Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pete Rose Breaks National League Hits Record

Tomorrow is a date in Baseball History. On August 10th 1981 Pete Rose broke the National League Hits record. It was set previously by Stan Musial. Rose, whose long baseball career was mostly with the Cincinnati Reds, was on the Philadelphia Phillies at this point in his career. He was in the middle of a 15 game hitting streak when the season was interupted by a long baseball strike. Unlike other strikes this one was mostly supporeted by the baseball fans. It was believed that the team owners were trying to get control back from the players contracts. After 7 weeks the strike was over. On August 10th the Phillies played the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that Musial spent most of his career with. The crowd had to wait quite a while for that hit as Rose didn't get it till the 8th inning. As Rose got to first base the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Stan Musial himself came out of the stands and congratulated Rose at first base. Oddly enough it was in 1963 when Stan Musial got his last two record setting hits against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds second baseman was rookie ballplayer Pete Rose.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dead Man's Hand

On this day in American history the legend of the Dead Man's Hand began. It's story is just as amazing as the man who held the original hand.
"Wild Bill" Hickok, one of the greatest gunfighters of the American West, was born inIllinois in 1837. His real name was James Butler Hickok. He first became famous as a gunfighter in 1861 when he shot three men who were trying to kill him. It was reported in Harper's New Monthly Magazine and gave rise to his fame. Soon other books and articles followed. While many of them were exaggerated, his reputation was rightfully earned in some impressive gunfights.
It was in 1871 that he gave up gunfighting when he accidentally killed his own deputy in a gunfight in Abilene, Texas. After that he lived off his reputation. He first joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show where he starred as himself. At times he rented himself out as a guide to wealthy hunters. His eyesight began to fial him and he wandered the West as a gambler. At times his money was so low that he was arrested for being a vagrent. His reputation wasn't helping him that much anymore.
At the age of 39 he found himself in Deadwood, South Dakota. He made a small living as a gambler at  the local saloon. On August 2nd 1876 he was playing cards at the saloon that afternoon He made the mistake that any gambler/gunfighter should never make. He had his back to the saloon door. In walked a guslinger named Jack McCall. He walked up behind Hickok and shot him in the back of the head. He died instantly. McCall tried to shoot others in the saloon but his other bullets wouldn't fire. He was arrested, tried, convicted and hung for murder. The greatest gunfighter the west ever new was murdered in a cowardly way. Shot in the back. Never getting a chance to even take his gun out of his holster or see his killer.
Since then the legend was told that hand Hickok held when he was playing his last game of cards was a pair of black aces and black eights when he died, a combination that has since been known as the Dead Man's Hand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Muffler Men

As I have travled the highways and byways of this great country there has never been a greater awe inspiring sight then to see one of the Muffler Men smiling down on me as I go on my way. The Muffler Men are roadside advertising icons made of fiberglass and stand about 20 feet tall. The first was made to look like Paul Bunyan and holding his axe but they usully hold a large replica of what they are advertising or a sign for the place they are advertising.
The company to make the men was International Fiberglass. They had a variety of characters that they derivied from one mold. The first was around 1962 for the BP Cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona and that was the previously mentioned Paul Bunyan.
The person who started the company was Bob Prewitt and it was originally called Prewitt Fiberglass. He was really a cowboy and preferred to ride in rodeos. He hired other cowboys to work for him between rodeos. So it's no surprise to see some of those giants were made to look like cowboys. In 1963 he sold the company and it became International Fiberglass Company. Soon they were being covered in trad magazines and the owne of the Paul Bunyan one told how his sales doubled when it was installed.

Their biggest program was with Texaco where they did the big friend. One of their more famous was with Phillips and the big cowboy. Soon they were making huge Yogi Bears and Chickens for fried chicken places. Then came the fiberglass woman. It was Miss Uniroyal. There were two versions. One with a skirt and another in a bikini. The sculptor modeled her after Jackie Kennedy.
To get one today it would cost you between $15,000 and $20,000 but back then it was between $1,000 to $2,800. Shipping was a nightmare.
That's all for now. I hope you have good day today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Captain America in the Movies

