Mike Olszewski Posts
Ever think we’d see the end of radio? Many of us remember when radio personalities were as important as the artists they played, and competition between stations raised the bar on creative programming.
Consolidation, cable TV and the internet all played a role in the diminished importance of over-the-air programming. There’s still great radio, much of it on satellite or online, but let’s not forget the folks who made radio great.
Why isn’t there a legitimate statewide broadcasters hall of fame? A lot of major names have worked here in radio and TV. Jack Paar, Soupy Sales, Casey Kasem, Nancy Dickerson and Alan Freed, to name just a few, went on from Cleveland media to national prominence. Even more stayed here. We should preserve their legacy and their important part of our media history. It’s time for that hall of fame.
There were a couple at one time in Northeast Ohio, but they didn’t last. Maybe it’s time for a respected institution like the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, or an independent panel of historians, academic types and broadcast professionals to establish a real hall of fame that’s aimed at documenting these important accomplishments in a serious and, most importantly, impartial manner.
Let’s also preserve the artifacts, audiotape and videotape that still exist for future generations. The banner welcoming the Beatles to Cleveland in 1964 is sitting in a basement. Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson’s personal effects were auctioned off on eBay. Tapes and other memorabilia often find their way to the curbside when estates are left behind. Libraries could be great repositories. Like the idea? Let me know. The email is listed below.
Whatever happened to movie palaces?
I remember when the really big first-run films would open first downtown. I saw “The Sound of Music” at the Palace Theatre at a weekday matinee....
Pop Culture Chronicles
Opening Day, Drive-Up Restaurants and … Wizard World?
We’re finally shaking off Old Man Winter. When the Indians’ equipment trucks head West, you know more daylight, warmer weather and the opening of drive-up restaurants are right around the corner.
For my wife and me, it’s pop culture convention season. Now let me make this clear. We stand in line for tickets just like everyone else, but we stand in a lot of lines because there are so many of them. Most are just an hour or two away, and most have a Cleveland connection.
The Wizard World show at the Cleveland Convention Center in March is huge, and there’s always plenty of star power. There’s Wizard World Columbus in June, and both shows are similar to the San Diego Comic-Con International.
What started out as comic book conventions are now about TV shows, pro wrestling, movies and more. You see Lou Ferrigno, the guy who played the Incredible Hulk, at a lot of these. He used to live in Columbus and he visits friends when he travels to Ohio.
Which brings us to movies. Last issue I mentioned Cinevent 50 in Columbus, and I got a couple of emails asking what it was about. It’s one of the oldest film conventions in the country, an annual event that marks 50 years this Memorial Day weekend. Morrie Everett from Cleveland sets up his movie poster auction there that brings people in from around the world.
Just over the state line in Mars, Pennsylvania, is Monster Bash. There are two of them, one in June and one in October.
I’ve said before that so many Clevelanders show up there you think Mars is in Northeast Ohio. Promoter Ron Adams convinced Joe Flaherty from the old SCTV show to make an appearance in October....
Boom! Pop Culture Chronicles
So, here we are, a new year and the usual list of resolutions that didn’t last a week. I have noticed changes in our generation that may not be evident and are happening before our very eyes. We are uncluttering our lives. We’re getting rid of stuff.
Steve Madonna is a big-time Beatles collector. He’s a local guy who travels the world finding rare John, Paul, George and Ringo memorabilia. Liverpool, New York, anywhere.
Steve said we are the last generation of collectors. Younger people have access to what they need on their phones, and many don’t see the value in a lot of the stuff we see as important.
What happens to our collections when we say our last goodbye? Something you worked your whole life on could end up in a garage sale or on the curb. If your family isn’t interested, they’ll get rid of it in the most efficient way possible. Pez dispensers, Precious Moments figurines and Beanie Babies beware.
There are plenty of folks who are already leaving collections behind. George Shuba is Cleveland’s first rock and roll photographer and has thousands of negatives on the block. He also knows what they are worth, but for the right price, you can buy a photography gold mine.
I saw it at the Cinevent movie convention, too. Every Memorial Day weekend, movie fans from around the country head to Columbus for one of the oldest conventions of its kind anywhere. You see a lot of the same dealers, and I noticed one had a lot of new stuff. He’s been around for a while, and when I asked where all the extra films and programs came from, he gave me an interesting answer: “I’ve enjoyed them for a long time, and it’s time for someone else to enjoy them....
Pop Culture Chronicles
You don’t spell success with dollar signs.
What does success mean to you? Look, I don’t try to write about sports. There are plenty of people who know a lot more about sports than me. At least they think they do and I don’t feel like arguing about it.
I want the home teams to win, and after that I watch the World Series or Super Bowl and chant “Wait ’til next year” like a mantra. Have to say I was really proud of the Indians this season. When I was growing up we used to say, “Go Tribe — and take the Cavs with you!”
The Browns were always hot, but at one point the Indians were selling players to make payroll. You went to an Indians game to see some of the greats playing on the other team.
For the past few years you saw the excitement and civic pride grow with each Tribe and Cavs season. Now, about the Browns. Close your eyes, sit in a lotus position and repeat after me: “Wait ’til next year. Wait ’til next year.”
Here’s what I’m getting at. We all have our own concept of success, but that should include celebrating every victory no matter how small it seems. Did you win the office pool? Maybe you got a prime parking space. How about if someone really liked a gift you got them? What if you were just proven right about something?
Another thing: You might be retired, your kids might be grown up, and you sit around in sweatpants all day. The only time you put on regular clothes is to go to funerals for people who exercised.
Now is the time to try something new, maybe something you always wanted to do. I used to work with Ben Holbert over at Channels 19 and 43....