Countdown to Christmas: Mitch Miller Christmas Album Plus Christmas Movie Favorite

Xmasclock puts Christmas at 17 days, 23 hours, 21 minutes, and 30 seconds away as these words are being written.

A Princess for Christmas, from Hallmark. Stars the late Roger Moore.

Shazaam, Shazaam, Shazaam … Gomer Pyle Dead at 87

Sylacauga, Alabama’s favorite son has died. The rest of the world mourns with his hometown.

Jim Nabors, fondly remembered for his role as kindly but clumsy Marine Gomer Pyle, will no longer make us laugh with his trademark exclamations of “Surprise,” “Shazaam,” or “Gollllll-ly.”

Jim was a homosexual, but I doubt that even Muslims would want to throw him off a building. He kept his sexual activities to himself and never campaigned for “gay rights.” That’s to his credit. I do recall that in 1967 it was widely rumored that Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson had gotten “married.” Everyone knew, even then.

He leaves behind his “husband” with whom he had lived for 38 years.

CBS News

HONOLULU — Jim Nabors, the shy Alabaman whose down-home comedy made him a TV star as Gomer Pyle and whose surprisingly operatic voice kept him a favorite in Las Vegas and other showplaces, died Thursday. He was 87.

Nabors, who underwent a liver transplant in 1994 after contracting hepatitis B, died peacefully at his home in Hawaii after his health had declined for the past year, said his husband, Stan Cadwallader, who was by his side.

JIM WITH STAN CADWALLADER.

Cadwallader told CBS News that Nabors’ underwent a series of tests on Wednesday, but the decision was made to bring him home from the hospital.

“Everybody knows he was a wonderful man. And that’s all we can say about him. He’s going to be dearly missed,” Cadwallader said.

The coroner has not yet released Nabors’ cause of death, but Cadwallader said it appears to be from natural causes.

The couple married in early 2013 in Washington state, where gay marriage had recently been made legal. Nabors’ friends had known for years that he was gay, but he had never said anything to the media.

“It’s pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you’ve been together 38 years, I think something’s got to happen there, you’ve got to solidify something,” Nabors told Hawaii News Now at the time. “And at my age, it’s probably the best thing to do.”

Nabors became an instant success when he joined “The Andy Griffith Show” in the early 1960s. The character of Gomer Pyle, the unworldly, lovable gas pumper who would exclaim “Gollllll-ly!” proved so popular that in 1964 CBS starred him in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

In the spinoff, which lasted five seasons, Gomer left his hometown of Mayberry to become a Marine recruit. His innocence confounded his sergeant, the irascible Frank Sutton.

Audiences saw another side of Nabors in appearances in TV variety programs — his booming baritone. The contrast between his homespun humor (“The tornado was so bad a hen laid the same egg twice”) and his full-throated operatic arias was stunning.

For two seasons beginning in 1969, CBS presented “The Jim Nabors Hour” on which he joshed with guest stars, did sketches with Sutton and fellow “Gomer” veteran Ronnie Schell, and sang country and opera.

Offstage, Nabors retained some of the awed innocence of Gomer. At the height of his fame in 1969, he admitted, “For the first four years of the series, I didn’t trust my success. Every weekend and on every vacation, I would take off to play nightclubs and concerts, figuring the whole thing would blow over some day.

“You know somethin’? I still find it difficult to believe this kind of acceptance. I still don’t trust it.”

After the end of his variety show, Nabors continued earning high salaries in Las Vegas showrooms and in concert theaters across the country. He recorded more than two dozen albums and sang with the Dallas and St. Louis symphony orchestras.

During the 1970s he moved to Hawaii, buying a 500-acre macadamia ranch. He still did occasional TV work, and in the late 1970s, he appeared 10 months annually at Hilton hotels in Hawaii. The pace gave him an ulcer.

“I was completely burned out,” he later recalled. “I’d had it with the bright lights.”

In the early 1980s, his longtime friendship with Burt Reynolds led to roles in “Stroker Ace,” ”Cannonball II” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

He returned to concert and nightclub performances in 1985, though at a less intensive pace.

“It was kind of like ‘The Twilight Zone’ for me, all of us standing there in costumes, the girls in spangles, no tops,” he told The Associated Press during his comeback stint at the Las Vegas Hilton. “I looked around and told the girls, ‘I’m used to being on the back of a tractor, then to be dropped into the midst of this! It’s kind of weird.'”

