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Existential Stuff

REMARKABLE INFORMATION! How The Cobb Salad Was Born in Brooklyn!

February 3, 2014

I wanted to share with you a terrific Brooklyn story – The Remarkable Creation of the Cobb Salad!

Well, it starts at our very own Hotel St. George in 1936!   The hotel’s world famous chef, Ennis Shalit (yes, the uncle of beloved movie critic Gene Shalit!) was playin’ around with some leftovers in the kitchen, and he came up with the idea of mixing some meat with some greens!  He liked where this was going, and he topped it off with a vinaigrette-based dressing he had previously concocted for another salad popular at the hotel, The Luscious Lehman (named for the then-governor of New York — unfortunately, the recipe for that specialty has been lost to history, but apparently bacon-wrapped scallops were involved!  Yum!).  Now, ol’ Ennis was a history buff (later in his life, he authored a biography of Willem Verhults, the second governor of Dutch New Amsterdam), and upon seeing the finished salad, he commented, “Sure tastes good, but it looks like a bloody mess!  It reminds me of Colonel DeKalb after he was bayoneted by the British at the Battle of Camden.”

A few days later, Shalit’s brand new DeKalb Salad went on sale in the Hotel’s world-famous Pineapple Street Café.  It was a big hit!  People came from as far away as Albany and Trenton to try the new culinary creation!  But when they ordered Shalit’s creation, waitresses (including a young actress named Joyce Randolph, later to be Brooklyn’s much beloved Trixie Norton!) would write down the name of the salad wrong; even if the menu said “DeKalb Salad”, the wait staff would hear patrons sayin’ “Gimme de Cobb salad,” and that’s what they would write down on their order pads!  Under the old adage that the customer is always right, only eight weeks after the DeKalb Salad went on sale, the Café’s owners, over Shalit’s fierce, even violent objections, renamed the dish The Cobb Salad.  And that’s how a much beloved dish, famous all over the world, was born!

There’s a funny footnote to this story: In 1956, Shalit published his biography of Verhults, but due to certain insinuations he made in the book about the character of Peter Stuyvesant (the 7th Dutch governor of ol’ Manhattan), Dutch Peter’s descendants sued the pants off of Ennis, and they won!  Ennis Shalit died a bitter, broken man in a bowery flophouse in 1964.

And now, THE THREE-DOT ROUNDUP!  Very excited to see that the Heights’ own Paul Giamatti will be starring in The Mario Biaggi Story…When I hear the words ‘Super Bowl’, I only picture one man, and his name is Joe Willie Namath…If you’re a fan of old timey radio (like me!) and a fan of Brooklyn 99 (like me!), you might remember a show on the CBS Radio Network called 21st Precinct, starring the immortal Edward Everett Sloane …Speaking of ol’ E.E. Sloane, how many actors can YOU name that starred in films directed by BOTH Orson Welles and Jerry Lewis? Sloane was lensed by big Orson in Citizen Kane, and the King of Comedy in The Patsy…A recent poll by the BLGBBCCTVAS (the Brooklyn Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Bi-Curious Classic TV Appreciation Society) named Lost In Space’s Dr. Zachary Smith the gayest fictional character in TV history…On January 28, Community Board 3 in Manhattan voted NOT to rename a street corner on the Lower East Side after our very own Beastie Boys, and I, for one, think that’s bullspit!  Out here in the Heights, we happily renamed a park after our “homie” Adam YauchAND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN! 

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He is currently working on his monograph analyzing the work of actor Huntz Hall from a semiotic perspective, and he continues his efforts to get Mets southpaw Jon Matlack into the Baseball Hall of Fame.




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January 29, 2014

Well, I’m back in Brooklyn!  As you know, the United Nations Humor wing, The Federation International pour Le Cooperation Comique, sent me to Costa Rica to continue my work on perfecting the Spanish language version of the “That’s what she said” joke.  Generally, the trip was a success, but there were some problems:  For instance, due to faulty placement of a cedilla (that’s the little tail below the ‘c’) in a prototype version of the joke, two members of our party were nearly beaten to death by angry Friars outside of a tiny church in Monteverde.  But that paled in comparison to the gruesome fact that the FICC flew us on American Airlines.

