The Galaxy Gang Welcomes You!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

 JUNE 2023

- "Be Water, My Friend" -
By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

Bruce Lee (1940-1973) was a transcendent martial artist and one of the most enduring pop icons from the 20th century.  As an actor, director and teacher, Lee's magnetic, graceful and lethal presence in film & television plus his philosophy helped to popularize martial arts worldwide during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Half a century after his unexpected passing, Lee's influence continues to shine forth spanning across all demographics and cultures.  In honor of his pioneering work and continuing influence, Time magazine named Bruce Lee one of the most important people of the 20th century.

Most baby boomers were first introduced to Bruce Lee when he co-starred as Kato in ABC's The Green Hornet (with Van Williams in the title role) during its 1966-67 single season run.  It was during this time that Lee demonstrated the strength of character that enabled him to become a pioneer in film & television, as well as in martial arts.  Eschewing the show director's instructions to fight in American style with fists and punches, Lee insisted on fighting in the style of his expertise.  Lee was so fast that he had to slow down his movements so they could be captured on film for the viewing audience!

When The Green Hornet was cancelled after one season in 1967, Lee found himself out of work.  So he focused on creating, developing and refining his Jeet Kune Do martial arts style that emphasized flexibility, practicality, efficiency and speed.  Lee remained in Hollywood where he became a private teacher to legendary film, television and sports stars that included but was not limited to James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Sharon Tate.  As a teacher of martial arts to the stars, Lee was able to refine his skills in martial arts, acting and eventually directing, while he concurrently upgraded his professional network.  His entrepreneurial instincts and willingness to take risks in the venue of international cinema enabled Lee to break through a variety of barriers and become an enormous success on the big screen culminating with the 1973 film Enter the Dragon, that forever established him as a martial arts legend.

Bruce Lee's philosophy that enabled him to become a transcendent, lasting influence is expressed in his exhortation "Be Water, My Friend."
"Empty your mind.  Be formless, shapeless like water.  You put water in the cup: it becomes the cup.  You put it into the teapot; it becomes the teapot.  You put water into the bottle; it becomes the bottle.  Now water can flow, or it can crash!  Be water, my friend."  [Source:]

Lee's star power is not only exemplified by having his "star" immortalized on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars, but his gravesite in Seattle's Lakeview Cemetery remains one of the most frequently visited tourist sites in the Emerald City.  As tip of the hat to being a teacher (sensei) to the stars, legendary action-film actors James Coburn and Steve McQueen served as pallbearers for Lee's burial service in Seattle.  At the conclusion of the memorial service, Coburn and McQueen tossed their white gloves into the grave with Lee's casket while paying tribute to their sensei.

This summer as we mark the 50th anniversary of Bruce Lee's passing, please share your favorite memories of this legendary figure by posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and "liking" us when doing so) or writing directly to us at:

Monday, May 1, 2023

 MAY 2023

"The Sting" 
- Celebrating its 50th Anniversary -
By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Academy Award winning motion picture "The Sting," which forever solidified Paul Newman and Robert Redford as one of cinema's greatest duos.  At the time of its release and later at the Academy Awards (where it won seven Oscars, including Best Picture) it was immediately celebrated as pure fun and escapism at its cinematic best.  For a war weary nation embroiled in political scandal (i.e., The Vietnam War and Watergate) it offered a two-hour escape into the 1930s where two professional con artists (Newman and Redford) orchestrated a complex, elaborate scheme to swindle a mob boss (played by Robert Shaw).  "The Sting" is unusual in that every time one watches the film, there are nuances and details that emerge with each viewing that deepens the appreciation for the obvious loving care that went into crafting this work of pure entertainment.  What makes the film so satisfying with each viewing, is that the triple-twist ending makes one realize that it is the audience, along with the mob boss, who have been conned into a multi-layered, deceptive plot.   The finale leaves filmgoers surprised but satisfied to have witnessed such a delightful story play out into a conclusion that sparked conversation questioning what just happened!

