Friday, October 27, 2023



Halloween Horror!

By Gil Tisnado

I could tell you I was born on a dark and stormy Halloween night; however, being born in San Diego that would be a lie. My mom with her Jeanne Crain/Gene Tierney brunette movie star looks was hoping for a boy, especially after giving birth to two girls. My dad, who looked like a Mexican John Garfield, was just excited and nervous with the prospect of being a first time father.

After a successful delivery, I was cleaned and ready for inspection. The doctor and nurses, although startled by what they saw, put on their best stoic medical profession faces. I was brought to my mom’s side. She was thrilled and elated that her dream of having a boy came true. She slowly removed the baby blankets to view her boy wonder and then began to scream, “Nurse! Nurse! What’s wrong with him.”

The nurse knowing full well what was wrong said, “Calm down, Mrs. Tisnado. What is it?”

My mom pointed to me and stuttered, “The, the…hair, the…hair!”

Fantasy just met reality or should I say fantasy just met the ugly reality of what I looked like. Apparently, I had so much excessive black hair everywhere, on my back, chest, and bottom. One of nurses in the corner of the room whispered, “Gorilla Baby!” While one of the other nurses muttered, “More like Son of Kong.” The doctor was summoned to calm my hysterical mother.

 “Doctor, Doctor, will the hair ever go away” my mom cried out. I’m sure she was wondering how much electrolysis treatments would be for a baby, and how soon treatments could begin.

The doctor reassured my mom. “Don’t worry Mrs. Tisnado. The hair will eventually fall away. He’s just extraordinarily hairy.” I was then quickly covered up. My parents embraced and comforted each other, deciding they would love me regardless of my hairy condition.

It was time for me to go home and meet my golden blonde sisters; Marie age five and Ginger age four. They were so excited to see their new baby brother until they discovered I resembled Cheetah from the Tarzan movies. Ginger immediately ran to her bedroom crying. Outspoken, precocious little Marie pleaded, “Mommy, can’t you take him back to the hospital and trade him for another baby.” No, my mom told her. I was there to stay. This handsome family with movie star looks would just have to adjust to the hairy creature that was thrust upon them on Halloween 1949.

To this day my sister says, “You know from the very beginning there was something very odd about you.” Hey, it could have been worse. At least the folks didn’t bring home “Rosemary’s Baby.”


Sunday, October 15, 2023


by Margaret Sizemore-Clark

Back in my day, meaning when I was in my teens, Homecoming at my high school was a BIG deal. It was always celebrated in October, and alumni came from far and wide to attend…well, at least from Bakersfield where most of the local kids attended junior college.  All sorts of special events took place during the week, culminating with THE GAME. It seemed as if the entire town was jammed into the bleachers and were ready to root The Burros on to victory. Yes, our high school’s mascot was a burro because the first commanding officer of the Navy base where I lived was named Sherman E. Burroughs.

    The days leading up to the game were bursting with activities where each class fought for bragging rights against the other classes. For example, each class was responsible for building a class float.  Floats were constructed from wood, cardboard, chicken wire, billions of napkins, and were built in someone’s back yard. Each day after school class members would work on their respective floats, shaping them into inspiring homages to the football team, and glorifying their ability to beat Friday night’s opponent. I personally spent hours stuffing paper napkins into the holes of chicken wire, so that when our creation was ready to be unveiled (and providing that the wind had not blown the napkins into the next county) it would be something that would evoke ooohs and ahhhs from the other classes. At the end of the week the floats were assembled on the football field, judged by the faculty, and the winning class announced. 

    Establishing athletic prowess was not just for the football team. Homecoming meant that the girls in each class could form teams and square off against the other classes in basketball and flag football. These teams were referred to as “Powder Puff” teams. (Definitely prior to Title IX.). Each team held practices, then would compete against each other in several games. Class pride was undoubtedly the motivation for the girls: The lowly Freshman team went up against the more-experienced Sophomores. The Juniors did the same, challenging the almighty Senior team until ultimately there were only two teams left to duke it out on the gym’s basketball court or on the football field. The games were well-attended and were just as exciting as the boys’ games. 

    Many of the girls from all the classes were members of the Pep Club. During Homecoming Week, they busied themselves making posters and signs, which appeared all over the campus.
They decorated the field on game night, adding color and pizazz to the atmosphere.They practiced hand routines that were performed from the bleachers as the band played a rousing song, should the team make an exceptional play or score a touchdown.


A favorite event involved an old car being brought from a junk yard and delivered to the hub of student life, the Quad.  The names of teachers, coaches, and administrators were painted on it, and for a nominal fee one was allowed to swing a sledge hammer and clobber the spot where the name of a “favorite“ adult was written.  Even the school security officers were not immune from having their names painted on the car, but it was all in good fun.

    The best day, at least for the senior class, was Senior Hard Times Day, when the seniors got to wear crazy things to school and require the underclass students to do whatever they were told. A sophomore might have to carry a senior’s books, and a junior shine his shoes. The worst was being a freshman. That year I was ordered to wear my clothing inside out. It was embarrassing, but it was a lot of fun, and no one thought of being mean. 

