Betty's Attic
Shop Betty’s for nostalgic collectibles. Betty's Attic offers baby boomer toys, dolls, puzzles and games plus classic television, movie and radio memorabilia… Recycle
Friday, October 21, 2016
"Each year the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he thinks is the most sincere." ~Linus

When I was a kid, I watched It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every Halloween. And every year I hoped that one day the Great Pumpkin would finally appear and show everyone that Linus was right. Though the only one who ever rose out of the pumpkin patch was a beagle (Snoopy), that didn't stop me - or Linus - from believing with all sincerity that one Halloween night the Great Pumpkin would appear.

The Great Pumpkin celebrates its 50th birthday on October 27, the original air date of the PEANUTS Halloween special. Lots of events are planned to honor the Halloween special’s golden anniversary, including over 90 farms across the country hosting PEANUTS-themed corn mazes. Check your local papers for the events near you. Then watch it again as ABC hosts a special airing of the beloved special on Friday, October 28 on ABC.

I've seen the PEANUTS Halloween special dozens of times over the years. I know how the story ends. But still...the kid in me can't help but think, "Maybe this year..."

Happy Birthday Great Pumpkin! I'll be looking for you again this Halloween...


Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 14, 2016
I Love Lucy debuted on television on October 15, 1951. It was the first scripted television program to be shot in front of a live studio audience on 35mm film. It was also the first to occupy the top Nielson ratings spot when the show ended its run after six seasons. (Only two other shows have done it since then: The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld.)

As a long time fan of the show, I think I've seen every episode at least three times (or more). I'll watch my favorites like "The Chocolate Factory" and "Vitameatavegamin" over and over and over again. And I still laugh out loud even though I know every line and every joke by heart.

But there's always something to learn about our old favorites, so I dug up some fun facts to celebrate the sitcom's 65th anniversary.

  • Staff writer Madelyn Pugh Davis took a lot of the shows most hilarious classic moments from her real life.
  • Frank Sinatra was supposed to play Lucy's old boyfriend who dropped in to visit, but the episode never came to be.
  • The rumor that Vivian Vance was under contract to keep her weight at least 20 pounds above Lucille Ball's is absolutely false.
  • The entire time the star was pregnant, the writers had to come up with some creative ways to discuss the new family member without using the "p-word".
  • When Lucy was recovering from childbirth, the show's producers decided to rebroadcast earlier episodes to give the new mom some much needed rest from filming. The ratings went through the roof, effectively "giving birth" to the rerun.
I Love Lucy might be the most re-run show on television. It's been on the air continuously in the Los Angeles area since the day it premiered. It's been translated into multiple languages and is syndicated all over the world.

I know that whenever I want to take a walk down memory lane with Lucy and Ricky and the Mertzes, all I have to do it turn on the TV and keep flipping channels. Sooner or later, I'll find a classic episode to watch!

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 7, 2016
The long wait is finally over! Ron Howard's documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years, is finally out! The film covers the Fab Four's early years from Liverpool to Hamburg and their rise to stardom as they started playing huge venues in Europe and the US.

I remember those American tours. Like most girls, my friends and I were in love with the Beatles. We would try and try to get concert tickets, but they always sold out almost before we'd even heard about the concert. So we have to stay home on show night, playing their records as loud as possible and singing along into our hairbrushes until someone's parents would make us "turn that noise down!"

We might have missed the concerts, but we never missed a TV appearance or the release of a new album. So there's no way I'd miss Eight Days A Week.  The authorized biography of the band was produced in cooperation with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney along with the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. Check theater listings or catch it on Hulu to recapture the magic of Beatlemania.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 30, 2016
On September 29, 1954, Willie Mays, aka the "Say Hey Kid", made one of the greatest catches in the history of baseball, now simply known to fans as "The Catch". The game was broadcast live on NBC and my dad was one of the lucky ones who got to see it on a neighbor's TV.

