News of the Week: Friday the 13th, Lucille Ball’s Podcast, and the Life and Times of Josephine the Plumber

In the news for the week ending August 13, 1921, are podcasts by Lucille Ball, restaurants by John Cheever, a Beatles cover by The Saturday Evening Post, and much more.

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Very Superstitious, Writing’s on the Wall 

Do you believe in Friday the 13th?

I’m not asking you if you believe that a day on the calendar that happens to be a Friday and happens to be the 13th is a real thing. I’m assuming you’ve experienced several Friday the 13ths in your life (you may even be reading this on that very date!). I’m asking you if you believe in the superstitions and paranoia that go along with the day.

I don’t give much thought to the day. I already have enough quirks and traditions and eccentricities the other 364 days of the year. I don’t have triskaidekaphobia (a general fear of the number 13) or paraskevidekatriaphobia (the fear of Friday the 13th specifically). The latter is sometimes called friggatriskaidekaphobia, but you can use either one (and they all make for fantastic Scrabble words).

Of course, that doesn’t mean that on Friday the 13th I’ll go out of my way to walk under a ladder or break a mirror or open an umbrella inside my house. I don’t believe in the superstitions of Friday the 13th, but on the other hand I’m not crazy.

Let’s Talk to Lucy

SiriusXM has a new podcast, and it’s hosted by Lucille Ball.

Okay, it’s not exactly new and it’s not really a podcast, but Lucille Ball recorded 240 interviews in the mid-1960s, and the satellite radio network is airing them (so it’s a podcast now!). The comedienne and producer called up her friends and asked them questions in a casual setting for the CBS radio show Let’s Talk to Lucy. Those friends included Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Dean Martin, and Barbra Streisand.

Ball’s daughter Lucie Arnaz has had the tapes for decades and didn’t know what to do with them until now.

In related news, there’s a new Lucille Ball Barbie doll, complete with a tiny I Love Lucy script.

What We Know About Indiana Jones 5 

I wasn’t sure another Indiana Jones movie would be made. The last one, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came out 13 years ago and wasn’t well-received. Also, Harrison Ford is currently 79 years old and probably can’t run and fight the way he used to.

But a new one is currently in production, and details about the plot are beginning to leak out. Apparently it is set at least partly in 1969 and has something to do with Apollo 11 or space missions in general. I say “partly” because there are also hints that they may use de-aging special effects on Ford, perhaps because there are flashbacks that involve a younger Indiana Jones battling the Nazis (there are also clues they may be the villains again).

Besides Ford, the film will star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Toby Jones, and Antonio Banderas. John Williams will once again do the music. It’s slated for a July 2022 release.

The John Cheever Restaurant 

I had no idea that writer John Cheever is buried in Massachusetts. His headstone is right next to The Cheever Tavern. Coincidence? No! Here’s the story from The Phantom Gourmet.

Uploaded to YouTube by phantomgourmet

Headline of the Week

“Wisconsin Man Marks 32,340 Big Macs Eaten Since 1972”

RIP Markie Post, Jane Withers, Col. Dave Severance, Walter Yetnikoff, Patricia Hitchcock, Alex Cord, and Herbert Schlosser

Markie Post was best known for her roles on Night Court, The Fall Guy, Hearts Afire, and Scrubs. She also appeared in other TV shows and movies and started her career as a game show producer and as one of the dealers on Card Sharks. She died Saturday at the age of 70.

Jane Withers was a child star who appeared in such movies as Bright Eyes, Pack Up Your Troubles, and The Farmer Takes a Wife. As an adult she appeared in movies like Giant and Danger Street, as well as many TV shows. People of a certain age will remember her from the many commercials she did for Comet cleanser as Josephine the Plumber. She died Saturday at the age of 95.

My friend Will Harris has an interview he did with Withers in 2013, and here’s one of those Comet commercials (the kid is Robby Benson).

Uploaded to YouTube by Commercialjukebox

Col. Dave Severance was the commander on Iwo Jima who sent Marines to the top of Mount Suribachi, the subject of one of history’s most famous photographs. He died last week at the age of 102.

Walter Yetnikoff was one of the more influential music company presidents, heading CBS Records during the time of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and Billy Joel’s The Stranger. He died Monday at the age of 87.

Patricia Hitchcock was the daughter of director Alfred Hitchcock and an actress, appearing in several of her dad’s films: Strangers on a Train, Psycho, and Stage Fright, as well as several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Broadway plays. She died Monday at the age of 93.

