Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Thoughts of Ed Wood

'Ed Wood' (1994): Now that we're days away from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," we thought we'd remember a time when the director didn't need digital effects or a candy-colored Johnny Depp to tell an engrossing and heartfelt story. We love Burton's imagination but hope that one day he'll leave his big-budget storybook land and get back to making movies with outcast humans again.

Cher wears Bob Mackie to the "Oscars" -- 1986

When was it that this distrust of Congress started ???

This month marked the 278th anniversary of George Washington's birth. The father of our country, born Feb. 22, won plaudits from historians for declining a third term as president, along with the wigs and titles that would have marked the presidency as a continuation of British royalty.

Though usually viewed as a fable, the story of Washington as a youngster chopping down a cherry tree has been handed down for generations, a way for parents to teach their children that nothing is more important than telling the truth -- as Washington reportedly did in the face of his father's anger over the fallen tree.

But it turns out that general American public distrust of politicians has been in evidence for a long time. Or maybe recent data just show that today's disgust with Washington (the town, not the man) is starting to affect the reputation of earlier giants. Either way, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 74% of voters think the father of our country lied while in office.

And Washington's not the only one. According to the poll, 71% think Abraham Lincoln lied while in office. That's Honest Abe, the man who didn't charge the widow of a Revolutionary soldier for helping her get her pension, even paying her hotel bill and giving her the money to buy a ticket home.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The 1909 Ford Model R


One hundred years ago.

What a difference a century makes!

Here are some statistics for the Year 1909:

************ ********* ************

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads..
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower
The average US wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year ..
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year,
and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
Were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'

(Source unknown)

"Winding roads that seem to beckon"


Although she’s sold 100 million records, including 15 that went gold, Patti Page blushed yesterday when Barnstable assistant town manager Thomas Lynch referred to her by her old nickname, “Patti Page, The Singing Rage.”

Singling out Page’s 1957 hit “Old Cape Cod,” in which she sings about sand dunes, lobster stew and falling in love, Lynch said, “We hope when you think of the song, you think of us, because a piece of us is with you in that song.”

The 82-year-old singer teased Barnstable town officials who named Main Street after her for a single day when she played the Cape Cod Melody Tent more than a decade ago.

“I thought to myself . . . are they going to do it permanently one day? It’s been a long time getting here, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” Page said when Barnstable officially christened the entrance to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce facility with a shiny new street sign proclaiming it “Patti Page Way.”

If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air
Quaint little villages here and there
You're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod

If you like the taste of a lobster stew
Served by a window with an ocean view
You're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod

Winding roads that seem to beckon you
Miles of green beneath the skies of blue
Church bell chiming on a Sunday morn
Remind you of the town where you were born

If you spend an evening you'd want to stay
Watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay
You're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod.

An intimate portrait of a great screen icon

Marlene Dietrich spent her last 13 years locked away in her Paris apartment. This beautiful piece from Poland, packed with Dietrich classics, mixes cabaret, puppetry and drama. An intimate portrait of this great screen icon and object of desire to both sexes.

"Broken Nails: A Marlene Dietrich Dialogue" is playing at the Odyssey Theatre (310 477-2055 or OdysseyTheatre.com)

"The Beat of Black Wings"

Alberta Ballet is visiting Southern California with its production of "Joni Mitchell's The Fiddle and the Drum," built of Mitchell songs and named after the singer-songwriter's 1969 song about war and peace. Here, Blair Puente, Kelley McKinlay and Travis Walker perform in the segment set to the song "The Beat of Black Wings."

"Confucius says: flop"

A poster for "Confucius" looks down on a bus stop in Shanghai. The film, released as part of a New Year's tradition of celebrating Chinese nationalism, has been a commercial disappointment.

It was supposed to be the patriotic holiday hit. "Confucius," the government-backed bio-epic about the ancient philosopher, was tailor-made to stir national pride over Chinese New Year.

What they got instead was China's answer to "Ishtar" -- a box-office dud with the misfortune of having to compete against the Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar."

"Confucius says: flop" read a headline in the Shanghai Daily.

Even a historian who was invited to the film's prescreening to offer the project a shot of credibility gave the thumbs down, saying the movie was riddled with inaccuracies.

