Category Archives: HISTORY CHANNELS

Stories, biographies, etc., including videos, covering topics and personalities from history.

Why Not Me? Samuel F.B. Morse Quote Explains

Hi Friends:

When I was in School, one of the first inventions we learned about was the telegraph, and its inventor, Samuel F.B. Morse.

Recently, I read this quote from Samuel F. B. Morse, and his explanation of why he “just happened” to be the one who came up with the invention … His response resonated deep within my soul. We share this with anyone to whom God has given a vision, or a task, which seems too great for them to handle … A vision, a dream, which, when shared with others, may get a response like, “Why would God pick you to do this?” I think, also, that the person to whom God gives such a vision or dream to, may have the same response, deep within themselves: “Why would God give this to me?”

I hope this resonates within your soul, as well.

I think it was a football team, a couple of years ago, which had the motto of  “Why not us?”

The answer may be clearer than we want to think:
Why not us?

Samuel F.B. Morse once said that when he was confronted with problems, when he couldn’t think of an answer, “…whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding.”

On May 24, 1844, Morse sent the historic first telegraphed message, “What hath God wrought!” from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.

Here’s what Samuel F.B. Morse said, when asked why he was “selected” to bring the life-changing invention of the telegraph to the world:

“I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me.”

This one goes on the wall!

Blessings,
R.V.R.

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Eres Tu-Part One: The Guitars of Sonny James

Hi Friends:

Growing up in North Georgia, my older sister would listen to a country music station, WDOD, out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The announcer who did the mid-day shift was Jerry Rivers. If you remember the station’s ID jingle … “WDOD … On the banks of the Tennessee …” At the end of his daily shift, he would play this song, as he would voice-over his “thank yous” and “goodbyes.”

I never forgot this beautiful, haunting instrumental, with the background chorus. So, years later, I used this same instrumental to voice-over my own signoff. It was perfect to speak over, it was instantly recognizable, and it had a great “cold” ending.

The song “Eres Tu (Touch the Wind)” was originally a hit for the Spanish vocal group Mocedades in 1974, and was recorded in 1975 as part an easy listening guitar instrumental album by country music legend Sonny James, entitled “The Guitars of Sonny James.”

A few words about the great Sonny James (May 1, 1928 – February 22, 2016):
As singer, song-writer, and musician, Sonny James’ biggest hit was “Young Love,” which made it to the top of both country and pop music charts in January to February 1957. He was known as “the Southern Gentleman, and he had 72 country and pop-charted records from 1953 to 1983, including a 5-year streak of 16 straight Billboard #1 singles among his total of 26 #1 hits. Twenty-one of his albums reached the country top ten from 1964 to 1976. In 1957, Sonny James became the first country music recording artist to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Sonny James was given a star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” in 1961. In 1967, he co-hosted the first Country Music Association Awards Show (with Bobbi Gentry), and was himself inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

In February 1971, James was the first country music artist whose music went into space; he made a special music recording for the crew of Apollo 14. They later presented him with one of the small American flags that they had carried to the Moon.

On the “Guitars of Sonny James” album, notice that track B4 is “Paper Roses.” In 1973, Sonny James helped launch the solo career of Marie Osmond, by producing and arranging her first three albums, including her smash hit, “Paper Roses.”

This was the best recording I could find to share.
Enjoy “The Guitars of Sonny James” with “Eres Tu:”

Johnny Cash With the Statler Brothers: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

The Johnny Cash Show ran from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC Television. It was taped at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Cash opened each show with his customary “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” greeting.

The show included a “Country Gold” segment which featured legends rarely or never seen on network TV.

In 1976, CBS ran a revival of the show, “Johnny Cash and Friends,” from August 29 to September 20. The new show was taped at the newly constructed Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Aside from musical performances, this series also featured a greater emphasis on comedy, with Steve Martin and Jim Varney appearing as regulars, and with June Carter Cash performing several comedy routines as “Aunt Polly.”

Following “Johnny Cash and Friends,” an annual Johnny Cash Christmas Special series was launched, starting in 1976, with specials airing almost every year until 1985.

We share Johnny Cash, with The Statler Brothers, singing
“Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written by Julia Ward Howe, and originally used the music from the song “John Brown’s Body.” The song was written in November 1861, and first appeared on the front page of the Atlantic Monthly in February of 1862. Editor James T. Fields, who paid her $5.00 for the piece, is credited with having given the song the name by which it is known today.

After the war, Mrs. Howe was active in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1868, she founded the New England Women’s Club and was one of the founders of the New England Women’s Suffrage Association. She was much in demand as a lecturer. Julia Ward Howe died October 17, 1910, at the age of 91.

This is from September 27, 1969.

In the Shadow of Lincoln: Gomer Pyle USMC-“The Impossible Dream”

Gomer Pyle-USMC aired on CBS from September 25, 1964, to May 2, 1969. The series was a spin-off of The Andy Griffith Show, and the show ran for a total of 150 half-hour episodes spanning over five seasons.

It starred Jim Nabors (6/12/June 12, 1930 – November 30, 2017) as Private First Class Gomer Pyle, and Frank Sutton (October 23, 1923 – June 28, 1974) as Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter.

Jim Nabors was born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama. After graduating, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a typist for the United Nations. He would move to southern California because of his asthma, and was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at a Santa Monica nightclub.

