November 30, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 118: Jim Nabors ~ A goofy guy with a big voice

vinyl LP album cover 
album cover photo by Leigh Wiener 
photo of album cover by Styrous®

James Thurston Nabors died today, November 30, 2017. He played a dopey character but he had a rich baritone voice from heaven (YouTube links below). He was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at a Santa Monica nightclub, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle.    

vinyl LP album back cover 
album cover photos by Leigh Wiener 
photo of album cover by Styrous®

He was an American actor, singer, and comedian born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, but because of his asthma, he moved to southern California and worked as a film cutter for NBC. He was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at a Santa Monica nightclub singing and acting in cabaret theater, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own spin-off show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. The show, which placed Nabors' bungling, naive character opposite Sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton), was also popular.    

Jim Nabors - left, Frank Sutton - right

Nabors revealed his fantasatic voice first on the February 24, 1964, "The Song Festers" episode of The Andy Griffith Show and on April 8, 1964, on The Danny Kaye Show, and subsequently capitalized on it with numerous successful recordings and live performances. Most of the songs were romantic ballads, though he sang pop, gospel, and country songs as well.          

Although he was known for his portrayal of Gomer Pyle, he became a popular guest on variety shows which showcased his voice in the 1960s and 1970s, including two specials of his own in 1969 and 1974. He subsequently recorded numerous albums and singles, most of them containing romantic ballads.    

vinyl LP album back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Because he was typecast from his role as Gomer Pyle, Nabors found his subsequent roles mostly comedic; The exception was in a 1973 episode of The Rookies, where he played his first "serious" role, a man called on to be an assassin after the death of his sister. He abandoned television jobs for nightclub and concert engagements and a role in a touring production of Man of La Mancha.     

vinyl LP album back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

In the 1980s, Nabors appeared in three feature-length films starring his friend Burt Reynolds, at the latter's request. In The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), about a sheriff (Reynolds) who falls in love with a brothel madam (Dolly Parton), Nabors played Deputy Fred, a character similar to Gomer Pyle. Though the film was given mostly unfavorable reviews, Nabors garnered some positive comments for his performance.         

In 1983, he was cast as an auto mechanic in Stroker Ace, starring Burt Reynolds as a race car driver who fights a fried-chicken chain entrepreneur. The film was panned, and Nabors earned a Golden Raspberry Award for his performance. In Reynolds' star-studded Cannonball Run II (1984), about a cross-country car chase, Nabors made a cameo appearance alongside such celebrities as Dom DeLuise, Jackie Chan, Shirley MacLaine, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Griffith Show co-stars Don Knotts and George Lindsey. Like the two previous Reynolds films Nabors appeared in, Cannonball received mostly negative reviews.            

vinyl LP album back cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Nabors married his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, at the Seattle, Washington Fairmont Olympic Hotel on January 15, 2013, a month after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington. A longstanding rumor maintains that Nabors "married" Rock Hudson in the early 1970s, shortly before Nabors began his relationship with Cadwallader.     

According to Hudson, the story originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach", who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year, the group invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors' most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming "Rock Pyle" (personally, I think this is hysterical). The rumor was spread by those who failed to get the joke, and because Nabors was still closeted at the time and Hudson never publicly admitted to being gay (despite widespread suspicion that he was), the two never spoke to each other again. ¡Que Lastima!  

vinyl LP, side 1
photo by Styrous®

vinyl LP label, side 1
photo by Styrous®

vinyl LP, side 2
photo by Styrous®

vinyl LP label, side 2
photo by Styrous®

Jim Nabors ‎– Shazam! Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.
Genre: Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country, Vocal
Year: 1965


Side 1:

Hoo How, What Now? - 2:00
It Takes All Kinds To Make A World - 2:35
Hot Dog Heart - 1:53
Shazam! - 1:48
Heart Insurance - 1:46
Reincarnation - 1:50

Side 2:

If You Want Me To - 1:40
The Waltz Of Miss Sarah Green - 1:55
All Of This For Sally - 2:51
You Can't Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd - 1:32
Old Blue - 2:54
Gomer Seys Hey! - 2:09


360 Stereo, in white printing. 2nd pressing
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Label Code (2nd Pressing): 360 Stereo, in white printing

Jim Nabors died at his Honolulu, Hawaii, home on November 30, 2017. The United States Marine Corps released a statement on Nabors: "Semper Fi, Gomer Pyle. Rest in peace Jim Nabors, one of the few to ever be named an Honorary Marine." He was 87 years old.     