"It's been, in a sense, a loss of face," said Stan Rosen, a Chinese film expert at USC. "It really backfired."

China has a tradition of releasing high-budget, nationalistic films over major holidays, and "Confucius" was chosen to ring in the Year of the Tiger.

The movie marked a milestone of sorts for a philosopher whose teachings were reviled under Mao Tse-tung but are enjoying a rebirth in modern China. The nation's leaders have made Confucian principles of social harmony and respect for hierarchy a driving mantra now that communist dogma has lost its cachet.

Friday, February 26, 2010

To Visit this Website for Beautiful Wallpapers: -- Click HERE !!!

Colorful Sky in Manhattan Beach, California.

The Time Has Come . . .

For a "Battle of Wits," they came unarmed

"Republicans on healthcare . . . "

"Show of Farce"

Photo Credit: Getty Images, December 2, 2008)

Pakistani Rangers (in black) and Indian Border Security Force personnel perform the daily retreat ceremony on the India-Pakistan Border at Wagah.

Opportunity


Cartoon Credit: David Horsey, davidhorsey.com, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"capturing the country's soul"

The stirring strains of Frederic Chopin's music are reverberating across the world as music lovers celebrate the composer's 200th birthday this year -- from the ch√Ęteau of his French lover to Egypt's pyramids and even into space.

But nowhere do celebrations carry the powerful sense of national feeling as they do in Poland, the land of his birth, where his heroic, tragic piano compositions are credited with capturing the country's soul.

Poland is going all out to display its best "product," as officials bluntly put it, staging bicentennial concerts and other events in and around Warsaw, the city where the composer -- known here as Fryderyk Chopin -- spent the first half of his life.

Imagining Emily Dickinson

Whether they're true or not, myths and legends that surround poets help us to see their work in a comprehensible context. Say the names Keats, Poe or Plath, for instance, and images of consumption, drug addiction and mental illness may come to mind, just as the image of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson as an eccentric recluse has persisted largely based on her poetry and a few scraps of biographical information. Slim pickings for a biographical novel, yet the attraction of Dickinson's poetry for Jerome Charyn inspired him to attempt to put flesh on those mythical bones in his novel "The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Starstruck"

Ira Resnick has collected some 2,000 vintage posters and some 1,500 stills and lobby cards in the last 40 years. (Photos here are of Gloria Swanson)

Now 258 posters from his collection are reproduced in his book "Starstruck," which came out earlier this month. More than just a picture book of some of the most beautiful and rare posters from 1912 to 1962, "Starstruck" also is an exploration of one man's unending passion. (Resnick will be at Book Soup in West Hollywood on March 14 to sign copies of the book.)

“Ricky Nelson Remembered"


While creating a chart-topping career of their own, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson have kept alive the musical legacy of their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee father, Ricky Nelson, through tributes featuring the teen idol’s numerous classic hits.

Twenty-five years after his tragic death in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 1985 that killed not only their father but his band as well, the Nelsons take to the road again with “Ricky Nelson Remembered,” which opens at Brixton in Redondo Beach Thursday, March 4.

With songs like “Hello Mary Lou,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Garden Party,” “Poor Little Fool” and his first hit “I’m Walkin,’” Nelson had more than 50 songs on Billboard’s Top 100 chart over a nearly 20-year span. Ricky came to fame on his parents’ beloved family sitcom “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which began in 1952 and lasted until 1966, just a year before the birth of his twin sons, Matthew and Gunnar.

They were only 18 when he died, but the brothers already had the music bug in them, picking up the guitar and drums at a very early age. A few bands came and went before Nelson’s debut album, 1990’s “After the Rain,” generated the No. 1 single “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” as well as the hits “After the Rain,” a top 10 single, and “More Than Ever.”

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are pictured performing some of their father’s songs in the tribute show ‘Ricky Nelson Remembered.’ (photo courtesy of The Rick Nelson Company)

Following their gig at Brixton, the Nelsons will play at The Canyon in Agoura Hills Saturday, March 5, and The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. For more information, visit www.RickyNelsonRemembered.com or www.NelsonRockBand.com.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"a place where time has stood still"

The perfectly clipped hedges at Montecito's Val Verde estate still bristle with authority, impossibly long lines of them, not a breach in sight. The 110-year-old camellias haven't stirred from their posts beside a reflecting pool, and the citrus trees are still cut into the pleasing cubes that garden designer Lockwood De Forest Jr. envisioned playing off the geometry of the breakthrough 1910 Modernist house.

