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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jack Benny's Lost Episodes

 One of my favorite TV shows (and old time radio shows) is The Jack Benny Program. Jack's comedy was sweet, gentle, and hilarious. Although he was on TV for years, his regular series is rarely seen on the air anymore. A year or so ago I caught several selected episodes on our local PBS station. The prints were pristine and the comedy was still excellent.

Oddly enough his television series never merited a dvd release in the eyes of whomever holds the rights to his show. These crystal clear filmed shows (probably from the late 50s/early 60s) would be prime in my book for public release.

Well, we won't see that anytime soon, but there will be some "new" Jack Benny material soon. CBS apparently rummaged through their vaults and found some material that hasn't been seen since its original airing. Wow.
 I've already put in my order for Jack's "lost episodes." I suggest you do the same and enjoy the funniest forever 39-year-old you've ever seen.

Here's the official press release from Shout Factory.
And here is a listing of the shows on the dvd!

The Lost Episodes
3-DVD Box Set
10/7/1956 Guests: George Burns, Spike Jones
Jack is extremely nervous about his debut at
Carnegie Hall. George Burns appears as the
devil and makes a Faustian pact with Jack
to make him the greatest concert artist. 
10/21/1956 Guests: George Gobel, Red Skelton
Jack and George Gobel vie to be
elected President of the Beverly Hills Beavers, a Boy Scout-
type organization of neighborhood youths. 
11/4/1956 “Jack Invited to the Colmans”
Guests: Ronald and Benita Colman
Jack mistakenly receives an invitation to a dinner at the home of Ronald and Benita Colman.
Arriving in his tuxedo, he tries in vain to pretentiously fit in with the upper-crust British
9/21/1958 Guest: Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper discusses his latest movie,
Man of the West, and Jack tries to get himself cast in
Coop’s next picture. The part is
for Cooper’s twin brother, and Jack attempts to man up and
measure up. 
10/4/1959 “Jack Switches Sponsors”
Jack is found sleeping because his show has
moved from 7:30 P.M. to 10:00 P.M., and
contemplates how his show will be 30 years from now. 
Guest: President
Harry S. Truman
Jack recalls visiting the Truman
Library in Independence, Missouri. The former President
gives Jack a personal tour of
the facility, and they share their mutual love of music. 
Bonus Feature
Conversation With Actor And Satirist Harry
Shearer, Director Norman Abbott And Dorothy
As a child actor, Harry Shearer built his acting
chops as a periodic performer on Jack’s radio
and television programs, including appearances
on Jack’s last weekly radio show. Norman
Abbott served as Jack’s television director
for two programs in 1961, then took up the mantle
consistently starting on December 31, 1963, through the end of Jack’s weekly television
series on April 16, 1965. Dorothy Ohman served
as Jack’s personal secretary and assistant
from 1957 through the remainder of his life. 
11/29/1959 Guest: Jack Paar
Jack Paar asks if Jack would replace him as a host on
The Tonight Show while Paar is on
3/6/1960 Guests: Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood
Jack tells CBS executives that he wants to “broaden out” and direct a
Playhouse 90 TV episode. He rehearses a dramatic scene with Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, and chaos
4/17/1960 “The Easter Show”
Jack and his girlfriend, Mildred Meyerhauser,
dress up to walk in the Easter Parade on
Wilshire Boulevard. They encounter many of the usual gang of eccentrics, including Jack’s
long-suffering violin teacher, Professor LeBlanc. 
Jack discusses his trip to the Far East,
including “Japan’s #1
announcer” doing the middle
commercial. The sponsors have a plan for cutting costs on the program, which leaves Jack
extremely wired. 
10/16/1960 Guests: George Burns, Tony Curtis, Robert Wagner, Mike Wallace
Everyone is talking about Jack’s show going weekly, and wondering if he is
up to the
Guest: Milton Berle
Milton Berle coaches Jack on what it
takes to do a weekly comedy show. 
Bonus Features
Jack Benny’s New Look
December 3, 1969
Featuring guest star George Burns 
Jack Benny’s 20th Anniversary Special
February 17, 1969
Featuring guest stars Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra 
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Jack Benny
March 10, 1971
Featuring guest stars Lucille Ball and John Wayne. 
Jack Benny’s Second Farewell Special
January 24, 1974
Featuring guest stars Dinah Shore,
Don Rickles and George Burns. 
11/20/1960 Guests: Jaye P. Morgan, John Wayne
Jack introduces celebrities in
the audience, including John Wayne
. When guest singer Jaye P.
Morgan appears, Wayne whispers to Jack that
he wants a date with her – and gets it. 
12/24/1961 “Christmas Show”CBS is throwing a Christmas party, and Jack and Rochester give gifts to all the cast members.
2/18/1962 Guests: Hugh Downs, Rock Hudson
Jack debates the psychology of sex appeal with
Rock Hudson. Jack wants to do a show like
Jack Paar’sThe Tonight Show
, and illustrates the concept with the help of Hudson and Hugh
1/29/1963 “The Murder of ClaytonWorthington” 
 Guest: Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke says that he has been warned
that Jack “works his guests to death.” In the
skit, Jack plays an inspector investigating a murder who questions
 everyone in the house – all
played by Van Dyke. 
9/24/1963 “Reverend Billy Graham”
 Guest: Billy Graham
Jack, Don and Dennis imitate Peter, Paul, and Mary in response to the folk-singing craze.
Billy Graham asks Jack why comedians insult each other to get laughs, and the gang
demonstrates what would happen if they didn’t. 
Guest: Gisele MacKenzie
Jack states that he let the members of his cast have the night off, so he
goes into the audience
to chat with the folks. There he finds Gisele
MacKenzie, and they perform their classic violin
Bonus Features 
Hearst Newsreel, unedited footage May 1935
Jack delivers a ridiculous and difficult monologue about Daylight Saving Time. 
Hearst Newsreel, unedited footage May 1941

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Revisiting Miss Suzy's Treehouse: Thanks Ma!

Once in a while some fond childhood memories come back. Since today is Mother's Day, I recalled growing up when my mom would read to me.  One of my favorite childhood books was "Miss Suzy"  by Miriam Young. Somewhere in a box of junk I still have the tattered book from the 1960s.

I looked up the book and this simple tale of a little gray squirrel who is chased out of her home by mean red squirrels is apparently in lots of baby boomer memories.  It was released in 1964 by Parents' Magazine Press. 

 You can read some of those fond baby boomer memories of Miss Suzie at several websites including here and here.  Miriam Young wrote a lot of other books but they don't look like they are in print anymore. Miss Suzie was re-issued after many requests from nostalgic readers. 

Hopefully a new generation will enjoy this heartwarming tale. Thanks Ma to reading it to me so long ago...along with the story of the Gingerbread man and Morris the Moose!