WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN NOVEMBER 1950
 
 

The number one record in the country is Harbor Lights, a dreamy semi-exotic ballad conjuring up swaying palm trees and island romance.

Anyone scoffing at the monikers used by artists today need to look back to this, as it was credited to Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye (with vocal accompaniment by Tony Alamo and The Kaydets).

Kaye was one of the leading proponents of “Sweet” music in the big band era and his tagline eventually became how everyone referred to him, including Columbia Records on their labels.

The song would become something of a standard that even rock artists weren’t averse to tackling over the next decade with The Dominoes featuring Clyde McPhatter releasing the first definitive rock version at the start of the following year. In 1954 Elvis Presley cut an eerily atmospheric version while at Sun Records that went unreleased at the time but was later used as a recurring haunting theme in the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train. But it was The Platters who had the most success with the song among rock acts when they scored a #1 hit on both the Pop and R&B charts in 1958.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 


Guys & Dolls opens on Broadway, running for an impressive 1,200 performances.

Based on the colorful short stories by Damon Runyon about Sky Masterson, a gambler attempting to con a missionary woman to win a bet with Nathan Detroit, the gangster who runs a floating crap game, the play would go on to win a Tony Award for Best Musical, while the script captures the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but due to charges of Communism regarding writer Abe Burrows, the award is withdrawn… (that’ll show Commies that they shouldn’t be expected to get rewarded for writing well!).

With star turns by Robert Alda, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley and Vivian Blaine and songs including Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat, which went on to be among the most well known compositions of the mid-Twentieth Century, this was a guaranteed smash.

Successfully revived countless times since, the real star of the show is Damon Runyon’s source material, particularly the dialogue which is a wonderful mixture of stilted politeness and utter farce showcasing grimly humorous morals and remains the pinnacle of sharply written unique humor to this day.
 


 
 
 
 

In early 1941 The Red Cross began its Blood Donor Program and initially refused to accept African-American donors, turning them away when they voluntarily showed up to contribute in an effort to save lives.

A year later under pressure they reversed course and dropped the restriction, yet they segregated the blood based on the donor’s race even though such practice flew in the face of medical science.

The Red Cross defended this under the guise of democracy, stating that they had a duty to “respect the point of view of the majority” which – based on widespread racism and medical ignorance – demanded such segregation.

Now in the midst of another war which required more donors, The Red Cross ceased labeling and segregating blood, admitting “It has long been known that human blood is all alike, from whatever race it comes”.

Though this policy ended discriminatory practices within The Red Cross blood banks, it did not put a stop to similar practices in hospitals across the United States. Even after the Federal Government began withholding funds to any hospital that segregated blood by the race of the donor, many Southern states continued to do so until 1972 when the FDA banned it nationwide.
 
 
 
 
 

The lowest scoring NBA game in history finds the Ft. Wayne Pistons “outscoring” the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18 in a game that a fuming Lakers coach claimed “will kill professional basketball”.

Though coming into the game with the better record, the Pistons felt they had little chance of defeating the defending champion Lakers who featured the league’s dominant player in center George Mikan, a 6’10” lumbering giant who had led the league in scoring the year before as a rookie with over 28 points a game. Thus they devised a game plan to force the Lakers to come and get them at half-court when they had the ball and the Lakers, by in large, refused to do so.

Because there was no rule yet in place stating the offensive team had to actually shoot the ball it became a prolonged stand-off with the Pistons simply holding the ball for minutes on end while the crowd booed, the Lakers stood watching in bewilderment and even the referees implored them to pass and shoot to no avail.

What little offense there was mostly occurred at the free throw line as non-shooting fouls at the time resulted in a single free throw, but with the Lakers slightly ahead in the second half they felt no need to pressure the Pistons into taking a shot thereby allowing the game to remain at a stand-still for almost the full forty-eight minutes of “action”.

The strategy worked however as the Pistons – still down a point with under a minute to go – forced a turnover with nine seconds left and scored the final basket – one of just four they made all game – and walked out with a 19-18 victory.

Sportswriter Charlie Johnson called the game “a sports tragedy” and though never again tried to that extent, the slowing down of the action to maximize a team’s chances against better opponents was leading to dwindling interest in the sport until four years later when three men – an owner, a general manager and a scout – devised the 24 second shot clock on the back of a napkin at a bowling alley’s coffee shop, a rule change which was adopted the next season and which is widely credited for saving the floundering league.
 
 
 
 
 

Gerald McBoing Boing debuts in theaters ushering in a new approach to cartoon shorts in its minimalist artwork that used limited colors with characters that didn’t strive to be realistically drawn.

