Baker’s Dozen: Most Insightful Stories of 2014

Baker’s Dozen: Most Insightful Stories of 2014

I have not done a considerable amount of writing in 2014 (21 blogs to be exact) for me to pleased about. Life does get in the way. It was a good and bad thing. The good is that I’m not using my laptop excessively. The bad is that I missed some opportunities to write about something.

My goal for 2015 is to write more. That’s a personal goal of mine, and I hope none of it is about Skip Bayless.

I didn’t have the desire to write about all of the stories that took place in 2014. Social media has a large role in my decision. It is hard, at times, to have a voice, ask questions that no one else will ask, offer a perspective laced with facts and experience, only for it to fall into the “noise” machine.

Trust me when I say this: I’m not alone with that sentiment.

As I start re-focusing my priority to this blog , I have a Baker’s dozen list of selected long-reads (columns, articles, or stories) that I have archived throughout 2014. Regardless if I agreed or disagreed with what was written, these pieces gave me insight into topics and perspectives that I wanted to know more about.

The format is set up in this manner: a synopsis of each story and a quote from the pieces are in bold italic.

Without further ado…

Bruce_Braley_photo
Bruce Braley is a nice guy, but he’s no Tom Harkin, and that’s why he lost, according to Michael Gartner.

1. Michael Gartner held nothing back in his weekly commentary in Cityview’s “Civic Skinny” column about the Iowa U.S. Senate race between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst. Gartner, a staunch Democrat, didn’t resort to blaming Ernst for Braley losing, like many liberals did. He blames Bruce Braley for losing the race himself. “…while Harkin was disciplined, Braley went off on his “merry way”. And unfortunately for Democrats, that “merry way” led back to Waterloo.”

2a. Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny (Salon) with a strong piece on  the day when Jon Stewart “quit” and The Daily Show became irrelevant when it comes to activism. “Real activism doesn’t work that way. You can’t appoint a progressive messiah and listen to him snipe through your flat screen and expect for things to magically get better.”

2b. If that didn’t help Stewart, his comments on Election Day, didn’t do him justice either, according to Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post. “While there’s no denying that a surge of support for Republicans was going to make this a nasty election for liberals like Stewart, his viewers are part of the problem. We’re talking about young voters, who sat out the election and helped cost Democrats votes.”

Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

3. Rachel Jones of Voice of America remembering the late great Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Bradlee was larger than life, but as Jones wrote, Bradlee used his authority and power to empower and take Jones under his wing at the Post. “There is a magic that is potent beyond human understanding when someone in a position of power extends him or herself on your behalf, based on nothing more that a belief in your potential…And that moment when Ben Bradlee took the time to act as my personal career counselor sealed my fate.”

4. Rob Havilla of The Concourse with a great long read about Craig Ferguson‘s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” and why the show and Ferguson was a perfect match. “He (Ferguson) has a very silly but somehow also calm, comforting, genuine-feeling rapport with a very specific genus of up-and-coming actress; some may outgrow him, fame-wise (think Anna Kendrick, maybe), but many refuse to abandon him.”

BenMilne_headshot
The startup community in Des Moines continues to push boundaries and evolve, thanks to those like Ben Milne and Dwolla, Geoff Wood, and many others. Expect that to continue in 2015.

 

5. Dwolla’s Ben Milne on being an entrepreneur and the emotional toll of being away from home while building a  startup and a dream. “It’s time for me to go home & that’s ok. When it’s time for you to go home… Don’t lie to yourself and convince yourself it’s not ok.”

6. Credit to SI’s Richard Deitsch for this story by N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times. A man faces his phobia of water and makes “the leap” into the pool to conquer it.   A lesson about how we have to work on conquering our fears, be it big or small.

7. Blogger Batty Mamzelle took issue with feminists who use racism when their efforts to slut-shame women and other feminists (notably Beyonce and Nicki Minaj) falls flat. “…our feminisms will differ depending on our intersections, and that’s okay. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that different women have different needs. But the constant gatekeeping of mainstream feminism reveals the deeply entrenched racism within the movement.”

8. David Carr, the stellar media reporter, for the New York Times, on how the Washington media whiffed on Congressman Eric Cantor’s loss and their propensity to be blinded by all things in the beltway.

9. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic writes about a personal pet peeve of mine: people who say they want hard news, but really don’t. “Ask audiences what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy…Audiences are liars, and the media organizations who listen to them without measuring them are dupes.”