If you are looking for a film that has a magical ending executed with style and daring, then "The Sting" is one you might want to add to your watch list.  With Newman, Redford plus Robert Shaw -- all at their best in playing the roguish lead characters -- is a stellar supporting cast that reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood (e.g., Charles Durning, Eileen Brennan, Ray Walston, Harold Gould).  The film is presented in discrete or distinct sections with title cards that bear strong resemblance to the lettering and illustrations associated with The Saturday Evening Post.  The memorable soundtrack is Ragtime music featuring Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer."  Here are a few fun, but little known facts about "The Sting" that may engender further whimsical conversation among classic film fans.

> Jack Nicholson was offered the lead role but turned it down!
> The role of the mob boss was almost given to Richard Boone but instead went to Robert Shaw.
> Robert Shaw injured his leg playing handball before filming began.  Instead of withdrawing from the film, Shaw was encouraged to incorporate the limp into the portrayal of his character.  Thus the limp was authentic and added yet another signature detail to the tapestry of the film.

"The Sting" was the second and final on-screen pairing of Newman and Redford.  Their first film was "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in 1969.  Given the enormous if not legendary status of both of these films, one more Newman-Redford pairing would have truly required a very special script, that regrettably never materialized.  As we celebrate the Golden Anniversary of "The Sting" perhaps we should be satisfied that the legendary film duo left us wanting more as they remain forever etched in our minds at the top of their craft.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

 APRIL 2023

George Raveling & Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr
- Crossing Paths at the March on Washington -
By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

Each year the first week of April brings to a conclusion the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament (aka March Madness) while also marking the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  Interestingly enough, as we reflect on the amazing life and ministry of the Rev Dr King, we find there is a unique connection with collegiate basketball in the person of Hall of Fame coach George Raveling.  Therefore, recounting the story behind the life paths of a pioneering basketball coach and a Nobel Prize winning Civil Rights leader intersecting at a unique moment in history is especially timely during the first week of April.

In August 1963, several days before the March on Washington, Raveling was having dinner at a friend's home in Claymont, DE.  The father of Raveling's friend, encouraged both young men to attend the upcoming event while providing them travel money and the use of one of his cars to drive to Washington, DC.  Upon their arrival, Raveling and his friend volunteered to serve as security guards thereby ending up standing a few feet away from the Rev Dr King on the podium at the Lincoln Memorial.  As Rev Dr King was nearing the close of his historic speech, the famed Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was heard in the background saying "tell 'em about the dream, Martin, tell 'em about the dream."  Ms Jackson was familiar with this theme as she had heard King talk about this in his previous speeches at Selma and Detroit.  At this point, in a moment of inspiration, Rev Dr King went off script -- (i.e., the "I Have A Dream" passage is NOT in the original typewritten hard copy of the speech he had in his hands when speaking at the Lincoln Memorial) -- by ad-libbing the "I Have A Dream" part because he realized his prepared remarks were not fully rising to the spirit of the occasion.  This spontaneous addition was the signature portion of a magnificent speech.  As Rev Dr King took the papers with his prepared remarks from the podium, he came face to face with Mr Raveling, who asked him "Dr King, can I have that?"  King handed the speech to Raveling just moments before a throng of people came between the two men.  Raveling folded up the papers and kept them on his person as the March on Washington concluded.

It should be noted that several hundred copies of King's prepared speech had been distributed to reporters, but ALL of these copies -- except for the one King himself had at the podium and then gave to Raveling -- had an official stamp.  The only markings on this document are the underline and asterisk Raveling later inserted to indicate where King had deviated from his prepared remarks.