 
This is the story of Gerald McCloy, and the strange thing that happened to that little boy. They say it all started when Gerald was two. That’s the age kids start talking, least most of them do. Well, when he started talking, you know what he said? He didn’t talk words, he went… “Boing, Boing” … instead.
 

Based on a story by Dr. Suess that originally came out as a record which tells of a boy who can’t speak but communicates in sound effects. Teased by his classmates who dub him Gerald McBoing Boing because on the odd noises he makes, he runs away from home after his father loses his patience with his abnormal son.

However before hopping a train to wander the countryside he is heard by a radio talent scout who hires him to provide all of the sound effects for their programs which promptly makes him a celebrity, gets him plenty of friends and makes him wealthy and accepted for his unusual condition.

The short was created by UPA, a company begun in the early 1940’s by former Disney cartoonists who were let go after striking for better working conditions. Bothered by the way that Disney insisted on making their cartoons as realistic as possible, UPA took the opposite approach and their surrealistic designs and off-beat stories – including such masterpieces as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Unicorn In The Garden and Rooty-Toot-Toot – defined the 1950’s cartoon landscape as much as Disney had in the 1930’s and Warner Brothers did in the 1940’s.
 

 
 

Thanksgiving is upon us and that means you need to buy mountains of food for your gluttonous freeloading relatives and Newton Supermarketwhich features free parking for those of you with automobiles! – has all of your holiday necessities on sale.

The low cost of our side dishes like four pounds of potatoes for just a quarter, or another twenty-five cents for 28 ounces of cranberries to make sauce will allow you to have plenty of money leftover to do some Christmas shopping in the coming weeks.

Best of all our turkeys are just 39 cents a pound… and that’s without the feathers.

Of course, we’ll make it pretty hard for you to decide whether to spend that amount on the traditional Thanksgiving culinary centerpiece when we also have delicious boneless beef tongue selling for the exact same amount.

Either way though, you and your family won’t have to spend a fortune to have plenty to eat this holiday.
 
 
 
 
 

RECORDS REVIEWED FOR NOVEMBER 1950

DOC POMUS: Send For The Doctor
DOC POMUS: No Home Blues
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD & LITTLE LAURA WIGGINS: Ain’t A Better Story Told
LITTLE WILLIE LITTLEFIELD: You’ll Never Miss A Good Woman’ Till She’s Gone
THE FOUR TUNES: Cool Water
CARL CAMPBELL: Traveling On
CARL CAMPBELL: Early Morning Blues
THE ORIOLES: Oh Holy Night
FRANK CULLEY: Gone After Hours
FRANK CULLEY (ft. ARLENE TALLEY): Little Miss Blues
CECIL GANT: Cryin’ To Myself
THE RAY-O-VACS: Got Two Arms (Waiting For Me)
MARILYN SCOTT (with JOHNNY OTIS): Beer Bottle Boogie
THE BLENDERS: What About Tonight
JIMMY LIGGINS: I Want My Baby For Christmas
JIMMY LIGGINS: Shuffle Shuck
THE SHADOWS: Jitterbug Special
THE SHADOWS: I’ll Never, Never Let You Go
MILT LARKIN & HIS X-RAYS: Tennessee Waltz
JOE HOUSTON: Cornbread & Cabbage Greens
JOE HOUSTON: Pretty Dad-Dee
THE FOUR BARONS: Lemon Squeezer
THE FOUR BARONS: Got To Go Back Again
IVORY JOE HUNTER: Jumping At The Dew Drop
JOHNNY OTIS (with MEL WALKER): Rockin’ Blues
JOHNNY OTIS (with MEL WALKER): My Heart Tells Me
THE RAVENS: Time Takes Care Of Everything
HUBERT ROBINSON: Gas Happy Blues
HUBERT ROBINSON: Hard Lovin’ Daddy
GATEMOUTH BROWN: She Walk Right In
GATEMOUTH BROWN: Win With Me Baby
EARL BOSTIC: Way Down
THE DRIFTERS: And I Shook
FLOYD DIXON: Real Lovin’ Mama
ED WILEY: Pack Up, Move Out
BUMPS MYERS (ft. BOBBY NUNN): I’m Clappin’ And Shoutin’
BUMPS MYERS (ft. BOBBY NUNN): I’m Telling You Baby
THE RAVENS: I’m Gonna Take To The Road
CECIL GANT: Hello Santa Claus
CECIL GANT: It’s Christmas Time Again
THE CLOVERS: Yes Sir, That’s My Baby
THE CLOVERS: When You Come Back To Me

 
 
PREVIOUS: OCTOBER 1950