Now, I could say a lot of horrible things about what a consumer and flyer-hating mess American is, but I decided it would be better to cite the words of two legendary entertainers, Steve Rossi and Marty Allen.  In 1968, this wonderful duo hosted a special on ABC titled Flyin’ High: Allen & Rossi & The Goldiggers Meet America’s Apollo Astronauts in Miami Beach in Living Color.  Anyway, an up-and-coming comedy scribe named Lou Costello Jr. penned a pile of Airline jokes for the special, and with Li’l Lou’s permission, I will paraphrase a few of ‘em here, as a way of saying a big, fat “Eff You” to American Dumblines.  Here Goes:

If my girlfriend was as late as my American Airlines flight, I’d be buyin’ diapers now!…You know how long my American Airlines flight was on the runway?  We pulled out of the gate at Idlewild and took off from JFK!…There was such a back-up of traffic on the runway that I wondered if Chris Christie had a grudge against Fiorello LaGuardia!…I waited so long for my American Airlines flight to take off that I finished the complete works of Marcel Proust before I got to my serious reading!…I don’t wanna say our American Airlines stewardess was old, but her first threesome was with Wilbur and Orville Wright!…But at least the TSA was on top of things — The only way to get a bomb on a plane these days is to make a movie with Ryan Reynolds!…

(Of course, Lou Costello Jr. didn’t write ALL those japes – I got some of the more “topical” material from Larry Sombrero, Paul Sherman, Bob Giordano, and Aaron Chapman, the wonderful authors of the great new comic musical, The Not-So-Merry Life of the Merry Mailman: The Ups and Downs of Ray Heatherton, In Story and Song.  Good luck with the show, boys, and don’t let all those cease-and-desists get ya down!  As I told you in my last fax, just change the character’s name to Rance Lentzel.)

But in all seriousness, American Airlines sucks harder than Al Pacino in the director’s cut of Cruising.

No time for the THE THREE DOT ROUND-UP this week.  But I’ll be back soon with another grab-bag of gossip, gags, groovy gabs, and great stories! Meanwhile…I STILL LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN! 

Tim Sommer has been employed as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He is the author of the critically acclaimed John Banner:  He Knew Plenty, and he continues his efforts to get the New York Mets to retire reliever Ron Taylor’s uniform number. 












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REMARKABLE INFORMATION: The Amazing Story of Jill Clayburgh and Papal Infallibility

January 17, 2014

(Mr. Sommer is presently on vacation at the Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos.  The following column was written on an earlier occasion and placed on “file” to be used when Mr. Sommer was otherwise unavailable.)

I want to tell you an amazing tale about Brooklyn and a dramatic moment in the evolution of Papal Infallibility.

It begins in 1973, when my friend Matthew Fishman celebrated his 14th birthday by taking a small group of his chums to see the musical Pippin on Broadway.  As every schoolboy knows, Pippin is the story of an Emperor’s son who dreams of an everyday life (the Emperor in question was Charlemagne, who happens to be my second favorite Emperor, right behind Aadelbert of Austria).  Before the show, we had a splendid dinner at the Spaghetti Trough on West 50th Street (does anyone else remember The Spaghetti Trough?  “Eat like a Pig, Feel like a King!”).  We arrived at the theatre with full bellies and a desire to be wowed by musical theatre common to so many healthy American teenage boys.

But we were greeted by a surprise!  A local emissary of Pope Paul VI was standing in front of the Imperial Theatre, weeping.  At first, I was distracted by the man’s resemblance to noted New York newsman Gabe Pressman, but this soon passed.  The crying man, clad impressively in the red silks of his office, took my hand and explained to me in heavily accented English that his job was reviewing Broadway performances for any sign of heresy.  Oddly, his accent was clearly from the Kashubian region of Poland – the summer before, I had taken a course on the dialectical differences amongst the regions of North Central Poland; it was there that I met a serious young pianist from Bydgoszcz who would later change his name to John Tesh.

The emissary, who introduced himself as Cardinal Ildefonso Manzoni of Chojnice, explained that he had been deeply offended by the performance of Jill Clayburgh as “Catherine.”  As a result, he had Clayburgh excommunicated Latæ and Ferendæ Sententiæ as a Latitudinarian.

I did not quite know what this meant, but the small, sad man in red reminded me a little of the cereal mascot Quisp, so I was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Later, I wrote a letter to New York City Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy asking him to explain the concept of the Latitudinarian rejection of many Church of England practices and how this pertained to Clayburgh’s excommunication by a Roman Catholic prelate; Murphy sent me back an autographed picture inscribed with a particularly obscene and venal dismissal of the United Federation of Teachers.

