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Dear ##firstname[Friend]##,

JohnFrom time to time, we’ve been able to publish firsthand stories from entertainment figures like The Lennon Sisters and Lorenzo Lamas in our magazine. In fact, our April/May issue of Reminisce will feature one from Richard Sherman, who with his brother, Robert, wrote the songs for the film Mary Poppins and other Walt Disney productions.

This month, we’ve decided to include one such story in our newsletter by Broadway legend Carol Channing, who tells the tale of reuniting with a high school sweetheart. Carol is also promoting a cause she and her husband have picked up: the need for the arts in public schools.

We hope you enjoy this month’s journey into the past, a bonus to our magazines Reminisce and Reminisce EXTRA. If you like it, consider forwarding our newsletter to a friend or family member. If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you’d like a monthly copy of your own, just use this link to sign up yourself.

—John Burlingham at Reminisce


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How a Rekindled Romance Sparked a Boost for the Arts

Harry Kullijian and Carol Channing
Harry Kullijian and Carol Channing, in 2003 and 1933.
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By Carol Channing
Los Angeles, California

In 1933, I met the young man who would become my husband 70 years later—Harry Kullijian. I was 12 and he was 13.

We went “steady” together throughout our junior high school years at Aptos Middle School, in San Francisco. Harry formed a little band that became the school band, and since I never got off the school auditorium stage, we were always together and exposed to the arts.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by the arts. I thought that all parents went around the house spouting the poetry of Milton, Keats and Shelley like my father. My mother loved museums—free in those days—and I assumed that all parents took their children regularly.

Harry and I were kindred spirits, in love with everything about music, theater and painting...in fact, all the arts. At that age, we were veritable sponges; soaking everything in.

I’ve found that by stimulating the brain, a child gets better at other subjects like algebra, human biology and geography as well. Once you’re exposed to the arts, the whole world looks like a masterpiece.

I later ran for class vice president at Lowell High School. (Girls weren’t allowed to run for President then!) Harry and I collaborated on a campaign song, which started, “We want Carol! We want Carol!” And my part was, “When I’m vice president, when I’m vice president, we’ll all leave school at 12 o’clock, when I’m vice president.”

We won by a landslide! Harry also came up with my campaign slogan: “If Carol is your vice, it’s a virtue.” Wasn’t that cute?

Eventually, Harry went off to war and later became a successful businessman, and I went to a women’s college called Bennington, in the Vermont town of the same name. I understand Bennington is progressively coed now, but the ratio is three girls to every boy, so the girls have to be very progressive.

In 2003, Harry and I were reunited, and we picked up right where we left off, as if no time had passed. In fact, we were engaged within 2 weeks and married within 3 months!

Since the arts have been such an important part of our lives, Harry and I decided we could best give back to the community by embarking on a new venture: the Dr. Carol Channing/Harry Kullijian Endowment to the Arts (www.drchanningfoundation.org).

I received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree at the 2004 California State University, Stanislaus commencement, so I’m a “doctor” now. And I’m doing house calls or rather Harry and I are making professional appearances to raise money for scholarships and awareness to the need for arts in public school systems.

It’s not that we’re trying to turn students into artists; we’re just trying to highlight what the arts can do for them. It’s far greater than any drug.

Carol and Family
Toddler Carol Channing with her parents, George and Carol Glaser Channing.
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Today, when cuts are needed, school administrators seem to feel that the arts are not a necessity, but they are! The arts bring creativity and critical-thinking skills through reading, writing, communication, observation and inspiration. They also enhance social skills and can become an elixir for the soul.

What’s phenomenal is the number of individuals who approach me almost daily to tell me how seeing Hello Dolly! in their childhood days affected their lives. For someone else, it may have been a museum exhibit, the opera or a concert.

In London, during World War II, a general said to the British people that with no money, society must get down to only the bare necessities, starting with the elimination of the arts.

Winston Churchill was in the audience, and he got up and said, “Then what are we fighting for?”

That’s exactly what we need to do now—fight for the arts. We are fighting for our heredity, our culture and the right to a full and adequate education for our young. The challenge is here and now.

Did You Know?

  • Carol Channing’s Broadway debut came in Marc Blitzsteins’ No for An Answer, in 1941.
  • A Time Magazine cover story hailed her stage performance as Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949-51).
  • Carol’s three Tony Awards include one for her legendary portrayal of Dolly Levi in Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! (1964-67) as well as one for Lifetime Achievement (1995).
  • Carol’s first film role came when she and Ginger Rogers co-starred in The First Traveling Saleslady, in which Carol gave newcomer Clint Eastwood his first on-screen kiss.
  • Her portrayal of the madcap Muzzy in the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award.
  • In 2008, Carol was inducted into the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington, D.C., along with eight other legendary ladies of stage and screen.