It's a miracle, really. Of the 1,500 gardens created by De Forest, a celebrity in his own time, this is the only one still in its original form, says Gail Jansen, executive director of the Austin Val Verde Foundation and author of a monograph on De Forest.

What luck that this house and garden, an experiment in Modernism with a nod to the virility of the Romans, had only two full-time owners. How rare in this frenetic culture for a place to exist untouched for almost 100 years. How rare to see something groundbreaking for its time and find it just as relevant today.

Coffee broker and land speculator Henry Dater never lived in the house he commissioned. Val Verde's first real owner and its longtime genie was the free-thinking Wright Ludington. Endowed with several fortunes and mindful that laws in his home state of Pennsylvania outlawed his homosexuality, he thought it best to get away to California. The second owner, Warren Russell Austin, a poor boy who married an heiress, was physician to the Duchess of Windsor and then to Ludington. When Austin acquired the estate, it was as if Ludington's spirit passed into his body.

How else to explain a place where time has stood still? The original black paint on the living room floor, Ludington's idea. The pearly gray walls, a color that architect Bertram Goodhue borrowed from famed architect Irving Gill. The flamboyantly theatrical bathroom with Roman murals painted in 1939 by Oliver Messel, beloved costumer for Beverly Sills and a Tony award-winning designer, that was reviewed in art magazines around the world. Its sensational red canvas drapery still dangles from the ceiling.

But the red drapery that hung in the master bedroom was incinerated when Ludington set fire to the bed in a fit of pique over a lover's transgression. So one thing gone. But the rest is still there, making Val Verde one of the most important period homes and gardens that you may never see.

For more on this story, click on the heading above.

"airiness and crisp confidence"

The architecture of American embassies has been stuck lately in a predictable tug-of-war between a desire to express openness and an obsession, in an age of terrorism, with security. The design for the new U.S. Embassy in London, released Tuesday morning by the State Department, finds a novel way to move past that split and take diplomatic architecture into fresh territory.

Designed by the Philadelphia firm KieranTimberlake, the proposed building makes an argument that an American embassy should do more than simply symbolize transparency, which all too often means a facility wrapped in glass but secluded deep inside an impenetrable suburban compound. Instead it aspires to a different and broader set of values, primarily having to do with ecological responsibility and neighborliness within a tight urban fabric.

The design suggests that, rather than standing in for certain American virtues, what a contemporary U.S. embassy should be doing is behaving virtuously. KieranTimberlake, in a written description of its concept, refers to the range of positive ways in which the building will "perform," both as an example of sustainable architecture and as a piece of urban design.

Even as the design itself, for all its airiness and crisp confidence, is hardly radical from a formal point of view -- it consists of a cube sheathed in a shimmering polymer scrim and resting on a ground-floor colonnade of concrete pillars -- it represents a major shift in how we think about the role of U.S. government architecture, both at home and abroad. It suggests putting an emphasis on action instead of values, measurable behavior rather than symbolic gestures.

If you love Manhattan Beach, you won't be able to walk by this gallery without stopping for a closer look at the incredible works of art displayed !!!

Lisa's Gallery has been established in downtown Manhattan Beach for over 40 years. Now under the management of Jay and Linda Aldworth, Lisa's Gallery showcases oils, watercolors and photography by many local artists.

In addition to fine art, Lisa's offers unique gifts, custom mirrors and quality custom framing by a knowledgeable and talented staff with more than 30 years experience in the framing industry.

Lisa's Gallery is located two blocks up from Manhattan Beach Pier at 217 Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can contact us at (310) 545-5312 or email us at lisasgallery1@verizon.net.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"The 800 Mile Wall"

(Excerpts from an article by Hector Tobar telling of the new documentary film, "The 800 Mile Wall," by John Carlos Frey )

It's a complex tragedy at the border but nearly every adult who undertakes the journey does have a choice.

A fairly typical crossing story might begin in a Mexican town where a young woman wants desperately to go to college. She dreams of escaping the life of domestic labor that awaits her but can't think of any other way to defy her parents. Or it might begin in San Salvador, with a man who wants to emulate his wealthy cousin in Virginia.