A few years later, I was appearing on Midday Live with  Lee Leonard promoting my book The Sadness Behind the Yessss Man: The Long, Dark Night of Frank Nelson when I finally got to meet Jill Clayburgh, who was also a guest on the show.  Although she was at first wary of me (she had reacted with confusion and hostility to a joke I made punning her name and the name of Frank Sinatra’s best friend and henchman, Jilly Rizzo), ultimately I was able to ask her about that strange and remarkable event outside New York’s Imperial Theatre.

While sipping an RC Cola, she explained to me that Cardinal Chojnice had been very confused; it turned out he hadn’t even seen the show that caused him to condemn Ms. Clayburgh.  Apparently, the same week that Pippin opened on Broadway, the Cardinal had attended a peculiar piece of performance art at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (his niece was a dancer in the cast).  This piece, titled The Hatefulness of God in the Swamps of Cambodia and Lombardy, told the story of Pepin The Hunchback, the older half-brother of the title character of the Fosse/Schwartz musical.  The performance featured a scene in which a cross-dressing actress portraying Pepin the Hunchback feigned fellatio with an actor dressed as a pig dressed as the Virgin Mary (that actor, by the way, was a young Peter Scolari).  Cardinal Chojnice, understandably outraged, issued his writ of excommunication, but due to a partially misunderstood phone conversation with his friend, the shtick master Joey Adams, Chojnice mistakenly excommunicated Clayburgh.

The Case of the Cardinals Clayburghian Confusion piqued my curiosity, so I did a little more research; in the pre-internet days, this involved yards of microfiche, which is very flammable (as I found out during an unfortunate incident at the Great Neck Public Library which resulted in the destruction of the entire archive of the New York Mirror) and repeated calls to the help line of the Archdiocese of New York, which at that time was manned by Martha Wallace, the non-identical twin of actress Marcia Wallace.

I found out that the fantastic Chojnice/Clayburgh case led to an entirely new definition of Papal Infallibility.  In May of 1974, Book V of the Vatican legal code (De Sanctionibus In Ecclesia) was amended to state that if the Vatican issued an order of excommunication based on a performance in a musical on Broadway or London’s West End, the excommunicable act had to have been personally seen and verified by three or more Cardinals.  More dramatically, due to the grievous error of Chojnice (and in recognition of Clayburgh’s suffering, and to honor her role in the film Gable and Lombard, which was a particular favorite of New York’s Cardinal Cooke), the actress would henceforth not only be immune from Papal Infallibility, but she would be issued a special designation which would allow her to actually flaunt this immunity.  This was the first time this designation, Simia Feci de ipso Papa extra Patitur (I Made a Monkey out of The Pope and this Makes Me Very Special) was ever handed down by the Vatican (though it has been employed four times since, but that’s another story).

And what exactly does that have to do with Brooklyn?  Well, my friends, in addition to the connection with BAM, the Clayburgh kerfuffle resulted in Cardinal Chojnice leaving the church.  Years later, under the name Danny Manzoni, he opened the very first mobile phone store in the entire borough of Brooklyn, on Atlantic Avenue!  AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN! 

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He has just written the liner notes for the reissue of the album Robert Clary Sings, and he continues his efforts to get Ed “The Glider” Charles into the Baseball Hall of Fame.















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REMARKABLE INFORMATION: The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

January 11, 2014

Every day I look out my window and see a very special lady…she’s pushing 50, but she’s one hot mama…her name is The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  Now, bridges have been in the news a lot lately (boy, that’s an understatement!), so I thought I would take some time to wax rhapsodic about this tall, curvy cougar who soars over the Harbor with such grace and dignity.  So here are some Remarkable Facts about the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge!

