News of the Week: Winter Is Here, Gumby’s for Sale, and Here’s a Tale of Two Tiny Tims

In the news for the week ending December 20, 2019, are Lucy Ricardo’s son, Captain Kirk’s shirt, Bart Simpson’s bus driver, lots of Pfeffernüsse, and more!


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If the first half of December is any indication, the next few months are going to be harsh.

Winter begins Saturday at 11:19 p.m. EST, but it has already begun in many parts of the country. Snow, ice, cold rain, and then a deep freeze seems to be the pattern here. I’ve already shoveled a half dozen times this month. I usually get one of those plastic containers of rock salt with the handle (you might call it “ice melt”), but they were all out, so I had to get a giant 10-pound bag. It’s already gone.

Yesterday I miscalculated. I had to go out to get groceries and figured I’d go while there was a break in the storm. No flakes at all when I left, but a minute later it began to furiously snow again. It was like being trapped inside of a snow globe.

Be careful if it’s snowing where you are, especially if you’re traveling a long way to visit family. Because it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.


I’m not a big fan of the colorization of black-and-white movies and TV shows, but that’s never stopped me from watching CBS’s annual showing of the I Love Lucy Christmas episode. I just love the fact that the show makes an appearance on broadcast TV every year. It airs tonight, Friday, at 8 p.m. They’re also showing the “Paris at Last” episode.

By the way, have you ever wondered what happened to the kid who played Little Ricky (as well as Opie’s friend Johnny Paul Jason on The Andy Griffith Show)? The New York Post had an interview with Keith Thibodeaux this week. He wasn’t the only one to play the son of Lucy and Ricky — there was a set of twins who played the character as a baby and yet another pair of twins who replaced them — but the older Thibodeaux is the one we remember the most.

What Would You Pay for Captain Kirk’s Shirt?

I’ve always wanted to be the type of person who collected memorabilia and props from my favorite TV shows and movies. Unfortunately, I became the type of person who really can’t afford to collect memorabilia and props from my favorite TV shows and movies. I do have a few things, but not enough to call it a “collection.”

This guy has one, though. John Azarian owns one of the largest collections of TV, film, and comic book memorabilia in the world, and many of the items went up for auction this week at the Profiles in History auction house in California. Included in the auction were the costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward on Batman (which went for $650,000), as well as the Shakespeare bust that housed the secret button to access the Batcave ($160,000); Captain Kirk’s tunic from Star Trek ($65,000); Jeannie’s outfit from I Dream of Jeannie ($45,000); the spaceship from Lost in Space ($180,000); the shoe phone from Get Smart ($12,000); Gilligan’s hat from Gilligan’s Island ($30,000); and even the Fonz’s leather jacket from Happy Days (that went for $45,000). You could also have gotten Marcus Welby’s office sign for $768, or Tim Allen’s Home Improvement hammer for only $384.

The collection was just one of three auctions that Profiles in History handled this week. The others were The Property of a Distinguished Collector and Hollywood: A Collector’s Ransom.

The latter auction included Gumby and Pokey figures, as well as that evil doll that chased Karen Black around her apartment in the 1975 TV movie Trilogy of Terror. It scared the heck out of me when I was 10 and it still does today. I hope whoever bought it just buries it deep underground in a vault forever.

RIP Danny Aiello, William Luce, Emil Richards, and George Laurer

Danny Aiello was a veteran actor who received Oscar nominations for Do the Right Thing and Moonstruck. He also appeared in films like The Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, Harlem Nights, 29th Street, and Fort Apache, the Bronx. On TV he appeared in Kojak, Lady Blue, Dellaventura, and The Andros Targets, as well as the acclaimed TV movie Bang the Drum Slowly. He died last week at the age of 86.

William Luce was an acclaimed playwright who wrote The Belle of Amherst (about Emily Dickinson), as well as Lillian, Barrymore, and Lucifer’s Child. He died last week at the age of 88.

