A Bedford Winter Holiday opening

BEDFORD, IND.

One thing many small towns do just right is celebrate holidays. Bedford kicked off its winter holiday celebration Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, with a variety of activities including a nighttime Christmas parade.

One of the great Bedford holiday attractions across from the Lawrence County Courthouse is the dazzling, multi-story 12 Months of Christmas store, which beginning next spring will be open year round. All photos by Ronald Hawkins.

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Great stories from Bedford Indiana have arrived

 

 

BEDFORD, Indiana

In case you have wondered what happened to RDH Great Stories, we have been in the lengthy process of moving to Bedford, Indiana, in Lawrence County.

This is a beautiful city, far different from the Indianapolis suburban town of Mooresville, which has its own strengths. Bedford is rich in scenic beauty, history and tradition.

Bedford is the self-proclaimed limestone capital of the world. And if you drive down Ind. 37, south of Bloomington, you will quickly see why it has made that claim.

There’s even one mystery we are trying to unravel regarding the abandoned project to build small models in limestone of the Great Pyramid and the Great Wall of China. We’ve been told, since it involved federal  funds, that it was abandoned after being declared the worst example of Congressional pork barrel spending. That’s understandable to some extent, but we would still like to see what remains of the abandoned project.

Still, there are lot more things to see and learn about. For example, Mitchell was the hometown of three astronauts including Virgil Gus Grissom, the second U.S. astronaut in space who died years later during the testing of an Apollo craft.

Grissom’s Mitchell connection is duly noted with signs and an impressive monument at Mitchell Town Hall.

If you drive north to Oolitic, you will find a statue of a nearly forgotten comic character. The statue is a part of a salute veterans.

The character is Joe Palooka, who was featured in an American comic strip about a heavyweight boxing champion, created by cartoonist Ham Fisher in 1921, according to Wikipedia. The strip debuted in 1930 and it was carried at its peak by 900 newspapers.

The strip was eventually adapted for a short-lived, 15-minute CBS radio series, 12 feature-length films, nine Vitaphone film shorts, a 1954 syndicated television series, comic books and merchandise, including a 1940s board game, a 1947 New Haven Clock & Watch Company wristwatch, a 1948 metal lunchbox, and a 1946 Wheaties cereal box cut-out mask. In 1980, a mountain in Pennsylvania was named for the character, according to Wikipedia.

After a 63-year run, it ended Nov. 24, 1984. The impressive statue, however, remains.

Least we forget, Bedford North Lawrence High School, led by star Damon Bailey, won the Indiana High School men’s basketball championship in 1990, when Indiana had only class in the state champship.

There’s lots more that we’ll be covering from our new base, but it seemed to be time to tell you a little bit about Bedford and Lawrence County.

 

All photos by Ronald Hawkins.

All You Need is Love rocks again at Abbey Road on the River

The great All You Need is Love from Belleville, Canada, performs a Beatles song May 28, 2018, at Abbey Road on the River in Jeffersonville, Ind. The audio isn’t the best, but the video shows what dynamic performs these guys are. Video by Ronald Hawkins.

Panel set to help youth avoid smoking

If you live in or near Morgan County, Ind., the event at 6:30 p.m. May 31 in the Monrovia Branch of the Morgan County Public Library, 145 S. Chestnut St., Monrovia, Indiana may be of interest to you and could assist you in preventing the youth around you from taking up smoking or helping them stop if they have already started.

The message below about the event described below iis from Jennifer Walker, executive director of Ready Set Quit Tobacco.

Dear Friend,

Have you ever wondered why youth start smoking, given all the scientific data we know about the harm from tobacco use? Surely, our youth are receiving messages about not using tobacco from their teachers and school administrators, little league teams, scouts and 4-H leaders, right? Indeed, they are!

While no doubt today’s youth are warned about the harm from tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco and now electronic cigarettes, we have to wonder, “how do they get started using?”

With all the social issues we face today, why are we concerned about a seemingly insignificant thing like a youth smoking?

Here are a few little-known facts…

o Morgan Co. youth use electronic cigarettes at rates higher than state rates, with increases reported in 2016.

· o Electronic cigarette solutions can have very high concentrations of nicotine leading to impaired adolescent brain development, including susceptibility to addiction.