Built between 1959 and 1964 by famed architects Reginald Verrazano and Archibald Narrows (of the firm DeRita, Fine, Verrazano, Besser, and Narrows, who also designed the Nassau Coliseum), until 1981 this amazing bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world!…The central span of the bridge is 4,260 feet long (wow!), the length of 35 rugby pitches!..Actor Dean Cain was actually born on the bridge!  (Well, not literally on the macadam itself, but in a taxi cab on the bridge!)… President Gerald Ford once proclaimed the Verrazano-Narrows “a national treasure” and “my favorite bridge,” and actress Esther Rolle, who was present when ol’ Gerry made these statements, heartily agreed! …In 1970, famous aerialist Phillipe Petit Pere, the father of Phillipe Petit, attempted to walk a wire strung between the bridges two towers (each nearly 700 feet tall!); unfortunately, it ended in tragedy, as documented in the Academy Award winning documentary, Oh Mon Dieu Je Glissais (Pour L’amour de Dieu que C’était une Mauvaise Idée) (Oh My God I’m Falling, for the Love of God this was a Bad Idea)…The chief engineer was the legendary Othmar Amman, and that is truly a fantastic name!…Don’t forget the hypen!  The hypen between Verazzano and Narrows was officially added by New York governor Hugh Carey in 1976, after heavy persuasion by the powerful grammar lobby of the United Federation of Teachers…and even if the wondrous Verrazano-Narrows is now only the 11th longest suspension bridge in the world, she will always be first in our hearts!!!

And now, THE THREE-DOT ROUNDUP!  Wendy Jo Sperber, we hardly knew ye…Our new Mayor, Bill DeBlasio, wants to proclaim Café Bustelo New York City’s “official” coffee, but I’ll always be a Dunkin’ Donuts man myself…The Tristan Tzara finger puppet wears you!…I have a pile of wampum riding on the Saints going all the way, and so should you…Even if you don’t dig drag shows, I highly recommend seeing the lovely and talented Marsha D’Penguins at Cabaret Lah-Dee-Dah in Greenpoint…Pointing out that Dennis Rodman is crazy is like pointing out that Jack Jones is a great singer – I mean, it’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?  So save yer breath…What do you prefer:  Splenda, Equal, or Sweet’n’Low?  According to a riveting new book by pop psychologist Joyce Brothers Jr., your answer says a lot about you!…If you haven’t made a pilgrimage to 328 Chauncey Street (where Ralph, Alice, Trixie, and Norton lived, and the real-life boyhood home of Jackie Gleason!), I’m not sure you can call yourself a ‘real’ Brooklynite…and when you’re there, say hi to Mrs. Manicotti for me!…AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN!

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

 Tim Sommer has been employed as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive.   He is currently working on a play which dramatizes a fictional meeting between Newark’s two most famous sons, Jerry Lewis and Moe Berg, and he continues his efforts to get Ron Blomberg into the Baseball Hall of Fame.





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Remarkable Information: Time Travel

January 2, 2014

Welcome to the New Years’ Edition of Remarkable Information, my friends! On this occasion, it’s helpful to remember the words of Dr. Bombay on Bewitched: “We are time’s bitch.” And I know exactly what he meant! The Past no longer exists, the Future hasn’t happened yet, and Pffffffft! There goes Now! What we are left with is a handful of memories, a digital clock that we got for our Bar Mitzvah, and a soupcon of regret that we never appeared on The Joe Franklin Show. But there’s always hope! And that’s why we make New Year’s Resolutions (a tradition started by British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in 1877, but that’s another story!). In any event, here is Mr. Remarkable Information’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 (Buddhist Calendar 2557). In the coming year, I would like to…

• Learn more about the exciting field of Endocriminology, in which specialists study hormones to determine patterns of criminal behavior.
• Finally watch seasons 3 – 8 of Bonar of the North, a Canadian detective show starring Bonar Bain, the identical twin brother of TV’s Conrad Bain.
• Continue my fight to get Sue Simmons back on the evening news, at all costs!
• Remember that “at all costs” doesn’t mean going to the extremes I went to during The Great Chauncey Howell Battle of 1992.
• Confuse my friends and loved ones by saying “Damn! I’m out of snuff! Do you know if the snuff store is open this time of night? I think it’s on Court Street, right next to Popeyes. Because, boy, I could sure use a soupcon of snuff.”
• Make time to demand to see more of those Elevator Inspection Certificates they have on file in The Management’s Office. You never know who you’re gonna meet!
• Take that class at the Learning Annex that teaches you how to distinguish David Denby from Tom Bosley.
• Confuse my friends and loved ones by saying “Come to think of it, there isn’t a snuff store next to Popeyes. Really, there’s just a guy who hangs out in front of Popeyes selling snuff.”
• Try out this phrase on friends and loved ones: “Say, as long as I am going to get some snuff, do you need anything from Popeyes?”
• Complete my doctoral thesis, “Mr. Coffee, The George Foreman Grill of its’ Day: The dawn of the sports veteran as elder-statesman pitchman and how this revitalized confidence in the Establishment in the post-Watergate Era.”
• Stop my annoying habit of loudly informing people in bars that they are pronouncing “Smithwicks” incorrectly.
• Make sure that every time I order a sandwich from a Subway Sandwich Technician, I say “May I have a soupcon of mustard with that?”

