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NOVEMBER 2020

Howdy! Yo, Yogi Berra (below). Back in the ‘50s I watched the Yankee-Dodger World Series in my garage apartment on my b/w TV set with rabbit ears. Yankee Don Larsen pitched a perfecto. All of America roared. Catcher Yogi Berra jumped into Don Larsen’s arms.
Yogi Berra. Worthy of “Dancing With the Stars”. In 1950, in 151 games, Yogi went to bat 597 times. Know how many times he stuck out? Guess. Twelve. Yogi Berra, 1925-2015, the Shakespeare of baseball: “If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?” “Ninety per cent of this game is half mental.” “The towels were so thick there, I could hardly close my suitcase.” “I don’t know if they were men or women running naked across the field. They had bags over their heads.” “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Yogi, it’ll never be over. We’ll always remember you. Yogi gets the last word: “I didn’t say everything I said.”

Babs and I treasure all the good times with Peg Lynch (below left). She passed on through after 98 years of wonder. She invented sit-com when she wrote and starred in radio’s “Ethel and Albert” with Alan Bunce. She left her vast collection of writings with the University of Oregon Library. A Peg Lynch. treasure trove. The University should initiate a course in the English department: “Peg Lynch, the Shakespeare of Radio”. Her scripts are literature. Her scripts would be text books. Each episode is a beautifully crafted observation of life’s little glitches. Here are Ethel and Albert bickering about their monthly budget—Albert is giving her a lesson in simple math: “What is two times nothing?” “Two.” “No, no. Any number multiplied by nothing is nothing. Here are two matches. If you multiply them by nothing, you have nothing.” “But the two matches are still there. They are not nothing. They are still there! Two plus nothing is two, two minus nothing is two, two times nothing is two. I’d be glad to tell that to Mr. Einstein’s face.” And so her great acting and mind and scripts endure.

We met Peg Lynch at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass, at a radio convention. She and Bob Hastings performed an “Ethel and Albert” radio show to a full house. I played a cop. What an honor, working side-by-side with the master.

Gregg Palmer.GREGG PALMER! (right) Say it loud and say it proud, just as that ol’ sodbuster did. Worked with him on a “Sweettoes” adventure, “Welcome Enemy”. We rode hard, loved harder, shot straight, fought fiercely, all to make sure our Native American brothers and sisters got a square deal. Well, you can’t win ‘em all. Last time Gregg and I pow wowed was in aught-five in Northfield, MN, at the annual “Defeat of Jesse James Days”. Highlight for Babs and me, dinner at a nifty Italian restaurant. Around our table caroused Gregg, Jan Merlin, Johnny Western, Ben Cooper, Boyd Magers and our fair ladies. Great grub, great grog, great gab, great gags, great group, by gar. The wine flowed, and so did the jocosity. I thought the chandelier would come crashing down. As we stumbled out, I detected a wee quaver in Gregg’s voice, a hint of a tear—”Yeah,” he admitted, “Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant, I remember World War II and the Italian family that hid me for five months.” “Gosh! Where was that?” “San Francisco.” Later, Gregg was autographing an 8x10 glossy for a weeping lady. Heroic, shirtless. The photo, not the lady. “Why the woe, little lady?” “My husband died today.” “That’s awful. Er, should you be here?” “I had to get out of that house!” “Well, were you with him at the end?” “Yes! Yes! And I’ll never forget his last words!” “What were they?” “Put down that gun!” Homeward bound—Gregg looked straight into my eyes. “When you write about me, and you will, remember: Gregg is spelled with two G’s,” and he ambled away. Gregg, here’s looking at you, kid, and I count three G’s.

Will, Jerry Nolan, Rex Reason.R is for rugged, regal, rousing, rough riding. R is for Rex Reason, one of my favorite compadres at Col. Warner’s Honor Ranch. We last crossed happy trails at one of Jerry Nolan’s sign-a-thons at a Holiday Inn in NYC. We worked together on a “Sugarfoot”. Rex played a noble Scot. We worked on his “Roaring ‘20s” TV series—not together. I played a flagpole sitter. We worked together on two of WB’s anthology TV shows, “Conflict: Capital Punishment” and “Stranger on the Road” (‘56). The latter penned by the great Montgomery Pittman. I played a feller on the run who winds up at a ranch. A
Barton MacLane, Murvyn Vye, Rex Reason in WB's "Stranger on the Road". real dude I am, and I rankle foreman Reason something fierce. Comes the climax, and Rex beats the holy hell outta me, ala ‘Rocky’, only I keep comin’ back, covered in blood, sweat, and hay. Rex falls in a heap, plum skeered. Skeered he’d kill me. Producer Roy Huggins loved it. Inspired an idea for a rollicking, picaresque TV Western series about two brothers, Bret and Bart, gamblers, who ride from town-to-town, divesting the suckers of a month’s rent. Roy reckoned that Steve Forest and I could fit into those boots jes’ fine. Never came to pass. I figure it woulda been a good show. Whaddya think?

 

                                        —Adios