About George Haloulakos and Past Articles

Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos, CFA, MBA. Teacher, Author, Chartered Financial Analyst [CFA] and Entrepreneur (Spartan Research and Consulting) specializing in finance, strategy and new business ventures (1979-to date). Member of ordained clergy - Orthodox Church in America [rank/title Reverend Protodeacon].

Published Author: (1) DOLLAR$ AND SENSE: A Workbook on the ABCs of Investments, (2) Directed Studies in Advanced Financial Analysis, (3) HIGH FLIGHT - Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance, Strategy and American Exceptionalism. (4) CALL TO GLORY - How the Convair B-58 Hustler Helped Win the Cold War.

Lifetime member - Strathmore's Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders.  3-Time Excellence in Teaching Award Winner.  4-Time Excellence in Journalism Award Winner.  Honors at Entrance at University of Southern California where George earned a Bachelor of Science (Summa Cum Laude) and Master's in Business Administration.

Connect with George at LinkedIn where he writes about Finance, Aviation, Strategy, Game Theory and Pet Therapy.  The web link is:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43


by George Haloulakos

The Summer of 2020 has marked the return of America's manned spaceflight program with the successful SpaceX Dragon.  As we watched the first splashdown of an American manned space expedition since 1975, we were reminded that this landmark accomplishment with its enormous and optimistic promise for the future has its roots in classic science fiction TV.  As it turns out, “Lost in Space” (the classic CBS television series airing from 1965-68) reflected scientific protocols of the 1960s while offering a preview of what future rocket ships would look like!  In fact, the view from 1965 accurately depicted the design, propulsion and long-range missions that we are now starting to witness.  Viewed through the prism of 1960s scientific knowledge and mission protocols, the future as envisioned by “Lost in Space” (LIS) was both feasible and achievable.  Based on expert authority, we can make the case that LIS helped inspire the future through imagination.  The first five episodes of LIS contained most of the footage from the series pilot, "No Place to Hide" (which we covered in great detail in a Galaxy podcast titled "Man, Moon, Media & Myth" first broadcast October 2011). But in episode #6, the content of the "Lost in Space" series was entirely new while providing a template for what the future would eventually look like for rocket mission fundamentals. 

This particular episode, titled "Welcome Stranger," originally aired on October 20, 1965 with guest star Warren Oates as American astronaut James Hapgood who has come to enjoy the life of a roving space cowboy.  Hapgood and his rocket ship "Travelin' Man" lifted off from Earth on June 18, 1982 aiming for a possible soft landing on Saturn as an optional part of a fly-by survey mission. He missed his landing and has been wandering in space for 15+ years before his encounter with the Space Family Robinson in the late 1990s.  “Welcome Stranger” reflected 1960s scientific protocols – notably use of nuclear engine rocket vehicle applications (NERVA) for interplanetary and interstellar space travel. In this era, manned space flights to Mars were being planned, with possible missions to Saturn and Jupiter. At that time, a soft landing on Saturn or Jupiter was deemed possible as the gaseous composition of both planets was not yet fully known. Hence, the basis for this LIS story line.  When we view the launch of the "Travelin' Man" rocket ship (shown in the Black & White photo below this paragraph) it eerily resembles not only the rocket ships of the Mercury/Gemini Redstone programs from the 1960s, but accurately presages the McDonnell Douglas Delta DC-X Clipper (color photo shown as well) which presaged the SpaceX Dragon by more than 25 years!  The resemblance of both the imaginary and real space vehicles is underscored by the artist rendition of "Travelin' Man" that is also included in this article.

While LIS aired on network TV, aforementioned long-range missions were not only in the works but would require nuclear rockets to make them feasible/achievable. Moreover such expeditions were planned to occur in what would be the same timeline of the future as envisioned by “Lost in Space.” This is the essence of the book titled Rocket Propulsion Fundamentals and Mission Analysis, by Dr Vassilios Elias Haloulakos, that documents his research and technical contributions to helping conceive or develop nuclear rockets as well as reusable rocket ships such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-X, long before Space-X and Blue Origin ~ thereby affirming the scientific basis of the LIS future!  Here is a picture of the tantalizing cover of this book and its vision for the future that is now being realized.  Again, we would refer you to once again listen to the Galaxy "Man, Moon, Media and Myth" podcast for further insights.

While the public was largely enthralled with the USA versus USSR race for the first manned moon landing during the 1960s, other manned space flights for the ensuing decades (1970 - 2000) were also being planned for Mars along with possible missions to Saturn and Jupiter. At the time and as already noted, a soft landing on either Saturn or Jupiter was deemed possible as the gaseous composition of these two planets was not yet fully known. Viewed through the prism of scientific knowledge and mission protocols during the 1960s, a landing on Saturn’s moon Titan was understood as both feasible and achievable as an intermediate step before landing on Saturn itself. NERVA was the technology to make this happen! 

NERVA applied also to the goal of fulfilling interstellar space travel. In LIS, the original mission of the Jupiter II saucer craft was to transport the Space Family Robinson to the Alpha Centauri star system. When space cowboy Hapgood explains that he was traveling on a path taking him to Epsilon Eridani, a type K main sequence star, as is Alpha Centauri B, it becomes evident that for Hapgood and the Robinsons to cross paths was clearly in the realm of possibility in the future envisioned by “Lost in Space,” which itself was an extension of 1960s scientific knowledge!   

What are the takeaways as we reflect on the connections of the SpaceX Dragon with classic science fiction TV?  First, the “Travelin’ Man” rocket ship is a fusion of the Mercury & Gemini manned space capsules (1960s) but its Delta configuration (plus landing struts) - which became a signature characteristic of the DC-X reusable rocket that made its debut in the 1990s - is a testimony on how "Lost in Space" offered a realistic if not achievable future based on science fact! Second, the same can be said about envisioning the astronaut space suits.  What this teaches us is that advancing the future begins with Imagination -- which can take us to places we once thought might be unattainable. 

Please join us in saluting the resurgence of America's manned spaceflight program along with the 55th anniversary of the TV show ("Lost in Space") that helped inspire the future by sharing your thoughts by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn. View my LinkedIn profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43  

AUGUST 2020 THE SUMMER GAME: Baseball Returns -- Finding New Facets on the Diamond --

by George Haloulakos

The long awaited return of baseball - deferred for several months due to the public health crisis - has put forth new challenges for both players and fans alike.  Since the players are plying their skills on the diamond before largely "empty" stadiums (unless you count the cardboard cutouts of people as real fans) this has renewed interest in enjoying the summer game by listening to radio broadcasts in which the "Voices of the Game" create a pastoral setting for a veritable theater of the mind rather than watching the action on TV or streaming via Internet.  This includes creating sound effects (e.g., crowd noise, the sound of the bat connecting with a pitched ball, vendors selling concessions, and so forth) that we associate when certain events occur that elicit a response from the fans "in attendance."

For people like yours truly along with my fellow Galaxy co-hosts Gilbert and Mike, following baseball by listening to radio broadcasts has been a lifetime activity.  However, with newer generations of fans who learned the nuances of the game through the use of analytics & metrics (i.e., quantitative methods based on statistical analysis & applied mathematics), the absence of live games for the current season has created yet another way to appreciate baseball from the distant past to the present.  

Baseball has long been a venue for numbers.  Consider the Topps brand of baseball cards that contain the yearly lifetime statistics for players going back a century or more.  Collectors note that Hall of Fame or veteran players with lengthy careers tend to have "microscopic" matrices of numbers telling their story while younger players or those with short careers have those same statistics but in larger font!  Whether you are an "analytics" person or one who prefers the "eye test" there is no doubt that in the context of baseball, numbers offer a compelling vehicle that transport us back in time. 

As already noted, a classic Topps baseball card will carry the entirety of a player's career (as expressed by numbers) in a neat matrix that fits neatly in your wallet or pocket.  A box score contains the entirety of a game with its universal scoring or tracking metrics.  And now, with computer power at your fingertips, one is able to reexamine games from last night, last year or the last century with a clarity that enables us to have even greater appreciation for what we have witnessed either in person, watching on TV or streaming, or having listened to a game broadcast.  This has allowed people to have new conversations about old memories and thereby create new memories that elicit the same joy that comes from following a sport that has measured the passage of time like no other in American history.

Here is an example on how analytics enable us to have even greater appreciation -- if not insight -- into this great game while perhaps creating new conversation and sparking renewed interest in what has historically been known as America's Pastime.  The World Series - where all players aspire to showcase their talent and help their team become World Champions - can now be viewed through the prism of "The Golden Pitch" - a new metric defined as being a pitch that can only be thrown in Game Seven of the World Series in the bottom of the 9th inning [or in the bottom of an extra inning] when the road team has the lead BUT the result of that pitch has the ability to win for EITHER team.  It can be viewed as a baseball equivalent of sudden-death victory / defeat.  This feat has only occurred only seven times since the 1903 World Series, with the most recent being 2014 when pitcher Madison Bumgarner turned the trick leading the San Francisco Giants to their third World Series crown in five years.  To put this into even a sharper perspective: out of the more than 50 MILLION plus pitches hurled since the first World Series in 1903, there have been no more than between 36 to 40 such Golden Pitches.

Here is where the conversation becomes even more interesting: Out of those 36 to 40 Golden Pitches, 12 of them belong to Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry (!962 World Series MVP), with ALL of them coming in Game Seven of that storied 1962 World Series in which the Yankees held on to beat the Giants.  No other pitcher -- including fellow Golden Pitchers Christy Matthewson, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Mariano Rivera -- even comes close to Ralph Terry.  What the analytics reveal is that an iconic moment that is a treasured memory for Yankee fans (while a heart breaker for Giants fans) is EVEN more special if not unique, thanks to the application of these metrics.  Arguably this would make Terry the best pitcher of the moment in the greatest game on the biggest stage in baseball since 1903!

While games are being deferred, rescheduled or cancelled in the midst of the ongoing public health crisis of 2020, you can use this summertime to review baseball through a different prism and relive favorite moments or continue conversations from your childhood.  On this note and just for fun, I will offer this as a conversation starter (or to be more accurate, a restarter) for those of a certain age:  Yours truly recalls the schoolyard debates regarding who was the best player, Willie Mays or Henry Aaron? 
This became especially intense when both were neck-in-neck chasing Babe Ruth's career home run record in the 1971-72 period.  In the midst of this ongoing debate I submitted for consideration the name of another transformative player - Roberto Clemente!  My reasoning was based on a very simple metric with the aid of the eye test.  Clemente was 2-time World Series Champion with the Pirates (1960 and 1971), equal to the combined total of World Series Championships won by Mays (1954) & Aaron (1957) while playing for Pirates teams that had far less talent and depth in comparison to the Giants team of Mays and the Braves team of Aaron.  

So what is my current view with the passage of nearly 50 years since those schoolyard days?  With the aid of analytics, my appreciation for these three iconic, transformative players is: Mays is the BEST ALL-AROUND ball player, with Aaron as the BEST HITTER and Clemente as the MOST VALUABLE to his team (for the reasons I noted earlier).What do you baseball fans in the Galaxy audience think?  Please share your thoughts by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

View my LinkedIn profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43  

JULY 2020
-- Queens, Kings and Pawns on the World War II Chessboard--

The 75th Anniversary of the Allied Forces Victory in World War II provides an opportunity to look back at this historic event through the prism of interesting biographies whose lives intersected with the war on the Chessboard of Life.  There are, it would seem, countless stories about people and events of WWII that had enormous personal impact in the post war era. This would include the famous and not-so famous as well as sports stars, entertainers, writers, political leaders, scholars and so forth. This month, we remember two great Chess champions -- Vera Menchik and Akiba Rubinstein -- who not only left their indelible mark on the game they played so well, but also giving us pause to wonder what might have been were it not for the fortunes of war!

VERA MENCHIK - A Pioneer Ahead of Her Time at the Right Time
Long before the celebrated Polgar Sisters emerged as the world's reigning Chess family during the decades of the 1990s - 2000s, Vera Menchik (Feb 6, 1906 - Jun 26, 1944), a British-Czechoslovak-Russian Chess player became the world's first women's Chess champion.  Ms Menchik's dominance was overwhelming as she won seven consecutive world title women's championship tournaments from 1927 - 1939.  Her overall score in the 83 games spanning these seven title events was 78 wins, 1 loss and 4 draws!  In the four tournaments held between 1931 and 1937, Ms Menchik won 45 straight games!  Ms Menchik's supremacy in women's championships has never been matched, much less exceeded by the likes of male world champions such as Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov.  In sum, Ms Menchik was the longest-reigning female world Chess champion in history having held the title for 17 years.

As impressive as that championship reign was, it likely would have been even longer were not for the ravages of WWII.  Ms Menchik, who married in 1937 and then relocated to the United Kingdom, was the reigning female world Chess champion as the flames of World War II engulfed the world.  Sadly, Ms Menchik became widowed in 1943.  The following year, she and her sister along with their mother perished in a V-1 flying bomb attack which destroyed their London home.  Ms Menchik was only 38 years old, and had a full life ahead of her that sadly was brought to a close by WWII.  She had fully embraced her life in the United Kingdom and with the tide of the war swinging to the Allies was eagerly looking forward to fully concentrating on Chess and participating on the international stage as a world champion.  One can only imagine the great inroads Ms Menchik could have made in breaking down societal barriers in the post-war era.  We are left instead with a stellar legacy that is commemorated by the trophy for the winning team in the Women's Chess Olympiad named as the "Vera Menchik Cup" and a commemorative postage stamp issued by Yugoslavia.

AKIBA RUBINSTEIN - A Point of Light Amidst the Holocaust
Akiba Rubinstein (Oct 12, 1882 - Mar 14, 1961) is the quintessential "what might have been" in the Chess world as he was one of the strongest players ever who did NOT become a world champion.  Mr Rubinstein was a Rabbinical student in his native Poland who abandoned his studies to concentrate fully on Chess and thereby became one of the strongest end-game players in the history of the game.  As the shadows of war turned into a fiery storm that raged across Europe during the 1930s, Mr Rubinstein was plagued by mental illness and his Chess powers waned.  For a while he was able to peacefully live in occupied Belgium.  However as the Holocaust gained momentum, an SS officer recognized Rubinstein's name on an "official inventory" of people to be sent to a concentration camp.

Then the hand of Providence intervened as this same SS officer was a genuine Chess fan whose heart was not yet solely consumed by the darkness of evil.  At enormous personal risk to himself, the SS officer removed Rubinstein's name from the list for deportation as he could not bear to consign the aging and ill Chess grandmaster to an ignominious end in a death camp.  Although plagued by the ravages of mental illness for the remainder of his life, Mr Rubinstein was able to live with family until 1954, and then following his wife's passing lived in a long-term care facility.  He continued to follow the game he so loved, and is remembered not only for his prowess on the Chess board, but as a point of light in a world engulfed by war.

Do any of you have any special remembrances of World War II that have been passed along by loved ones or friends?  As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Forces victory, please share your thoughts by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

JUNE 2020
GOATS, Heroes and Health Care Professionals
-- People We Remember and Appreciate in the Midst of Challenging Times --

While most people have been sheltered in place in the midst of the worldwide public health crisis, popular conversation has revolved around the interrelated subjects of GOATS (Greatest Of All Time), heroes and health care professionals.  Specifically, with the absence of major league sports, popular conversation has been aimed at discussing if not debating the Greatest Of All Time sports figures (hence the acronym GOATS) with emphasis on heroic play under time pressure or extremely competitive circumstances for all types of sports in different eras.  At the same time, the reality of COVID-19 has also provided a sobering reminder on the heroes in our everyday lives, especially health care professionals -- whether it is physicians, nurses, technicians or support staff.

This ongoing nationwide conversation prompted my personal remembrance of a very, very special man, who was a GOAT not only in NFL Football but also the medical profession: Dr Daniel John Fortmann (1916-1995).  Dr Fortmann was our family doctor from the mid-1970s to the early-1980s.  He was a renowned physician & surgeon in Southern California from 1946 - 1984, and during that time was the team physician for the Los Angeles Rams (1947-1963).  Yours truly along with my parents were greatly blessed to be under his care as Dr Fortmann embodied all the ideals we associate with amazing health care professionals: Excellence, Integrity and Compassion.  The public itself was blessed by this man's towering presence as he was named chief of staff at St Joseph Hospital (Burbank, CA) in 1965.

I became acquainted in the mid-1970s with Dr Fortmann while I was in college.  At our first meeting --  not fully knowing just who this man really was -- I remarked to him that I had read about the gridiron exploits of an NFL Hall of Famer "Danny" Fortmann, team captain for the Chicago Bears during a career spanning 1936-1943.  He smiled and chuckled softly while acknowledging that he was THAT man!  Dr Fortmann then showed me a coin he wore around his neck that was the very same coin used in the coin-toss for the 1940 NFL Championship where he helped lead the Bears to a 73-0 victory over the favored Washington Redskins.  Needless to say, I was bowled over to be in the medical care of a person who was not only a football hero, but a hero in real life.  Here is a synopsis of a truly inspired life:
> High School Valedictorian with 12 varsity letters in sports.
> Phi Beta Kappa scholar at Colgate University and MD from University of Chicago Medical School.
> NFL Hall of Fame member (1965).
> College Football Hall of Fame (1978).
> NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
> US Navy Lieutenant in World War II (Pacific Theater - 1945).

Baby boomers who are longtime NFL fans may recall that when the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team was presented earlier this year at the 2020 Super Bowl, Dr Fortmann's photo from his playing days was on display with other all-time greats departed this life before us.  Despite a comparatively short career, he was regarded by coaches and peers as the best and most important player on his team during his collegiate and NFL playing days.  He was the anchor for the legendary "Monsters of the Midway" (as the Bears were known in that era) as a 7-time First Team All-Pro (1937-1943) as a 3-time NFL Champion (1940, 1941 and 1943) plus 3-time Pro-Bowl selection (1940-1942).  As a guard who anchored the era's most dominating team, Dr Fortmann was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1930s.

Most people would regard this as sufficient for one lifetime, but for this GOAT, it was just the beginning as he would make his greatest and most lasting contributions in service to others as a premier physician and surgeon (in both military and civilian venues) -- ALL of which followed his stellar gridiron career!  Dr Fortmann was a man for all seasons.  When engaged with conversation with friends and colleagues alike, I find that being able to talk about someone who was truly a GOAT, hero and a force of nature in the all-important health care arena makes for a refreshing change from the all-too familiar popular discourse on the drama associated with sports stars who are obsessed with their personal brand, legacy management or rewriting history to fit their social media profiles.

Do you have a special someone who continues to be a point of light that you regard as a GOAT or hero, or perhaps someone who has been of immeasurable help to you and loved ones while confronting a health crisis?  I feel privileged and blessed to have known such a man as Dr Dan Fortmann and am certain everyone in our GNN audience can relate to this.  Please join us in celebrating the real GOATS, heroes and health care professionals -- transcendent people in our lives -- by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

MAY 2020
Laughter is the Best Medicine / The Marx Brothers  
-- Comedy for All Seasons and for All Time --

In the past, Galaxy Nostalgia Network podcasts and blogs have celebrated excellence in conversation (Johnny Carson), imagination (Rod Serling), appreciation for outdoor wildlife photography (Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom"), honoring the valor and sacrifice of American combat veterans (70th Anniversary of D-Day), and more recently we celebrated love in popular literature & film ("Love Story") as well as heroism for the Space Age (Apollo 13).  This month we recognize the oft used expression that laughter is the best medicine by celebrating the Marx Brothers -- 70+ years after their last motion picture was released ("Love Happy" in 1949).

It is indeed a tribute to the genius of the Marx Brothers that so much content from their comedic routines have become an integral part of American culture spanning multiple generations.  When thinking of the Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico and Harpo are the best remembered because this trio formed the "core" of this comedy team.  Two other brothers, Zeppo and Gummo, were also part of the team in the early years but later departed to pursue business careers at which they were successful.

What are the reasons for the staying power of the Marx Brothers and why do they continue to make us laugh?  My thought here is that their wide range of comedy styles arising from their distinct and ever memorable personalities were an almost invincible if not timeless combination.  Groucho's acerbic wit is peerless, Chico's comic ignorance and charm coupled with Harpo's gregarious physical comedy made for some memorable on-screen moments.  Here, in the interest of brevity, we offer a sniff of the cork:
> Groucho making the observation to co-star Margaret Dumont that he could visualize her slaving over the hot stove, but he could not see the stove!  Or his rendition of "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" - that later became the theme song for his 1950s TV show "You Bet Your Life."
> Harpo's mirror scene with Groucho in the film "Duck Soup" as well as becoming overtly friendly with the female cruise workers in the close quarters of an ocean liner stateroom causing Groucho to say that Harpo did better with the opposite sex while asleep than he (Groucho) did while awake!  The famous stateroom scene was from "A Night at the Opera."
> Chico still raises laughter when we repeatedly hear him ask "Why a Duck" in the film "Cocoanuts" and witness his "Sanity Claus" addendum to a contract he was drawing up for Groucho in "A Night at the Opera."

Groucho's ability to carry on rapid-fire conversation filled with sharp wit and double meanings without his brothers present enabled him to not only have more screen time, but to be a most effective straight man providing a segue for the antics of Harpo and Chico.  Harpo and Chico were also remarkable musicians as each of their films featured Harpo playing the harp and Chico playing the piano.  The love and seriousness of purpose displayed in their musical prowess was evident in their visage, thereby providing a nice break from the comedy but in no way disrupting the story line.  Harpo was a fusion of sweetness and malicious mischief.  Chico's lack of general knowledge and tenuous capability with the English language would often create humorous misunderstandings.  With all three brothers in perpetual motion and on-going conversation, it was a demonstration of extemporaneous or spontaneous comedy at its best!  Its unpredictable edginess made it a challenge for directors and co-stars alike (as well as censors), but the lasting popularity of their films demonstrate that the formula worked!

In the midst of being sheltered in place, people have been binge watching everything from classic TV and film to great moments in sports history.  To that list we would add or suggest you take time to watch the Marx Brothers.  Their brand of timeless humor will make you laugh and temporarily forget about the problems or issues of the day.

Please join us in celebrating the Marx Brothers -- the platinum standard in comedy -- by telling us which are your favorite Marx Brothers films by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Please also include your favorite moments or special routines of this remarkable comedy trio who remind us that humor does not have to be personally hurtful or crass to be truly funny.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

APRIL 2020
Golden Anniversary of "APOLLO 13" 
-- Heroism For the Ages --

For Baby Boomers, the year 1970 featured a remarkable display of heroism that not only defined the Apollo manned space exploration program but continues to inspire anyone who may be faced with grim or dire circumstances in which there is seemingly no hope.  Apollo 13 was designated as a mission focused largely on scientific exploration as the immediate two preceding missions, Apollo 11 and 12, respectively, fulfilled President Kennedy's goal of a manned lunar landing before the end of the 1960s and then affirming the precision spaceflight and landing skills of American astronauts.

Needless to say, the original Apollo 13 mission was aborted and became a life-or-death situation as an oxygen tank in the service module failed two days into the spaceflight.  The Apollo 13 crew - James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise - displayed superlative courage in the face of enormous odds by improvising critical solutions with the aid of ground control to loop around the moon and safely return to Earth.  The situation was crucial as the crew faced the prospect of running out of oxygen and power in the midst of their spaceflight.  However, the astronauts were able to use the lunar module (call sign "Aquarius") as a lifeboat while shutting down the command module (call sign "Odyssey") so that its resources could be conserved for reentry into Earth's atmosphere.  The "Aquarius" was designed to support two men on the lunar surface two days, but its systems were reconfigured along with transfer of cartridges from "Odyssey" to enable three men to survive for four days.  This was cutting it extremely close, especially noting that the mission launched on April 11 and landed back on Earth April 17 (with the explosion of the oxygen tanks occurring April 13).

The Apollo 13 astronauts exemplified heroism not only for the Space Age but for all ages.  My father, Dr Vassilios Elias Haloulakos, worked with Lovell and Swigert.  Yours truly, courtesy of my father, met Haise in person in 1977.  As such, the Apollo 13 astronauts are considered as extended family members!  These men were heroes before they were astronauts: all were holders of degrees in science & engineering, active duty members of the US armed services and test pilots.  While their original mission was bringing the light of knowledge to all mankind through scientific exploration of another world, the Apollo 13 astronauts ironically ended up exemplifying heroism associated with the Homeric legend that was the command module's call sign!

Apollo 13 has been immortalized in pop culture and media, and we would commend our Galaxy audience to peruse the archives of published works as well as various TV documentaries and of course, take time to watch the 1995 motion picture directed by fellow boomer Ron Howard.   As an example of how Apollo 13 still holds the public imagination is that the most popular or widely known expressions inextricably connected with Apollo 13 continue to be a part of our lexicon: "Houston, we have a problem" and "Failure is not an option."

Please join us in celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Apollo 13 by sharing memories of this major historic event by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Please also include your other memories of this remarkable era when mankind set forth on a journey to the stars.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

MARCH 2020
Golden Anniversary of "AIRPORT" 
--The Movie That Launched the Disaster Film Genre--

For movie-goers the 1970s is probably best remembered as the decade of the Disaster Film.  Big screen films such as "The Poseidon Adventure," "Earthquake," "The Towering Inferno," "Black Sunday," "Two-Minute Warning," "The Cassandra Crossing" and many more dominated the box office.  But the Golden Age of the Disaster Film literally took off on March 5, 1970 with the release of "Airport" -- a blockbuster film based on the 1968 Arthur Hailey best seller with the same title.  In this instance, both the book and the film were high-flying commercial success stories.  "Airport" boasted an Academy Award winning All-Star cast that included Burt Lancaster, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton and George Kennedy.  Other headliner stars featured in the cast were Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset and Jean Seberg.  The combination of an exciting story, major film stars, great special effects and realistic action scenes all shown on a giant screen at breakneck pace made for a winning combination.  "Airport" earned over $100 million in box office receipts -- a 10-fold return on investment as the film had been made for $10 million.

The premise of taking a seemingly ordinary common place setting like a busy metropolitan airport, the individual drama of so many individual people and families reaching a nexus on a commercial jet flight and then colliding with severe winter weather and a suicide bomber provided a formula that was oft repeated throughout the 1970s.  The aforementioned partial list of disaster films in the same decade is a testimony to its popularity and commercial success.  Despite mixed reviews, the genre took hold by not only defining film making for the 1970s but continuing into the ensuing decades.  James Cameron's 1997 epic film "Titanic" (winner of 11 Academy Awards) is an affirmation on the staying power of the disaster film and its hold on the public imagination that really achieved grand scale starting with "Airport" in 1970.

"Airport" is packed with lots of great scenes but perhaps the two most endearing and memorable characters were Patroni -- the chief flight mechanic played by George Kennedy (who literally saves the day with his expertise on the Boeing 707 jet airliner) -- and Ada Quonsett - an elderly habitual stowaway played by the First Lady of Stage, Helen Hayes (whose Academy Award winning performance is a stellar fusion of drama and comedy).  Baby boomers who watched Classic TV during the 1960s will also note the excellent performances by Barbara Hale, Gary Collins and Whit Bissell.

While the film gives attention to the details associated with both airport and airline operations, the effective intertwining of personal stories coupled with minute-by-minute decisions as disaster unfolds truly makes for compelling, fast-paced, high-flying drama!  There were three sequels that followed over the next nine years, but none could quite match the novelty, star power and realistic excitement of the original.  Such are the rewards of not only being first, but also best!  Another aspect of "Airport" that can only be appreciated with the passage of time is that it is truly a time-capsule of another era.  Not just in terms of jet air travel, but pop culture, human values and also film making.

On a very personal note, this movie holds special memories for me as I first saw it on the big screen on Hollywood Boulevard in the Spring of 1970.  My mom took me out of school that day for a medical appointment and as a special treat after visiting the doctor, she then took me to see "Airport."  What a treasured memory!  In general, the Disaster Films made movie-going a fun event for family and friends as the use of very-large wide screens, extra-large speakers, zooming in for close ups or backing up for panoramic, wide-angle views made theater audiences feel as if they themselves were actually experiencing the on-screen action themselves.  This created lots of conversation whether among kids in the school yard or adults at a cocktail party.  As movies migrated from theaters onto TV at a much faster clip, the Disaster Film genre was unique for its time as it helped maintain strong motion-picture theater attendance despite the reduced time from large to small screen for newer films.

If somehow you missed this epic film, or have not viewed it for quite some time, it might be fun to give it another look with an appreciation for the amazing star power assembled in a single film and as a testimony on how big-screen movies continue to transport audiences to another place and time.  Please join us in celebrating the Golden Anniversary of "Airport" by sharing memories of the book or movie by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Please also include memories of your other favorite disaster films from the 1970s as we fly high above memory lane.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  February 14th not only marks our celebration of Valentine's Day but also the 50th anniversary of the publication of Erich Segal's Love Story, a best-selling romance novel later made into a full length motion picture the very same year starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw.  At 131 pages, this slim, hardbound book stayed for 41 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, reaching Number One!  Love Story is romantic, humorous and tragic.

The story of two young people -- Ollie and Jenny -- from entirely different backgrounds who fall in love, marry and then face the daunting challenge of self-financing Ollie's law school education is one that reflected the pop culture of the 1960s.  Ollie comes from a very wealthy New England family while Jenny is the only child of a Rhode Island baker.  Since Ollie's parents oppose the marriage, this leads to an estrangement.  Set in Boston and New York City, our romantic duo not only survive but thrive as Jenny teaches private school while Ollie graduates 3rd in his law school class, thereby receiving-and-accepting a job offer from a respectable New York law firm.  With the wind seemingly at their backs, tragedy strikes as Jenny is diagnosed with Leukemia and the prognosis is terminal.  Ollie seeks financial relief by reaching out to his estranged father who while lending his son the money, is not told about the grave situation at hand.  Just prior to her passing, from her hospital bed Jenny tells Ollie to not blame himself and to please hold her tight before she passes away.  When Ollie's father discovers that Jenny is extremely ill, he travels to New York City but by the time he reaches the hospital, Jenny has passed.  Ollie's father apologizes to his son.  Ollie replies with something Jenny taught him: "Love means never having to say you're sorry..." and then breaks down in his father's arms (noting that he had never cried in front of his father until that very moment).

This romance novel, despite receiving rather scathing if not harsh reviews, was an immediate commercial success.  Moreover, despite critics saying Love Story did not qualify as literature, found to their surprise that the book actually helped fuel increased interest in reading, especially with young people from 8th grade on up!  The book became such a wildfire commercial success and pop-culture phenomena that it was made into a full length motion picture and released on December 16, 1970  -- just ten months after it was published!  The theme song ("Where Do I Begin?") for the film version of Love Story was a huge success, especially the vocal rendition by Andy Williams.  Erich Segal, the author of Love Story, helped contribute to the film's success by recommending Ryan O'Neal for the role of Ollie.  Segal had worked with O'Neal in the 1968 film "The Games" which profiled various Olympic marathon runners in a fictionalized account of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  Interestingly enough, Segal himself was an accomplished competitive runner!

My favorite memory of Love Story has nothing to do with either reading the book myself or watching the film in person.  While I enjoyed both the book and the film, my favorite moment occurred in my 8th grade English class where a female classmate was doing an oral book report before the entire class.  She concluded her report with a deeply moving, poignant reading of the closing pages in which Jenny passes away in Ollie's arms, which then follows with Ollie's reconciliation with his father.  Even now, nearly 50 years later, I get misty eyed when I recall what I believe was one of the very best readings I have ever witnessed.  Her heartfelt reading inspired me to read the book and then see the movie.  The theme song from the film later became my mother's favorite!

Love Story is not merely a pop-culture relic from the late 1960s / early 1970s, but a stirring reminder on why we celebrate Valentine's Day and how love transcends all generations.  As the song title says ... "Love Makes the World Go 'Round."

Please join us in celebrating Valentine's Day along with the 50th anniversary Love Story by sharing memories of the book or movie by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.

Whoa, Nellie!  Remembering Dick Lane, Wrestling and Roller Derby

HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all!  And for those of you who view the New Year as the beginning of the 2020s, HAPPY NEW DECADE!  Whoa, Nellie!  Where has the time gone?  Hopefully, it has been the basis for creating wonderful memories!  Using the exclamatory phrase "Whoa, Nellie!" provides a Maginot Line for baby boomers and their remembrance/association of how this became part of the boomer lexicon.

Much younger baby boomers typically associate this phrase with former ABC sports announcer Keith Jackson but more seasoned boomers with a longer time line know that "Whoa, Nellie!" was actually coined by Dick Lane a longtime Southern California announcer who called play-by-play action for roller derby and wrestling from the late 1940s through the early 1970s.  [In fact, Mr Jackson himself acknowledged/credited Mr Lane with coining this phrase that both gentlemen used in their long, distinguished professional broadcasting careers.] For those who grew up in the Los Angeles area, Mr Lane is specifically remembered as the lead announcer for the Thunderbirds team Roller Derby on KTLA Channel 5 and Championship Wrestling on KCOP Channel 13.  These events were broadcast from the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles (built in 1924 and one of the few wrestling/boxing arenas still in existence from that golden era -- albeit now as a Korean-American evangelical church).  My father was friends with Mr Lane as both were members of the same lodge and I recall hearing personal accounts on how Mr Lane could make a simple dinnertime conversation a hyper-kinetic event with his energy, charm and genuine interest in people -- especially his fans, old and young alike!

Long before wrestling became a worldwide multi-media mega-billion empire, Mr Lane's signature calls helped elevate wrestlers like Jim Londos, Gorgeous George and Andre the Giant into legendary status while furthering the popularity of the sport.  Similarly, Mr Lane did the same with popularizing Roller Derby worldwide (especially in Australia and Japan) as the LA Thunderbirds reached a peak attendance of over 50,000 for an exhibition match in Chicago's Old Comiskey Park (September 1972).  Fittingly, in the same year, Mr Lane played himself as a roller derby announcer in Raquel Welch's memorable film "Kansas City Bomber."

Mr Lane was posthumously inducted into the "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" Hall of Fame (1996) and the Southern California Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (2002).  The Grand Olympic Auditorium where Mr Lane demonstrated his broadcast excellence, remains an iconic landmark that transcends its Los Angeles locale, for I would guess that members of the Galaxy audience can relate to similar buildings that once existed in large and small towns alike all across the continental USA.  Even if you did not see such a building in person, you no doubt saw something just like it in Rod Serling's "Requiem For a Heavyweight" or the film noir John Garfield movies from the 1940s or classic TV shows like "Route 66" and even the Sly Stallone "Rocky" film series that began in 1976.  The Grand Olympic Auditorium and Mr Lane are indelibly associated with a Los Angeles from an earlier period in our history - often eliciting images of smoke-filled arenas -- but transcend space and time as we are reminded of lifetime memories that have now become priceless treasures.

Please join us in celebrating the New Year by sharing memories of wrestling, roller derby and Dick Lane by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.
Remembering Our Favorite Holiday Episodes From Classic TV

It has been a longstanding tradition here on the Galaxy Nostalgia Network to pay tribute to the Holiday Season through our podcasts and this monthly blog.  This year, we pay tribute to one of the best and perhaps one of the most beloved episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show."  Aired on the CBS Network on December 19, 1960, "The Christmas Story" was the eleventh episode of season one and the only Christmas episode in "The Andy Griffith Show" complete series.  A little known bit of trivia about this wonderful Yuletide episode is that it featured actress Margaret Kerry, who was the model for the Tinkerbell character in the 1953 Walt Disney animated feature film "Peter Pan."

Here is a summary of this sparkling episode:  On Christmas Eve, Mayberry's curmudgeon and retail store owner Ben Weaver insists that Sheriff Andy Taylor jail moonshiner Sam Muggins.  Andy complies with this request as Ben has physical evidence to support his charge of law breaking but also incarcerates Sam's wife (played by the aforementioned Margaret Kerry) along with their young son and daughter since they all had knowledge of Sam's moonshining.  The story takes a most charming turn as Andy, Barney Fife, Ellie Walker, Aunt Bee and Opie decide to relocate their Christmas party to the Sheriff's office / jail so that the Muggins Family can celebrate the Nativity.  They bring along a sumptuous feast with all the trimmings plus a Christmas tree.  Everyone, including the Muggins Family, is decorating the tree while singing Christmas carols.  Barney even dresses up as Santa Claus!  Ben Weaver, secretly watching from the window outside the jail, observes this Yuletide joy unfold and is deeply moved as well as transformed by the Christmas spirit.  Weaver concocts several! unsuccessful schemes to get himself arrested so he can join the party.  When Andy realizes this, he arrests Ben and then the TV audience witnesses the two men arriving at the jail with a suitcase full of wrapped gifts from Ben's retail store for everyone, including the Muggins Family.  Ben is welcomed by one and all while enjoying the food and drink at the party.  Andy releases the Muggins Family as there is no longer any evidence of wrongdoing.  Reason?  Ben is shown in the closing moments of the episode asleep in one of the jail cells after having finished drinking the jug of Sam's moonshine!

This Holiday episode from a classic TV show is one of many examples seen in other television series in the same era that remind us of the reason for the season.  In this instance, we are able to witness in the span of less than 30-minutes why programs like "The Andy Griffith Show" continue to resonate in our hearts as they remind us of the importance of showing goodness, kindness and love to one another.

Please join us in celebrating the Holiday Season by sharing your favorite classic TV memories featuring a holiday-based theme by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.



This year marks the centennial anniversary of the National Football League (NFL) and we celebrate this great event through the prism of the amazing 21-year career of quarterback Earl Morrall (1934-2014).  Morrall is an NFL legend as indicated by his different monikers: King of the Comebacks, the Best of the Back-Ups and the Champion of the Understudy.   Any one who has played football at any level or in any venue knows the importance of the quarterback (QB) position, and can relate to the enormous competition to be the signal caller.  Morrall exemplified the preparation and commitment to excellence we all strive for, especially in sports.  By his own words he said that "when you get the chance to do the job, you have to do the job."  Morrall showed why it was prudent to be prepared at a moment's notice for such an opportunity.

Morrall elevated the importance of the understudy, and much more.  During the first twelve years of his NFL career he was a backup QB for the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions and New York Giants.  In an era of legendary NFL QBs (Bobby Layne, Norm Van Brocklin, Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, et al) Morrall showed himself to be a competent, efficient professional always ready to take the helm when needed if the number one signal caller was unable to play.  When Morrall joined the Baltimore Colts, his legend unfolded.  Taking over for an injured Johnny Unitas in 1968, Morrall led the Colts to an NFL Championship while earning MVP and All-Pro honors.  Two years later, he again came off the bench to replace an injured Unitas, this time in Super Bowl V, to lead the Colts to a last second victory thereby winning the World Championship!  Two years later, this time with the Miami Dolphins, Morrall took over as the QB from the injured Bob Griese and helped lead the Dolphins to an undefeated season plus win a playoff game.  While Griese returned as the starter for the AFC Title and Super Bowl games to cap the Dolphins' first World Championship, Morrall continued to work closely with head coach Don Shula (who was his former coach while playing for the Colts) in what can best be described as an informal but active player/coach role.  Having Morrall available to immediately step into the QB role enabled the Dolphins to not only achieve the only perfect season in NFL history, but go on to repeat as back-to-back Super Bowl champs the very next season!   Following his NFL career, Morrall mentored legendary collegiate QBs Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde at the University of Miami thereby passing along the art of quarterbacking to a new generation.

Ironically, in this the 100th year of the NFL, there has been a rash of injuries to a rather large number of star QBs, thereby again elevating the importance of having a good substitute in the wings.  It would seem that NFL teams are all now eagerly searching for this generation's Earl Morrall just in case the situation requires an effective substitute to step in.  Earl Morrall showed what it means to be a leader and a great team player.  Don Shula described Morrall as an "intelligent quarterback who's won a lot of ball games for me."  There have been a lot of NFL QBs who are heroes of the game.  While heroes get remembered, legends never die.  Earl Morrall was a legend, and now almost 50 years since his stellar gridiron accomplishments, we salute this Galaxy Good Guy as one of the best to ever play the game, albeit in a back-up role!

Please join us in celebrating the centennial anniversary of the National Football League by sharing your favorite NFL football memories with us by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.



1939  --  Greatest Year in Film History

When discussing the "greatest ever" on any subject, venue or genre, there is usually a vast spectrum of opinions and diverse views.  Yet when it comes to singling out the greatest year ever for films, there seems to be agreement among experts and fans alike that 1939 stands head and shoulders above them all.  The American Film Institute, noted film critics such as Leonard Maltin, Pauline Kael, Siskel & Ebert, et al have all cited 1939 as cinema's best year.  When viewed in historic context, it is hard to argue otherwise.  The iconic films from that year have become fan favorites that span multiple generations, especially Baby Boomers who first experienced watching these films with their parents, and then rediscovered them via Turner Classic Movies (TCM), DVD and Blue Ray so they could then share with later generations!

1939 was a perfect year in that it featured the major studios, movie stars, producers, writers and directors -- all at the peak of their careers.  It was said that MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) had more stars than heaven!  Coming at the end of the Great Depression and just prior to the start of World War II, it was a one-of-a-kind moment in time when imagination, innovation, originality and creativity came together to create lifetime memories and unsurpassed levels of excellence.  While this column does not allow for us to cover all the many films and stars that left an indelible mark that year, it is possible for us to offer a sniff of the cork so to speak, and invite members of the GNN following to share their memories as well.

Here is a small sampling of iconic films along with featured stars:  "Gone With The WInd" (Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh), "Dark Victory" (Bette Davis), "Goodbye, Mr Chips" (Robert Donat & Greer Garson), "Love Affair" (Irene Dunne & Charles Boyer), "Wuthering Heights" (Merle Oberon & Lawrence Olivier), "Ninotchka" (Greta Garbo), "Stagecoach" (John Wayne), Mr Smith Goes to Washington" (James Stewart), "Of Mice and Men" (Burgess Meredith) and "The Wizard of Oz" (Judy Garland).

The aforementioned list of amazing movies were all nominated for "Best Picture" and there are even more films equally deserving that have also stood the test of time such as the "Sherlock Holmes" series featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as well as the "Thin Man" series with William Powell and Myrna Loy.  There was also "Golden Boy" with Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden as well as "Gunga Din" with Cary Grant.

Please share your favorite movies from 1939 with us by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.




Here is a fun topic in which everyone in the GNN audience is invited to share their own special memories: The Double Feature or Twin Bill!  This motion picture event was an industry practice in which theater managers would show two movies for the price of one!  Typically, though not always, a double feature would have a common theme uniting the films.  One such memorable example was the Clint Eastwood "Spaghetti" westerns (The Man With No Name) from the 1960s, shown here in this poster.  The common theme approach was particularly evident with Walt Disney family films, science fiction, horror/monster epics or perhaps showcasing a major movie star in defining roles (e.g., Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's or Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Butterfield 8"), action film series like James Bond, and so forth.
Usually, the one-film theaters were corporate or company owned (i.e., affiliated with major motion picture studios) as they usually screened first-run or new releases while it was locally owned, neighborhood theaters that ran the double-feature.  The advent and subsequent growth of the multiplex theaters (i.e., multiple theaters with smaller auditoriums in large buildings) in the mid-to-late 1970s led to the diminution of the double-feature as an industry staple and eventually to becoming a nostalgia type event.  In addition, the rise of the video industry led to the issuance of VHS cassette tapes in the 1990s that featured two films on the same tape (with the second often a sequel to the first film).  In decade of the 2000s, specifically in 2009, the big screen once again hosted the re-release of two popular films in the same venue, "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" at select movie theaters where they were shown in Disney Digital 3-D, thereby making for a special event theme.  The re-release of this blockbuster duo helped prime the viewing audience for the release of "Toy Story 3" the following year!

Here are the questions for our GNN audience: What is the last double feature you attended?  Do you recall the films and where you watched them?  Any special memories associated with that?  To get us started, yours truly will share some memories.  The last double-feature I attended was in Palm Desert, CA (Labor Day Weekend 1980) while visiting friends.  We went to the neighborhood theater just one week prior to starting our last year of graduate business school and the films we saw bore little in common other than being fun and memorable on their own merits.  "The Final Countdown" - a time travel epic featuring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, James Farentino and Katherine Ross - and "Caddyshack" - the classic sports comedy with Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.

Please share your Double Feature memories with us by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail to the GNN web site.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.



-- The Way We Were and Summer Vacation --

Believe it or not, during the early to mid 1960s as commercial air travel entered into the Jet Age, this mode of travel was still a novelty yet at the same time fast becoming a part of mass transportation.  As such, it was thought of as a major event worthy of dressing up in formal attire with minimal carry-on luggage.  In the early days of commercial jet aircraft travel, the storage compartment area above the seats were literally designed to only accommodate "coats and hats" but NOT heavy luggage.  This can be seen when viewing vintage TV shows from that era such as "Twilight Zone" and other such programs that periodically featured commercial air travel while showcasing the latest jet aircraft of the day.  Here in Southern California, Continental Airlines -- known as the airline flying "the proud bird with the golden tail" -- used a novel approach to encourage families to use commercial jet air travel as a way of making summer vacations an adventure if not a fun experience.

In 1965, Continental Airlines offered a 1-hour flight on its signature Boeing 720-B aircraft (shown here with its golden tail) flying out of Los Angeles International Airport as a promotion for the virtues and comfort of air travel.  This 1-hour flight provided passengers a wonderful air tour over Southern California featuring a panoramic bird's eye view from the ocean to the desert as well as the mountains that proved more exciting than an amusement park ride.  Since our family was planning a summer long sabbatical overseas in the summer of 1965, my parents saw this as a great way to prepare themselves along with yours truly for the transcontinental and trans-Atlantic flights that would soon follow.  Since that flight so long ago, I have been blessed to make many, many jet flights -- some for business, some for pleasure.  Whenever I board a jet airliner, I always journey back to that wondrous era in 1965 when it was all so very new for nearly everyone.  I also recall wearing a coat and tie (as did my father) while my mother wore a dress and high heels (think Jane Wyatt, Donna Reed or Barbara Billingsley -- iconic TV moms from the 1950s/1960s).  All passengers did pretty much the same.

We have traveled a great distance since then, but when summertime arrives and family vacations begin, it is fun to remember the way we were along with things with wings!  What are some of your special memories of summer travel and family vacations?  Please share them with us by posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page (and be sure to "like" us when doing so) or via e-mail.  Likewise, I am always receptive to hearing from our wonderful Galaxy audience and/or connecting via LinkedIn.


JULY 2019

-- A Very Personal Remembrance --

Here on the Galaxy Nostalgia Network we have honored America's manned space program on an ongoing basis ever since the inception of the Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site podcast.  To get a "You Are There" experience we invite you to click on the icon found on the GNN web site on the top right side featuring a color photo of the manned moon landing with the title "Apollo 11 Moon Walk Remembered."  This very special podcast includes news broadcasts from July 1969 plus collective historic insights by yours truly along with Gilbert and Mike as we recall how this remarkable event intersected with our own lives while growing up here in Southern California.

This Golden Anniversary is especially meaningful for me as I am celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing with a very important announcement:  The collection of scientific books and research papers authored by my father, Dr Vassilios Elias Haloulakos (Jan 13, 1931 - Jan 13, 2019) -- which include his landmark contributions to the Gemini and Apollo manned space expeditions, Sky Lab, nuclear propulsion for space flight and the Delta reusable rocket -- will be donated to Brigham Young University fifty years to the day when we all heard the news that "The Eagle has landed."   The stellar career of Dr Haloulakos spanned the Jet Age, Space Race and Cold War. (His photo is shown here in this July Blog column.)   
He was studying for his Master's Degree in 1962 along with Neil Armstrong in the very same classroom at the University of Southern California before Armstrong was chosen for the space program.  When my father's USC classmate became the first human being to set foot on the moon just seven years later, we celebrated the accomplishment of a goal that had been boldly set by President Kennedy when the USA was lagging behind the USSR in manned space flight.  Knowing that my father had played an important role along with thousands of others who contributed to America's race to the moon gave me enormous pride that continues to resonate fifty years later.

Now future generations can learn about this very important era in our history by visiting the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University and reading my father's research papers and books on the Space Race, and many other related events that have shaped our lives.  If you have interest in reading or viewing the work of Dr Haloulakos as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 along with other remarkable scientific achievements, here is the contact information for getting access:
Dan Broadbent
Physical and Mathematical Sciences Librarian
Brigham Young University
2415 Harold B. Lee Library
Provo, Utah 84602
Tel: 801-422-2928

When initiating contact, be sure to mention that yours truly provided this referral and recommendation.  Please join me in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 by not only taking time to learn about this era by listening to the GNN podcast but also in remembering the many wonderful people who made realization of this achievement possible.

JUNE 2019


The month of June is known for graduations, weddings and the NBA World Championship Finals!  To get us started, here is the NBA Jeopardy answer:  Seattle SuperSonics and Washington Bullets.  And the Jeopardy question: Who were the teams that played back-to-back in the George Washington NBA Championship?

Forty years ago, two iconic NBA franchises -- the Seattle SuperSonics and Washington Bullets -- concluded a remarkable championship match and rematch during the 1977 - 1979 seasons.  Both teams were playing in places named after the first President of the United States with the Sonics representing the City of Seattle, Washington while the Bullets represented Washington, DC. Featuring NBA Hall of Fame members -- Dennis Johnson and Jack Sikma for the Sonics plus their Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkins along with Bullets' Hall of Famers Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes (the original "Twin Towers" on the court) -- it is hard to believe that neither of these teams now exist other than in memory!  The Bullets were later renamed the Wizards (while still playing in the Washington DC area) and the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City changing their name to the Thunder.  The teams split their championship matches with the Bullets winning 4 games to 3 in 1978 and the Sonics winning the rematch 4 games to 1 in 1979.  Both the Bullets and Sonics provide a startling contrast to the current emphasis on individual play and building superstar franchises by accumulating All Star talent via free agency.  The Bullets and Sonics certainly boasted strong individual talent but it was their stellar "team" play in helping each other out in a classic display of fundamentals and sportsmanship that bring a smile to longtime fans of the NBA.  This does not the mean the game was necessarily better back in the day, but it was certainly different.  Fewer games were televised, and often shown on tape delay -- even championship matches -- and the absence of social media certainly made for less of a national or global conversation regarding individual players and teams that we enjoy today.
As a onetime (25 years) resident of the Emerald City, I recall the sadness when the Sonics left Seattle as it reminded me of what baseball fans in the borough of Brooklyn, NY must have felt fifty years earlier when the Dodgers relocated to the West Coast.  As we get set for this year's NBA Finals, it is fun to look back and remember a different time when one bonded with teams rather than individual players, and the relative stability that kept franchises a bit more firmly rooted in a given city or region versus today.

What are your favorite memories of NBA Championships past and present? We invite you to share your thoughts by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive to hearing directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43

MAY 2019

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN -- Remembering a Landmark Techno-Thriller / Biological Disaster Story

Believe it or not, the best seller that helped introduce the term "techno-thriller" and make the biological disaster story into a genre that is indelibly carved into our collective pop culture consciousness now marks its 50th Anniversary!  Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain was published in hardcover on May 12, 1969 and was a page turner despite being 350 pages in length.  The story of scientists investigating the outbreak of a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism in the state of Arizona while under a strict timetable was so well received that it was adapted into a successful full-length motion picture just two years later directed by Academy Award winning director Robert Wise.

By the end of the 1960s, major disasters -- whether natural, man-made or a fusion of both -- came to be viewed as more plausible and made for an exciting blend of suspense, science and realism that often left reading and viewing audiences with feelings of dread as well as intrigue.  The Andromeda Strain firmly established Michael Crichton as an important author whose later works included Jurassic Park and The Rising Sun, and also was the creator of the TV drama ER.  A Harvard trained MD, Crichton was not only an accomplished author but a distinguished film & TV producer as well as screenwriter.  He was truly a Renaissance Man in the context of popular literature, motion pictures and TV.  While generally known for his later works, it is worth re-reading Crichton's The Andromeda Strain to not only celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a landmark best seller but remembering an inspired life of a creative individual whose influential work continues to resonate.

What are your favorite works of Michael Crichton? Since The Andromeda Strain is the book that launched Michael Crichton into the stratosphere of best selling authors, do you think it has held up well in relation to his other works? We invite you to share your thoughts by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43

APRIL 2019

TOPGUN: Celebrating the US Naval Fighter Weapons School's 50th Anniversary

In 1969, the US Naval Fighter Weapons School opened for business.  Immediately christened "Topgun" (one word, not two words as used for the title of the 1986 motion picture) the purpose of the school was to upgrade combat pilot training to improve the 2-to-1 kill-loss ratio that created a heavy toll on US air power during the Vietnam War.  By the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973, the previous 2-to-1 kill-loss ratio improved to a stellar 12-to-1 ratio for US Navy pilots, and a total 9-to-1 ratio when including US Marine Corps.  [The differential reflects not a disparity in skill sets for pilots in the two separate branches of the US military but rather the different type of missions for each that have various risk levels!  As a practical matter, Marine Corps aviation is expeditionary in nature, and this is largely the factor that resulted in different performance ratios.]

