Captain Kangaroo star James Wall dies aged 92

James Wall, best known for his role as Mr. Baxter on the iconic children’s TV show Captain Kangaroo has died aged 92. He passed away following a short illness, People magazine reports.

Wall was the first Afro-American to appear on the popular show and played Captain Kangaroo’s friendly neighbour from 1968 to 1978. He joined the team in 1962 and had spent several years lobbying for the part.
Following Captain Kangaroo, Wall spent and extensive amount of time working for CBS an CBS Sports broadcasting as a stage manager. He leaves behind his 58-year-old wife, Dolly.

Captain Kangaroo was aired by CBS on weekday mornings in the US. The series began in 1955 and ran until 1984, making it the longest-running children’s TV programme of its day.
The structure was loosely based around life in the “Treasure House”, where the Captain (whose name came from the big pockets in his coat) would tell stories, meet guests and indulge in silly stunts. The regular characters on the show were both humans and puppets. It was aired live for its first four years and was shown in black-and-white until 1968.

Schoolteacher created Halloween UNICEF fundraiser


By Matt Schudel

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 31, 2010
 
Millions of children will walk door to door tonight, collecting candy with one hand and carrying orange boxes in the other. When they shout "Trick or treat for UNICEF!," they will carry on a Halloween tradition that Mary Emma Allison started in Philadelphia exactly 60 years ago.

Mrs. Allison, who died Oct. 27 of pneumonia at her home in Lowell, Ind., at age 93, had looked at the bulging bags of Halloween candy collected by children in her neighborhood and told her husband, "It's too bad we can't turn this into something good."
One day, while buying coats for her three children in Philadelphia, Mrs. Allison came upon a parade, complete with a live cow. The aim was to raise money for UNICEF to provide milk to undernourished children around the world.
All at once, Mrs. Allison realized how she could combine the notion of helping others with the revels of Halloween. With the blessings of UNICEF - the United Nations humanitarian arm for children - her husband, a Presbyterian minister, wrote an article about about trick-or-treating for charity in a nationwide publication for Sunday school students and teachers. On Halloween night 1950, children began to collect loose change in milk cartons.
"We didn't know the idea was catching on until money started coming in to UNICEF," the Allisons' daughter, Mickey, said Saturday.
Mrs. Allison's husband promoted the trick-or-treating idea from the pulpit, and the practice quickly grew. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has become perhaps the largest youth volunteer fundraising effort in the country. More than $160 million has been raised, and donations are expected to exceed $4 million this year. Mrs. Allison, her daughter said, was particularly proud of the idea that children could do something to help other children.
Mrs. Allison, who was an elementary school teacher for many years, brought home empty milk cartons and washed them in the kitchen sink. She and her children placed orange UNICEF sleeves around the cartons and distributed them to other children, reminding them that even a few pennies could provide food and medicine to the less fortunate.

"I was so proud of the money in my container," Mickey Allison said. "We loved the whole idea of trick-or-treating. We dressed like kids from other countries because they were the ones we were collecting money for."
Mary Emma Woodruff was born March 5, 1917, in Deerfield, N.J., and grew up on a farm. Her mother insisted that she go to college, and she graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, where she met her husband, Clyde Allison.
After living in Princeton, N.J., where her husband attended seminary, the Allisons moved to Philadelphia and, in the early 1960s, to Chicago. Mrs. Allison taught in inner-city elementary schools from the 1950s until her retirement in 1982.
Her husband died last year after 67 years of marriage.
In addition to Margaret "Mickey" Allison of Cedar Lake, Ind., Mrs. Allison's other survivors include a daughter, Mary Jean Thomson of Riverwoods, Ill.; a son, Monroe Allison of Brooklyn, N.Y.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Allison looked forward to Halloween each year and enjoyed having trick-or-treaters knock on her door. Many times, children asked for contributions to UNICEF, not knowing they were speaking to the woman who devised the idea.
"She was just thrilled," her daughter said. "Halloween was always something this family got a big kick out of."

Did you know this was a book before it was a film?



James Leo Herlihy, a novelist, playwright and actor, published Midnight Cowboy in 1960. Although largely forgotton now, Herlihy's work made him a celebrity in his own time. He was, like his friend and mentor Tennessee Williams, a gay author whose works touched areas that were still taboo in the 1960s. Midnight Cowboy , the film version, starring Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and the wonderful Brena Vaccaro, won an Academy Award for Best Picture despite being given an "X" rating. Herlihy committed suicide, aged 66, by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in Los Angeles


One of the best films of the 60s, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance




I don't know what the deal is with the Chinese writing but this is a geat film...John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin and directed by John Ford...its the first time Wayne used the term "Pilgrim" in a film and for many, this is the last true American cowboy flick



First Moon Landing 1969, or how we beat he beat the pee out of the Russians

Chris Montez - Call Me.avi

Actor James MacArthur from `Hawaii Five-0' dies








Actor James MacArthur from `Hawaii Five-0' dies
LOS ANGELES – Stage and screen actor James MacArthur, who played "Danno" in the original version of television's "Hawaii Five-0," died Thursday at age 72.
MacArthur's agent, Richard Lewis, said the actor died in Florida of "natural causes," but no direct cause was specified.



In a career that spanned more than four decades, MacArthur was most recognized for his role as Detective Danny "Danno" Williams on "Hawaii Five-0," which aired from 1968 to 1980. Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarret, the lead character, uttering what became a pop culture catch phrase: "Book 'em, Danno."
Jack Lord, who starred as McGarret, died in 1998.
MacArthur quit the role of McGarret's sidekick a year before the program's final season.
"Quite frankly, I grew bored," he explained on his website. "The stories became more bland and predictable and presented less and less challenge to me as an actor."
"Hawaii Five-O," one of the longest running crime shows in TV history with 278 episodes, was shot on location in the Hawaiian islands. It was the first Hawaii-based national TV series.
The drama has been remade by CBS with a new cast this season.
MacArthur, born Dec. 8, 1937, seemed destined to become an actor. He was the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, an award-winning actress often referred to as "First Lady of the American Theatre." Silent film star Lillian Gish was his godmother.
"They did teach me a lot about the theatre just through my life with them," he said of his parents in a 1957 interview in Teen Life magazine. "They never pushed me in any direction. Any major decision has always been my own to make."
James MacArthur made his stage debut at age 8 in a summer stock production of "The Corn is Green."
His breakout role was in the 1957 "Climax!" television series production of "The Young Stranger," in which he starred as the 17-year-old son of a movie executive who has a run-in with the law.
He entered Harvard that same year, but dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue an acting career.
As a young actor, MacArthur appeared in the Walt Disney movies "Kidnapped," "Third Man on the Mountain," "Swiss Family Robinson" and "The Light in the Forest."
He also had roles in "The Interns, "Spencer's Mountain," "Battle of the Bulge" and "Hang 'Em High," as well as many guest roles on TV series such as "Gunsmoke."
He performed in many stage plays, including the lead role of Hildy Johnson in a 1981 production of "The Front Page," which was co-written by his father in the late 1920s, at the Stanford Community Theatre in Palo Alto, Calif.
His live acting career won him the 1961 Theatre World Award for best new actor for his performance in "Invitation to a March."
MacArthur said that one of his favorite "Hawaii Five-O" episodes was a 1975 segment called "Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever" because it marked one of the rare times that he worked on screen with his mother. Hayes played Danno's Aunt Clara, who visits Hawaii and helps the detectives solve a murder.
Asked by the Hawaii Star Bulletin newspaper in 2003 about his fondest memories about working on "Hawaii Five-O," MacArthur replied: "Living in Hawaii."

Halloween night.


For my brothers, sisters, and I, Halloween was like having your parents’ permission to a pirate for a night. Nothing in our sheltered lives came close to the anticipation of Halloween night.


School let out at 3:00 and we were home and dressed in our costumes by 3:30, bags in hands, ready for action.


It couldn’t get dark fast enough. My brother Danny, who was afraid of the dark 364 days of the year, would walk back and forth across the living room, dressed as a sheepherder, and stick his head out the door every 15 minutes and to see if the sun was still up. When it was, he’d say, “That sun is an idiot” and slam door shut. He was like a Vampire in heat. 




When it finally got dark, you could be trampled to death by 14 feet of various shoe sizes making a frantic B line for the front door. Before we left the house, we were lined up and given the annual “Stay together out there” speech. We would nod our heads in wise agreement and furrow our brows to show that not only were we listening, but that we were moved, in fact deeply moved, by the words. Of course, once you were out the door, it was every man for himself.


One time we actually lost my sister, but that’s another story.


Halloween brought out the best, the worst and the dumbest in kids and adults alike. In 1964, this kid from another block went out wearing a JFK mask and a black suit. I was nine and even I knew it was in bad taste.



I had a friend named Jackie Cleary. He lived three houses down. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters so he went out with us. I meet him on the corner and he’s dressed like Jesus which was....you know....like, just uncomfortable. I mean you’ve got the Nuns on you five days a week, confession on Saturday and Mass on Sunday, you just don’t want Jesus out there with you on you’re night off.


Anyway, Jackie parents were from Ireland and they were really, really religious...I mean, they dressed their kid as Jesus on Halloween, worse than that, they gave him a one of those little white Unicef boxes to collect money for starving children in Africa.


I was as concerned about starving children in Africa as was any ten year old in Connecticut on Halloween night, but it just made you look so bad. I show up dressed as Zorro and candy. Jackie shows up as Jesus and collects money for starving people.



1964 Mustang, even Steve McQueen wasn't this cool


COST IN 1964 $3,400.00 LOADED

COST FOR A MINT CONDITION 1964 MUSTANG IN 2010; JUST UNDER $28,000 


1964 World's Fair


The 1964 World’s Fair was “a protective cocoon” where “foreign nations sang in harmony, corporations existed to produce things that made life better, and, most important, the future looked brighter than ever..... For the tens of millions of kids who went the fair planted a seed of the possibility to achieve great things.” Lawrence R. Samuel, The End of Innocence



Although we lived less than an hour away from New York and most of my mother’s family still lived in Brooklyn, we rarely went to the city. However, when the World’s Fair came to the city, we went. The World’s Fair trip was such a big deal; we wore sports coats and ties when we went.



I come from a small, New England factory town and in the 1960s; the town and the surrounding towns were almost totally filled with white people and they fell into three camps; Irish, Italian or Poles, so the only Asian person I ever saw was on TV, and actually, in the mid-1960s, the few Asians you saw on TV were usually the Japanese soldiers from McHale’s Navy although more and more Vietnamese were turning up on the news.


When we walked onto the main concourse of the Fair, the first thing I spotted was an Asian lady working at an egg role booth. I didn’t know what an egg role was but it sounded cool...rolled egg.....the booth was built in the form of a Pagoda, which is Chinese-South Asian and the lady was dressed in a kemono with a long stick through the back of her hair, which is Japanese and I don’t know where the hell egg rolls are from, probably New York.


I ran up to the booth and stared at the poor woman, but in fairness, an Asian lady in a pagoda wearing a kemono with a stick in her hair in the middle of Brooklyn was something worth staring at.


Finally she said to me...in flawless Brooklynese “So you gonna buy some thin or what or over here?”


Luckily, my mother is from Brownsville so I spoke fluent Brooklynese. I asked “So what are you, Japanese?”


When your nine years old you could get away with questions like that in 1964.


“Naw” she said turning an egg role “Korean”







Michael Tabor


Michael Tabor was one of 13 Black Panther Party members acquitted in 1971 of conspiring to bomb public buildings and murder police officers in New York. However Tabor fled to Africa four months into the eight-month trial—one of the longest in New York history—and  settled there.  He died of complications from several strokes, in Lusaka, Zambia on October 17, 2010 at age 63 


Unsung artist behind Rocky and Bullwinkle



Unsung artist behind Rocky and Bullwinkle



By Matt Schudel


Washington Post Staff Writer


Monday, October 25, 2010

Alex Anderson, 90, the artist who created the cartoon characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, the flying squirrel and hapless moose who were TV fixtures in the early 1960s, died Oct. 22 at a nursing facility in Carmel, Calif. His wife said he had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Anderson, who grew up in a cartooning family in California, was also the creator of Crusader Rabbit, which became television's first animated cartoon series in 1949. He spent much of his career in advertising, and his role in creating Rocky and Bullwinkle was overlooked with time. He fought a long legal battle late in life to reclaim recognition as the cartoon characters' artistic father.

Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose first landed on network TV in 1959. They lived in the town of Frostbite Falls and found themselves embroiled in all manner of absurd plots involving espionage and devious villains. The show contained outrageous puns and veiled Cold War commentary that sailed over the heads of the children who were its primary audience.

The Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons also featured another of Mr. Anderson's popular creations, Dudley Do-Right, a strutting Canadian Mountie in constant pursuit of his nemesis, the mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash.

Mr. Anderson was not part of the production of the original series, which ran on ABC from 1959 to 1961 and NBC from 1961 to 1964. As the years passed, his role in developing the characters was largely forgotten. He received nothing when a lucrative video deal was struck for the burgeoning Bullwinkle franchise.

"I'm thrilled that something I did has become so popular," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1991. "But I'm sorry that I don't get any credit for it."

He decided to take legal action after seeing a documentary about Bullwinkle that didn't mention his name at all. Instead, most of the credit went to his childhood friend and onetime business partner, Jay Ward. Animator and writer Bill Scott, who was the first TV voice of Bullwinkle, was also cited as a "creative force."

Mr. Anderson and Ward grew up together in Berkeley, Calif., and formed a business in the late 1940s to pitch cartoon ideas to television. Crusader Rabbit, Rocky, Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right were among the characters they showed to studio executives before Crusader Rabbit was picked up.

After Mr. Anderson's other cartoon ideas failed to catch on, he joined a San Francisco advertising agency. Ward moved to Los Angeles, trying to sell TV studios on a Bullwinkle series. Mr. Anderson reportedly retained half-ownership of the characters and received regular payments until Ward died in 1989. In the early 1990s, Mr. Anderson filed suit against Ward's heirs to reclaim full credit as the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

He received a lump-sum settlement in 1993, along with a court-mandated acknowledgment as "the creator of the first version of the characters of Rocky, Bullwinkle and Dudley."

Alexander Hume Anderson Jr. was born Sept. 5, 1920, in Berkeley. Two of his uncles were cartoonists, including Paul Terry, who is credited with developing the character of Mighty Mouse. In 1938, Mr. Anderson joined Terry's animation studio, Terrytoons, in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Mo

Ringo was married to Maureen Starkey "Mo" Tigrett in 1965 and divorced in 1975. The couple had three children, Zak, Jason and Lee. Like Ringo, Maureen was born (as Mary Cox) in Liverpool. She left school at 16 and changed her name to Maureen when she began her career as a trainee hairdresser in Liverpool.

She met Ringo when he was performing at the Cavern Club. In January 1965, Ringo proposed at the Ad Lib Club in London and the couple was married February 11, 1965. Their first child, Zak Starkey, was born on September 13, 1965.
Maureen sang backup vocals on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" and was, along with Yoko Ono, in attendance at the rooftop concert in 1969 and the very first song in the Beatles' Apple Records catalogue was a special private recording sung by Frank Sinatra as a favor to Ringo as a 22nd birthday gift for Maureen in 1968. Sammy Cahn rewrote Lorenz Hart's lyrics to "The Lady Is a Tramp" and personalised them about Maureen. Sinatra recorded the song in Los Angeles, and only a few copies were pressed before the master tape was destroyed.
By 1975, the marriage had fallen apart and the couple was divorced on July 17 of that year. In 1989, Maureen married Isaac Tigrett, of Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues fame.
During the opening of the House of Blues, Maureen fainted. What was initially thought to be anemia turned out to be a form of leukemia. She died of complications from treatment for leukemia, aged 48, on December 30, 1994 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. She had recently received bone marrow from her son Zak. Her four children, mother Flo, husband Isaac Tigrett and ex-husband Ringo were all at her bedside when she died.
Paul McCartney wrote the song "Little Willow", in her memory and dedicated it to her children. (Click the link below) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuv7mc6bltw




Rod Serling


"No one could know Serling, or view or read his work, without recognizing his deep affection for humanity ... and his determination to enlarge our horizons by giving us a better understanding of ourselves." Gene Roddenberry


"the ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic." Rod Serling

Sent to the Pacific Theater in Word Ward Two, Serling was sent to the 511th's demolition platoon, nicknamed the 'death squad' for its high casualty rate. According to Sergeant Frank Lewis, leader of the demolitions squad, "He screwed up somewhere along the line. Apparently he got on someone's nerves." Lewis also noted that Serling was not cut out to be a field soldier. "...He didn't have the wits or aggressiveness required for combat." At one point Lewis, Serling and others were in a firefight trapped in a foxhole. As time passed and they waited for darkness Lewis noticed that Serling had not reloaded any of his extra magazines. Another example of how Serling was a dreamer in a harsh reality was that he would go off exploring on his own, against orders and then get lost."


Serling's time in the jungle would shape his writing and his political views for the rest of his life. He witnessed death every day while in the Philippines, both at the hands of the enemy and through random events such as those that killed another extroverted Jewish private named Melvin Levy. Levy was in the middle of a comic monologue as the platoon sat resting under a palm tree when a food crate dropped from above, decapitating him as the men watched. Serling led the services for Levy and created a Star of David over his grave. In his future writing career Serling would set several of his scripts in the Philippines and use the unpredictability of death as a source for much of his material.

Serling marched away from the successful mission in Leyte with two wounds including one to his kneecap but neither was enough to keep him from combat when General MacArthur used the paratroopers as they were intended on February 3, 1945. Colonel Haugen led the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment as it landed on Tagaytay Ridge, met up with the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment and marched into Manila. There was minimal resistance until they reached the city where Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi had barricaded his 17,000 troops behind a maze of traps and guns and ordered them to fight to the death.

The next month witnessed Serling's unit involved in a block-by-block battle for control of Manila. As portions of the town were freed from Japanese control the civilians showed their gratitude by throwing parties and hosting banquets. During one of these parties Serling and his comrades were fired upon and many people, both soldiers and civilians, were killed.

Serling, still a Private after three years, caught the attention of Sergeant Frank Lewis when he ran into the line of fire to rescue a performer who had been on stage when the artillery started. As the troops continued to move in on Iwabuchi's stronghold Serling's regiment received a 50 percent casualty rate, with over 400 men killed. Serling was wounded and three of the men he was with were killed by shrapnel from rounds fired at him and his roving demolitions team by an anti-aircraft gun. He was sent to New Guinea to recover, but soon chose to return to Manila to finish 'cleaning up'. Private Serling's final assignment was as part of the occupation force in Japan. For his service to the U. S. Army he was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Serling's Army combat service affected him deeply, and also influenced much of his writing. His wartime combat experiences left Serling with nightmares and flashbacks which would plague him for the rest of his life. He was quoted as saying, "I was bitter about everything and at loose ends when I got out of the service. I think I turned to writing to get it off my chest."





Da Mick


It was all I lived for, to play baseball.


A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide.


You don't realize how easy this game is until you get up in that broadcasting booth.


After I hit a home run I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases.


As far as I'm concerned, Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He's never received the credit he's due.


He who has the fastest golf cart never has a bad lie.




Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century.

Hitting the ball was easy. Running around the bases was the tough part.


I always loved the game, but when my legs weren't hurting it was a lot easier to love.


I could never be a manager. All I have is natural ability.


I don't care who you are, you hear those boos.


I guess you could say I'm what this country is all about.


I'll play baseball for the Army or fight for it, whatever they want me to do.


It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life.

My views are just about the same as Casey's.

Roger Maris was as good a man and as good a ballplayer as there ever was.


Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, 'Sure, every time.'

Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been.





The biggest game I ever played in was probably Don Larsen's perfect game.

The only thing I can do is play baseball. I have to play ball. It's the only thing I know.

To play 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer.

Today's Little Leaguers, and there are millions of them each year, pick up how to hit and throw and field just by watching games on TV. By the time they're out of high school, the good ones are almost ready to play professional ball.

Well, baseball was my whole life. Nothing's ever been as fun as baseball.

When I hit a home run I usually didn't care where it went. So long as it was a home run was all that mattered.


If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.




Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, the son of Elvin Charles Mantle, a coal miner, and Lovell (née Richardson) Mantle. He was named in honor of Mickey Cochrane, the Hall of Fame catcher from the Philadelphia Athletics, by his father, known as "Mutt," who was an amateur player and fervent fan.

According to the book Mickey Mantle: America's Prodigal Son, by Tony Castro, in later life, Mantle expressed relief that his father had not known Cochrane's true first name, as he would have hated to be named Gordon. Mantle always spoke warmly of his father, and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. His father died of cancer in 1952 at the age of 39, just as his son was starting his career. Mantle said one of the great heartaches of his life was that he never told his father he loved him.

When Mantle was four years old, the family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma. Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School, playing basketball as well as football (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma) in addition to his first love, baseball. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected with osteomyelitis, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier.

A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma, enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin, saving his leg from amputation. He suffered from the effects of the disease for the rest of his life, and it probably led to many other injuries that hampered his professional career. Additionally, Mantle's osteomyelitic condition exempted him from military service, which caused him to become very unpopular with fans early on, as his earliest days in baseball coincided with the Korean War (though he was still selected as an All-Star the year his medical exemption was given).

Mantle's first semi-professional team was the Baxter Springs, Kansas Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mantle's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson. During the game Mantle switch-hit two homers into the river well beyond the ballpark. Despite Greenwade's interest – he would later call Mantle the best prospect he'd ever seen – the 16-year-old Mantle was forced to wait until his high school graduation in 1949 before inking a minor league contract with their Class-D affiliate in Independence, Kansas. Mantle signed for $400 ($4,563 in current dollar terms) to play the remainder of the season with a $1,100 ($10,039 in current dollar terms) signing bonus. His blinding speed soon earned him the nickname "The Commerce Comet," carrying him to the Joplin Miners in Joplin, Missouri. (He would later invest in a Holiday Inn motel in that city, with his name attached to it.)

Wearing #6, Mantle was called up to the majors on April 7, 1951, to play right field; by June, manager Casey Stengel, speaking to SPORT, stated "He's got more natural power from both sides than anybody I ever saw." Joe DiMaggio, in his final season, called Mantle, "the greatest prospect I can remember."

After a brief slump, Mantle was sent down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues. However, he was not able to find the power he once had in the lower minors. Out of frustration, he called his father one day and told him, "I don't think I can play baseball anymore." Mutt drove up to Kansas City that day. When he arrived, he started packing his son's clothes and (in Mickey's memory) said, "I thought I raised a man. I see I raised a coward instead. You can come back to Oklahoma and work the mines with me." Mantle immediately broke out of his slump, going on to hit .361 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs during his stay in Kansas City. After 40 games, he was called back to New York for good.

In his first World Series game, October 4, 1951, the Yankees were pitted against the Giants for what was Willie Mays's first World Series game as well.

Mantle moved to center field in 1952, replacing Joe DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season after one year playing alongside Mantle in the Yankees outfield. Mantle played center field full-time until 1965, when he was moved to left field. His final two seasons were spent at first base. Among his many accomplishments are all-time World Series records for home runs (18), runs scored (42), and runs batted in (40).


Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball left-handed that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, based on where it was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m). Another Mantle homer, hit right-handed off Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1953, was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson (hence the term "tape-measure home run") to have traveled 565 feet (172 m).


Though it is apparent that they are actually the distances where the balls ended up after bouncing several times, there is no doubt that they both landed more than 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. Mantle twice hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium, nearly becoming the only player (along with Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson, though Gibson's home run has never been conclusively verified) to hit a fair ball out of the stadium during a game.

On May 22, 1963, against Kansas City's Bill Fischer, Mantle hit a ball that fellow players and fans claimed was still rising when it hit the 110-foot (34 m) high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field. It was later estimated by some that the ball could have traveled 620 feet (190 m) had it not been blocked by the ornate and distinctive facade. While physicists might question those estimates, on August 12, 1964, he hit one whose distance was undoubted: a center field drive that cleared the 22-foot (6.7 m) batter's eye screen, beyond the 461-foot (141 m) marker at the Stadium.


Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter even though he had more home runs from the left side of the plate: 372 left-handed, 164 right-handed. That was due to Mantle having batted left-handed much more often, as the large majority of pitchers are right-handed. In addition, many of his left-handed home runs were hit in Yankee Stadium, a park much friendlier to left-handed hitters than to right-handed hitters. When Mantle played for the Yankees, the distance to the right-field foul pole stood at a mere 296 feet (90 m), with markers in the power alleys of 344 and 407, while the left-field power alley ranged from 402 to 457 feet (139 m) from the plate.

In 1956, Mantle won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year. This was his "favorite summer," a year that saw him win the Triple Crown, leading the majors with a .353 batting average, 52 HR, and 130 RBI, and his first of three MVP awards. Mantle remains the last man to win the Major League Triple Crown by leading both leagues in all three categories. He is also the last player to win a single league Triple Crown as a switch hitter.


Also in 1956, Mantle made a (talking) cameo appearance in a song recorded by Teresa Brewer, "I Love Mickey," which extolled Mantle's power hitting. The song was included in one of the Baseball's Greatest Hits CDs.

Mantle may have been even more dominant in 1957, leading the league in runs and walks, batting a career-high .365 (second in the league to Ted Williams' .388), and hitting into a league-low five double plays. Mantle reached base more times than he made outs (319 to 312), one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.


On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid player in baseball by signing a $75,000 ($545,424 in current dollar terms) contract. DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, and Ted Williams, who had just retired, had been paid over $100,000 in a season, and Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000. But Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time.


Mantle's relationship with the New York press was not always friendly. During the 1961 season, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris, known as the M&M Boys, chased Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had challenged Ruth's record for most of the season, and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also.

When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury-prone, was a "true hick" from Oklahoma, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford, a native of New York's Borough of Queens) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press.


This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper-Midwesterner, was never willing or able to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees. So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team," and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider," and said to be "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by an abscessed hip late in the season, leaving Maris to break the record (he finished with 61). Mantle finished with 54 while leading the league in runs scored and walks.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Mickey Mantle blasted Barney Schultz's first pitch into the upper right field stands at Yankee Stadium, which won the game for the Yankees 2–1. However, the Cardinals would ultimately walk away with the World Series title.


Injuries slowed Mantle and the Yankees during the 1965 season, and they finished in 6th, 25 games behind the Minnesota Twins. Mantle hit .255 that season with only 19 home runs. After the 1966 season, he was moved to first base with Joe Pepitone taking over his place in the outfield. By this point, the Yankees were in a decline that lasted until George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973.


Mantle's last home run came on September 20, 1968 off Boston's Jim Lonborg

Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969, and in 1974, as soon as he was eligible, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; his uniform Number 7 was retired by the Yankees. (He had briefly worn uniform Number 6, as a continuation of Babe Ruth's 3, Lou Gehrig's 4, and Joe DiMaggio's 5, in 1951, but his poor performance led to his temporary demotion to a minor league in mid-season. When he returned, Bobby Brown, who had worn Number 6 before Mantle, had reclaimed it, so Mantle was given Number 7 by Yankees longtime equipment manager Pete Sheehy.) When he retired, the Mick was third on the all-time home run list with 536.


Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, having made several bad investments. His lifestyle would be restored to one of luxury, and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA, beginning in the 1980s. Mantle was a prized guest at any baseball card show, commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autographs. This popularity continues long after his death, as Mantle-related items far outsell those of any other player except possibly Babe Ruth, whose items, due to the distance of years, now exist in far smaller quantities. Mantle insisted that the promoters of baseball card shows always include one of the lesser-known Yankees of his era, such as Moose Skowron or Hank Bauer so that they could earn some money from the event.

Despite the failure of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' restaurants in the early 1970s, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988. It became one of New York's most popular restaurants, and his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance. Mantle let others run the business operations, but made frequent appearances.


In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a greeter and community representative. Most of his activities were representing the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events. But Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling were grounds for being placed on the "permanently ineligible" list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would have to place him on the list if Mantle went to work there. Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who had also taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him. Mantle accepted the position, regardless, as he felt the rule was "stupid." He was placed on the list, but reinstated on March 18, 1985 by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth.


Mickey Mantle's career was plagued with injuries. Beginning in high school, he accumulated both acute and chronic injuries to bones and cartilage in his legs. Applying thick wraps to both of his knees became a pre-game ritual, and by the end of his career, simply swinging a bat caused him to fall to one knee in pain. Baseball scholars often ponder "what if" had he not been injured, and he was able to lead a healthy career.
As a 19-year-old rookie in his first World Series, Mantle tore the cartilage in his right knee on a fly ball by Willie Mays while playing right field. Joe DiMaggio, in the last year of his career, was playing center field. Mays' fly was hit to deep right center, and as both Mantle and DiMaggio converged to make the catch, DiMaggio called for it at the last second, causing Mantle to suddenly stop short as his cleats caught a drainage cover in the outfield grass. His knee twisted awkwardly and he instantly fell. Witnesses say it looked "like he had been shot." He was carried off the field on a stretcher and watched the rest of the World Series on TV from a hospital bed. Some have speculated that Mantle may have torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament during the incident and played the rest of his career without having it properly treated since ACLs couldn't be repaired with the surgical techniques available in that era. Still, Mantle still was known as the "fastest man to first base" and won the American League triple crown after these injuries. With the Korean War raging, he was drafted by the US Army but failed the physical exam and was rejected as unfit for service.

During the 1957 World Series, Milwaukee Braves second baseman Red Schoendienst fell on Mantle's left shoulder in a play at the bag. Over the next decade, Mantle would experience increasing difficulty hitting from his left side.


On December 23, 1951, Mantle married Merlyn Johnson in Commerce, Oklahoma; they had four sons. In an autobiography, Mantle said he married Merlyn not out of love, but because he was told to by his domineering father. While his drinking became public knowledge during his lifetime, the press (per established practice at the time) kept quiet about his many marital infidelities. Mantle wasn't entirely discreet about them, and when he went to his retirement ceremony in 1969, he brought his mistress along with his wife. In 1980, Mickey and Merlyn separated for 15 years, but neither filed for divorce. During this time, Mantle lived with his agent, Greer Johnson.


The couple's four sons were Mickey Jr. (1953–2000), David (1955–), Billy (1957–94), whom Mickey named for Billy Martin, his best friend among his Yankee teammates, and Danny (1960–). Like Mickey, Merlyn and their sons all became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin's disease, as had several previous men in Mantle's family.