In other words, many choose to go on la aventura, as it's popularly known, because it's the easiest avenue to social mobility. It's not the best choice in the world. It might be desperate or reckless, but it is a choice.

The dead migrants in that El Centro cemetery weren't driven to their deaths by soldiers with guns, as in Bosnia, or by killers armed with machetes, as in Rwanda.

That's why I couldn't say it is an atrocity. It's a complex tragedy born of inequality, yes. The policy that leads people to risk their lives crossing the desert is cruel, yes. But it's a risk people take, often knowingly and often from human motives as universal as restlessness and ambition.

"This is really only a small slice of the immigrant story," I told Frey.

I'd like to think we could build support for immigration reform by telling the full, nuanced story of the immigrant experience in the U.S. But maybe that makes me the naive one.

These are desperate, polarized times. People really should be angry about what's happening on the border. They should see the horrors of "The 800 Mile Wall" and they should ask themselves deeper questions about why people are willing to risk death to come here. And then they should write their congressman.

"Crusty Demons" night of world records

Robbie Maddison of Australia leaps through the air as he attempts to break the world record for a ramp to dirt jump during the Crusty Demons night of world records held at Calder Park March 29, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.Maddison went on to set a new world record of 351 feet.

(Getty Images)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

`IOLANI PALACE


`Iolani Palace was built in 1882 by the last King of Hawai`i, King David Kalakaua. The seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawai`i, `Iolani Palace had electricity and telephones installed several years before the White House. The Palace remained a royal residence until Queen Lili`uokalani, the King's sister and successor, was deposed and the Hawaiian monarchy overthrown in January 1893. The Queen was imprisoned in the Palace for eight months in 1895 by the unlawful Provisional Government, charged with misprision of treason for attempting to restore Hawai`i's sovereignty. The Palace served as capitol of the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory and State of Hawai`i until 1969. At that time the Palace was vacated and restoration begun. It is now a museum under the direction of Friends of `Iolani Palace, who continue restoration efforts. `Iolani Palace continues to be a focal point in efforts to restore Hawai`i's sovereignty and independence.

The "Plastiki"

British banking heir David de Rothschild plans to sail the Plastiki, his catamaran made of plastic, from San Francisco to the huge floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean and then to Australia. If all goes well, he might launch next month.

(Robert Durell / For The L A Times / February 11, 2010)

Majestic Yosemite


The views in Yosrmite National Park in winter are likely to bring out the John Muir -- or Ansel Adams -- in just about everyone. The Cathedral Rocks, north of Badger Pass along the Merced River, pose majestically at evening.

(Dan Blackburn / Image Associates)

"lifeguard tower" ???

A custom home in the shape of an East Coast lifeguard tower with nautical features is on the market in Hermosa Beach. It's the latest offering from Lazar Design/Build in partnership with developer Kirk Enterprises.

Steve Lazar, who grew up in Pennsylvania and visited the Jersey shore as a child, said the images of lifeguard towers stuck with him. "There's nothing authentic about this tower," Lazar said. "It's strictly from my imagination."

Glass light wells, connected by heavy-gauge stainless-steel spider arm supports, separate the tower's four angled legs from the front half of the home, which resembles the bow of a double-deck ship.

Because of the home's proximity to the ocean, Lazar specified materials that could withstand the elements with low maintenance. All the exposed wood is Mangaris, a highly durable product that turns a silvery gray. The steel was allowed to rust to the desired color and then sealed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"End of an Era"

John "Jack" Babcock was a 15 1/2 -year-old Canadian farm boy when he joined the 146th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916 during World War I.

"They were hard up for men then," he recalled in 2003 in the Ottawa Citizen. "They didn't have the draft yet" and relied on enlistees.

Babcock, Canada's last known World War I veteran, died Thursday at 109 at his home in Spokane, Wash.

Half Off for "the Queen of Mean's Lair"

Dunnellen Hall, the late Leona Helmsley's 40-acre estate in Greenwich, Conn., was offered for $125 million two years ago. It's now listed at $60 million, a 52% reduction.