10. Carl E. Esbeck writes an opinion for Christianity Today on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing prayer in public meetings, based on the case of Town of Greece vs. Galloway. Esbeck said that while most evangelicals call it a victory, he cautions that not all Christians are exuberant about the ruling, because it’ll open a door to a lot more trouble. “Already this is occurring in the Town of Greece, where a Wiccan priestess has offered up prayers to Athena and Apollo. An atheist has also petitioned, by appealing to “inclusion,” that she be allowed to take a turn at rendering the invocation. She did so, not because she wanted to pray, to protest the city policy by rendering it absurd. The Supreme Court’s ruling means we will be seeing more of this mischief.”

Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn't fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.
Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn’t fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.

11. This column is from 2013, but it is so good, everyone should read it. Former child actress Mara Wilson (“Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Matilda”) pens a guest column for Cracked of her experience of being a child star and her perspective on how child stars go crazy and self-destruct. “Years of adulation and money and things quickly become normal, and then, just as they get used to it all, they hit puberty — which is a serious job hazard when your job is being cute.”

12. The Daily Beast’s David Freelander on the growing rift between Democrats and EMILY, an organization that supports female candidates that are pro-choice. Most liberals are claiming that EMILY is on the wrong side of the political divide. ““I think EMILY’s List has really lost their way,”…“Here in Hawaii they seem to not understand the politics. Brian Schatz has been a 100 percent down the line supporter of women’s issues. I understand their rule is that they only endorse women, but they don’t have to endorse at all when they have a champion running who is a man.””

The New Republic 's owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR's writers leaving en masse.
The New Republic ‘s owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR’s writers leaving en masse.

13. Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker on the epic downfall of The New Republic, which is one of the best I’ve read this year. “(Franklin) Foer wanted to hire someone with a strong background in magazine publishing, but (Chris) Hughes overruled him, selecting Guy Vidra for the job. In a press release announcing that he’d been hired, Vidra described T.N.R. as a “storied brand,” a corporate phrase that rankled some writers there. The release made no mention of Foer and suggested that Vidra now had editorial control of the magazine.”

That’s a lot of stories to cover. There are a few more, but I’ll stop here.

The takeaway is that it we think we know the story, but we really don’t, until the entire story is told.

Four Days in November: 50 Years Revisited

The coffin of President John F. Kennedy lying in repose in the East Room of the White House. (Abbie Rowe, National Park Service, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Twenty-five years ago this week, being the perfectionist 12-year old kid that I was, I checked the VCR to make sure it was set to record at approximately 8:00 pm Central Standard Time. I knew what I was going to record was going to be a keepsake for archival matter.

Last night, I pulled out that videotape and watched it again. No damage and no wear and tear affected it. It was still in great condition. The program I taped still captivated me as it did on that week in 1988.

The title of the show was “Four Days in November: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.” It was produced and aired on CBS and hosted by Dan Rather. It is posted below, in its entirety.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s an eerie feeling to say that because the assassination took place on a Friday, November 22, 1963.

Today is Friday, November 22, 2013. The same day…50 years later.

Four Days in November…permanently cemented into American history.

That weekend, Iowa was to host Notre Dame while ISU and Drake was slated to play each other. Thanksgiving was a week away. It was an ordinary day, that 22nd day of November, until 12:30 pm Central time.

What was to be another weekend to many became a blur, a nightmare, a roller coaster of disbelief, shock, sadness, and bewilderment.

David Brinkley said it best in his commentary: “It was too much, too ugly, and too fast.”

The evening headline in the Des Moines Tribune from November 22, 1963.
The evening headline in the Des Moines Tribune from November 22, 1963.

There have been three Presidents assassinated before JFK: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, and William McKinley. All three were within a 36-year span (1865-1901). Each one shocking, and terrifying, but this one, Kennedy, impacted this nation like no other. Why? Television and radio.

These days, we take television for granted. It’s available where ever we go. Social media gives us the news immediately, good or bad.  It wasn’t like that in 1963. Television showed its power on November 22, 1963. Three networks. That’s all it took.

CBS stayed on the air for 56 hours, with no commercials, which was unprecedented at that time. Walter Cronkite, Rather, Harry Reasoner, Mike Wallace, to name a few spearheaded the CBS coverage. NBC was led by Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Edwin Newman, Frank McGee, and Bill Ryan. Ed Silverman, Don Goddard, and Ron Cochron handled the ABC coverage..