And now, THE THREE-DOT ROUNDUP! Meteorologists talk about golf-ball sized hail, but I’ve never heard a sports announcer talk about a hail-sized golf ball…If there’s a classier guy in the music industry than Michael Des Barres, I’ve never met him…I have a nice feeling about Ruben Tejada making a comeback with the Metropolitans in ’14, don’t you?…Do you know who was one of the sexiest funny ladies of 1970s television? Patti Deutsch, that’s who…Is there anything sadder than the sight of a closed Carvels?… Here’s a synonym for “heroic,” “classy,” and “courageous”: Robin Roberts…There IS such a thing as Too Mucho Deniro: Hey, Bob DeNiro – I just turned on WINS, and apparently this is STILL a free country. That’s good news! It means you ARE allowed to say “no” to movie roles. Geez, Bobby, I half expect to wake up and see that you’re appearing in a remake of “Inchon”…Ralph Kiner is 91 and Don Pardo is 95, and they’re still both showing up for work, so what’s your excuse?…Has there ever been a politician with a groovier name than the last governor of Mexican California, Pio Pico?… From the promenade, I’ve never seen the downtown skyline looking anything less than majestic, in any weather!…AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN!

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive. He is currently working on the interactive version of his acclaimed annotated studio log of the work of Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and continues his efforts to get Mets middle reliever Terry Leach into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Remarkable Information: Christmas Gifts

December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays, all of you joyous Brooklynites, from Cobble Hill to Court Street, from Boerum Hill to Bed Stuy!!! Now, haven’t we all wondered how the tradition of gift giving at Christmastime began? I know I have!!! Because a Christmas without the pleasure of sharing presents is like a Spaghetti Puttanesca without the capers, or like a Hot Toddy without the cloves! You know, I tried making a Hot Toddy without the cloves, and it was a dull as a Match Game without Charles Nelson Reilly. Ha! Where was I? I sometimes get sidetracked, my friends. My doctors say this may be the result of something that happened to me at Watkins Glen in 1973. One second I was listening to the Allman Brothers…the next thing I remember I was face down in a muddy field, it was three days later, and I was crying out “Where is my string?” Apparently, I had been saying this phrase for 14 hours, without interruption.

Anyway, as far as we can tell, the tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas began in 884 when Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fat celebrated his victory over the rebel Engelschalk II by decreeing that all members of his royal retinue were to exchange oranges and salt to honor the birth of Christ. Now, this ‘arm’ of the Empire crumbled with Charles’ death in 888 (too bad for Big Chuck!), but with the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th Century, Emperor Henry the Fowler heard tales of ol’ Charles gift-giving tradition, and around 933 he decided to bring it back, specifically as a way of giving thanks for the treaty he had just signed with the troublesome Magyars. By the middle of the 12th Century, during the reign of the legendary Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, there’s strong evidence that the gift-giving habit had spread to all classes throughout the Empire (and from there to the rest of Europe).

Now…there couldn’t possibly be a Brooklyn connection to all this Imperial Chatter, could there? Why yes, there is!!! As you know, Charles the Fat was the grandson of the mighty Emperor Charlemagne, who founded the Holy Roman Empire. Through a different line of descent, John Roebling, who designed the Mighty an’ Majestic Brooklyn Bridge, claimed to be a direct descendent of Charlemagne. How about that!!! You know it’s true, because you just read it!