In the ensuing decades, TOPGUN has created generations of great pilots who have integrated their prior experience with the refined skills acquired from this specialized training that enabled them to pass the "art" along to their comrades in arms and/or successors.  As such, the name TOPGUN, in the context of the US armed forces and in popular culture, reflects a truly elite level of excellence!  With the advancement in avionics and electronics, the new generations of jet fighter aircraft are designed not so much for the classic "dog fights" but rather for deployment of weapons and counter measures that negate the need and frequency for up-close / face-to-face combat.  In addition, the use of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) or "drones" is now also part of TOPGUN training and tactics.  While the technology has changed, the one constant has been the strength of character and commitment to excellence required of all TOPGUN graduates -- who exemplify America's Best.  The Galaxy Nostalgia Network salutes TOPGUN -- that now bears the official name US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program -- on its 50th anniversary and its ongoing mission to upgrade the skill sets of naval aviators and naval flight officers so they may return to their operating units as surrogate instructors to help protect our great nation.

If you have any special tributes you would like to share in celebrating TOPGUN's 50th anniversary, we invite you to share those commemorations by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43

MARCH 2019

Teeing it Up With "I LOVE LUCY" - Remembering a Classic Golf Game!

With Springtime in the offing, avid golfers are already teeing it up on the links while rooting for their favorite players on the PGA circuit.  At this time of year, golf fans of all generations often watch the classic 1980 comedy film "Caddyshack" as they warm up for the series of upcoming major matches that run during the Spring and Summer seasons.  While this film certainly deserves the accolades from both serious and casual fans of golf, one of our all-time classic golf matches was featured on the "I Love Lucy" TV show in 1954, in which 3-Time Master's Champion (1940, 1947, 1950) Jimmy Demaret played himself in a spectacular guest starring role in which he plays with Lucy, Ethel, Ricky and Fred.

Ricky and Fred, fear that if Lucy and Ethel end up liking golf, they will always want to always to join them at every golf outing thereby not giving the husbands time to be by themselves.  In order to dissuade Lucy and Ethel, Ricky and Fred decide to teach their wives golf, but do so while making up very complicated and often absurd rules.  In Ricky-and-Fred's Imaginary Golf, one has to say "May I?" before making the first stroke as a way of addressing the ball!  Other rules in Imaginary Golf require the "winner" at each hole to carry all the golf bags for the next hole as well as when trying to hit the ball, one must always keep your eyes on the fairway and never the ball!  Lucy and Ethel naively follow all of these rules, and while trying to practice their game by themselves, learn from pro golfer Jimmy Demaret that their husbands have been playing a trick on them all along.  Mr Demaret agrees to help Lucy and Ethel get revenge by pretending to play by some of the Imaginary Golf rules in an exhibition golf tournament the next day.  Ricky and Fred are stunned at first, but soon become aware they themselves have been played by the first 3-time winner of the Masters!  The episode concludes with everyone laughing at the joke!

Whether you are a serious or casual golfer, or perhaps like yours truly, have only played miniature golf, check out this classic "I Love Lucy" episode as we tee it up for Springtime!

If you have special memories from either watching "I Love Lucy" or have favorite memories about either trying to learn or play golf, we invite you to share those memories by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43

February 2019

"RAWHIDE" - One of Our Favorite TV Western Series Celebrating its 60th Anniversary!

"Head 'em up ..... move 'em out!"  With this familiar refrain, trail boss Gil Favor (played by Eric Fleming) led a cattle drive during the 1860s immediately following the US Civil War in which he ably assisted by ramrod Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood), scout Pete Nolan (Sheb Wooley) and chuck wagon master Wishbone (Paul Brinegar).  This wonderful anthology first aired on the CBS network January 9, 1959 and ended January 4, 1966 with 217 black & white episodes chronicling the exploits of our heroes with notable guest stars that read like a Who's Who of major motion picture and television stars!  The theme song for "Rawhide" was composed by Academy Award winner Dimitri Tiomkin and sung by Frankie Lane is regarded as an all-time classic for its genre.

The series boasted a wide following among older and younger viewers as it dealt with diverse and oft serious topics such as parenting, racism, addiction and gender equality while still providing rough-and-tumble action plus romance in the American West.  Older and younger females of the viewing audience were most attracted to both Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood while males of the viewing audience enjoyed the crisp and sometimes humorous dialogue between Paul Brinegar, Sheb Wooley  and the rest of the cattle drovers.  The series boasted very strong production values and allowed all of the cast members to have equal if not prominent or lead roles throughout the seven-year run.  Thus while it is ranked as the 6th longest running TV Western series, it featured some of the very best stories and superior performances of this genre versus its longer running competitors.

If you are a fan of Clint Eastwood, this is a not to be missed experience via the magic of DVDs or streaming.  My two personal favorite episodes featuring Eastwood are: (1) "The Pitchwagon" (episode #105) in which his character Rowdy Yates gets to sing "Beyond the Sun" in a public setting (viewers always heard the instrumental version of this song as part of the recurring background music when either Fleming or Eastwood were riding their horses and in the final season as the closing theme song when the credits were shown) and (2) "The Calf Women" (episode #201) that featured a wonderful love story between guest star Julie Harris and Eastwood.  For those who enjoyed Eastwood singing in the motion-picture musical "Paint Your Wagon" it is a real treat to see one of our favorite action screen actors doing the same at an earlier stage in his great career.  There are lots and lots of great episodes that are likely to please every viewer of classic TV Westerns, and it is worth watching this series again from beginning to end, if only just to appreciate the anthology as a story-telling vehicle.

If you have special memories from either watching "Rawhide" or other great TV Westerns from the 1950s and 1960s, we invite you to share those memories by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43


January 2019

"Mr. New Year's Eve" - Ringing in the New Year with Guy Lombardo

For nearly a half-century, generations of people across North America celebrated New Year's Eve with Bandleader Guy Lombardo and his orchestra, The Royal Canadians.  From 1929 to 1959, first on radio and then on television, Mr Lombardo would broadcast live from the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and then from 1959 to 1976 from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  These live broadcasts (and later telecasts) were an integral part of New Year's celebrations by millions of people in North America enjoying these wonderful programs with friends and loved ones at house parties.  Yours truly is of an age that I can recall doing the same as it holds a special place in my heart.  Even though other fine programs (e.g., Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, New Year's Fireworks from the Space Needle in Seattle) since then have taken the place of Mr Lombardo and his renowned orchestra, The Royal Canadian's recording of the classic "Auld  Lang Syne" still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square, New York.

Although Guy Lombardo (1902-1977) is indelibly associated with New Year's Eve, his legacy extends beyond the music venue into the sport of hydroplane speed boat racing!  He won the Gold Cup in 1946 and was reigning US national champion from 1946-1949.  Before retiring from the sport in the late 1950s, he won every trophy in the field.  He was later inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame (2002) for his accomplishments.

To learn more about Mr Lombardo and his inspired life, I recommend you visit the following web sites:
> The Guy Lombardo Society -- http://www.guylombardomusic.com/guy.html

Do you have favorite New Year's memories from your either your childhood or later in life? If so, we invite you to share those memories by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43


December 2018

"J.T." - Celebrating Christmas on The CBS Children's Hour

For a generation of television viewers who were in elementary or junior high school (now called middle school) during the late 1960s, there are certain Christmas or Holiday themed TV shows or episodes that leave an indelible impression.  For yours truly and many others of this same generation, we recall "J.T." - a one-hour episode from The CBS Children's Hour first broadcast midday on Saturday, December 13, 1969.  Featuring a young Kevin Hooks as the lead actor in the title role, this beautiful story is about J.T. Gamble, a Harlem youngster who shows responsibility and compassion by nursing back to health a one-eyed, badly injured alley cat days before Christmas.  While aired as a children's program, "J.T." is adult in content and approach.  This heartwarming story enables the viewer to feel joy, sorrow, anger and sympathy through the prism of a child having to grow up in a tough, urban setting.  In the end, all of us, like "J.T." are transformed by the Spirit of Christmas, in which we feel God's unconditional love for humanity expressed by the birth of His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into our hearts and souls, and then showing that love to others.

Our precious pets, are a reminder of God's love, and this is poignantly felt during this classic Yuletide TV episode.  Like many viewers who are also cat lovers, I recall watching this program several times with my parents along with our pet cats sitting nearby!  In the decades before Internet and 24/7 digital media with hundreds of channels, the enormously significant public critical acclaim resulted in CBS taking the rare step of re-running the program on prime time just nine days later, preempting their top-rated "Gunsmoke" series and enlisting the assistance of Doris Day (star of "The Doris Day Show" on CBS and advocate for pets rights) to film a special introduction to this historic encore broadcast.  Amazingly enough, the encore broadcast crushed its competition (including "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In") in the audience survey ratings while propelling "J.T." to a prestigious Peabody Award in 1969.  If you are looking for a classic Christmas episode from the vault of major TV networks, then "J.T." is one that provides extraordinary insight, compassion and inspiration for adults and children alike.

Do you have a favorite Christmas or Holiday themed TV episode from your childhood? If so, we invite you to share those memories by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com. If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43


November 2018

"Oliver!" - Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

To get started with this month's GNN Blog, let's first play "Jeopardy."

Today's "Jeopardy" Answer:  The 1968 musical "Oliver!" And the Question is: What was the last G-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture?

This year is the 50th anniversary for "Oliver!" the British musical drama film adapted from the stage musical of the same name. Both the film and play are based on Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. A half-century after its release, this wonderful film still resonates with the charm, poignancy and insight into human nature that could only come from the pen of Charles Dickens. Its rich color, Dickensian period sound stage sets and fully dimensional characters that also give voice through song and dance leave the viewer with appreciation for the mercy and grace in contrast to the dark side of humanity so vividly portrayed through the persons of such unforgettable characters as Oliver Twist, The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sikes, Mr. Bumble and many others!

Until "Chicago" (2002), "Oliver!" was the last movie musical to win the Academy Award as Best Picture. While it featured such memorable songs as "Who Will Buy" and "Consider Yourself" the film retains its universal appeal due to being a film that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. Its sweeping style, unforgettable characters that reflect the spectrum of humanity and musical performances make "Oliver!" a treasure that is a superb adaptation of classic literature. But perhaps the most endearing aspect of "Oliver!" is that children are treated as equal participants in this great adventure. There are harsh moments of life that are not watered down, but interspersed with examples of mercy, love and grace that make for a splendid experience. If you have not seen "Oliver!" this is truly a worthwhile film to share with loved ones. The triumph of good over evil is both memorable and ultimately inspiring.

Do you have a favorite musical film or perhaps a film adaptation of one of your favorite childhood books? If so, we invite you to share those memories by either posting to the GNN Facebook Page or writing directly to the GNN e-mail address. As always, I would be receptive directly from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience. Please write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail. com.
If you would like to connect with me via LinkedIn, please visit my LinkedIn profile at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rev-protodn-george-haloulakos-cfa-bab6b43


October 2018

"The Sandlot" - Celebrating its 25th Anniversary

October is a special time for baseball fans as the entire month is dominated by the summer game's postseason play-offs that culminate with the World Series.  Baseball is indelibly connected with summer and so postseason play gives the feeling that summer continues even though we are now in autumn.  This year, we mark the 25th anniversary of "The Sandlot," a cult classic coming-of-age-film released in 1993 that tells the viewer about a group of teenage baseball players in the the San Fernando Valley (part of Los Angeles County in California) during the summer of 1962.
If you are looking for a fun film that embodies baseball and summertime, this 101 minute entry will help carry the good feelings of summer well into the autumn.  A young boy, Scotty Smalls (played by Tom Guiry), who has just moved to the San Fernando Valley and is seeking to find friends as well as fit in, joins a sandlot group of eight boys who practice every day in a neighborhood ball field that borders a local junkyard.  The film follows their summertime antics on-and-off the field through the prism of Scotty, who struggles to master the fundamentals of the game while also forming a stronger bond with his new stepfather (played by Denis Leary).  Scotty's mom, played by Karen Allen, offers love, encouragement and support throughout the film.  Among the fun moments involve the boys building an elaborate Erector set to rescue a lost baseball in the junkyard guarded by an English Mastiff known as "The Beast."  Other concurrent plot lines involve a dream sequence with Babe Ruth, the "Sandlot" ragtag boys playing against a financially well-heeled Little League neighborhood team (that has official uniforms), summer night marsh-mellow roasts, adventures at the local public pool and other such events that the audience can easily relate to.  For yours truly, one of the most endearing aspects of the film is how the boys connect with the junkyard owner (played by James Earl Jones) who was a superstar in the Negro Leagues and a good friend of George Herman "Babe" Ruth!  The junkyard owner's dog, known as "The Beast," is actually named Hercules and becomes the mascot for "The Sandlot" team in the years that follow.  If you have a yearning to travel into the past and wonder where others were in the summer of '62, or just want a break from the 24/7 news cycle, check out "The Sandlot."

Do you have a favorite baseball film?  If you have seen "The Sandlot," what your special moments from this film?  We invite you to share your memories by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:

September 2018

Flying High With "Sky King"

During the 1960s, Saturday afternoon TV serials - usually with an adventure or action theme - were quite popular as family-friendly programs that could be viewed by parents and children alike.  Among the more popular Saturday shows were "Roy Rogers," "Rin-Tin-Tin," and my personal favorite, "Sky King."  Featuring Kirby Grant as "Sky King," Gloria Winters as his niece Penny and Ron Hagerthy as his nephew Clipper, the stories featured a strong Western theme with an iconic twin-engine Cessna airplane named the "Songbird" that our heroes piloted to rescue lost hikers, help out in the local community and often capturing criminals and spies.

The episodes were originally filmed during 1951-59, and then aired in syndication on Saturdays through 1966.  It was the newer episodes filmed from 1955-59 that aired in syndication and inspired new generations of pilots as well as astronauts!  Mr Grant and his co-stars were role models of good citizenship, friendliness and bravery.  The half-hour scripts were intelligent and believable.  Among my favorites is a story in which a blind teenager and his seeing-eye dog "witnessed" a crime with "Sky King" teaming up with them to bring the criminals to justice.

The character Penny was a role model well ahead of her time as she was an expert pilot who was well mannered but fun.  Gloria Winters, who played Penny, wrote a book on etiquette for young girls titled Penny's Guide to Teenage Charm and Popularity that was published in 1964 (at the height of the TV program's popularity during its syndicated run).  Mr Grant's connection with aviation & aerospace was noted when he was killed in a highway accident while traveling to attend an October 1985 launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger.  He had been invited by one of the astronauts to witness the launch and then was to be honored for his contributions to inspiring the love of flight.  Ironically, this was the Space Challenger's last successful mission as it was later destroyed just a few months later in a tragic accident during its ill-fated launch in January 1986.

The "Sky King" series was shot in the high desert of Southern California that included locales such as Apple Valley, George Air Force Base, San Bernardino Mountains and the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.  One of the twin-engine Cessna aircraft used in the series is still flying and appearing at various aviation shows.

What do you remember about Saturday afternoon serials?  Did you have a favorite and what made it so special for you?  We invite you to share your memories by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:


August 2018

"The Endless Summer" - Sun, Sand & Surf

When yours truly returned home to Southern California after a 29-year sojourn here, there and everywhere, we termed this new chapter in our lives as "The Endless Summer" in remembrance of the classic film bearing that title.  More than half a century after its theatrical release, this amazing film that is a fusion of a travel log, home-movie of globe trotting, the surf culture and following the summer in search of the perfect wave still brings a sense of wonderment, contentment and pure fun that we associate with this magnificent sport.

"The Endless Summer" follows two surfers as they travel to the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and various parts of Africa in their quest for new surf spots and along the way introducing the sport to local residents.  Filmed with a 16 mm camera and presented with a conversational, casual, oft humorous narrative, "The Endless Summer" also includes a now classic surf-rock soundtrack provided by The Sandals.  Spoiler Alert:  The surfing duo actually discover the perfect wave off Cape St Francis in South Africa!  One other observation:  For those who are frequent fliers or long-time travelers, the contrast of traveling from place-to-place in 1966 seems a bit more relaxed if not easier versus the lengthy check-ins and security clearances one has to endure today.  This feeling is evoked as the viewer is literally there on every step of the journey!

During the dog days of August, make time for an evening of sun, sand and surf by viewing "The Endless Summer."  Also be sure to check out the Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site archive / library of past shows and give a listen to earlier podcasts on the topics of Surfing and Home Movies.  In both of these podcasts, there is extensive discussion about "The Endless Summer."

We invite you to share your memories by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:
July 2018


Every year in early July, we remember the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart, a transcendent figure in aviation history.  Ms Earhart was decades ahead of her time as a daring risk-taker who inspired generations of people on the joys of flight and exploration.  She disappeared in the South Pacific during a 1937 round the world trip in a Lockheed Electra (Ms Earhart and her iconic aircraft are depicted here in the photo posted on this blog entry).  The irony here is that the twin-engine/twin-tailed Electra aircraft -- the product of Kelly Johnson and the Lockheed Skunk Works in Burbank, CA -- was named for the third brightest star in the Pleiades open star cluster.  Electra is known as the "lost star" despite it being clearly visible to the naked eye!

Amelia Earhart was a "star" among stars in the context of aviation prior to her disappearance.  Thus the mystery is heightened when she was last seen piloting the Electra (named for the famed lost star) over the South Pacific.  What is overlooked when recalling Ms Earhart is that her courage was matched by keen intelligence.  She was able to see the big-picture while arriving at solutions through what might be termed as intuition rather than having to grind it out through mind-numbing iterations.  In addition, she had the "right stuff" long before that expression was associated with the original seven Mercury astronauts decades later.

Amelia Earhart has a very strong connection with my hometown, Burbank, CA where she is regarded as a transplanted native daughter.  If you are in the Southern California area, please take an opportunity to see where she lived in the Toluca Lake neighborhood adjacent to the City of Burbank.  In nearby North Hollywood (just steps away from a regional library bearing her name) there is a statue erected in Ms Earhart's honor.  Here is the web link for a view:  https://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/21545

Down the street is her cenotaph in the Portal of the Folded Wings at Valhalla Memorial Park.  Here is a web link:  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6667/amelia-earhart

When celebrating 4th of July -- the birth of our great nation -- it is also time to remember great Americans like Amelia Earhart whose pioneering accomplishments reflect the freedom and daring-do that is endemic to the USA.  
We invite you to share your thoughts by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:


June 2018

BEST OF THE BAD: Remembering Actors Insanely Good at Being Bad

Summertime is a season where lots of movies are released, and as we look back over the years, it is often the portrayal of the "bad guy" or "evil" character that is most memorable.  In part this is due to the complex nature of such characters, that in turn, makes them more interesting, especially if at one time their characters may not have been predisposed to evil.  Our favorite "bad guys" are usually generational and/or a function of what genre of film we like.

For this reason, and due to the vagueness and subjective nature of making lists, we invite you, members of the GNN following, to submit your favorite actors or actresses who were renowned for playing evil characters so very well.  To help get us started, I will offer four longtime favorites, and the films in which they appeared.

> Jack Palance -- who played Jack Wilson, the villainous gunfighter who wore the black hat in the classic Western "Shane."  Wilson was the quintessential killer who bullied and eliminated all who stood in his way ..... until the final confrontation with Shane (played by Alan Ladd) that featured perhaps the most famous fast draw gunfight of all.  Palance played his role with such panache and grace that one had to admire how evil was personified so well while at the same time feeling the intimidating presence he cast.

> Lee Van Cleef -- most well known for his hatchet face profile and piercing stare played the evil gun-for-hire in such big-screen classics as "High Noon" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."  His aforementioned visage was captured and immortalized as Angel Eyes, the antagonist opposite Clint Eastwood in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."  Any time one hears the classic Ennio Morricone musical score from this film, the lasting image of Angel Eyes getting ready to draw his gun comes immediately to mind!  Mr Van Cleef's headstone at his Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills grave reads "Best of the Bad" as a tribute to his iconic villain status on the big screen.

> Jessica Walter -- who played Evelyn, the young woman in "Play Misty for Me" who becomes infatuated, obsessed with and ultimately stalks a disc jockey (played by Clint Eastwood) was so convincing in her role that for a time parents were reluctant to name their new born daughters Jessica!

> Stephen Boyd -- played Messala, the evil Roman tribune in the epic religious drama "Ben Hur."  Boyd's stirring portrayal was so dominant that even when not on screen, he was able to more than hold his own against Charlton Heston who played the lead character for which the film is named.  The film won 11 Academy Awards, but interestingly enough, Boyd was not one of those awarded though his portrayal was the most memorable.   Boyd's signature ability to play the bad guy was highlighted in his valedictory role as a member of a Northern Irish terrorist group disguising himself as a priest to buy weapons in the 1977 season opener for TV's Hawaii Five-O in an episode titled "Up the Rebels."  Mr Boyd passed away unexpectedly three weeks after filming and the posthumous release of this classic TV episode was made all the more poignant by his being just 45 years of age.

Who are your favorite actors who played villains on the large and small screen?  
We invite you to share by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:

MAY 2018

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY: Remembering Favorite Moms in Film and TV

In honor of Mother's Day, our theme for this GNN Blog is to pose the question: who is your favorite mom either on film or TV?  Is it Leaver it to Beaver mom Barbara Billingsley?  Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch?  Or perhaps it is Vicki Lawrence as Mama in The Carol Burnett Show?  There are so many choices, I thought it might be fun for the GNN audience to share its memories of favorite moms!  To get us started, I selected two actresses who each hold the honor of having played not one, but two iconic moms on film and/or TV!  They are Jane Wyatt (Aug 12, 1910 - Oct 20, 2006) and June Lockhart (b. Jun 25, 1925).

Jane Wyatt came to prominence when she co-starred as Ronald Colman's character's love interest in the 1937 film Lost Horizon.  However, she is best known for her later roles as housewife & mother Margaret Anderson on Father's Knows Best (1954-1960) and as Amanda Grayson, the mother of Mr Spock in Star Trek.  In the original Star Trek series she was first seen as Spock's mother in the 1967 episode "Journey to Babel" and then again in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

In both Father Knows Best and Star Trek, Ms Wyatt portrayed mothers who were loving, kind, strong and empathetic.  She more than held her own in the scenes she shared with her onscreen husbands and family members.  Moreover, she was able to relate to children and/or young adults of all ages!  In addition, her characters are inextricably associated with the decade known as the "Fabulous Fifties" (Father Knows Best) and the 23rd century -- the future as envisioned by Star Trek.

June Lockhart, also has dual tracking mother characters spanning the past and the future: first as Ruth Martin (mother of Timmy Martin) in the classic TV series Lassie (1958-1964) and then as Dr Maureen Robinson in the science fiction series Lost in Space (1965-1968).

On Lassie, Ms Lockhart was an attentive mother who also had enormous responsibilities in helping her husband and son in running the family farm during the late 1950s / early 1960s.  As the matriarch of the Space Family Robinson, she was technically proficient with the mission equipment and scientific research while being a dutiful wife and mother as the family explored the outer reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy in the late 1990s / early 2000s.

Who are your favorite moms on screen?  We invite you to share by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

For those who are part of LinkedIn, please visit or connect with me at:

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to one and all!
April 2018

THEY GAVE ALL: Remembering Vietnam War Helicopter Pilots & Crewmembers

On April 18, 2018 at 4:00 PM (East Coast Time), the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Monument will be officially dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery. This monument honors the nearly 5,000 helicopter crew who gave their lives in operating rotary-wing aircraft during the Vietnam War.

The helicopters (notably the Bell UH-1 Huey - etched into the memorial stone) and valiant crews stand as iconic symbols of American bravery and courage while serving in combat. US armed forces relied heavily on helicopters to transport troops, provide close-air support as well as search-and-rescue / medical evacuations (known as "Dust Off" missions). The 2-1/2 foot by 2-1/2 monument shown in the above photo will be located in Section 35 along Memorial Drive (not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns) in Arlington National Cemetery. Please join me in offering prayer of thanks to honor the memory of all those brave helicopter pilots, crew chiefs, door gunners and medics who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom.

To view/read my presentation on the Bell UH-1 Huey that is dedicated to all who serve and have served in our US armed forces, please go to: https://www.uh1ops.com/forum/uh-1-pics-stories-news/presentation-on-the-uh-1
We invite you to share any special memories honoring our veterans who gave their full measure of devotion by posting on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

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March 2018

Revisiting a Favorite Film: Another Look at "King of Kings"

At this time of year, Christians all over the world are in the midst of Great Lent -- a period devoted to prayer, fasting, reading of Holy Scripture and frequent participation in the Sacraments to prepare for the celebration of the Holy Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Easter season is a time of renewal.  In that spirit, it provides a reason to revisit a favorite film -- the 1961 motion picture "King of Kings."  Much has been written about this film including its moving account of the Birth and Baptism of Christ, Sermon on the Mount, and other such events in the life and ministry of Our Lord.

Perhaps one of the most unique but underappreciated aspects of this classic film is the mechanism by which the viewing audience is able to experience what is occurring on screen: we are allowed to witness all of these events and more, through the person of a Roman centurion named Lucius (portrayed by actor Ron Randell).  From start to finish, Lucius is seen periodically throughout the film either interacting with the Virgin Mary or Christ Himself during major events recounted from The Bible.  This allows the audience to observe the conversion of Lucius from non-believer to believer.  It is carried out in a rather understated manner, but Mr Randell's portrayal is one of earnest conviction and seriousness of purpose.  His testimony on the events he witnesses is delivered with clarity and concision.  While it may seem that the character of Lucius is fictitious, upon further study it would appear that the name Lucius is a simplified or abridged version of the name Longinus -- who according to both Western and Eastern Christian tradition, is the Roman centurion who acknowledged Christ as "the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47).  The Feast Day of St Longinus is honored by both Western and Eastern Christians on October 16.

If you have never viewed this film or it has been a long time since seeing it on screen, take an opportunity to watch this deeply moving account on the Life of Christ with special attention to Ron Randell's portrayal of Lucius the Centurion.  
What are your favorite Easter themed films?  We invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

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February 2018

Remembering the Original PLANET OF THE APES (1968) and One of Cinema's Greatest Surprise Endings!