Net links:       
Jim Nabors website       
NY Times Gomer Pyle Is Dead        
Variety ~ obit
CNN ~ obit            
CBS News ~ obit        
YouTube links:       
The Impossible Dream       
500 miles From Home       
Oh Holy Night        
Hot Dog Heart           
Styrous® ~ Thursday, November 30, 2017     


November 29, 2017

Band Together Concert for the North Bay fires with Metallica

Metallica - November 9, 2017
       AT&T Park
photo by Styrous®

Years ago a friend told me, "When traveling, never turn down an invitation, you never know where you'll end up!" I have always followed this advice and I have wound up in the most amazing places and situations.  

This was the case about a month ago. My friend Rick told me he had a spare ticket for "the Band concert." I have loved The Band for decades so I immediately jumped on the offer but did not go online to research the concert; it didn't matter, I was going to see a phenomenal group perform!   

Three weeks ago, on November 9, 2017, I showed up at AT&T Park located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California, hot and ready for the concert. I quickly discovered it was NOT the group I had been expecting but something even more spectacular.   

It was the Band Together benefit concert for the survivors of the North Bay fires that had happened the month before. An amazing variety of groups performed: 

The lineup:     

The music performed by the various groups was stellar; has posted the songs played for each of the groups, except Dave Matthews (links below).  

The concert was sponsored by Another Planet Entertainment and Live Nation, two competing concert promotion venues that had joined for this special event. It was an amazing act of uniting for a cause that should be followed by others. The event raised $17 million for the survivors. 

The October 2017 Northern California wildfires were a series of wildfires that started burning across the state of California, United States, beginning in early October; 21 of the wildfires became major fires that burned at least 245,000 acres (99,148 ha). The wildfires broke out throughout Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte, and Solano counties during severe fire weather conditions effectively leading to a major red flag warning from much of the Northern California area. Seventeen separate wildfires were reported at that time. These fires included the Tubbs Fire (which grew to become the most destructive wildfire in the history of California), the Atlas Fire, Nuns Fire, and others. These wildfires were also the most destructive ones of the 2017 California wildfire season.

North Bay fires

By October 14, the fires had burned more than 210,000 acres (85,000 ha) while forcing 90,000 people to evacuate from their homes. The Northern California fires killed at least 43 people and hospitalized at least 185, making the week of October 8, 2017, the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. Collectively, this event constitutes the largest loss of life due to wildfires in the United States since the Cloquet Fire in 1918. In total, an estimated 8,900 structures were destroyed.

There is a second concert planned for the survivors on December 14, 2017. It will feature the Red Hot Chili Peppers.    

My sincere thanks to Rick who invited me to the concert.  

Rick - November 9, 2017
photo by Styrous
Viewfinder links:     
Music & Mayhem      
Net links:     
Live Nation
Band Together concert set lists:      
         Dead & Company  
         Raphael Saadiq 
YouTube links:     
Metallica ~ Band Together songs            
       Enter Sandman!         
       Fade To Black    
       Master of Puppets     
       The Unforgiven     
       Wherever I May Roam       
       The Memory Remains
Dead & Company ~ Band Together songs   
      Touch of Grey        
      Fire on the Mountain - Band Together Bay Area, 11-9-17   
      Band Together 11/9/17 AT&T Park San Francisco       
Rancid ~ Band Together songs           
      Live at Band together Bay Area, San Francisco 2017     
      Telegraph Avenue     
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Band Together 11-9 -17       
Eazy Live at Band Together Bay Area, San Francisco 2017         
Band Together Benefit Concert  (concert 1 hr, 12 min.)        Band Together Benefit Concert  (complete concert 5 hrs, 35 min.)   
KPIX News ~ Band Together' Benefit Concert  
It's amazing what life holds in store!
Styrous® ~ Wednesday, November 29, 2017    


November 28, 2017

Arthur Fiedler, Mickey Alpert & the Cocoanut Grove fire


Today, November 28, marks the 75th anniversary of the deadliest night club fire in history, and orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler was part of that history.            

Although I was a baby at the time of the fire, the legend of it was still talked about by the time I became aware of historical events and I remember dreadful stories of it (links below).     

