Archive | July 2015

The Saxophone

July 31st Celebrates- The Saxophone

On July 31st 1845, the French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band.

Who invented the saxophone?

The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, and patented in 1846 in Belgium.

Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker, flautist, and clarinetist born in Dinant and originally based in Brussels, he later moved to Paris to establish his musical instrument business.

The saxophone first gained popularity in one of the uses it was designed for: the military band. Although the instrument was studiously ignored in Germany at first, French and Belgian military bands took full advantage of the instrument that Sax had designed.

How did the saxophone get its name?

Named after its creator Adolphe Sax, he also invented the saxhorn, saxotromba, and saxtuba.

Today’s YouTube video shared by user name Music, gives you brief history of the saxophone:

Through military bands, like the French Army the saxophone would become a remarkable new image and sound that could be seen and heard around the globe.

It was through these bands that the saxophone made its way to New Orleans and became a key component in the formation of early jazz, as we celebrate today the magnificent sound of the saxophone, I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


In God We Trust

one dollar bills background

one dollar bills background

On July 30th 1956, the phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.

“In God we trust” first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864, and has appeared on paper currency since 1957.

A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress and was a approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956 declaring it the national motto of the United States.

The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957.

How did congress come up with this idea to use that exact motto?

The phrase appears to have originated in “The Star-Spangled Banner”, written during the War of 1812. The fourth stanza includes the phrase, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our Trust.'”

According to Ted Alexander, Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield, the contracted “In God We Trust” was first used by the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry as a battle cry on September 17, 1862, during the Battle of Antietam of the American Civil War.

The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing “Almighty God in some form in our coins” in order to “relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism.”

At least part of the motivation was to declare that God was on the Union side of the Civil War.

Secretary Salmon P. Chase acted on this proposal and directed the then-Philadelphia Director of the Mint, James Pollock, to begin drawing up possible designs that would include the religious phrase. Chase chose his favorite designs and presented a proposal to Congress for the new designs in late 1863.

It’s funny to me, we all handle money at one time or another that we don’t realize the motto or what it stands for?

Until someone like me write about it, as we celebrate on July 30th our National Motto on all our currency today.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

“Blowin In The Wind”

July 29th Celebrates “Blowin In The Wind”

Today on July 29th 1963, the musical group called, Peter, Paul and Mary, released their hit song called, “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

In 1994, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2004, it was ranked #14 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

The song written by Bob Dylan in 1962, although it has been described as a protest song, it poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war and freedom. The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” has been described as “impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind”.

Today’s YouTube video shared by user name, subtitle man, is clip of Peter, Paul and Mary singing their infamous song called, “Blowin in the Wind.”

How did Peter, Paul and Mary meet to create such creative outlet in their music?

Mary Travers was born on November 9, 1936, in Louisville, Kentucky. She grew up in Greenwich Village and joined the folk music scene. Travers sang backup on Pete Seeger albums before forming a trio with Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow, known as Peter, Paul & Mary.

Travers met up with Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow through music manager Albert Grossman, who was looking to form a folk group made up of a tall blonde woman, a good-looking guy, and a jokester. The folk group, named simply Peter, Paul & Mary, began their career at The Bitter End coffeehouse in 1961.

Travers spent most of her childhood and teenage years exploring her love of music at The Little Red Schoolhouse, a liberal private school in the Village.

While at the Schoolhouse, Travers grew interested in singer/songwriters such as Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger. She began singing weekly at the Sunday afternoon folk music gatherings in Washington Square Park, where legendary folk artists would often gather to perform.

In 1955, Mary Travers and three schoolmates were given the opportunity to sing background vocals with Seeger for the album Talking Union. The group of students became known as the Song Swappers, and recorded three more albums with Seeger. They also appeared twice at Carnegie Hall.

By 1970, their legacy left us with Peter, Paul & Mary had parted ways in order to pursue solo ventures. Travers pursued a solo singing career, and recorded five albums, including Mary (1971) and Circles (1974).