Long before mass-market tabloids and electronic social media, there was rarely a need for spoiler alerts as film patrons would usually honor theater managers' requests on refraining from sharing surprise or shocking endings to major motion pictures.  This enabled major motion pictures to sustain high box-office receipts over the course of a full year, and sometimes a bit longer with films associated with a cult following or with a particularly interesting storyline.  The original PLANET OF THE APES (1968) -- now celebrating its 50th anniversary -- is such a film.  In fact, the ending of this classic sci-fi film has become even more famous than the movie itself!

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Astronaut George Taylor (portrayed by Academy Award winner Charlton Heston) commands Air Force One on a near light-speed voyage to a distant star.  The spacecraft is a sleeper ship, and the crew awakens when the computer controlled craft attempts to land on a planet but instead crashes into a lake.  During their spaceflight, the ship's atomic calendar indicates that Earth has aged about 2,000 years since their departure while the space travelers themselves have only aged about 18-months due to the time dilation factor that slows down aging the faster one travels in outer space!  Taylor and his crew find themselves marooned on a planet where apes are the masters and humans are their subjects.  The fast-paced film follows Taylor's struggles to escape his simian captors and plot his own destiny, especially after having learned the dreaded fates of his fellow astronauts.

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Our hero gains his freedom but while exploring the coastline, makes a startling discovery.  He finds the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the sand and realizes he has been back on Earth the entire time!  It is Earth long after a nuclear war!  If this surprise ending felt like something out of Rod Serling's epic "Twilight Zone" TV series, it was because Rod Serling himself was indeed part of the screenplay-writing duo along with Michael Wilson!  The film was well received by critics and regarded as one of the best films of 1968 for its social commentary as well as its imaginative story.

In the past half century since its release, there have been sequels, reboots as well as both a live-action and animated TV series.  All were very fine productions.  But it is the original version that still resonates with the passage of time due to its surprise ending capping an up-tempo, action-packed plot featuring one of the greatest actors of all time.

What are your favorite major motion picture surprise endings?  We invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address. Also please give a listen to Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site Episode #69 - "Man, Moon, Media & Myth" - a wonderful podcast that takes an up-close, behind the scenes look at PLANET OF THE APES and other sci-fi favorites from the 1960s.   As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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January 2018

Remembering INSTANT REPLAY and Being Inside the Locker Room With Vince Lombardi and the Legendary Green Bay Packers

The month of January is a favorite time for NFL football fans because of the excitement of the playoffs that culminates with America's party - The Super Bowl - enjoyed by one and all regardless of whether or not you are sports fan.  In the spirit of this exciting month, we take time to remember a modern-day best seller classic -- INSTANT REPLAY: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of this historic book authored by Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Jerry Kramer and edited by Dick Schaap.  INSTANT REPLAY is Mr Kramer's daily diary chronicling the 1967 season from training camp to Super Bowl II.  As such, this was a ground-breaking book because it was the first to take the reader inside the locker room and reveal the inner workings of a professional sports franchise.  With the passage of time, it remains one of the very best, if not the best inside accounts of the sport and the league.  In part, this is due to the book being a veritable time capsule of the legendary Vince Lombardi in his final year as the Packer head coach leading his team to yet another championship while helping to usher in what we now call the "Super Bowl Era" of NFL football.  Mr Kramer provides a detailed, respectful account on the ups-and-downs of a season but without being voyeuristic.  He gives enough insight that enable us to have a deeper understanding of iconic gridiron players but without violating privacy.  We also get a great retrospective on the entire Lombardi Era (1959 - 1967) in terms of not only how the Packers dominated the sport but how the NFL came to both define and reflect the American pop culture landscape.
This was a time when NFL players worked in other jobs or professions during the off-season to provide for their families as well as establish a foundation for what players would do after their football careers ended.  Mr Kramer, himself, was a part owner of a sporting goods store in his hometown.  Others sold insurance, cars or went to school in the off-season to prepare for a lifetime career after the gridiron. Then, and now, a reading of this book shows the players of that era to be "adults" playing a youth sport while striving to be solid, hard-working responsible citizens.  For the sports fan, there are the legendary games from that era -- the Ice Bowl featuring Green Bay versus Dallas in sub-zero temperatures vying for the 1967 NFL crown, the 1965 sudden-death playoff versus the Baltimore Colts, the icy New York windstorm in which Mr Kramer scored 10-points (three field goals and one point-after-touchdown) to provide the margin of victory for the visiting Packers against the Giants to clinch the 1962 NFL championship, as well as the first two Super Bowls, and more.  For the biography fan, there is a poignant, insightful view of Coach Lombardi as well as other iconic sports figures but without the platitudes associated with the helping professions or the sound bites of social media.

As one who recalls the 1967 season with great clarity, this book helps to affirm the best of those boyhood memories while reminding the reader on the timeless attributes that we associate with greatness: honor, integrity, sportsmanship, strong work ethic, obedience and duty.  One other special personal memory from that era is that the literary value of INSTANT REPLAY was recognized immediately by "authoritative figures" as elementary and secondary school teachers not only allowed this to be used to fulfill a "book report assignment" but was praised for providing keen insights on teamwork and leadership!

If you have any special memories about INSTANT REPLAY or related subjects we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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December 2017

With a Rod Serling Theme!

Since the early days of television it has become an annual tradition for all types of programs to feature a Holiday-theme based episode.  This month we remember the Holiday episodes from Rod Serling's Twilight Zone and Night Gallery series.  The Twilight Zone featured three Christmas episodes while Night Gallery featured an episode that simultaneously celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah!
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The Twilight Zone Christmas episodes were "The Night of the Meek," "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" and "The Changing of the Guard."  Art Carney starred in "The Night of the Meek" as an intoxicated, newly fired department store Santa Claus who experiences the joy of giving when coming across a bag of presents that replenishes itself, but only for those in need.  He takes no presents for himself and by midnight Christmas Eve the bag is empty.  But his Christmas wish -- to be able to do this every year -- comes magically true when he comes upon an elf,  sleigh and reindeer that are waiting to take him to the North Pole!

"Five Characters in Search of an Exit" concerns a soldier, ballerina, clown, bagpiper, and hobo who all wake up to find themselves in a strange room with no memory of how they got there.  At the end of the episode we learn that the five characters are dolls and that the mysterious room is a Christmas toy donation barrel.  The viewer is left with the hope that each of these toys will eventually be united with a child who will give them love.

"The Changing of the Guard" featured Donald Pleasence as a boarding school teacher who after 51 years of dedicated, selfless service learns on Christmas Eve that he is to be forcibly retired.  Feeling despondent and viewing his teaching career has having no value, he contemplates committing suicide.  But before doing so, he enters a classroom where he encounters the ghosts of a number of his now-deceased students.  They have returned with the sole purpose of convincing him that his lessons inspired them to commit acts of bravery and make a positive difference for others.  The teacher returns home invigorated by the new-found knowledge that his teaching made a mark in the world and is now content to retire.  The episode closes as he is invigorated by the Christmas spirit while listening to carolers singing at his doorstep.
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"The Messiah on Mott Street" was featured on Night Gallery and starred Edward G. Robinson as an impoverished, elderly Jewish grandfather who is anxious to stay alive to care for his young grandson.  He also strives to live to witness his faith in the coming of the Messiah.  The young boy, wishing to help, goes in search of Him on Christmas Eve!  In a fusion of Christmas and Hanukkah that also bridges racial and ethnic divisions, the TV viewer witnesses a miracle that truly captures the mercy and grace of the Holiday Season.

Be sure to listen to the two GNN podcasts from 2015 on The Twilight Zone by visiting the Galaxy podcast library and read my GNN Blog from 8/30/2013 that reviewed the biography of Rod Serling written by his daughter.  If you have any special memories about these Holiday-themed episodes from Rod Serling, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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November 2017

Gary Beban - The Great One
His 50th Anniversary on Winning the Heisman Trophy

The autumn season is in the words of college football historian Dan Jenkins popularly known as "Saturday's America" as fans gather together all across the USA to root for their favorite teams and celebrate the marvelous athletes who perform on the gridiron.  This year it is fun to recall the 1967 Heisman Trophy winner, UCLA quarterback Gary Beban, who piloted the Bruins to Top 5 finishes in 1965 and 1966, and in his penultimate game as a senior competed for the National Championship in 1967.  In the days well before 24/7 digital media coverage, Beban was given the moniker "The Great One" nearly two decades before that same nickname was later associated with the legendary hockey player, Wayne Gretzky!

Beban's greatness transcends the gridiron because he is truly a role model for all seasons.  The son of an Italian-born mother and a first-generation Croatian-American, Beban grew up in the San Francisco Bay area (Redwood City) before starring for UCLA.  As he later noted, Beban was at UCLA for the classroom and the scholarship and that his parents never asked about what occurred on the ball field but were always interested in knowing what happened in the classroom!  His college coach, Tommy Prothro, reminded Beban and his teammates that while they were athletes, they were at school primarily to be students!  In addition to his many athletic awards, Beban graduated with a degree in European History while being named an Academic All-American.  In the years that have passed since his collegiate gridiron glory and graduation, Beban has spoken often and quite movingly about the positive influence of his parents, coaches and teammates.

Gary Beban action

During his three-year collegiate career, UCLA played an unbalanced conference schedule that allowed the team to travel coast-to-coast enabling fans in Michigan, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania and other such places to see Beban lead a juggernaut team that posted a 24-5-2 record that included the 1966 Rose Bowl Championship.  In that particular game, Beban scored his team's two touchdowns as the Bruins defeated the undefeated, top ranked Michigan State Spartans by a score of 14-12.  Beban's style of quarterback play -- the elusiveness of a running back while able to make long passes with classic form -- presaged the multi-skilled QBs that now dominate both the collegiate and professional ranks.  His Heisman Trophy award was based on the body of work compiled over three years, rather than the one-season wonders that now dominate the annual college football award.  Moreover, Beban's Heisman Trophy award also recognized his intangibles of playing well in big games while demonstrating honor and integrity.

Gary Beban

Gary Beban's upbringing, gridiron leadership and academic excellence provided the foundation for a lengthy and most successful business career as an executive with a global real estate services company.  As an athlete, scholar, business leader and devoted family man, Beban has shown himself to be always be a good sport and a good sport in all ways.  The Galaxy Nostalgia Network salutes Gary Beban on his 50th anniversary for winning the award of being the very best in his sport.

If you have any special memories about Gary Beban or college football, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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October 2017

Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Sidney Poitier's Hat Trick

In hockey, when a player scores three goals, it is called a "hat trick."  Sidney Poitier accomplished the equivalent if not more on the big motion picture screen in 1967 by starring in three (3) classic films: "To Sir With Love," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."  Poitier was the top box-office draw as he achieved peak performance in both artistic and commercial terms.

Poitier had already won the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in the 1963 film "Lilies of the Field" and achieved Broadway acclaim in 1959 by starring in "A Raisin in the Sun."  Yet, the best was still to come when Poitier achieved legendary status in 1967 for his poignant performances in three major films involving issues of race and race relations set in the same year.  Not only was Poitier a star in these landmark films that ultimately are remembered themselves as "stars" but he very nicely complemented his legendary co-stars who rounded out a stellar ensemble.  Here is a precis on each film.

"To Sir With Love" featured Poitier as a high school teacher in London's East End;

"In the Heat of the Night" had Poitier solving a murder mystery in Mississippi;

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" involved inter-racial marriage.

All three films achieved critical acclaim and commercial success.  Lulu made her film debut in "To Sir With Love" and also sang the film's title song which was Billboard magazine's Number One pop single for the year.  Rod Steiger won the Academy Award (Best Actor) for "In the Heat of the Night" as the police chief playing opposite Poitier's detective character.  Katherine Hepburn won the Academy Award (Best Actress) for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" that included Spencer Tracy in their ninth and final pairing on the big screen as future in-laws to the medical doctor portrayed by Poitier.

Yours truly viewed each of these films when they were originally released into theaters, and then later when shown on network TV as the Movie of the Week and then much later when aired on the Late Late Show!  They stand the test of time as artfully crafted films featuring Poitier conducting himself with honor, dignity and integrity.  His 1967 film performances as a teacher, detective and medical doctor showcase him as a transcendent role model for one and all.  Yet what has been written in this Blog entry is merely a sample of remarkable lifetime achievement.  We invite GNN listeners to check out Mr Poitier's impressive record of achievement as an artist and human being that dates back to the early 1950s and before.

If you have any special memories about Sidney Poitier or the wonderful motion pictures released in1967, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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September 2017Riders on the Storm - Baseball in the Summer of '67

The summer of 1967 triggers memories of music (e.g., The Doors), anti-war demonstrations, civil strife and social rebellion.  Yet riding the summer heat wave fifty years ago were two iconic baseball teams -- the Boston Red Sox and the St Louis Cardinals -- whose storybook seasons and legendary lineups not only reflected the era but also brought people from all backgrounds and social strata together for the Fall Classic.

The Boston Red Sox won the American League pennant on the final day of the season despite Las Vegas bookmakers laying 100-to-1 odds against their success.  The storybook season was even more remarkable as the Red Sox (led by Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski) defeated the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox in a summer-long 4-way race in which the standings changed daily.  While the Vietnam War was raging in full force, star Red Sox players such as pitcher Jim Lonborg and outfielder Tony Conigliaro were doing double-duty in the military and on the diamond by concurrently serving in the US Army Reserves while also playing baseball.

Meanwhile, the St Louis Cardinals were a role model of excellence on the field while breaking down social barriers with a racially and ethnically diverse team (Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Roger Maris, et al) that eventually made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine for their stellar play, social harmony and boasting the sport's highest payroll at that time.

Fifty years later, in remembering a World Series that went the limit as St Louis held off the "Cinderella" Red Sox 4 games to 3, we also celebrate how both teams were able to hold our interest despite the oft riotous atmosphere at home and abroad.  Yours truly recalls sitting in the outside lunch shelter listening to the game at school with my fellow students, and then getting updates when resuming class from those who had earphones for their pocket size transistor radios.  When the series finally ended, we all felt the autumn wind in the air as summertime came to a close.  The Red Sox and Cardinals not only gave baseball fans everywhere a season to remember but were able to successfully ride the storm by truly exemplifying the very best of what is still nostalgically referred to as the national pastime.

If you have any special memories about baseball and the summer of 1967, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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August 2017-50 Years After the Running Stopped
August 29, 1967 is recalled by viewers of classic TV as "the day the running stopped."  This is because after four years, Dr Richard Kimball (played by David Janssen) was finally exonerated of the false conviction for his wife's murder.  This occurred in  the series finale which was broadcast that same day, August 29, 1967.
File:David Janssen Richard Kimble 1963.JPGOver the course of 120 episodes that spanned four years in "real time" from 1963 - 1967, Dr Kimball scoured the nation in search of the one-armed man (played by Bill Raisch) who murdered his wife while on the run from the law led by police Lt Philip Gerard (portrayed by Barry Morse).  Although relentlessly chased by the authorities who wanted to capture him, Dr Kimball often found himself compelled to help others while on his journey.  In many instances,  poignant if not meaningful relationships were formed with those he encountered.  The series was a fusion of "Les Miserables"  (substitute Lt Gerard for Chief Inspector Javert) and the Dr Sam Sheppard case (substitute Dr Kimball for Dr Sheppard).

At the end of the fourth season (Spring 1967), viewers were left in suspense wondering what would become of their hero in search of justice.  The answer would come later at the end of that summer when it was announced publicly the series would end as Dr Kimball would finally catch the one-armed man and bring him to justice.  In an earlier podcast, we cited Part 2 of this series finale as being the highest rated TV episode up to that time (45.9% of US households with a TV set tuned in, which translated into a 72% share).  You can learn more about the final episode of "The Fugitive" along with other beloved programs in the Galaxy podcast titled "Series Finales From Past TV Series" - posted September 27, 2015.  Be sure to access this podcast via the GNN Podcast Library and relive childhood memories of iconic TV shows from the past.  One final note:  TV Guide magazine ranked "The Fugitive" as the best dramatic series of the 1960s.  The series finale which we commemorate this month -- the day the running stopped -- placed an exclamation point on this historic TV program.

If you have any special memories of "The Fugitive"  or other classic TV series, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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July 2017
B-29 Superfortress - 75th Anniversary
In a year which marks so very many World War II 75th anniversary dates (most recently the Battle of Midway as well as the Mighty Eighth US Air Force), it is worth noting the 75th anniversary of the bomber aircraft that Air & Space magazine (2015) noted as having "ended the war and the only one ever to drop atomic bombs in combat."
There were 3,970 B-29s built and it was one of the first military aircraft to have a pressurized cabin as the cylindrical design of the fuselage helped fulfill this requirement.  Its intercontinental range, payload and versatility made it a game changer that not only helped end the war but make further contributions during the post WWII era.  The most famous B-29s were the 65 examples of the "Silverplate" series that were modified to deliver atomic weapons.  This included the "Enola Gay" and "Bockscar" that were used respectively, on August 6th and 9th in 1945, to strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
However, the B-29 Superfortress contributions were not confined solely to combat but adaptation for in-flight refueling, antisubmarine patrol, weather reconnaissance and rescue duty!  Other significant variants of the B-29 enabled it to conduct testing for fire control systems, cold weather operations and launching experimental aircraft and rockets that presaged manned space flight and also helped to make safe commercial air travel accessible to mass markets.  Last year, yours truly interviewed Brig Gen Bob Cardenas, who piloted the B-29 that launched Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 on the flight that broke the sound barrier!  Gen Cardenas spoke highly of the B-29 Superfortress and its historic role.
Before its retirement from service in 1960, the B-29 again saw heroic military action in Korea (1950-53) as it confronted new adversaries: jet fighter planes and electronic weapons!  Now for you Galaxy Nostalgia Network fans, here is a fun fact about the B-29 not generally known: a number of B-29s were also used for flying relay television transmitters under the name of "Stratovision" thus making the Superfortress an important asset in the development of broadcast technology.

If you have any special memories of the B-29 Superfortress or other World War II milestones, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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June 2017
40th Anniversary ~ Renaissance in Sci-Fi Film
The year 1977 marked a renaissance if not resurgence in Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) film with the release of "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  This dynamic motion picture duo also helped to affirm the iconic status of their respective creators George Lucas ("Star Wars") and Steven Spielberg ("Close Encounters").
Film poster showing Luke Skywalker triumphantly holding a lightsaber in the air, Princess Leia sitting beside him, and R2-D2 and C-3PO staring at them. A figure of the head of Darth Vader and the Death Star with several starships heading towards it are shown in the background. Atop the image is the text "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." Below is shown the film's logo, above the credits and the production details.
"Star Wars" was a fusion of science fiction and fantasy as it combined the style of the Buster Crabbe 1930s film series "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" with the up-close aerial combat scenes associated with World War II news footage.  "Close Encounters" leveraged the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) theme into a very realistic, you-are-there atmosphere as first contact with visitors from outer space is seen through the prism of people from every day life.  Both films had stirring if not rousing sound tracks plus a host of memorable scenes that are indelibly carved into the pop culture landscape.  Two such examples: the "Star Wars" cantina or bar scene featuring an eclectic group of intergalactic patrons and the "Close Encounters" utility repairman (played by Richard Dreyfuss) shaping his mashed potatoes into a miniature version of Wyoming's National Park Devil's Tower monument where he has been summoned to greet the visitors from outer space.
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These blockbuster films sparked not only a resurgence in Science Fiction film but helped accord a new found respect for this genre as a story telling vehicle.  Later in 1977, the classic 1956 masterpiece "Forbidden Planet" was re-released on the big screen and in 1979, "Star Trek" made the transition from television to full-length motion pictures!

The success of these two films also served to later bring together the talents of Lucas and Spielberg as the two collaborated in launching the "Indiana Jones" film series beginning with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981.  Interestingly enough, Indiana Jones was portrayed by Harrison Ford, who had played the swashbuckling Han Solo in the "Star Wars" films.
If you are looking for a great double-feature to view at home or while traveling, watching these wonderful films will either bring back good memories or spark interest in the Sci-Fi genre.  One more related item: the ME television channel is bringing back the original 1978-79 ABC Network "Battlestar Galactica" series that was inspired by "Star Wars."  It starts on June 3rd, so check your local listings!If you have any special memories of "Star Wars" or "Close Encounters" we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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May 2017 - 60th Anniversary of Classic TV's "Perry Mason"Perry Mason Title Screen.png
This year marks the 60th anniversary of one of, if not the most well known fictional criminal defense attorneys featured on television -- Perry Mason!  This classic TV series ran on the CBS network from 1957-1966 and viewers were enthralled at how Perry Mason (played by Raymond Burr who won two Emmy awards in this role) was able to overcome rather daunting and sometimes overwhelming odds on behalf of his client -- all within the span of one hour!

Perry was ably assisted by his confidential secretary Della Street (played by Barbara Hale who also won an Emmy for this role).  The series and this duo proved so popular that they were reunited twenty years later in the 1985-86 TV season to begin a run of 26 full length made-for-TV movies until Mr. Burr's passing in 1993.  These movies introduced Perry Mason to a whole new generation of fans and helped to maintain strong interest in the original TV series (still featured on the ME TV channel).  In turn, the continuous showing of these episodes have spurred renewed interest in the made-for-TV movies that are now featured on the Hallmark TV channel.
The plot lines of all the episodes and movies tend to be multi-layered with a twist or surprise ending to place an exclamation point on the courtroom drama.  As such, it is difficult to pick a favorite episode or movie.  But one thing remains enduring: the chemistry between Perry and Della along with the great ensemble of supporting characters always promises something that will surprise or baffle you while keeping you in suspense regarding how the case is ultimately resolved.
If you have any special memories of Perry Mason, be it from the long-running series or the made-for-TV movies, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
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April 2017
75th Anniversary of The Doolittle Raid - A Major World War II Milestone Event
The B-25 Mitchell is an iconic World War II aircraft that is perhaps most popularly associated with the Doolittle Raiders of April 1942. Four months after the
bombing of Pearl Harbor a group of 16 B-25Bs led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle attacked mainland Japan in a mission that lifted American spirits by demonstrating that the USA could project its air power across the Pacific, thereby demolishing the perception that the island nation of Japan was invulnerable. This caused the Japanese to deploy more troops for home defense during the remainder of the war.

This mission was significant because while its material damage was minor, the psychological damage was irreparable. Since the Pacific Theater was a very wide combat area spread out over thousands of miles amidst tiny islands, the unexpected diversion of resources attributed to the psychological impact of the aforementioned Doolittle Raiders proved to be a decisive game-changing event because it changed the adversary’s conduct of the war.
B-25 Mitchell Bomber
In commemorating the 75th anniversary of this historic event, the Galaxy Nostalgia Network takes this opportunity to not only salute everyone associated with the Doolittle Raid but give thanks to all members of the US armed forces for their heroic service to our nation.  If you have any special memories of Jimmy Doolittle, the B-25 Mitchell or related events from World War II, we invite you to post them on the GNN Facebook page or send your remembrances to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing directly from anyone in our GNN following.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

March 2017
John Wooden - The Greatest Coach of All John Wooden.JPG
During the annual March madness in which people are busy filling out their brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we take this opportunity to remember John Wooden (1910-2010), who coached the UCLA Bruins to an astonishing 10 national championships during the 1964-1975 period.  Wooden's UCLA Bruins won championships in 1964 and 1965, and then reeled off seven consecutive championships from 1967 - 1973.  In 1975, the Bruins won their 10th title in 12 years under Coach Wooden.  He retired immediately after winning that championship thereby forever cementing himself as a legend of the game.
Yet Coach Wooden's legacy goes beyond the court as he first and foremost, viewed himself as a teacher.  In this role he helped to inspire and impart the discipline and knowledge to what would become some of the most talented, celebrated athletes in history -- a roll call that reads like a "Who's Who" of basketball.
Hall of Fame basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale (whose brother, Dave, was a star player on Wooden's final championship team) notes in her autobiography You Let Some Girl Beat You? that Wooden's famous "Pyramid of Success" was based on integrity, hard work and commitment to excellence.  His impact on people who were blessed to be associated with him was so great that he was a father figure to them.  In fact, Ann Meyers Drysdale knew him as "Papa."
Coach Wooden is credited with many important sayings about sports and life.  But perhaps his most notable is one that reflected his own personal values and philosophy: “Talent is God-given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.”
As you keep track of the NCAA Tournament throughout March updating your brackets either as a casual observer or serious fan of the game, take a moment or two to read about the life and career of this remarkable man.  Thoughts or reminiscences?  You can either send your memories to the GNN Facebook page or to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing from anyone in our listening audience.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com

February 2017
Best Loved Books
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Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) once wrote "There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away."  In the spirit of these immortal words and in anticipation of an upcoming podcast on remembering "Book of the Month" clubs, this month we invite Galaxy Nostalgia Network followers to share with us their most favorite books and how it influenced their lives.  You can either send your memories to the GNN Facebook page or to the GNN e-mail address.  As always, I am also receptive to hearing from anyone in our listening audience.  Write to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
For yours truly, there are three books which had a lasting, significant impression upon my life.  One was classic literature, another was a 1970s best-seller and the third a personal finance book.  The books are: (1) The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss, (2) What Really Happened to the Class of '65? by Michael Medved and David Wallechinsky, and (3) Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joseph Dominguez.
I read Swiss Family Robinson while in 5th grade with my interest stimulated by the Walt Disney film and TV's Space Family Robinson in Lost In Space.  At over 300 pages, it was the first lengthy novel I read.  It took several months as I read it during recess periods and at lunch while in school.  However, it was a joy to be a part of the Robinson family every day and it cemented a lifelong love for reading!  Upon completion of the book my teacher awarded me credit for having read three books (instead of one) so that I was able to fulfill the assigned quota of books we were required to read for our English class!  No one else in our class had undertaken such a long book, opting instead for books that were 100 pages or less!
I read Class of '65 during my freshman year of college and the haunting account of what happened to such a promising group of high school seniors during the 1965-75 period was informative, educational and sobering.  It affirmed the importance of having clear-cut goals and the work ethic equal to them.  My favorite chapter was the one about an architecture student who completed both her bachelor's and master's degrees on time and then directly embarked on a successful professional career without any detours.
Years later, after I had worked in the investment field and then started my teaching and writing career (in conjunction with my ministry), I read Your Money or Your Life.  This book addressed how to balance life, work and finance.  The central theme was that money is what we obtain in exchange for the most precious resources we have -- our time and life energy.  Dealing with such a daunting choice requires having a personal financial plan aligned with your life purpose and values.
Do any of you have a particular book or books that are of special meaning to you?  If so, please share your thoughts with us, and stay tuned for the upcoming podcast on remembering "Book of the Month" clubs.