During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a luxury condominium on Lake Oconee near Greensboro, Georgia, near Greer Johnson's home, and frequently stayed there for months at a time. He occasionally attended the local Methodist church, and sometimes ate Sunday dinner with members of the congregation. He was well-liked by the citizens of Greensboro, and seemed to like them in return. This was probably because the town respected Mantle's privacy, refusing either to talk about their famous neighbor to outsiders or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mickey stated that the people of Greensboro had "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I've found something there I haven't enjoyed since I was a kid."


Mantle's off-field behavior is the subject of the book The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle, written in 2010 by sports journalist Jane Leavy. The book's contents were based on interviews she had with the late Yankee slugger. Excerpts from the book have been published in Sports Illustrated.


Mickey's fourth cousin, Mary Mantle, is a member of the women's gymnastics team at the University of Oklahoma.

Well before he finally sought treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to die young as well. His father had died in 1952 of Hodgkin's disease, and his grandfather had also died young of the same disease. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. Mantle didn't know at the time that most of the men in his family had inhaled lead and zinc dust in the mines, which contribute to Hodgkins' and other cancers. As the years passed, and he had outlived all the men in his family by several years, he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle's who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."


Mantle's wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism, and told him he needed to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994 after being told by a doctor that his liver was so badly damaged that "your next drink could be your last." Also helping Mantle to make the decision to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was sportscaster Pat Summerall, who had played for the New York Giants football team while they played at Yankee Stadium, by then a recovering alcoholic and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle.


Shortly after completing treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, 1994 at age 36 of heart problems brought on by years of substance abuse. Despite the fears of those who knew him that this tragedy would send him back to drinking, he remained sober. Mickey Jr. later died of liver cancer on December 20, 2000 at age 47. Danny later battled prostate cancer.


Mantle spoke with great remorse of his drinking in a 1994 Sports Illustrated cover story. He said that he was telling the same old stories, and realizing how many of them involved himself and others being drunk, he decided they weren't funny anymore. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends, and fans because of his alcoholism, and sought to make amends. He became a born-again Christian because of his former teammate Bobby Richardson, an ordained Baptist minister who shared his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, he joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee Bobby Murcer to raise money for the victims.


Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995. His liver was severely damaged by alcohol-induced cirrhosis, as well as hepatitis C. Prior to the operation doctors also discovered he had inoperable liver cancer known as an undifferentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, further facilitating the need for a transplant. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," he said. He also established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Soon, he was back in the hospital, where it was found that his cancer was rapidly spreading throughout his body.

Though he was very popular, Mantle's liver transplant was a source of some controversy. Some felt that his fame had permitted him to receive a donor liver in just one day, bypassing other patients who had been waiting for much longer. Mantle's doctors insisted that the decision was based solely on medical criteria, but acknowledged that the very short wait created the appearance of favoritism. While he was recovering, Mantle made peace with his estranged wife, Merlyn, and repeated a request he made decades before for Bobby Richardson to read a poem at Mantle's funeral if he died.


Mantle died on August 13, 1995 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas with his wife at his side. The Yankees were on a series of road games at the time and had to wait until they returned home on August 28 to honor him. Eddie Layton played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the Hammond organ because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. The team played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a small number 7 on their left sleeves. Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas described him as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas added: "In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it." Richardson did oblige in reading the poem at Mantle's funeral, something he described as being extremely difficult.


After Mantle's death, Greer Johnson was taken to federal court in November 1997 by the Mantle family to stop her from auctioning many of Mantle's personal items, including a lock of hair, a neck brace, and expired credit cards. Eventually, the two sides reached a settlement, ensuring the sale of some of Mickey Mantle's belongings for approximately $500,000 dollars.

On Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, in addition to the retirement of his uniform Number 7, Mantle was given a plaque that would hang on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium, near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Miller Huggins. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "His should be just a little bit higher than mine." When Yankee Stadium was reopened in 1976 following its renovation, the plaques and monuments were moved to Monument Park, behind the left-center field fence. Shortly before his death, Mantle videotaped a message to be played on Old-Timers' Day, which he was too ill to attend. He said, "When I die, I wanted on my tombstone, 'A great teammate.' But I didn't think it would be this soon." The words were indeed carved on the plaque marking his resting place at the family mausoleum in Dallas. On August 25, 1996, about a year after his death, Mantle's Monument Park plaque was replaced with a monument, bearing the words "A great teammate" and keeping a phrase that had been included on the original plaque: "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage."

Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974, Mantle's first year of eligibility, Ford's second.


Beginning in 1997, the Topps Baseball Card company retired the card #7 in its base sets in tribute to Mantle, whose career was taking off just as Topps began producing baseball cards. Mantle's cards, especially his 1952 Topps card, are extremely popular and valuable among card collectors. Though Topps un-retired the #7 in 2006, the number is reserved for cards of Mantle, remade with each year's design.

In 1999, "The Sporting News" placed Mantle at 17th on its list "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players". That same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team's outfielders. ESPN's SportsCentury series that ran in 1999 ranked him No. 37 on its "50 Greatest Athletes" series.


In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp. The stamp is one of a series of four honoring baseball sluggers, the others being Mel Ott, Roy Campanella, and Hank Greenberg.




The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall

Where did all the Nuns go?


We were taught by the Order of the Sisters of Mercy, although a better name for them would have been “The Sisters of – I- can- see- you- boys- back- there- and- so- can –the- lord”

I saw my first Nun in 1960 when I was five years old. I’d never seen anyone dressed like that. I thought maybe she’s d done something wrong and this was the punishment, or she was, as we use to say "a bit slow", and they made her dress like that in case she wondered off and they had to go find her.

This wasn’t my school but it easily could have been since this is exactly what we looked like...we even had those desks you see here that were connected to each other and had an ink well hole towards front and little holding pencil for your pencil

I don't care for jazz but I love this, try it, you'll like it, Dave Brubeck - Take Five - 1966

A little motivation for us baby boomers as we age

Prolific novelist wrote first book in her 60s
by Emma Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010


Belva Plain was a grandmother nearing retirement age when she published her first novel, "Evergreen," in 1978. She went on to establish herself as a prolific writer and a mainstay of popular fiction whose romantic dramas and intergenerational family sagas, though not always beloved by critics, were embraced by millions of readers.

