Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Sunday, January 31, 2010

February 3rd - The Day the Music Died:
Davenport Was Part of the Tour

On February 3rd, 1959, a small plane took off in a winter storm and crashed immediately, killing Buddy Holly, J. P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Ritchie Valens, and the pilot.

On a Winter Dance Tour, their last concert was at Clear Lake, Iowa, near Mason City, hometown of the Music Man, Meredith Wilson.

Holly's early death was especially tragic, because he was a musical pioneer with great talent and a young wife. She was expecting but lost the child.

Don McLean coined the term the day the music died in his song "American Pie." The song became a perennial hit, encouraging the fad of inexplicable lyrics. One attempt to decode the song is located here.

Holly's songs are classic pop, simple and evocative.


Dave Coopman has left a new comment on your post "February 3rd - The Day the Music Died":

The Winter Dance Tour played the Capitol Theater in Davenport on January 29, 1959. It was sponsored by KSTT, and for this appearance it was called the Concert of Stars, since it was the only venue where dancing could not take place. There was an ice storm in the Quint Cities that night, but the show was still sold out.

Strangely, no pictures of that night have ever turned up. There must be some somewhere.



Winter Dance Party Dates:

January 23 - Milwaukee, WI
January 24 - Kenosha, WI
January 25 - Mankato, MN
January 26 - Eau Claire, WI
January 27 - Montevideo, MN
January 28 - St. Paul, MN
January 29 - Davenport, IA
January 30 - Ft. Dodge, IA
January 31 - Duluth, MN
February 1 - Green Bay,WI
February 2 - Clear Lake, IA

Friday, January 29, 2010

Delicious! - Jim Backus and Mystery Woman

Jim Backus and Mr. Magoo.

The actress on this is Hermione Gingold. The instrumental backing is by Appleknocker and His Group.

Beep! Beep! Novelty Song in 1958 -
And Delicious!

WQUA played this a lot. It was on the charts for 12 weeks.


In the same year, Jim Backus did this great novelty record, Delicious!, which we played at home. The laughter is infectious.

It apparently made it to #40 on the charts in 1958.

Jim Backus & Friend
Note: Jim is indicated by J, "Friend" by F.

Lots of laughing and Jim's diction gets a little slurred toward the end

F: Ooh we're gonna have fun.
J: Yes.
F: It's a cozy table, isn't it?
J: And champagne my dear, heh-heh.
F: Mmmmmm delicious, ha-ha
J: You like it? Heh-heh.
F: Mmmmmm delicious, ha-ha!
J: Hee-hee-hee I like it too, heh-heh yes I do like it
F: Mmmmmm delicious.
J: Heh-heh you want some more?
F: Mmmmmm delicious!
J: I knew you'd like it, heh heh ha.
F: Delicious!
J: Have some more...get the waiter and hehheh put on the paper hat...get out the lampshade ha-ha I even like the cork! Waiter, waiter, more! Keep pouring it! Every night's New Year's Eve! Waiter, every night we're gonna do thish, I don't care, loshe the job what are you gonna do scooba dabba doo oh champagne (*hic*)...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Author of Catcher in the Rye Died Yesterday

J. D. Salinger

NEW YORK (AP) - "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger has died at age 91 in New Hampshire.

The author's son, in a statement from the author's literary representative, says Salinger died of natural causes at his home. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

"The Catcher in the Rye" with its immortal teenage protagonist—the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield—came out in 1951 during the time of anxious, Cold War conformity.

Salinger wrote for adults, but teenagers all over the world identified with the novel's themes of alienation, innocence and fantasy.

In later years, Salinger become famous for not wanting to be famous, refusing interviews.


Father: Sol Salinger
Mother: Marie Jillich ("Miriam")
Wife: Sylvia (m. 1945, div. 1947)
Wife: Claire Douglas (m. 1955, div. 1967, one daughter, one son)
Daughter: Margaret Salinger ("Peggy", b. 1955)
Son: Matt Salinger (actor)
Wife: Colleen O'Neil
Girlfriend: Oona O'Neill
Mistress: Joyce Maynard (1972)
    High School: Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, PA
    University: New York University
    University: Ursinus College
    University: Columbia University
    Nervous Breakdown
    Jewish Ancestry Paternal
    Risk Factors: Vegetarian, Orgone, Urolagnia

Is the subject of books:
Dream Catcher: A Memoir, 2000, BY: Margaret Salinger, DETAILS: unauthorized biography
Author of books:
The Catcher in the Rye (1951, novel)
Nine Stories (1953, short stories)
Franny and Zooey (1961, short stories)
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters / Seymour, An Introduction (1963)


GJ - Was Catcher in the Rye required reading or did we read it because everyone talked about it?

