Betty's Attic
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Friday, February 17, 2017
45 years ago today, the 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line, breaking the world record for automobile production, which had been held for over 40 years by Ford’s famous Model T.

I don't remember the record breaking day, but I remember driving my Beetle until it - quite literally - gave up. By the time I'd finished with my red VW Bug, it had clocked close to 300,000 miles, the floorboards were so rusted that you could watch the highway roll by underfoot, and the backseat was a forboding forest of sprung springs.

I'll never forget its last ride. I loaded it up with surfboards, coolers, beach towels, and three brave souls who were willing to overlook the rust and navigate a place to sit between protruding springs and headed for the beach. At the end of the day, we were tired, sunburned, and ready to ride. But my Beetle wouldn't start.

It might seem silly, but I always thought my Bug's "happy place" was at the beach. So while my friends were calling friends or parents for a rescue ride, I still didn't call the tow truck. I just couldn't do it. Not yet. Somehow I knew that this was the end of our long love affair. So I spread out my beach towel and reclined against the driver's side door, watching one last sunset at the beach with my beloved Beetle.


Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 10, 2017
Wednesday marked the 85th birthday of one of America's best-known composers, John Williams. Over his sixty year career, the composer, pianist/conductor has won 22 Grammy awards and several Golden Globes. He's also been nominated for 50 Academy Awards of which he won five. After Walt Disney, Williams is the most-nominated person in the industry.

Whether you think you know his music or not, chances are you (like me) grew up to the John Williams' soundtrack. He wrote the film scores for E.T., Home Alone, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Harry Potter, just to name a few. His score for the original STAR WARS movie was recognized as the greatest American film score of all time by the American Film Institute.

As if that wasn't enough, Williams has also composed the music for Sunday Night Football (NBC), four Olympic Games, and - one of my personal favorites - the television show Lost in Space.

Today some of the world's most respected symphonies perform Williams' music in concert. and in honor of his 85th birthday, the Boston Pops will dedicate their 2017 season to the composer, exposing a whole new audience to the master of the movie score.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 3, 2017
Tinker Bell has always been one of my favorite Disney characters. Peter Pan's sassy sidekick is a mixture of tomboy, princess, magic fairy, and a girl with very human feelings. Especially when it comes to Wendy.

However, contrary to popular belief, Tinker Bell isn't jealous of Wendy because she was in love with Peter Pan. Tink just worries that Peter might take that "ugly old girl" on his grand adventures, leaving her behind.

That's not the only thing fans are confused about. Here are a few more Tink tidbits to clear things up:
  • Tinker Bell's character and look wasn't based on Marilyn Monroe. Actress Margaret Kerry, who modeled the role in the studio, was the the real inspiration for Tink, right down to the actresses legs, which were dubbed "The Most Beautiful Legs In Hollywood."
  • Tink's diet would kill most of us. It consists solely of candy, tea, and pumpkin muffins (her favorite). Only a magical fairy could eat like that and maintain her girlish figure, not to mention her health!
  • She wasn't always pleased with her natural talent. Tink tried and tried to be more like "girlie-girl" fairies like Silver Mist, but it just wasn't in her Girl Power nature. So she finally learned to love herself  for who she was. 
Besides being one of the most recognizable fairies in the world, Tink is a worldwide Ambassador for Disney. Since the 1954 film Disneyland, which introduced the park before it opened, Tinker Bell has played hostess in the opening of every Disney film, flying over the theme park with her magic wand and dusting the Magic Kingdom with her special blue fairy dust. To this day, it's still one of my favorite parts of Disney movies.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 27, 2017
My dad loved family road trips. Whether it was a vacation or just a long weekend, he couldn't wait to strike out on the open road - with all us kids in tow. Did I mention my dad was pretty brave? He was. And plenty patient.

I don't think he ever told us to be quiet or settle down. Probably because he was the loudest person in the car. He'd sing songs like "King Of The Road" at the top of his lungs while Mom harmonized and we'd pretended to knew the words. We'd go along America's highways making noise and playing games until we'd see colorful signs beckoning to us from the road.

We loved seeing those signs. We knew that just beyond them lay promises of hot food, cold drinks, and tons of fun in a friendly town. We also knew Dad would have to stop. He couldn't resist the adventure of exploring new places, making new friends, and trying just about every specialty plate the town's diners had to offer.

I think Dad's love of road trips turned us into intrepid travelers. We all grew up to take our own families on raucous, unruly, wandering road trips. And every one of us turned out to be connoisseurs of roadside diversions and the homemade specialties of roadside diners.



Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 20, 2017
I never missed an episode of Star Trek when I was growing up. I'd race home every Friday after school and park myself on the floor right in front of the TV so no one could come between me and my Trek. Unlike my friends, my favorite character wasn't Spock or Kirk or Uhura - it was Dr. McCoy, aka "Bones".

I think McCoy reminded me of our family doctor. He was one of those old-school "country doctors" who still made house calls. He was a bit grumpy, a bit funny, and totally serious about doctoring.

DeForest Kelley was originally tapped for the role of Spock, but he chose Bones instead. At first he called the character "High Noon" for his Wild West frontier style, but the nickname didn't stick. Later in life he told a Star Trek fan magazine, "But High Noon worked out just fine for me, wouldn’t you agree?"

Today would have been Kelley's 97th birthday. I can't help but picture him in front of a candle-laden birthday cake saying, "Blow them out? I'm a doctor, not a wind machine!"

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 13, 2017
Wonder Woman was a neighborhood hero when I was a kid. Especially to the girls. Not only could she take care of herself and take down bad guys twice her size, she could deflect bullets with her jewelry and she piloted an invisible plane! She was our hands-down favorite comic book and TV superhero.

In a few short months, the new Wonder Woman movie will be coming out and we're starting to get some hints about what to expect:
  • The director is a woman. Patty Jenkins, who directed the chilling real-life tale Monster finally gets a shot at directing a superhero movie. (She was supposed to direct Thor: The Dark World a few years ago, but it didn't work out.)
  • Greek mythology will play a big role in the story. Though it makes up much of the superhero's own mythology, the Amazon Princess' background has been lacking in other screen projects.  
  • The film will be released before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - for good reason. I won't reveal any spoilers, but let's just say the two stories hook up in the end.
The news around the web says we can expect to see Wonder Woman sometime in June, 2017. I can't wait!

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 6, 2017
On January 8, Elvis Presley would have turned 82 years old. His untimely death at the tender age of 42 shocked the nation and the world, but as Los Angeles music blogger Randy Lewis is fond of saying, "Elvis still lives." The worldwide celebrations scheduled for this weekend seem to prove Lewis' point.

Elvis lives through his music and his movies, but he's most alive in our memories. My friends and I used to dance in our living rooms, singing along with Elvis' records until we (and the records) were completely worn out. We saw every movie and bought every song. Some of my fondest memories feature an Elvis "soundtrack".

Most of us remember the first time we heard our favorite Elvis song. Or the excitement of seeing a larger-than-life Elvis on the movie screen. The very lucky ones even got to see him in concert. Since then, whole new generations of people have discovered Elvis. They're making new memories set to the music of Elvis Presley.

Which is why Elvis still lives. And always will.


Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
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