In the decades that have followed, Mr Raveling has had a wonderful life and career in mentoring others through a Hall of Fame basketball coaching career.  When sharing his remembrance of this amazing moment in time, Raveling is humbled to be the keeper of such a precious document.  He continues to help others prepare for life by teaching them to be ready for the right moment that can come at any time!  The pursuit of the Dream expressed by Rev Dr King continues through the life and works of George Raveling and reminds all of us to always strive to be at our personal best.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

 MARCH 2023

TIME TRAVEL via "Star Trek"
- Remembering Favorite Journeys In Time -
By George A. Haloulakos

This month we talk about a perennially interesting topic - Time Travel!  The concept of Time Travel has been a recurring theme in literature, film and television that goes back nearly two centuries.  For example, Charles Dickens used Time Travel via the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in his classic morality tale "A Christmas Carol" published in 1843.   In 1895, H.G. Wells wrote a science fiction novel, "The Time Machine," that was later made into a full length motion picture (1960) to be followed by several remakes.  Time Travel has been adapted by lots of TV shows and made-for-TV movies, but perhaps the most successful franchise to employ Time Travel has been the "Star Trek" franchise in all its variants for more than 50 years.  The various "Star Trek" series and movies have all used Time Travel to various degrees, and often with critical success.  A good number of these plotlines seem to involve very dramatic, major historic events, often incorporating noteworthy heroes and heroines from recorded history.  In each case that was related to a major historic event or public figure, the Time Travel theme is used by the "Star Trek" characters to save humanity or perhaps the galaxy!   No doubt many of you in our GNN audience have your own favorites, and so we invite you to please share it with us by either posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and "liking" us when doing so) or send it directly to the Galaxy Nostalgia Network at:

When submitting your favorite Time Travel themed "Star Trek" episode or movie, be sure to include your reason or reasons for doing so.  This is a fun topic for people of all ages, backgrounds and with various interests.  My personal favorite Time Travel "Star Trek" episode is "Timeless" - the 100th episode of the "Star Trek - Voyager" series (with an original air date of November 18, 1998).  My reason for this choice is that it is one of the few Time Travel themed episodes that did not involve a major historic event but was far more personal in nature.  "Star Trek" in all of its variants exhibited its greatest attribute when it highlighted strength of character.  In this particular episode it begins fifteen years in the future where First Officer Chakotay and Operations Officer Harry Kim discover their spaceship Voyager frozen in ice following a crash landing in which all crew members aboard were killed on impact.  The only survivors, Chakotay and Kim, avoided the disastrous accident because they were piloting a small scoutcraft leading the larger spaceship (Voyager) using slipstream quantum technology in an attempt to return to Earth in a matter of moments rather than decades.  The slipstream technology was unstable, and this resulted in the scoutcraft reaching Earth safely but leaving Voyager behind to spiral out of control and crashing on the aforementioned ice planet.

The crash sequence along with Chakotay and Kim recovering the remains of the crew fifteen years later are truly haunting.  Chakotay and Kim have returned to recover the body of Seven of Nine, a Borg drone with technology able to receive messages from the future.  Using a stolen Borg temporal transmitter, Chakotay and Kim hope to send a message back in time to avoid the accident that killed all of their crewmates.  Aided by Voyager's holographic medical doctor (who is activated by a mobile emitter recovered from the crash site) and Chakotay's girlfriend, Tess, they send a message back in time using Kim's new instructions aimed to help Voyager safely reach Earth, but this has no effect in correcting the quantum slipstream and Voyager is destroyed a second time!  Kim's follow-up attempt, this time using new instructions designed to cause the slipstream to fail prematurely so that Voyager will simply power down and not crash, is successful and tragedy is avoided.  The entire Voyager crew along with Chakotay and Kim, return safely to normal space, unharmed, and ten years closer to home (in what is a 75-year journey).

