Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Footnotes: Mary Poppins' Matthew Garber and other forgotten friends from our childhood. Why Abraham Lincoln hated slavery. Gilligan and Hazel

The Kid Who Played Michael Banks, Matthew Garber, Got Paid Extra To Film The Rooftop Scenes.

Matthew Garber was so scared of heights, producers offered him an extra 10 cents for every take.

Dick Van Dyke and Family at the Premiere

    Julie on the set with her baby. 

Shirley "Hazel" Booth was Wonderful 

Bobby Buntrock appeared in Hazel, which was a top 10 situation comedy on NBC from 1961 to 1966, about lawyer George Baxter, played by Don DeFore, his wife, Dorothy, played by Whitney Blake, their son Harold, played by Bobby Buntrock and their loving but always interfering, well intentioned maid Hazel Burke, played by Broadway actress Shirley Booth. It was based on the Saturday Evening Post cartoon by Ted Key.

Whitney Blake was the mother of Meredith Baxter Birney and was a pioneering female director. Her daughter Meredith went on to star in the family drama "Family",  "Family" also starred James Broderick, Sada Thompson and Kristi McNichol. James Broderick played the father and was the father, in real life, of actor Matthew Broderick. Meredith Baxter later appeared in the hit "Family Ties," with an unknown Canadian Actor Michael J. Fox, who became the breakout star of the show. Michael became close friends with Meredith, they rode to work together every day until Michael got an American Driver's License

Shirley Booth (born Marjory Ford, August 30, 1898 – October 16, 1992) was an American actress. One of only 24 performers to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, Booth was the recipient of an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards and three Tony Awards.

A couple of public school photos of B

If I didn't have a reason to love Shirley Booth, a story about Shirley and Bobby Buntrock convinced me. After the fourth year of Hazel, the producers and studio moved the show to CBS after NBC cancelled it. They also fired Don DeFore and Whitney Blake to save money and brought in newcomers to play George Baxter's brother, his wife and daughter. Shirley was supposed to become their maid, until George and his family returned from overseas.  Shirley was ambivalent about continuing on the show, but told friends later that she and Bobby had become very close during the four years the show had been on NBC, she felt that she had become a part of his family because she genuinely cared about him. Shirley, after speaking to Bobby first, then his parents, said she would only continue with the show, if Bobby continued on the show as well and he did NOT have to accept a pay cut. CBS agreed to give Shirley this one request and the show continued for one more season.

The Masquerade (1967) Bobby's last acting role

Keystone South Dakota, population 311 in 2000

Note Bobby is giving the Peace Sign. Bobby served in the National Guard when he graduated from high school. One piece of folklore needs to be dispelled. Bobby's mom died of cancer, not in a car wreck, important considering what happened to Bobby. 

While driving home, Bobby came to a bridge in his home town Keystone, South Dakota, which is located within a couple of miles of Mount Rushmore. The bridge Bobby crossed was under repair because of the GREAT Rapid City Flood of 1972. The bridge had no guard rails and had a huge hole in the edge of its bed, Since it was at twilight, Bobby couldn't see clearly and accidentally drove into the hole, at which point, his car flipped over before hitting the water. It was a cool evening and his windows were up. The water pressure against his door could have been measured at over one ton. When Bobby tried to open the door, he found out that it was impossible. You have between 2 to 4 minutes for the average passenger compartment to fill with water after going into river or the ocean. You must think quickly. Thought it is counter intuitive, ROLL DOWN THE DRIVER'S SIDE WINDOW AND TRY TO ESCAPE THROUGH THE OPENING. Regrettably, Bobby didn't realize in his panic/terror that he could have rolled down his window and escaped that way, his best chance of survival, which would have negated the water pressure issue.

I may be wrong, but I believe that this is the intersection and bridge at which Bobby's accident occurred. Of course, it has been reconstructed after the terrible Black Hills Flood of January 10, 1972, which killed 238 people. People saw Bobby's car go into the river and immediately got help for him, but it was too late. 
The only clue I had was it was described as a Y-Shaped bridge near Keystone under which Battle Creek runs and this is the only one which fits that I see. 

Apparently there is another bridge in town called the Wye Bridge, but I could not find any river under it suggesting it was NOT the place of Bobby's Accident. 

Bobby Buntrock was born August 4, 1952 in Denver Colorado 
Bobby died April 7, 1974  at the age of 21-years-old in Keystone, South Dakota, 

Bob Denver, Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, was a Catholic Junior High School Teacher after graduating from Loyola Marymount in LA near LAX before becoming an actor.

