The LuLac Edition #679, Dec. 27th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: FORMER BUSH PRESS SECRETARY AND BROADCASTER TONY SNOW, SINGER AND SONG WRITER ISAAC HAYES, MEET THE PRESS MODERATOR TIM RUSSERT, ACTOR PAUL NEWMAN, WRITER AND BROADCASTER STUDS TERKEL, TOYMAKER RICHARD KNERR, SINGER NORMAN "HURRICANE" SMITH, BETTY JAMES, NAMED THE PENNSYLVANIA BASED "SLINKY TOY", CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL SHOWN ON THE RIGHT IN A CAMPAIGN STOP WITH SENATOR CLINTON, SATIRIST GEORGE CARLIN, WRITER WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, RUSSIAN WRITER AND DISSIDENT ALEXANDER SOLZHENITYSN, PIN UP QUEEN BETTIE PAGE AND OUR "MOVING ON......"LOGO.
This new feature replaces our "TRANSITIONS" segment. Today we select a few notable celebrities who have passed on in 2008. Most are politically related but we've thrown in a few pop culture icons too. The list of those who passed on is filled with worthy people but for space consideration, we can only name these few.
TIM RUSSERT: was a television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a Senior Vice President at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted the eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program Tim Russert. He was a frequent guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time Magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert was well liked and brought an "everyman" demeanor to the show he guided for years talking about his son, wife, dad and beloved Buffalo Bills.
PAUL NEWMAN: was an award–winning and seven-time Academy Award–nominated American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in the 1986 film The Color of Money. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing. Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of October 2008, these donations had exceeded US $250 million. He was married to the same woman for decades and was the epitome of American male style. Just ask GQ.
LOUIS "STUDS" TERKEL: was an author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985, and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago. I first came into contact with the legend of Studs Terkel when I began to work at WVIA FM in 1973. The station used to run his radio show out of the Windy City. Terkel also wrote the best selling book "Working" where individuals spoke of their daily living.
RICHARD KNERR: was an inventor best known for inventing the frisbee and Hula Hoop. In 1948he cofounded the company Wham-O. In 1957, an Australian visiting California told them offhand that in his home country, children twirled bamboo hoops around their waists in gym class. Knerr saw how popular such a toy would be; and soon they were winning rave reviews from school kids for the hollow plastic prototype they had created. And of course Wham-O later marketed the Super Ball which made long ball hitters out of all us kids.
JAMES K. MCMANNUS: better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–1998). His "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is "ABC's Wide World of Sports!" introduction for that program has passed into American pop culture. He is also known for television coverage of twelve Olympic Games, and for his reporting on the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races such as the Kentucky Derby, golf events such as the British Open, and the Indianapolis 500. But his most tragic and crowning moment was at those 1972 Olympic Games.
NORMAN SMITH: was an English recording engineer and producer who worked with the Beatles; as a musician, he used pseudonym "Hurricane" Smith on his self-titled album. Smith was said to be one of the best producers and sound engineers the Beatles ever had. He left their employ after the release of "Rubber Soul" and had a pretty decent career afterwards with campy songs like "Oh Babe What Would You Say" and "Who Was It?"
BETTY JAMES: who came up with the name Slinky for the stair-walking spring that has delighted children for more than 60 years and who ran the toy company after her husband, the inventor, left it and his family in 1960, died in Philadelphia. She was 90 and lived in Hollidaysburg, Pa., where the company, James Industries, is located. Paging through a dictionary in 1944, Mrs. James put her finger on the word slinky because she thought it best described the sinuous and graceful movement and the soft sound of the expanding and contracting metal coil her husband, Richard, had fashioned. Mr. James was an engineer at a shipbuilding company in Philadelphia in 1943 when a torsion spring fell off a table and flipped end over end on a ship’s deck. The James family made 400 Slinkys and, just before Christmas 1945, persuaded Gimbels department store in Philadelphia to let them set up a ramp in the toy department. Not only could a Slinky perform serial somersaults down the ramp, but it could turn a child instantly into a faultless juggler. At $1 each, those first 400 sold out in 90 minutes. So far, more than 300 million Slinkys, including rainbow-hued plastic models and Slinky Dogs, have been sold, enough to circle the earth about 150 times, if stretched, which they shouldn’t be.
CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL: was the first female Ltn. Governor of Pennsylvania. Prior to that she was Pa. State Treasurer and active in the Democratic Party. Her final campaign was in support of Senator Hillary Clinton, in fact in our photo index one of Knoll's friends requested that we use a picture of Mrs. Knoll in her last campaign effort. Done.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY: was an author and conservative commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing style was famed for its erudition, wit, and use of uncommon words. Buckley's program was a mainstay in my home even with a liberal, labor union die hard Democratic set of parents.
ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN: was a Russian novelist, dramatist and historian. Through his writings, he made the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labour camp system, and for these efforts Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He returned to Russia in 1994. Had to read his book in college and found it frightening and fascinating all at the same time.
BETTIE PAGE: the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died in 2008 at the age of 85. Page was placed on life support after suffering a heart attack in Los Angeles and never regained consciousness. He said he and Page's family agreed to remove life support. Before the heart attack, Page had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia. "She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Roesler said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."
Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years. Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.