Among his regular gigs was singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500 each year, which he first did in 1972. The first time, he wrote the lyrics on his hand so he wouldn’t forget.

“I’ve never thought of (the audience reaction) as relating to me,” Nabors said. “It’s always relating to the song and to the race. It is applauding for the tradition of the race and the excitement.”

Illness forced him to cancel his appearance in 2007, the first one he had missed in more than 20 years. He was back performing at Indy in 2008, saying, “It’s always the main part of my year. It just thrills you to your bones.”

Nabors was an authentic small-town Southern boy, born James Thurston Nabors in Sylacauga, Alabama, in 1930, son of a police officer. Boyhood attacks of asthma required long periods of rest, during which he learned to entertain his playmates with vocal tricks.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in New York City for a time, and later, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was an assistant film editor and occasional singer at a TV station.

Nabors moved on to Hollywood with hopes of using his voice. While cutting film at NBC in the daytime, he sang at night at a Santa Monica club.

“I was up there on the stage the night that Andy Griffith came in,” Nabors recalled in 1965. “He said to me afterward, ‘You know somethin,’ boy? You’re good. I’m going to bring my manager around to see you.'”

In 1991, Nabors got a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in ceremonies attended by pals Carol Burnett, Loni Anderson, Phyllis Diller and Florence Henderson. His reaction? “Gollll-ly!”

Charles Manson Dead at 83 After 46 Years in Prison

I’ve pulled together a set of pictures related to Charles Manson and his murders from various sources.

The larger meaning of Manson’s life has been explored in books and other media.

His ability to bring death and ruin lives is the stuff of legends.

What happens now that he’s dead is up to us. I presume his grave site is not going to be revealed to the public lest it become a shrine to his many sick fans.

One more thing. Manson’s victims probably include more people than are mentioned in the NBC story.

NBC “News

Charles Manson, the sinister hippie cult leader who declared himself “the Devil” and dispatched his followers to commit a series of Hollywood murders in 1969 that shocked the country, died Sunday night in a California hospital, state officials told NBC News. He was 83 years old.

Manson died at 8:13 p.m. (11:13 p.m. ET) at a hospital in Kern County, said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Debra Tate, the sister of one of the Manson family’s victims, the actress Sharon Tate, told NBC News that authorities called her about 8:30 p.m. to inform her that Manson was dead.

“One could say I’ve forgiven them, which is quite different then forgetting what they are capable of,” Tate said. “It is for this reason I fight so hard to make sure that each of these individuals stays in prison until the end of their natural days.”

Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, said Sunday night: “Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.”

For many Americans, Manson became the living embodiment of evil, and he was once dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine “The Most Dangerous Man Alive.”

Even behind bars, he exerted an almost magnetic influence over other members of the “Manson Family,” and the madness and depravity of his crimes continued to intrigue generations of people who were born long after “Helter Skelter” became part of the vernacular.

Manson was sentenced to death in 1970 for directing the brutal murders of Tate and six other people, but he was spared two years later and was sentenced to life behind bars when California did away with the death penalty.

Later, Manson survived being severely burned by another inmate who poured paint thinner on him and set him ablaze. But in the end, the incorrigible inmate who repeatedly ran afoul prison officials for drugs and other offenses.

“Why did the Manson legend live on? It’s because Manson lived on,” pop culture expert Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told NBC News before Manson died.

Manson just fascinated Americans, many of whom first laid eyes on him when he was on trial and had carved an X into his forehead, which that he later turned into a swastika, Thompson said.

“With those eyes and that tattoo, Manson just seemed to be the dictionary definition of crazy,” he said. “That photo of Manson really captured so much of the dark side of the American id.”

Born Charles Miller Maddox on Nov. 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Manson was the son of an unmarried 16-year-old girl and wound up taking the last name of a man his mother later married. He had a miserable childhood, and by time he was 9 years old, he was already stealing cars and committing other crimes.

After spending his teenage years in various juvenile detention facilities, a newly released and 19-year-old Manson married a waitress and fathered a son he named Charles Manson Jr.

By 1956, Manson was divorced and doing time in a California prison for stealing cars. Released two years later, he married for a second time and fathered a second son, whom he named Charles Luther Manson. That union also ended in divorce when Manson was dispatched again to prison, this time for pimping and conning women out of money.

During his second stint, Manson befriended Alvin “Creepy” Karpis — a former member of Ma Barker’s infamous gang — who taught him how to play steel guitar and planted in him the notion that he could one day be a famous musician.

