MetLife Nixes Peanuts
I don’t know how the Peanuts gang ended up as the spokespeople (spokescharacters?) for an insurance company 30 years ago, but it’s going to be sad to see them go. MetLife has decided to end their relationship with Charles Schulz’s popular creations, for which they pay over $10 million a year to license. The company is going to be rebranding itself as it spins off its individual life insurance plans in the U.S. in 2017.
In related news, rebranding is one of my least favorite words ever.
Thanks, Francisco Lindor!
Even though the World Series is currently tied at one game apiece, there are already winners, and they are us. Because Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor stole a base in game one on Tuesday night (sorry, Cubs fans), everyone gets a free taco at Taco Bell next Wednesday, November 2, between 2 and 6 p.m.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) October 20, 2016
This promotion was based on stealing just one base in the entire World Series? Taco Bell must really love to give away tacos.
Is Coupon Pronounced “Koopon” or “Q-pon”?
It’s “koopon.” Hey, that was easy!
Well, okay, there’s more to the story. Over at Slate they’re debating whether coupon should be pronounced “koopon” or “Q-pon” (they write it out as “cyoopon,” but that’s just confusing). I hadn’t even heard of the second pronunciation until a friend of mine who travels the country selling coupons told me that he encounters many people who pronounce it “Q-pon” and it drives him crazy. I thought that it might be a regional thing, different areas of the country saying it a different way like we do many other words, but I don’t think that explains it. Coupons.com did a poll five years ago, and 57% of the people said they pronounce it “Q-pon.” I don’t know any of those people.
The writer of the Slate piece says “Q-pon.” His wife says “koopon.” Wars have started over disagreements like this.
I’m So Glad We’re Gonna Spend More Time Together
One of my favorite childhood memories is watching the Saturday-night lineup on CBS in the ’70s. It’s hard to convince younger people today, when Saturday-night network television is for repeats and movies and maybe some news shows, that the night used to be worth staying in for. All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show all aired on one night and on one channel. Pre-VCR, who would want to go out and miss that lineup?
Burnett, who was interviewed for our upcoming January/February issue, is coming back to television. She’ll star in a new ABC sitcom produced by Amy Poehler. It’s about a family who gets to buy a great house really cheap, but on one condition: They have to live with the woman (Carol Burnett) who currently owns the house.
Click Your Heels Together Three Times …
What happens when an iconic movie prop is decaying and you don’t have the money to repair it? You start a Kickstarter.
That’s what the Smithsonian did. They wanted to restore Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, so they started a crowdsourcing campaign. They ended up raising more than $300,000! They’re also raising money to restore Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow costume from the movie.
They actually made as many as 10 pairs of ruby slippers for the movie. One pair was stolen, and another pair was sold at auction. These Smithsonian shoes are the ones Judy Garland used the most in the movie, especially in the dance sequences.
RIP Kevin Meaney, Bobby Vee, Kevin Curran, Kathryn Adams, and Pete Burns
I can still remember, vividly, Kevin Meaney’s HBO standup special in the ’80s. It was one of the first things I ever watched on cable, and some of his lines really stick in my mind: “That’s not night!” and “We’re big-pants people!” (There’s another line from the special that’s also really memorable, but I can’t repeat it on a family website.)
Bobby Vee, who passed away Monday at 73 will be remembered for the song “Take Good Care of My Baby,” but he had another tie to history. In 1959, at the young age of 15, he filled in at a concert in Moorhead, Minnesota, after Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens were killed in a plane crash.
Kevin Curran was a producer and writer for The Simpsons from 1998 to 2015. He was also a producer/writer for Married…with Children, Unhappily Ever After, and The Good Life, and for many years was a writer on Late Night with David Letterman. In fact, he wrote Letterman’s very first Top 10 List, “10 Things That Almost Rhyme with Peas.” He won three Emmys for The Simpsons and three for Late Night.
Curran was just 59 years old. He passed away Tuesday after a long illness.
Kathryn Adams appeared in such movies as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Saboteur, If I Had My Way, and The Invisible Woman, but she quit show business in 1946 to focus on her family and her husband, Leave It to Beaver’s Hugh Beaumont. She passed away this week at the age of 96.
You might not remember the name Pete Burns or his band Dead or Alive, but their most famous song has had amazing lasting popularity since its release in 1985. It was even used recently in a commercial for a Candy Crush game.
Burns died of a heart attack at the age of 57.
This Week in History: Black Thursday (October 24, 1929)
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 is usually referred to as “Black Tuesday,” but the events that led to the stock market disaster and the Great Depression actually started on Thursday of the week before. To make things even more confusing, Monday of that week is called “Black Monday.”
This Week in History: Statue of Liberty Dedicated (October 28, 1886)
Saturday Evening Post archive director Jeff Nilsson has a nice piece on our national symbol of freedom, a gift from the people of France.
This Week in History: Dr. Jonas Salk Born (October 28, 1914)
Salk’s injectable polio vaccine was released to the public in 1955. A few years later, medical researcher Albert Sabin came up with the oral version.
Spiders Aren’t as Scary If You Can Eat Them
In the past, I’ve given you various recipes for Halloween, including bat wings, pumpkin muffins, ghostly milk shakes, and fingers from a witch. This year, I thought I’d focus on arthropods.
Here’s a recipe for Spider Chocolate Chips Cookies, and here’s one for Oreo Spider Web Cookie Pizza. This recipe is for Scary Spider Web Eggs, and it’s so odd-looking that it might just freak people out.
I live in New England, born and raised, but I’ve never heard of New England Spider Cake. But apparently it’s a thing, and here’s the recipe. It’s a creamy cornbread you top with maple syrup.
Note: It has nothing to do with spiders.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Halloween (October 31)
Here are some of the great Halloween covers we’ve done over the years. (My favorite is the November 1, 1958, cover by John Falter.)
National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month starts (November 1)
Check out the Alzheimer’s Association website to find out how you can volunteer and find walks in your area.
National Novel Writing Month starts (November 1)
Or NaNoWriMo for short. I’ve never attempted to write a whole novel in a month, but it can be done.
April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, with roots dating back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII ordered the adoption of a new calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day occurred on January 1st, rather than April 1st—the date previously hailed as New Year’s Day by the older Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was slow to catch on. Many countries—Norway, Germany, England, and Denmark—didn’t recognize January 1st as New Year’s until the 1700s. Many French people also did not accept the change, and their contemporaries began to play practical jokes on them for their ignorance of the calendar. The practice became popular in England as well as the American colonies, thus giving birth to April Fool’s Day.
As most of us can attest, there has been no lack of ingenuity in honoring this “foolish” holiday. Some notable nationwide hoaxes include the popular fast-food chain Taco Bell claiming they had purchased the Liberty Bell in 1996 with plans to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. And then there was the time when, in 2007, Google announced that it had developed technology that could deliver the Internet via plumbing systems, rather than phone lines, at a much faster speed.
Someone who greatly enjoyed playing tricks was Norman Rockwell. In the 1940s, he created three unforgettable covers for the Post celebrating the holiday, each with “errors” left by the playful illustrator.
This April 1943 cover (known as April Fool, 1943, Checkers, or The Game) contained at least 45 errors. Can you find them?