The Post Connection to That Tiger-on-the-Loose Story
You may have heard about the tiger that was on the loose in Houston, Texas. The nine-month-old named India was finally found last week, and it was announced that she would be going to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, where she will have a half acre of land all to herself.
But it was the name of the ranch that made me raise an eyebrow. Cleveland Amory? The Cleveland Amory who used to write a column for TV Guide that I read religiously? Yup, the same Cleveland Amory. In addition to writing that column — plus work for The Saturday Review and Parade, regular commentaries on The Today Show and on the radio, and authoring several books — he was a fierce animal rights activist who started The Fund for Animals in 1967 and the ranch in 1979.
The Post connection? Amory was an editor for the magazine from 1939 to 1941 under editor-in-chief Wesley Winans Stout, working on Postscripts and selecting cartoons. He was only 22 years old and just out of college, the youngest-ever Post editor. According to a biography by Marilyn Greenwald, he got the interview for the position thanks in part to a letter from Katherine Hepburn’s mother (his family was friends with her family). He left to serve in World War II, and after returning from the Army in 1943 he freelanced for the Post.
Here’s a piece that Amory wrote in 1942 about the Boston Red Sox and Ted Williams’s ego. And if you’re a subscriber (which you should be!), you can read Amory’s 1940 article “Goodbye Mr. Peabs,” about the retirement of Groton School founder Reverend Endicott Peabody.
Typewriters Are Popular Again (Or Is It “Still”?)
It seems like every year there’s another “typewriters are popular again” story. That’s fine with me; I’d love to see typewriters make a more mainstream comeback. It might be fun to fax my columns to Post HQ every week! [Editor’s note: No, it wouldn’t.] But they’ve seen a particular resurgence since the pandemic started. With people stuck at home with their thoughts and fears, they tried to find comfort where they could (I know I did), whether it was with old technology, board games, or home cooking and baking.
The nightly Boston show Chronicle took a look at typewriters and other retro things this week, and it includes a visit to the popular typewriter repair/sales store Cambridge Typewriter.
Goodbye Judge Judy (Hello Judy Justice)
Judy Sheindlin is ending her massively popular TV court show after this season, but she’s not retiring. She’s starting a new show titled Judy Justice, which will air on IMDb TV, which is something that, like most people, you’re just now discovering exists.
By the way, in the original ABC pilot for CBS’s All in the Family, the lead character’s name was going to be Archie Justice, not Bunker, and the show was called And Justice For All. That has nothing to do with this story, but it made me think of it.
TV Dinners Get an Upgrade
Question: If TV dinners have “fancy” food, is it really a TV dinner at all?
That’s what I was thinking when reading this story at Eater about how chefs are reimagining the classic American frozen food staple with high-end takeout meals that include good versions of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Now, it’s great to have chefs do this during the pandemic — and who won’t want better food? — but I’m not sure something becomes a TV dinner just because you serve it on a tray with different compartments. But it’s a fun idea, and the food certainly looks good.
The Sign Wars
This feature from CBS’s Steve Hartman makes me want to start a sign war.
RIP Charles Grodin, Jay Barbree, Buddy Roemer, Spencer Silver, Paul Mooney, Katherine Barber, and Blackie Dammett
Charles Grodin appeared in a lot of movies in his long career, including Midnight Run, The Heartbreak Kid, Seems Like Old Times, Rosemary’s Baby, Real Life, Dave, Heaven Can Wait, and the 1976 remake of King Kong. He also hosted his own talk show on CNBC and was a commentator on 60 Minutes II. He died Tuesday at the age of 86.
Jay Barbree covered NASA and space for NBC for almost 60 years. He was also the author of several books, including Moon Shot and Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight. He died last week at the age of 87.
Buddy Roemer was the governor of Louisiana from 1988 to 1992 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for seven years in the ’80s. He also sort of ran for president in 2012. He died Monday at the age of 77.
Spencer Silver invented the sticky-but-not-too-sticky adhesive used on Post-It Notes. He died earlier this month at the age of 80.
Paul Mooney was a comic who wrote for Richard Pryor and shows like Good Times and Sanford and Son. He also appeared on Chappelle’s Show and in such movies as The Buddy Holly Story and Bamboozled. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.
You probably don’t think of Canadian English being different from the American version, but Katherine Barber showed that wasn’t true. She was the founding editor of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which contains many words and phrases you might not be familiar with. She died in April at the age of 61.
Blackie Dammett was not only an actor, appearing in such TV shows as Charlie’s Angels, Hill Street Blues, Private Eye, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and movies like Lethal Weapon and Meatballs Part II, but he was also the father of Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis. He died last week at the age of 81.
This Week in History
Frank Capra Born (May 18, 1897)
The Italian-born director had an impressive list of classic films on his resume, including It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, It Happened One Night, Lost Horizon, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He died in 1991.
Charles Lindbergh Takes Off from New York (May 20, 1927)
The aviator, who would later come under scrutiny for his controversial political views, won the Orteig Prize and worldwide fame by becoming the first person to fly solo non-stop from New York to Paris.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Smith-Corona (May 20, 1950)
I’d kill to own that typewriter. Okay, maybe not kill, but I’d seriously think about yelling at someone.
May Is National Strawberry Month
Strawberries are one of those foods that I don’t give any thought to the months of September to April. They’re very much a warm-weather thing, aren’t they? Even if you can obviously eat them in the fall and winter, you’re more likely to enjoy them in the summer, like ice cream, air conditioners, and carpenter ants.
Speaking of ice cream, here’s a recipe from AllRecipes for an Easy, Eggless Strawberry Ice Cream. This recipe for Strawberries Romanoff comes from The Saturday Evening Post Antioxidant Cookbook by Cory SerVaas, M.D. And since we were talking about all things retro earlier, how about making these Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Squares (a.k.a. Strawberry Pretzel Salad)? It was first published in the 1963 cookbook Joys of Jell-O.
I can picture a big hunk of that in the dessert section of a TV dinner tray.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Victoria Day (May 24)
This is a federal holiday in Canada celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria.
National Escargot Day (May 24)
Hey, if you want to celebrate this day, knock yourself out.
Featured image: Senohrabek / Shutterstock
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Bob: I used to collect TV guide too but stopped several years ago. I don’t even think I have any left. I should start up again!
I’m really glad India was found safe, and should have a happy, secure future there at the Cleveland Amory Ranch. She’s a stunningly gorgeous tiger, that’s for sure! Considering the Post’s long tradition of animal covers, may I suggest India for a future cover?
Thanks for the TV Guide link, Bob. I love the this retro site that celebrates the original magazine. I have a couple of boxes of TV Guides I bought new at the newsstand in the 1970s & ’80s with the really beautiful artwork covers I knew were special at the time, and kept. They had minimal words if any. Unbelievable when I look at them now.
Interesting (continuing) story on the typewriter situation, and the signs. Charles Grodin will be missed. Great film mentions here. I love Cybill Shepherd too and re-watched ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ a few months ago. One that gets overlooked is ‘Heart and Souls’ from 1993. VERY unique film with Grodin at his best, and Robert Downey Jr. during his creative film peak. Kyra Sedgwick and Alfre Woodard are amazing. You’ll all love it too, I promise!
Did I detect a condescending or mocking tone toward escargot, Bob? I’ll have you know it’s fantastic, and I’d be happy to celebrate my birthday 2 days early if I could have just one more dinner at Chez Nous French restaurant in Toluca Lake. That butter-garlic sauce? Mmm mm good. Now I’m depressed because it’s been closed since 2012!