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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blow Out the Candles April 30

Actor Al Lewis was born in New York City on this date in 1923 (probably).
Al is best known as Grandpa on the TV series "The Munsters".

This is Al Lewis's Obituary from the Associated Press on Feb. 4, 2006:

Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch ofThe Munsters whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 82.
Lewis, with his wife at his bedside, passed away Friday night, said Bernard White, program director at WBAI-FM, where the actor hosted a weekly radio program. White made the announcement on the air during the Saturday slot where Lewis usually appeared.
"To say that we will miss his generous, cantankerous, engaging spirit is a profound understatement," White said.
Lewis, sporting a somewhat cheesy Dracula outfit, became a pop culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne's ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show. He was also one of the stars of another classic TV comedy, playing Officer Leo Schnauzer on Car 54, Where Are You?

But Lewis' life off the small screen ranged far beyond his acting antics. A former ballplayer at Thomas Jefferson High School, he achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout familiar to coaching greats like Jerry Tarkanian and Red Auerbach.

He operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa's, where he was a regular presence — chatting with customers, posing for pictures, signing autographs.

In 2000, a ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green Party candidate against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis."

He didn't defeat Pataki, but managed to collect more 52,000 votes.

Lewis was born Alexander Meister in upstate New York before his family moved to Brooklyn, where the 6-foot-1 teen began a lifelong love affair with basketball. He later became a vaudeville and circus performer, but his career didn't take off until television did the same.

Lewis, as Officer Schnauzer, played opposite Gwynne's Officer Francis Muldoon in Car 54, Where Are You? — a comedy about a Bronx police precinct that aired from 1961-63. One year later, the duo appeared together in The Munsters, taking up residence at the fictional 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

The series, about a family of clueless creatures plunked down in middle America, was a success and ran through 1966. It forever locked Lewis in as the memorably twisted character; decades later, strangers would greet him on the street with shouts of "Grandpa!"

Unlike some television stars, Lewis never complained about getting typecast and made appearances in character for decades.

"Why would I mind?" he asked in a 1997 interview. "It pays my mortgage."

Lewis rarely slowed down, opening his restaurant and hosting his WBAI radio program. At one point during the '90s, he was a frequent guest on the Howard Stern radio show, once sending the shock jock diving for the delay button by leading an undeniably obscene chant against the Federal Communications Commission.

He also popped up in a number of movies, including the acclaimed They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Married to the Mob.

Lewis reprised his role of Schnauzer in the movie remake of Car 54, and appeared as a guest star on television shows such as Taxi, Green Acres and Lost in Space.

But in 2003, Lewis was hospitalized for an angioplasty. Complications during surgery led to an emergency bypass and the amputation of his right leg below the knee and all the toes on his left foot. Lewis spent the next month in a coma.

A year later, he was back offering his recollections of a seminal punk band on the DVD Ramones Raw.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Ingenthron-Lewis, three sons and four grandchildren.
Singer/songwriter, author and actor Willie Nelson is celebrating his 80th birthday today.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Blow Out the Candles April 29

Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio is celebrating his 79th birthday today.
 1967 Topps #60

Career highlights and awards
13× All-Star selection (1958, 1959, 1959², 1960,1960², 1961², 1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971,1972)
World Series champion (1966)
9× Gold Glove Award winner (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970)
1956 AL Rookie of the Year
Chicago White Sox #11 retired

 August 10, 1960 with double play partner Nellie Fox
1963
Luis with Orlando Cepeda 1973

Musician Edward "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, DC on this date in 1899.
 2010 Topps American Heritage #86
Ellington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969.


Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is celebrating his 59th birthday today.
Jerry with "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David
 Best sitcom ever?  It's up there.
"I don't want to be a pirate!"


Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans is celebrating his 91st birthday today.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blow Out the Candles April 28 Barry and Barrymore

 Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin is celebrating his 49th birthday today.
Barry won 3 Gold Gloves
Barry was a 12 time All-Star 
Winner of 9 Silver Sluggers
Barry was the 1995 NL MVP
Barry was a World Series Champion in 1990
Barry was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993
He was honored with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1994
Barry was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 22, 2012.




Multitlented actor, composer, artist and director  Lionel Barrymore was born in Philadelphia, PA on this date in 1878.




Before they teamed up in "It's a Wonderful Life", Lionel shared the screen with Jimmy Stewart in a much lighter hearted role in  another Frank Capra film, "You Can't Take it With You".





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blow Out the Candles April 27

Cardinals great Enos "Country" Slaughter was born in Roxboro, NC on this date in 1916.
 1991 Conlon Collection #56

 2003 Flair Greats #9

 2005 Upper Deck Classic #32


"I learned early on to never walk while I was on the ball field. I ran everywhere I went."

Statue outside Busch Stadium commemorating Slaughter's "Mad Dash" in the 1946 World Series.

From Time magazine:
In the bottom of the eighth of a 3-3 game, Cardinals outfielder Enos Slaughter took off from first with the pitch, which was shot into left-center by Harry Walker. Red Sox center fielder Leon Culberson bobbled the ball briefly, and there was no stopping Slaughter who recklessly ran through a stop sign at third and charged home. Second baseman Johnny Pesky's relay throw was late and one of baseball's most contended stories was born. Was it a double? Walker was credited with one, but he would surely have stopped at first if Slaughter hadn't drawn a throw home. Thus, we say, Slaughter scored the Series' game-winning run from first on a single (and fielder's choice). The ultimate moment of hustle.

One of the greatest hitters in baseball history, Rogers Hornsby was born in Winters, TX on this date in 1896.
 1994 UD Baseball The ASmerican Epic #35
"I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."

 1991 Conlon Collection #251

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."


 1992 Conlon Collection #527

"Any ballplayer that don't sign autographs for little kids ain't an American. He's a communist."

 1994 Conlon Collection #1253

"I've always played hard. If that's rough and tough, I can't help it. I don't believe there's any such thing as a good loser. I wouldn't sit down and play a game of cards with you right now withing wanting to win. If I hadn't felt that way I wouldn't have got very far in baseball."

 1922 Conlon Collection #622

"The big trouble is not really who isn't in the Hall of Fame, but who is. It was established for a select few."


Hawks defenseman Keith Magnuson was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on this date in 1947.
 1971-72 Topps #69

Keith, a fan favorite was the Blackhawks Captain from 1976-79.
Keith died tragically at age 56 when coming back from an NHLPA alumni meeting the car driven by Rob Ramage swerved into oncoming traffic striking another vehicle.  Ramage was found guilty of driving while impaired and is now serving a four year sentence.

Versitile actor Jack Klugman was born in Philadelphia, Pa on this date in 1922.
2000 Rittenhouse Archives Twilight Zone  #A-29
(this card is from my wife's collection)

Jacl (lower right) in the 1957 film 12 Angry Men
Jack is probably best known for playing Oscar Madison opposite Tony Randall (Felix Unger) in The Odd Couple.
Jack went on to star on the TV drama Quincy M.E.

Animator Walter Lantz was born in New Rochelle, NY on this date in 1899.

In 1940 Lantz created the unforgettable Woody Woodpecker.


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