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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Nostalgic Rambler reviews: Bing Crosby Swinging On A Star The War Years by Gary Giddins

I have always loved reading biographies. Some of my favorites include "A Book" by Desi Arnaz, "At Random" by Bennett Cerf and " Act One" by Moss Hart. Several years ago author Gary Giddins came out with a book about the early career of Bing Crosby entitled "A Pocketful of Dreams".  I've enjoyed that book immensely over the years and have waited impatiently for the next volume on Bing's life.

Well, years later it is finally here and Giddins has captivated my reading attention again. This time the book focuses on 1940 until 1946.

I soon turn 55 and lament the boring world of entertainment we live in, from the here today gone tomorrow celebrities to the rap music I have to listen to being blasted from cars next to me at the stop light. Little do the people around me know that in MY car I am probably listening to an old Kraft Music Hall broadcast with Bing or another one of my singing favorites.

These days people my age and younger MIGHT know Crosby for his Christmas music which seems to pop up annually, even if it's just White Christmas.

Hopefully there are still enough people out there who know who Bing Crosby was or are interested in knowing who he was. Gary Giddins deserves kudos (and money income) from this book!

This book is fascinating because it not only portrays Bing through the war years but weaves a portrait of some of the people who were part of his life and times.  It is captivating reading about how Bing interacted with some of his fans including a couple of sisters who followed him around innocently. Some of the songwriters and film folk who were in his circle include Jimmy Van Heusen and Leo McCarey. Those people probably aren't household names anymore but even so the way they wove their craft and their intricate personalities come through in the commentary. I loved it. Most all of the stars of the time are mentioned including Bob Hope and Ingrid Bergman. Name dropping always impresses me. The book isn't just about Bing but the people and events that made up the years from 1940-1946. Sometimes a history lesson, sometimes entertainment show biz lore, sometimes facts and figures.

Bing Crosby seemed to get a bad rap after he died. His son wrote a scathing book and I remember another bio called "The Hollow Man."

Bing was definitely complex. This book presents him in all of his various traits and I have to say it is quite positive. I didn't know Bing was so involved in entertaining the troops during WWII... just as much as Bob Hope who seemed to make a life career out of letting everyone know it. Bing also valued his fans and corresponded with many of them, often for years. His "icy" side could also come through, which makes the book all the more an interesting read. He definitely was not a one dimensional man.  His wife was an alcoholic long before anyone knew what to do with that. Bing coped by staying away and making movies.

The book also features some excerpts from letters Bing wrote during those years and they are often self effacing and fun. I have always loved the Crosby vocabulary. He certainly knew how to use the English language and even invented words of his own.

Thanks Gary Giddins for transporting me to a time where I fit in. I wasn't even alive then but the names and music are all very relevant to me. It was great fun to whirl through the book and captivate myself in the people and storyline.  Don't know if Giddins is planning another volume. I hope so but if it's like the time between the first and this one, I'll have lots of time to savor this new edition for years to come.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Music For Dining

Back in 1985 I was a television intern at Metrovision of Oakland County. This was a cable TV outfit in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the city my grandparents lived in.

The cable station had a "community access" TV channel where folks from the community could come in and produce whatever they wanted to for airing on the station.

Most of the shows were talking heads and could have been better suited for radio! I remember there were some really interesting shows on there...one was called "The Shores of Your Mind" and was hosted by a psychic! There was also a popular local cooking show with a lady named Judy Antishin.

I thought it would be fun to put together a music show, so we re-created the record album of the 1950's "Music for Dining" as our starting point.
Judy Grosse, a Metrovision employee, was my co-host. As you can see here, the set was quite elaborate and we hauled stuff from home to make it happen. Even my outfit was made to look like something worn by a man in the 1950s. We picked 1950s sounding Hollywood names. I was John Linden and Judy was Joan Hudson.

As a guest we had Judy Antishin from the Metrovision cooking show "Cooking With Class" serve our food.

Lark Samouelian sang a couple of songs on a cool furniture hauled in from my grandparent's house! She was the director of an organization affiliated with local tv cable access promotion.

 And Tom Scurto (a local talent) sang a song to a picture of a beautiful lady (actually my mom's 1950s high school picture!)
Watching this now over 30 years later it is still as corny and fun as ever. The show won as best musical show of the year, which probably isn't much of a win as there weren't all that many musical shows on there to begin with.

Anyhow, if you want to turn the clock back and see me when I was 21years old, this classic gem is now on Youtube. Here's the link

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stay Away from Loving The Classics DVDs as the lost shows are apparently still lost

I drive my wife crazy with my Jo Stafford music. I love her recordings and she is one of my favorites if not the most favorite. 

She filmed a series of television specials in England in the 1960s. Famous guest stars were on the show and although I have seen a couple of them with Ella, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney as guests, the other shows are apparently lost in space.

Until......Wow.....I found an outfit called "Loving The Classics" which features all kind of lost TV show and movies and guess what? They have SEVEN EPISODES of Jo's hour long programs for purchase. Of course I jumped at the chance!

Oh-oh...first of all the dvd order took about a month to arrive. Enough time to process the credit card. Well, I got TWO sets of what was supposed to be the seven hour long specials. It didn't start out well when the dvd starting skipping. I tried it in another player...the same thing. The second set skipped at the same point so the masters must be screwed up. Well I got to see about 45 minutes of Jo and Peggy Lee and an old CBS show (not from the 60 minute specials). The rest of the material was taken from a VHS tape from several years back (see pic below)...definitely not the programs in their entirety or the promised shows.

Yikes! I did a search and found a whole bunch of disgruntled customers of "Loving the Classics." So far I have sent four emails with no response but that seems to be their modus apparandi.  So don't fall for their promises folks. Their webpage is very enticing but the results are dismal. Loving the Classics preys on nostalgia fans and their desire to see material that apparently just isn't around anymore...whether we want to admit it or not....

Jo Stafford Show specials.........where are you?

Update: I filed a complaint with my credit card company and that same day got an email from the company to send the faulty dvds back (at my own expense of course!) and they would refund my money. Thank you Chase Credit Cards for your great customer service...

Loving The Classics lets you review their product. I sent the review of their Jo Stafford offering which is not what they promise and of course THEY have to approve it, which they didn't. It still isn't on their site so anyone ordering these DVDs will also be duped.

I noticed if you search for  "Loving The Classics complaints", a whole bunch of videos come up on Youtube but all they show is a bunch of movie posters....is this to misdirect people from the truth?