   Other events during the week included a pie-eating contest, tricycle races, skits, and pep rallies. The football players donned cheerleader uniforms and entertained the student body with their attempts at doing a cheer or a routine.  Having fun was the goal of the entire week.

    The night before the big game a large crowd of students gathered at a section of the desert across from the school for the purpose of having a bonfire.  Throughout the week kids gathered wood (not always with the owner’s permission) and delivered it to the site of the bonfire.  The wood pile grew larger and higher with each day’s additions.  With the fire department close by, a torch was lit, and the huge mountain of wood was ignited!  The cheering was deafening, the heat it generated was incredible, but the embers eventually turned to an orange glow, and it was time to sing the Alma Mater. EVERYONE sang it.  It was like a hymn, and if you didn’t sing, well, you just didn’t have any school spirit.

    The best part of Homecoming for me was being in the band. I loved all the extra practice we put in.  We worked hard on a special half-time show, and the Pep Band performed at every rally. We got to ride on a flat-bed truck through the town, playing all the fight songs over and over again.  Is it any wonder that after 50 years I can still play “Anchors Aweigh” from memory?? (As another nod to our Navy roots, “Anchors Aweigh” was adopted as the fight song.) 

    Sometime during the week, the kids in the Senior class scaled the hill we called B Mountain, to put a fresh coat of whitewash on the rocks that formed a capital “B”.  They also had to update the previous class’s work so that on the evening of the game, when the spotlight was switched on after sunset, the resplendent “B” and our graduation year was highlighted for all to withhold.

On the night of the game the excitement was electric!  The band in their uniforms marched to a

cadence from the band room to the football field.  The Pep Club wore their uniforms, complete with white gloves, and sat in a designated section in the bleachers.  The floats awaited the signal to circle the field.  Convertibles carrying the Homecoming Queen candidates and their escorts drove slowly in front of the bleachers while Mr. Kubik, the drama teacher, introduced each of them to the crowd. They took their seats in front of the bleachers, the team took the field, the national anthem was played, and the game began.  After four quarters of football and all the pageantry was over, the team removed their helmets, the crowd fell silent, and the band began to play the Alma Mater. If you didn’t sing, well, you just didn’t have any school spirit.



Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Halloween With Don Knotts

By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

For Baby Boomers who were avid movie goers and watched network TV during the 1960s and 1970s, Don Knotts played characters who were relatable to both adults and children.  As such, his iconic portrayals created, and continue to create, lifetime memories shared by multiple generations.   One of his notable motion picture roles was the character of typesetter Luther Heggs, who aspires to become a bigtime newspaper reporter in the 1966 film "The Ghost and Mr Chicken."  This 90 minute comedy horror film is a wonderful way to celebrate Halloween as Luther is on a special news assignment to spend a night in a haunted house located in the fictitious town of Rachel, Kansas.

"The Ghost and Mr Chicken" was Don Knotts' first major project after leaving The Andy Griffith Show.  After having won five Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife, Knotts moved onto the big screen by reprising his comedic high-strung persona in a series of films under contract with Universal Studios.  The box office success of "The Ghost and Mr Chicken" paved the way for a series of Knotts-fronted comedy films that continued into the 1970s and was followed by slapstick roles in several Disney films.  With this 1966 comedy horror classic, the viewer is treated to watching the very same formula that worked so well as a TV program translated into an equally entertaining and ultimately satisfying motion picture.  For Don Knotts and his fans, the transition from TV to motion pictures appeared seamless -- quite a trick during an era where the boundaries between the two venues were far more pronounced.

To affirm the ease in moving from the small to large screen, the Luther Heggs character portrayed by Knotts is shown throughout the film sporting the very same suit and style of dress he wore when not in uniform as Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show.  Here are a few teasers and tidbits of information that might encourage you to watch "The Ghost and Mr Chicken" if not for the first time, then for another but with a fresh set of eyes.  (Spoiler Alert!)

> The movie was inspired by the 1963 episode "Haunted House" featured on The Andy Griffith Show.
> There are a number of actors along with writers and production crew members who worked both on The Andy Griffith Show and "The Ghost and Mr Chicken" thereby providing familiar faces and a comfortable feel to the pace of the film.
> Luther Heggs (like the Barney Fife character) boasts about his martial arts expertise throughout the film, and a scene where he is shown in a fighting pose is so memorable, that it was eventually placed on the lower left corner of Mr Knotts' gravesite memorial plaque.
> Unlike Barney Fife, however, Luther Heggs actually saves the day with his martial skills in the film's climax! 
> Despite his high-strung personality and perennial underdog status, Luther overcomes the odds and marries his sweetheart, Alma, portrayed by Joan Staley (who was a Playboy "Miss November" in 1958).
> Watch the closing scene of the film (Luther and Alma's marriage) very carefully as the viewer is able to see that perhaps there really is a ghost after all!

There is much more, but hopefully you get the idea that watching "The Ghost and Mr Chicken" is a unique opportunity to see your favorite characters and actors from Black & White Classic TV make the transition into full color on the motion picture screen.  As such, it is a fun, whimsical time capsule that is a great way to celebrate Halloween while paying tribute to a simpler but entertaining era in American pop culture.  We wish a Happy Halloween to everyone in our Galaxy Nostalgia Network audience!