Moline High 45th Anniversary in 2011

I remember when this was an entrance,
the aroma of cleaning compound
thrown on the floor
and swept up by kindly janitors.

One Moline alumnus had a great idea for the 1966 Class Reunion in 2011.

The Garfield Gashouse Gang (Mr. McAllister's term) should also have a reunion.

Admit it. You watched Jungle Jay

Pathways to the Present

Denkman Library has been downgraded.
In the 1960s it was quirky, fun to use,
a time-warp full of antique books and librarians.

Julie Jensen McDonald published Pathways to the Present in 50 Iowa and Illinois Communities, 1977. The book began as a series of articles in the Quad-City Times. I will label posts with the book name when I borrow the content. If anyone has history books about Moline, I would love to borrow them.

The first settlers came to the Moline area in 1829.

A wooden dam was built in 1841, "across Sylvan Slough to Arsenal Island," providing water power for the future industrial city. (Pathways, p. 191)

Moline got its name from the French word for mill, Moulin. There was a red sawmill on the dam, so we could have been famous as the Moulin Rouge. Instead, we became the Moline Maroons. That hurt our self-esteem, especially since Bugs Bunny was known for saying, with disdain, "What a maroon!"

Moline's fame came from a blacksmith arriving in 1848 to manufacture his plow.
John Deere is still known for its quality. Many Moline alumni are associated with the company.

Deere Headquarters will never be dated.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Browning Field in the 1920s

Browning Field
Wharton Field House was built in 1928.

Anonymous Dave:

"Here's a pic of Browning Field from the mid-1920s. A great shot that includes the old baseball stands that burned to the ground around 1958. Browning Playground is not there yet, nor is Whitey's Ice Cream... although the large white building at the very bottom center of the photo is the building that became the Whitey's "factory." Note how narrow 23rd Avenue (now Avenue of the Cities) is."

From Wikipedia:

John T. Browning (1830-1910) was a lawyer who served as the City of Moline's first City Attorney. He was also a two-term State Assemblyman. In his last year of his life, Browning was planning on erecting a memorial to himself on the farmland that he owned when he was convinced by A. M. Beal, President of the Moline Board of Education, to deed the land to the city for use as an athletic park. On July 14, 1910, he added the codicil to his will, stating that his land were to be "held in trust forever by the City of Moline and dedicated to the public as and for a playground and athletic park, which shall be known and designated as the John T. Browning Park, Playground, and Athletic Field".[1]

The next four years saw the creation of a American football/track and field stadium and a baseball field.[1] In the late 1920s, T. F. Wharton, president of the Moline High School boosters' club led the drive toward the sale of bonds, the proceeds of which to pay for the construction of a field house on adjoining land (this was also deeded to the city of Moline upon the retirement of the bonds).[3] Wharton Field House was opened to the public in 1928.

Leave It To Beaver

Eddie Haskel, Beaver Cleaver, Wally Cleaver
Ken Osmond, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow
1957 - 1963

This show has endured because of its classic situations, based on the experiences of the writers.

"Leave It To Beaver" brings back memories of Moline situations. Here is one:

Wally: "Beav. You didn't brush your teeth."
Beaver: "How did you know?"
Wally: "Your toothbrush is still dry."
Beaver: "OK. I will go back and get it wet."

The demonstration on how to make the tube dirty, to fake a bath, was another classic, and taken right out of the Jackson playbook. I wondered at the time, "Who told?"

Mathers is still collecting from the show.
He cut a deal to share in the merchandising.
Lumpy is his investment advisor!

Garfield Photos and the Great Volcano Explosion

Here are some Garfield Grade School photos:
I am on the upper right.
Carol Murrell, PhD, is on the lower left.
John DeVos is in the center, bottom row.
My mother, Gladys Parker Jackson, is on the lower right.
Corrections are welcome.

The group photo reminds me of the old rule of snapshot photography: "Get back as far as possible with that wide angle lens, so everyone can see an acre of ground, sky, and trees, and faces so small no one can recognize them."

I remember my mother's class creating a volcano out of paper mache. She found some safe chemicals to imitate a volcano eruption. That turned into an all-school demonstration outdoors. The other teachers warned the principal, Mr. Bandle, that all of us could be horribly burned, perhaps killed, in the volcanic eruption.

The volcano was moved far away from the building, to minimize damage.

We were lined up near the building, just in case we needed easy access to water, shelter, and bandages from the nurse's office.

The chemicals were mixed and a tiny plume of smoke came out. It was not the beginning of an explosion. It was the peak of the reaction.

All the kids were disappointed.

We laughed about the incident for years.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bridge Closes and Other News

Lock & Dam 15 and swing bridge. Arsenal Bridge is in the background.

I added Moline and Quad-City news to the blog, moving it down on the left. One of the first stories to appear was "Bridge Closes." That is not news! What I remember most about the QC bridges is that one was always closed for repairs or bottle-necked for improvements.

WQUA and the Crocodile Club

From Anonymous Dave:

The picture of Barlow is from a promotion when WQUA picked up the ABC Radio Network. Flambo brought Don McNeill's Breakfast Club to town and floated the whole gang down the river to arrive in the QCs. Barlow made the trip on the "WQUA Showboat"

Don Nelson came to WQUA in 1955. He did various air shifts -- afternoons, mornings, even late evenings from the Plantation. He also had the first rock and roll show on local radio, even before KSTT went all rock. One of the promotions was the Crocodile Club.

The station held dances, with plenty of chaperons, for teens and the kids even had to dress up. The first dance was at the Moline American Legion. Several thousand showed up and they had to set up speakers on 15th Street to accommodate the crowd. The second dance was at Wharton with The Diamonds ("Little Darlin").

The last pic is of Nelson and Barlow
at the Q reunion held in 2003.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ich Bin Moliner:
Photos Needed

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Baker

One fellow student from grade school, junior high school, and MHS wrote, "We are Moliners."

I wrote back, "Ich bin Moliner."

Remember that speech by JFK? He had the German wrong, I am told. When he said, "Ich bin ein Berliner," he was really saying "I am a jelly-filled berliner." In contrast, "Ich bin Berliner" means "I am a Berliner." At least he didn't claim to be a Bismarck.

Photos from the early days of Moline are welcome. There are no other Moline blogs, and photos from Google are limited so far. They will not be soon, when this blog's photo's get on the Net.

There are three ways to share photos. I can easily copy your photos from Facebook, but you should tell me which ones you want to share.

Or you can send digital copies. I can crop and fix photos with PhotoShop. The photo above was taken only a few months ago. I used a new PS tool, called Time Machine TM. Just kidding. I can remove spots, tape marks, ex-friends.

Or you can send photos for me to scan and send back. If you do, please label each one.

You can write me via the comments. I don't publish comments that are personal messages, such as addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Larry Eyre Coach Award

USPTA Awards Lawrence Eyre National High School Coach of the Year

Marco Island, Florida: Thursday, September 24, 2009: The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), the world's oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, honored Lawrence Eyre, Maharishi School Tennis Coach, with the National High School Coach of the Year Award at their World Conference. This prestigious award is given to one coach from all the high schools in the United States irrespective of school size. Lawrence Eyre has been a certified Professional 1 member of the USPTA since 1992. The Maharishi School is a small private school, K-12, located in the heart of the Midwest in Fairfield, Iowa. 

Mr. Eyre was among the founding faculty of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment Upper School in 1981. Since 1995 he has served as the chairman of the school’s Social Studies department. He started the Pioneers tennis team in 1988 and since then has led them to the Final Four in the Iowa team tourney 12 times. In his 22 seasons, his players have earned 16 state championships in singles, doubles and team tennis. In 1999 and 2000, under Mr. Eyre’s guidance, the Maharishi School boys’ team achieved the unprecedented: they captured consecutive “triple crowns” by winning the singles, doubles and team tennis titles at the Iowa I-A state championships. Thanks to Coach Eyre, Maharishi School’s tennis program ranks as one of the most consistent and respected in Iowa. 

