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, March 30, 2012

Where The Hell Is Desilu?

I overheard some women I work with say they couldn't stand writing book reports back in their school days...I guess that's what makes us all different. Writing has always been something I enjoy and sharing a good book with you is another thing that is fun.

You might have to search for this one a little bit as it never was on a best seller list. Still it is a fascinating look at Hollywood and the entertainment biz through the eyes of an insider. Howard Rayfiel was an entertainment lawyer and writer. His book "Where The Hell is Desilu?" is subtitled "How To Fail In Hollywood Without Really Trying." I don't think Rayfiel failed as he mixed and mingled with lots of the big shots of his day. The moral of the whole book seems to be that Hollywood and the entertainment biz is full of egos, crooks and sheisters (is that a word?). For the most part Rayfiel kept his honesty and integrity throughout.

In the post Desi Arnaz days at Lucille Ball's studio Desilu, Howard Rayfiel was the "Resident Counsel" which meant he was the studio's lawyer. His book isn't full of legal mumbo jumbo, however. Instead we get an inside look at showbiz. By that time Lucy was divorced and remarried and her second husband Gary Morton was involved in the production end of her empire. Morton isn't painted in a very good light here. Rayfiel tells the story about how some poor slob was watering plants at the studio and got some hose water on one of Morton's Rolls Royce (he had several). He had a fit and the car had to be driven home immediately. His cars were only washed with bottled water!

The book is full of anectodes about everybody from Bob Hope's son to Walter Mattthau (Matthau responded to a question about why his plumber makes $30 an hour while Matthau made millions....Matthau told the plumber nobody pays money to watch the plumber work!)

Star Trek was of course a Desilu production. At the time nobody thought much about merchandising. A Star Trek t shirt or fan convention was unheard of. Rayfiel talks about how that end of the biz all started as well.

Today Howard Rayfiel lives in Florida (perhaps we'll meet some day....) and is enjoying his retirement I assume.

Since this isn't a school book report there is no minimal word limit, so since I have to make lunch now, I'll stop and just tell you that this is lots of fun and a good read.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mom liked Pat Boone over Elvis!

Teens in the 50s had several different "idols" to choose from. My mom didn't pick Elvis, she chose Pat Boone. A few years ago Pat gave a concert in Michigan. Ma dragged along several of her record albums to get them autographed. Pat Boone did not give out autographs. Ma wasn't heartbroken, she was livid that her favorite wouldn't do that for her!

It seems like people have been upset at poor Pat Boone for a while now. While researching this nostalgic rambler entry, I read comments about how wrong Pat was for recording songs by blacks in the early days of rock and roll. Pat had several cover hits of songs that black folks like Little Richard did.

At the time I think no one really gave it much thought. Pat Boone's version of "Tutti Frutti" (listen here) went right along with the pop music of the day. I don't think my mom would have gone for the rougher original black version. Pat Boone sang with the crooner style of Bing Crosby and Perry Como. See how Pat Boone affected the teenage girls of the day as he appeared here on The Lawrence Welk Show for heaven sakes! I love that song Moody River...

I'm sorry, but I don't see anything wrong with that and I don't see anything wrong with him recording versions of "black" songs of the day (I don't think the term African American had even been coined back then). One Youtube user commented saying Pat was the "scourge of the music business...." That person obviously wasn't in tune to the 1950s pop music scene. He had lots of fans and hits and the people loved him. Sorry but you can't revise history....although fans of 1950s rock and roll often try. Sirus/XM radio's 1950s station almost ignores the original pop music of the fifties, as if rock and roll/doo wop were the only thing people listened to back then.

I'd like to hear Little Richard do Pat's version of "Angel on My Shoulder." Then we'll see who does it best....

A tip of the hat today to Pat as he is involved in keeping the music of our past alive on the "Music of Your Life" radio network.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cool Couple Steve and Eydie!

I love to sing but unfortunately am not in the same league as Steve Lawrence. My wife carries a tune but she isn't an Eydie Gorme. Too bad. It must be great to have a career where both husband and wife can be on stage together and sing to their heart's content.

A few years ago Eydie retired but before she did I was able to see her with her husband at one of their last concerts together here in Florida. It was great.

Both Steve and Eydie had great separate recording careers. Click here for a listen to one of Eydie's big hits "Blame it on the Bossa Nova." Click here for one of Steve's hits "Portrait of My Love."

Together they were magic as you can hear by this recording. They did TV shows, starting off with one of my favorite guys, Steve Allen of the original 1950s Tonight Show. Watch them here as they host the Hollywood Palace!

Steve and Eydie, you are COOL! Visit their website at www.steveandeydie.com

enjoy the pics including several albums and one of Steve and Eydie with Steve Allen