Alex Cord starred in the ’80s action show Airwolf and dozens of other TV shows and movies. He started out as a rodeo rider. He died Monday at the age of 88.

Herbert Schlosser was the NBC executive who came up with the idea for a late Saturday night variety show, which turned out to be Saturday Night Live, and he negotiated the contract for Johnny Carson to become host of The Tonight Show. He later became president of the network. He died last week at the age of 95.

This Week in History

Beatles Abbey Road Photograph Taken (August 8, 1969) 

Because of traffic, photographer Iain Macmillan had to take the six pictures rather quickly.

Smokey Bear Announced (August 9, 1944) 

The U.S. Forest Service authorized the creation of the anti-forest fire spokesbear on this date. The reason we often call him “Smokey THE Bear?” The middle word was added to his name for a hit song by Eddy Arnold because it sounded better with the melody.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Fleet Street Beatles” (August 8, 1964) 

This picture of the Fab Four isn’t as famous as the Abbey Road one but it should be. (By the way, the “comic cook” referred to on the cover is Julia Child.)

August Is National Sandwich Month

I’m going to assume you already know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a ham and cheese, so how about a few things a bit out of the ordinary?

The Novice Chef has a recipe for an Apple, Cheddar, and Turkey Panini, while our own Curtis Stone has this Zucchini Grilled Cheese. Tornadough Alli wants you to try this Spaghetti Sandwich. You could make a Curried Chicken and Avocado Salad Sandwich, or how about this Peanut Butter and Bologna Sandwich from Food.com? You can add mustard if you want.

Oh, and since we have a little bit of a Beatles theme going this week, try a Cheese, Lettuce, and Marmite sandwich, as mentioned by George Harrison on one of the many takes of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

V-J Day (August 15)

It’s a confusing day. It’s celebrated on August 15 in several countries, September 3 in others, and on September 2 in the United States.

National Aviation Day (August 19)

Franklin Roosevelt designated this day National Aviation Day in 1939 because it’s the birthday of Orville Wright.

Featured image: Let’s Talk to Lucy podcast (courtesy SiriusXM)

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Comments

  1. I’m sure Lucy’s podcasts from the mid-’60s are fascinating, and would like to hear them. The new Barbie doll is really beautiful, and attractively priced at $40. It really looks like Lucille Ball, too. A lot of people don’t know she had beautiful legs. In fact what turned out to be her last TV appearance was a dance number she did with Bob Hope on the 1989 Academy Awards.

    Indiana Jones needs to hang it up, but they won’t. On the other hand, the man who’s eaten 32,340 Big Macs since 1972 should just continue on. Why stop now? Per the video he’s in great health. My frequency is more in line with the Post: about 6 per year, always WITHOUT cheese.

    The Cheever Tavern sounds really good per its location and history. The food (overall) sounds amazing! The Thai baby back ribs with pickles in a mango sauce sounds delicious. So do the Fish and Chips, and a few of the other offerings there. I don’t know about the one in that spicy sauce. Maybe a small portion with sour cream right there as needed. I could just ask them to make it less spicy up front, which I do when dining out if needed, and they do.

    Is anyone craving Indonesian or Polynesian food? As for myself, well yes, but there aren’t any restaurants in the greater L.A. and surrounding areas. Of course there are barely any French ones either for that most delicieux escargot! Bob, I forgot your stand on that delicacy. I think it was a definite no, but could be wrong.

    Thanks for the Josephine the Plumber link, too. I always loved Jane Withers. She really DID use Comet at home and genuinely felt it was a great product. Watched that ’78 interview she did with Tom Snyder. So great when she said (as a child star) “I got paid for doing what most kids got spanked for, for years.” She was a wonderful lady with a big heart, and totally radiated it. She’s part of the Golden Age of Hollywood we love and appreciate, LONG gone like nearly everything else. She and Debbie Reynolds really had A LOT (if not most?) important Hollywood memorabilia between them.

    I would have liked to have gotten to meet her, like Debbie (in 2010) for sure. I’ve met MANY of my favorite stars over the years and most recently (2019) Lee Meriwether and Dawn Wells. Incredible. Sooo nice and easy to talk to. I know Dawn would still be with us if not for Covid, for sure! I can picture her in my mind loving that ’64 Beatles Post cover too, right now. ‘ Gilligan’s Island’ was just about to set sail the next month!

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