The group re-formed in 1978, touring extensively and issuing many new albums. In their 50-year career together, Travers, Stookey and Yarrow won five Grammys, created 13 Top 40 hits, and saw eight of their albums go gold and five turn platinum. The group also became the voice of a generation of human rights advocates and war protestors.

While this song is played today, it well received every time someone hears it, as we celebrate the birth of the song called, “Blowin in the Wind.”

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

Sally Struthers

July 28th Celebrates Sally Struthers

Sally Anne Struthers is an American actress and spokeswoman, best known for her roles as Gloria Stivic the sitcom called, “All in the Family,” for which she won two Emmy awards.

Sally Struthers nabbed a series role in the early 1970s and became a solid part of TV history as a member of a dysfunctional family quartet in the milestone sitcom.

She was born Sally Ann Struthers on July 28, 1948, in Portland, Oregon and raised there, pursuing an acting career following high school. Relocating to Los Angeles, she trained at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts and earned a scholarship as its “most promising student”.

She played the same character (Gloria Bunker Stivic) on three different series: All in the Family (1971), Archie Bunker’s Place (1979) and Gloria (1982).

She and Rob Reiner left the show after seven seasons, both eager to grow. While Rob Reiner became a noted director, Sally made her Broadway debut in “Wally’s Cafe” in 1981, and returned, four years later, with a gender-bending version of “The Odd Couple” as neat-freak “Florence” opposite Rita Moreno’s slovenly “Olive”.

Sally’s baby-doll voice worked extremely well for her in cartoons. She remained active off-camera, providing little girl voices for Saturday morning entertainment, notably her teenage “Pebbles Flintstone” character.

On a personal note regarding her private life, Sally Struthers is one of two siblings. She has a sister Sue, and was the daughter of Portland doctor, but at the age of nine. Both her parents left Sally and her sister to be raised by her maternal grandparents who were Norwegian immigrants.

Struthers married William C. Rader, a psychiatrist on December 18, 1977; they divorced on January 19, 1983. They had one child together named Samantha Struthers Rader.

As we wish happy birthday today to Sally Struthers underneath the radar.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

A Wild Hare

July 27th Celebrates A Wild Hare

I grew up watching the Bugs Bunny Road Runner show, years later I was pretty surprised to hear how violent it was, for some reason I didn’t feel that way growing up, but did you know?

On July 27th 1940, Bugs Bunny made his official debut in at Warner Bros. Studio in an animated cartoon called, “A Wild Hare?”

It was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, directed by Tex Avery, and written by Rich Hogan.

Bugs is unnamed in this film, but would be named for the first time in his next short, Elmer’s Pet Rabbit, directed by Chuck Jones. The opening lines of both characters—”Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits” for Elmer, and “Eh, what’s up Doc?” for Bugs Bunny would become catchphrases throughout their subsequent films.

In a rare promotional broadcast, A Wild Hare was loosely adapted for the radio as a sketch performed by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan on the April 11, 1941 edition of The Al Pearce Show. The sketch was followed by a scripted interview with Leon Schlesinger.

Although the script is available for public online viewing, as of June 2010 no recording of the broadcast is known to exist.

The line, “What’s up, Doc?” was added by director Tex Avery for this film. Avery explained later that it was a common expression in Texas where he was from, and he didn’t think much of the phrase. But when this short was screened in theaters, the scene of Bugs calmly chewing a carrot, followed by the nonchalant “What’s Up, Doc?” went against any 1940s audience’s expectation of how a rabbit might react to a hunter and caused complete pandemonium in the audience.

Today’s YouTube video clip shared by user name That Was History, gives you a little history of Bugs Bunny.

On November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse made his movie debut in Steamboat Willie, one of the earliest animated cartoons. This seven-minute film, directed by Walt Disney, was the first to combine animation technology with synchronized sound.

