Welcome to the Nostalgic Ramber

Hans Jeff Borger is heard on WRGE 97.9 FM in Ocala, FL featuring Christian programming.

"The Nostalgic Rambler" radio show previously heard on Gene Martin & Friends has been suspended due to my commitments at WRGE.

Why a blog? I wrote a book "The Little Grownup: a nostalgic Michigan boyhood" which should appeal to most baby boomers. A mass market book? Well, not yet...but the potential is there! (Be sure to buy it at "finer on line bookstores" everywhere!)

The comments presented in "The Nostalgic Rambler" probably won't be of interest to the masses...anymore. If grandma and grandpa and their friends were still alive, then it would be a different story.

I live in the past. My time warp is a comfortable cocoon even if it sometimes drives my wife crazy. The music of the 1940s and 50s, the stars of those days were big stuff in their day, but are now almost forgotten. Oddly enough, I was born in '64 so those iconic years were for the most part over by that time.

Through "The Nostalgic Rambler" I maybe can help share my love and knowledge for those times and things...all at one time important pieces of Americana but now a bit faded in memory.

The woman who did the blog about cooking all of Julia Childs' French Cuisine Cookbook in a year got a sweet movie deal out of her blog experience. I wouldn't mind that but would be happy to know that you are reading this....and maybe enjoying my time warp, too.

Hans Jeff Borger

Friday, June 24, 2011

Homefront: a tv show that "Accentuated The Positive"

There are a handful of tv shows that I count among my all time favorites. Anyone who knows me knows that #1 is "I Love Lucy." Everyone knows that show unless they grew up under a rock.

My #2 favorite is probably much less known. It aired from 1991 to 1993 on ABC and was called "Homefront." Why a Nostalgic Rambler blogpost about a show from the 1990s? "Homefront" was centered on a 1940s fictional Ohio community called River Run. The show featured authentic period sets, cars, outfits, and a musical background of pop songs of the day.

The stories were witty, sexy, funny, dramatic and endearing. The dialog was often so clever you had to laugh out loud. The editing was fascinating to watch. And the stars....well, they were cast perfectly for their roles. If I sound like I'm gushing, sorry but I really like this show!

The "Homefront" theme song was the classic "Accentuate the Positive" -- what a great tune! Click on this "Homefront" site to hear the song.

"Homefront" starred Kyle Chandler, Sammi Davis-Voss, Ken Jenkins, Mimi Kennedy, Harry O'Reilly, Wendy Phillips, Jessica Steen, Dick Anthony Williams, Hattie Winston, Tammy Lauren, Guiliana Santini, John Slattery, Sterling Macer, Jr, David Newsom, Kelly Rutherford, and Alexandra Wilson. The cast was large, the sets elaborate, and probably the show was just too expensive to produce past a second season.

Lots of "Homefront" stars have been seen in other shows since then. Their fans might not even know about "Homefront" since it hasn't really been seen on US tv since TVLand aired it in 2000. A smaller cable station did air it for a while, but that outlet didn't have much of a national coverage.

"Homefront" was a show that has developed a cult following among its fans who adore it to this day. Unfortunately Warner Brothers has not released it on dvd and probably never will. Rumors have it that the music rights would be too costly. Nonetheless there is a website trying to get the studio to release it. Click here. There are several "Homefront" websites. Click here or here for a couple. There is a Yahoo Groups Homefront group as well as one on Facebook.

I was clever enough to buy a new VCR back in 2000 and was able to get the whole series recorded over one weekend when TVLand ran it as a marathon. (No, I can't make copies for you, but if you want to come over to watch with us, maybe we can work something out!).

Luckily someone has posted the show on Youtube. I don't know if the quality is that great, but you might want to check it out. You can also find several bootleg outfits selling the series on dvd. I have heard some good and bad comments on that, so hard to tell what is actually out there. One thing is for sure, you will get hooked on the storylines and the characters. They all seem so real. Thanks Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick for creating this show.

