Bless Their Howdy Doody Hearts

LIFE 5/1/1950

Freckled marionette Howdy Doody was kind of a big deal at the onset of the 50s, so it was no surprise that LIFE magazine hosted a lookalike contest.

Wondering what galluses were? A pair of suspenders. Nobody says that now.

Poor kids. Surely George Ford grew into those ears. I imagine he never lived this article down. Pity.

The winner was five year old Billy Oltmann (Old Man at this point). Cute as a button in his bandana and western wear!

Time to celebrate his big win with Hostess Twinkies!

That Time Miss Jane Hathaway Visited Guatemala To Teach Villagers How To Play The Opening Riff Of “Ventura Highway”

Nat Geo 9/64

Such a fun opening riff, a soft and easy California feeling. Chewin’ on a piece of grass, walking’ down the road…

Then Jorge stops his strumming to assert that there is no actual Ventura Highway, only Ventura County. But Otilia (the older, haggard woman in the back whose hair is struggling to flee her scalp while she strums the hammock strings) says, “No seas tonto, Jorge” and explains that the actual song was about a young boy standing on the side of the road while his dad changed a flat tire. Get with the program, Jorge. Common knowledge.

Maybe it wasn’t actually Nancy Culp from The Beverly Hillbillies. Did she even play classical guitar? She clearly hated doublenecked guitars.


And while she gained notoriety playing a spinster, she was actually married for 10 years. Per wikipedia, one reviewer said she had the “face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti, and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season.” Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. Ribbit.



So Many Ozzie Nelsons

LIFE 4/23/56
LIFE 4/23/56

Clearly none of these Ozzie Nelsons has a gluten allergy. That’s one thing we can all appreciate about the Cold War era. You’ll shove it in your face, and you’ll like it. And evidently Ricky did, since he ate a hundred. Harriet, ladylike, made ’em thin and dainty. And David’s were huge to help fuel his many chores.

Ah, now there’s the real Ozzie, flipping flapjacks. I don’t know about you, but I like both The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet AND the pancakes. In fact, I named my dog Jemima. It has a better ring to it than Mrs. Butterworth.


Pretty Sure That’s The Skipper From “Gilligan’s Island”


No, of course it’s not. It’s just a nobody in a Kodak ad.

Interesting tidbit: The Skipper’s real character name was Jonas Grumby. I never heard his Little Buddy call him Jonas.

I understand, Skipper. Tiki can be frightening.

Sunflower Girl & The Last Four People On Earth

Pauline--1952 President of the Westminster Youth Fellowship
Pauline–1952 President of the Westminster Youth Fellowship

This chipper lass reminded me of Kristen Schaal, the “ugly girl” on the new Fox hit Last Man On Earth, which we marathon-watched last weekend.

We rarely watch Fox, since it’s at the bottom of our channel list. It’s like when your real grocery store runs out of an item, and you have to go to the second-closest store. That’s what going down to channel 705 is like. But after watching clips of Will Forte’s new show on several late night talk shows, we decided to give it a chance.

With January Jones, a filthy margarita pool (out of which he drinks while lying in it), and a 300 lb “friggin’ fat dude” who becomes more desirable than Forte within the first ten minutes of his appearance, what’s not to like?

Well, Kristen’s character, Carol, for one.

Truth be told, Schaal’s high-pitched voice is more repugnant than her fairly normal facial features. In fact, it’s that grating voice that garnered her many animated roles. I’m all for grammar Nazis, of which Carol is one, but her incessant rule-abiding (including not running stop signs or parking in handicapped spots), when there were (at that point) only two people left on this side of the world, makes you want to roundhouse kick her. You root for Will (who plays Phil) and then you root against him. And back and forth until your head explodes.

But after the most recent episode, she’d begun to grow on us. It’s crazy farfetched; the (mostly white-ish and over 35) characters seem remarkably healthy (without fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, or meat to sustain them, save a couple tomatoes) and fairly emotionally stable, considering a virus killed all their loved ones, including all animals except one cow. A cow–which they evidently can milk, although there is no sign of a calf nor the cow being pregnant. So you really have to suspend your belief here. But if you do, you’re in for a fun ride.

Blossom Or Sue Heck?

When I discovered this shot of happy teens playing some version of Alsatian Red Rover, I couldn’t decide if the lass in stripes and updo was Blossom/The Big Bag Theory‘s Mayim Bialik

or The Middle’s Eden Sher.

What do you think?


Fifty Years Old

Happy 50th birthday to Molly Shannon, who really does turn 50 years old today! She used to crack me up in her Saturday Night Live (SNL) Sally O’Malley sketches, as a limber 50-year-old woman kicking and stretching, proud of her age and agility. She would hike her pants up to her ribcage without shame.

That’s Molly Shannon in a nutshell. Shameless. Fearless. You remember her jumping backwards into folding chairs when she played Mary Catherine Gallagher?

Please don’t be one of those people who said they stopped watching SNL in the 80s. There are always funny skits; you just have to wait it out during the 3 total shows they do each year and the 49 reruns they show. If there wasn’t any talent, it wouldn’t have lasted since 1975. There wouldn’t be a Portlandia today. No Bill Murray, pointing his finger at me, telling me I’m awesome. And I, for one, don’t want to imagine a world without Will Ferrell.

So happy birthday, Molly Shannon. I hope you and your husband of a decade, Fritz Chestnut (oh, that’s a good one for the Blog of Funny Names), have a lovely day! You are a SUPERSTAR!



Public Reaction As Gwen Stefani Goes Travolta On Colbert

photo by Brad Smith
photo by Brad Smith

Just in case you missed The Emmy Awards last night, Gwen Stefani mispronounced The Colbert Report when presenting the Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series. Perhaps she was trying to make a song of it, making a rhyme: “The Cole-Bort Report.”
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