Mrs. Plain, who wrote 20 bestselling novels in her late-life career, died Oct. 12 at age 95 at her home in Short Hills, N.J. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Mrs. Plain sold her first short story to Cosmopolitan magazine when she was 25. She went on to raise three children and, until the early 1960s, to write formulaic tales for magazines such as Redbook and Good Housekeeping about wives who contemplate - and ultimately resist - extramarital temptation.

It was not until her children were grown and had begun families of their own that Mrs. Plain produced "Evergreen," a sprawling 700-page rags-to-riches tale about Anna, a beautiful Jewish immigrant who falls in love with one man only to marry another.

"Evergreen," which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks in hardcover and was later made into an NBC miniseries, announced many of what became Mrs. Plain's signature devices: strong heroines, forbidden love and torturous secrets complicating multigenerational family entanglements.

She was particularly interested in countering cliches about Jewish families, she said. "I was tired of the stereotyped Jewish mother whose chicken soup renders her son impotent," she told People magazine in 1978. "I thought it was time to write about the kind of people I know."

With "Random Winds" (1980), the story of a doctor and the three women who haunt his life, and "Eden Burning" (1982), about a wealthy young woman who endures rape only to become pregnant with her attacker's child, Mrs. Plain cemented her reputation as what the Times called "the queen of family-saga writers." More than 25 million copies of her books have been sold.

Desire filled her stories, but Mrs. Plain mostly stayed out of her characters' bedrooms, refusing to write the explicit sex scenes typical of pulp romance novels.

"I think they're vulgar," she told the Chicago Tribune in 1984. Writers have long written love stories, she said, "the greatest in the world, and didn't feel it necessary to include those scenes."

She won praise for research that set her historical novels against a believable backdrop.

Of "Crescent City" (1984), a tale set in New Orleans about a Jewish family during the Civil War, Gay Courter wrote in The Washington Post: "It's all here: moss and mansions, languid afternoons and clandestine evenings, repressed old maids and irresistible quadroons, the glamour and gore of war, chance encounters and missed opportunities."

But critics were not always kind, often singling out flimsy characters, thin plots and unabashed sentimentality. A New York Times review of "Daybreak" (1994), about two babies switched at birth, described "prose well endowed with imagery that has stood the test of time . . . as well as dialogue that suggests background music."

Nevertheless, even high-minded reviewers couldn't keep themselves from turning Mrs. Plain's pages. In the Montreal Gazette, Monique Polak - who criticized "Her Father's House" (2002) for a predictable plot about a high-flying lawyer who marries a beautiful woman without knowing who she really is - also wrote that reading Mrs. Plain's stories "is pure escape - and this is the secret of her success."

"It is like eating a box of drugstore chocolate," Polak wrote. "You know it's not the finest quality, but you can't stop."

Belva Offenberg was born Oct. 9, 1915, in New York. She graduated from Barnard and in 1941 married Irving Plain, an ophthalmologist with whom she raised a family in South Orange, N.J.

Irving Plain died in 1982. In addition to three children, survivors include six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

After her early success as a short-story writer, Mrs. Plain spent more than a decade without writing for publication. Instead, she ran suburban errands and sat through meetings of the local PTA. She was constantly jotting character sketches and scraps of overheard dialogue.

Those scribblings became the basis for "Evergreen," which she later followed with three sequels. Her other books, such as "Whispers" (1993), about a woman who can't escape her abusive husband, dwelled on topics drawn from the news of the day.

She wrote in longhand and maintained a discplined schedule, writing five hours a day, four days a week. She produced a novel about every two years. Her last, "Crossroads," was published in 2008.

Mrs. Plain shrugged off those who said her books were too light to be taken seriously.

"Entertainment," she told The Post in 1980, "is a very valid need."

JOHN CALLED MURRAY the K a "WANKER"?

Leave It To Beaver, Season 2 (1958) - TV Intro

Jerry Mathers discusses the "Leave it to Beaver" pilot - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Murray the K


Where I grew up, in southern Connecticut, we had transistors (Little radios) and listened to a DJ named Murray the K  on WINS out of Manhattan.  Murray the K was the original shock jock, although, in reflection, back then,  he just seemed like an adult who had way, way, way too much coffee.  The reason we listened to him was that he billed himself as “The Fifth Beatle” and every now and then, he would play a phone interview with one of the Beatles (or at least that’s what he told us) that lasted, perhaps, one minute.  We had no idea what the Beatle had said since their accents were still very thick in 1964-65, we were used to listening to Richard Burton’s version of English (He was Welsh, surprisingly enough). I remember one call where I was pretty sure Ringo said "Wull lapa tuna cul blimy" but maybe not.     

  

Leave it to Beaver's Mom Dies...sad huh? She seemed nice

Barbara Billingsley, Beaver Cleaver's TV mom, dies

Oct 16, 4:53 PM (ET)
By BOB THOMAS

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - Barbara Billingsley, who gained the title supermom for her gentle portrayal of June Cleaver, the warm, supportive mother of a pair of precocious boys in "Leave it to Beaver," has died. She was 94.
Spokeswoman Judy Twersky says Billingsley died early Saturday at her home in Santa Monica. She had suffered from a rheumatoid disease.
She acted in a number of roles in movies from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, but it wasn't until "Leave it to Beaver" that she became a star.
When the show debuted in 1957, Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver, was 9, and Tony Dow, who portrayed Wally, was 12. Billingsley's character, the perfect stay-at-home 1950s mom, was always there to gently but firmly nurture both through the ups and downs of childhood
 
Billingsley was born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Robert Collyer Combes, who was the Chief of Police, and Lillian A. (née McLaughlin) Combes, who worked in a factory. She was the youngest of three children. When she was a little girl, her mother would often take her to the movies. Her parents divorced while Barbara was an adolescent.



When she was in second grade, Billingsley fell in love with drama immediately.[citation needed] She was a popular student at Los Angeles's George Washington High School (now Washington Preparatory High School, an almost all-black high school), where she fell in love with all the school plays. Billingsley was voted "Class Queen". She graduated from George Washington in 1934.



