet. Although I faintly remember the show, I now know that I watched it on Saturday mornings on CBS at 10:30.  And this is what it looked like:

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Davey Crockett Lunchbox

Yes, we had TV back then. Other popular kid shows included: Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Davey CrocketLassie,  The Adventures of Rin Tin TinAnnie OakleyHowdy DoodyThe Pinky Lee Show, and Soupy Sales.

Yep, loved them all. Even had my own Davey Crocket lunch box and coon skin cap.

So, for those of you who have nothing better to do, I’m going to take you back in time, back to my earliest years (simpler times) and the TV I watched when I was 6 and 7 years old. Meanwhile, have a great day IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

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