Televisions weren't in every living room back in those days, so the whole neighborhood gathered to watch Game One of the World Series at a house down the block. He saw The Catch on live TV, but even he couldn't believe his eyes! Here's how he told it to me:

Mays was playing centerfield for the New York Giants when Cleveland Indians first baseman Vic Wertz came up to bat. The game was tied 2-2 with two runners on base. Wertz hit a fly ball deep into center field. Mays ran for it, turning his back to the infield. He caught the ball over the shoulder with his back still turned to it! Even the announcer was stunned, saying it looked like "an optical illusion". Then Mays spun, firing the ball back to the infield and keeping the runners on base from crossing home plate. The crowd, of course, went wild, shouting, "Say Hey! Say Hey! Say Hey!"

The game went into extra innings and the Giants won on a home run by Dusty Rhodes in the 10th. They went on to sweep the 1954 World Series and Mays was named the National League MVP. When Mays was asked about the catch, he replied, “I don’t rank ‘em, I just catch ‘em.”

Maybe Mays wouldn't rank 'em, but as my dad would say, there has never been another catch like The Catch. Or another player like the Say Hey Kid.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 23, 2016
Jim Henson would have been 80 years old this Saturday (Sept. 24). The Internet is abuzz with planned celebrations from puppetry classes to free screenings of Henson's iconic Muppets movies and, of course, celebrations on Sesame Street.

I sort of "grew up" on that street. I learned my "ABCs and 123s" from Henson's characters like The Count, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and the Two Headed Monster. I sang along with Big Bird and I loved that we could see the giant bird's wooly best friend, Mr. Snuffleupagus, even when no one else could.

Later, I'd grow to love Henson's Muppets as much as I did the characters I grew up with. Most people think that Henson created his movie puppets long after he imagined TV stars Big Bird and Cookie Monster. But did you know the first Muppet was born while Henson was in college?  His name was Kermit the Frog and he was the first of the famous Muppets to be on TV. Kermit starred in Henson's bi-weekly show that aired on a local NBC affiliate called, Sam and Friends, which won a local Emmy Award in 1958. That early show would serve as the basis for the rest of Henson's career, spawning the characters we've all come to know and love.

The world lost Jim Henson to a bout of pneumonia in 1990, but his legacy of teaching and learning and making kids of all ages laugh, learn, and think will live on in his truly timeless characters.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 16, 2016
Well, it's not that new. The lowly t-shirt graduated from underwear to outwear in the '50s when Marlon Brando, James Dean and others began wearing their "underwear" outside their clothes...right there on television for everyone to see. Shocking!

Back then, t-shirts were just plain comfortable, which is why men started ditching the button downs and running around in their undershirts. But now they've become wearable billboards that broadcast our social & political ideals, the movies and TV shows we watch, the bands and brands we love, and, of course, our sense of humor.

Now the days of buying 3-packs of cheap plain undershirts to wear as outerwear are gone, too. Today's t-shirts are tie-dyed, screen-printed, colorful expressions of our individuality. The more unique they are, the more we love our tees.

Luckily, there is one thing about t-shirts that hasn't changed much: the more you buy, the more you save.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 9, 2016
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek.  Though the original series only ran for three seasons, the science fiction adventure made its mark on television, pop culture, and especially kids like me. I still remember the excitement of sitting in front of our black and white TV and hearing those words, "Space, the final frontier..." as the Enterprise streaked across a black field of shining distant stars.

I loved the high-tech gadgetry, unusual aliens, and the hostile planets, but Star Trek had something that no other science fiction series had at that time: really great stories.  That's what kept me and a lot of other people coming back every week.

Instead of the typical dystopian future envisioned by most science fiction writing at the time, Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, had a completely different view.

William Shatner once said, “There is a mythological component...It’s people looking for answers – and science fiction offers to explain the inexplicable...all the stuff about going out into space and meeting new life – trying to explain it and put a human element to it – it’s a hopeful vision. ”

We don't know much about the new series, Star Trek: Discovery planned for CBS All Access this year. So far all we've been told is there will be "new crews, new villains, new heroes, and new worlds". But my guess is the "mythological component", the "human element" will stay true to Star Trek's long history.

It's the hopeful future Roddenberry envisioned that makes Star Trek one of the longest running and best-loved science fiction stories ever imagined. Even a half century later.

Posted by: Betty | 8:00 AM | permalink

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