There were no hyperbole, fluff, hype, or any of the things we see today when a breaking story is being reported. Legendary broadcasters like Brinkley, Huntley, and Cronkite reported the story, gave you the facts, and offer sane and intelligent perspective. It was simple and professional. There was a duty to inform the public of what was taking place.

We were seeing history.

If you permit me, I have several thoughts as I re-watched the CBS special:

  • As the news broke of the assassination, the reporters kept their composure despite their shock. Cronkite’s pause when he read the official announcement spoke volumes.
  • CBS was the first television network to break in with a news bulletin at 12:40pm CST. ABC and NBC followed minutes later. Chaos ensued in the newsrooms as everyone was scrambling to get on air. People were running in and out of the studios gathering as much information from Dallas as possible.
  • As David Brinkley pointed out in his commentary, everything was going too fast for everyone. Within five hours after the assassination, JFK’s body, Jackie Kennedy, LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson were all back in Washington. Lee Harvey Oswald was captured in a movie theater, arrested for the slaying of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit shortly after Kennedy was cut down. Before the night was over, Oswald would be charged with Kennedy’s death.

Then came Sunday. As Kennedy was lying in repose at the U.S. Capitol, Oswald himself is shot and killed by Jack Ruby. America was now in a state of bewilderment.  “This can’t be happening, is it?” 

  • The most powerful images, to me, was the public viewing at the Capitol and the funeral. A nation in mourning, as a riderless horse lead the flag-draped coffin of Kennedy, carried on a caisson solemnly heading towards Arlington National Cemetery. The band playing “Eternal Father Strong to Save” (Navy Hymn) and Chopin’s “Funeral March” in the background, as masses of people lined the streets, silent and somber, waiting to pay their final respects to a President, so vibrant and energetic.
  • Commentaries were devoid of political rhetoric and personal agendas. Yes, there were questions about why, what, and how did this happen, but the focus was to offer a freshly shocked nation words of understanding and reflection, like the one Edwin Newman provided. Those words, including those of Brinkley earlier and later on with Frank McGee were eloquent without contempt, poignant without malice.They are the words that can be applied to today’s world, just as they were echoed 50 years ago today.

We were witness to tragedy. We were witness to history.

Along with the CBS special, I strongly recommend another one, also titled “Four Days in November” done by accomplished producer David L. Wolper, of “Welcome Back Kotter” fame. Wolper did 3 films chronicling Kennedy which are top-notch and outstanding. This one is no different.

Dan Rather commented early on in the CBS special: “We make no comment on the past, we only bring it back.”  Rather and CBS felt the visual images were more powerful than words can describe.

He is right.

In closing, Frank McGee and Edwin Newman summed up this day 50 years ago. This dark grim chapter in our nation’s history. The “Four Days in November” America will always remember.

Playbook: Lessons From John Madden

John Madden

I am currently reading “Madden:  A Biography” by St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist and HBO “Real Sports” contributor Bryan Burwell about NFL Hall of Fame  (HOF) coach and television analyst John Madden.   

Believe it or not, Madden’s great-grandfather moved from Pennsylvania to Iowa in the 1800’s, settling outside of Eldora.  One of his childhood friends is former USC and Los Angeles (St. Louis) Rams coach John Robinson. 

Madden is more than a great coach, commentator, and the name behind one of the best-selling video game franchises ever. 

John Madden to me, is one of the most creative leaders in sports history.  Beyond the big goof and “rumblin’ stumblin'” persona, Madden’s love of sports growing up helped him become one of the best coaches in football.  

Madden during his tenure as Raiders coach. I’m digging those sansabelt slacks from the ’70s.

There are several points and moves Madden made during his playing, coaching, and television career that made him, in my opinion, a creative and innovative mind. 

– Player’s coach:  the 1960’s brought a seismic shift of societal attitudes, specifically in the NFL.  John Madden brought a new philosophy of coaching that was in contrast to the buttoned-down conservative task-mastering of Vince Lombardi and George Halas.  Madden had three rules for his players:  

“Be on time.”

“Pay attention.”

“Play like hell when I tell you to.”   