January 2017
Celebrating America's Manned Space Program

In keeping with the "Echoes of Success" theme from the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade, this month's Blog entry celebrates the USA's manned space program through the prism of one of its significant contributors -- my father, Dr V.E. (Bill) Haloulakos.  As a scientist, engineer and professor, Dr Haloulakos was part of landmark space flight programs from the 1960s through the 1990s.  His career and life path intersected with those of astronauts Neil Armstrong (they were classmates at USC), Pete Conrad, Fred Haise, Gordon Fullerton and others as he provided critical input on rocket propulsion for the different space vehicles they all piloted.


Two important books authored by Dr Haloulakos -- MATHEMATICS, THE LAYMAN AND DAILY LIFE and ROCKET PROPULSION FUNDAMENTALS -- have been reprinted and are now available for purchase by the general public. The math book is a reader-friendly presentation on the history of universal mathematical concepts and how they relate to our daily life. The propulsion book focuses on nuclear rockets and shows how our favorite sci-fi epics were / are a window into the future of science fact! To learn how Dr Haloulakos was involved with NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application), how major sci-fi epics such as TV's "Lost in Space" (1965) and the original motion picture "Planet of the Apes" (1968) reflected the scientific protocols he helped develop that would later take flight with the DC-X rocket (long before SpaceX and Blue Origin), please read his books about an exciting era in American history.

Both books are available on a “print-to-order” basis exclusively through UC San Diego Bookstore. Since it is “print-to-order” this means you must pre-pay in advance of the printing (i.e., at the time you place your special order). The selling prices are $19.25 for the math book and $15 for the rocket propulsion book, plus shipping & handling. When ordering, be sure to include the title, author name and ISBN.

Order online at: www.ucsandiegobookstore.com
Order by phone at: 858-534-4557

If you encounter difficulties in ordering, please contact me, George Haloulakos. Cell (voice & text) 425-241-5016 or e-mail: Haloulakos@gmail.com
Finally, if anyone would like to contact my father to discuss these and other projects he was involved with, please let me know and we will make it happen.  Also I could arrange for signed book plates to be sent to anyone in the Galaxy family that gets a copy.  Dad is a huge fan of Galaxy Nostalgia Network and just loves being able to share this living history with everyone having either passing or serious interest.

December 2016
Charles Dickens's Other Christmas Classic!

In prior December Blog entries we have written about various tributes to the true meaning of Christmas -- the birth of Jesus Christ.  In keeping with that spirit we submit, for your consideration, another such tribute.  This particular tribute comes from none other than Charles Dickens.  Most of us know of Dickens's classic "A Christmas Carol" -- a popular tale of mercy and redemption that continues to inspire adaptations in various artistic venues.
However, did you know that Dickens also wrote a book about the life of Jesus Christ exclusively for his children?  This book is titled "The Life of Our Lord" and was written during the years 1846 to1849 just about the time he completed "David Copperfield."
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"The Life of Our Lord" is a retelling of the life of Jesus Christ adapted from the Gospel of St. Luke.  Dickens wrote this book to teach his children about religion and faith.  He faithfully read this book aloud to his children every Christmas.  Dickens refused to allow publication since it was exclusively written for his family.  For 85 years this manuscript remained a closely guarded family secret as it was passed down from generation to generation.  Prior to the 1933 Holiday Season, Sir Henry, then the only living child of Dickens, passed away, leaving his father's manuscript to his wife and children.  Sir Henry had bequeathed to them the right to make the decision whether or not to publish the manuscript.  By majority vote, Sir Henry's widow and children decided to publish the book in 1934.  Since then, "The Life of Our Lord" has found its way into our hearts and under our Christmas trees every year.
This amazing book by the author most associated with the Christmas season reflects what we now term Dickensian humor as well as Victorian attitudes.  With his hallmark clarity and concision, Dickens sums up the Christian message of love, kindness, mercy and goodness expressed through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ in a way that shines forth for all generations.  Ironically, "The Life of Our Lord" is still unseen on lists of Dickens's work but may be the best example as to why his literary star continues to shine.

November 2016
Veterans Day, Blue Angels and the USMC Reserve

Veterans Day, an official United States of America holiday, is celebrated annually on November 11 in honor of military veterans -- all those who served in the United States Armed Forces.  Here at the Galaxy Nostalgia Network, we have hosted a number of GMNS episodes that pay tribute to the members of the US Armed Forces.  In this Blog entry, we observe that in celebrating Veterans Day, there are two major anniversaries in 2016 worthy of our remembrance because they affirm our appreciation to those in military service.  These anniversaries are: the 70th anniversary of the US Navy Blue Angels flight team and the 100th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  Each of these milestone anniversaries were highlighted in late September at the annual MCAS Miramar Air Show here in San Diego, CA.
The Blue Angels exemplify excellence and service to our great nation by showcasing the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.  This fast-paced, high-performance flight team has flown various generations of Blue Angels aircraft such as the F-9 Cougar, F-4 Phantom (shown in the photo below), A-4 Skyhawk and the F-18 Hornet. Inline image 1
The United States Marine Corps represents our nation's best with the USMC Reserves reminding us that those who stand at the ready are an integral part of our defense for liberty and freedom.  The
inspirational message (shown below) that reads “SEMPER FI USMCR 100 YEARS" is a sky-billboard that was posted by Skytypers, Inc. on a sunshine filled Southern California Saturday afternoon during the MCAS Miramar Air Show.
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On Veterans Day, join us in celebrating these major milestone anniversaries as we salute all those who serve or have served in our US Armed Forces.  If you have special memories you wish to share in honor of our Veterans, please send us an e-mail or post on the GNN Facebook page to share with one and all.

October 2016
"The Voice of Summer" Calls it a Career!

Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Vin Scully who has faithfully called Dodger baseball games for the past 67 years, has finally called it a career after being an integral part of our lives on both the East and West Coasts.  The lifelong Dodger play-by-play announcer who began his career in 1950 when the team was based in Brooklyn and then moved out to the West Coast in 1958 when both the Dodgers and Giants left New York City, is a touchstone uniting generations of baseball fans past and present.   Vin Scully's voice is forever associated with baseball and summertime.  Scully climbed the Mount Rushmore of his profession as Curt Smith rated him the #1 ranked baseball announcer of all-time in his 2005 book Voices of Summer.  This is quite an accomplishment when we consider that Scully broadcast in the same city and era as New York Yankee announcer Mel Allen and alongside Brooklyn Dodger announcer Red Barber -- two legendary figures themselves!

With the Dodgers games being broadcast on 50,000 watt, clear channel KFI (640 AM) following their move to LA, it was possible to walk up and down the neighborhoods in Southern California [from the San Fernando Valley to the beaches to the San Gabriel Valley to the deserts] and never miss a pitch as nearly every household was tuned in, especially when Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax were pitching.  Since games were infrequently televised during the early years after Dodgers' westward move, and there were no all-news or all-sports TV stations, Vita Pact Orange Juice, a Southern California based citrus company, would sponsor Dodger final score updates on TV for every game throughout the season.  As it turned out, during the first decade of Dodger baseball in Los Angeles, Southern California was not all that different from Brooklyn as one could go about from homes, automobiles, public venues, stores and restaurants and still hear the radio voice of Vin Scully calling the play-by-play of the games just as he had done while the team was on the East Coast.  Only instead of being confined to Brooklyn neighborhoods filled with brownstones and row houses, the sense of unity spanned all of Southern California!  Roger Angell, who has written about baseball for more than 50 years for The New Yorker magazine noted that Vin Scully’s voice could even be heard throughout every Los Angeles Dodger home game.  This tradition started during the Dodgers first 4 years in Los Angeles (1958-1961) when they played in the LA Memorial Coliseum and its cavernous environs required that fans get the word’s eye view from Scully.  Even after moving to Dodger Stadium in nearby Chavez Ravine, fans continued to bring their transistor radios perhaps to verify what they were actually watching!

The Galaxy Nostalgia Network salutes Vin Scully, whose wonderful life has greatly enriched everyone who has come to regard him as an extended member of their own family.  If you have a favorite memory associated with this remarkable man and his great career, please send us an e-mail or post on the GNN Facebook page to share with one and all.         


September 2016
Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of "Star Trek"
( or Time Travel Through the Back Door)
In early September 1966, "Star Trek" (The Original Series) premiered on network TV.  Since then, this franchise has grown through four spin-off TV shows, a Saturday morning animated series plus numerous motion pictures with the latest rendition being a reboot of The Original Series in an alternate timeline.  This latest reboot is appropriate because the most popular episodes throughout all the "Star Trek" variants have involved time travel.
In the spirit of time travel, this column commemorates a 1968 episode from The Original Series that was a "back door" pilot (i.e., a stand-alone episode that provides a segue into a possible new series) that aired at the end of the second season (March 29, 1968) but was not accepted by the network for full scale production.  "Assignment Earth" was the title for both the episode and proposed spin-off series created by Gene Roddenberry.  It featured Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Teri Garr as his assistant, Roberta Lincoln.  The proposed new series was to chronicle the adventures of Seven and Lincoln on present-day Earth as they battled extraterrestrial invaders called Omegans.
             Assignment: Earth title card

The story line for the pilot was as follows: Gary Seven (aka Supervisor 194) was a human raised on a distant planet and returned to Earth in 1968 on a mission to help humanity from destroying itself in a nuclear arms race.  His assignment was to cause a malfunction of an orbiting nuclear weapons launch platform in such a way that it would frighten the Earth's nations to refrain from further deployment of such weapons and be the catalyst for creating worldwide peace, if not relaxation of warlike tension.  Roberta Lincoln unknowingly became employed in what was a"front" organization located in New York City that provided necessary cover for her mysterious boss.  The USS Enterprise had time-traveled back to 1968 on a research mission to gather information on how humanity was able to survive that tumultuous era.  The plot thickened when the Enterprise crew [namely Captain Kirk and Mister Spock] helped Gary Seven avert nuclear war in 1968.  In the epilogue, it is revealed to the viewing audience that the USS Enterprise had participated rather than interfered with Gary Seven's mission during the history of that period!  The promise of a much deeper and personal involvement between Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln is also implied as the Enterprise crew prepares to return to the future while leaving hints about what lies ahead for the intrepid agent and his lovely assistant.

                     Spock and Kirk, 1968
This episode represents the very best of "Star Trek" in terms of interesting characters, exciting adventure and the added element of time travel.  Kirk and Spock set the stage for what could have been a most interesting series in which past, present and future could have repeatedly intersected while blending romance and intrigue.  While "Assignment Earth" did not materialize as a series, its high quality content was a standard to be oft repeated in the decades that followed with the "Star Trek" variants.
Do you have a favorite "Star Trek" episode or perhaps a particular character that you enjoyed?  If so, please send us an e-mail or post on the GNN Facebook page to share your special memories.

______________________________ ___________

August 2016Great Rivalries
Baby boomers have enjoyed observing many great rivalries in all types of venues -- especially sports.  These rivalries have tended to reflect the pop culture over the decades and other such factors that we often associate with when champions clash in the realm of competition.  Some of the more well known rivalries include Ali vs Frazier (Boxing), Magic vs Bird (NBA Basketball), Evert vs Navratilova (Tennis) and more recently, Manning vs Brady (NFL Football).  But perhaps one of most intense and closet of rivalries occurred over the Chess board!

chess pieces: Head to head - knights on a chess board, in blue duotone.  Shallow depth of field.
From 1984 - 1990, we were treated to one of the very best of any rivalries in the persons of: Garry Kasparov vs Anatoly Karpov, as these two world champions battled it out over the course of five world championship matches.  Both of these men were polar opposites by every measure -- style, demeanor and philosophy -- but like all great rivalries, it inspired both players to ever higher levels of achievement and excellence.  The first match was aborted after six months as neither player was able to reach the necessary threshold of victories required to win the contest.  As for the remaining contests, Kasparov was able to win three of the matches and the other was a tie.
Kasparov was offense-minded while Karpov was defense-oriented.  Both were equally brilliant in their respective play as the match results did not fully reflect just how close this rivalry was.  How close was it?  The two Chess titans played 144 games over these five contests in which Kasparov won 21 games, Karpov won 19 and 104 games were drawn!  In every game, both men were playing to win while operating on the precipice of defeat.  Truly amazing!
Do you have a favorite rivalry that has inspired you or perhaps just gave you viewing pleasure?  If so, please send us an e-mail or post on the GNN Facebook page to share your special memories.  As you think about this, be sure to have a wonderful summer and take care!

July 2016
Alternate Endings for Favorite TV Shows and Movies
A favorite pastime associated with summer is binge watching your favorite classic TV shows along with great movies from the past as well as the present.  When doing this with friends or loved ones it is fun to sometimes imagine alternate endings to various TV episodes or movies.  As it turns out, sometimes there are (or were) in fact, alternate endings either filmed or on paper, but for numerous reasons never quite reached the final stage or were revised at the last minute.  Quite often we may find that we like the alternate ending even more than the final release!
Two such examples that come to mind directly related to prior GMNS podcasts involve The Twilight Zone ("Twilight Zone: Still Frightens and Dazzles Decades Later" and "Twilight Zone Revisited") while the other is the 1937 version of Lost Horizon (covered in the "Adventure Movies" podcast).

In our Twilight Zone podcasts we noted the episode titled "A Game of Pool" featuring Jonathan Winters as a long deceased billiards champion coming back to play a life-and-death match against a very strong current pool hustler portrayed by Jack Klugman.  The Klugman character is given the opportunity of becoming the greatest of all time by defeating the Winters character in a winner-take-all contest.  The viewer understands that the champion, Winters, holds the crown even while now being in a celestial place and is obligated to return to defend that crown against all living challengers.  The ending that was released had Klugman winning the match in a back-and-forth contest with both players at different times holding the upper hand.  In typical, ironic Serling fashion, Klugman finds out after his own eventual departure from this linear realm that having beaten the deceased champion, Klugman now becomes obligated to defend his title against all challengers in his own after life.  The message here is to beware of what you wish for because you may end up winning more than what you bargained for!
Pictures & Photos from "The Twilight Zone" A Game of Pool (TV Episode 1961) Poster
The alternate ending was a bit grittier with Winters winning the match and a defeated Klugman bracing himself for a painful death -- ostensibly the penalty for losing.  However even this alternate outcome featured an ironic twist.  The Winters character informs the Klugman pool shark that he will indeed, die, as all people do.  However, he will be doomed to die buried and forgotten, as all "losers" are.  Had Klugman won, he is told he would have lived forever!  This alternate ending fades out with Klugman vowing to keep practicing and getting better to once again challenge Winters for the championship.
For the 1937 film Lost Horizon we are left with leading man Ronald Colman climbing up the snowy mountainside and viewing the entrance of Shangri-La, his paradise once lost, and now regained.
Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt in Lost Horizon (1937)
The alternate ending [now a special feature in the updated DVD version of the film] has an even happier ending.  As Colman is climbing up the mountainside he is spotted by his love interest played by Jane Wyatt, who has been faithfully keeping watch and awaiting his return.  She calls out to him and alerts the other residents of Shangri-La of Colman's return.  This alternate ending promises that the couple will live happily ever after while in the final version it is left to the viewer's imagination.
Do you have any favorite TV shows or movies with alternate endings?  Or perhaps do you have your own alternate ending you might have liked to have seen instead?  If so, please share them with us via e-mail or post directly to the GNN Facebook page.  In the meantime, have a wonderful summer!

June 2016
Remembering Some of Our Favorite TV Fathers

The month of June is a great time to remember some of our favorite TV fathers as we celebrate Father's Day!  Our attitudes about pop culture have been influenced by watching television and relating it to our own situation, either real or imagined.  As such, this is a topic that is highly subjective, so therefore we invite our GNN listening audience to submit their own favorite TV fathers by sending us an e-mail or posting to the GNN Facebook page.  To get this started, here is a sample of notable TV fathers from yesteryear.

> Sheriff Andy Taylor ("The Andy Griffith Show") --
Andy Griffith portrayed a single father who with the help of his Aunt Bea, raised his son Opie (played Ron Howard).  Sheriff Taylor was a loving, caring father that sought to inspire his son to adhere to high moral standards and proper behavior with young and old alike.

> Professor John Robinson ("Lost in Space") --

Guy Williams Lost in Space 1965.jpg
Guy Williams was the patriarch of the Space Family Robinson on a mission to colonize a distant planet in the star system Alpha Centauri.  Prof. Robinson was extremely intelligent, strong, brave and always accessible to his children while trying to be a good role model and leader of this band of space pioneers.

> Charles Ingalls ("Little House on the Prairie") --

Michael Landon portrayed the quintessential pioneer and farmer father helping to raise three daughters.  Charles was an exemplary community leader while offering words of wisdom and encouragement to everyone in his circle.

> Jim Anderson ("Father Knows Best") --
Robert Young
Robert Young portrayed an insurance salesman who along with his wife Margaret (played by Jane Wyatt) was a hands-on father who was very much involved with the lives of his children (school, friends, extra-curricular activities) that was loving yet respectful of their independence.

There are many, many others equally deserving of mention.  But this partial list is just a start to a wonderful conversation.  Whether you are a fan of classic TV or more inclined to the more modern sensibility in recent decades, there is no doubt of the high regard we hold for those TV fathers that either evoke wonderful memories or inspire us to uphold the ideals we we were taught about parenthood.


May 2016 - Remembering Our Favorite Teachers
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Henry Adams
During the first week of May we take time to honor teachers who have informed, educated and inspired us during our lives.  On this occasion, we invite you, the Galaxy Nostalgia Network audience, to share your personal memories of a special teacher in your own life by either sending us an e-mail or posting to the GNN Facebook page or both!  In sharing your remembrance, please state what made that particular teacher so special and provide any context or lessons learned to give readers some personal insights.  Here is my remembrance.

My Favorite Teacher and What Made Him Great

For yours truly, the teacher who inspired me the most was Prof. M.Chapman Findlay, III -- Chairman of the Finance Department for the USC Marshall School of Business. I had the honor of being his graduate assistant during my final semester while completing my MBA, after having been a student in his Corporate Financial Theory course. What made him so great was his integrity, scholarship, and unsurpassed ability to clearly explain both theory and practical applications of the subject matter. He remained a friend and mentor in the decades that followed. Quite simply he was the best of the best!
         Prof. M. Chapman Findlay, III  (1944 - 2008)

Context: Thoughts on Graduate Business School
For those who are unfamiliar with the rigor of graduate business school, it is worth noting that a Master's in Business Administration degree program is not designed to make you happy or make you perfect -- it is designed to prepare you for reality.  Upon graduation I was fully prepared to compete at the highest levels in commerce and finance, in large part to having such a great mentor in Prof. Findlay.
Lessons Learned From My Favorite Teacher
> In finance and in life, have a timetable (with a margin of flexibility) and a well-crafted exit strategy.  Know when to walk away while you are ahead and/or cut your losses.
> If you are really serious about answering the call to teach in a business school setting, remember that you will need to first have real world experience before you can be in a position to show others how it is done!
> Numbers may provide guidelines or rules of thumb
but in the real world where human behavior
comes into play, actions and outcomes do not
necessarily conform to a statistical norm or numeric
As one who has now been teaching graduate business school courses for nearly 20 years, I strive to pass along the art that was given to me by my beloved professor.  It would be fun to know how others of you in the GNN audience honor the memory of your favorite teachers!

April 2016  -- Opening Day: Time to Play Ball! 

Hello Everyone!  This familiar refrain signals the start of baseball season in which new memories that will mark lifetimes and personal relationships are to be created in the spring, summer and early autumn months ahead.  For all of the attention given to scores, standings and statistics, it is the shared memories with special people in our lives that make baseball a time-honored pastime.  The start of a new season is a catalyst to remember those special memories, and I would like to share mine.http://www.cardboardmemories.com/photos/drysdale062bb.jpg
My father took me to my first major league baseball game in June 1968.  We saw Don Drysdale set the record for consecutive shutouts.  The game also marked the first time my father sang the national anthem word-for-word in public.  He had obtained his U.S. citizenship just a few years earlier.  Several days before the game, I wrote out the words of “The Star Spangled Banner” on a small index card so that he could sing it.  Twenty-five years on the occasion of Drysdale’s unexpected passing, Dad and I reminisced about the game.  It was then that I learned Dad was still carrying that small index card I had prepared for him in his wallet.
Our mutual love for baseball, and especially for one of our all-time legends of the game, was the basis for our article we later co-authored on Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax published by the Baseball Past and Present web site and the Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site episode titled "Baseball, the Great American Pastime" [available for free download in the GNN Podcast Library].  May each of you be blessed to one day look back and have similar memories of your own favorite players.  To the Drysdale family, I pray that each of you are comforted by the knowledge of how your loved one continues to be a role model spanning many generations!

March 2016  -- The Glory Road of March Madness

   > 50th Anniversary of Texas Western Miners <
1966 NCAA Men's National Basketball Champions

As people of all ages and in all walks of life take time to fill out their brackets for predicting the outcome of college basketball's annual national championship tournament, it is also worth taking a brief moment to celebrate a milestone event that is a fusion of sports, pop culture and social justice.  Texas Western [later renamed UTEP - University of Texas at El Paso] not only achieved athletic fame by culminating a 23-1 regular season record with a surprising 72-65 victory over the Number One ranked Kentucky Wildcats, but made history in the championship game by starting five African-American players against an all-white team while the civil rights movement to end institutional segregation was in full swing.

During this era in the city of El Paso,Texas, a melting pot of cultures on the US - Mexico border had existed for many years, so race was not an issue for the Texas Western college basketball team.  Winning was.  The Miners were led by Coach Don Haskins, who was able to weave together a tight-knit but culturally and racially diverse group of players.  Haskins, who was nicknamed "The Bear," was a man of integrity that based his selection of starting players solely on merit while defying the prejudices of the day.  After winning the 1966 national championship, Haskins endured death threats and hate mail.  But the breakthrough season of the Miners and Haskins' leadership inspired other colleges throughout the nation to follow their example by being more inclusive and end years of racial segregation.  The achievement of Haskins and the Texas Western Miners were documented in the 2006 film "Glory Road."
As we enjoy this annual championship ritual we call "March Madness" be sure take a few moments to celebrate this historic milestone by reading or viewing the accounts from a special moment in time.


February 2016

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl
                     Super Bowl logo.svg
With America's biggest party marking the half-century milestone, I thought it might be fun to share favorite personal memories associated with this great game.  It is hard to believe how fast time has flown by as yours truly recalls that the first Super Bowl -- held in the LA Memorial Coliseum in January 1967 -- was rather underwhelming in terms of fan support.  The game did not sell out and so it was "blacked out" on local TV for much of the Southern California area.  But it did not take long for the Super Bowl to gain popularity as NFL Football has been on a steady upward trajectory since the mid-to-late 1960s with this world championship game hosted by various cities all over the USA.
No doubt that everyone's memories, happy or sad, are associated with particular teams, favorite players and those moments that ABC's Wide World of Sports described as the "thrill of victory" and "the agony of defeat."  My own personal favorite concerns the Rams, who are returning to Los Angeles later this year after having been in St. Louis since the mid-1990s.  Yours truly followed the Rams while growing up in Southern California and regularly attended their home games with my father during the 1970 season.  Once the Super Bowl era began in 1967, it seemed that the Rams were destined to be eternal bridesmaids -- always coming up short despite having excellent teams.
St. Louis Rams logo
It reached the point where someone once said to me that the likelihood of the Rams ever winning a Super Bowl was as remote as my being ordained into the ranks of the clergy.  In other words, it was not ever going to happen!  Hmmmm.
As the years passed, yours truly finished school and  moved far, far away to start a new life.  Later the Rams vacated LA to make their new beginnings in St. Louis.  While striving to fulfill my lifetime goal to be a Renaissance Man [i.e., simultaneously engaged in a variety of personal, professional and spiritual pursuits], I continued following NFL Football, including the Rams.  Eventually my spiritual path would converge with the Rams championship hopes.  On Sunday, January 30, 2000, the Rams finally won the Super Bowl.  Exactly seven days later on Sunday, February 6, 2000, yours truly was ordained into the Holy Diaconate for the Orthodox Church in America.                          
At the time, neither yours truly nor the Rams were based in Southern California but it did not diminish the joy and fulfillment I felt.  Now that we are both back in Southern California, having come full circle in our respective odysseys, it is fun to recall a most special moment in time.
If you have any special memories connected with Super Bowl, whether it involves family, friends, favorite recipes, memorable TV commercials and so forth, please share them with us by sending an e-mail to the Galaxy Nostalgia Network.


January 2016
Happy New Year Everyone!
January 28th marks the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger's in-flight breakup and destruction that claimed the lives of its seven crew members.
Eerily, the Challenger's destruction occurred 19 years and 1-day after Apollo 1 (AS-204) caught fire during a preflight test that also claimed the lives of its three crew members!
Insignia for Apollo 1 with spacecraft and names of astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee.Over the years we have paid tribute to America's manned space program here on the Galaxy Nostalgia Network marking the anniversary of major milestones as well as individual biographical tributes to the men and women who have inspired generations with their courage, bravery, insatiable curiosity and willingness to risk it all in the exploration of new frontiers.
The Space Shuttle Challenger was notable for its inclusion of science teacher Christa McAuliffe who while preparing for launch poignantly noted “I touch the future.  I teach.”  When the United States of America successfully landed a man on the moon and returned him safely to Earth in 1969, it was noted that our nation stood on the shoulders of giants named Grissom, Chaffee and White whose ultimate sacrifice made this accomplishment possible.  In a tribute that blended history, pop culture and science fiction, the iconic 1986 motion picture "Star Trek: The Voyage Home" noted in its opening credits  "The cast and crew of Star Trek wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger whose courageous spirit shall live to the 23rd century and beyond..."
The spirit of both the Space Shuttle Challenger and Apollo 1 are captured in our 1-hour program that celebrated the 1969 Apollo 11 Manned Moon Landing [available for download on the GNN Home page by scrolling down along the right side and clicking on the color photograph of the moon walk under the caption "Apollo 11 Moon Walk Remembered"].

As we start the New Year resolved to embark upon new challenges may all of us draw inspiration as we pause to remember those brave individuals who in the words of John Gillespie Magee Jr. [author of the poem "High Flight"] waved farewell as they "slipped the surly bonds of Earth" to "touch the face of God."