Hello citizens! Normally I don't like to talk about myself but there is a movie coming out on my life this weekend and alot of interest in movies and other things about me. So to releave some of this interest today I will discuss movies that have been made about me.
First up is the 1944 serial called "Captain America." While I liked it for its entertainment value it did get a lot wrong. First off the lead character isn't even a solider. He is a District Attorney. His name isn't Steve Rogers but Grant Gardner played by Dick Purcell. Bucky isn't in the movie and I use a gun not a shield. Yes I am a solider and a marksman but I always prefer that a gun be used as a last resort.
In 1973 there was a Turkish film that was released called 3 Dev Adam. It translates into 3 Mighty Men but is better known as Captain America Vs. Spider-Man. Now this wasn't a movie version of Marvel Team-Up. In the film I am a government aent called to Turkey to take on a serial killer that looks a lot like an out of shape Spider-Man. If they producers didn't read the comic books then they sould have contacted me. Spider-Man is not a killer. He is often misunderstood but he is one of the good guys and one of my close friends.
In 1990 I finally thought they would get it right. Till this year it was the closest you could get. Matt Salinger actually played Steve (Captain America) Rogers. He looked great in the costume and they did use a shield. Even my old enemy the Red Skull was in it. However, he was made Italian and not German in the film. I was a little worried when I heard that Salinger was to be the star as he was pretty much an unknown. When I heard that Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox were also in it I felt better and thought this could be like Superman: the Movie. Boy was I wrong. Most of the movie Salinger wasn't in the costume and by the time he did get in it the movie was almost over. To top it off I didn't save the day but Ronny Cox, who was cast as the President, did. The movie was never released to theaters but my fans still found it in bootleg versions at comic book and science fiction conventions. Sales there forced its release to direct video. If you haven't seen it then you should at least once but only once.

Now here we are in the 21st century and finally what looks like a great movie based on myself. It even has one of my favorite actors, Tommy Lee Jones, as my Sarge in it. Don't know what the reviews will be but the commercials for it look great. Let me know what you think. Also starting next week my weekly post will be on Tuesdays from now on.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Brief History of Fireworks

Well since we just celebrated Independence Day a week ago I thought I would tell you the history of the one item that we use every year to celebrate the birth of our country. I'm talking about fireworks. They are mostly associated with the 4th of July but have been used to celebrate other events.
Their earliest known appearance in history is 7th century China.They used them in hopes that their loud sounds would frighten away evil spirits. Little children were told that it scared away monsters.
Eventually the art of making fireworks became a respected profession in China. It was always a celebration only for the wealthy or royalty until around the 14th century when they started to use them for the common people for things like weddings, births, business openings, etc.
The first Independence day celebration in 1777 was with fireworks while we were still at war and didn't know if our young country would survive.
Over the years in the USA many states outlawed the use of fireworks by private citizens due to concerns for peoples safety. You needed to be a licensed professional to use them. Lately some states are starting to make use of fireworks legal once again in their states.

Two of the largest fireworks displays in the country happen in Kentucky and Ohio. In Louisville, Kentucky they have the largest display at Thunder Over Louisville to celebrate the opening of the Kentucky Derby Festival.

In Cincinnati, Ohio radio station WEBN sponsers another large fireworks display every Labor Day Weekend. It is one of the largest in the country and broadcast on TV station WXIX. They first did in in 1977 as a one time event to celebrate the radio station's 10th anniversary. It was so well received they have done it every year since. Each year it draws over 500,000 people. Some arrive in houseboats a week early and live there floating on the Ohio river just to see the event.
That's all till next week, this is Cap signing off.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day: The History of Uncle Sam

Happy Independence Day citizens of this good ole’ United States of America. Many just call the day the Fourth of July but at first it was known as Independence Day. Today I thought in honor of Independence Day I would tell you of one of our popular American symbols. No not myself. I want to tell you of one of my good friends Uncle Sam. Some wonder if Sam was real or fiction. Well he was really both. The story of Uncle Sam starts on September 13, 1766 with the birth of Samuel Wilson in Arlington, Massachusetts to his Scottish immigrant parents. When he got older Sam moved to Troy, New York in 1789 where he became a meat packer. During the War of 1812 He supplied beef to the American Army in barrels. Since the barrels were government property he stamped the initials U.S. on them. To him it meant United States but the soldiers they jokingly said it stood for Uncle Sam. Over time people started saying that anything that was government property that had the initials U.S. on it belonged to Uncle Sam.
In 1916 artist James Montgomery Flagg did a cover of his version of Uncle Sam for Leslie’s Weekly. It was so popular that he was commissioned to do an Army recruitment poster. In 1917 he gave us the most popular version of Uncle Sam. He based it on a British Army recruitment poster that featured Lord Kitchener recruiting for the British Army. Some say that Flagg used himself as the model for Uncle Sam. Others say he based it on Sam Wilson or had another model in mind. Below are pictures of both Flagg and Wilson so you can judge for yourself.
James Montgomery Flagg

Sam Wilson

Uncle Sam was so popular that by 1940 he was a superhero in Quality Comics. He continues to this day to occasionally fight comic book crime in DC Comics alongside heroes like Superman and Batman.
Hope you all have a very happy Fourth of July.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well I got word that I will be laid off from work for awhile after this Friday. So if you have considered donations to this site now would be a good time. Click the button to the right or below.