Frank Sutton, from Clarksville, Tennessee, enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the South Pacific, taking part in 14 assault landings. Sutton was a sergeant who served from 1943–1946 in the 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Interestingly, he had been medically rejected by the Marine Corps.

Of course, no writing would be complete without the mention of the voice of Jim Nabors, who would go on to record some 28 albums with that amazing baritone singing voice.
We share this performance of Jim Nabors singing the classic “”The Impossible Dream,” on stage in Washington, D.C., with the United States Marine Band. This episode, entitled “The Show Must Go On,” first aired on CBS on November 3, 1967.
The song was originally composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion.


Looking Way, Way Back: Quiz on 60’s TV Shows

Hi Friends:

OK … so I have been working on a slide-show for the New Year to share, but … does this sound familiar? … I’ve been so busy, so “caught up” with the present, with “what’s going on” now … I haven’t had as much time, as I’d like, to think about the past (year) … or, the future …

Sound familiar?

Speaking of “sounding familiar” … recently, while I was doing research for a recent post, I came across this video, which features the theme songs of popular television shows from the 1960’s. They play the opening of a television theme song, and, for 15 seconds, they play the theme … they then reveal the name of the television show.

I just finished watching the video again (for the first time since I had originally downloaded it), and was amazed that I got the same answers wrong now, as I got the first time I played this.

It also amazed me, and I mean really amazed me, how many great television shows there were, in the 1960’s. I feel comfortable using the word “great” here. They were great. I still enjoy many of these shows again, thanks to cable television.

Except for sports, I don’t watch network television at all.

Yet … many of these shows, from the 60’s, are still part of my life, via re-runs.
I’m glad they are. Many of them are that good, and “that good” just doesn’t “run out.”

It would be easy to use this opportunity to “knock” the current television shows, but that’s not the point. Let’s face it: Television reflects “the times.” Look at those shows from the 60’s. Look at the television shows now. Get it? Television reflects “the times.”

As I look ahead to the New Year, and look back at the last year, I still realize that, at the top of any list, I just need to be more thankful for what I have. What I have right now. What God has already blessed me with.

Yeah, yeah, television has changed.
Yeah, yeah, the times have changed …
Maybe what has really changed is me.

If I can change … then … and, only then … I can change the world around me. Change my world. I saw this on a shower curtain once (yes, a shower curtain):
“When a man is right, his world is right.”

Please enjoy this video quiz, and be amazed, not just at how many of these shows you
remember, but at how many “great” shows there were …

Oak Ridge Boys sing “Amazing Grace” at President George H.W. Bush’s Funeral

After playing their records for several years, I finally got the opportunity, a few years ago, to see “The Oak Ridge Boys” in concert.
It was one of the most memorable, and enjoyable concerts I’ve ever experienced.
I would honestly say that, “I’d see them again tomorrow.”

They are as busy as ever: Their new Gospel Album, “17th Avenue Revival,” comes out in March. They still tour year-round, and are currently traveling on their 29th annual holiday concert tour, “Shine the Light on Christmas,” which is taking the group to 32 cities in 18 states.

This latest holiday tour began on November 14th, in Branson, Missouri.

They would interrupt the tour for a very personal performance:
From their website, https://oakridgeboys.com, they explain:

DEC 1, 2018
The Oak Ridge Boys Remember President George H.W. Bush
“… he was fortunate enough to have been married to one of the most wonderful women who ever walked this planet … We started to sing for him … when he was VP, and we have been singing for him ever since. We have performed our songs on Air Force One, in Kennebunkport many times, and at his home in Houston … at the White House and several of his key birthday celebrations … we would even call him and sing to him when he wasn’t feeling well and Barbara swore that we had a healing effect on our FRIEND. We have laughed together, shared tears together, fished together, hiked together, shared a lot of lobster together, and sang together. We WILL sing for him again one day. THIS is ASSURED!
Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Richard Sterban, Joe Bonsall
The Oak Ridge Boys

In addition, Duane Allen wrote this:
“He was like a daddy figure to me, and he was all about making everyone around him have a good time. The sting of death always hurts, but I have so many memories to make me smile. The Oak Ridge Boys have sung “Amazing Grace” for him on Air Force One, in Kennebunkport, at the White House, and over the phone when he was in the hospital. However, singing “Amazing Grace” at his funeral will be the most difficult assignment we will ever have.”
Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys

Here’s the performance from CBS News and CBSNews.com:

Senator John F Kennedy on Jack Paar Show: June 16, 1960

On June 16, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy made history by being the first presidential candidate to appear on a late-night television program.

We must remember the times.
In the year 1960, a political candidate making an appearance on a late-night entertainment show was something which had not been done … because, in many circles, such an appearance would be frowned upon.

For example, as Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times, “By the standards of 1960, a Presidential candidate’s appearance on an entertainment program was considered a bit shocking.”

John F. Kennedy would become known as the first “TV President.”

We have only a short clip from the show, but it is amazing how the statements Senator Kennedy made, resonate so clearly with our times, with our world, today.

His response to questions regarding why he went into politics, the responsibility of the United States in world affairs, the responsibility of the office of President, the issue of enemy countries sending “fellow travelers” into the United States, and how important it is for the United States to set an example which citizens of other countries would want to follow.
Senator Kennedy stated that “in the final analyses, they have to believe in freedom themselves. I don’t think you can sell freedom … In the long run, the best asset we have is the desire of people to be free.”

In other words, you can’t “inject” democracy.

For the record, this was 58 years ago.
Yes … 58 years ago.