"A Charlie Brown Christmas" - 50th Anniversary!
December 2015
Hello Everyone!
This month we mark the 50th anniversary of an iconic annual Christmas TV special.  In earlier Holiday Season episodes of Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site [2010 and 2011] we have discussed "A Charlie Brown Christmas" along with other favorite TV programs, but on this occasion we single out this Christmas special because of its time honored, perennially relevant message of love and friendship.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is based on the "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles M. Schulz.  The program addresses the secularism and commercialization of Christmas while reminding viewers on the true meaning of Christmas [the birth of Jesus Christ].  Schulz was able to simultaneously convey both adult and childhood themes through an eclectic mix of characters, including but not limited to Charlie Brown and his pet dog Snoopy, neighborhood pals Linus and Lucy, piano player Schroeder and many others.
A memorable soundtrack, featuring the up-tempo "Linus and Lucy" theme by Vince Guaraldi and the rather wistful "Christmas Time is Here" sung by a children's choir have both become Holiday favorites.  Among the memorable scenes in this 25-minute production include Linus reciting from memory the Gospel of Luke (2:8-14) and the transformation of a humble, small Christmas tree into a symbol of love and friendship.
From the beginning, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" drew critical acclaim including the New York World-Telegram hailing Linus' narration of the Nativity as the "dramatic highlight of the season."  The program first aired on December 9, 1965 and was viewed by 45% of those watching television that evening which placed it at number 2 in the ratings behind "Bonanza."  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was honored with both Emmy and Peabody awards but perhaps more importantly continues to be a Holiday classic for all generations.
What are your special or favorite moments from this TV special?  Please send us an e-mail sharing your thoughts and know that we wish all of you joy and blessings during the Holiday Season and New Year!


The Game of the Century
Remembering November 1966
Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

<strong>Not published in LIFE.</strong> Spartans and Fighting Irish leave the field after their "Game of the Century" 10-10 tie, 1966.
Baby boomers who love college football know that November produces the games we all remember!  In today's 24/7 digital media age, we have the opportunity to watch practically every game either on various cable sports channels or streaming via the Internet.  The focus is on national rankings and playoff berths.  However it was not always this way and we can attribute many of the attributes of today's game to a milestone game played on November 19, 1966 at East Lansing, MI.
The contest was noteworthy for having two top-ranked undefeated teams playing so very late in the regular season -- an event that had not occurred in decades.  Michigan State was coming to the end of a dynastic run in which the Spartans had won or shared six national titles (1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965 and 1966).  Notre Dame was in a resurgent mode as a perennial national title contender following its dynastic runs during the decades of the 1920s and 1940s.  Since the game ended in a 10-10 tie, both teams would share national honors for 1966 but more importantly was the lasting impact on American pop culture and the sports world.  What the casual and serious sports fan alike now take for granted was made possible in large part by this landmark gridiron classic.  Here are some interesting facts that affirm its historic impact.

> This game was cited as an example for making overtime a standard for all college football games thereby eliminating ties and setting the stage for an eventual play-off system to decide the national championship (though such changes did not finally go into place until the 1990s);
> During the 1950s and 1960s Michigan State was a pioneer in breaking down racial and social barriers by recruiting a significant number of African-American players from the South and even boasted a barefooted place-kicker from Hawaii; national recruiting is now a standard practice for all college football programs, especially those with a strong brand name.
> Notre Dame, which had long eschewed playing in the post-season used this tie-game to change its no-bowl policy that had been in effect since the late 1920s and become a regular participant in bowl games beginning with the 1970 Cotton Bowl;
> Of the 44 starting players for both teams, 25 would receive All-America mention and 33 would go on to pro careers; this is a staggering measure of gridiron excellence for all generations.
> At that time, each team was allotted one national television appearance and two regional appearances versus today's unlimited worldwide video coverage;
> Due to the historic nature of this contest, the game ended up being broadcast nationwide but was on tape delay for the West coast and South (a compromise made to comply with the standing regulations of the day); originally ABC did not want to broadcast the game anywhere but the Midwest but a letter writing campaign numbering over 50,000 letters gave the network sufficient reason to air the game nationally.
> This was the first college football game to be broadcast to U.S. troops in Vietnam;
> The popularity of this particular contest was so great that its TV ratings exceeded the first ever Super Bowl held two months later in January 1967;
<strong>Not published in LIFE.</strong> Fans during the 1966 "Game of the Century" between Notre Dame and Michigan State.
In sum, this game is a snapshot of how many baby boomers and their parents remember college football as it was from the 1920s through the 1960s, and before a great deal of national unrest took hold in the late sixties.  College football has changed a great deal since then and continues to change now as "games of the century" have now become an almost routine weekly autumn event.  The impetus for change came in large part from this historic match-up of two iconic powerhouse programs.  Much of this game is available for viewing on YouTube and baby boomers will fondly recall ABC TV announcers Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson.  As you root for your favorite team this month, take a few moments to look back and remember the way we were!


October 2015
Cold War Memories and the Soaring Sixties

Are you a reader of recent history? Do you or your parents enjoy getting a new perspective on the 1960s and the Cold War era? Get a fresh perspective on history and the impact of an aircraft that changed the world from yours truly, George Haloulakos, with my newly released book, CALL TO GLORY - How the Convair B-58 Hustler Helped Win the Cold War.
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The history of this iconic record-setting aircraft whose service life exactly spanned the period of 1960-1970 symbolizes both the highs-and-lows of a decade characterized by feats of daring-do and expanding the frontiers of knowledge at supersonic speed.  As an exclusive nuclear strike weapon, the B-58 Hustler remains shrouded in mystery yet has become embedded into the pop culture of that period.  Here are just a few examples:
> In its featured role as the fictional Vindicator bomber in “Fail Safe” the B-58 is only fleetingly shown in various action shots but its image in delivering its deadly ordnance at the film's climax is indelibly framed in our collective memory.  In the classic Twilight Zone episode "King Nine Will Not Return"  the B-58 Hustler is never seen by the viewing audience but its reference by the leading character is a critical moment in resolving the plot line.
> The B-58 Hustler was the difference maker during the Cuban Missile Crisis for the USA in its October 1962 showdown with the USSR.  Ironically, this gave rise to an urban legend:  While the leaders of the USA and USSR were engaged in a potential nuclear showdown it was later said that a pair of B-58s did a fly-by over the Kremlin while the two leaders were talking to each other on the “hot line.”  This story is not supported by any empirical work that I am aware of.  The “hot line” did not get installed until after the Cuban Missile Crisis and such an event would have required an Emergency War Order for a USAF bomber to enter into Soviet airspace.  Yet there are people who believe the legend to this very day!
> In one of his final public speaking appearances on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy extolled the strategic importance of the B-58 Hustler as the most powerful Cold War bomber in the world before his Fort Worth, Texas audience.

All of this and much more is covered in CALL TO GLORY.  Yours truly was able to interview pilots, navigators and defense systems operators who piloted the B-58 thus making this book a veritable time capsule suitable for general audiences.Galaxy Nostalgia Network listeners can buy signed copies of CALL TO GLORY [ISBN: 9780692475454] three ways:
(1) The book is available at UC San Diego Bookstore [the university is my publisher].

(2) To order by phone - 858-534-7326
ask for customer service specialist Christine Blaylock who will handle your orders;

(3) To order online click on this link:

If anyone in the Galaxy Nostalgia Network audience buys a copy, please send me an e-mail so that I can send you special commemorative CALL TO GLORY bookmarks!  You can reach me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
As always, if any of you have memories of the Cold War, the missiles of October or a B-58 Hustler sighting, please share them with us via e-mail.

Remembering James Dean
September 30, 1955 -- The End and The Beginning
The numeric sequence 9-30-1955 is indelibly associated with the late great James Dean - whose short but accomplished life came to a tragic end sixty years ago in an automobile accident but ignited a worldwide following that continues to this day!
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His starring roles in "East of Eden," "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant" earned two Academy Award nominations plus the Golden Globe Special Achievement Award and the Jussi Award for Best Foreign Actor.  The American Film Institute ranks Dean as the 18th best male movie star on its 100 Years - 100 Stars list.  Dean was attractive to both men and women as he personified the angst and ambivalence that teenagers of all generations have felt at one time or another.  Despite the on-screen image of social estrangement and disillusionment he was a charismatic persona who is fondly remembered as sometimes shy, yet friendly and accessible to his fans.
My mother's best friend met James Dean in person at a bull fight in Del Rio, Texas in September 1955 as he was completing his role in "Giant."  She recalled Dean as having a friendly but quiet intensity that provided a perfect accompaniment to the jeans and cowboy boots he wore both on and off screen for his larger-than-life role as a Texas cowboy who became an oil tycoon!
James Dean
Ironically, my mother's friend noted that cosmetically he appeared to be much older than his 24-years as the closing sequence of "Giant" featured Dean in a much older version of his character.  When he was killed just a weeks later, he was still in that cosmetic state of old age because his hair was still shaved and partially gray to give the appearance of a receding hairline in the film.
Much has been written about Dean over the years, including an unpublished college term paper yours truly wrote in my 1975-76 freshman year at USC that not only earned a letter grade of "A" but proved to be the most fun research project I was ever involved with!  Watching his great films and reading the seemingly endless accounts of his friendships, romantic relationships and his commitment to the acting profession was truly inspiring.  That Dean accomplished so very much in such a short life is a tribute to talent, hard work, good fortune and nerve.  In a business known for consuming its stars, he played to win rather than play not to lose.  His lasting image as a rebel remains forever young, and we are left with wonderful memories.  This, and more, are the subject of an upcoming GMNS broadcast in which we remember James Dean as one of the ultimate Galaxy Nostalgia Network icons!
If you have any special or favorite memories of James Dean, please share them with us via e-mail.

The Dog Days of August and Summer Reruns -
August 2015

Hello Everyone!
How many of you recall the "reruns" that once dominated the TV network airwaves during the summer months long before
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the era of specialty cable channels and YouTube?  Yours truly fondly recalls how during the 1960s this afforded the opportunity to watch TV shows that I missed during the school year as they usually aired well past my bedtime.  In addition, it was fun to once again watch episodes of favorite shows that left a strong favorable impression.  My favorite summer reruns from the 1960s were "Star Trek" (The Original Series) and "Lost in Space."  Programs that I watched in the summer that I had missed during the school year were "The Fugitive" (1963-1967),"The Big Valley" (1965-1969) and "Twelve O'Clock High" (1964-1967).  The latter three programs were considered "adult" content and aired later in the evening!  However, summer was a time in which we did not have school night curfews for TV viewing, so this was a fun activity especially during those hot August nights in the San Fernando Valley [just outside Los Angeles].
Lost In Space.jpg
"Lost in Space" (1965-1968)

Not to be confused with "syndication" in which various local TV stations would rebroadcast various shows - often under different titles to avoid conflict with programs still aired on the three major networks - reruns were synonymous with summer!  Two such examples of syndication were the long-running TV series "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-1968) and "Bonanza" (1959-1973).  While both of these programs were aired on network TV, earlier episodes were shown concurrently on local stations under the titles "Andy of Mayberry" and "Ponderosa" which allowed viewers to make the connection as well as distinction between new and old episodes.  Unlike the traditional summer reruns these syndicated episodes were usually aired in the mornings or afternoons.
One feature that is rarely seen nowadays on network TV during the summer is the "series finale" airing at the end of August [marking the end of summer vacation and the start of the school year].  Two classic series finales were "The Fugitive" [in which Dr. Kimball finally caught up with
one-armed man and exonerated himself from the false murder charge] and "Hawaii Five-O" [Steve McGarrett finally books and jails his arch-enemy Wo-Fat after 12 years].  Both aired at the end of August prior to the start of a new TV season.
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"The Fugitive" (1963 - 1967)

One of the more memorable periods that involved a "replacement" instead of "reruns" was the summer of 1968 in which "The Jackie Gleason Show" was replaced by the mysterious series "The Prisoner" featuring Patrick McGoohan in a limited run of 17 episodes.  This presaged the current practice of ongoing seasons throughout the calendar year for all types of series whether on network or cable TV.
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"The Prisoner" (Summer 1968)

If you have any favorite TV "rerun" memories, please send your reminiscences to us via e-mail.  Also be sure to listen previous GMNS programs that covered the "spy genre" and "series finales."

NEW HORIZONS Flyby of Pluto --  July 2015
From Science Fiction to Science Fact !
This NASA flyby mission completes the reconnaissance of the classical solar system and is the latest example of American exceptionalism for it makes the USA the first nation to have sent a space probe to every planet in our solar system -- from Mercury to Pluto!

Appropriately it occurs in the month of July in which we mark the 50th anniversary of the Mariner 4 Mars probe which sent back the first-ever close up photos of another planet taken from outer space as well as the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 manned moon mission in which human beings first walked on the moon.
The Galaxy Nostalgia Network has featured many programs and Blog entries commemorating how our favorite science fiction stories - whether in print, TV or film - have presaged the remarkable scientific accomplishments that have been witnessed by Baby Boomers.  It is moments like this in which we reflect upon how the strength of the human spirit is on full display as we seek to expand new frontiers of knowledge through patience, persistence, courage and curiosity.  Astronomer Carl Sagan once said that "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were.  But without we go nowhere."  The New Horizons flyby mission to Pluto is the latest example of how human imagination and ingenuity has taken us to where no human has gone before.  Yet in saluting this latest accomplishment in science and exploration we know that the journey continues!  If you have a favorite memory about space flight and how it has inspired you, please send us an e-mail with your thoughts.

June 2015 -- Where Does the Time Go?
This familiar refrain is heard when we look back wistfully at decades gone by and ponder where it all went as well as how fast the time seemed to fly.  What makes this question so poignant is when we realize that events or characteristics that at the time seemed so important pass from the scene rather quickly or are superseded by new developments that render those characteristics as commonplace, obsolete or no longer relevant.  Consider the decade of the 1990s.  How many of you remember the following?
> AOL diskettes in your mailbox?
> Pagers or beepers?
> Mega size book store chains?
> Cable TV news programs usurping the headlines of the day from traditional weekly magazines?
> Novelty of gourmet coffee and related beverages?

You've Got Mail.jpg
The 1998 romantic comedy-drama film "You've Got Mail" featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan now seems like a time-capsule of the 1990s as it incorporated the aforementioned items and more in what was an updated version of the the same plot line in the 1940 film "The Shop Around the Corner" [with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan].
The Shop Around the Corner - 1940- Poster.png
In "You've Got Mail" we witness the two main characters as Internet pen-pals who happen to both be in the book selling business.  Mr. Hanks family owned Fox Books represents a Barnes & Noble / Border's supermarket bookstore chain while Ms. Ryan's Shop Around the Corner is a throwback to the neighborhood bookstore owned-and-operated by a single proprietor.  The concept of product placement has never been more evident as the film's title is taken from the trademark greeting AOL subscribers hear when they receive e-mail transmissions.  The film reaches a most satisfying conclusion but along the way we bear witness to several awkward if not humorous social encounters at a grocery store, office party and a gourmet coffee outlet as we observe various work/life challenges associated with the 1990s lifestyles. 
Seventeen years later after this film's release we note that AOL's dial-up service was long ago surpassed by wireless technology and that same technology has rendered many cable news TV programs along with their newspaper/magazine predecessors either obsolete or marginalized.  Beepers/pagers are now a nostalgia item from the last century while the same mega size bookstore chains that pushed aside the small neighborhood bookstores have now themselves been pushed aside by readers and book buyers increasingly shifting their preference to Internet venues.  Gourmet coffee is now commonplace as other competitors have entered into the fray.
As time marches on, it makes one ponder how we will look back at the present day twenty years from now!  While you think about this question, you might take an opportunity to view both "You've Got Mail" and "The Shop Around the Corner" as a reminder that even with the passage of time and the inexorable advancements in technology, a good storyline that features likeable characters that we can all relate to at one level or another never goes out of style!


May 2015 [or is it 1985?]
Hello Everyone!
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the iconic time-travel film classic "Back to the Future."  Released on July 3, 1985, it was the most popular film that year in terms of box office receipts while earning widespread critical acclaim.  It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed - the same length of time in which teenager Marty McFly [played by Michael J. Fox] accidentally travels back in time to 1955 where he meets his future parents while in high school and inadvertently becomes his mother's love interest!  With the help of Dr. Emmett Brown [portrayed by Christopher Lloyd] Marty must repair the damage done caused by his accidental time travel by getting his future parents to fall in love and return to the year 1985 in the time machine created by Dr. Brown!

The poster shows a teenaged boy coming out from a nearly invisible DeLorean with lines of fire trailing behind. The boy looks astonishingly at his wristwatch. The title of the film and the tagline "He was never in time for his classes... He wasn't in time for his dinner... Then one day... he wasn't in his time at all" appear at the extreme left of the poster, while the rating and the production credits appear at the bottom of the poster.
One of the most endearing aspects of this film was its fusion of pop-culture from the decades of the both the 1980s and 1950s.  Examples include, but are not limited to:
> The modified 1980s DeLorean automobile [featuring gull-wing doors] as an atomic powered time machine;
> Scenes of Marty skate-boarding in the film occurred during the infancy of the skate-board sub-culture;
> Marty singing "Johnny B. Goode" [before its release] at the 1955 high school dance with Marvin Berry and his band, and then Marvin telephoning his "cousin" Chuck Berry to share with him that special sound he has been looking for;
> Every time Marty characterizes a topic of conversation as being "heavy" this prompts Dr. Brown to inquire if somehow the gravitational field in the future has been altered since Marty so frequently uses the term "heavy;"
> When ordering a soft drink at the local diner in 1955, Marty alternately asks for a "Pepsi-Free" or a "Tab" [presaging the diet soft drink trend that became a global market in the 1980s but non-existent in the 1950s] only to have the server respond that if Marty is going to have anything he must pay for it, and then points out he cannot give him a check ["a tab"] until he has actually ordered something!
> And how about witnessing "full service" at the gas station as a car is simultaneously cared for by several attendants in 1955 versus the self-serve model that became the norm in the 1980s?

There is much, much more!  Perhaps you have a favorite moment in this film?  If so, please send along your memories to us via e-mail.
Finally, it is interesting how Messrs. Fox and Lloyd were able to leverage their small screen TV success [during the 1980s Fox starred in "Family Ties" and Lloyd in "Taxi"] into even greater fame in the motion picture venue.  This has now become quite common for stars from both venues to shift back-and-forth, but in the 1980s it defied long-standing industry norms.  Thirty years later, we now can see how this film helped define our past, present and future!

April 2015
Hello Baseball Fans!
Springtime marks the start of a new baseball season and this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of perhaps the greatest year any pitching duo ever had -- Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax won a combined total of 52 games [49 in the regular season and 3 more in the World Series] to pitch the LA Dodgers to their 3rd World Series Championship in 1965 following the team's transcontinental move from New York in 1958. During the 1965 regular season, both pitchers achieved a level of perfection rarely seen. On May 25th after the lead-off batter hit safely in the first inning, Drysdale pitched a perfect game the rest of the way by retiring the next 27 consecutive batters! On September 9th Koufax retired all 27 batters to record a perfect game. In an earlier 1-hour GMNS episode we examined the 1960s era of Major League Baseball through the prism of the Hall of Fame careers of this remarkable "righty-lefty" pitching duo.
With the passage of time we have come to appreciate the greatness of these two gentlemen not only by their athletic accomplishments, but by their humanity. Both men put team above self and were profoundly grateful to their fans everywhere. When the Dodgers would play the Giants in San Francisco, Drysdale would always take time at the ballpark to meet with a deaf-mute couple by the name of Hammerlund [Source: "Drysdale's Double Life" by Jim Murray, LA Times, August 23, 1961] and converse with them by scratch pad. Drysdale's kindness extended to all of his fans, especially with kids who recall his accessibility and friendliness. Koufax is remembered for answering to a higher authority than his manager by refusing to start the Game One of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. [Source: "Sandy Koufax - A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy; Harper Collins Books, 2002].
Fifty years later, Drysdale and Koufax remain role models of honor, dignity and integrity. For yours truly and many others, the careers of these men were our childhood. Do any of you have a favorite baseball player or two from your childhood that still inspire you to this day? Please write to us and share your treasured memories.

March 2015

This month marks the 50th anniversary for the release date of "The Sound of Music," one of the most beloved family films of all time!  Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture, "The Sound of Music" evokes innumerable memories for Baby Boomers.
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Here are some fun miscellaneous facts about this musical not generally known:
> "The Sound of Music" was a favorite of the late Hall of Fame NFL Football Coach George Allen!  Who would have expected this from an iconic gridiron figure who was the architect of the famed defense for the 1963 NFL Champion Chicago Bears, the LA Rams Fearsome Foursome of the late 1960s and the Washington Redskins Over-the-Hill Gang in the 1970s?  But this inspiring and uplifting musical touched him deeply!
> The song "Edelweiss" was neither a traditional Austrian song nor the Austrian national anthem.  It was expressly written for the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein!
> Angela Cartwright [who played daughter Brigitta von Trapp] and Kym Karath [who played daughter Gretl von Trapp] ended up starring in the iconic TV science fiction show "Lost in Space" during its inaugural 1965-66 season in the episode "The Lost Civilization."  Cartwright was a series regular as daughter Penny Robinson.  Karath was a one-time guest star featured as the Princess, but she and Cartwright did not appear together as this particular episode focused on the male members of the Robinson expedition encountering a highly advanced civilization led by Karath.

The legacy of this great musical continues as the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA holds an annual sing-along in which the film is shown with the lyrics underneath the screen!  The film is also shown every year on network TV around Christmastime, and this may be a contributing factor as to why one of its signature songs -- "My Favorite Things" -- is associated with the Yuletide Season even though it was never written as such.  In 2010, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer ["Maria" and "the Captain"] plus the film's seven child stars reunited for a guest appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Do any of you have any favorite moments or scenes from "The Sound of Music" ?  My personal favorites are when Maria and the children sing "Do-Re-Mi" and later in the film when Maria and the Captain declare their love for each other.  And who can ever forget when the film takes a very serious tone as the von Trapp family flees the Nazi soldiers and then hiking over the Swiss Alps into Switzerland and to freedom?  As we remember and celebrate this wonderful film, please e-mail us your favorite memories of "The Sound of Music."

February 2015
How many of you recall or can name the first "mass-market" paperback?  While paperback books have been around since the mid-1800s, "mass-market" paperbacks have been in vogue since the 1930s.  Since then, this concept has enabled readers of modest means to purchase books they might not otherwise be able to afford while being able to carry them around in their coat pocket!  As it turns out, the first such book was James Hilton's Lost Horizon [1933] that proved so popular it was made into a classic film starring Ronald Colman [1937].
Lost Horizon (James Hilton novel) coverart.jpg
The success of this story both in-print and on-screen started a popular trend that continues to this very day [i.e., capturing the public's imagination via the printed word and then taking it to the motion picture venue featuring major box office stars].  As we celebrate Valentine's Day during this month, it is nice to reminiscence about Lost Horizon as it is a story that combines adventure, romance and fantasy.  Regardless of what you do first -- read the book or see the film -- it is hard to imagine anyone else other than Ronald Colman as Conway the British MP who finds love, inner peace and renewed sense of purpose in Shangri-La, a fictional lamasery located high up in the mountains of Tibet.  While the book and film have different endings, we are left with the wistful feeling that all of us in the course of our own life's journey may hope to find our own Shangri-La.  Its message of love and kindness resonates down through the decades.
Whether you are in the mood to read a literary classic or view a classic Black & White film, Lost Horizon promises a memorable experience.

And for those who may wonder what happened later to the characters in this haunting book and film, then check out Shangri-La: The Return to the World of Lost Horizon, written in 1996 by my friend Eleanor Cooney and her co-author Daniel Altieri.  For those who love adventure, romance and fantasy, Ms. Cooney and Mr. Altieri have combined the very best from both the book and the 1937 film in what may be one of the best sequels ever!


January 2015 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello everyone --
The inspired life of Louis Zamperini has been celebrated in print [Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 best selling biography Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption], on film [Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie in 2014] and on New Year's Day 2015 as the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal.  Although Mr. Zamperini had passed away unexpectedly at age 97 several months earlier, the Tournament honored their commitment to him by having his family ride in the parade followed by a riderless horse.
A member of America's "Greatest Generation," Mr. Zamperini's life story has captured the imagination of people both young and old alike from all walks in life.  He was a record-setting college track star at the University of Southern California and participated for the USA at the 1936 Olympics.  During World War II he was a Captain for the US Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater serving as a B24 Liberator bombardier earning the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and Prisoner of War Medal for his wartime record.  While these are stellar accomplishments in and of themselves, it is what took place in the ensuing years that continues to inspire people.  Mr. Zamperini overcame the adversity of a most harsh imprisonment during the war and the post traumatic stress that followed thereafter.  Through a recommittment to his Christian faith he found that love and forgiveness enabled him to lead an inspired life that would provide a beacon of hope and encouragement to others.  In a world seemingly cruel and harsh, Mr. Zamperini was able to bring light and inspiration to others by sharing his faith over the span of 65+ years.
Whether you learn about this remarkable man by reading Ms. Hillenbrand's stirring biographical account or view the screen version directed by Ms. Jolie, do know that your time will be well spent.  We honor the memory of Mr. Zamperini on the Galaxy Nostalgia Network because he exemplifies what it means to take the best of the past while helping to advance the future!

December 2014

"Wonderful" Trivia About The Origin of a Classic Holiday Film
Perhaps one of the most well known if not popular films associated with Christmastime is the 1946 classic "It's A Wonderful Life" featuring James Stewart in the starring role.  The story of a man who gave up his dreams to help others, but then become so disillusioned that he contemplates committing suicide on Christmas Eve -- only to change his mind after his guardian angel shows how important his life has been for all those he had helped  --  has now become part of classic American pop culture.
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While this film may have suffered a bit from "over exposure" during the mid-to-late 1980s [being shown multiple times daily during the entire month of December on multiple TV channels], its message of love and friendship remains timeless.  In the spirit of goodness and kindness that has made this film so heartwarming, here are some fun but not generally well-known trivia items about the origin of "It's A Wonderful Life."
> Produced and directed by Frank Capra, the film was inspired by a short story titled "The Greatest Gift" written in 1939 by Phillip Van Doren Stern [1900-1984].  Having been unable to find a publisher for his 21-page story, Mr. Stern printed up 200 copies of his own and gave it out as a Christmas Card style gift to family and friends in December 1943.
> Ultimately it ended up in the hands of RKO producer David Hempstead.  RKO then paid $10,000 for motion picture rights to Mr. Stern [worth about $124,000 today].  There were several versions written but RKO did not make it into a film.  Instead, the screenplay version was sold to Frank Capra's production company [also for $10,000] who subsequently made further revisions before releasing "It's A Wonderful Life" in 1946.
> In 1944, "The Greatest Gift" ended up actually being published in Reader's Scope as well as Good Housekeeping magazines.  The Good Housekeeping version featured it as "The Man Who Was Never Born" -- an apt title for it concisely sums up the plot line for Capra's classic film!
> Stern was finally able to get his story published in book form during this same period with illustrations done by Rafaello Busoni.
> "The Greatest Gift" turned out to be the start of a wonderful writing career for Stern as he later became a renowned Civil War historian, publishing over 40 books during a stellar life of achievement.
As we look back on "It's A Wonderful Life" and how it was inspired by "The Greatest Gift" we take comfort on how it reminds us that when faced with adversity or dark forces, we can always light a candle of goodness and kindness to inspire others while conveying the spirit of this Holy Season!