Twenty years have gone by since "Homefront" came out. I'm sure the fans would love to see a reunion show. That will probably stay a dream, but maybe a fan reunion with some of the stars of the show could be arranged. I'm willing to help organize if there is some interest!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Song Of The South, 65th Anniversary of Disney Classic

Sixty-five years ago, back in 1946, Walt Disney created a film masterpiece called "Song Of The South." The movie was a creative wonder as it put live action with cartoons, which back then was something quite new.

There were several memorable songs from the movie and the artists of the day recorded their renditions. The song that is probably most remembered is "Zip A Dee Doo Dah" (Academy Award Winner) and you can hear the fabulous Johnny Mercer/Pied Pipers/Paul Weston rendition by clicking here. Here's the clever "That's What Uncle Remus Said" from the soundtrack album.

I recall seeing this movie as a kid at the theaters as a re-release back in the 1970s. Unfortunately Disney thinks the movie is racially inappropriate now so they say they won't release it on dvd. There are websites full of fans wanting to see an official release of the movie. Although it hasn't made an appearance in the USA in years, official VHS videotapes and laser disc versions were available around the world. I recall seeing the video in Germany a few years back alongside other Disney classics at a shopping mall store.

Oddly enough, Disney World's Splash Mountain uses "Song of the South" music as its theme. Too bad many may not even know the background about these happy songs...

Despite the Disney reluctance to recognize this vintage movie, there are plenty of chances to view it. I've seen it for sale on Ebay, for viewing on YouTube, and have spotted videos at the local flea market from time to time! It may not be from a pristine print, but better than nothing.

Is it worth all the hype? The music is magical for sure, as are some of the cartoon scenes which incorporate live action Uncle Remus and kids with the cartoon animals. The actual story is actually pretty schmaltzy in my opinion. "The Wizard of Oz" holds up pretty good to the childhood memories, but "Song of the South" probably isn't worth all of the hoopla it gets from the bigwigs who are keeping the master films locked up in Vault Disney!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

YMCA Indian Guides, Lightning Bolt remembers

When I was a boy some of my friends were in the Boy Scouts. I was one of the lucky ones. I was an Indian Brave in the YMCA Indian Guides. This organization was great as it wasn't used as a babysitter for boys. Fathers actively participated in activities with their sons. It was a great memory builder.

As you can see from the pics above, we got to wear our Indian outfits and had a great time at the meetings. Yes, that's me ("Lighting Bolt") on the left circa 1974-75 with my mustachioed dad ("Thunder Cloud") and younger bro Kurt ("North Wind") at one of the lodge campouts.

Recently I posed with my Pa (yes that's us almost 40 years later) in our Indian Guides vests. As you can see there were plenty of patches on them....which meant we spent a lot of quality time together doing various things from campouts to road rallies to rocket derby competitions. Pa received several awards from the YMCA for his contribution to the Indian Guides. I've scanned a few of the plaques above.

The motto of the Indian Guides is "Father And Son, Pals Forever" and the purpose: to foster companionship of father and son. When we got too old for the Indian Guides we didn't want it to end. Luckily we continued on in a club for older boys called the Trailblazers.

The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Associations) of yesteryear has undergone a lot of changes. Its mission then (as stated in the Indian Guide manual) was "to achieve its Christian purpose by interpreting moral and spiritual values in all relationships and activities....based on the teachings and examples of Jesus."

Unfortunately today the YMCA is simply known as "The Y" and the Indian Guides have been disbanded in many states due to Native Americans balking at the perceived stereotype. I say "perceived" as the Indian Guides manual tells the true story. It uses "the high standard of relationship between fathers and sons among early Indian sets as an example for fathers to follow. The Indian father was responsible for his son's ethics, physical development and attitudes toward others."

If only this would be used as an example today. Luckily it still is in some localities. The Indian Guides haven't vanished altogether and I found several websites of "tribes" still enjoying and promoting father and son companionship like we did back in the 1970s with campouts, fishing trips, and bonfires.

With Father's Day this month it is nice to be able to recall the time spent growing up in the YMCA Indian Guides. Thanks Pa!

(Last pic above was found in my photo album, I think it is of Mike, Tim and Robby Miller, who were members of our Indian Guides Cree Tribe in the Detroit, MI area in the early 1970s....wonder whatever happened to them....)