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
Bat Out of Hell
The Cleveland Connection
By Mike Olszewski
Boomers are big on anniversaries, and I’ll get to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in a bit, but let’s look at another landmark album that turns 40 in October.
Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” sold 43 million copies on Cleveland International Records, the brainchild of the late, great Steve Popovich.
Popovich worked at Columbia/Epic and eventually started Cleveland International. I say this with the greatest respect, but sometimes he looked like he slept in his clothes.
Then you went into his office and there are the photos with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and on and on. Popovich told Columbia Records to sign Michael Jackson as a solo artist, and there was a photo with him, too.
He insisted that my wife, Janice, and I come out to see this 9-year-old kid singer he was promoting; it was Hunter Hayes. This guy had a Midas touch and was generous to a fault.
There was an ethnic bar on the west side that was famous for its fish fries. A bunch of us, eight or nine radio and record people, were knocking back beers and eating like kings when the door opens and it’s Steve. He came in for take-out, and while he was waiting he sat with us.
When his dinner came he looked at me and said, “Michael, ask me how’s business.”
All right, I’ll bite. “How’s business Steve?”
He picked up the whole table’s tab and wrote “business conference” on the receipt — the most expensive fish fry he ever bought.
He knew rock ’n’ roll, but he loved polkas. Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople (“Cleveland Rocks”) was on his label and was sitting in his office one day....
Pop Culture Chronicles
What Happened to Summer Jobs?
Years ago when spring rolled around, you started thinking about landing a summer job.
Those also were the days before we paid for TV, radio, tap water in plastic bottles and when I didn’t have to take out a loan to see a first run movie. I joked once that someone is going to figure out a way to pay for air, and then I pulled into a gas station, where you’re paying to fill your tires.
To be fair, a lot of jobs for young folks no longer exist. Look at theaters. You had a movie house that hired ushers, and the kids’ matinee on Saturdays was a nightmare. Then automation moved in and projectionists were eliminated. We have 10 screens in one location, and the person selling tickets runs to the candy counter to hawk overpriced candy and popcorn out of big clear garbage bags with some kind of oil instead of butter. Don’t think for a minute that most people don’t hit a discount store first for snacks to sneak in. My wife and I went to a movie a while back, and a guy was eating a sub sandwich as long as his arm.
Before gas stations became supermarkets and beer gardens, you could find work pumping gas, cleaning windshields, and checking water and oil. Pay at the pump meant you handed the cash through the window and maybe tip the attendant. Now I do all the work, and I feel like I should tip myself.
Newspapers and Fast Food
If you were ambitious you might get a paper route. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Press, Akron Beacon Journal and all newspapers had carriers who would put your paper inside your door so it didn’t get wet....