May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
July 17, 2009
/ 25 Tamuz 5769
Odds and Ends
Wow, what a crazy summer so far! Where do I begin? Well, let's start with a thief. Madoff, the investment crook, got 150 years in the slammer. His defense team was hoping for about 10. Considering that the guy should literally be hung, I think 150 years in prison for him is probably getting off rather light. The feds are grabbing all the houses they own along with the wife's fir coats, bed linen, silverware and other valuables. Very good, but don't forget the sons, brother, and any other family members that were in on the scams all these years - they need to be locked up too, along with all the other crooks who worked for him. The Madoff business is officially dead.
And speaking of dead. Lots of dying going on around here over the last month or so. Famous people dying I mean. Wallowing over the famous people that have died is one of those favorite pastimes for the media along with blasting Sarah Palin, worshiping Barok Obama, and finding poison in almost everything we eat or breathe.
By last count, the celebrities that clocked out recently include Karl Malden, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Michael Jackson, Fred Travalina, Gale Storm, Ed McMahon, Sam Butera, and David Carradine. The Jackson and Carradine weirdness got all the media attention, but I'd like to mention a couple of the others who deserve remembering.
Gale Storm is one of those people in my earliest memory bank. I was a child of early 50's television and My Little Margie was one of my favorites. I loved those funny ladies, Lucille Ball, Joan Davis and Gale Storm. They made funny faces and silly noises, mugged a lot and basically did everything that a three or four year old finds high humor in.
She was born Josephine Owaissa Cottle on April 5, 1922 in Bloomington Texas. When she was 17 she won a talent contest and a one-year contract with movie studio, RKO. She made several pictures for the studio, working steadily throughout the early forties and then moving to Monogram Pictures for the rest of the decade. The variety of roles she played there gave her a solid grounding in comedy, which she would put to good use in TV.
Miss Storm's first television hit was her starring role in My Little Margie from 1952 to 1955. The series, which co-starred former leading man, Charles Farrell as her father, was originally a summer replacement for I Love Lucy on CBS. The show ran for 126 episodes on NBC and CBS. The series was also broadcast on CBS Radio from December 1952 to August 1955 with the same lead actors. Only 23 episodes of the radio show are known to survive.
In the Fall of 1956 Gale Storm again starred in another situation comedy, The Gale Storm Show, (aka Oh! Susanna), featuring character actress, ZaSu Pitts. This show ran for 143 episodes between 1956 and 1960. Miss Storm appeared regularly on other television programs in the 1950s and 1960s as well, such as panelist and a "mystery guest" on What's My Line?
She was married and widowed twice and had four children with her first husband. In later years she made the rounds as guest star on shows like Love Boat, Burke's Law and Murder She Wrote. She published her autobiography in 1981. She was 87 when she died this June 27th but for me I'll always remember her as that cute, funny little girl on My Little Margie. RIP.
Sam Butera was best known, of course, as Louie Prima's sidekick, the saxophone player who played straight man for Prima's craziness. It was Louie Prima, Keely Smith, and Sam Butera (and The Witnesses) who made up what was undoubtedly the greatest lounge act in Las Vegas history.
Butera was born and raised in New Orleans, where his father, Joe, ran a butcher shop and played guitar in his spare time. He heard the saxophone for the first time at a wedding when he was seven years old, and, with his father's encouragement, he began to play. When he finisnished high school he got a job with a big band and soon after was named by Look Magazine as one of America's top upcoming jazzmen.
He played with Tommy Dorsey, Joe Reichman, and Paul Gayten during that big band era. As the big band era wound down and heavy touring became less common among jazz musicians, Butera re-settled in New Orleans, where he played regularly at the 500 Club for four years. The 500 Club was owned by Louis Prima's brother, Leon, and it was this connection that lead him to his much-heralded Vegas-based collaborations with Prima and Smith.
He started his famous collaboration with Prima in 1956 at the Sahara Hotel. Butera remained the bandleader of The Witnesses for the better part of the next twenty years. Until very recently he was still performing, sometimes even with Keely Smith. I'm sorry I didn't see them, it must have been a blast. Sam Butera died, appropriately, in Las Vegas at 81 years old. He was a true swingin' cat and a hell of a sax player. RIP.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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