Fiedler was fascinated by the work of firefighters and would travel in his own vehicle to large fires in and around Boston at any time of the day or night to watch the firefighters at work. He was even made an "Honorary Captain" in the Boston Fire Department. A number of other fire departments gave him honorary fire helmets and/or badges. The official biography of Fiedler reports that the conductor helped in the rescue efforts at the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston in 1942 which killed 492 people and injured hundreds more.

Arthur Fiedler dressed as a fireman
with Red Skelton as Clem Kadiddlehopper
April 15, 1969 
photographer unknown

The story goes that the fire was started by 16-year-old busboy, Stanley F. Tomaszewski, a model high school student, and star athlete, as he was changing a light bulb turned off by a prankster when a match set fire to the make-believe palm trimmings. Four hundred and eighty seven revelers died as a result.   

photographer unknown

The scale of the tragedy shocked the nation and briefly replaced the events of World War II in newspaper headlines. It led to a reform of safety standards and codes across the US, and to major changes in the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims internationally (links below).  

Cocanut Grove interior

The musicians in the band performing at the Cocoanut Grove that night were: bandleader Mickey Alpert, Bernie Fazioli and bassist Jack Lesberg. Alpert's orchestra is most famous for being present on the night of the deadly fire.       

Mickey sheet music 
words & music by Harry Williams & Neil Moret
published by Mills Music of New York 

Alpert was born in 1904 and grew up in Roxbury near Boston. In his early years, he played in theatre and broadcasted in the evenings. He met Jacques Renard, who already was a bandleader. With the help of Jack Berman, both opened the famous Boston night club "Cocoanut Grove" on October 27th, 1927. Due to ongoing prohibition, both, Renard and Alpert, sold the club in 1931, as it became almost bankrupt. Some years later, under ownership of Barnett Welansky, Alpert returned to the "Cocoanut Grove" as master of ceremonies.

The most important, but sadly, most tragic point of Alpert's career happened on November, 28th, 1942 in the Cocoanut Grove club. As the orchestra started to play their second set, the great fire in the club started. Alpert managed to escape from the building. After the fire, Alpert went to New York, married and started a new career as a casting director. Alpert died in 1965, he was 61 years old.  

This photo below was taken within half an hour before the tragic fire by the club photographer who escaped being a probable fire victim by going out to develop the films a few minutes before the disaster. Alpert, master of ceremonies of the night club, who fled the blaze uninjured, is sitting in the center of a group of soldiers from the play, This is the Army, which was appearing in Boston at the time. Peering over Alpert's shoulder is Sgt. Ezra Stone, of radio, screen, and stage fame. All of the soldiers left before the tragedy.        

Mickey Alpert & soldiers
Cocoanut Grove photographer

Jacques Renard was an American violinist, orchestra leader and songwriter of Russian origin. Born May 15th, 1897 in Kiev, Russian Empire, died January 30th, 1973 in Miami, Florida.     

After settling to USA as a child, Renard was raised near Boston and learned to play violin. In the 1920s, he left the classical field to become an orchestra leader in Boston. In 1927, he started as leader of the orchestra in the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub, which he co-founded with Mickey Alpert. They gave up the club in 1931 due to financial reasons.           

In the 1930's, many recordings (mainly on Victor) and radio shows followed. Later Renard moved to New York as director of CBS radio shows. He kept being busy in recording and performing for the rest of his life.

Angelo Lippi - maitre d' of the Cocoanut Grove 
photographer unknown

Cocoanut Grove interior

Cocoanut Grove escape path

There have been many books written about the tragedy and many more to be issued on the anniversary of the fire: Holocaust! The Shocking Story of the Boston Cocoanut Grove Fire by Paul Benzaquin, Chased by Flames by Angelo Verzoni and The Cocoanut Grove Fire by

The Cocoanut Grove Fire 
The Shocking Story of the Boston Cocoanut Grove Fir
by Paul Benzaquin - 1959

Holocaust! The Shocking Story of the Boston Cocoanut Grove Fire 

There are many videos about the fire on YouTube, in particular, The Cocoanut Grove with images, films, interviews of survivors of the fire & the song, God Bless the Child, written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939, and sung by her. There is also, Cocoanut Grove the Movie (links below).   