November 2014
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We love a parade!

The Thanksgiving Holiday weekend is a time of two iconic parades.  In New York City there is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and in the Hollywood community of Los Angeles there is the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  Having lived on both the west and east coasts has given yours truly a special appreciation for both parades.  Interestingly enough, I also associate both parades with a long-time favorite actress, Natalie Wood!
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was first held in 1924, and has continued every year since with the exception of 1942-44 when World War II supply concerns over rubber and helium temporarily suspended festivities.  In pop culture Santa Claus' arrival at the finale of the Macy's parade traditionally marks the beginning of the Christmas season and is a greatly anticipated event.
This was immortalized in the 1947 film "Miracle on 34th Street" that featured then-childhood actress Natalie Wood who comes to learn the meaning of Christmas through her encounter with Kris Kringle, who is not only the Macy's Santa Claus but the "real" Santa himself!  The film also was a contributing factor in making the Macy's parade a national event as actual footage from 1946 festivities were incorporated into the storyline.  The parade is also famous for its signature giant-size balloons, notably animal shaped, that were first introduced in 1927 when the Felix the Cat balloon made its debut.  The first Mickey Mouse balloon appeared in 1934.  It did not take long for the popularity of the parade to soar as crowds in excess of 1-million people were lining the streets by 1933.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade started in 1928, and was originally known as the Santa Claus Lane Parade.  It was held on Thanksgiving Eve but eventually was moved to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Hollywood Blvd. transformed into Santa Claus Lane, circa 1950. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.Like its east coast counterpart, this parade was also suspended in the midst of World War II during 1942-44 but reopened to record crowds in 1945.  While not having the same national audience as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Hollywood Christmas Parade was well known for its film and music celebrities that included cowboy actor/singer Gene Autry on horseback who reportedly wrote his famous song "Here Comes Santa Claus" after hearing children along the 1946 parade route cry out these same words awaiting Santa Claus!  Mr. Autry was Grand Marshal in 1980.  Given its local character, this parade often featured lots of regional high school bands and other local talent involving performing animals and the like.  One of my favorite memories was when our next door neighbor's pet bulldog was part of the parade since it served as the live mascot for Burbank High School.  A perennial feature of this parade was a grown up Natalie Wood along with husband Robert Wagner and their daughters always in attendance.  Their stalwart presence was honored when they were named Grand Marshals of the parade in 1979.  Sadly, Natalie Wood passed away unexpectedly in an accident on Thanksgiving Weekend just two years later, but their her vibrant presence is still associated with this parade just as she is associated with the Macy's parade in her starring role in the 1947 version of "Miracle on 34th Street."
Both parades have maintained a sense of tradition but have also adapted to the changing pop culture of each decade featuring new performers and characters while always bringing people together in a celebratory fashion.  If you have any special memories of either these parades or another favorite Holiday Season parade, please send us an e-mail.

October 2014

Prime-time animation, thanks in large part to "The Simpsons," has now become commonplace on television. But it was not always so! Baby boomers may recall "The Flinstones" which aired on prime time from 1960-66 as a popular evening show for the entire family, but this type of program was a rarity as animation was largely relegated to either weekday afternoons when kids would be arriving home from school or Saturday mornings. This year, we mark the 50th anniversary of a short-lived prime-time animated series that not only left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of adventure minded viewers from all generations, but helped to make animation more acceptable to the general viewing public: "The Adventures of Jonny Quest."
This amazing program was the first cartoon series to ultimately air on all three major networks, but it first debuted on prime-time during the 1964-65 season for ABC. "Jonny Quest" was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Screen Gems, and was created and designed by comic book artist Doug Wildey.File:Jonny-quest-opening-title.jpg
Although "Jonny Quest" was later revived for two subsequent series in both the 1980s and 1990s, along with two made-for-TV films, it is the original series that viewers remember best. There were 26 half-hour episodes in which our heroes [Jonny; his father, Dr. Benton Quest; Hadji, an Indian orphan adopted by the Quests; Roger "Race" Bannon, their bodyguard, pilot and friend; and their pet bulldog, Bandit] traveled the globe investigating mysteries, performing rescues and battling nefarious evil villains. The series allowed parents and their children to enjoy story lines that appealed to both young and old alike while vicariously visiting exotic locales.
"Jonny Quest" featured high-technology such as its signature Dragon Fly supersonic jet as well as its VSTOL [Vertical Short Take-off and Landing] aircraft that ferried the Quest clan the world over. Lasers, computers, hand-held communication devices were among the gadgets that became a staple of this adventure series. Bandit the pet bulldog was noted for his mask-like eye markings, Hadji had special abilities and mysterious powers, and invariably the Quest clan would encounter their arch enemy and most notorious villain, Dr. Zin.
For those who enjoy trivia, here are some more fun facts about this memorable TV series that remains perennially relevant 50 years after its debut:
> The show was inspired by radio serials and action genre such as "Doc Savage" and Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars;"
> "Race" Bannon was actually modeled after action film star Jeff Chandler [1918-1961] including his signature white hair;
> While the characters and tone of the series were action-oriented, academic excellence and scholarship were equally valued along with athletic prowess;
> Dr. Quest was a single father - a widower - striving to fulfill his professional obligations while raising his son;

Do any of you have favorite memories or special episodes of "Jonny Quest" that still capture your imagination to this day? Yours truly enjoyed the three episodes featuring the VSTOL jet aircraft along with the one in which the Quests investigated the mystery of an Egyptian mummy coming back to life as well as the robot spy -- a giant mechanical spider that piloted a flying saucer! Please write to us with your recollections of "Jonny Quest" as we celebrate a half-century of fun and adventure. And yes, the original series is available on DVD!

September 2014

Hello everyone!  This month we celebrate the 50th anniversary of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." which featured Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.  How many of you recall what U.N.C.L.E. stood for?  Or how about its chief adversary, THRUSH?  [The answers will be revealed at the end of this Blog entry!]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.jpg
The TV series ran from 1964-68 consisting of 105 episodes with the first season filmed in Black & White and the remaining three seasons in color.  Solo and Kuryakin proved to be a dynamic duo that capitalized on the popularity of the "James Bond" series shown in motion picture theaters worldwide.  In fact, Ian Fleming, the creator of "James Bond" initially contributed to the show's basic concepts that even included consideration of incorporating his name into the title of the series [first conceived as "Ian Fleming's Solo"], an idea that was obviously dropped.

The titles for the various episodes often included the word "Affair" as part of its signature sophisticated style.  Examples were "The Vulcan Affair," "The Ultimate Computer Affair," "The Monks of St. Thomas Affair" and many others.  Solo and Kuryakin were skilled in martial arts and used a wide range of electronic gadgets for reconnaissance, espionage and defensive purposes.  Most notably was the pocket radio disguised as a cigarette pack [and then later as a fountain pen] used with the call-sign "Open Channel D" when connecting with headquarters.
Here are some more interesting tidbits about this amazing TV show: during its 4-year run, there were 8 "Man From U.N.C.L.E." films released in neighborhood theaters worldwide [these were TV episodes featuring extra footage - often with more adult content to capitalize on the "James Bond" phenomena]; a host of board games, books, comics, toys and related merchandise for children of all ages; a "who's who" gallery of major TV and film stars in guest roles; a rousing theme song; it started as the only spy show on TV in 1964 but inspired competition as nearly 12 spy shows were on network TV by 1966; a spin-off featuring Stephanie Powers and appropriately titled "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." which further augmented the U.N.C.L.E. franchise as a part of the 1960s pop culture.
Various exhibits, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Central Intelligence Agency Museum and other such intelligence gathering agencies display artifacts associated with the U.N.C.L.E. series.  Its lasting popularity inspired a 1983 TV reunion movie featuring Vaughn and McCallum in their familiar roles that included a cameo by George Lazenby - who played James Bond in the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
And now the answers to the earlier trivia questions:
U.N.C.L.E. stands for United Network Command for Law Enforcement.  THRUSH, according to several of the
U.N.C.L.E. novels authored by David McDaniel, stands for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.

If you have a favorite episode, guest star or special memory of this TV series to share, please write to us!

August 2014 -- The Dog Days of August

Hello everyone --

Summer is a great time, especially in the month of August, for families and friends to get together at the beach to relax and have fun.  Baby boomers nostalgically look back at the mid-1960s when "beach party" movies were box-office hits giving everyone the chance to vicariously enjoy the pleasures of sand, surf, sun and an occasional song!

There are different versions of the beach party genre ranging from "Gidget" [Sandra Dee] to "Blue Hawaii" [Elvis Presley] to "Ride the Wild Surf" [Fabian].  But perhaps the most popular and well remembered are the seven films produced by American International Pictures released during the 1963-66 period featuring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.  The common storyline in these films revolved around boyfriend [Avalon] and girlfriend [Funicello] having fun with their friends on-and-off the beach and periodically having someone break out into song.
File:Beach Party Annette Funicello Frankie Avalon Mid-1960s.jpg

This year, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of when these films were at their peak as three of the seven were released during 1964.  Here is the timeline:
  • "Beach Party" - August 1963
  • "Muscle Beach Party" - March 1964
  • "Bikini Beach" - July 1964
  • "Pajama Party" - November 1964
  • "Beach Blanket Bingo" - April 1965
  • "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" - July 1965
  • "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini" - April 1966
The perennial popularity of the Avalon - Funicello duo in the ensuing decades sparked the 1987 Paramount release "Back to the Beach" in which the couple played off their original roles and subsequent careers.  A sequel was in the works but never materialized as Funicello began to experience health problems due to multiple sclerosis that would afflict her for the rest of her life.

The "beach party" movies are all available in DVD and shown periodically on various cable TV channels.  For those of who grew up in Southern California it is fun to note that many of these films were shot at Paradise Cove in Malibu, CA.  Do you have a favorite "beach party" movie?  My favorite is "Beach Blanket Bingo."
Beach blanket bingo333.jpg
This was memorable for its spectacular sky-diving shots, seven songs [with two lip-synched by future "Dynasty" star Linda Evans but actually sung by Jackie Ward], future "Lost in Space" star Marta Kristen as Lorelei the mermaid, Harvey Lembeck as the motorcycle group leader plus silent film star Buster Keaton as well as comedians Don Rickles and Paul Lynde!  If you have any special or favorite memories of these fun films, please write to us.  In the meantime, enjoy the summer!


July 25, 2014

Come Fly With Me!

Hello everyone -- Summer is a popular season for air travel and also to play trivia.  So in the spirit of fun with a purpose, here are a few questions to ponder as you fly here, there and everywhere!

> Can you name or identify this aircraft? [The answer is posted at the conclusion of this Blog entry.  No peeking!]
> Can you name the jet aircraft whose footage was shown as the fictional Vindicator Bomber in the 1964 film "Fail Safe" and again in the 2000 made-for-TV remake of that same film?
> The astronauts in the 1968 film "Planet of the Apes" ended up back on Earth 2,000 years in the future while only aging 1-1/2 years themselves during a high-speed space flight.  Is such an event really possible?  Or is it just science fiction?

> What World War II bomber flown by the United States Marine Corp [USMC] was known as "The Flying Nightmare" for helping pave the way for victory in the Pacific Theater?
The answers to these, and other questions are provided by yours truly -- George Haloulakos -- in my new book titled HIGH FLIGHT, that profiles various iconic aviation programs over the years from World War II to the Cold War plus looks at manned space flight.  HIGH FLIGHT is based on a lifetime appreciation and association with aviation.  In writing this book I have sought to honor the past and inspire the future.  While doing research, I  interviewed a gallery of heroes from the ranks of the USAF, USMC, RAF plus former US astronauts and even members of the US Congress.
And Galaxy Nostalgia Network fans, here is an extra treat: two Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site programs -- "Man, Moon, Media and Myth" and "Technicolor and the 55th Anniversary of the Boeing 707" -- are given special citation in HIGH FLIGHT because these two programs discuss content that comprise the first and last chapters of the book.  My Galaxy buddies, Excellence in Journalism Award winners Gilbert and Mike, are also mentioned for their great work along with URL information for those GMNS episodes.
To learn more, including how you may obtain a copy or two, please visit my HIGH FLIGHT website at:

As you will note by reading the web page [and it is a quick, easy read] HIGH FLIGHT has received favorable reviews and partial proceeds will help support USMC aviation heritage at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, CA.

To read an-depth, detailed book review, please go to: 
Finally, here is the answer to the first question: If you guessed the aircraft pictured earlier was the B2 Stealth Bomber, you are close but not quite on target!  Believe it or not, the aircraft shown is the ancestor to the B2.  It is the Northrop YB49 Flying Wing -- an experimental aircraft that never went beyond the prototype stage.  In HIGH FLIGHT, you will learn that actual test flight footage of the YB49 was featured in the 1953 film "The War of the Worlds" dropping an atomic bomb against the invading Martians.  If you guessed right, then you are definitely a "flying ace."

Stay tuned for an upcoming Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site program in which Gilbert and Mike interview yours truly on HIGH FLIGHT as we share memories of different aircraft and the legacy of an industry that has had a life-changing effect for all of us.  And please write to us and share your memories about manned flight and space exploration!
July 2014
This month is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in which the first human beings set foot on the moon.  This epic accomplishment fulfilled the goal established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 when he set forth the challenge that the USA would land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the close of the 1960s.  The Apollo manned moon mission is the quintessential example of American exceptionalism for it not only fulfilled the goal set forth by President Kennedy, it also fulfilled the prediction made a century earlier by French science fiction author Jules VerneIn his companion novels From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and ‘Round the Moon (1870),  Verne extolled Yankee ingenuity, pioneering spirit and can-do attitude when he successfully predicted that Americans would be the first to reach the moon 100 years prior to the Apollo 11 manned moon landing!  In fact, the Apollo 11 command module bore the name "Columbia" - the same as in Verne's epic novels.
This was the subject of an earlier Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site episode titled "Man, Moon, Media and Myth" in which we explored how science fiction became science fact.  But in a greater sense, Apollo 11 also represented not only the hopes and dreams of our nation but the aspirations of all mankind.

Appropriately, the plaque left on the moon to mark this historic event -- with the names and signatures of American Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin plus USA President Richard Nixon -- and shown here, affirms that our entire planet -- led by Yankee ingenuity and a pioneering spirit -- made this journey!
Please join us in a forthcoming Galaxy Night Site podcast as we look back at the Space Race of the 1960s and all that led to the Apollo 11 moon landing!


June 6, 2014 - 70th Anniversary of D-Day

As we remember this historic event in which members of the Allied armed forces made the ultimate sacrifice that made possible the survival of human freedom, this classic photograph of General Dwight Eisenhower addressing a US airborne division just prior to take-off captures the seriousness of purpose and strength of character of everyone involved.  Below this photograph, are the words of General Eisenhower written 70 years ago this very day describing this scene.
Picture of General Dwight Eisenhower giving orders to American paratroopers in England on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
"Yesterday, I visited British troops about to embark and last night saw a great portion of a United States airborne division just prior to its takeoff.  The enthusiasm, toughness and obvious fitness of every single man were high and the light of battle was in their eyes."

As part of the Galaxy Nostalgia Network's tribute to D-Day, a segment of our follow-up program was taped at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma in San Diego, CA. 
Fort rosecrans cemetery.jpg
In gratitude and loving memory, I would like to share the following poem written by Stephen Spender as we recall all those who not only participated in D-Day, but everyone who has served in defense of our nation.
"I think continually of those who were truly great.  The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honor."


May 7, 2014
Sixty years ago this week, Roger Bannister became the first sub-4 minute miler. In today's 24/7 digital media age where new athletic records are only briefly celebrated or perhaps viewed with a cynical if not skeptical eye due to the pervasive use of performance enhancement drugs, this record accomplishment by a most remarkable man is still held in high regard by baby boomers all over the world. Sir Roger Bannister is synonymous with not only athletic prowess, but honor and dignity associated with an ethical life. After finishing in 4th place in the 1,500 meters at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Bannister's record-breaking run two years later is now heralded by Sports Illustrated magazine as the the most significant athletic feat of the 20th century.
Interesting trivia for our GNN audience: Bannister was the first Sports Illustrated Man of the Year in January 1955, and -- little known fact -- he initiated the first testing procedure for steroids!
Roger Bannister
Bannister later became a distinguished neurologist and regarded his clinical work and research his greatest life accomplishments. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1975 for his contributions to medicine, he remained connected to the sports world by chairing the British Sports Council and involved with government committees encouraging sports participation as part of a well-rounded life. Sir Roger carried the torch at the 2012 London Olympics and has lived in Oxford with his wife of 59 years. We salute him as a role model and "a man for all seasons." Do any of you have a favorite sports hero from childhood who continues to have a place of honor in your book of memories? Please share your reminiscences with us by sending us an e-mail.

------------------------- April 4, 2014-----------------------------
In a recent Galaxy Moon Beam Night Site podcast in which we shared remembrances of Easter and Springtime, we also discussed Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 film "The Ten Commandments." With the upcoming celebrations of Passover and Easter later this month [and this year both Western and Eastern Christian Churches will celebrate Easter on the same day] I thought it might be fun to share some further trivia about "The Ten Commandments" as it has become a 40+ year tradition! Believe it or not this film has been broadcast on the ABC network annually since 1973, traditionally during Easter and Passover. Despite its length [217 minutes], the film has usually been shown in one evening rather than splitting it over two days, with 1997 being the only exception when the first half was aired on Easter Sunday and the second half the next day.
With its cast of thousands, its "A" list of "leading" film stars is legendary with such luminaries as Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Edward G. Robinson, et al. But what is equally impressive but less known is the cast of other "supporting" film stars who had loyal followings and would leave their eventual mark in other venues - namely music and TV. For Baby Boomers looking for a reason to watch the film for perhaps the umpteenth time, keep a close eye to see if you can catch the following people in their respective supporting roles:
> Herb Alpert [musician & founder of A&M Records] as a Hebrew drummer;
> Carl Switzer [Alfalfa of the 1930s film series"The Little Rascals"] as a slave;
> Michael Ansara [Cochise in the "Broken Arrow" TV series] as an Egyptian overseer and taskmaster;
> Mike Conners [TV detective "Mannix"] as an Amelekite herder;
> Robert Vaughn [TV secret agent "Man From Uncle"] as a spear-man and Hebrew;
> Clint Walker [TV cowboy "Cheyenne"] as a Sardinian captain;
In an uncredited role, Cecil B. DeMille was the film's narrator. And finally, in a 2004 interview, Charlton Heston [who played the role of Moses] admitted he was the "voice of God" heard in the film!

Do any of you have any remembrances about "The Ten Commandments" to share? Where and when did you first view this iconic film? Before it reached the small screen, the first time I saw the "Ten Commandments" was at the Pickwick Drive-In Theater in Burbank, CA during the mid 1960s. My mom made sure we had pillows and blankets to watch the film in comfort while viewing from the family car. One of my favorite memories is later seeing the "Parting of the Red Sea" attraction while on the tram tour of Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Please send us an e-mail with your memories about this film!
How many of you remember this familiar TV theme song that began with these opening lines:
"Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour.
Gilligans Island title card.jpg
Of course, this is the opening for "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" and perhaps the longest three hour tour in maritime or TV history!  Believe it or not, this year marks the 50th anniversary of "Gilligan's Island" and with TV Land cable channel now running multiple episodes nightly this is a great opportunity to become reacquainted with our favorite castaways.  On a poignant note, these reruns started not long after the passing of Russell Johnson (11/10/1924 - 1/16/2014) who portrayed the Professor in the original series (1964-67) and the subsequent made-for-TV film sequels from 1978-1981 plus numerous reprisals of his role such as his guest appearance on "ALF' (1987).
Russell Johnson
I was particularly moved by the news of Mr. Johnson's passing as I learned about his distinguished WW II combat record serving as a bombardier on B25 Mitchell bombers in the Pacific theater that earned him a Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star, the World War Two Victory Medal and three service stars.  [Note: Yours truly is currently in the midst of publishing a book on aviation history that includes a section on the B25 Mitchell, the very same type of aircraft in which Mr. Johnson served.]  The role of the Professor was a positive role model who inspired young viewers to pursue science and math while being diligent in their studies.  As Gilbert and Mike have noted, we have recently lost a number of distinguished members of America's greatest generation known to Baby Boomers for their entire lives.  It is important for us to not only remember them for their wonderful work, but for how they made a positive difference over the course of their entire lives, as did Mr. Johnson.
One more thought about "Gilligan's Island" and this concerns its connection with the assassination of President Kennedy [profiled in a recent GMNS podcast].  The final scenes of the pilot episode were filmed on Friday, November 22, 1963.  In the opening scene of the show's first season [the black & white episodes] as the Minnow is leaving the harbor and heading out to sea, an American flag flying at half-mast can be seen in the background.  As you watch the black & white episodes on TV Land be sure to look carefully and you will see this permanent reminder connecting a favorite TV show with a tragic event in our nation's history.  If you have any special memories of your favorite castaways, please send us an e-mail!

On February 14th, Valentine's Day is celebrated in countries all over the world. It was during the High Middle Ages that the day was first associated with romantic love, as the tradition of courtly love blossomed. In 18th century England the gift-giving of flowers, confectionery delights and greeting cards (popularly referred to as "valentines") became widespread and continues to this day!
Antique Valentine 1909 01.jpg
Do any of you recall how in elementary school a Valentine's Day party was usually held in which students would exchange cards with their classmates by depositing those cards in paper bags (usually decorated by each person in his or her own hand) that served as a "mail box" taped to their school desk? Often, some students might include tiny candy hearts with a message or would express romantic sentiments anonymously as a "secret pal" or "secret admirer." As we grew up, classic films such as "An Affair to Remember" (featuring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr) became very popular for couples to watch on Valentine's Day. In the early 1990s, there was renewed interest in this film due to the popularity of a more recent classic "Sleepless in Seattle" (featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) that drew inspiration from the Grant/Kerr vehicle as both films centered around a romantic liaison on top of the Empire State Building.
File:AffairtoRemember.jpgSleepless in seattle.jpg
What memories or favorite films do you associate with Valentine's Day? Although not a Valentine's Day themed film, a personal favorite of mine is "Random Harvest" (featuring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson) about a World War I veteran (Colman) falling in love with a music hall celebrity (Garson). If you have a special memory or favorite film that you would like to share with the Galaxy Nostalgia Network, please contact us. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!



January 2014
We hope you all have enjoyed a joyous Holiday Season. As we begin the New Year, are you ready for America's biggest party -- the Super Bowl?  This is the time when casual and serious football fans alike, along with non-sports fans, gather in homes and eating establishments all over the world sharing favorite recipes for food and drink, watch the latest TV commercials, and amidst this celebratory atmosphere also watch a football game!

This month marks the 45th anniversary of the biggest upset in Super Bowl history: the underdog New York Jets defeated the favored Baltimore Colts 16-7.  What resonates in the memories of baby-boomers from this game is pop-culture icon and Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who made good on a bold prediction guaranteeing victory despite being a 17-point underdog.  This event marked a demarcation point of when the Super Bowl left the realm as a mere gridiron match and became cosmic theater.  Namath's personality - cool, hip and irreverent - provided a study in contrast to his flawless on-field leadership.  This poolside photograph taken of Namath giving a pregame interview several days prior to the contest, along with the photo of him
holding up one-finger signifying the Jets "super" triumph immediately following the outcome, is a moment in time marking a new era: the emergence of the celebrity sports star who was a super athlete, advertising icon, TV and film star.

Interestingly enough, this game marked the first time the term "Super Bowl" was actually used.  In the annals of sports history, the first two such championships were called the NFL-AFL World Championship, but for this occasion, it was designated as "Super Bowl III."  This tradition using the Roman numerals has continued to this day!  Following this contest, and in the years that followed, Namath was seemingly everywhere: the football field, TV, motion pictures, stage and as a Madison Avenue advertising star!  Do any of you have a favorite memory about this game or perhaps a TV or film performance by Joe Namath?  Yours truly fondly recalls his guest appearance on "The Brady Bunch" and his 40+ years as a volunteer for the March of Dimes.



Christmas novelty songs have been a long-time staple of baby-boomers during the holiday season, and this year marks the 60th anniversary of Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" - a perennial favorite.  Every year since 1953 as local radio stations play holiday music from Thanksgiving through Christmas, this tongue-in-cheek song delivered in sultry tones by this iconic screen and stage star has delighted listeners.  "Santa Baby" gives us a peek at an extravagant gift list that includes sables, yachts and decorations from Tiffany's.  This was a big hit for Kitt who noted it was one of her favorite songs to record and she reprised it in the 1954 film "New Faces."  In 1963 Kitt re-recorded "Santa Baby" in a more up-tempo style that provided the basis for Madonna's popular 1987 rendition of this novelty holiday song.  An interesting bit of trivia: the song writers credited are Joan Javits (niece of US Senator Jacob K. Javits), Philip and Tony Springer.  Here is a photo of the 1953 cover from the single release through RCA Victor.

What are your favorite Christmas novelty songs?  Two of my favorites are "The Chipmunk Song" and "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."  It would be fun to hear from anyone who has a favorite that brings back special memories!



Forty-five years ago, Christmas 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, were the first to pilot a manned space vehicle that left Earth's orbit and the first to orbit the Moon.  This manned space flight, noted for the astronauts jointly reading "In the beginning God created heaven and earth....." (Genesis 1: 1-8) was a positive, life affirming exclamation point on a year remembered for war, riots and assassinations.  As such, the Apollo 8 astronauts were named by Time magazine as "Men of the Year."

This historic

triumph of faith, courage, innovation and engineering is vividly recounted in Robert Zimmerman's Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Mission to Another World

In this book the reader learns that the astronauts were aided by a computer less powerful than today's most sophisticated hand-held calculators and their mission was viewed as having no better than 50-50 odds of success.  With the USA in the midst of the Cold War, America's space program and its ambitious goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth before the close of the 1960s,

was seen as a life-and-death struggle for freedom and liberty versus the forces of tyranny and collectivism.  The inspiring words spoken and read by the astronauts on their lunar orbit resonated in our pop culture and remain indelibly

engraved in our

memories down through the decades.