Three simple rules, but it signaled a change in the locker room and how coaches and players interacted.  Madden didn’t scream at his players or demean them like an army general.  Former Raider Monte Johnson added another line that his coach told his players:  “I am interested in what you do Monday through Friday.  But I care greatly about what you do on Sunday.”  Madden was always interested in what his players did after practice (most of it was wild and crazy), and what they thought about topics and families. 

Madden had the foresight to understand that his players had lives away from the practice field and were adults.  So whatever they did during the week was fine, but as long as they showed up and performed on Sunday, that was important to him. 

One of John Madden’s requirements when he agreed to launch the Madden video games was that the video game had to resemble the actual game to the smallest detail.

Know what everyone’s job is:  When he sustained a knee injury that ultimately ended his playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Madden would finish rehab in the mornings and head into the bowels of old Franklin Field and watch game film with another Hall of Famer, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.  Van Brocklin was the first to open Madden’s eyes to understanding how the play developed, as well as knowing what every single player’s responsibility was on the play. 

It fueled Madden’s passion for pro football in a way that helped him in the next chapter of his life:  coaching. 

Managing “Renegades”:  Madden was never a fan of conformity, but as a coach, he had to manage a team full of non-conformists that all bought into playing as a team.  Pat Toomay recalled how Madden had to handle John Matuszak, who was from time to time out of control.  Contrary to public perception, yes the Raiders played aggressively, crossed the line of “dirty play” occasionally, but consider this:  in 5 of the 10 years Madden was coach, the Raiders were one the least-penalized teams in the league.  That is attributed to the rules that were in place at that time in the NFL. 

Today, no team wouldn’t be able to get away with what they did over 40 years ago.

The greatness of the Raiders during Madden’s tenure.

Secondly, Madden preached repetition during practice.  Despite his sometime disheveled appearance, Madden was a perfectionist.  The team would run a play over and over in practice until every player knew what they were doing. 

-“Do your homework”:  After retiring as Raiders coach, Madden was approached by CBS to be a color analyst for their NFL games.  Madden noticed that CBS had a lackadaisical approach and attitude when it came to covering and broadcasting NFL games.  With the arrival and help of a new producer, Terry O’Neil, Madden and O’Neil changed how CBS broadcasted the games.  Today, all announcers, analysts, producers, and the entire game crew would spend the entire week watching game film, learning and understanding the “game” so it wouldn’t be foreign to them.  

Madden strongly felt that viewers wanted to see the game, not “entertainment”. Being a football man, he demanded that the television crew that was assigned to work with Summerall and him learn what plays were being run, what the defensive scheme is, and what to expect on the next play.   

Below is the first game that John Madden and Pat Summerall called on CBS.  (Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay, Week 13, 1979)

Madden bringing his coaching instincts to television rubbed off on Pat Summerall.  Summerall and the late Tom Brookshier would go out on a Saturday night, get ripped, head to the broadcast booth on Sunday, and call the game while drinking cocktails.  When O’Neil confronted Summerall and told him that his party days were over and his new partner was going to be different from Brookshier, Summerall wised up. 

Strengths and weaknesses:  Before the pairing of Pat and John, Madden was originally paired with Vin Scully (yes, Scully called NFL games for a while).  Madden realized quickly that Scully was great, but Scully was a baseball guy at heart.  Madden was a football guy.  The marriage, long-term, wasn’t going to work.  O’Neil knew this as well, but from the viewpoint of announcing styles.  Scully’s a wordsmith, Summerall’s a minimalist.  Pat could summarize a play in a few words and John could explain the play in detail. 

Plainly speaking, Madden believed that everyone who is working a football game should be focused on the the sport they are covering most of the time.  To John, it was football.  To Vin, it was baseball. 

The old #1 CBS NFL announcing team, Tom Brookshier (left) and Pat Summerall. Brookshier would be replaced with John Madden.

Right place, right time:  One day in 1966, a NFL executive visited San Diego State University to watch a practice.  Madden was a defensive coach for the Aztecs.  He was working on a defensive scheme to stop South Dakota State’s “wing-T” offense.  Madden was so excited about what he figured out, when the executive walked over, the burly red-headed assistant coach showed him.  The executive was not only impressed, but he added a suggestion to add to the scheme. 

Several days later, the Aztecs defeated the Jackrabbits. 

The executive:  Al Davis

A year later, Davis hires Madden as an assistant.  The following year, Madden becomes Head Coach.

There are several more takeaways about how John Madden’s life and career is a playbook for leadership, creativity, and being prepared, but I highlighted the key points about why Madden has left an indelible mark on pro football and away from the field.

