Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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1/27/2015


Ok, My Inner XM Satellite Radio Fanboi Is Hitting New Levels…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:03 pm

Some of you may remember I paid a visit to the XM Satellite Radio Studios back in September to say goodbye to most of the staff of The Bob Edwards Show. At the time, being in the studio was less important than the people I spent the time with, but I did want to bring you, gentle reader, along with me by taking some photographs and even a video or two. One of the photos I snapped was of the studio clock that I fondly remembered from my first visit there so very long ago, a happier time when the management of XM Satellite Radio promoted and encouraged quality, intelligent programming instead of the loud, vulgar “comedians” who are now in charge of what has become an asylum. Of course, the more I looked at that clock photo once I got back home, the more I wanted one…

So, being the unabashed fanboi I am, I designed and ordered a pocket watch with a similar face and that long-gone symbol of quality satellite radio programming.

Yeah, I know it’s silly. It’s a symbol of something that’s gone, it’s close but not a perfect copy anyway, and heck, I haven’t regularly carried a watch since I bought my first PDA (s’ok, you can look it up later) decades ago.

But I’m going to clip it to my desk when I’m not carrying it so I can look up at it occasionally and remember there really was a time when two companies competed against each other, one with quality and the other with noise. And the noise won, everywhere it seems except in a precious few of us who remember.

Besides, I already have a baseball cap with The Bob Edwards Show logo… ;)

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1/25/2015


RIP Joe Franklin

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 3:09 pm
At the FOTR microphones in 2007: Will Jordan and Joe Franklin

Everyone who met Joe Franklin, who passed away yesterday, has a story about him to tell. This is mine, although it’s probably valid for hundreds if not thousands of other people, too.

I spent a lot of years volunteering at the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention in Newark, NJ. One of the things I did was act as assistant to Fred Berney, he of Satellite Media Production, who videotaped the convention for posterity. Since the videographer “ran the room,” it was their responsibility to make sure everything was working and the dais was prepared for each panel throughout the day. In that role, I frequently spoke with Joe, who brought The Joe Franklin Show to the convention each year. (It is thanks to Joe that I can honestly say, “I shot Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara,” every time I see one of them on television.)

At every meeting, I would say something clever like, “Hello, Mr. Franklin, great to have you with us again this year,” to which he would inevitably respond with, in his lightening-fast delivery and unabashed New York accent, something like, “Hey, hiya Charlie, haven’t seen you in a while…how’ya been, Charlie?”

Now look, I’m not an idiot. I know he was grabbing my name from a quick glance at my convention name tag. I understand intellectually that he didn’t know me from Adam, and was just doing a schick he performed countless times every day.

And I didn’t care. For a moment, the great man knew me. And I was on top of the world.

Now if the guy could take a nobody like me and make him feel that important, imagine what he could do to someone who actually mattered. That is exactly how Joe Franklin became Joe Franklin…how he managed to have the great and the small show up in his studio and spend some time chatting and trading quips.

Joe is one of the many things I desperately miss with the end of the FOTR convention. And now, we’ll all miss Joe. But thanks, Mr. Franklin, for making me feel so d*mned special.

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1/24/2015


SummersTime for the week of 06/16/2014

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 6:54 pm

First up, Kate goes to the White House with Mr. President, I become an expat as An American in England, she turns the Lights Out, and I enter the Author’s Playhouse!

SummersTime is the Radio Once More show hosted by father-and-daughter team Kate and Charlie Summers. Our goal is to pick some awesome Old-Time Radio shows that we want to hear or share with each other, and then play them for you, too! Be sure to listen to this week’s broadcast - schedule posted both at the SummersTime website and at Radio Once More!

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc. - just add the the RSS link over on the sidebar or hit the button) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  SummersTime June 16, 2014 [119:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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1/22/2015


SummersTime for the week of 06/09/2014

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 1:21 pm

First this week, Kate becomes mysterious with The Green Lama, I countdown to blastoff with X Minus One, she cracks the books with NBC Short Story, and I listen to a Norman Corwin classic from Columbia Workshop!

SummersTime is the Radio Once More show hosted by father-and-daughter team Kate and Charlie Summers. Our goal is to pick some awesome Old-Time Radio shows that we want to hear or share with each other, and then play them for you, too! Be sure to listen to this week’s broadcast - schedule posted both at the SummersTime website and at Radio Once More!

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc. - just add the the RSS link over on the sidebar or hit the button) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  SummersTime June 9, 2014 [119:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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1/13/2015


So much for SiriusXM…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 12:55 pm

This blog entry is a reprint from my post at the Unofficial Bob Edwards Show Forum)

As most interested folks know by now, archive editions of The Bob Edwards Show have been marginalized to three airings a day, 6-9am East, 3-6am in the West, moving them well out of drive-time for most of the country. No wonder the opening date has disappeared from the broadcast…

In retrospect, this all makes a tremendous amount of sense. Clearly the program directors have no clue what “public radio”-style programming is; when they think “talk radio,” they think Howie-style yelling and call-in shows where people as ignorant as the rest of us spout off opinions to feed their fragile egos. This explains Sirius closing production of the program last October - clearly this “new channel” was in the planning stages for well longer than those three months. (And as an aside, all this makes me miss Hugh Panero all over again - there’s a guy who “got it.”)

To make matters worse, today, the first day of the “Insight” regime (Monday doesn’t really count since, at least until 9:00am, it was still XMPR…er…SXMPR), the on-line stream is terrible, cutting out and stuttering constantly even though I’ve shut everything down that might use any bandwidth. So with only three airings, it’s almost impossible to get a decent recording (assuming, of course, I would do such a thing, which if I did would be a clear violation of the SiriusXM Terms of Service). At least the show is still available in the On Demand area…for now, anyhow.