What makes this a compelling story is how Kim deals with survivor guilt in trying to make things right.  While Chakotay has seemingly moved on with his life, his girlfriend Tess -- knowing full well that if they are successful, the timeline in which she and Chakotay meet and fall in love, will be erased -- provides him the encouragement to do whatever is necessary to reverse Voyager's disastrous accident because she knows Chakotay's heart will always be with his beloved crewmates!  This selfless act of love is both inspiring and sad because it is evident that Chakotay and Tess are a strong couple who realize they have truly shared a very special moment in time.  Finally, when the timeline is restored, Kim learns his future self sent to his past self an encoded message along with the operational instructions directed to Seven of Nine.  As Kim watches the message from his future self on the viewscreen, his facial expression imparts a poignancy as he realizes the enormity of his actions in the alternate timeline.  The result is a significant increase in self-confidence and respect that Harry Kim had not yet experienced in his career, thereby giving him a renewed sense of purpose and hope.

While any story concerning Time Travel raises a host of "what-if" questions about how seemingly trivial events and unimportant people can have major impact on the historic timeline, "Timeless" is an episode in which its characters are taking action solely out of love for their comrades and friends that were left behind in a horrific accident.  Chakotay and Kim were willing to risk it all for personal reasons.  In my opinion, this is what makes this Time Travel episode so very special, and ultimately, my favorite in the "Star Trek" franchise.  What is your favorite?  We look forward to hearing from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience!

Saturday, February 4, 2023


- How Did It All Begin For You? -
By George A. Haloulakos

This month we reflect upon our love of reading and call for you, our wonderful GNN audience, to share how your love of reading began!  Since the dawn of recorded history -- be it inscribed on stone tablets, papyrus rolls, paper or in digitized form -- love of reading has been associated with an array of benefits that include, but not limited to personal enrichment, academic achievement, upgraded skills in comprehension, writing and spelling, along with stronger motivation and confidence.  Reading opens up our horizons in a manner that can take us on journeys through time and space that are limited only by our imagination.  Reading makes knowledge accessible to anyone who has the desire and curiosity to explore new pathways.  For example, the "Harvard Classics" - a 50 volume collection of the classical works of world literature, important speeches and historical documents -  was created to offer individuals in the comfort of their own home to learn from the greatest minds in recorded history, and in doing so, obtain the equivalent of a four-year baccalaureate liberal arts degree!

Do you enjoy reading?  How did your love of reading unfold for you?  Perhaps it was a parent or other adult role model in your life that read aloud to you during your formative years?  Or was it storytime at your neighborhood library? Maybe it was inspired by viewing a classic film adaptation of a famous novel?  For yours truly, it was a combination of the aforementioned factors plus something else -- Classics Illustrated Comics.  Classics Illustrated was/is an American comic book series that featured very accurate adaptations of literary classics such as Moby DickA Tale of Two CitiesThe Three MusketeersHamlet, et al. These special comic books not only presented the story exactly as in the full length novels, but also included an author profile, related educational supplements and a catalogue of titles in the Classics Illustrated format. Most notably, at the end of every edition, there was an exhortation to the reader that if he or she enjoyed what they just read, to go to their neighborhood library and check out a copy of the written edition.  In doing so, the reader would invariably learn that there was much deeper context and detail that would further enrich the story.  In my case, it not only inspired me to read the full editions, but also seek out other titles by favorite authors.  The love of reading became a lifetime journey that would include visits to bookstores carrying both new and used editions and at an early age, enabled yours truly to have meaningful conversations with the adult role models in my own life.  Interestingly enough, of the original 169 editions of Classics Illustrated produced between 1941-1969, the most represented classic author was one of my favorites, Jules Verne!  There were ten (10) Jules Verne novels adapted by Classics Illustrated that included some lesser known but equally entertaining works.  As you can imagine, it provided further incentive to acquire other titles by the man who is often credited with inventing the future!