Emil Richards played percussion as a session musician on an astounding number of songs, including the theme to Mission: Impossible and the themes to The Simpsons and The Addams Family (that’s him doing the finger snaps). He worked with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa to Judy Garland and George Harrison. He also worked on the soundtracks to dozens of movies. He died last week at the age of 87.

You may not know the name George Laurer, but every single day you see the product he developed: the universal barcode. He died earlier this month at the age of 94.

Quote of the Week

“If I wanted to hear your life story, I would have taken an Uber.”

—Bart, to the bus driver, on The Simpsons

This Week in History

Tiny Tim Marries Miss Vicki (December 17, 1969)

You young people think you’ve cornered the market on odd pop singers: Lady Gaga with her meat dress, Miley Cyrus swinging naked from a wrecking ball. But we had them in the ’60s and ’70s too, including Tiny Tim (real name: Herbert Butros Khaury), who tiptoed through the tulips and married his sweetheart on The Tonight Show.

Uploaded to YouTube by Johnny Carson

A Christmas Carol First Published (December 19, 1843)

Charles Dickens’ classic story also features Tiny Tim — only it’s a completely different Tiny Tim.

Soon It Will Be Pfeffernüsse Day

Pfeffernüsse (or peppernuts) is another name for those small spice cookies popular in Germany and the Netherlands. They’re one of those cookies I never have for one reason or another. Maybe because I never make or buy them? I like them, but only if the baker eases up a bit on the cloves and cardamom.

Sunday is Pfeffernüsse Day. Here’s a recipe from Allrecipes, and here’s one from The Daring Gourmet that promises they’re the “best authentic” Pfeffernüsse. You may notice that it doesn’t include cloves, cardamom, or other spices in the ingredient list. That’s because the recipe strongly recommends you use real homemade Lebkuchengewürz. I’m not sure if you have Lebkuchengewürz in your cupboard, but you can buy it on Amazon.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Hanukkah Begins (December 22)

The eight-day Festival of Lights ends the evening of December 30.

Festivus (December 23)

Get out your metal pole and tell your family how they’ve disappointed you this year.

Merry Christmas from everyone at The Saturday Evening Post!

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  1. No complaints Carol! Just surprise. I’d rather shovel snow every day of the winter than endure just one day of heat and humidity in August, heh.

  2. Do I detect a note of complaint in that you’ve had to shovel the snow 6 times already?
    Where’s that hearty spirit of yours? That same spirit that couldn’t wait for summer to be over so it would turn cold?
    Hope you don’t mind a little teasing.

  3. It’s been feelin’ a lot like winter out here for weeks now Bob; summer to winter with no fall! I KNOW it’s still nothing compared to other states and have no right to say it’s too cold, or ask for sympathy, but it’s too cold! What’s it going to be like in January/February at this rate?! I heard ‘Cold As Ice’ on the radio yesterday, and didn’t appreciate hearing the words ‘cold’ and ‘ice’ dragged out. Normally it’s a vintage favorite.

    LOVE ‘Fa La La’! What a delightful song, and that car!! I do believe it’s the Renault Dauphine from the ’50s. Speaking of Christmas songs, ‘Christmas All Over Again’ by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is back on YouTube. So now we have at least two worthy Christmas songs from the 21st century. (Why Mariah Carey’s didn’t hit #1 in the ’90s is kind of odd). Nobody can sing ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ like Big Daddy himself, Burl Ives.

    You’re right about the 7-Up ad. Even I keep a little booze on hand for certain guests. Jim Beam or Jack Daniels, they’re both bad to the bone.

    Thanks for the link to ‘Trilogy of Terror’. I’m going to re-watch it this weekend. So glad it’s available in its entirety. Tiny Tim’s wedding to Miss Vickie on the REAL ‘Tonight Show’ in 1969? Priceless!

    So far so good on my out-of-state Christmas cards… I think.

  4. Fine column, as always. However, you missed 2 significant losses this past week, James “Radio” Kennedy and Herman Boone. Both were the subjects of 2 very good movics. I know it’s not easy now that we are at the age where many of the people we followed in pop culture (movies, TV, music, etc) are up there in years.


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