(Associated Press)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For "celebrity impressions"

Impressionist, singer and entertainer Gordie Brown is well known for his amazing comedy and celebrity impressions such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Sylvester Stallone, as well as Las Vegas icons like Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis, Jr. Gordie Brown has consistently received rave reviews by both critics and audiences alike, and has been recognized as Entertainer of the Year and Best Show.

Gordie Brown performs at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday - Saturday.
Show is dark April 3 & 4, April 9-28, 2010.


Tickets start at $39.95.

"Lion of Zion"

If prizefighting had a Mecca, this would be it. The oldest boxing gym in the U.S., Gleason's has been a home to 132 world champions, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran and Jake LaMotta, the "Raging Bull."

Foreman, the unbeaten "Lion of Zion," became the latest to join the list after twice knocking down heavily favored Daniel Santos to win the World Boxing Assn. junior middleweight title last November in Las Vegas. That made him the first Israeli fighter to win a world title and earned him one of the championship banners that cover the walls of the dingy gym.

Yet after climbing to the top of a sport he has long attacked with zeal, Foreman finds that his accomplishment has to share the spotlight with his other pursuit. The boxer, you see, is studying to be a rabbi, spending each morning in the middle of the Torah learning how to interpret the will of God, and each afternoon in the middle of a gym learning how to break the will of his next opponent.

“Kings of the Dance"

Sergei Danilian’s ballet franchise, “Kings of the Dance,” opened a two-night run as part of the Dance at the Music Center series Tuesday night. The all-star showcase of top male ballet dancers, now in its third permutation after an Orange County debut in 2006, demonstrated a spectrum of national styles of ballet pedagogy.

"ghoulish therapy"

Lawrence Talbot's (Benicio Del Toro) stay in a mental asylum in "The Wolfman" is short, but quite memorable thanks to the ghoulish therapy devices created by production designer Rick Heinrichs. One of the most notable is the dunking chair that functions like a Victorian-era waterboarding torture. The hand-cranked chair (actually controlled by a motor) is tipped backward into a pool of freezing water using gears Heinrichs and crew salvaged from controls of a sluice gate. "They were experimenting at the time with mental illness and trying almost medieval treatment methods using people as guinea pigs," Heinrichs says.

Heinrichs wasn't nearly as masochistic to the actors. The water was quite warm and the "ice" floating in it was a silicon-like material cut so as not to appear as soft as it really was. And though the leather straps look impressive on-screen, it was just Velcro -- hidden from view -- that held Del Toro in the chair. The whole thing reminded Heinrichs of a circus dunk tank. "The first time I drew it for [director Joe Johnston], I put a clown in the chair."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Story of the Half Dome cables

In an effort to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park will begin requiring day-use permits for the popular climb when the cables are put back up in May.

This interim program, implemented by the National Park Service, is being done in an effort to address safety issues that have arisen from crowding, which has led to unsafe conditions and long waits.

The Half Dome day-use permits will only be required on weekends, including Fridays, as well as holidays. Four hundred will be issued per day, with 100 of those to be included in wilderness permits. The permits are required for the use of the trail from the base of the subdome to the summit of Half Dome and include the Half Dome cable route.

The hike has become extremely popular, and crowded. About 84,000 people climbed to the top of Half Dome in 2008. Last summer, daily visitor numbers on peak days were estimated to be 1,100 to 1,200.

This overcrowding on the cables has led to unsafe conditions and long waits. Last year, Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon, Calif., fell to his death from the cables. The following weekend, a woman fell during a rainstorm and sustained serious injury.

Permits are available by advance reservation only, and can be purchased online or by calling (877) 444-6777. Up to four may be obtained per reservation, with each person required to have his or her own.

Monday, February 15, 2010

TOLSTOY: A Giant of a Man

The Russian novelist and moral philosopher (person who studies good and bad in relation to human life) Leo Tolstoy ranks as one of the world's great writers, and his War and Peace has been called the greatest novel ever written.

Read more: Leo Tolstoy Biography - life, family, childhood, children, name, death, history, wife, mother, book, old, information, born, marriage, time, year, sister, etc.

http://www.notablebiographies.com/St-Tr/Tolstoy-Leo.html#ixzz0fdmVREma

"On Thin Ice"

It's a long way from Olympic grandeur for the Bird's Nest, meant to symbolize China's decades of vast economic growth and status as a new world power.