So when Manson was released in 1967, he headed north to San Francisco and then back Los Angeles, where he tried to launch a musical career. He wrote music and hung out with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who recorded one of his songs on the band’s “20/20” album as “Never Learn Not to Love.”

Through Wilson, Manson met the record producer Terry Melcher, son of the actress Doris Day, who he hoped would help him launch his musical career. But that went nowhere.

In the meantime, Manson began gathering followers, and they decamped in November 1968 for the Spahn Ranch, a spot northwest of the San Fernando Valley, where they westerns were filmed back in the 1940s and the 1950s. There, they spent a lot of time tripping on LSD and swapping sexual partners.

It was here that Manson got it into his head that the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” and the Bible’s Book of Revelation were predicting a race war. It was also here that he hatched an evil plan to commit a series of murders that he believed would spark a final confrontation between blacks and whites in America.

“Now is the time for Helter Skelter,” Manson declared on Aug. 8, 1969.

Manson told four of his female followers — Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle and Linda Kasabian — to grab their knives and head over to what he believed was Melcher’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive. His orders were to kill everybody inside.

But Melcher no longer lived there. Instead, they found a pregnant Tate — the wife of the Polish director Roman Polanski — and four other people: Wojtek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent and Abigail Folger. And when it was over, they were all dead.

Police reported that four of the victims had been stabbed a total of 102 times and that the fifth had been shot to death.

The next day, Manson’s followers butchered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home. The words “Death to Pigs” and “Helter Skelter” (misspelled) were found printed on a wall and a refrigerator door.

Arrested several months later, Manson showed up in court in June 1970 with an X carved into his forehead. Soon, the women on trial with him — Atkins, Van Houten and Krenwinkle — branded themselves with Xs in a sick show of solidarity.

Manson turned his trial into a circus, at one point leaping across the defense table in an attempt to attack the judge. His co-defendants, along with family members not on trial, tried to intimidate and prevent witnesses from testifying.

“The music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment,” Manson declared when he took the stand.

Manson and three co-defendants were found guilty. When it was over, Manson spoke directly to America.

“Mr. and Mrs. America — you are wrong,” he said. “I am not the King of the Jews, nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me, and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society. … Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind’s eye, my thoughts light fires in your cities.”

During the penalty phase of his trial, Manson showed up in court with a new look — a shaved head — and a sick new boast.

“I am the devil, and the devil always has a bald head,” Manson declared.

In the years that followed, Manson — inmate B-33920 — gave several interviews, including one in 1987 at San Quentin State Prison, parts of which MSNBC aired 20 years later. Then, in 2014, it was revealed that Manson and Afton Elaine “Star” Burton, 26, who had been visiting him in prison for at least nine years, were engaged. But the wedding license expired a year later without a marriage ceremony’s having taken place.

By law, Manson was required to have a parole hearing every seven years. But it was such a given that Manson would never be allowed to leave prison that he stopped attending them

CHARLES MANSON, AGE 5.

United Douglas DC-8 – “Chicago to Los Angeles” – 1963 (Nostalgia Video)

I haven’t posted a nostalgia video in a while, so here’s one for all you folks who fly on airplanes.

It’s truly amazing what we’ve lost in the space of my lifetime.

The former USA, now Amurkistan, may be trash now, but one way or another we’re going to fix it.

Published on Apr 9, 2014

Now re-upped in full length form. Classic ATC promo film, this is a great one from start to finish, with lots of neat UAL DC-8 Series 12 & 21 footage, plus scenes around O’Hare & LAX! Many thanks to the Internet Archive, Fed Flix Collection. Be sure to check my channel for the best in VINTAGE & RARE airliner videos!

Conspiracy or Accident? CIA Files on Oswald Missing from JFK Documents

There must be 100 different theories about who killed JFK. That works to the advantage of the real killers, whoever they may be.

Whatever the truth is, the evidence shows that the Deep State has long done its best to keep the public in the dark by promoting the lone nut gunman theory.

Alternet via Salon

All of the U.S. government’s files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are supposed to be released by October 26. But one batch of CIA records on suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald has gone missing.

The records were part of a seven-volume file on Oswald held by the agency’s Office of Security. The OS is responsible for protecting CIA property and vetting agency personnel, and maintains a file system independent of the CIA’s Central File Registry. Declassified CIA records show that Volume 5 of the file records existed as recently as 1978.