With a year at Los Angeles Junior College behind her, Billingsley traveled to Broadway, when Straw Hat, a revue in which she was appearing, attracted enough attention to send it to New York. When, after five days, the show closed, she took an apartment on 57th Street and went to work as a $60-a-week fashion model. She also landed a contract with MGM Studios in 1945. While in one of William Self's plays, she followed then future governor, later president Ronald Reagan, after co-starring in one of her plays.

She usually had uncredited roles in major motion picture productions in the 1940s. These roles continued into the first half of the 1950s with The Bad and the Beautiful, Three Guys Named Mike, opposite Jane Wyman, as well as the sci-fi story Invaders from Mars (1953). Her film experience led to roles on the sitcoms Professional Father (with Stephen Dunne and Beverly Washburn) and The Brothers as well as an appearance with David Niven on his anthology series Four Star Playhouse. In 1957, she guest starred in the episode "That Magazine" of the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, starring Howard Duff and Ida Lupino. She co-starred opposite Dean Stockwell and Natalie Trundy in The Careless Years, which was her first and only major role in the movies.


In 1952, Billingsley had her first guest-starring role on an episode of The Abbott and Costello Show. The part led to other roles on The Lone Wolf, two episodes of City Detective, The Pride of the Family, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Letter to Loretta, General Electric Summer Originals, You Are There, Cavalcade of America, Panic!, Mr. Adams and Eve, The Love Boat, Silver Spoons, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Mike Hammer, Empty Nest, among many others. She reprised her June Cleaver role three times, in Amazing Stories, Baby Boom and Roseanne. She also guest-starred on an episode of Make Room For Daddy, which she played the character of Danny Thomas's TV date, which producers strongly considered casting her as his second wife, though they decided against it.

After Billingsley signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1957, she made her mark on TV as everyday mother June Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, which proved to be a match for other 1950s family sitcoms such as Father Knows Best, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Make Room For Daddy and The Donna Reed Show. It debuted on CBS in 1957, to mediocre ratings and was soon cancelled. However, the show moved to ABC the following year and stayed there for the next five seasons. The show was featured in over 100 countries. Also starring on Beaver were Hugh Beaumont, in the role of Ward Cleaver, June's husband and the kids' father, as well as two unfamiliar child actors, Tony Dow in the role of Wally Cleaver and Jerry Mathers as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver.

In the show, Billingsley often could be seen doing household chores wearing pearls and earrings. The pearls were her idea, which in real-life is actually her trademark. The actress has what she termed "a hollow" on her neck and thought that wearing a strand of pearls could cover it up for the cameras. In later seasons of the show, she also started wearing high heels to compensate for the fact that the actors who played her sons were growing up and getting taller than her. The sitcom proved to be very lucrative for Billingsley.
After six seasons and 234 episodes, the still-popular series was finally canceled due to Billingsley and the rest of her castmates wanting to move on to other projects, especially Mathers, who retired from acting to enter his freshman year in high school.

All the Leave It to Beaver actors got along well on-camera and off with Billingsley, especially Mathers. Mathers remarked, "Barbara Billingsley has always been great. Barbara Billingsley is one of my favorite people, and she knows it." Mathers said she was like a mentor, second mother and even a close professional friend to work with: After the show's cancellation, Mathers remained her close friend for over 45 years. They were reunited on The New Leave It to Beaver. Billingsley, Mathers, Dow, Frank Bank and Ken Osmond also celebrated the show's 50th anniversary.

When production of the show ended in 1963, Billingsley had become typecast as saccharine sweet and had trouble obtaining acting jobs for years. She traveled extensively abroad until the late 1970s. After an absence of 17 years from the public eye (other than appearing in two episodes of The F.B.I. in 1971), Billingsley spoofed her wholesome image with a brief appearance in the comedy Airplane! (1980), as a passenger who could "speak jive."

She became the voice of Nanny and The Little Train on Muppet Babies from 1984 to 1991.
Billingsley appeared with Robin Williams and Pam Dawber in a 1982 episode of Mork & Mindy. She appeared in a Leave It to Beaver reunion television movie entitled Still the Beaver in 1983. Hugh Beaumont had died the year before of a heart attack, so she played the widow. She also appeared in the subsequent revival of the series, The New Leave It to Beaver (1985–1989). In the 1997 film version of Leave It to Beaver, Billingsley played the character "Aunt Martha". In 1998, she appeared on Candid Camera, along with June Lockhart and Isabel Sanford, as audience members in a spoof seminar on motherhood.

On October 4, 2007, she and her surviving castmates, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, Ken Osmond and Frank Bank, were reunited on ABC's Good Morning America, to celebrate Leave It to Beaver's 50th anniversary. According to interviewer Tom Bergeron, both of Billingsley's co-stars, Mathers and Osmond currently get financial advice from another co-star, Bank.

On May 6, 2008, hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, she was unable to attend the Academy Leonard Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, California, where the Academy of Television Arts & Science presented "A Salute to TV Moms." TV moms who attended the party were: Marjorie Lord, Holland Taylor, Bonnie Franklin, Vicki Lawrence, Tichina Arnold, Cloris Leachman, Doris Roberts, Diahann Carroll, Catherine Hicks and Meredith Baxter.

She and her first husband, Glenn Billingsley, a successful restaurateur, had two sons, Drew and Glenn, Jr. Since 1974, Drew and Glenn have owned and operated Billingsley's Steak House restaurant in West Los Angeles, in the tradition of their father and their great-uncle, Sherman Billingsley, founder of New York City's very fashionable 1940s-era nightclub, the Stork Club. Billingsley divorced Glenn Billingsley, but kept his surname professionally. She later married Roy Kellino, a director. After Kellino's death, she married Dr. William Mortensen, who died in 1981.

Billingsley was related by marriage to actor/producer Peter Billingsley, known for his starring role as Ralphie in the seasonal classic A Christmas Story. Her first husband Glenn's cousin was Peter's mother, Gail Billingsley.

Her son, Glenn, Jr. has been married to Karen Zappas since 1976. They have three children: Logan, Morgan and Taylor. Drew has a son, Drew Jr. (all of whom are Barbara's grandchildren).

Her hobbies included: tennis, listening to radio, watching dramatic movies, traveling, wine tasting, sewing, spending time with family, gardening and dining. She frequently played poker with good friend Rod Serling until his death in 1975