News of the Week: The Last Pay Phone, Roger Angell, and Warm Weather Means Salad Salad Salad

In the news for the week ending May 27, 2022, are a real-life movie cop, a new Coke bottle, a pickle magnate, a cookie/cracker combo, and more.

Pay phone

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Now Where Will Clark Kent Change into Superman?

It’s a sad day: New York City has removed the last pay phone from their streets.

It was on Seventh Avenue and West 50th Street, and the city removed it last week because smartphones and Wi-Fi have made them obsolete.

That all makes sense in the head, but not in the heart. I don’t know if we “need” them anymore, but they were always a comforting presence. Nobody is going to get all nostalgic about Bluetooth or an app. And you can’t seek shelter from the rain underneath an iPhone.

We all saw this coming. Not only does new tech mean we hardly ever use pay phones and phone booths, a lot of people don’t even carry coins anymore. “Please deposit another ten cents please.”

Of course, there’s always a twist in these “last this” or “last that” stories, and this one is no exception. It’s not really the last pay phone in New York City. As the article linked above explains, there are still some pay phones on private property that the public can use, and the city still has four retro walk-in phone booths on West End Avenue.

Maybe phone booths will make a comeback, like vinyl records and typewriters. You’d need a pretty big house though if you’re going to collect them.

Kid from Jaws Becomes Police Chief Where It Was Filmed

Jonathan Searle played the little kid who blamed his older brother (Searle’s real-life older brother Steven) for the fake shark prank they pulled on beachgoers in Steven Spielberg’s classic film that made everyone afraid to go in the water. Now Searle has been named the police chief of Oak Bluffs, part of Martha’s Vineyard where the movie was filmed in the mid-’70s.

I just hope that if he has to close a beach because of a shark sighting people believe him.

Coke’s New Bottle Caps Don’t Come Off

At least in England, anyway. The new plastic bottles have the cap attached by a little piece of plastic. The company came up with this idea because, while a lot of people recycle the bottles themselves, they’re just throwing away the caps.

What surprised me about this story is that it’s a given that everyone recycles their plastic soda bottles. Do they? I mean, if you’re outside of your home and buy a bottle of soda at the store, I assume you’re throwing away both the bottle and the cap, unless you hold it in your hand or keep it in the car until you get home to recycle it? And if you’re home already drinking the soda, why wouldn’t you recycle both the cap and bottle anyway?

Quote of the Week

Life is tough and brimming with loss, and the most we can do about it is to glimpse ourselves clear now and then, and find out what we feel about familiar scenes and recurring faces this time around.”

–Roger Angell

RIP Ray Liotta, Roger Angell, Rosmarie Trapp, John Aylward, Robert Vlasic, and Colin Cantwell

Ray Liotta appeared in a number of popular films over a 40-year career, including Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, Cop Land, The Rat Pack, Something Wild, and Hannibal, as well as TV shows like ER, The Simpsons, Shades of BlueHanna, Our Family Honor, Casablanca, and Another World. He died this week at the age of 67.

Roger Angell had been writing for The New Yorker since 1944(!). He was one of the most beloved baseball writers, an editor of people like John Updike, Ann Beattie, and Garrison Keillor, and a master of poems and essays, including the classic “This Old Man.” He died last week at the age of 101.

Rosmarie Trapp was the last surviving daughter of the singing Von Trapp family, immortalized in the classic film The Sound of Music. She died earlier this month at the age of 93.

John Aylward played Dr. Donald Anspaugh on ER. He also had regular roles on The West Wing, Northern Exposure, and Family Law, appeared on Alias, Mad Men, The Practice, and Briarpatch, and was an acclaimed stage actor. He died last week at the age of 75.

Robert Vlasic guided the pickle company that bears his family’s name. He died earlier this month at the age of 96.

Uploaded to YouTube by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.

Colin Cantwell designed many of the spaceships for Star Wars, including the TIE Fighter and the Death Star. He also worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, WarGames, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. He died Saturday at the age of 90.