Twelve years later Bugs Bunny made his first debut in the cartoon clip called, “A Wild Hare” but how did Bugs Bunny get his name?

While at the Schlesinger/Warner Bros. studio during the late 1930s, Hardaway served as a story man, and co-directed several Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts with Cal Dalton during Friz Freleng’s three-year exodus to MGM.

Leon Schlesinger needed a replacement for Freleng, and Hardaway’s previous experience in the job resulted in his promotion.

The rabbit’s third appearance comes in Hare-um Scare-um (1939), directed again by Dalton and Joseph Benson Hardaway. He was sometimes credited as J. B. Hardaway, Ben Hardaway, Bugsy Hardaway and B. Hardaway.

In 1940, Warner Bros. demanded from its illustrators to sketch a “tall, lanky, mean rabbit” for a cartoon titled “Hare-um Scare-um”. Someone in the office mistakenly labeled one of the submissions from a cartoonist as “Bugs Bunny” instead of Bugs Hardaway.

The sketches made by Hardaway, however, were not used but the words that labeled them were given to the rabbit star of the 1940 cartoon “A Wild Hare”. From then on, “Bugs Bunny” was introduced and became popular.

Hurrah for Bugs Bunny, as I end this story the way Porky Pig use to say, at the end of every cartoon, “That’s All Folks!”

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

Vivian Vance

July 26th Celebrates Vivian Vance

Who remembers Ethel Mertz?

Vivian Vance was born as Vivian Roberta Jones was born on July 26th 1909, and died on August 17th 1979, and was an American television and theater actress and singer. Vance is best known for her role as Ethel Mertz, sidekick to Lucille Ball on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy.

When she was six years old, her family moved to Independence, Kansas, where she eventually began her dramatic studies at Independence High School with drama instructor Anna Ingleman.

Her love of acting clashed with her mother’s strict religious beliefs, and “Viv” soon became rebellious, often sneaking out of her bedroom and staying out after curfew. She soon changed her surname to Vance and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to find work as an actress.

If you’re a “I Love Lucy,” fan you would know that Ethel Mertz’s character was also born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Vance was a founding member of the Albuquerque Little Theater, where she appeared in many plays, including This Thing Called Love and The Cradle Song. The local theater community helped pay her way to New York to study under Eva Le Gallienne.

Following her appearance in a revival of The Cradle Will Rock in 1947, Vance decided to move to California to pursue other theater projects as well as opportunities in film.

During her stay in Los Angeles, Vance appeared in two films: as streetwise chambermaid Leah in The Secret Fury (1950), and as Alicia in The Blue Veil (1951). She received several positive notices for her performances, but the films did little else to further her screen career.

When Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball were casting their new television sitcom I Love Lucy in 1951, director Marc Daniels, who had previously worked with Vance in a theater production, suggested her for the role of landlady Ethel Mertz.

Lucille Ball had wanted either Bea Benaderet or Barbara Pepper, both close friends, to play the role. CBS refused Pepper on the grounds that she had a drinking problem, and Benaderet was already playing Blanche Morton on the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.

Watching her perform, Arnaz was convinced he had found the right actress to play Ethel Mertz. Ball was less sure. She had envisioned Ethel to be much older and less attractive; Vance was closer to Ball’s age and attractive.

Ultimately, the 42-year-old Vance won the role on the new television program, which debuted October 15, 1951 on CBS. Throughout the show’s run, Ethel Mertz was usually dressed in less-stylish clothing than Ball’s character, to make her look older and less attractive. Vance’s and Ball’s friendship was lukewarm at first, but Ball gradually overcame her resistance to Vance and grew to respect her as a friend and an actress, and the two became close friends.

Today’s YouTube video is Ethel Mertz and Lucy Ricardo in that duet song called, “Friendship.” Shared by user name Janet Marshall, as they keep singing the song each in return destroys the same exact dress they have on, for more information regarding today’s story check out my blog below:

Legend has it that a clause in her television contract required her to stay 10 pounds heavier than costar/producer Lucille Ball. Actually, this contract never existed, at least not in legal, binding form. It was a mock contract given to Vance by Ball as a gag gift sparking the legend it was a real contract.