The Greatest One Hour of the Year

Need I say more? 

In case if you were unaware, there are lyrics (yes lyrics!) to the CBS College Basketball theme.  Sing-a-long with the older version of CBS’ theme. 

Come on and watch some basketball,

you’ll watch it all… day… long…

Come on and watch some basketball,

til’ your pool sheet is done! ..

Come on and watch some basketball,

it’s got it all…Tour-na-ment Madness …

Throw in a few parlays, Gambling is fun!…

Walton and Wooden own the court,

don’t try them out… you’ll….lose…

Packer and Nantz call all the games,

just watch… Billy be wrong…

Come on and watch some basketball,

your wife is mad… send..her out shopping…

Coach K is gay… Duke really sucks!

The Caddy Speaks

Caddy Steve Williams (left) is the latest to get clipped by Tiger Woods and his cabal.

After 12 years of caddying for one Tiger Woods, Steve Williams finally speaks. 

And everyone has a problem about it. 

Not me.  In fact, anyone who feels Williams should keep quiet and do his job is denying something that they have longed for:  to hear what’s it like to caddy for Tiger and how Tiger operates.  Who in the right mind don’t want to hear what Tiger’s self-appointed gallery goon have to say about his tenure with Woods, how he got clipped (fired), and is now picking up the bag for Adam Scott

Was it in poor taste to gloat after Scott’s win at Firestone on Sunday?  Yes and no.  Yes, because it took some attention away from Scott.  But let’s stop lying to ourselves.  You know you wanted to hear from Williams.  If no one wanted to hear from Williams, then why did CBS stick a microphone in his face?  That’s not his fault that he was asked for his comments.  CBS was giving you what you wanted. 

Plus, all we cared about as sports fans is Tiger vs. Stevie.  Yeah, Adam Scott won.  Charl Schwartzel and Rory McIlroy won The Masters and the U.S. Open respectively.  They’re not Tiger Woods, and he’s all that matters to most sports fans. 

Sorry, Adam, you’re not the big story in the golf world.  Sorry, sports fans, you know Adam should be the story, but you know better, against your own better judgment. 

I have to disagree with one of my favorite guys, Fox Sports writer (and former Des Moines Register reporter) Bill Reiter.  Williams is no idiot.  If he was an idiot, then how did he have a major part in Tiger winning 13 majors (yes, he did have a hand in those.  Without Williams, how many would Tiger win on his own?)  At this rate, Tiger has divorced (or fired) everyone who had a major part in his success

And mind you, Williams is highly regarded on the tour as one of the best caddies in the game, with and without Tiger.

He knows his stuff. 

Caddies are not idiots.  They have to be the smartest guys on the course.  They are the ones who walk the course, take notes, and get a feel of the course days, and even hours, before the golfers arrive to practice.  Caddies don’t just carry a golf bag.  Ask Bones McKay how many times he’s tried to tell Phil Mickelson how to play a hole and Phil does stuff like this…

and this…

Honestly, I like the fact that Williams is talking.  Spending 12 years being a caddy for someone like Tiger had to be an experience…with a gag order.  No wonder why Fluff Cowan didn’t last long carrying Woods’ bag.  He was a popular caddy and loved to talk.  Tiger doesn’t like to talk.  Nor does he like it when cameras go off during his backswing. 

Now that he’s freed from Team Tiger, he has a lot to get off his chest.  At least he’s talking.  He could have been pummeling a camera guy on the 16th hole and throw his camera into the pond. 

Admit it folks, you do want to hear the what a former member of Team Tiger have to say about Tiger, how he thinks, how he practices, and how he operates.  

That includes a caddy that you would prefer to keep quiet.  

Good luck with that.   

Sports and News Links – July 7, 2011

After 43 years and tape delay dissing by NBC, Wimbledon's new doubles partner will be ESPN.

It has been awhile since I done some scouring the web to find some stories that are interesting and worth checking out.  Then again, as busy as I have been over the past two weeks, I haven’t been able post regularly as I would like to.

Let’s get to the business.

The dominoes continue to fall for NBC.  As they keep patting themselves on the back for retaining the rights to the Olympics, Wimbledon dropped the bomb and announced that they have signed ESPN to a 12-year deal to broadcast all of the matches…live…from the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.  NBC’s penchant to continue tape-delaying sporting events may work well for the London Games next year, but it’s killing them in everything else.

