Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, the first black player on the Boston Red Sox, has died. He was 85. Green played parts of four seasons with the Red Sox and one with the New York Mets from 1959-63, batting .246 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs. But his place in history was made when he stepped on the field as a pinch-runner against the Chicago White Sox on July 21, 1959. The Red Sox were the last team in the major leagues to field a black player.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of The Twilight Zone’s 1959 debut, the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation presents: SERLING FEST 2019: The TZ @ 60, a three-day celebration in Rod Serling’s adopted hometown of Binghamton, New York on the weekend of October 4-6, 2019.
“Confirmed guests include Rod’s daughter, Anne Serling (author of AS I KNEW HIM: MY DAD, ROD SERLING); Mark Olshaker (co-author of MINDHUNTER, inspiration for the acclaimed Netflix series); Mark Dawidziak (author of EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE); Nicholas Parisi (author of ROD SERLING: HIS LIFE, WORK, AND IMAGINATION); and Martin Grams, Jr. (author of TWILIGHT ZONE: UNLOCKING THE DOOR TO A TELEVISION CLASSIC).
Also attending Serling Fest, “Arlen Schumer (author of VISIONS FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE); Reba Wissner (author of A DIMENSION OF SOUND: MUSIC IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE); Amy Boyle Johnston (author of UNKNOWN SERLING); and Tony Albarella (editor of AS TIMELESS AS INFINITY: THE TWILIGHT ZONE SCRIPTS OF ROD SERLING).
“And appearing live via satellite (Saturday, October 5th), BILL MUMY (star of ‘It’s a Good Life,’ ‘In Praise of Pip,’ ‘Long Distance Call’ and LOST IN SPACE).” I saw It’s a Good Life in the past six months; it’s still startling.
“On Friday, October 4th, the event will be held at various locations in Binghamton – to be announced. On Saturday, October 5th, the event will be at the Broome County Forum Theatre, and on Sunday, October 6th, go to the Helen Foley Theatre at Binghamton High School.
Ah, Binghamton High School, which was Binghamton Central back in my day. And Helen Foley, who was Serling’s drama teacher, was my public speaking teacher. I’m giving serious thought to attending at least part of this.
I seem to recall the ABC show Lawrence Welk on Saturday night at 6 or 6:30; it nationally aired at 9 pm that night.
When I went to college in New Paltz in 1971, most of my classmates were from New York City or Long Island. They were shocked that we in upstate Binghamton did not have the array of television stations they had.
In fact, when WNBF-TV, channel 12, signed-on December 1, 1949 it “carried programs from all four American television networks at the time -CBS, DuMont, NBC, and ABC.
DuMont collapsed in 1956. The first new UHF station arrived in Binghamton on November 1, 1957 with WINR-TV, channel 40, an NBC affiliate. So when I was a kid, Channel 12 had both CBS and ABC shows.
Here are TV listings from Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1959. Left-hand column is WNBF-TV 12, right-hand is WINR-TV 40. The listings start at 6:00 pm and every line usually represents 15 minutes.
Bourbon Street Beat was an ABC show, airing most places on Monday, 8:30-9:30. GE Theater was a CBS show, airing in NYC Sunday a 9 pm. Tightrope was pegged by CBS for Tuesday at 9 pm. At least I’ve Got a Secret was a CBS show on at the right time.
Similar listings of the next day, Thursday, Nov. 12, 1959. (Ch. 12 on left, Ch. 40 on right).
While the Wikipedia said Channel 40 also carried ABC shows, these listings were consistent with the national NBC lineup. Except one: The Lawless Years was bumped for a syndicated show called Colonel Flack.
I seem to recall the ABC show Lawrence Welk on Saturday night at 6 or 6:30; it nationally aired at 9 pm that night. Did Channel 12 record to broadcast a week later? How did this work?
I remember that other ABC shows, Maverick, The Rifleman, Ozzie and Harriet, and 77 Sunset Strip were on when I was a kid. Did they preempt the CBS shows? Were they on in time slots before prime time, or on Saturday or Sunday afternoons? Sports didn’t dominate the schedule then. Or maybe even at 11:30 pm.