Thieves Banded Together to See The Thief of Bagdad

By Stan Drescher
Suffern, New York

I WAS 10 years old in 1941, which was a great year before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

We lived on Fourth Street in what was then called the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Few people had cars, so playing stickball in the middle of the block was not a problem. Life was simple, and although we were poor and lived in a tenement flat, we were a loving family.

Our flat had three bedrooms. Mama and Papa had one, my two sisters were in another, and we four brothers shared a third bedroom and one large folding bed. We had a tub in our kitchen, but due to poor plumbing, it took hours to fill. With no shower, we all did our bathing at the Settlement House, a social services outlet for the underprivileged.

Movies, when we could earn money to see them, played a large part in our young lives. Whoever we saw in a movie, we imitated until we went to another movie and saw someone else. We lived the part of the heroes, memorizing lines and playing the parts. If we had put that much energy into our schoolwork, we’d all have become brain surgeons.

We couldn’t afford a refrigerator, so we had an icebox. The cooling was supplied by Joe, the iceman, who, like a Metropolitan Life agent, collected 10¢ every time he delivered a block of ice.

If for some reason Joe couldn’t collect, he let us run up the bill to 50¢. One time, though, the bill was up to 80¢. That day, Papa left a dollar bill in the icebox for Joe, along with a note explaining why it was there.

Brother Jack spotted the bill. Papa was gone and Mama was out with Baby David. We and our brother Morty looked at the dollar and said, “Let’s go to the Commodore.” No more coaxing was necessary, as Jack grabbed the bill and we ran from the house like thieves.

The Commodore was on Second Avenue and Sixth Street. It boasted 700 seats on the main floor and a balcony. We liked the balcony because it was never crowded.

The movie was the British version of The Thief of Bagdad. But you could stay all day and see a double feature, along with cartoons, a serial and coming attractions. So stay all day we did, spending about half of the dollar on refreshments.

We saw the movie three times and didn’t get home until 7 p.m. Of course, Papa and Mama were waiting for us. My two sisters were out, but Baby David was glad we got caught because he could never participate in our adventures.

Papa sat us down and explained how we had stolen the money and deprived an honest man of his payment. We would have to be punished. We tried to explain how great the movie was and that if he went to see it, he’d love it. Papa, as I recall, never went to a movie and was not impressed.

Papa made up his mind. We were going to prison. He grabbed our little hands and headed for the door and the police station on Fifth Street.  But at the last minute, Mama intervened and asked if there was another way to punish us. Papa stopped, sat down, lit a Pall Mall and considered the question.

There would be a trial, and Papa would be the prosecutor. We pleaded our cases—Jack saying how great the movie was and Morty explaining that the dollar had been a temptation impossible to resist.

Papa presented a fabulous case against us. But he refused to take advantage of his position and decided to appoint an impartial judge—Baby David! Papa lifted Baby David up and sat him on the icebox. It didn’t take David long to decide. “They’re guilty,” he said. “Kill them.”

Well, we didn’t get killed. I don’t remember what happened, but it all ended happily. The mystery of whose idea it was to take the dollar remains. But as Gary Cooper said in Beau Geste, “If I had a brother who was a thief, I wouldn’t want to know about it.”


Honorable Coach Taught Noisy Fans a Lesson

Basketball Team
Author Bob Gancarz is in the front row, second from the right, while Free Soil High School coach Max Carey is in the back row on the far right.
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By Bob Gancarz
Fountain, Michigan

Basketball’s “March Madness” these days has nothing on the final game of the season I played in 1955, when I was a member of the Free Soil (Michigan) High School Pirates.

It was a cold, wintry night in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. But inside the St. Francis gym, in Traverse City, things were heating up.

We Pirates were highly ranked, thanks to Coach Max Carey, and we were playing an underdog team, the Tustin Red Hawks, in the final game of the Class D regional tournament.

The hard-fought game was tied at the end of regulation time. Near the end of the overtime period, the score was still tied and the game clock was nearing zero.

Just before the buzzer, a Tustin guard tossed up a long shot that missed the basket. But the ball bounded back to the shooter, who was then at the rear of the free-throw circle.

He grabbed the ball and jumped to shoot again but was fouled just as the buzzer sounded. Was he fouled before or after the buzzer? If before, he would be given two free throws.

One official immediately signaled that the foul occurred after the buzzer, meaning the game would go into a second overtime. But the official who called the foul disagreed.

After a prolonged discussion at the scorer’s table, it was decided the foul had occurred before the buzzer and Tustin would be awarded two free throws. The decision was met with a loud outburst of disapproval from many of the Free Soil fans in the crowd.

As there was no time left on the clock, all of the players but the free-throw shooter were on the bench. If one of the free throws was made, Free Soil’s outstanding season, and the dream of a state championship, would be over.

When the official handed the ball to the Tustin player at the free-throw line, the crowd noise rose to a deafening roar, both in displeasure over the ruling and with the hope of disrupting the shooter.

Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a man appeared near center court with his arms raised. It was Coach Carey. In a firm and deep voice, he instructed the fans to allow the young man at the free-throw line to take his shots without further noise from them.

