News of the Week: A Simpsons Record, Tony Nominations, and the Search for Discontinued Snacks

In the news for the week ending May 5, 2018, are recognition for The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, the man who designed Radio City Music Hall, China’s monster mosquitoes, and more.

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I used to watch Gunsmoke. I wasn’t there at the beginning — it started in 1955 — but I did watch it in the early ’70s, and then the repeats. I wanted to be Marshal Dillon, shooting bad guys and then going to the saloon to hang out with Miss Kitty. For a very long time it was the longest-running scripted show in TV history (it ended in 1975), but now that record has fallen away.

The Simpsons is now the longest-running scripted show. Last week’s episode was number 636, which means they flew past the 635 episodes of the James Arness western, as well as Lassie, which lasted for 591 episodes in various incarnations.

That’s going to be a very hard record for another show to beat. Even if they brought Lassie back (which I’m surprised they haven’t done since people love dogs), it would still be hard to catch up to The Simpsons. They’ve been renewed for at least a couple more seasons, and since they’re a cartoon, it’s not like the actors are going to get tired of the roles.

SpongeBob Is Up for a Tony?

Another famous cartoon just made news, too. The Tony nominations were announced this week, and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical tied with Mean Girls for the most, getting a total of 12, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (for Ethan Slater). Other nominees include Denzel Washington, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, Laurie Metcalf, Andrew Garfield, and Nathan Lane.

Of course, this being an awards show, there were snubs, including Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville, which got a whopping … zero nominations. Sorry, Parrotheads!

The Man Who Designed Radio City Music Hall

The Tony Awards will air live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS on June 10. This segment from this week’s CBS Sunday Morning talks about the anniversary of the death of Donald Deskey, the man who designed the New York City landmark. But what’s even more interesting is that the advertising man designed the packaging for many products you probably have in your home right now.

Attack of the Giant Mosquito

The warm weather is here, and that means the bugs are back. (I killed a giant bee in my apartment this week, which was “fun.”) Just be glad you’re not in China, where they have these things.

https://twitter.com/nypost/status/990946897161609217?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

This is how every monster movie starts. A giant bug like this stows away on a ship, comes over to the U.S., and wreaks havoc.

For Sale

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(Shutterstock)

I’ve bought items on eBay in the past, usually out-of-print books and other collectibles. And there are many other things I can imagine buying on the site. It never occurred to me to buy food, though.

Apparently, people are selling discontinued candy and other snacks on eBay. Since they’re discontinued, they’re often fairly expensive. But if you have an urge for Surge or Cinnamon Spice Tic Tacs, and also have a couple hundred dollars to spare, they can be yours.

You can also buy candy from several retro/nostalgia sites, including Old Time Candy, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Candy Favorites, and The Vermont Country Store.

RIP Arthur B. Rubinstein, Paul Junger Witt, Charles Neville, Michael Anderson, Pamela Gidley, and Gertrude Jeannette

Arthur B. Rubinstein was a composer who wrote music for films such as WarGames, Blue Thunder, and Stakeout, as well as TV shows like Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Wizard, and many documentaries. He died last week at the age of 80.

Paul Junger Witt was a producer of many TV shows, including The Golden Girls, The Partridge Family, Beauty and the Beast, It’s a Living, Soap, and Benson. He also produced the movies Dead Poets Society, Three Kings, Brian’s Song, and a movie that scared the heck out of me when I was a kid, Satan’s Triangle. He died last Friday at the age of 77.

Charles Neville was a saxophonist and co-founder of the Neville Brothers band. He died last week at the age of 79.

Michael Anderson directed such films as Around the World in 80 Days, Logan’s Run, Orca, The Quiller Memorandum, and the 1956 version of 1984. He died last week at the age of 98.

Pamela Gidley appeared in the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and was a regular on TV shows like CSI, The Pretender, Angel Street, and Strange Luck. She died on April 16 at the age of 52.