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of Maharishi School,” said Mr. Eyre. “Maharishi School tennis players follow a new athletic paradigm,” Coach Eyre explained. “Instead of 'no pain, no gain', our motto is ‘train without strain.’ We invest in rest for tennis success.” Mr. Eyre attributes his players’ achievements to their group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, which creates a profound experience of ‘restful alertness.’ This serves as a foundation for their dynamic activity and gives them a competitive edge, he says. “Peak experience is the basis of peak performance—our athletes play in the ‘zone’ because they live there."

The school claims TM has been a positive force for all of its teams, but none more than tennis. Eyre says TM helps his players learn how to allow unforced errors to "wash over" them and move on to the next point without getting upset or distracted. "Seventy-five percent of a tennis match is time between points, so whoever recovers better and can return to a steady state is going to play better," he said.

Mr. Eyre has been featured in Sports Illustrated's “Faces in the Crowd” section and in Tennis magazine. His numerous awards include the 2000 Iowa Tennis Association Coach of the Year award and the 2007 Central Sectional Coach of the Year award from the National Federation of State High School Associations. The Central section includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. Last year, Mr. Eyre received another honor: USPTA named him the 2008 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, which put him in the running for this year’s national award.

Mr. Eyre has been teaching tennis since he graduated from high school in 1966. He’s taught more than 15,000 people in city parks, YMCA programs, private clubs, schools, and summer camps around the country. Many of his students went on to play college tennis, and some followed in their teacher’s footsteps to work as tennis-teaching professionals themselves. One of Coach Eyre’s former star players, Tyler Cleveland, became a tennis sensation at the University of Iowa, where he was the number one player for four years and Big Ten Player of the Year for both 2000 and 2001. “Lawrence Eyre is one of the best high-school coaches in the country,” Tyler says. “He really helped me develop my game.”

Dr. Richard Beall, Head of Maharishi School, said, “Lawrence Eyre's recognition as the USPTA National High School Coach of the Year is immensely gratifying for our School and community. Lawrence served as a founding faculty member of our school, established our tennis program more than 20 years ago, and is now receiving deserved acclaim for his contributions to this school, his players, his community and state. We appreciate this action by the US Professional Tennis Association to spotlight this treasured coach, an example of sportsmanship and excellence for rest of the country.”

Tennis isn’t Mr. Eyre’s only specialty. While attending Yale University from 1966-70, he was tapped for the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's 100-year-old singing group. “Our recordings, tours, reunion concerts and ongoing friendships over the years have been richly fulfilling,” he says.

A special celebration will be held in the Maharishi School Assembly Hall for Mr. Eyre on Monday, September 28th, at 9:30 a.m. Several of Coach Eyre’s former players will be present along with other dignitaries. Members of the Press are invited to attend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

WQUA - Jack Barlow - Country Singer

Jack Barlow (nee Butcher) looked like this at WQUA.


Jack Barlow recorded this song in 1975.

Jack Barlow CD.

This one is famous: I'd Rather Fight Than Switch.

He also recorded novelty songs under the name Zoot Fenster. According to the comments from his son, the Zoot name was invented by Elvis' drummer.


Anonymous Dave wrote:

"Jack is still alive and living near Nashville. He's had some back operations and doesn't get around as fast as he used to, but he's still got that tremendous voice. He doesn't record any longer, but still does voice-overs. Some of his more notable ones are Bob Evans Farms, Wrigley Big Red Gum, and Chunky Soups. If memory serves me correctly, he's in his 90s."

Melo Cream Penny Postcard - Dean Jacquin

Dean Jacquin posed for a Melo Cream penny postcard around 1938.
His mother Charlotte was dad's sister.

I was looking for pictures of Moline when I found this one on a penny postcard page. "That's Cousin Dean!" He graduated from Moline High in 1955. Aunt Charlotte worked at Melo Cream for many years.

The family legend is that dad and his brother bought Melo Cream when the store failed as a franchise, keeping the name. This is apparently the original franchise.

They began without electric mixers, if they were even available, so dad mixed all the batches by hand, giving him Popeye forearms he never lost.

He believed in advertising, so we had Melo Cream hats long before that upstart Krispy Kreme gave them away.

Every year someone was featured on the calendar. One of my melancholy duties was giving away those calendars. People just had to pull out the latest calendar picture from the envelope and say, "Aww." The calendars featured the Jackson cousins as they grew into parents and included grandchildren as they were born.

The phone number on the calendar got longer as Moline grew, starting at three numbers and growing to seven.

To make Melo Cream seem larger, we passed the phone to the intended recipient thus, "Aunt Charlotte, phone for you, line 8."