“We win fair and square and we lose fair and square,” he said. This was met with a loud round of applause, and then, as Mr. Carey had asked, there was silence.

In the now quiet gym, the Tustin player took his first free throw. The ball hit the rim and fell to the floor. The fans again roared, this time in approval. But they quickly caught themselves and fell silent.

The crowd held its collective breath as the player took his second shot. Swish! The ball dropped through the net. The game was over, and so was the Pirates’ glorious season.

A disappointment? Of course, but it was also a lesson in life. And the lesson in decency and sportsmanship came on a night to remember from a man to remember, Coach Max Carey.


Howdy Doody to the Rescue

Costello Kids
Little Tommy Costello, in front, was not in the mood for a picture with his siblings, (from left) Eddie, Diane and Philip.
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By Charlotte Costello
Winamac, Indiana

I wrote this poem, in 1950, after we bought our first television set. At the time, we had four children, ages 9, 7, 3 and 1.

Howdy Doody Time

It has rained all day and wouldn’t you know
It’s still too early for the Howdy Doody Show.
My cowboys have shot up everything in sight,
Including my very best living room light.

Deciding on something with a little less noise,
They’ve hauled out all the little guys’ toys.
Eddie builds a bridge, Philip knocks it down.
Diane says, “Please, quiet all around.”

Tommy doesn’t say anything at all,
Cause Tommy is much, much too small.
He calmly lies in his little blue bed,
Dreaming his cowboy dreams instead.

Just when it seems my head will burst,
That’s if the walls of the house don’t give first,
There’s a clatter of chairs, a bang and a shout,
As all of the children settle down and holler out,

“Hey, Mom turn the television on, let’s go,
It’s time for the Howdy Doody show.”
The house is quiet for the first time today.
Television? I’m sure it’s here to stay.


Over the Back Fence

John’s Note: Another discovery in the dusty files, this item came in a long time ago addressed to our company founder as “Roy Reiman, Former Lemonade Entrepreneur,” with a suspect return address featuring the city WorthThinkingAbout, Arizona. I’ve excerpted some of the wise, wistful words, which are credited as “Author Unknown.”

“To Whom It May Concern:

“I am hereby tendering my resignation as an adult. I’ve decided that I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 6-year-old instead.

“I want to go to McDonald’s and think it’s a four-star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.

“I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day. I want to believe that anything is possible.

“What happened to that time, when we thought the worst thing in the world was when someone took the jump rope from you or you were picked last for a kickball team?

“I remember being naïve and thinking everyone was happy because I was. I’d walk on the beach and think only of the sand between my toes and the prettiest seashell I could find. I’d spend my afternoons climbing trees and riding my bike.

“I used to wonder what I was going to do or be when I grew up, not worry about what I’ll do if 'this' doesn’t work out.

“I want to live simply again. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, imagination, humankind and making angels in the snow.

"I want to be 6 again.”


Nostalgia Starts in Greendale!

Plan a visit to the village of Greendale, Wisconsin, where we have our publishing offices, and reminisce with us. There’s a lot here to see and enjoy:

  • Greendale is one of only three “Greenbelt Towns” in America.
  • It’s the nation’s only village with “backward houses” (picture windows in back to view the lawn and garden).
  • Quartets abound, as it’s the “Barbershop Capital of the Midwest.”
  • Greendale features the largest Norman Rockwell collection in the Midwest.
  • It’s the home of our country’s only “Limerick Hall of Fame.” Look and laugh!
  • Find bargains galore at Reiman Publications’ Close-Out Store, featuring books, garments, kitchen tools and decorating items—many as much as 80 percent off.
  • Enjoy down-home food at the all-new Harmony Inn the Village restaurant.

Come visit us soon. You’ll reminisce for months about your tour of our historic village of Greendale! Find out more to see and enjoy at www.discovergreendale.com.


Time Capsule Trivia

From the decades spanning the 1920s to the 1960s, try to guess what year these historic events took place. The answer is given below, but no peeking!

  1. In Europe, Soviet and East German forces complete construction of a partition that quickly becomes known as The Berlin Wall.
  2. Ray Kroc borrows $2.7 million to buy out the McDonald brothers and use their name on a huge chain of drive-in restaurants he’s planning.
  3. Roger Maris slams 61 home runs in baseball’s new 162-game season to become the new home run king. However, league commissioner Ford Frick attaches an asterisk to the record, since only 59 of the homers came in the first 154 games. Babe Ruth set the previous longstanding record in 154 games.
  4. Astronaut Alan Shepard completes a suborbital flight in his Project Mercury capsule to become the first American in space.
  5. Two of the year’s biggest movies star Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason as pool players in The Hustler and Natalie Wood in the dramatic musical Westside Story.

For the answer to Time Capsule Trivia, click here.


A Thought to Remember

Those who fall in love with themselves will have no rivals.


© Copyright 2009 Reiman Media Group, Inc.

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