Bob worked at a Catholic School Teaching Math and serving as a part time PE Teacher. One day Bob went with a friend to audition for the Dobie Gillis TV Show. Bob worked as a postman during the summer and decided to tag along. The producers noticed Bob's unique appearance and asked him to audition too.  Producers were impressed with Bob's ability as a quick study and his convincing reading of the script. Despite portraying two less than brilliant characters, beatnik Maynard G. Krebs and sailor Willie Gilligan, Bob was actually very intelligent and well read. An audition showed he could act too. 

Bob was actually an excellent student and very smart, though somewhat shy. During the summer, he worked as a temporary mailman working for the US Postal Service. A fellow school teacher was an actor in the summers. He invited Bob to come to an audition with him for a new show Dobie Gillis. The casting director was looking for a beatnik and ignored Bob's friend and chose Bob for the role. This led to Gilligan's Island. Now, did you know Bob had a famous ancestor? His Great, Great Grandfather was Union General James Denver in the Civil War. As if that wasn't enough, James Denver became Territorial Governor of Kansas. And a last footnote, the city of Denver Colorado is named for him.

Bob Denver and his Dobie Gillis co-star Dwayne Hickman went to college together at Loyola Marymount. Co-Star Sheila Kuehl, Zelda, tells the story of what kind of guy Bob really was. On a publicity trip to Birmingham Alabama at the Dinkweiler Hotel in 1962. They visited the big Birmingham hospital but were shown only white children, they spent an hour talking to them. Then they had heard black doctors and children were in the basement, so they went to speak to them too. Later Sheila and Bob shared an elevator at their hotel with three young white boys, about college age, and a black woman who operated the elevator. The three young "men" started verbally abusing the woman and Bob stood up for her and told them to shut-up, fist flew and Bob ended up with a bloody nose and a few bruises, but he did what was right. 

1966 Teen Awards, Kurt Russell (the son of stuntman Bing Russell), Bob Denver (Gilligan's Island), Veronica Cartwright (The Birds), Bill Mumy (Lost in Space), and Jay North (Dennis the Menace)

Alan Hale was specifically chosen by Gilligan's Island producer Sherwood Schwartz to audition for the role of the "Skipper," Jonas Grumby because he was known as a hail fellow well met. Friendly and engaging, occasionally blowing hot air but always a nice guy underneath. He was cast perfectly. Alan was a trooper too. During filming Alan broke his arm falling from a tree. He didn't tell anyone, betrayed no pain working several hours after the incident, but asked if he could come in a little late the next morning. He showed up in a cast. The costumer got him a long sleeve blue polo shirt to hide his low profile cast, which Alan asked the doctor to make and continued shooting. Producer Sherwood Schwartz did not know anything about it until several weeks later, when he noticed Alan's long sleeve shirts watching the show on TV at home.  Bob Denver remembers early in the series Alan would apologize to him for hitting him, in line with his character. Bob told him it was OK. Alan was by nature a gentle soul who cared about people and probably was the most popular member of the cast because he played exactly who he was. 

Alan opened a seafood restaurant after the end of Gilligan and served as his own host. His friendliness impressed every dinner guest, but especially children. He called ever kid his little buddy. He continued to visit hospitals and children's homes for the rest of his life, becoming a real life hero to all his little buddies.

He was nice to Moms too

Harry Cohn of Columbia Studios as evil a man as any who ever lived.

A little known story. Harry Cohn of Columbia Studios was the Harvey Weinstein of his generation. He had a casting couch and all new young female stars to be were expected to give in. Catholic Gloria Henry refused his advances and he black-balled her. When Harry died, Screen Gems head Jackie Cooper, called her and offered to help her find work. Screen Gems was a division of Columbia Studios. Jackie considered it his job to undo damage Harry caused.  This led to Gloria being cast as Dennis the Menace's mother. Jay North said she was a source of solace, a gentle, kind soul, while his aunt and uncle who accompanied him to the studio and acted as his guardians treated him as a possession. His abusive aunt would not let him talk, hang around with or be friends with the other kids on the show. To 10-year-old Jay North success on a hit TV Show meant loneliness and abuse.

Harry Cohn also screwed the Three Stooges the biggest money makers for Columbia. Cohn set each Stooge's contract to expire in a different year, so they could never unite in salary negotiations, this helped him keep their salaries low. The Stooges made huge profits for Columbia and the Stooges received only peanuts. In fact, the Stooges were the main reason Columbia didn't go bankrupt during the Great Depression.