The phone always had a light dusting of flour and powdered sugar from its proximity to the table where bread doughnuts and danish were readied.

WQUA ads
The staff at WQUA ate free at the counter and gave Melo Cream free ads from time to time. No one was better than Jack Barlow at live ads. People drove to the shop in the middle of night, still in their PJs, robes, and slippers, to buy doughnuts after Jack talked about them.

I remember Jack at WQUA, but I did not know he had a recording career. This MySpace site tells about it.

"Jack Barlow was farming in Muscatine, Iowa, when he was hired as a deejay for the local station, KWPC. That led to a move to Moline, Iowa where he had his own show on WQUA. From there, he moved to WIRE in Indianapolis. That's where he met Darrell Speck, who had moved his family north to Beech Grove, Indiana in 1964 to work in radio and write songs. They co-wrote I Love Country Music with Barlow's friend, singer/songwriter Charlie Stewart."

Now I have to do a separate post on Jack Barlow the singer.

From Country Schools to Garfield - Gladys Parker Jackson

Co-ed, 1931.

Graduation, Augustana College, 1943

Included in my piles of old photographs were one pose of my mother, captioned "Co-ed, 1931" and another marked "Augustana graduation, 1943."

My mother began teaching by attending a normal school (teacher's college) for one year at Normal, Illinois. She taught all-ages in one-room country schools and took courses at Augustana College.

The twelve-year span between starting school and finishing a degree is a measure of how difficult things were during the Great Depression.

My mother was devoted to teaching and loved her students. She was at Garfield first thing in the morning, long before anyone else. She took a nap in the nurse's office each day, with permission from the principal. Some teachers told on her, so he replied, "If you came as early as Gladys and stayed as late as she did, you could all take naps every day too."

I grew up with kids introducing themselves to me by saying, "I had your mother as my teacher! She was the best one I ever had!" My mother was the rock star of teaching. She went to night school to get a master's plus, and that included stints at the University of Illinois, summer school.

She also taught Sunday School without complaint. Vacation Bible School - she was glad to teach there, too.

I had my mother as a teacher only in English class, due to nepotism rules, but she was my teacher at home. She kept the house stocked with books for all ages. Although I was ejected outdoors to play, I never lacked for reading material. The small library at Garfield was handy for those extra hours I spent at Garfield. Many children's classics were kept there or in individual classrooms.

My mother had a positive, can-do attitude about everything. Ornery students were simply kids with great potential and a need for a few head-raps and phonetic reading lessons. The knuckle-raps were rare, but never withheld when needed. She never tired of learning more so she could teach better. And she graded papers all the time, relentlessly.

"Be quiet, I am grading papers."
"I am grading papers."

The other teachers in the Moline system met high standards too. They prepared us well for college. We had, in effect, private school quality and safety we took for granted.

I tell people about MHS graduation rehearsal, when someone smarted off to the vice-principal. Everyone saw the vp grab the boy by his shirt and say, "Don't talk like that to me." Halos appeared above 750 heads as we became silent and attentive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whitey's Sgt. Camo Ice Cream

Our neighborhood, near Wharton Field House, was two blocks from the original Whitey's. The Dairy Queen was next door, so we could slum it and buy ice milk. But the best treat was to pick out a unique flavor at Whitey's, or enjoy a malted thicker than cement. I remember saving up to get a banana split, because TV shows always mentioned them.

Baskin Robbins had a fling at good ice cream, but they gave up on quality. Whitey's is forever, we hope.

Everyone goes back to Whitey's when returning to the Quad-Cities for a visit. Now they have online ordering, too.

The neighborhood included Wharton, Whitey's, and the Hasty Tasty Restaurant.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Downtown Moline

Moline in the 1950s

This is Downtown Moline as I remember it. I bought my first radio there. "Your dad is Homer? Sure you can have credit."

We bought my wife's engagement and wedding rings there, and mine as well.

We knew all the owners, and if we did not, the owners knew our parents, relatives, and classmates.

Melo-Cream - Gourmet Doughnuts

This was an early photo, when my uncle was still a partner with dad. Uncle Don Jackson is in the middle in the back. My father, Homer Jackson, is on the right.Aunt Charlotte Jacquin also worked at the shop, 1313 5th Avenue, Moline.

This photo, dated in the 1960s, shows the icon wall of WQUA personalities right behind my father's head.