·o Tobacco use is a gateway drug, much like alcohol and marijuana. It works on the brain receptors of an adolescent’s brain that is not fully developed, leading that youth down the path to addiction, starting with nicotine addiction.

o Reducing tobacco use reduces other substance abuse. Most illicit drug users use tobacco or alcohol prior to illicit drug use. www.nih.gov/…/news…/nih-study-examines-nicotine-gateway-drug.

o Among current smokers in the U.S., 24.1% report illicit drug use compared with 5.4% of nonsmokers. www.in.gov/…/MH_and_Substance_Use_Disorders_October_2015.pdf
o If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.

Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides COMBINED.

You are encouraged to attend a Community Conversation about Tobacco Marketing to Youth
Keynote presenter: Kristinia Love, Executive Director, Morgan County Substance Abuse Council

Moderator: Ronald Hawkins, RDH Great Stories

Panel: Annabelle Hadley, 8th grade Student, Monrovia Middle School

Ted & Shelley Voelz, Co-Directors, St. Thomas More Free Clinic

Tina Jacob, C.H.E.S., Health Education and Volunteer Manager, Little Red Door Cancer Agency

Questions? Call Jennifer Walker at 317-306-1282 or email: Jennifer@readytoquit.org

NIDA-funded research in mice shows that nicotine primes the brain to enhance cocaine’s effects.
NIH.GOV

Flashback to Beatles in Teen World

One of the positive things about people knowing you are an enthusiast (we prefer that to “fan”) of a particular subject, team or band is that your friends from a long time ago or even recently sometimes give or send you something they’ve found gathering dust in their home or have recently bought.

Beatles fans are about the best when it comes to this. Pete Dicks of Beatles and Beyond in England has been great and sent us several books a few years ago. Others have sent me music that we wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

RDH Great Stories collection has grown substantially since we have been giving Beatles presentations and have had Beatles exhibits at several locations in central Indiana.

Today, we received a particular treat. We’re going to send you even back further into our past first though. In the summer after finishing the 6th grade, Richard Thompson and Ronald Hawkins put together an imaginary baseball magazine, clipping items from real magazines and writing stories to go with them.

Years later, Hawkins was the editor of the Thomas Jefferson High School newspaper and Thompson was the sports editor and cartoonist.

Until he retired, Thompson was a great educator, artist and more, following a track that he moved toward in high school. Hawkins went on to work for more than 40 years on newspapers, magazines and other media.

Mr. Thompson sent Mr. Hawkins a package that arrived today. It was a wonderful surprise. Mr. Thompson knows Mr. Hawkins is a Beatles presented and collector.

The item was a magazine from December 1965. Here are few images from it:

We doubt if this offer is still good!

1973-1977: ‘Heavyweights’ dominate the Oscars

The creative teams involved in making the Best Picture winners from 1973-1977 feature “heavyweight” directors, actors, themes and, yes, even a movie about heavyweight boxers.

The heavyweight directors  included Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Milos Foreman, and George Roy Hill. The actors included Allen, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Robert  De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Sylvester Stallone.

The Sting, 1973, directed by George Roy Hill

Many critics loved (with the exception of  Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert) “Butch Cassidy and “The Sundance Kid” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, but it didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture.

When the actors teamed up again for director George Roy Hill’s “The Sting,” however, they won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This comic, caper film is filled with twists and turns in what in many ways is about getting revenge for a late friend.

The “sting” of a big-time racketeer pits brain against gun and brawn. The tale is told with the marvelous music of Scott Joplin and is bolstered by great acting.Others competing for the 1973 top honor included “The Exorcist,” “Cries and Whispers,” and “American Graffiti.”

The Godfather II, 1974, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II

 

For once a sequel is deserving of the honor of its predecessor. “Godfather I” won the Best Picture award and with the acting assistance of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro among others, director Francis Ford Coppola wins the honor again with this outstanding crime drama.

Of course, The Godfather movies are about more than crime. They were about families, culture and acceptance in a world that was resistant to letting them into the great American melting pot.

In this second movie, we witness a family betrayal and death, finding a way to gain political favors, the long-reach of one’s family in the old world, and revenge on the family’s perceived enemies.

