Another (Omni)bus Is Available

omnibud

What is an “Omnibus” and what is Ron’s like? Is it anything like the Volkswagen minivan of the 1960s and 1970s? Is it a multi-purpose personal transportation and hauling vehicle? (Eg, the family’s main personal carrier in the 2006 film, “Little Miss Sunshine”) Is it like the large yellow school bus that took you to high school? In a word: No.

I first heard the term “Omnibus” when it was used to describe the television show with that title. It ran from 1952-1961. It was, separately, on each of the 3 major networks. The program was described as “The most successful cultural magazine in the history of United States commercial television.” It won a variety of Emmys. In each show, with a running time of an hour or an hour and a half, was featured a wide variety of entertainment. A typical program would draw upon the talents of artists and entertainers like: William Faulkner, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Hart Benton, the comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, the musical duo of Les Paul (inventive guitarist) and Mary Ford (singer), Jacques Cousteau, Leonard Bernstein and orchestra, boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson who demonstrated his footwork extended to tap dancing, and Gene Kelly compared ballet dancers to professional athletes. The type of entertainment went far beyond that seen on The Ed Sullivan Show, a standard of Sunday night television.

SundayMornIn many ways, Omnibus preceded the present day “CBS Sunday Morning.” This show began in 1979 with Charles Kuralt as host. It combines hard news with quality interviews, coverage of the Arts, commentators (eg, Ben Stein, Ferris Bueller’s teacher during his famous Day Off), and a piece on Nature to conclude every Sunday’s 90 minute show. Its POV is unique. At the beginning of one show, it announced the lead story of the day would be a famous death. In the previous week, a notorious serial killed had been executed. It received huge coverage on every network news station. After commercials, Sunday Morning chose to go in a different direction: their story was the official death, that week, of smallpox. In recent weeks, their coverage has included: a photographer friend of Robin Williams who discussed the publication of his book of photos regarding the comedian; James Patterson discussed his publication of a various series of books —cost, length and theme varied; Savion Glover discussed his choreography for Broadway musicals; Rachel Maddow was interviewed on a firing range.

And this leads to my blog. I love baseball —but this is not a baseball only blog. I love movies —but this will not be a movies only blog. I’ll touch on both subjects. But, like the above-mentioned TV shows, there are a wide variety of other stops I’ll make. However, I won’t follow in they footsteps directly. I can’t afford their programing budget. My production budget varies with the amount of change in my pocket.

Earlier this year, I returned to the website of a friend, Marc Kuhn. (Marc’s Blog, located at https://mk4567blog.wordpress.com)  We worked together in college, parted company for a few decades, and rediscovered each other through the magic of the internet. I wrote guest commentator articles (31 of them) for him a year or so ago. Life intruded, my wife and I had serious operations, had additional health concerns as Life reminded us we’re getting better AND older, and our two dogs died.

Recently, I balanced myself in front of a computer and provided his blog with articles on: Ryan Howard’s difficulty knowing when to walk away from baseball; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius in creating “Hamilton;” and the popularity of Tom Hanks. My future efforts, on my blog here, may include: “Pokemon Go in Central Park”; or an article on the Park Bench Plaques there; London’s First Mail; a blog version of the old TV show: Name That Tune; a blog take-off on the NYTimes Book Review; an essay on how my Father was quiet enough to make John Wayne seem seem like chatty Cathy; and a quiz on US Culture, thanks to inspiration from a Time magazine cover story. I hope to “see” you again here. And if you visit our home unannounced, I’m sure a new dog will greet you —properly.

oldbus

*****

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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