 Cary Grant as a boy

In Cary's defense, the girls bathroom was empty. Rosalind Russell, his co-star in the My Girl Friday, got the use of the Rolls, for a price. She was perplexed and amused.  Here is Rosalind Russell on the game show "What's My Line".  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR6ZF5YzXLA

Rosalind Russell with Cary Grant in one of the funniest movies ever made "His Girl Friday" (1942) about a less than honest newspaper publisher and his #1 FEMALE reporter. 

Jim Carrey 

Jim Carrey's Dad, Percy Carrey, used humor to get his family through tough times, especially after he was laid-off from his job as an accountant, which caused the family to lose their home. Jim loved his Dad, taking him to meet famous people after Jim began to achieve some success. One day Jim took Dad to meet his hero Rodney Dangerfield. For those who don't know, Rodney liked a blunt once in a while "for his glaucoma". So visiting Rodney in his dressing room, Rodney asked Jim's Dad if he would like a toke off his joint. Jim's Dad responded, "No Thank You, if I get started, I'll be up to two packs a day in no time." Rodney rolled on the floor laughing, saying what the hell do I pay my writers for?

Jim Carrey is one of Hollywood's most successful actors and very wealth. He could have allowed himself to get caught up in  his own success. Jim made the choice to not let success change him. Jim has campaigned to save Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the environment and opposed draconian Republican Budget Cuts, affecting mostly the elderly and poor. The credit goes to Jim's Moms and Dad. Jim's Dad was laid-off from his job as an accountant, the family lost their home during a severe recession of the late 1970's. While Canada was in a recession, the Carrey family was experiencing their own GREAT DEPRESSION. At one point  the family was forced to live in their van. They were forced to all get jobs, sometimes meals consisted of ketchup packets from fast food restaurants. But Mom and Dad always kept the family going by using humor to survive, allowing them to navigate the perilous shoals of despair during the dark times. When Jim's Dad died, Jim put a check for $10,000,000 in his casket as a way of thanking him. Today that check would have sailed through Jim's account.

Why Abraham Lincoln opposed Slavery

The Lincoln Family was poor, barely surviving on income generated by their small Kentucky farm. Abraham was an extraordinarily hard working boy, putting in hard labor from dawn to sundown on the Lincoln farm. For which he was never paid, since this was his family, plus his family had no money to pay him. Nor did Abraham ever offer one word of complaint. But then his Dad, Thomas Lincoln hired Abe to work on other people's farms. All the money from Lincoln's labor went to his Dad. Years later Abe told his friend Josh Speed that was why he opposed slavery, because, as a kid, he had been one, working long hours for someone else for no pay. Abraham Lincoln was lucky in one regard, after his mom died, his stepmom, Sarah would work extra jobs to earn money to buy Abe books to read. She was a gentle soul who appreciated Abe's character, diligence and desire to improve himself. They were each other's greatest hero. 

“I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse,” Grant wrote in his eloquent memoir.

Sam Houston was and is Texas greatest hero, he fought for and won Texas Independence, then championed joining the American Union. While born in Virginia and one of Tennessee's first governors, Texas was the great love of his life. Sam Houston warned his fellow Texans about joining the Confederate States who were doomed to failure, because their cause was unjust, slavery, and they were opposing an implacable opponent. "Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win southern independence, but I doubt it. The north is determined to preserve this union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates, but when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche."

Confederate General Joe Johnston

Confederate General John Bell Hood

A photo of General Sherman during the Siege and Battle of Atlanta in 1864. Sherman said the luckiest day of the Georgia campaign was when Jefferson Davis replaced brilliant General Joe Johnston with General John Bell Hood. Johnston followed Roman General Fabius and the tactics he used successfully battle Hannibal during the Punic War. Instead of pitched battles, Johnston would use constant skirmishes and flanking maneuvers stretching Sherman's March from Chattanooga Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia to months. Johnston's subordinate Hood had been secretly been badmouthing his commander, Johnston, angling to get his job. On July 17th 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaced General Johnston with General Hood. Sherman began his march on May 4 1864, by July Johnston had withdrawn to Atlanta's suburbs. Upon taking command, Hood unleashed four reckless attacks on Sherman's forces, losing all four, which cost him the Battle of Atlanta by September 2, Atlanta was surrendered to Sherman. Later Hood launched an ill advised attack at Franklin Tennessee, in which he destroyed what remained of his army. Veterans of Johnston's Army of the Tennessee never forgave Confederate President Jefferson Davis or General Hood for the debacle of replacing General Johnston.