Gertrude Jeannette was not only an actress, writer, and director in film and on Broadway, she was also the first woman to have an official cab driver’s license in New York City. She died last month at the age of 103.

Best and Worst of the Week

Best: I really enjoyed this Sports Illustrated essay by Jack Dickey on what it was like to be a recent two-day champion on Jeopardy! He gives a lot of inside info on how the show is filmed (they do several episodes a day, so you have to change clothes) and what the contestants can and can’t do while they’re there.

Worst: Well, this is depressing. Apparently, British kids can’t tell time on analog clocks, so the schools there are getting rid of them and replacing them with digital ones. Actually, this isn’t confined to just Britain; it’s true in the U.S. too, as this segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live! shows.

This Week in History

New York World’s Fair Opens (April 30, 1939)

The Flushing Meadows fair was open for a year and a half, closing in October of 1940. There’s a time capsule still buried there that is going to stay buried until the year 6939. The Post is planning a special issue for the time capsule’s opening.

Empire State Building Dedicated (May 1, 1931)

The New York City landmark has 102 floors and was once the tallest building in the world. It was the site of a 1945 plane crash, and there was also that time in 1933 when a giant ape climbed it.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Dieting Through Dessert (May 2, 1959)

Dieting Through Dessert by Constantin Alajalov, May 2, 1959
Dieting Through Dessert
Constantin Alajalov
May 2, 1959

There aren’t many Post covers that feature nine different panels, but this one by Constantin Alajálov is an effective way to show how much the guy wants the dessert, which he finally gets a bite of in the last panel.

Post Writers You Should Read

By the way, the Perry Mason story featured in that issue was “The Case of the Mystical Monkeys,” in which Perry defends a secretary accused of murdering a Las Vegas gambler. The Post published many of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Mason stories, even before the TV series started in 1957. Here’s a bibliography of the Mason novels and stories, including the ones we published. Many of them were illustrated by James Bingham.

Desserts!

Continuing with our celebration of the above Post cover, Sunday is International No Diet Day. Now, for a lot of people, every day is “no diet day,” but this is the day when you have official (and international!) approval to not diet.

Here’s a recipe for Aunt Mary Ann’s Four-Layer Whiskey Cake, and here’s one for a cake that Mary Todd Lincoln made for her husband. I don’t think it has a name, but it is advertised as “the best in Kentucky.” And if you like bananas, here are several really old recipes, including Banana Pie, Banana Pudding, and the ever-popular Banana Cakes to Be Served with Meat.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Free Comic Book Day (May 5)

Comic books are one of those things that I put in the category of “I haven’t bought one in many years and I have no idea what’s going on with them but I’d like to get one again.” Saturday just might be the day to do that.

V-E Day (May 8)

It stands for Victory in Europe and it celebrates the day in 1945 that Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces.

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Comments

  1. Pretty soon, ebay may be the only place to get Necco wafers and some of the other New England Candy Company stuff.

  2. Interesting about ‘The Simpsons’. It doesn’t seem (psychologically) that it has had that many episodes, or been on the air since 1990. It shows how many more episodes per season of ‘Gunsmoke’ were made between the ’50s-70s to reach 635.

    Even I have to hand it to Jimmy Kimmel for doing Leno-like features like the one on British kids not being able to tell the time with conventional clocks. I could maybe understand the Roman numeral confusion, but wouldn’t the hands give a clue? Not being able to tell even with regular numbers? Totally believe it! I really doubt American children would do much better at all, unfortunately.

    I know a couple of women who love vintage dessert recipes, and I’m sending them both the one for Mary Todd Lincoln’s cake. No doubt it’ll be wonderful!

    The Alajalov cover is great. isn’t it? I love studying the subtleties of the 9 panels. By the way Bob, May 18th will be the 50th anniversary of the Post’s ‘Shoplifting’ cover. If you care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you—- it will NOT be run here.

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