Rest in peace Evel.
Rest in peace Evel.
A couple of weeks ago Randy van Horne passed away at the age of 83. You might not recognize his name but you would certainly recognize the sound and work of the Randy Van Horne Singers, one of the most in-demand studio session vocal groups of the 1950s and ‘60s. They can be heard on countless television and radio commercials, jingles and station identification spots many of them written by Van Horne. But they’ll always be remembered for singing the themes to many of Hanna-Barbera’s iconic pop-cultural cartoons like The Jetsons, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi Bear, and The Flintstones. Hey, it’s Yabba-dabba-doo time, kids!
The Randy Van Horne Singers also worked with some of the biggest names of the era including Mel Tormé, Dean Martin, Martin Denny, Jimmy Witherspoon and Juan Garcia Esquivel, who twisted jazz and lounge into a quirky genre we now call Space Age Pop. Serious fans of Esquivel will know his trademark "Zu-zu-zus," crooned by the Randy Van Horne Singers.
The group included some of the most famous session singers (yet almost completely unknown to the public!) of all time including Marni Nixon. She was singing voice for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and sang for Deborah Kerr in The King and I. Thurl Ravenscroft - the voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercials, and he sang You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch from the classic animated television special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and B.J. Baker who worked with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke, among others. She was also Miss Alabama in 1944.
Al Chang, an Army cameraman who was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize has died. He chronicled the conflict in both Korea and Vietnam, witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (where he worked as a dockworker), and was even awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in the line of duty in Vietnam, past away in Honolulu, he was 85. He is best known as the photographer who captured one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. That image shows a U.S. infantryman weeping in the arms of another soldier. Taken on Aug. 28, 1950, the photo shows Army Sgt. Bill Redifer comforting fellow soldier Vincent Nozzolillo, who has learned that his replacement has been killed, while in the background another corpsman sifts through casualty reports, looking strangely detached. The photograph was featured in Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibit in 1955 at New York's Museum of Modern Art. This portrait of anguish, grief and comfort has become one of the most enduring images of the Korean War, often called the forgotten war.
The Alex Foundation has announced that the
world famous African Grey Parrot, Alex, died
on September 7, 2007. The cause of death is
unknown but an announcement is expected
later this week, though it has been suggested
that Alex might have died from Aspergillosis, a
fungal infection of the lungs he has battled in
Alex was purchased by Dr. Irene Pepperberg
at a Chicago pet store in 1977. He has been
the featured parrot for more than 30 years of
research into the intelligence of African Grey
Parrots, most recently at the Department of
Psychology at Brandeis University in
Waltham, MA. The name Alex is actually an
acronym, A.L.EX., standing for Avian Learning
Alex’s intelligence was said to be quite amazing. He had a vocabulary of more than a 100 words, but what was exceptional about him was that he appeared to understand what he actually said. For example, when Alex was shown an object and was asked about its shape, color, or material, he could label it correctly. According to a New York Times article in 1999 he could “identify 50 different objects and cognize quantities up to 6; that he could distinguish 7 colors and 5 shapes, and understand the concepts of ‘bigger’, ‘smaller’, ‘same’, and ‘different’,’ and that he was learning ‘over’ and ‘under’.” Pretty amazing if you ask me, I know some people who can’t “cognize” that well themselves…
I use to have a cockatiel, Mordecai, named after the turn of the century ballplayer Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown … and let me tell you that bird was also pretty damn smart … at least I thought so until he flew out the door into the big bad city oblivion of east Hollywood … oh Mordecai, I hope your still out there buzzing around, livin’ large or at least as large as a little yellow cockatiel can live!