Monday, June 27, 2011

World's Largest Ball of Twine

What is a family summer road trip without seeing the world’s largest ball of twine? I personally haven’t but many people have. So many that it is a pop culture joke. It has appeared or been mentioned in many movies, TV shows and videos over the decades. From National Lampoon’s Vacation to the current TV show Supernatural. Actually Vacation mentions the world’s second largest ball of twine but you get what I mean. But which one are they talking about. You see there is more than one that claims to be the world’s largest. One is in Darwin, Minnesota. Francis Johnson started his in 1950 and worked on it four hours a day for 23 weeks. It is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 10,400 pounds.
Another is in Cawker City, Kansas and is shown above. Frank Stoeber wanted to beat Johnson’s ball and his eventually was at 11 feet in diameter when he died in 1974. It is housed in an open air building and the town holds a twine a thon every year to add to the ball. In 2006 the ball weighed 17,886 pounds and was 40 feet in circumference.
In Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin James Fran Kotera started his ball of twine in 1979 and still working on it. He says his weighs 19,336 pounds and that at least makes it the world’s heaviest ball of twine. It is housed on JFK’s front lawn and he is working on a ball of string that he calls Junior.
The one in Brooks, Missouri has the best claim to the title as it has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. It was said that it was started by Texas millionaire J.C. Payne and is now owned by Ripley’s Believe it or not. Payne said he used a system of pulleys to build the ball himself in four years. It is 41 and a half feet in circumference.
That's it for this week. Hope to see you again next Monday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Since yesterday was Father's Day I thought that you would be interested in the history of Father's Day. Some think that the holiday starte in Spokane, Washington. While that is where the holiday took off, it really has it's roots in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908 when they held the first known Father's Day. It was started by a Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton. She did it to celebrate the lives of the men who died in a mining disaster in nearby Monongah, West Virginia several months ago. She shose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her recently passed away Father. However, the day was overshadowed by other celebrations and events in the city and not officially registered by the city. It would not be celebrated again on that day.
Then in 1909 in Spokane, Washington Sonora Smart-Dodd, a woman raised by a single Father, wanted to honor her Dad the way Mother's Day did Mothers. With the help of local churches she was able to start her Father's Day the next year. From there the idea caught on.
The road to it becoming a national holiday was a long and hard road and dealt with by many of this countries Presidents. In 1913 a bill was introduced into Congress to make it a holiday. It wasn't till 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson would go to Spokane the speak at a Father's Day celebration. He wanted to make it official but Congress backed down fearing it would become too commercial. In 1924 President Coolidge said it should be a national holiday but didn't issue a national proclamation. In 1966 President Johnson did issue that proclamation to honor Fathers. It wasn't until 1972 when President Richard Nixon made it a national holiday. He declared that every third Sunday in June would be Father's Day.
I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day and that you did your best to honor your Dad and/or you were touched by the honors bestowed on you by your family.

Monday, June 13, 2011

American Baseball

Today I want to tell you about my favorite sport. Baseball! Baseball is played throughout the world but when people think of it most of them associate it with America. For years when it started in the good old US of A it was played by amatures. But in order to win some owners started to paying their best players under the table. So they were really professionals but it was illegal the way they did it.
It was in 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball club. It was in 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was established as the sport’s first “major league.” Five years later, a Chicago businessman, William Hulbert, started the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs.

It replaced the National Association, which he thought was mismanaged and corrupt. In the beginning it had eight original members: the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings (who are now known as the Cincinnati Reds), Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Brown Stockings.