Mr. Zimmerman's insightful narrative has the effect of transporting the reader back in time to a golden age of aviation and space technology, but simultaneously provides an uplifting vision of the future characterized by man's insatiable desire to explore new frontiers all the while looking heavenward.



Looking Back at 1983
Thirty years ago, the personal computer and video games were just entering into our daily lives. How many of you remember such names as Osborne, Coleco, Commodore and Atari? Back in 1983, these were among the premier names in the world of computers, with Adam Osborne having pioneered the "portable" laptop computer (shown in this photo). How about such video games as Donkey Kong, Defender, Pac-Man, Centipede or Asteroids? These games were among the most popular as young people spent hours (and lots of quarters) playing these games either at video arcades or on the personal computers produced by some of the companies just named.
For a nostalgic look back at this era, check out the 1983 film "War Games" which starred Matthew Broderick as a high school computer whiz who accidentally hacked into the Department of Defense strategic weapons control and launch systems while attempting to play the latest video games offered by a Silicon Valley based high-tech firm. In this film, we are able to see the latest gadgetry of the day and from the vantage point of the 21st century it is like a time capsule featuring technology that by today's standards seems quite obsolete. But in 1983 it was leading edge, and as it turned out, it was the foundation for all the wonderful technology (e.g., Smart phones, I-pods, I-pads, streaming video games from the Internet into our living room TVs, and other such items that are now regarded as quite commonplace) that we now use at work, home and while traveling all about.
The personal computer companies named at the outset of this writing no longer exist as stand-alone firms. Some either went out of business or were acquired by other high tech firms. The video games cited by yours truly are now regarded as "classic" and have been supplanted by role-playing games that are played by people from all over the globe in cyberspace via the Internet. If any of you have any remembrances of these companies or the video games from that era, or even better, if you have or know others who still have such equipment and games from the early 1980s, please pass along your thoughts to us here at the Galaxy Nostalgia Network. And for those who go back further to the early1970s, it would be fun to hear from anyone who remembers the "Pong" video game, or its basketball version!



Remember Rod Serling's weekly introduction to his classic TV show?
"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone."

From 1959-64, baby boomers enjoyed this weekly anthology of science fiction / fantasy / paranormal / futuristic stories that typically featured a plot twist and a moral. Here is a small sample of memorable lines of dialogue (with the episode italicized and in parenthesis):

"We never left the earth. That's why nobody tracked us. We just crashed back into it!" (I Shot An Arrow Into the Air)
"Wherever I go, there he is. Wherever I stop, I see him." (The Hitch-Hiker)
“Room for one more, honey.” (Twenty Two)

"It's a cookbook!" (To Serve Man)

If any of you enjoyed this amazing TV show and have ever wondered about the person who created it, then you will find Anne Serling's As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling to be an informative, insightful and touching tribute. Included in this memoir are excerpts from letters that Serling wrote to his family while serving as a paratrooper in World War II, the bi-coastal life style from the 1950s to the mid-1970s (working in Hollywood during the school year, summering in upper state New York while having his wife, daughters and pets with him in both venues), family activities as well as the challenges a creative soul faces when working in the corporate world, and more.

One of my college professors was a neighbor to the Serlings in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood in West Los Angeles and he had wonderful things to say about Mr. Serling and the entire family. This book affirms my professor's remembrance and the impressions I felt when enjoying Mr. Serling's work over the past 50 years.

As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling



Baby boomers have witnessed the sea-change that has occurred in how readers access or obtain news of the day, as we have gone from prestigious mass-media publications such as Life magazine to digital media via the Internet.  Now when headlines change due to news-breaking events, the digital media is able to easily accommodate this, but this was not always so.  Fifty years ago, Life magazine was scheduled to issue a cover story (with the cover date of November 29, 1963) on the 1963 Heisman Trophy winner, Roger Staubach, but it was removed from circulation because President John Kennedy was assassinated November 22.  Interestingly enough, there were two (2) versions (with and without a sidebar) and a few issues made it into circulation before it was withdrawn in favor of the eventual cover commemorating President Kennedy.  Here are the photos of the aforementioned covers.  Yours truly has a copy of the one featuring the President, but am wondering if anyone in our audience has actually seen or owns either of the Staubach cover versions?





During the late summer / early fall of 1973, as our nation was preoccupied with the Watergate scandal, the hangover effect of the Vietnam War, the ending of the Apollo moon missions and war in the Middle East, everyone's spirits were lifted by the "Amaysing" New York Mets and their veteran on-field leader, Willie Mays, in his final season of a career that spanned the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.   In this program we look fondly back at a team known as the champion of underdogs and the farewell performance of the "Say Hey Kid" in the World Series.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the first commercial delivery of the Boeing 707, a pioneering aircraft that helped launch the jet age and forever changed global travel!  I have just co-authored a finance paper on the behind the scenes story on how Boeing literally bet the company to design-and-build the 707.  To put this in context, Boeing's capital investment on this program was 25% larger than the total net worth of the entire company!  

To commemorate this anniversary we will examine how the Boeing 707 had a life-changing effect on everything from pop culture (including TV, film and books), personal life style, business, travel and leisure, plus each of us on the Galaxy Nostalgia Network will share what it was like to experience jet aircraft travel for the first time.  If anyone would like an advance copy of this landmark case study, please send your request directly to me at: Haloulakos@gmail.com


George Haloulakos' Latest Show Prep Notes

Common characteristics:
1) Cast in supporting or co-star role, but becoming more popular than the lead actor due to combination of style, action-sequences, aura of mystery and being more "relatable" to fans.
2) Very popular with female audiences.
3) Bringing honesty and realism to their portrayals.

Barney Fife (Don Knotts) on “The Andy Griffith Show” – Deputy to leading man Andy Griffith on the “Andy Griffith Show” from 1960-65; 5-time Emmy award winner (Best Supporting Actor over same period); periodic guest appearances thereafter including an episode (international summit in Mayberry, NC) among highest rated ever. Ostensibly he was Andy’s cousin (noted in Season 1), loveable bumbler whose facial expressions (whether attempting to recite the Preamble to the US Constitution or writing tickets for traffic & related violations) literally stole the scenes from his co-stars. Returned for TV reunion movie in 1986 in which he married his former girlfriend Thelma Lou (played by Betty Lynn) who was featured regularly in the series from 1960-65.

Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) on “Rawhide” – Ramrod to leading man (Trail Boss) Eric Fleming (who played Mr. Favor) in “Rawhide” from 1959-66; set in post Civil War USA in 1860s; young and impetuous, he was initially kept under tight rein by Mr. Favor but over time was given enormous and growing responsibilities (eventually becoming Trail Boss in the series’ final season). Very popular with female audience members, Rowdy was involved with various ladies throughout the series (1965 episode with Julie Harris was among the most memorable) and periodically had to take over as Trail Boss or was able to lead his own herd for a couple of special episodes, and then resumed his second-in-command role.

Major Don West (Mark Goddard) on “Lost In Space” -- There were two pilots shot for the Lost In Space series that ran from 1965-68. The original 1964 pilot (“No Place to Hide” and covered in an earlier GMNS episode with yours truly appearing on the show first time as a guest) was much different from the pilot that aired and the episodes that followed in the actual series. In the original, the Don West character was a scientist (astronomer) who had rocked the scientific community with his theory on other planets’ suitability for human colonization. There was a blossoming romance between Don West and Judy (played by Marta Kristen), the eldest daughter of the Robinson family, but his feelings were usually implied rather than openly expressed. The Major West character often held many episodes together by virtue of his fiery personality and questioning what was going on around him. Author James Van Hise (The 25th Anniversary of Lost In Space) noted that Goddard brought special honesty to his role because he always seemed to be a real person! The leading man was Prof. John Robinson, played by Guy Williams (TV’s“Zorro) who headed up the space expedition, but it was Goddard who fans wanted to see more of (esp. the romantic pairing with co-star Marta Kristen). When the movie version was released in 1998 (with Goddard in a cameo role as the General) the Major West character was at the center of action throughout the film (in all the critical sequences or junctures) and the romance with daughter Judy developed more fully!

Mister Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on “Star Trek” – Science Officer and Second in Command to Captain Kirk (William Shatner) from 1966-69. In the original pilot (“The Cage” featuring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike) Spock was science officer but junior grade, third in line of command and more animated (emotional) versus later portrayal as more stoic, but often punctuated with acerbic if not dry humor. His mixed lineage (half-human / half-Vulcan) and his remoteness made him very attractive with young audiences, especially females who found the mystery most attractive. Spock’s character was viewed as being equally important, and on occasion, even more important than the Captain Kirk (Shatner) presence, but this was cyclical during the TV series and the later big-screen films from 1979-1991 where they were featured together and took turns in directing some of those films.

Arthur Fonzarelli – aka Fonzie (Henry Winkler) on “Happy Days” –Motorcyclist, hot-rod driver, one-time gang leader, friend of lead character Richie Cunningham (Ronnie Howard) from 1974-84; a secondary player that eventually dwarfed his co-stars. At outset of the series, he was a high-school drop-out and was gainfully employed as an auto mechanic. He later earned his high school diploma via night school, and then later became a full-time teacher in his field (auto mechanics) at the local high school. He had a great deal of integrity – a chivalrous ladies’ man, showing loyalty to his friends, defending the underdog, and while teaching his friend Richie (Ronnie Howard) about the ways of the world he learned from Richie about what it meant to be part of a tight-knit family. (e.g., The Christmas episode when Fonzie was invited to a family celebration so that he would not be alone.)

The Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan films of the 1990s (“Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”) hearken back to a day when couples dazzled audiences on the big screen. The on-screen chemistry between the Hanks/Ryan characters is a rarity these days, but it was not always so. For this reason we look back at some of the most memorable big-screen pairings. In no particular order, here is a personal selection:
1) Humphrey Bogart / Lauren Bacall – 4 “four-star”films [“To Have and Have Not,” “Key Largo,” The Big Sleep” and “Dark Passage.”
2) Rock Hudson / Doris Day – Awesome trilogy pairing Hollywood’s hunkiest leading man with the girl-next-door. “Pillow Talk,” “Lover Come Back” and “Send Me No Flowers” were filmed and released during 1959-64.
3) William Powell / Myrna Loy – “The Thin Man” series – 6 films starring a husband/wife detective duo solving crimes on the east and west coast; comedy of manners; crisp dialogue with perfect timing.
4) Spencer Tracy / Katherine Hepburn – 9 films together with “Pat and Mike,” “Desk Set,” “Adam’s Rib” and “Guess Who’s Coming to the Dinner” as fan favorites addressing male/female relationships in both serious and often humorous style.
5) Alan Ladd / Veronica Lake – Film noir era couple appeared together 5 times notable in “The Glass Key,” “The Blue Dahlia,” “This Gun For Hire” and “Saigon.” Lake had the famous peek-a-boo hair style and stood at 4’11’’ while Ladd stood at 5’5’’. Great pairing!
6) Johnny Weismuller / Maureen O’Sullivan – The definitive “Tarzan and Jane” couple in 6 films (1932-42). My favorite – “Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942).”
7) Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers – Ten (10) films in which they were a dancing duo. “Top Hat” and “Swing Time” among most memorable. Katherine Hepburn observed that he (Astaire) gave her (Rogers) class, and she gave him sex appeal.
8) Richard Burton / Elizabeth Taylor –Appeared in eleven (11) films together with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (most critically acclaimed) and the epic “Cleopatra” (the one that brought them together) as most memorable.
9) Errol Flynn / Olivia de Haviland – Nine (9) films with “Robin Hood” (the definitive Robin Hood – Maid Marian couple) and“Captain Blood” as fan-favorite swashbuckler films. The studios did not create films to promote them as a pair, but their on-screen chemistry is undeniable. In four of films, they live happily ever after, and in three, Flynn’s character dies in three others.
10)Glenn Ford / Rita Hayworth– five films together; best known film is “Gilda.”
Other notable couples:
John Gilbert and Greta Garbo: five films together; most remembered“Flesh and the Devil.”
Clark Gable and Jean Harlow: six films together; most remembered“Red Dust.”
William Holden and Audrey Hepburn: only two movies together but the sizzled in “Sabrina”
James Stewart and Jean Arthur: Two films together --”Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “You Can't Take it With You.” Good chemistry!
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward: “Long Hot Summer,” “Paris Blues” and “Winning” are the memorable films done together. Newman also directed Woodward in “Rachel Rachel.”
Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald – Best remembered singing duo (operatic style). Eight (8) films with “Rose Marie” best remembered and oft spoofed. (e.g., Dudley Do-Right cartoon in early 1960s).
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland – Nine (9) films, notably as teenagers in “backyard musicals”plus the “Andy Hardy” series with Garland as the girl-next-door.



Hi Baseball Fans and members of the Galaxy Nostalgia Network Family! If you would like to make a return trip to an era of baseball's storied past, then please read my brief history of the split finger fastball through the prism of the careers of multiple pitchers who used this to lead their teams deep into the postseason. Since we are in the midst of play-off baseball, this is in keeping with the season! Here is the web link:http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/10/15/history-split-finger-fastball/



Christy ("Chris") Lembesis, a special friend and extended member of the Galaxy Nostalgia Network family, passed away on September 6, 2012. Chris was born August 14, 1944 and his life's journey was a reflection of the depth and breadth of the baby-boomer generation. He was a decorated member of the US Army, design engineer for the aerospace industry, distinguished old-time radio historian, professional sound restoration engineer, hobbyist, published author and collector. Of particular interest to the GMNS audience, at one time Chris owned the entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs books (first edition) including the Tarzan and John Carter series. His lifetime work with old-time radio (including restoration and curator-related tasks as well as teaching in the Orange County, CA community college system) enabled him to build a collection that eventually exceeded 10,000 shows and co-author books on two popular programs: Quiet Please and Dragnet. In a future broadcast, we will share personal memories of this unique person, who was a longtime friend to Gilbert Smith and Godbrother to George Haloulakos.



Hello Baseball Fans and members of the Galaxy Nostalgia Network family!

Baby boomers will note that when the Bronx was burning in the late 1970s as the New York Yankees re-emerged as baseball's best team, the resurgence of the legendary franchise was led by pitching ace Ron Guidry.   For an up-close look at this Yankee great, please read my new article "Another Look at Ron Guidry's Hall of Fame Case."  Here is the web link:



George's Notes on our most recent shows:

Titanic - 100th anniversary of its tragic maiden voyage> Literary Perspective: The definitive book is "A Night to Remember" written by Walter Lord in 1955 as it is based on interviews with actual survivors.
> Cinematic Perspective: The 1958 docudrama "A Night to Remember" is the gold standard -- clear, concise and faithful to the book upon which it is based. Look for future TV/film stars Honor Blackman, David McCallum and Sean Connery. No fictional drama, just the facts based on real life personal accounts.

> Astronomical Perspective: The convergence of three astronomical events on 1/4/1912 greatly strengthened the tidal force on Earth's oceans (explained below). Notably, the extreme Lunar perigee on 1/4/1912 was the Moon's closest approach to the center of the Earth during a period of more than 1,400 years!! Extreme tides + excess icebergs = Tragedy. Here is what happened:

  • Tidal convergence of 3 astronomical effects on 1/4/1912 enhanced the strength of the tidal force on Earth's oceans - The Moon was on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, thus making it a full Moon (creating a spring tide). The Moon was at its closest point to Earth (perigee) which strengthened its gravitational pull on the Earth. Earth was near its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) in its yearly orbit, which increased the Sun's gravitational influence. Increased tidal forces on 1/4/1912 coupled with close perigees (12/6/1911 and 2/2/1912) may have re-floated the iceberg that eventually drifted south right into the path of the Titanic on that night to remember 4/14/1912.
  • Moonless night on 4/14/1912 - At night, lookouts typically watch for waves breaking around the exposed portion of an iceberg, with the white surf making a berg easier to spot. But there was no Moon. Therefore, had there been moonlight, it might have made whatever foam there was a little easier to see. By the time the lookout shouted "Iceberg, right ahead!" it was too late....
  • Excess icebergs - long cyclical weather patterns resulted in a higher than average number of icebergs being created that particular period 1911/1912.

The super marionette programs -- Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlett and Thunderbirds -- (all developed by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson) shared common characteristics:
1) High-tech orientation;
2) Cast of central characters ("our heroes") that are highly educated with great technical skills, brave, strong and ethical;
3) All had rousing theme songs -- "Fireball XL5" was the best known, but "Aqua Marina" for Stingray was popular as well;
4) Zany pets -- Mitch the monkey in Supercar and Zooney the space monkey in Fireball XL5 and Oink the pup seal in Stingray;
5) Exotic women -- Venus in Fireball XL5, Marina the mermaid in Stingray, Penelope in Thunderbirds

1972 sports and looking back 40 years later (still the best of the best)
World Chess Championship between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer. The match of the century made the game popular worldwide. Spassky was noted for sportsmanship while Fischer was noted for gamesmanship. Both remained lifelong friends until Fischer's passing in 2008.
Los Angeles Lakers - 33 consecutive wins and their 1st NBA world championship in LA was the beginning of the "Showtime Lakers" which remains present today.Miami Dolphins did the unthinkable. They won all 17 games (14 regular season, 2-playoff games and the Super Bowl). 

 This record remains unmatched.The "Swinging" Oakland A's were the first team to sweep the World Series (3 in a row from 1972 - 73 - 74) since the NY Yankees of 1949-53. These A's defeated the most well-known and some of the very best teams of the era in winning 3 straight World Series -- the Big Red Machine in '72 and the Miracle Mets in '73 both lost in 7-games to the mustache crew from Oakland. Then in '74, the Babes of Summer Dodgers went down in 5-games. Baseball has rarely seen a better "team" than those Oakland A's.Collegiate sports had its most famous dynasties peaking in 1972 -- on the basketball court the UCLA Bruins were in the midst of winning 10 out of 12 NCAA Championships during the 1964-75 period; on the gridiron the Southern California Trojans had one of the greatest football teams ever with a team that averaged 39 points a game and never trailed in the second half of any game; on the baseball diamond the Southern California Trojans were in the midst of winning 5- consecutive NCAA championships (1970-74).

Triumph and Tragedy at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany -- Mark Spitz won 7-gold medals, but this triumph was tempered by the death of 11 Israeli athletes in a terrorist raid on the Olympic Village in which ABC Wide World of Sports reporter Jim McKay sadly and poignantly noted when he said on the airwaves "They're gone."


Baby boomer football fans will remember Greg Cook as a wonderful player whose career was all-too short but whose meteoric rookie year left an indelible mark in the annals of the gridiron.  

Greg Cook (born November 20, 1946) an American collegiate and professional football quarterback passed away on January 26, 2012 from pneumonia.  

Cook was the American Football League (AFL) Rookie of the Year in 1969 following a stellar collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati where set 15 school records and had a share of two others. In his senior year as a collegian Cook led the nation in total offense with 3,210 yards was 2nd in passing.  

His signature collegiate game was setting an NCAA record 554 yards passing against Ohio University in 1968.  His professional career essentially lasted one season in which he led the AFL in passing in 1969 and set two rookie records that still stand: 9.411 yards per passing attempt and 17.5 yards per completion.  

He permanently retired from professional football in 1973 after three operations proved ineffective in resolving his injury.  

He led the Cincinnati Bengals in their 2nd year of existence to upset victories over the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, the two leading AFL teams during that season.  A torn rotator cuff and limited medical technology at that time ended Cook's playing career in the midst of his record-setting rookie year.  

Cook, who majored in art while in college, continued to paint and eventually had his works on display in the Ohio Governor's Mansion.  Following his playing career he also worked for United Parcel Service and as a motivational speaker with Worksite Information Network. 


Remember those exciting times in the 1960s when Dodger Stadium was packed with fans rocking with exhortations of "Go...Go...Go" that were the antithesis of today's stereotyped, laid back Southern California fan?  Relive those days by reading my latest baseball article on former Dodger great Maury Wills and how his base stealing helped make LA a baseball mini-dynasty.

With 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of Maury Wills' record-setting National League MVP season, readers will learn about:

How he overturned baseball's "power" structure by re-introducing the stolen base and switch hitting as in important weapon in the Dodgers' offensive-arsenal during his 6-year consecutive reign as the NL Stolen Base king;

The story behind the story regarding his use of hypnosis to help him cope with the physical and psychological pressures of holding an athletic championship;

Behind the scenes of his exile from the Dodgers following the 1966 World Series and how his triumphant return not only helped restore the Dodgers as perennial pennant contenders, but provided the transition from the ALL switch-hitting infield of Parker-Lefebvre-Wills-Gilliam (a major league first) in the 1960s to the record setting (in terms of longevity) infield of Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey in the 1970s;

A play-by-play account of Wills' final act of playing field glory as Dodger team captain;

This was a fun article to write, and like my articles on Drysdale, Koufax and Maglie (all featured on the same web site, Baseball: Past and Present) provides an informative, insightful look at an era through the prism of a noteworthy player's career.

Here is George's preview notes and summary of the Christmas Show we recently aired on our podcast:

1) During the mid-to-late 60s and in the very early 70s, on Christmas Eve, the 1961 film "King of Kings" starring Jeffrey Hunter was always shown in Los Angeles on the local TV station.  Now, this very same movie, can only be seen on Cable TV - specifically TCM (and not local TV), and not at Christmas, but Easter!  This film, in contrast to other films in the same genre, was particularly uplifting and deemed more suitable for Christmas - in which we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

2) Similarly, "It's A Wonderful Life" could only be seen on the Late, Late Show (again on local TV in Los Angeles) and usually on Christmas Eve.  Since the film revolves around events that occurred and culminate that same day, it was also deemed as timely and  uplifting in its message.

3) The Christmas specials of the 50s and 60s were "family" affairs.  All of these programs strongly emphasized that the basis for these celebratory family gatherings that included such activities as -- attending church services, singing Christmas Carols, showing acts of charity, mercy, kindness and goodness to others, drinking Christmas Wassail (and Wassailing around neighborhoods), visitation to to the sick and shut-ins -- are all centered about celebrating the birth of Christ, as He is the role model for such conduct!  

This also included the head of the household, or someone designated by the head of the household (usually a father figure) to read the Gospel according to Luke (just like Linus did in "Charlie Brown Christmas").  Programs like Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman were meant to be fun accompaniments and NOT replacements for shows that depicted the religious aspect of Christmas.

4) In a Christian tradition, the family is regarded as the "domestic church" with Christ as the head of the family.  And so families gather at the Nativity to honor his birth by being united in love and faith.  This is what these Christmas specials represented.  One could sit and watch (while enjoying holiday cookies or popcorn or hot chocolate) and experience a "virtual" family Christmas in a near idyllic setting.  

Lots of programs like "Father Knows Best," "Ozzie and Harriet," "Donna Reed" and the like always had a Christmas episode that emphasized the aforementioned themes.  The Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Andy Williams specials provided the same, and much more because of their musical and singing skills.  The Christmas skits that were integrated into these shows served to offer an object lesson on the true meaning of Christmas -- the birth of Jesus Christ -- in the manner that the aforementioned family TV shows illustrated with their own episodes tied to the holiday season.

5) Secular holiday programs began to take hold as the programs and family specials gradually exited from scheduled programming, and there was no clear line of succession.  The secular programs placed emphasis on human relationships (reuniting estranged family members, rediscovering a lost love or finding a new one, and so forth) that ostensibly reflected the "spirit" of Christmas, but not necessarily the reason why it is celebrated.  

As such, this gave way to replacing religious movies like "King of Kings" with films like "The Sound of Music" that addressed positive values, but only fleetingly referencing the reason for the season.  Similarly, when Turner Broadcasting emerged nationally, a whole generation discovered "It's A Wonderful Life" with its endless cycle of daily reruns for the entire month of December until people eventually got weary of it.  This is when other "made for TV programs" came into being that continued to water down the Christmas theme, making it more about human relationships rather than how human beings relate to each other in the Lord.  This included remakes or modifications of such classics as "Little Drummer Boy" that had the same effect in which we are told it is the season for mercy and grace, but with the omission of the reason for the season.  Remakes of Dicken's "Christmas Carol" essentially recast Scrooge into different characters young and old, male and female, and while emphasizing the values perspective, it did so without reference to the Judaic Christian values upon which such stories / programs were based.

And this sums it up: programming evolved from forming the direct connection between why Christmas is the season for mercy and grace -- the Nativity of Jesus Christ, who Himself is the embodiment of those virtues -- and instead into emphasis on positive human behavior but without reference to the religious basis for why we do so.


Hello Baseball fans --
My new article on the legendary pitcher Sal Maglie (aka "The Barber") has just been published.
 Click Here:



Hello everyone!  My name is George Haloulakos and I am very excited about this opportunity to participate and contribute to the Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site and Galaxy Nostalgia Network.  

Gilbert Smith and Mike Bragg have created a wonderful program that informs and educates the public about the best of the past so that we can look to the future with inspiration by passing that heritage to other generations.  

I was recently honored to be a featured guest on podcast #69 "Man, Moon, Media and Myth" in which we discussed the technology of space flight in two classic sci-fi productions: the 1964 unaired pilot of "Lost in Space" titled "No Place to Hide" and the 1968 motion picture "Planet of the Apes."  This program was based on a paper I co-authored with my father on the subject of the Science of Space Flight in Classic Sci-Fi Cinema.

Yours truly is a Renaissance Man in that I have a wide variety of interests including, but not limited to, sports (baseball is my favorite); classic films, television and old time radio; collectibles (especially books and trading cards); aviation; and history (most notably biographies).  

In upcoming columns and programs, these and other related topics will be examined through the prism of human interest.  Specific examples of coming features will be a look back at when Major League Baseball arrived on the West Coast as seen through the careers of the Dodgers dynamic pitching duo of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax and united everyone in Southern California into one huge community of baseball fans following the games on their portable transistor radios.  

We will also take a trip down memory lane with a tribute to "the stars beyond" as we visit the grave sites of movie stars and other celebrities.  For those who remember the classic adventure / fantasy films that preceded the "Indiana Jones" genre, we will take an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at such timeless films as "Lost Horizon," "King Solomon's Mines" and "Valley of the Kings."  

This is just a sample of upcoming featured articles and/or programs that I look forward to sharing as well getting to know you, the wonderful audience.  Please contact me anytime at: Haloulakos@gmail.com
http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/01/11/maury-wills-revolutionized-game/Click Here for Article

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