SOCIAL HISTORY

America’s all-time American Musical – Oklahoma!

North Carolina School of the Arts’ “OKLAHOMA!” Recreation of the 1943 original production of the most produced American in history proved that the UNC had the hand on presenting great theater. National known conductor John Mauceri served as musical director and artistic supervisor of the stage production. Oklahoma! – Looking back… By the early 1940s, Rodgers and Hammerstein were each ... Read More »

MAR-A-LAGO – From Mrs. Post to President Trump

Mar-a-Lago, the grand estate now owned by President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, was built from 1924 to 1927 by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. Trump apparently feels more comfortable at Mar-a-Lago than almost anywhere else, and his pleasure in the estate was in evidence when I spoke to him while researching background on Post’s magnificent yacht ... Read More »

Lucius Beebe, famous American railway buff & historian, was a self-described hedonist.

From the 1930s until his death in 1966, he was the image of a celebrity. An author, journalist, historian, raconteur, gourmet and bon vivant extraordinary – this amazing personality was one of the first gay men to have a publicly open relationship.   Columnist Walter Winchell called him “Luscious Lucius.” Beebe is perhaps best known for having coined the term ... Read More »

John Ringling North Saved Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus- Part 1

Ringling Bros. Circus heir, John Ringling North was the man who brought “The Greatest Show on Earth” into the 20th Century and was responsible for its survival into the 21st Century! John Ringling North was a combination of Circus King, showmanship, brassy flamboyance, huckster salesman and perennial Playboy, and was a good enough show to compete with the acts and ... Read More »

John Ringling North is the Circus King – Part 2

If John Ringling North had not come on the scene to run the family business in 1937, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey might not have ever made it into the 21st Century to have its last performance tonight on Long Island. He seemed the only one to have the business and showman sense to run the show amongst the younger family ... Read More »

John Ringling North a combination of “Diamond Jim” Brady and “Bet a Million Gates”! – Part 3

As president of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey during the heyday of the famed Big-Top and traveling circus which will have its final performance tonight in Long Island, New York, John Ringling North received a rather modest salary.  But what North might have been lacking the substance of a millionaire, the consciously displayed the form. North was a glittering ... Read More »

North’s Showmanship at Madison Square Gardens and the end of the Ringling family business – Part 4

John Ringling North knew that every season was vital to the circus to open its season at New York’s Madison Square Gardens, not only because of the big box office but because of the national media attention. Opening night would always benefit a charity with stars such as Marylyn Monroe, Marlena Dietrich or even Hopalong Cassidy as guest headliners. Critics ... Read More »

Throwback Thursday – Elvis Presley on the train from New York to Memphis in 1956.

“Elvis who?” Photographer Alfred Wertheimer recalls uttering that very question in early 1956. A publicist from RCA Victor Records had contacted him, asking if he was available to photograph a young singer named Elvis Presley. “I’d never heard of the man,” Wertheimer told TIME Magazine in an article 40 years later. “He didn’t have a gold record yet.” (By the end ... Read More »

Retro Thursday: THE ELECTROLINERS – Chicago to Milwaukee – During WW 2

The chic, streamlined Electroliners operated between Chicago and Milwaukee. The Electroliner, on the Chicago Loop, heading for its express run to Milwaukee. The Electroliner was a four car articulated train that was placed into service on the North Shore line early in 1941, between Chicago and Milwaukee, seen here in January of 1941. Dining on the Electroliners.  It was said to ... Read More »