Law and Order's Real Cases from Real  Life, regardless of any disclaimers they might offer

Law and Order S19E11 "Pledge"
I remember watching a really good episode of Law and Order, about a man who kills a 12-year-old boy and his family's maid. The man, then a college student at a public university, had been kicked out of a Sorority Party he had been invited to by a rich sister who met him at a football game, apparently as a joke. The Sorority President got rid of the "bug," a boy who wasn't rich or a student at their ivy league school, without explanation. Years later he is a writer at a technical/scientific magazine, but he was still searching for the girl who invited him to the party, thinking it was the Sorority President's intervention which prevented  him from finding happiness. The Sorority President became a Doctor and Scientist with her husband. The recipe for revenge. 

Timothee Chalamet and his friend come home from school to play video games, the maid, tells both boys that video games are only allowed on weekends, but she has cookies in the kitchen. Disappointed, the other boy excuses himself, while Timothee goes upstairs, then there is a knock on the door. The maid is killed at the door, blood under the front door alerts a delivery man to call police, our intrepid detectives begin their investigation. They find Timothee murdered upstairs, stabbed viciously. So it is obvious, he was the target. Our detectives, Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Andrews don't even consider the idea that he had done anything to warrant the attack. The delivery man does offer one clue, a man in a nice coat, carrying a briefcase, rushes past him down the stairs on the front stoop. He hadn't noticed if came out of the house or he had been as frightened as he was by the blood under the door.

WARNING the following content might bother some of us, both the Law and Order episode and the real crime: 

If you are worried about Timothee, then watch this music video he and his friends made at almost the same time he appeared on Law and Order.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZePojtDyjo

Beware death knocking at your door and be aware he may be wearing a disguise

Dr. Hunter's home in Omaha Nebraska, photo from NBC News

The real case, Thomas Hunter was the 11-year-old son of the Pathology Head Dr. William Hunter at Creighton University Medical School in Nebraska. Thomas came home from school on March 13, 2008 and went to the basement to play video games when there was a knock at the door. Thomas went to the door because the family maid, Shirlee Sherman, was upstairs cleaning.  It was Dr. Anthony Garcia, a graduate of the University of Utah Medical School, who had been a student in his Dad's school's pathology program until he was expelled. Of course Thomas had no knowledge of this and invites the man to enter and wait on his Dad, who should be home shortly. His Mom, who also a doctor was out of town.

Dr. Garcia's Termination Letter being kicked out of the Creighton University Residency Program, signed by Dr. William Hunter and Dr. Roger Brumback. 

Medical Center termination letter described Dr. Garcia as “disruptive, manipulative, anti-authoritarian” and noted that his knowledge was “very poor,” that he “took no initiative” and “no responsibility for his cases.” Garcia’s letter of termination referred to Garcia “sabotaging another resident’s important medical exams.” Apparently Garcia called the resident's wife and claimed that he had to return to campus immediately for an emergency, interrupting the resident's studying for a very important exam the next day. The letter was signed by Drs. Hunter and Brumback. Dateline NBC Whenever Dr. Garcia applied for a medical job he had to tell them that he was fired from his residency program. If he didn't, once the employer checked his resume and contacted the school, they were given this report. 

Dr. Garcia told the boy he needed to see his dad, Thomas told him he would be home soon and told him he could wait. Apparently. Thomas may have offered Garcia a drink in the kitchen, after which Thomas may have intended to go back to his video game. But Garcia stole a knife chased the boy and stabbed the 11-year-old boy in his jugular vein from behind in the living room, killing the boy in less than two minutes. The maid heard the boy's screams and came down stairs. At which point, Garcia stabbed her in the neck too, killing her. Police came to the conclusion that this was a senseless crime committed by a possibly mentally ill drifter. They were wrong.

Then five years later, on March 14, 2013, Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary were attacked and murdered in their suburban Omaha, Nebraska home, in exactly the same way, stabbed in the neck. This is a very uncommon way to kill anyone and twice in the same jurisdiction was too much of a coincidence to ignore. Brumback was the retired head of the Creighton University Department of Pathology and he and his wife were packed and prepared move to their retirement home. Police immediately noted the similarity in the two crimes, even though the series of murders were five years apart, thy began a joint investigation of both crimes. 

Dr. Garcia was fired from a psychiatry residency at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, because he could not obtain a state medical license because of his missing Creighton Residency Academic Record. The LSU rejection letter was sent out on February 27, 2008, just a couple of weeks before 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman were killed. Five years later, Dr. Garcia lost another job and went back to the well for more revenge. 

Dr. Garcia after his arrest after his 2nd set of murders. As the Creighton University Dismissal letter said, he blamed others for his actions. It is implied on some news shows and articles, that Dr. Garcia spied on the Hunter's home in advance of the murder and deliberately waited until Thomas got home from school, but before his parents arrived, for his attack. The Law and Order parallel exactly. Dr. Garcia was convicted for both crimes and now sits on death row in Nebraska.