In 1901, the the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, was founded. Starting in 1903, the best team from each league began competing in the World Series. Below is a photo of the third gave of the 1903 World Series with the crowd on  the playing field before the game between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
 Various teams switched in and out of the National League over the years, but it remained an eight-team league until 1962, when the New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s (later renamed the Houston Astros) joined the league. In 1969, two more teams were added: the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). Also that year, the league was split into an East and West division of six teams each. The Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins became part of the National League in 1993, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. In 1994, the league was reorganized to include a Central division, along with the East and West groups.

In 1997, Major League Baseball introduced inter-league play, in which each NL team played a series of regular-season games against AL teams of the same division. (In 2002, the rules were changed to allow AL/NL teams from non-corresponding divisions to compete against each other.) However, one major difference between the two leagues remains: the American League’s 1973 adoption of the designated hitter rule allowed teams to substitute another hitter for the pitcher, who generally hit poorly, in the lineup. As a result, teams in the American League typically score more runs than those in the National League, making, some fans argue, for a more exciting game.

Between 1903 and 2007, AL teams were the winners in 61 of the 103 World Series played. The American League’s New York Yankees have won more World Series championships--26--than any other team in baseball.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6th The Drive In Theatre

I know that today is the anniversary of D-Day but I thought that we should celebrate something more enjoyable. On this day in American history, June 6th 1933, Richard Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theatre on Crescent Boulevard in Camden,NJ. His mother struggled to sit in comfort in normal theaters and he got the idea for an outdoor theatre where people could sit in comfort in their own car. He experimented with his own car in his own yard by stringing a sheet between two trees, a speaker behind the sheet and mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car. After he perfected it he got a patent for it in May of 1933. Less then a month later he opened Park-In Theaters, Inc. He charged 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person. His idea caught on.
By 1949 they were called Drive-In's and were popping up all over the country. Mostly they showed B movies but it was still a cheap family outing or date. The most popular time for them was from the 1950's to the mid 1960's. By the 1970's the economy was getting worse. Growth of the industry slowed as land was getting expensive and Drive In's needed large lots of land to have enough room for all cars to view the screen. By the 1980's with increased competition from Cable TV and home videos the end was near for Drive-In's. Many of them closed up. At the height of its popularity there were over 5,000 in the USA. Now there is barely 500. There was a brief period of interest in the Drive-in theatre in early 21st century with some old drive-in's getting more business or groups of people gather to show movies on the sides of buildings with people viewing from parking lots or side yards. It still continues to this day but so far hasn't gained enough strength to revive the industry.
The Drive-in became an American icon. For decades not a summer went by without a family or teenagers paying a visit to their local Drive-in.
Below is a screen capture of the Dixie Gardens Drive-In after it fell into disrepair. It was later tore down and replaced by office buildings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Need Help

I hope someone can help me as I recently got a bill that I can't pay. I really hate asking here like this cause I feel like I am begging but if you like this site and want to donate anything please click on the Paypal link below. I have only delt with Paypal in cash in times past so I don't know what to do with credit cards or if I have to pay for anything if yo donate with credit cards but I will take what help I can right now.Thanks in advance.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Hi! Captain America here and I want to thank you for coming by my new blog. I hope to have a post here at least once a week talking about somethings that deal with the history of this great nation that many of us call home. Today is Memorial Day and I can't think of a better day to start this blog.
Memorial Day marks the start of summer and many peoples vacation season. It was started in the eary 20th century to remember the patriots who gave their lives on both sides of the Civil War. In later years it became a way to rememeber others who passed on. From others who gave their lives for our country to family members whom we lovingly remember.
At first it wasn't even called Memorial Day. It began as Decoration Day. It was in 1865 when the North started decorating the graves of fallen soliders. The first known observance of the soon to be holiday was in Warterloo, New York. General John Logan brought it to nationwide attention. General Logan was the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. He issued a proclamation that Decoration Day be observed across the nation. The date of May 30th was chosen as it was not the anniversary of any battle.
After that the name slowly changed to Memorial Day. It was first called that in 1882 but it wasn't officially changed till 1967. The next year, 1968, Congress moved it's date to the last Monday of May to give everyone a 3 day weekend. However that law didn't go into effect till 1971.
Part of the celebration seems to have always been family outings and local parades. The oldest known continuously running  Memorial Day parade is held in Ironton, Ohio. They have had a parade there every year since 1869. The first parade was in 1868.
Some fear that people are starting to forget the rememberances of those that have gone on before us in favor of the parades and picnics. You only have to drive by a local cementary to see all the flowers and american flags on the graves to know that Memorial Day weekend means alot to each citizen of this country. Have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day.