There has been an attempt to make a film about the Cocoanut Grove fire by Deborah Whitaker (link below). 
Viewfinder links:       
Arthur Fiedler articles/mentions            
Music & Mayhem       

                 Net links:       
The Club              
The fire           
Boston Fire Historical Society ~ Cocoanut Grove fire              
Cocoanut Grove Fire: 28 Devastating Photographs             
Charles Kenney ~ Rescue Men: Secrets of Cocoanut Grove fire  
The Writing of Cocoanut Grove The Movie          

YouTube links:       
Coconut Grove - 
             Cocoanut Grove the Movie ~ images, films & music    
             The Cocoanut Grove ~ images, films & music  
             Disasters of the Century               
             Survivors Tell Their Stories  
             Alarm, Coconut Grove Disaster documentary reenactment   

November 27, 2017

Harvey Milk ~ May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978

Harvey Milk bust 
photo by Styrous®

I vividly remember the instant I discovered that San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk were murdered by Dan White on Monday, November 27, 1978. I was in Los Angeles, why I was there, I have no recollection what-so-ever.    

It was before the Internet as we know it had come into being. I was walking down a busy LA street waiting for the light to change at an intersection. There was a San Francisco Examiner newspaper box on the corner and glaring through the window of the box the headline screamed at me:   

"Mayor, Milk Slain; Dan White Seized"

Harvey Milk & George Moscone murder headline
Monday, November 27, 1978

I remember being transfixed, frozen with shock, disbelief and horror for what seemed an eternity! I thought, "This can not be! This is impossible!" I remember the roar of the traffic on the street in my ears; it was magnified a thousand times. I have absolutely no other recollection of that day or even of the trip but the instant of that vision and that roar is permanently burned in my memory.     
Just five months earlier, on June 25, 1978, Supervisor Milk had vigorously lead the Gay Freedom Day Parade.    

photo by Terry Schmitt

"Hope will never be silent." 
                    ~ Harvey Milk 


Styrous® ~ Monday, November 27, 2017  

November 26, 2017

Helen Hagnes ~ "Phantom of the Opera" murder @ the Met

While I was researching an article on Arthur Fiedler (link below), I came across an item of an incident I had completely forgotten about that happened at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera on July 23, 1980.

Helen Hagnes Mintiks   
Photo: The New York Times

Helen Hagnes Mintiks, a Canadian-born violinist, was murdered by stagehand, Craig S. Crimmins, during a performance of the Berlin Ballet. I recall the tabloid headlines that proclaimed, "Phantom of the Opera" Murder!

As music is a cherished, one could almost say, sacred subject for me, the story had quite a shocking effect on me at the time.         

Helen Hagnes Muntiks, was a violinist in an orchestra performing with the Berlin Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House. The ballet being performed was The Idiot with music composed in 1979 by Dimitri Shostakovich. The ballet is based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novel. The last scene is of a woman being stabbed to death.    

After the first act, Hagnes left her seat and went into the back corridors of Lincoln Center. She never told anyone where she was going. When the second act began other musicians noted her empty chair and assumed she had gotten sick.     

The "phantom" in the internationally publicized case turned out to be Craig S. Crimmins, 21, a Met stagehand. In 1981, a jury convicted him of murder, finding that after trying to rape Ms. Mintiks, 31, in a stairwell, he forced her to the roof and kicked her into the shaft.      

Craig S. Crimmins 

The Hagnes murder created a tabloid stir. Weeks passed and the investigation stalled. Old boyfriends were checked out. All of her fellow employees seemed to have good alibis. Then the detectives caught a break. A Bronx stagehand, Craig Crimmins, 21, broke under questioning. He was arrested for Hagnes’ murder.         

Crimmins was an Irish Catholic kid from the Mosholu Pkwy area in the north section of the Bronx. His babyish looks and immature demeanor were a surprise to a city expecting some kind of fiend. Crimmins went for the altar boy look during his trial.             

The story came out that on July 23 Crimmins got high at work. Booze and pot left him in a staggering state as he wandered around the back corridors of Lincoln Center. There he ran into Hagnes and propositioned her. When she blew him off he beat her, tied her up and threw her down the air shaft, where she died. Crimmins was sentenced to 20-years-to-life, making him eligible for parole in 2001 and the "Phantom of the Opera" story died.           