What is your story in how you developed a love of reading?  How has that love of reading evolved with the vast advancements in technology such as audio books as well as electronic digital versions?  Please share it with us by either posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and "liking" us when doing so) or send it directly to the Galaxy Nostalgia Network at:

Saturday, December 31, 2022


- Roses, Heroes & Heroines -
By George A. Haloulakos

Happy New Year from all of us here at the Galaxy Nostalgia Network!  This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the 1963 Tournament of Roses Parade & Rose Bowl.  Under the theme "Memorable Moments" the reigning Queen for the Rose Parade was Nancy Davis Maggio, whose tenure was to include a date with the quarterback of the visiting team from the Midwest.  The annual gridiron classic was a landmark game that featured the Wisconsin Badgers versus the University of Southern California Trojans.  Part of our retrospective examines this unique moment in time through the prism of Badger Quarterback Ron Vander Kelen, whose late game heroics helped his team score 23 points with just 14-minutes remaining before time ran out.  Southern California held on for a 42-37 victory, but Vander Kelen earned Co-MVP game honors as he set records for pass attempts (48), pass completions (33) and yards passing (401).  The January 1963 Rose Bowl marked the first bowl game in college football history that featured the Number 1 ranked team (Southern Cal) versus the Number 2 ranked team (Wisconsin).  As just one example on how far we have come since this bygone era, a Number 1 versus Number 2 bowl game matchup has become largely commonplace, if not expected. 

But there is much more to unpack here, especially now with the advent of NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) licensing for collegiate athletes, national college playoffs, astronomical professional football salaries, beauty pageants that provide a segue into professional entertainment and so forth.  This was a time in which the annual meeting of the Midwest and Pacific Coast was truly an important pop culture event for Baby Boomers and prominent student athletes who were preparing for lifetime careers beyond the playing field was more a norm than an exception.  As the year 1963 was to later close on a tragic note with the assassination of President John Kennedy, the innocence of that New Year's Day becomes even more poignant.

By the standards of today, the events of New Year's Day 1963 seem almost quaint.  The game itself ran longer than expected -- over 3 hours -- and ended in almost complete darkness.  Today most football games run 3-1/2 to 4 hours and stadiums are equipped with much better lighting.  Vander Kelen's late game heroics resulted in not only sharing MVP honors but led to what at the time was considered a financial windfall.  Moreover, the humorous reaction by Trojan head coach John McKay helped secure his lasting reputation as a legendary wisecrack artist.  McKay stated in the post-game interview that Wisconsin head coach Milt Bruhn had Vander Kelen for 4-years and all the legendary Badger QB got was a college education while McKay had Vander Kelen for 4-quarters and got him $60,000 (the result of pro-football offers that came forth after his co-MVP performance on New Year's Day)!  Interestingly enough, Vander Kelen was able to parlay his Rose Bowl performance into a 5-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, mostly in a reserve role.  This was followed by success in the advertising and marketing industries and later in college admissions (University of Minnesota), thereby making Vander Kelen a role model for leading a well-rounded, inspired life.

With the game ending in darkness, the day ended with Vander Kelen fulfilling a date with the Rose Queen, Nancy Davis Maggio.  It was of course, for the reasons already noted, a late date!  Ms Davis Maggio recalled her date with Vander Kelen as one of her fondest memories as Rose Queen.  She had competed against a field of over 2,000 contestants to win her title, and this led to guest appearances on "The Lawrence Welk Show" and "The Andy Williams Show."  Such public appearances on family variety TV shows for such award recipients was a commonplace practice throughout the 1950s and 1960s.  In the two previous Rose Parades, 1961 and 1962, Ms Davis Maggio had marched as a flag twirler for the Pasadena City College Band as they were the official Rose Parade Band at that time.  Thus her post-game date with the visiting QB added further glamour to this annual meeting of the Midwest and Pacific Coast.  Ms Davis Maggio later became a published author, with her most notable work being "Babysitting Mama," a journal she kept about caregiving her mother for nine years.

This retrospective is offered as a Baby Boomer remembrance of how things were, and how far we have travelled in the ensuing decades.  It is not mere nostalgia but a historic examination through the prism of what seemingly are the lives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things that illustrate the magnitude of the journey we make in a lifetime.  We wish all of you a Happy New Year and hope you will share your New Year's Day memories by posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and please "like" us when doing so) or send them to us via the GNN g-mail address.