I realize this sounds pretty obsessive, and it is. Next time I’m in Binghamton, I want to look at some microfilm showing the rosters of shows on Channel 12 in September 1962, then in November 1962, when WBJA, Channel 34, became the official ABC affiliate. Not incidentally, all of the call letters have changed, some more than once.
Thanks to folks on a couple Facebook lists, especially Keith Nelson, who provided the graphics. I also greatly appreciated the kind words people said about McKinley Green, my grandfather, who was a custodian at WNBF for many years.
We were always getting the Greenes’ mail, and vice versa.
I grew up at 5 Gaines Street in the city of Binghamton, New York in the 1950s and ’60s. It was only a one-block street, yet it was heavily traveled.
Let me describe the odd (south) side of the street when I grew up. At the corner of Front Street was O’Leary’s store. That’s where I would go to buy my father’s Winston cigarettes.
1 Gaines, a gray building, had a couple different families there. The guy at the latter house decided to take down an old tree. My father told the guy that the tree was going to crash into their house. The guy told my dad, essentially, MYOB. My dad was right.
5 Gaines was a small two-family dwelling with green asbestos covering. My parents and I lived upstairs for a time but we moved downstairs before my sister Leslie was born. My father’s parents, McKinley and Agatha, moved upstairs.
11 Gaines was yellow and had a huge lot that included chickens and a pretty large garden. When my sisters and I played in our back yard, our balls, Frisbees, et al inevitably went over the fence and we had to climb it to retrieve our stuff without being caught by their dogs. The Saliby (sp) family lived there. There was a boy named Mike.
13 Gaines was white with green trim and had the Greenes living there. We played with Danny, roughly the age of my younger sister. We were always getting their mail, and vice versa.
We really didn’t see the folks at 15 Gaines. There was a usually abandoned store on the corner of Oak Street.
On the north side, Ryan’s bar was at the corner of Front Street. The factory across the street went through so many owners I no longer remember any specific business. I know my sister Leslie had friends across the street.
Why was the road so busy? Canny’s trucking was on Spring Forest Avenue. The vehicles would turn right on Oak, then left onto Gaines before going left or occasionally right on Front.
I believe some rascally children would hit the trailer part of the vehicles with snowballs each winter. Occasionally, the truck driver would stop, and the kids would scatter.
At work, I’ve got an office for the first time in 12 years. I’ve been in cubicles, and for more than two years in a part of a storage space; long story.
*The only thing on the wall in the latter location was a picture of John Lennon c 1972 which my friend Rocco of FantaCo gave me decades ago.
My wife and my daughter decided to rectify that situation. Most of the items were in the attic, not getting the love they needed.
*The largest item is a print my wife had of Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33 by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Yeah, the guy who invented the telegraph was also an artist.
It appeals to me, a picture of pictures in a picture. But I also appreciate that one can be an artist and an inventor too.
*My friend, the late Raoul Vezina, did a pencil drawing of me as the duck and had it framed. The large word balloon reads “SURPRISE, ROGER!” The thought balloon was of me thinking, “Is it time for Agronsky and Company already?” That referred to a news talk show I watched regularly.
The duck is reading a New York Times Magazine, which featured the actual content of the issue dated Sunday, March 7, 1982, SELF-SEARCHING IN ISRAEL by Michael Elkins. I think Raoul gave it to me the next day. The picture reminds me of Raoul, of course, who died in November 1983, but also FantaCo, and my birthday.
*A little picture of a pear in the foreground. The caption: “‘Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!’ exclaimed Red Ball.” My wife tells me it’s suggestive. Whatever.
In a WTEN (Channel 10, Albany) interview of me before I appeared on JEOPARDY! in 1998, I noted that passing the test doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be on the show. The interviewer said what makes the difference between appearing and not. I said, cheekily, “I don’t know, charisma?” And for about five years after that, one of my work colleagues noted that I had CHARISMA.
*There’s a tiny photo of the top of Binghamton (NY) City Hall, which my friend, and ex-girlfriend, gave me. My hometown.
*The last piece is abstract so difficult to describe. I expect from the color scheme it was from Central America. We got it as a wedding present, I believe.