Will Lyles is talking and Oregon may have some issues, unless his accusations doesn't hold water.

The Big Lead and Sports by Brooks thinks that Oregon could be the next college school to get tagged for violations.  Suspected street-agent Will Lyles is admitting that he was steering high-profile prep recruits to Oregon and that he was paid $25,000.  The fact that Oregon and Kelly has yet to come out to rebut Lyles’ story could loom large over the land of the Ducks.

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that one of my favorite sports radio host, Ben Maller (@benmaller), have looked like he lost a few pounds every time I watched the online stream to his weekend show. I was right.  Big Ben writes to The Post Game about how he lost 200 pounds. It’s called making small lifestyle changes.  No magic pill, no special diet. 

This was the Ben Maller listeners know. Wait until you see the new Ben.

Has the NFL lockout taught current players how to manage (and save) their money?  Do they even care?  Will it finally get NBA players to do the same?  Black Sports Online delves into the issue of athletes who go broke after the playing days are done or a lockout leaves them without a steady paycheck.  Frankly, they should learn a lesson or two from unemployed Americans about saving money and being better managers of their finance. 

Forty years ago this month, Ed Sullivan hosted his final show on CBS.  For most Gen Xers and nearly all Millenials, they don’t know who Ed Sullivan is and how important he is to television history.  Sullivan is the original “American Idol” and Gerald Nachman writes a nostalgic commentary for the Los Angeles Times about Sullivan. 

I want to close with the two most indelible themes that was Wimbledon on NBC.  The first one is the 1991 Wimbledon opening.  This theme to me symbolizes England and tennis on Centre Court.  The second clip is the closing from the 2001 Wimbledon.  The title of this is “World Champion” by Keith Mansfield

That’s it for today.   

Daytime Memories Part I

Do you remember this character? How about the show she was on? Its time to jump in the time machine and take a look back at this show.

Earlier on Monday, I hammered out some thoughts about the pending end of daytime soap operas on television.  As you could probably tell (or not), I have a soft spot for these shows.  I spent a good part of my summers as a kid glued in front of the television.  I remember some of the story plot lines and characters, but the opening themes of each show is what got my attention every day. 

Who doesn’t forget the piano striking the eight most recognizable notes in television?  Or this 3 measure “tick-tock” one? 

I’m fascinated with television history and how it is a daily part of our lives.  We referenced it, talk about what we saw or heard, how it affects us, and our emotions towards it when it ends or changes. 

So, rather than write about it, we’re going to watch some stuff after the jump, starting with the first standard opening of “All My Children” from 1970. 

This was the original opening of AMC.  Notice that musical arrangement was different than the one that everyone remembers from the mid-70’s until around 1990. 

This is the version I grew up with.  Simple and clean. 

Around 1990, AMC changed the opening to show a photo shots of the characters, ending with Susan Lucci to close out the piece.  This was another favorite opening of mine.  There is an updated version, but I’ll let you look it up, as I have some more stuff to show you. 

“One Life to Live” was my favorite soap opera.  The story centered around the Buchanan and Lord families, namely Viki Lord Buchanan and Dorian Lord.  Here is a collage of the opening standards during the show’s long history. 

The second and third opening standards (the sun rising and the character montage) stood out in the viewers minds during between 1975 through 1991..  The vocals for the 3rd version (’84-’91) was done by Peabo Bryson, a best-selling R&B singer. 

OLTL lyrics sung by Peabo Bryson

We head over to NBC for this next one.  Search for Tomorrow originally began on CBS and then was picked up by NBC for it’s latter run until ending in 1986. 

This was the 2nd opening of SFT.  This theme was used from 1974 until 1981, when a more cool jazz-like version replaced it.

Another NBC staple was “Another World” that had a long run on the Peacock Network from 1964 to 1999.  The show mainly centered around exploits of Rachel Cory and her family. 

This opening ran from 1974 until 1981.  In late 1963, the creators of the show wanted to begin the series with a funeral.  So the creators had a meeting to discuss it.  The day that the meeting took place was November 22, 1963. 

The day that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.   

From 1981 to 1987, this was the third opening (and a favorite).  The last AW opening is the next one they used in 1987.  This one had lyrics sung.

I’m going to stop here for now.  There are a few more clips to gather and show later on this week hopefully. 

I hoped you enjoy traveling down memory lane.