Thursday, December 1, 2022


- Classic TV Holiday Memories -
By George A. Haloulakos

This month's GNN Blog pays tribute to perhaps the most unique episode from the classic TV series "Gilligan's Island" (1964-1967).  Believe it or not, there really was a Christmas show for the famous situation comedy program, but you would never know it by casually browsing the titles in the episode log.  It was the twelfth episode in the first season and was aired December 19, 1964.  The name of the Christmas episode --"Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk" -- refers to incidents that occurred in the series pilot, and this is one of the major characteristics that makes this such a special holiday themed program.

With "Jingle Bells" playing as the episode opens, the castaways are shown celebrating Christmas by decorating a palm tree!  Gilligan wishes they could be rescued, and it seems this holiday wish will come true when a radio report indicates that a US Navy destroyer has spotted castaways that it believes may be the castaways from the SS Minnow!  In their joy of anticipated rescue, our favorite castaways reminisce about the troubles they encountered during their first few days on the island.  It is here that the audience is treated to a re-cut program that combines footage from the official pilot "Two on a Raft" and nearly every single Gilligan-and-Skipper (Bob Denver and Alan Hale) scene from the unaired pilot "Marooned."  The significance of this fusion of the two pilot episodes is that it features several panoramic, long range shots of the beach that shows full length views of the SS Minnow and the castaways sitting on the sand as well as on the boat itself!  A portion of this scene was shown up close in the closing credits for the first season, with the Minnow partially visible in the background and the castaways sitting together nearby.  But this Christmas episode provides deeper context with this extensive footage that provides full length shots of the boat as well as Gilligan casting his fishing line along the beach in front of the crashing surf, all of which was not shown in either the second or third season.

Another fun bit of trivia is that in the opening scenes when Gilligan and Skipper wake up after the Minnow was beached, original cast members from "Marooned" can be seen in the background.  But these cast members (playing the roles of the Professor, Bunny and the original Ginger), while shown briefly in this sequence, were not seen afterward because they were replaced by Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells (playing the Mary Ann character instead of Bunny) and Tina Louise!  As the castaways think about those first few days following their shipwreck, we are treated to watching Gilligan cast the radio and transmitter out to sea and learning how the radio was later recovered, but the transmitter ultimately destroyed.  This sequence of events (which involve birds and fish) is the basis for the name of this episode, which gives no hint of a Christmas theme!

After waiting a while, the crew and passengers of the SS Minnow learn from a news update that the US Navy had rescued other castaways that had been stranded for eleven years on a different island!  On Christmas Eve, the disappointed and tired castaways are shown gathered around a campfire as they realize they will not be home for Christmas.  All of the group is present except the Skipper, who is out gathering more wood for the fire.  In these final moments of the episode the castaways are visited by the REAL Santa Claus (who looks like the Skipper and appropriately is played by Alan Hale).  Santa Claus reminds the group to be grateful for what they have: they are not lost at sea, but on an island with food and water, plus he reminds them about the deep friendships they have formed since being marooned.  As the castaways' spirits are visibly lifted, Santa disappears and the real Skipper returns from gathering firewood in the opposite direction.  There is only a brief moment to ponder the true identity of their midnight visitor as everyone is filled with good cheer and heartily wishing each other Merry Christmas as the sound of Santa's sleigh bells along with a repeated chorus of "Merry Christmas" (ostensibly Santa and his elves) is heard flying over the island!  This is truly a magical ending for it evokes feelings of mercy, grace, renewal and gratitude.

With that in mind, we wish everyone in our wonderful GNN audience a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  If you have any special memories of holiday themed episodes from your favorite TV shows, please post them on the GNN FACEBOOK page (and please "like" us when doing so) or send them to us via the GNN g-mail address.