Class of 1964
50th Reunion Plans
Are Coming Together
by Tommy Towery
This week I used Facetime to sit in on a meeting of the reunion committee and I can now report there are some great plans being made for the upcoming reunion. I have spent most of the day working on the nametags for the Class of'64 attendees and still have more to do, but I am excited to see some of the name of those who have already registered.
Although the agenda is still being tweaked some, Friday night still will be a casual get together with drinks and snacks for everyone to get reacquainted and on Saturday night we will have the main dinner, music, progam, and some other surprises you will not want to miss.
There is still time to register, and we cannot emphasize enough this is not just a get together for only the Class of '64. All of you are invited to attend and enjoy the celebration with us. For those of you who have Apple iPhones or computers and have not downloaded the free Facetime app, I strongly encourage you to do so and become familiar with it. It will be worth your while.
Memphis, TN - Working hard to finish up the editing of my latest book in an attempt to have it ready by the reunion. It has now been given an official title of "When Our Hearts Were Young - 50 Years Ago Today" and is a 50-year reflection on the day-to-day entries of the journal I kept my senior year at Lee. This is not a repeat of the 25-year reflection, but is all new material and a look at the entries made when I was 17, today from the eyes of a 67-year-old.
A couple of weeks ago I asked for anyone who had some Photo Booth pictures to share with their classmates to please send them to me. Below are the ones I received along with a couple I already had submitted in the past. I bet most of you can tell who they are.
TV Westerns of the 50s and 60s
by John Drummond
Class of '65
"Davy Crockett" was a 5-part serial which aired on ABC in one-hour episodes on the Disneyland series. Fess Parker starred as the real-life frontiersman Davy Crockett, with Buddy Ebsen as his friend and sidekick George Russell.
The first three episodes were edited together as the 1955 theatrical film "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," and re-broadcast in color in the 1960s when the Disney program went to NBC. The series and film are both known for the catchy theme song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett." It was filmed in part at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The final two episodes were edited together as the 1956 theatrical film "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates." It was filmed in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois.
The Walt Disney company acknowledged the the broad public popularity of the first film came as a surprise, but capitalized on its success by licensing the sale of various types of Crockett paraphernalia, including coonskin caps, plastic "Old Betsy" rifles, and bubble gum cards. I am certain that many of us male LHS grads had photos taken while in elementary school, sitting astride a Shetland pony (usually a pinto) and wearing a coonskin cap.
After the summer 1955 film became so popular, Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen toured the United States, Europe and Japan. By the end of 1955, Americans had purchased over $300 million worth of Davy Crockett merchandise.
The shows were repeated on NBC in the 1960s after Disney moved his program to that network. The 1960 repeats marked the first time that the programs had actually been shown in color on TV. Davy Crockett made a return with Disney in two further adventures: "Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race" and "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates." Crockett faced off against Mike Fink, another early American legend. A three-episode 1988-89 revival was made entitled "The New Adventures of Davy Crockett" in which Tim Dunigan took over Fess Parker's famous role. Johnny Cash played an older Davy in a few scenes before he went to Texas. Not surprising for the times, for TV, and for Walt Disney, Davy Crockett's death at The Alamo was never portrayed on the small screen.
(Tommy, suggest you consider an Editor's Note, asking if anyone has a childhood photo of himself wearing a coonskin cap and/or sitting on a Shetland pony; would be a hoot! John)
(Editor's Note: John, that would be a waste of time. No one would be silly enough to send me a picture of them in a coonskin cap - especially when they could never outdo this one! Note the tennis shoes and the M-1 Carbine. If they had these at the Alamo "Ole Betsy" would have been left hanging on the wall. Tommy)
From Our Mailbox
Regarding Craig Bernecke's (and Barbara Wilkerson Donnelly's) remarks about going to the movie theatre after the movie had already started brought back my own recollections. That was pretty much standard fare back then. I guess it took a while to get organized with a way to the theatre, along with a quarter for everyone going and some additional change for "milk duds," or popcorn. Then we'd sit through to the end of the movie waiting for it to start again, then finally realize part way through that was where we came in and then get up and leave. When I was younger and during the heat of the summer I would go in Saturday morning and stay through a couple of showings in that cool theatre. Then coming out on a bright day would require a few minutes to readjust from the dark to the sunlight. The tickets at that young age started at 10 cents changing to 15, then older than 12 you'd pay a quarter. After turning twelve I wasn't particularly big and got by for a short period paying the lower amount. We didn't get our first TV until I was twelve, but before then I found a few of my neighborhood friends had already gotten their's and the parents would let me come over to watch the programs until 9 pm. Folks were genuinely accepting and friendly back then. Can you imagine a neighbor kid coming over every night just to watch "your" TV. That was still at the time where there was only one car in the driveway, and only a few folks had TVs, at least in the South.And that was also at a time of "stay at home" mothers, so they all knew me pretty well as a member of the neighborhood and being in and out of their house on a regular basis.
Linda Taylor was just talking about the "front row seat" we all had in the pioneering days of space exploration. Recently a program on space travel and the first landing on the moon brought up Neil Armstrong. The narration went on to mention Werner von Braun and the fact that Neil Armstrong was "allowed" to meet him, or given the opportunity. Anyway, it was strange the way it was said. We are a special bunch considering the closeness we experienced because of the work our dads and moms did. But we are not like the sequestered communities of the Manhattan Project of WWII where those young people experienced a gated city with very tight security. There have been books written about the experiences and effects from such tight control. That involve communities like Oak Ridge, TN and Los Alamos, NM. I worked in Oak Ridge for a period and picked up a couple of books on those early years. One excerpt described security so compartmentally arranged, that if a security breach occurred you may get up the next morning and find your neighbors had moved out of their house...during the night and you didn't hear anything. Never said where they relocated to. Under those conditions reported crimes were almost non-existent. Now, after allowing Oak Ridge to become a normal city, crime statistics are pretty much on par with other towns in Tennessee. So what was our essence...a smart bunch of near normal kids.