This Week in History

Johnny Carson’s Last Tonight Show (May 22, 1992)

Carson ended his 30-year run on the NBC late night show by just sitting on a stool, talking and showing clips, and thanking the people he worked with.

Dashiell Hammett Born (May 27, 1894)

He was not only the author of such classic mysteries as The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, and The Thin Man and a contributor of short fiction to pulp magazines like The Black Mask, he co-created the comic strip character Secret Agent X-9.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Ritz Crackers with Salad Ad (May 22, 1948)

Ritz crackers ad

That’s a fine idea, but what about having that salad with the new, limited-edition Ritz Cracker/Oreo Cookie combo?

May Is National Salad Month

I don’t mean to imply in the headline that salads can only be eaten during the warmer months. But spring and summer naturally lend themselves to salads because we’re trying to get away, at least for a few months, from heavier and hotter meals like pasta, chili, and soups.

Here’s a Post recipe for a Giant Kale Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Quinoa, and here’s one from Delish for a classic Cobb Salad. Love & Lemons has a recipe for a Greek Salad, while Taste of Home has one for That Good Salad. What salad? That good salad. This one? No, That one. And before this turns into an Abbott and Costello routine, it’s called that because the family of the reader who submitted the recipe couldn’t remember the fancy French name for the salad so they started to call it that. It has bacon, almonds, and Swiss and Parmesan cheeses.

And if you’re looking for something vintage, the Post has several century-old salad recipes you can try, including Congress Salad, Dandelion Salad, and an Onion Salad, along with recipes for dressings like a Vinaigrette and a Scotch Sauce.

By the way, I’ve added Vlasic pickles to salads before. It’s pretty good!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Indianapolis 500 (May 29)

The 106th race will air on NBC and Peacock at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Memorial Day (May 30)

Some Post reading as we salute our veterans and cook our burgers, including Philip Gulley’s look at small town Memorial Day traditions, Jeff Nilsson on the first Memorial Day, and Val Lauder’s essay on the movies that honor our heroes.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. I’m surprised there were any public phones left in NYC at all at this late date. I could only access the West End link a few seconds before the NY Times pop-up basically said “No reading for you!” I could see they were actual booths, which was surprising. For both NYC and West End, I was also surprised they were functioning phones. Out my way there are occasional sightings of bare ‘phone coves’ with everything having been ripped and stripped out of them otherwise.

    Odd that the UK.’s story on the Coca-Cola company’s attached plastic bottles tops starts out with the old outdated story on TAB you reported on here 2 (?) years ago. I remember adding it started in 1963 to have a “diet version” of Coke without (at that time) dirtying up the Coca-Cola name/image otherwise, with the ugly word associated with it.

    Personally, if I’m out with a 16 oz. bottle of Vanilla Coke I bought on the fly, I’ll take it home with the lid back on for recycling. I even rinse them out. Either way, home or out, the cap top stays on. I agree with you.

    I love the Vlasic pickle commercial you included here. It’s so wonderfully old-fashioned, it’s easy to believe 1975 really is halfway back to 1928! So it’s 30 years since Johnny Carson ended his run on The Tonight Show. My favorite episodes (naturally) are the ones featuring Angie Dickinson. Not that she was necessarily promoting anything. He just loved having her on, she loved being on, and I loved her being on as much as he did.

    I have to give Jay Leno a lot of credit for doing the great job he did. He always acknowledged Johnny as the king of the Tonight Show. In the later sections of the ’90s and into the 2000’s there were still quality, entertaining celebrities on as his guests. He got out before that fully ended. For YEARS now, its been an unrecognizable zoo just continuing the name, and that’s it.

    I almost forgot Bette Midler serenaded Johnny on his final show. Now she spouts off on Twitter criticizing women in regard to the baby formula shortage, justifiably enraging them. And 5 months ago, insulting the people of West Virginia in a misguided attempt to get back at Joe Manchin (deserved), but backfired very badly.


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