The disappearance of the records, discovered by JFK researcher Malcolm Blunt, is significant because the Office of Security was the first component of the CIA to open a file on Oswald, an ex-Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959 and was later charged with killing JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

The official story that Oswald acted alone is widely disbelieved. President Lyndon Johnson, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, French president Charles DeGaulle, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro all privately concluded that JFK was killed by his political enemies, not by a lone assassin.

As a result, conspiracy theories have proliferated over the years, including President Trump’s bogus claim that Ted Cruz’s father was involved.

New JFK files

The disappearing Oswald file is the latest in a series of remarkable revelations that news organizations have found in long-secret JFK assassination files made public for the first time by the National Archives in July.

WhoWhatWhy reported on documents showing that the mayor of Dallas at the time of JFK’s assassination, Earle Cabell, was a CIA asset in the 1950s. His brother, Charles Cabell, was a high-ranking CIA official until 1962.

While the documents don’t show that Earle or Charles Cabell had any connection to JFK’s assassination, they do illuminate that the CIA’s extraordinary penetration of domestic American institutions extended to the city where JFK was killed. If anyone had said over the last 50 years that the mayor of Dallas in 1963 was a CIA asset, they would been derided as a conspiracy theorist. Now we know for a fact that he was.

Ian Shapira of the Washington Post plumbed the new records to recount the secret interrogation of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB intelligence officer who defected to the United States in 1964. Nosenko was detained without charges for four years in what would now be called a CIA black site.

The Nosenko affair (celebrated by HBO) was a key chapter in the CIA’s reaction to JFK’s assassination. James Angleton, the powerful chief of counterintelligence, suspected Nosenko had been dispatched by the KGB to conceal the Soviet ties to Oswald and the assassination. The interrogation of the “foul traitor” Nosenko failed to confirm Angleton’s conspiracy theory, according to the Post.

Writing for Politico, professor Larry Sabato and journalist Philip Shenon reported that one new CIA file showed that in the mid-1970s, one of Angleton’s top lieutenants came to doubt the Warren Commission’s finding that JFK was killed by Oswald, alone and unaided. Sabato and Shenon argue that the JFK investigation was “botched” and the possibility of a Cuban government involvement was ignored.

On AlterNet, I quoted extensively from the same records to show that the JFK investigation was not so much botched as “controlled’ by top CIA officials, including Angleton. The CIA made at least four false statements to investigators. The effect of these statements was to conceal what top CIA officers, including Angleton, knew of Oswald while JFK was still alive.

Collectively, the new JFK files pour more cold water on the “KGB did it” conspiracy theory, while encouraging questions about the “Castro done it” theory. Mostly, the new files illuminate how the CIA resisted investigation of Oswald after JFK was killed, and why the public, and CIA officials themselves, came to reject the official story of a lone gunman.

Officials of the National Archives have told AlterNet they will release thousands of pages of additional secret JFK records before October 26.

Inspirational Video of the Day: Desiderata

Spoken by Les Crane. Released in 1971. Less than 5 minutes.

From youtube:

Crane is a San Francisco TV talk show host and husband of Tina Louise, who played “Ginger” on Gilligan’s Island. The Rolling Stones made their American television debut on The Les Crane Show on June 2, 1964.

According to the liner notes for the album, “Desiderata” was a poem written in 1906 and copyrighted under the title “Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste” in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, an Indiana lawyer. It was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds around hippiedom as “anonymous” ancient wisdom – it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words “Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”) and decided to record it.

The musical background was by Fred Werner, who found the poster in a Los Angeles store.

This won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1971.
The first recording of the poem was by the UK group Every Which Way in 1970 as “Child of the Universe.” (thanks, Brad Wind – Miami, FL, for all above)

National Lampoon parodied this on the album Radio Dinner as “Deteriorata.” It starts: “You are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here…” The parody featured Melissa Manchester as one of the background singers.

The title is in Latin. It means “something desired as essential.”

This was Crane’s only hit. He later moved into the computer software field. (thanks, Edward Pearce – Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)

AMERICAN NOSTALGIA: The Thrifty Wife (Early 1960s Social Guidance Film)

Everyone who sees these old films wants to go back in time.

The importance of the housewife is shown very clearly in this journey back to a simpler life, in color.

The newest automobile I spotted in this great little movie was a 62 Chevy Impala. Chevrolet must have has something to do with the production since everyone seems to be driving a Chevy.