And now, THE THREE DOT ROUNDUP! Those Christmas lights on Montague Street are prettier than Linda Gray in a pantsuit…If anyone out there is hoarding Sriacha hot sauce, here’s a h-h-hot tip: Fresh Direct’s got plenty!!! A shot of that stuff in your Chicken’n’Stars and you’ll Thai one on!…Hey, how does a Pinch Hitter make a cake? With Sacrifice Batter!!!…Did you know that the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is the longest continuous underwater vehicle tunnel in North America?…I know it’s not even New Years, but if anyone’s takin’ early bets for horse racing’s Triple Crown, my money’s on Almost Famous!…Is there anything more depressing than that damn “Christmas Time is Here” Peanuts song? Folks, it’s more of a downer than an audio book version of The Bell Jar read by Ian Curtis…I am a big fan of Limey Thespian Martin Freeman, but does he have to be in every movie?…Try saying ‘Limey Thespian’ three times fast!…Hey, at Puppy Birthday Parties, do the Doggie Clowns make Balloon Humans?…Did you know that one of TV’s classiest beauties, Suzanne Pleshette, was from Brooklyn Heights? AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN!

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive. He is currently working on the second volume of his biography of television pioneer Lee Leonard, and continues his efforts to get Sammy Petrillo a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Remarkable Information: Dog Shaming

December 16, 2013

Dog Shaming! It’s the extraordinary trend sweeping social media! People post pictures of their dogs bearing placards explaining what strange, embarrassing, or inconvenient deeds these sad and humiliated animals have done, and everyone’s happy! You know what I’m talking about: A sweet little dachshund sits behind a handwritten sign that says “I pooped on the AC vent and made the whole bathroom smell like poop.” Another furry little bundle of smiles has a note around its’ neck saying “I hid meat in the couch.” And a particularly grim looking retriever sits behind a poster that says “I’ve eaten 2 TV remotes in the last week.”

But few people know this trend is well over half a century old, and it was started by a Brooklyn native, Dr. Allen B. DuMont! Dr. Dumont, of course, was the mastermind behind the doomed DuMont Network, which was television’s fourth network between 1946 and 1956. In 1951, the network (whose flagship station was Channel 5 in New York) needed a show to fill a fifteen-minute slot between the end of Captain Video and His Video Rangers and the (often erratically timed) beginning of Boxing From Eastern Parkway. Ol’ Dr. DuMont himself conceived of I’m A Bad Widdle Doggie, which was hosted by Chaim ‘Hy’ Silvers (the twin brother of famed funnyman Phil Silvers) and Dagmar, the blonde-bombshell who was the Anna Nicole of her day. The premise of the show was simple: ordinary people came on with their pooches and told (presumably) funny stories about their pets’ embarrassing behavior. But in reality, the show was a disaster: under the hot lights, the dogs frequently became aggressive, had accidents, dashed for the exits, and consistently performed in a manner inappropriate for live television. In an attempt to retain order amongst the chaos, Silvers and Dagmar were forced to improvise constantly and sometimes recklessly: one night this resulted in Silvers telling an only-somewhat sanitized version of Mantan Morland’s famous “Mashed Potato” joke, and the next day the show was cancelled, after only being on the air for six episodes. Hy Silvers’ career never recovered, and he ended his days emceeing kiddies’ talent shows at Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos. But the legacy of Dog Shaming as a national pastime endured, all thanks to Brooklyn’s own Dr. Allen DuMont!

Remarkable Remarks! Call me crazy, but I prefer Blimpie to Subway…Why is it so hard to find good ol’ fashion Bazooka Bubblegum? It’s still the best, my friends…A tip of the Christmas cap to Duane Reade on Court and Montague for staying open until midnight during the holiday season!…Has there even been a sexier woman than Miss Joey Heatherton?…I’m not saying Tofu comes from outer space, but spell it backwards and you got UFO!…When are they gonna develop a post-season award that properly honors the importance of the Middle Reliever?…A morning in the Heights isn’t complete without a Banana Nut Muffin from Connecticut Muffin!…Every time someone says “Bachman Turner Overdrive” I say “Yes, please!”…I’m not saying everyone living in North Williamsburg is young, but the hippest place there is the Monkey Bars! AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE LIVING IN BROOKLYN!

(Mr. Sommer’s opinions and grasp of reality are entirely his own)

Tim Sommer has been employed to varying degrees of gainfulness as a musician, record producer, DJ, VJ, and music industry executive. He is currently recording an audio book version of his much-acclaimed four-volume biography of the pioneering vaudevillians Weber and Fields; and, with a grant from AACSM (The American Association of Celery Salt Manufacturers) he is seeking to advance awareness of the Bloody Caeser in the United States.

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