With a price tag of $450 million, the world's largest steel structure has been called a potential white elephant, a big, expensive building that no longer serves a purpose. Its maintenance costs are $15 million a year.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

In 1840, the first Carnaval was celebrated with a masked ball. As years passed, adorned floats and costumed revelers became a tradition amongst the celebrants. Carnaval is known as a historic root of Brazilian music.
Once a pagan celebration in ancient Rome, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is now considered one of the greatest shows on Earth. Rio de Janeiro is known as the cultural capital of Brazil and was the administrative capital from 1822 to 1960, when Federal Government moved to the new capital, Brasilia. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"King of Twangy Guitar"


Television's "American Idol" is, of course, famous partly for its comically inept performances.

But in the 1950s, the fans of two talent shows on local TV were treated to some moments that were more bizarre than anything "Idol" has shown.

That's because the programs -- "Hollywood Opportunity" and "Rocket to Stardom" -- were live. And the performances they aired, no matter how weird, couldn't be edited.

Take the time an actor pulled a gun on the audience during his angry monologue on "Hollywood Opportunity" -- a rant, ironically enough, about how Hollywood wasn't giving him an opportunity to earn a living.

One of the witnesses was Stan Chambers, the commercial announcer of the KTLA-TV Channel 5 show.

Yes, that Stan Chambers, the newsman who is now in his 63rd year at KTLA.

In his memoir, "News at Ten," Chambers recalled that the audience gasped when the out-of-work thespian produced the firearm. Backstage, the reaction was no different.

"He didn't do that at the audition!" director Jack Parker shouted.

"Let's play it cool," a cameraman said as the actor waved the gun menacingly.

Someone suggested dropping the curtain, but Chambers pointed out that the actor might fire through it and hit someone in the audience.

"Or he could turn and try to hit us," a stage manager said.

Suddenly, the actor muttered, "There comes a time when you realize it is the end."

He jammed the gun into his stomach. A shot was fired. He fell and lay motionless on the stage.

After a few moments, he got to his feet, brushed himself off and exited, toy pistol in hand.

The audience responded with what Chambers called "nervous applause."

The contestant's name is lost to history, but the judges awarded him no prize that night.

In 1955, two years after "Hollywood Opportunity" went off the air, Oldsmobile dealer Bob Yeakel began broadcasting an amateur talent show from his showroom on Wilshire Boulevard.

He called it "Rocket to Stardom" because a rocket was the company symbol at the dawn of the Space Age.

The show became so popular that it ran more than 18 hours, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. In an unusual arrangement, one half of the show appeared on KHJ-TV Channel 9, the other half on KTTV-TV Channel 11. "The talent on the show, to understate it, is not exactly good, but apparently this makes little difference, and a considerable amount of goodwill results," Billboard magazine wrote in 1956.

Goodwill could translate into good business. Yeakel estimated that 60% of his sales were related to the show, and he became the biggest Olds dealer in Southern California. He died in 1960 when his small plane crashed on the San Bernardino Freeway.

Despite what Billboard said, some of the contestants were talented. One was Duane Eddy (above), who would become a recording star known as the "King of Twangy Guitar."

"a superior chronicler of rapscallions"

The New Yorker, as J.D. Salinger's recent death served to remind us, has been a crucial outlet for writers for more than 80 years. A.J. Liebling, Lillian Ross, Joseph Mitchell, Calvin Trillin -- these are just a few of the voices the magazine has nourished and encouraged, been defined by and, in turn, helped to define.

Still, for every such contributor, there are numerous New Yorker writers whose legacies have drifted away over the decades like so much dust. St. Clair McKelway is one of these. For 37 years, McKelway was one of the New Yorker's most prolific and inventive nonfiction writers. In his time, he was regarded as a master of the long-form profile, a superior chronicler of rapscallions and low-rent hustlers. Indeed, when he was on his game, McKelway might have been the best nonfiction writer the magazine had -- this at a time when Liebling, Mitchell and E.J. Kahn Jr. were also producing signature work.

But if McKelway remains perhaps the greatest magazine writer that no one knows about, the publication of a new collection, "Reporting at Wit's End: Tales From the New Yorker" (Bloomsbury: 620 pp., $18 paper), brings with it the hope that his long-forgotten byline might be brought back to light.