In the 1970s, she discovered commercials were a lucrative way to capitalize on fame, with a 3 year $250,000 contract. She became known as Maxine, in the Maxwell House Commercials.

On screen, their chemistry as Fred and Ethel Mertz was fantastic. Off screen, they couldn’t bear each other trading insults constantly.

I think it’s partly what drove Vivian to mental illness. That and working for Lucy. Lucy’s “professionalism” is legendary, and you only have to look at her two kids, to see there was some serious damage done. Lucy and Vivian were very good friends for the most part, but their relationship had its ups and downs.

I remember one story I read somewhere that while Lucy was pregnant, she took Vivian’s dressing room, which was closer to the stage. Lucy also had people helping her with costume changes. Meanwhile, Vivian had to crawl across props and cables, change by herself and get back to the stage.

Both Frawley and Vance were veterans of the stage by the time they were cast in their roles as the Ricardo’s landlords.

Vivian Vance was almost thirty years younger than Frawley. She originally thought that William was being cast as her father, not her husband. The Mertzs were only going to be incidental characters, but much to Lucy’s annoyance, they gained popularity and were made into full-fledged regulars.

After I Love Lucy, Vivian continued to work, and was asked back to do more Lucy incarnations. Eventually she retired to Belvedere, California, where she worked on raising awareness for mental illness. Vivian suffered from depression, and had several nervous breakdowns in her life.

By 1979, Vance had suffered a stroke, and was in failing health. Mary Wickes, a close friend of Vivian and Lucy’s, was in a play in the area. She and Lucy visited Vivian one last time, in the summer of 1979. They got on like the good times in the old days. On their way back, Mary Wickes said she and Lucy cried the entire way.

Today as we celebrate Vivian Vance’s birthday we don’t think of her as Lucille Ball’s side kick, but as incredible actress as we silent wish you Happy Birthday today!

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

“You Can’t Hurry Love”



On July 25th 1966 the music group called The Supremes released their song called, “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

The song, a memory of a mother’s words of encouragement (“My mama said ‘you can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait’ “) telling her daughter that with patience she will find that special someone one day, is an example of the strong influence of gospel music present in much of R&B and soul music.

“You Can’t Hurry Love” was inspired by and partially based upon “(You Can’t Hurry God) He’s Right on Time.”

The recorded version of “You Can’t Hurry Love” showcases the developing sound of The Supremes, who was progressing from their earlier teen-pop into more mature themes and musical arrangements.

Written and produced by Motown’s main production team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, “You Can’t Hurry Love” is one of the signature Supremes songs, and also one of Motown’s signature releases. The single became The Supremes’ seventh number-one hit.

By lead vocalist Diana Ross and her two backup singers Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.

Today’s YouTube video clip brought to you by user name Slick Rock, introduces the song from The Supremes singing the infamous song.

As we celebrate the game of give and take, as we celebrate the songs being introduced to the public on July 25 1966, which happened 49 years ago today!

How did The Supremes become who they are?

In 1958, Florence Ballard a junior high school student living in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit met Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, two members of a Detroit male singing group known as the Primes.

Ballard recruited her best friend Mary Wilson, who in turn recruited classmate Diane Ross.

After winning a prestigious local talent contest, the girls set their sights on making a record. In hopes of getting the group signed to the local upstart Motown label, in 1960 Ross asked an old neighbor, Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson, to help the group land an audition for Motown executive Berry Gordy.

Determined to leave an impression on Gordy and join the stable of rising Motown stars, the girls frequented the recording studio every day after school.

Eventually, they convinced Gordy to allow them to contribute hand claps and background vocals for the songs of other Motown artists including Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells.

In January 1961, Gordy finally relented and agreed to sign the girls to his label, and the rest is history!

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio