I haven’t done one of these lists since the beginning of summer, so let’s get caught up. Here are seven new books you might want to pick up (and also read).
- Becoming Thelma Lou by Betty Lynn, Jim Clark, and Tim McAbee. An autobiography by the woman best known for her role as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show.
- Retail Gangster: The Insane, Real-Life Story of Crazy Eddie by Gary Weiss. This covers the wild life and career of the man known for the series of famous ’80s commercials for his discount electronics chain.
- Dispatches from the Gilded Age by Julia Reed. A collection of essays by the acclaimed writer, known as “the Nora Ephron of the South,” who died in 2020.
- Fairy Tale by Stephen King. The master storyteller’s latest is about a teen boy who goes to work for an old man in the neighborhood who might just have a portal to another world in his shed.
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The annual guide to weather and folklore, first published in 1792, is still a favorite, even if some people think it isn’t what it used to be.
- Vacuuming in the Nude: And Other Ways to Get Attention by Peggy Rowe. This is the latest essay collection by the mother of TV host Mike Rowe. Her first book became a bestseller when she was 80.
- The Christmas Movie Cookbook by Julia Rutland. Recipes from and inspired by classic holiday films, including A Christmas Story, Elf, Remember the Night, A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and even Bad Santa.
How Much Would You Pay For a Mint Condition Mickey Mantle Rookie Card?
Someone paid $12.6 million, a new record for sports memorabilia.
The Sounds of the ’80s
Ah, the sounds of a rotary phone being dialed and a Trapper Keeper being opened.
This Is How We Know Pumpkin Spice Season Has Begun
When people start paddling down the Missouri River in a giant hollowed-out pumpkin.
I Miss the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon
I was never a cookout or beach person on Labor Day when I was younger (or even now). What that holiday meant to me was The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, the annual 21½-hour variety show that raised money for muscular dystrophy research. It started at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday night and ended at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
I never watched it for all 21½ hours. I think I made it until 1 or 2 a.m. a few times but didn’t even try to watch all of it (besides the national show, there were also local fundraising segments throughout as well). But it was one of the last remaining ties to old-school Hollywood, old-school Vegas … old-school entertainment in general. Sure, in later years they had people like Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood on to perform, appearing alongside veterans like Ed McMahon, Norm Crosby, Charo, and Frank Sinatra, but it still had a retro charm that you either loved or hated.
(Sinatra was the mastermind behind the famous reunion between Lewis and Dean Martin on the 1976 show. Sinatra got together with the producer of the show to secretly have Martin come on and unite with Lewis for the first time since their breakup. It might be hard for younger people to understand this today but it was a big deal back then.)
Lewis was let go from the show in 2011 and the telethon got shorter and shorter each year after. The last show was a two-hour special that aired on ABC in 2014 (these days money is raised online). I’ll admit that I didn’t watch the telethon for the last 10 or 15 years that it was on, but it was comforting to know that it was still there. And then it was gone. I guess a lot of things are going away like that as I get older.
RIP Mikhail Gorbachev, Joe E. Tata, William Reynolds, Uma Pemmaraju, Robert LuPone, Ralph Eggleston, E. Bryant Crutchfield, Luke Bell, and Mable John
Mikhail Gorbachev was the former leader of the Soviet Union. He died Tuesday at the age of 91.
William Reynolds starred on the ’60s dramas The FBI, The Islanders, The Gallant Men, and Pete Kelly’s Blues. He also appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone and Maverick, and in movies like All That Heaven Allows, There’s Always Tomorrow, Cult of the Cobra, and The Land Unknown. He died Wednesday at the age of 90.
Uma Pemmaraju was one of the first anchors at Fox News. Before that she won Emmys for her work at WBZ in Boston and was an anchor at WLVI. Most recently she worked for Bloomberg News. She died earlier this month at the age of 64.
Robert LuPone received a Tony nomination for his role in A Chorus Line and appeared in many TV shows, including The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and several soap operas, including Guiding Light. He was the brother of Patti LuPone. He died Saturday at the age of 76.
Ralph Eggleston was an animator for Pixar who worked on such films as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up, and WALL-E. He also wrote and directed the Oscar-winning short For the Birds. He died Sunday at the age of 56.
Bryant Crutchfield invented one of the items in that “sounds of the ’80s” video above, the Trapper Keeper. He died Sunday at the age of 85.
This Week in History
Clayton Moore Loses Lone Ranger Mask (August 30, 1979)
The actor known for his iconic role still wore the mask and made public appearances years after the show was canceled. But that all came to an end, at least for a while, when Moore was sued by the man who owned the rights to the character.
Princess Diana Dies (August 31, 1997)
Twenty-five years ago, the world was shocked when the Princess of Wales died in a car accident in a Paris tunnel.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: The Amazing New VCR (September 1980)
In some ways I still prefer VCRs over DVD players, and not just for the sound they make when you insert a cassette.
At this point, even though we still say that Labor Day is the “unofficial” end of the summer, isn’t it really the “official” end of the summer? Kids are back in school, we can feel the temps about to change, even the way we think changes. But there’s still time for one more weekend of cookouts and beaches, and here are some recipes for you to try.
Start off with the Honey Deuce, the official drink of the U.S. Open, currently taking place in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Aida Mollenkamp has this Crunchy Crouton, Summer Veggie, and Mozzarella Salad, while Emeril Lagasse has these Spiced Buffalo Burgers. Half-Baked Harvest has this Best Potato Salad, which has no mayo but looks fantastic anyway. Good Housekeeping has a recipe for Taco Dogs, and for dessert try the Homemade Dole Whip from The Pioneer Woman.
And how about Jerry Lewis’s Italian Chicken? We may not have his telethon anymore, but we can eat like him on Labor Day.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Newspaper Carrier Day (September 4)
Do kids still deliver the paper where you live? (This assumes there’s still a paper where you live.) This day celebrates the very first paperboy, Barney Flaherty, who hawked The New York Sun in 1833.
NFL Season Starts (September 8)
The first game of the year features the Buffalo Bills vs. the Los Angeles Rams. It airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.
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