Saturday, February 18, 2006

86 years

More from the “Did you know” department…

It became legal for Albuquerque women to vote on February 19, 1920 when New Mexico became the 32nd state to ratify the Suffrage Amendment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ethel doesn’t sleep here anymore

(My working title for this entry was “I Love Ethel,” but that was annoying even to me before the cyberink had begun to dry.)

Okay, so everyone knows that Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz in the "I Love Lucy" television series) got her theatrical start in the Duke City. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she lived in the Huning Highlands Neighborhood for the short time she was in the area. I wonder if you’ll discover anything surprising in the results of my archival research.

Born "Vivian Roberta Jones" in Cherryvale, Kansas on July 26, 1909, Vivian Vance was a founding member of the Albuquerque Little Theater after moving to the Rio Grande valley in 1928 and marrying Joseph Shearer Danneck on October 6th. According to historical documents, the Dannecks resided at 422 Coal Avenue East while Vivian performed at the KiMo Theater, portraying played a vamp in "This Thing Called Love" and a nun in "The Cradle Song."

Although the Dannecks weren’t divorced until April 20, 1931, it appears that Miss Jones was already living by herself at 409 South Arno as early as 1930. Having taken the name "Vance" as suggested by her dramatics teacher, Vivian was a fixture on the Albuquerque stage until she moved to New York in 1932. It seems that Vance also earned a little spending money by working as a saleslady at Rosenwald’s Department Store in 1931.

The Coal Street residence seems to have been demolished, yet the home at 409 Walter Street SE remains intact.

Obviously, Vivian Vance did very well for herself after leaving the region. Vance’s beloved “I Love Lucy” character “Ethel Mertz” did return to Albuquerque during season 4. “Ethel’s Home Town” (episode 113) originally aired on CBS on January 31, 1955. When the Mertzes and Ricardos visit the Duke City during that show, the locals are under the impression that Ethel is on HER way to Hollywood. Hilarity follows. One of the funniest lines is the episode is delivered by Fred Mertz (William Frawley) who declares “She’s big everywhere!”

Vivian died in Belvedere, California on August 17, 1979. As of this writing, there have been no confirmed reports of sightings of Vivian Vance’s ghost anywhere in Albuquerque.

Here’s a photo of an interesting item I discovered on the ground in front of Vance’s house on Arno. I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide if Vivian is trying to tell us anything.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

duke city valentine dining

Just when you think I have a timely post, you discover that I don't.

Did you know that Albuquerque’s old Tic Toc Diner, originally located at 601 Osuna Road NW from about 1947 to 2000, is now located in Lake City, Colorado? Reports indicate that this classic Valentine Diner (serial number 538) is still appreciated by all who visit it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

xxl national sports daily

No doubt about it, getting a call up to the majors is a HUGE deal; even for a photojournalist.

I just found out that I have been selected by XXL National Sports Daily to cover the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim* as they prepare this March for the 2006 Major League Baseball season.

What better way to spend the final weeks before the Isotopes open the 2006 season than soaking up some rays and Cracker Jack in the Valley of the Sun while enjoying Cactus League Spring Training games? My duties will include scoring the contests, compiling game notes, conducting player interviews, writing feature articles and supplying interesting photographs for the recently launched website. You will be able to follow my take on the Angels’ progress all March via FREE downloadable .pdf files available on the XXL National Sports Daily website.

This wild assignment is a result of a connection I made during my trip to the 2005 Arizona Fall League.

town house crackers

Our gang caught a giant wave over to the Town House Lounge (3911 Central Avenue NE) this past Friday evening to check out some charbroiled longhorns and ice-cold longnecks. Initially we congregated in the patio section that fronts Central Avenue where we were informed that there would be no entertainment that evening. Luckily, the waitress only meant in that section of the lounge!

Eventually we moved into the dining room portion of the restaurant where we were greeted by warm lighting softly reflecting off fantastic red Naugahyde booths that make everyone feel like Frank Sinatra. That said, the room belonged to one of Albuquerque’s hardest working entertainers, the iconic Freddie (Kekaulike) Baker.

If you know in advance that you are going to see Freddie perform, it would serve you well to be prepared to join Mrs. Baker as her husband dives into Tiny Bubbles. If you fight her, she’ll only make your life difficult.

Service was first-rate, while the food was both delicious and plentiful. Customers also receive a complimentary shot of brandy at the conclusion of every meal. How kool is that?

As for the restrooms… well, they do have running water. A person more clever than I coined the term “genurinal” to describe the no-name thirsty urinals present in the men’s room.

Although the Town House Lounge offers abundant parking in rear, you may decide to park in front so you can snap photos of the giant cow before you go in. See you there!