Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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November 2011
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OTR Digest again being rejected by some systems…

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 1:38 pm

Apparently a bunch of small providers are using some brain-damaged outfit called Synacor to “spam-protect” their email (Embarq is one example), and this outfit has decided the most recent issue of the Internet OTR Digest has, “spam-like characteristics.” This is geek-speak for, “our filters are too broad, and while they still allow spam to get into your mailbox, we’ll false-positive legitimate email just so we can up our rejection stats.”

Yeah, I know, I’m being a wise-guy, but it’s annoying. If you missed issue #187, you can try to pull it from the archive server but that will probably fail, too. I can’t do anything about bad code generating a false-positive for the Digest, so please complain to your provider and suggest they find some other solution to the spam problem.

Ah, well, at least this issue isn’t being rejected by AOL or the Barracuda appliance…

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Bob Edwards at Politics and Prose Post Went Missing

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 1:59 am

Don’t know how I managed to screw it up, but my short report with pics from the appearance of Bob Edwards at my favorite inside-the-beltway bookstore Politics and Prose seems to have been set to Private…which means, apparently, that no one could see it.

I’m pretty sure I repaired the problem now, but if you can’t get to it, let me know with the contact form over there on the sidebar, please.

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Danger Mouse co-creator Mark Hall dies

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 2:14 pm

From BBC News: Danger Mouse co-creator Mark Hall dies

From the article: “Animator Mark Hall, co-founder of Cosgrove Hall, responsible for Chorlton and the Wheelies, Danger Mouse and The Wind in the Willows, has died of cancer at the age of 75.”

I simply love Danger Mouse. I know it’s stupid, I know the jokes are stupid, I know it’s nothing but a few minutes of silliness, but still, I love the show. Enough that when my wife calls my cell phone, the ringtone I use for her is the theme from Danger Mouse (before you ask, when Katie calls me my phone plays the theme from Police Squad). If you haven’t seen DM, find an episode (surely there’s one on Google’s Tube-thingie), sit back, and just let the goofiness wash over you like a cleansing rain.

“Caw! Crumbs, Chief!”

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To TV, or Not Two TVs…

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:27 pm

A while back, our living room rear-projector TV burned out a bulb; since the replacement bulb didn’t work, I’m assuming the bulb ballast board died, a non-trivial repair best left to a time when I’m not rushed dealing with other domestic and business stuff. So we’ve been watching on a largish 28″ tube set; at least when there’s electricity here at Chez Charlie. Until yesterday that is, when it started to flash on-and-off like some damaged neon sign.

No problem, thought I, and entered the black hole I laughingly refer to as a basement, arising with an old 19″ that has spent decades down there waiting for a time of need. As I turned it on and tuned it to the media player, I laughed with my daughter that if the screen sizes kept getting smaller, we’d soon be watching television on her netbook.

Laughing, that is, until a flutter, darkness, and the smell of ozone combined with burning insulation…

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George Ansbro, 1915-2011

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, News — Charlie Summers @ 7:09 pm
Rosemary Rice, Louise Erickson, and George Ansbro take direction; from the 21st Annual FOTR Convention in 1996

Jay Hickerson brings us the unhappy news that George Ansbro, radio and television announcer, author, and great friend to the Friends of Old-Time Radio has died. George is probably best-known in OTR circles as the announcer for Young Widder Brown, but he also announced shows like Treasury Salute, Wake Up, America, and FBI Washington. He also announced for ABC television, most notably Dr. I.Q., and at his retirement he achieved the record for the longest-tenured employee of any network in the history of American broadcasting. He was also a great friend to the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, appearing every year his health permitted. Even while physically frail, his voice contained an amazing youthful quality, and he was a favorite of all the directors for announcing duties.

Permit me two personal memories about a man I was pleased to call my friend.

Back in 1999, I was honored to receive the Allen Rockford Award from the Friends of Old-Time Radio for my service to the hobby. It was unexpected yet deeply appreciated, and after the evening performances a few of us (my wife, Max, Ann-Marie, Steve, others) clambered onto bar stools and celebrated my initiation into the “club.” George was, that year, without his wife who routinely attended the convention with him, and so entered the bar to wind down from the evening’s performances…we immediately invited him to join us, and for hours he regaled us with the stories fresh-in-his-mind that would be in his soon-to-be-released book, I Have a Lady in the Balcony: Memoirs of a Broadcaster in Radio and Television. We closed the bar that night, and while the following year I purchased and had him inscribe a copy, it’s the personal telling of those stories I will always remember.

In 1998, Elliot Reid, George Ansboro, and Mason Adams prepare for the thrilling adventures of Superman!

The year before, George was selected to perform the title role in The Adventures of Superman adventure, “Superman vs. the Atom Man,” to be performed in 15-minute segments throughout the convention with the original Atom Man, Mason Adams. The final episode of this storyline is a titanic battle over the streets of Metropolis, with Superman fighting for his very life. The story winds out with the narrator, the great Jackson Beck, detailing the action while the sound effects men provide the sound patterns to allow the listener to “see” the action.

There’s very little dialog here for the principles, but there is a good bit of “grunting” as the effort of the battle takes its toll on both hero and villain. After the rehearsal proper, Mason and George remained seated on the stage…I had taken some photos of the rehearsal, and was off in my corner packing up the camera equipment and preparing to videotape the performance, silently observing out of the corner of my eye while Mason Adams and George Ansbro, working in concert and carefully marking their scripts, rehearsed and fine-tuned the grunts, groans, and family-friendly expletives they would be giving during the performance.

Two thoughts struck me. First, it was really silly to see two grown men grunting at each other, occasionally saying, “No, that won’t work, let me try, ‘Ooof!’” and the like. The second thought came immediately on the heels of the first…these two professionals were working overtime to make absolutely certain their performance would be the best possible, for the fans seated out in the audience. The extraordinary care they took with something as silly as their grunts and groans would always for me define “Professional,” and any time in my own career I feel myself doing less than the best I possibly can for my client, I remember George and Mason so determined to improve their performance they ignored the silliness, and am determined to do no less.

One more little thing; a recording George made for me one year during the cocktail hour, to say hello to the folks on the Internet OTR Digest. Thank you George, and rest well.

icon for podpress  George Ansbro Says Hello to OTR Digest Subscribers [0:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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