The description by Assistant District Attorney Roger S. Hayes during his opening statement to the jury in State Supreme Court provided the first official details of what Crimmins is said to have confessed to the police prior to his formal booking on the morning of Aug. 30. All along, the defense lawyers have contended that detectives used ''psychological threats'' to force their client to make the incriminating statements.

According to the Hayes reconstruction of the killing, on the evening of July 23, Hagnes left the orchestra pit around 9:30 P.M. and was to be free until 10:19 P.M. ''She left telling a friend that she was going to try to speak to Mr. Valery Panov about arranging a meeting with her husband,'' he said. Panov, the Russian emigre choreographer and dancer, was the guest star of the show. Hagnes's husband, Janis Mintiks, is a sculptor who later sued the Met (link below). When Hagnes entered a backstage elevator, No. 12, Hayes said, ''the defendant also got on it with her, as did a third person, Laura Cutler.''        

Cutler is an American dancer in the company of the Berlin troupe. Hayes said that the violinist asked Cutler, ''Where is Mr. Panov's dressing room?'' and that Crimmins answered, ''on three.'' At first the elevator went down to C-level, the last of 10 floors in the opera house, the prosecutor said, and there  Cutler left Crimmins and Hagnes in the elevator. The trial got bizarre as Cutler was hypnotized to aid her memory (link below).     

The jurors rejected the defense argument that Manhattan detectives had pressured Crimmins into falsely admitting he was guilty of the crime. He was sentenced to 20 years to life.        

During the trial, Ida Libby Dengrove, a New York courtroom artist, made sketches of the people involved in the trial. Her pictorial reportage won two Emmy awards, one for the "Murder at the Met" trial (1980-81) of Craig S. Crimmins, the stagehand convicted of slaying Helen Hagnes Mintiks.    

Helen Hagnes Mintiks 

Crimmins was denied parole twice and is in the Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn, New York, with his next parole hearing scheduled for November.       

"I'm sincerely sorry for what I've done, and I wish I could take it back," he said at his last hearing, in 2002. He said nothing about his confession having been coerced, according too transcript of the hearing. "I was drank," he said. "She slapped me in the face and kneed me is the groin, and I don't know, something snapped in my brain." He maintained that he had "tried to leave her" on the roof, but "she kept jumping up and down" until he gave her "one kick" and she "just slipped, rolled right in" in the shaft. "If you feel that I ain't been in prison long enough and hit me, aube is," Crimmins said.          

So it was. Noting also that he used heroin in 2001, the parole commissioners said, "Releasing you to the community would make a mockery of the criminal justice system."      

Helen Hagnes grew up on a farm in Canada, learned to love the violin, and her parents could see that she had a gift for the notoriously difficult instrument. As Hagnes practiced, she saw herself playing at a huge opera house. The violin would take her away from beautiful yet parochial Canada.      

Hagnes earned a scholarship to North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated in 1973. She is now listed on the university’s website as one of their missing alumni. After graduating there, Hagnes went on to Europe and studied under master violinists in Switzerland and Italy. She moved back to America and married. She and her sculptor husband settled in New York City. Here her dream of playing classical music professionally came true: she earned a violin seat in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra pit.              
There was a book written about the event by David Black. Entitled, Murder at the Met, it is based on the exclusive accounts of Detectives Mike Struk and Jerry Giorgio of how they solved the "Phantom of the Opera" Case. It was Published in 1984 by Dial Press in Garden City, New York.        
Murder at the Met, by David Black
Viewfinder links:     
Music & Mayhem                  
Arthur Fiedler       
Net links:     
The Washington Post ~ Death Of a Violinist              
The Washington Post ~ The Berlin Ballet's Enigmatic Idiot         
NY Times ~ Confession details of Opera Murder trial      
NY Times ~ Testimony of a Hypnotized Dancer        
NY Times ~ Ida Libby Dengrove obit        
Murderpedia ~ "The Phantom of the Opera"         
UPI ~ Craig Crimmins: Stagehand convicted of murder       
Ida Libby Dengrove ~ Courtroom Sketches: Murder at the Met
Mintiks v. Metro. Opera     
The Metropolitan Opera ~ Death, Murder & Tear Gas         
YouTube link:    
The Murder of Helen Mintiks       
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Styrous® ~ Sunday, November 26, 2017