Clearly, SXM is pushing Bob, and by extension smart and informative talk radio, out-the-door in favor of raucous loudmouths, so it’s time for us to give up on them, too. My problem is, I have no idea what exactly to do about it…Bob needs a new show somewhere else, but I don’t know how to make that happen. What I do know are computers and the Net…I’ll be happy to put together a private “working group” at the the Unofficial Bob Edwards Show Forum so that people smarter than I in this area can discuss what we as an audience can do to bring Bob’s special kind of interview skills back in new productions. If you’re interested, get ahold of me using that “Contact the Webmaster” link on the sidebar.

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1/12/2015


So I’ve been going through some old videotapes…

Filed under: Films and Video — Charlie Summers @ 1:07 pm

Anyone who’s followed this blog for any length of time knows I am a collector. Ok, “packrat” may be a better definition, although I am trying to be better. One of the things I’ve been doing to reduce the clutter (and the many many boxes in the blackhole I laughingly call a basement) is go through old saved videotapes. I haven’t yet gotten to the hundreds of beta tapes down there (for those of you too young to remember video tape, web search “VHS vs Beta” sometime for an eye-opening overview), but I have started on the hundreds of VHS tapes. In the first box I started to transfer to digital video, where I can store literally hundreds of tapes in the space of a single hard drive, I’ve found:

  • Promo: The Late Late Show: One of the tapes had a 60 Minutes episode, after which there was a 10-second promo for The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, premiering tomorrow night. I have always considered this program truly the last of the late-night talk shows, since that’s exactly what Tom did…talk. He had on interesting guests, asked interesting and interested question, and basically brought his old Tomorrow program to CBS.

    I get that I was one of the few who truly appreciated this program for the jewel it was, and even David Letterman eventually came to the realization it needed to be replaced with a mindless “comedy” show (originally hosted by Craig Kilborn who was never particularly funny and has returned to well-deserved obscurity) then Craig Ferguson who is on his way out - the demographic they were looking for wasn’t interested in smart dialog, but rather sophomoric hijinks. But it was Snyder who set the bar for intelligent talk, and is someone I still greatly miss. I often hoped when he left The Late Late Show he would be given a weekly show in the mold of David Susskind…but it never happened, and Snyder passed away in 2007, taking with him all hope for intelligent, entertaining, and witty television interviews.

  • Great Performances: Jesus Christ Superstar: I have always loved this rock opera…I remember listening to it over and over, wearing out the records on the little record player in my room at home. In retrospect, I must have driven my parents (and the neighbors) crazy with those two disks. To this day, I can hear the entire thing in my head (the original, without the songs added for the Broadway and movie versions), and each Good Friday I sing it to the walls of my office.

    But I have no memory whatsoever of this version. Apparently broadcast April 11, 2001, I recorded this Really Useful Films production to a high-grade tape, and I swear I don’t remember watching it. Still haven’t, although as soon I can gather together two hours I’m going to lock the door to my office and enjoy.

  • Coming this fall - James Camron’s first television series: Yep, a 10-second promo for Dark Angel. And let me admit I still have an old-man crush on Jessica Alba.

  • E! True Hollywood Story - Dallas. Sometime I’ll tell you the story of why Dallas was a weekly guilty pleasure, but this E! program dug the dirt about its history…and only a little way in, got everything completely wrong (They talked about the show leasing the “Southfork” ranch for the five-episode opening mini-series, not realizing that series was shot at a completely different ranch, one with a main house and three sibling houses out back.)

    Still, it’s trashy television about trashy television. What’s to complain about?

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1/7/2015


The Things You Find: Galaxy’s Chronocron

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 7:55 pm

This is the first in a series of, “Ohmygosh, look what I found while cleaning up ancient boxes.” And it’s a real goodie, too…it’s a “Perpetual Calendar” provided by Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine. I apparently received this fine-crafted piece of plastic and metal when subscribing (or renewing, I cannot remember which) to the magazine which is still residing in other boxes in my basement. This magazine was mentioned prominently on the OTR program X Minus One and was the one I liked more than Analog, the successor to John Campbell’s Astounding.

“Perpetual,” it ain’t though…it only has years up to the year 2000, which I suppose back in the late 60’s/early 70’s seemed like one heck of a ways’ away — I guess the “future” is all relative. Still, you’d dial-up the year you wanted, stick it over or under the month you wanted to examine, and like magic the calendar would start with a Wednesday or something. Even so, it was kinda cool, and I had it sitting on my desk for a while so I could look up what day of the week a specific date was on.

Now, it’s just an artifact of youth. Can’t wait to see what else is in those ancient boxes…

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1/6/2015


Some Clarification on Why We Don’t Talk to Google Mail…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:33 pm

There have been some questions lately as to why we reject connections from some free email providers - Gmail is not the only system we reject, but it is probably the largest. I wrote about this specific issue before, and way back in 2004 I explained why the server isn’t accepting connections from there, but there have been some questions lately about rejecting these systems, and I wanted to clarify with a handful of weblinks from somewhat trusted websites. Note this is all pretty old information, nothing new here at all.

From The Guardian: Google: don’t expect privacy when sending to Gmail

From Forbes: It’s Not A Surprise That Gmail Users Have No Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy

From Business Insider: GOOGLE: If You Send To Gmail, You Have ‘No Legitimate Expectation Of Privacy’

OK, enough, you get the idea. And for whatever it’s worth, if you email me, the mail is not retained on the server, but rather on my personal computer inside my home…which requires the government to issue a search warrant signed by a judge to read, and keeps corporate America completely out of your email.

And in an unrelated side-note: I will try in this new year to write more here on the blog for both of my loyal readers. ;)

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