Mr. Coppola truly deserved a Best Picture honor for this 200-minute epic.

Other competitors for the 1974 Best Picture honor included “Chinatown,” “The Conversation,” and “Lenny.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975, directed by Milos Forman

You would have to be “cuckoo” not to find something to like about “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the 1975 winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

EPSON MFP image

Based on the novel by Ken Kesey, (who became a counter-culture hero with his Merry Pranksters), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the beneficiary of a bravura performance by Jack Nicholson

The story is about a second-rate crook who pretends to be insane in order to avoid prison and be sent to what he expects to be an easier experience in a mental hospital. He proves to be an uplifting spirit for his fellow patients, but runs into a difficult adversary in the head nurse.

The cast is outstanding with several actors on the verge of stardom. That cast includes Louise Fletcher, Danny Devito, Christopher Lloyd, Will Sampson, and William Redfield.

Others contenders for the 1975 Best Picture Award included “Barry Lyndon,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Jaws” and “Nashville.”

Rocky, 1976, directed by John Avildsen

“Rocky” is not only about a Philadelphia underdog boxer taking on the heavyweight champion of the world, it also is a testament to the behind-the-scenes story of unknown Sylvester Stallone getting the movie made, starring in his film and for it to win the 1976 Best Picture Oscar.

In addition to Stallone, the fine cast includes Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, and Carl Weathers.

EPSON MFP image
Rocky

This was the first real sports movie to win the Best Picture Oscar even though “On the Waterfront” had a sports backdrop. The score is an uptempo joy.

The only problem with “Rocky” is that it led to far too many sequels.

Other contenders for the 1976 honor were “All the President’s Men,” “Bound for Glory,” “Network,” and “Taxi Driver.”

 

Annie Hall, 1977, directed by Woody Allen

Woody Allen had completed numerous outstanding films before his “Annie Hall” won the 1977 Oscar for Best Picture.

This semi-autobiographical film about his relationship with Annie/Diane Keaton is a whimsical comedy that takes on the issues of loneliness and love, family, communications, maturity, city life, careers and even driving.It’s filled with classic scenes including one with a lobster, one with Paul Simon, and many more.

As with most of Woody Allen’s movies, “Annie Hall” has a great cast. In addition to those previously mentioned, the cast include Allen regular Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Marshall McLuhan (check out his sudden appearance while Woody is waiting in line to see a movie),

Annie Hall

legendary interviewer Dick Cavett, Shelley Duvall, Colleen Dewhurst, Jeff Goldb added hislum, and Christopher Walken.

Another major plus for this movie was the cinematography of Gordon Willis, who also added his touch to Allen’s 1979 black and white visually and musically dazzling “Manhattan.”

The crop for Best Picture Oscar in 1977 was bountiful, but “Annie Hall” deserved the honor. Other contenders were “Star Wars,” “Julia,” “The Goodbye Girl,” and “Turning Point.”

 

 

‘Shape of Water’ truly deserving Oscar winner

Each year after the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture is announced, I immediately buy it, if I don’t already have it in my collection.

I didn’t see “The Shape of Water” in a theater, but my 4k copy arrived today. And tonight, March 21, I was treated to true cinema magic as this wonderful fantasy/science fiction/love story that even weaves a little sinister government “big brother” conspiracy into this amazing movie. And there’s a magical, musical segment that fits perfectly into this film.

Set in 1962 in Baltimore, we finally have a movie in which the creature has a happy ending. This film is almost an extension of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” but it is so much more.

I have a list (chiefly in my head) of movies that I call “Ronald” movies. They have a certain almost magical spirit that is so uplifting and inspiring.

The “Ronald movies” include Frank Capra’s “Lost Horizon,” “Field of Dreams” and “Cinema Paradiso.” There are others, but I am adding  “The Shape of Water” to that list now.

2017 Oscar Best Picture winner,

Thank director/co-author Guillermo Del Toro, actors Sally Hawkins (no known relation), Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Doug Jones, an amazing artistic team and others for creating one of my all-time favorite Academy Award Best Winners.

Having finally seen and written about the most recent winner, we’ll be continuing our posts about the previous best picture winners soon.