My father and his brother bought Melo Cream when the initial store, part of a franchise, failed. They kept the name and built up the business. My father saw 200 bakeries start and fail in the area. He kept going, even after retiring.

The formula was simple. They made the best products possible. If a batch was less than perfect, it went in the garbage (or we had to eat it at home).

My father got pure cocoa for the chocolate frosting. He bought special flavorings.

The ingredients were always the best. The walnuts, coconut, and pecans were the largest and choicest varieties. Going into the basement meant a chance to take a handful of nuts, to provide some energy for the long trip. If danish rolls were cooling on the rack above the stairs, that worked too.

When my father discovered a better doughnut flour, he paid extra for it to be shipped from California.

Coffee was a mix of Maxwell House and Yuban, to provide more flavor. If the coffee was more than 15 minutes old, it was poured down the drain, much to the horror of customers, who did not want to wait for a fresh pot.

We had a drip system for making coffee, when restaurants were percolating cheap coffee and storing it forever.

My father experimented with new recipes. He made a Jack Barlow doughnut that was a cake doughnut, glazed, with a mixture of ground roasted coconut, graham crackers, and peanuts rolled in. The doughnuts were labor-intensive, because the coconut was roasted at the shop (easy to burn) and the peanuts were cooked and ground there. The end result was a delicious doughnut, even when frozen hard. In fact, someone recommended eating them frozen as a treat - and I did.

Most peanut brittle tends to break teeth off. My father worked out a method for making peanut brittle that tasted great and was easy to eat. He used soda to make it rise up. The trick was cooking it to the right temperature without burning it, pouring it out while still hot.

Melo Cream's coffee counter was the hub of downtown. WQUA staff were there all the time. Police came through. Store owners came in for a break. The John Deere and Arsenal workers bought doughnuts on the way to work.

Melo Cream was the original Facebook. All kinds of news was exchanged back and forth.

Must See TV in the 1950s

George Reeves was stopped by a bullet.

TV was pretty limited in the 1950s. We had to wait for the stations to go on the air Saturday morning, so we waited, watching the test pattern.

Black and white was the only choice for many years, and we had two TV stations to watch.

The kids had to watch these shows:
Howdy Doody

The parents had to watch:
Lawrence Welk
Ed Sullivan
Milton Berle
Syd Caesar

The Milton Berle show made us kids uneasy. He was almost funny. Syd Caesar was funnier than we realized. If we complained about a show, the response was short and quick, "You kids are spoiled rotten."

We were the first generation to reach a zombie state in front of an electronic device. My parents spent a lot of time sending us outdoors, "to blow the stink off." They were worried about the effects of passive watching. We could go outside and play all over the neighborhood. We were not warned about adults, because all our neighbors were part of an informal neighborhood watch group that ratted us out for anything we did. Experience taught us that the least infraction would be reported before we got home. So we played outside until dark or came home when my mother's whistle sounded.

Moline was safe for kids, and we had plenty of things to do outside.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ken Berry, Mayberry, Brigadoon, and Moline

Moline native Ken Berry:

About Mayberry, Ken says, "It’s a wonderful place to visit and people would fantasize about living there. It’s a place like Brigadoon that shows up every hundred years. It’s a place you dream about living, but you know it’s fantasy and you don’t care."

He adds, "I grew up among people very much like that -- a bigger town, but not much bigger -- and the neighborhood was very much like that and the people were very much like those characters. And it was fun for me to visit, too.

I created this blog before I ran into that quotation from Ken Berry's official website. He expressed the same things I felt about Moline, a place we were lucky to enjoy as we grew up.

Going back for our 40th class reunion in 2006 made me think about all my pleasant memories of Moline, especially since my college students have said they had similar experiences in their small towns. My wife Chris shares those memories since she got to know my classmates when we were in college, and enjoys the reunions as much as I do. My mother taught many of my friends, and my father did his best to fatten them up.

Fortunately, my wife and I now live in an area much like the Moline I remember - small town, friendly, honest, and almost 100% Republican. And our grandchildren live 15 minutes away.

John Baker - Medal of Honor - Viet Nam


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. En route to assist another unit that was engaged with the enemy, Company A came under intense enemy fire and the lead man was killed instantly. Sgt. Baker immediately moved to the head of the column and together with another soldier knocked out 2 enemy bunkers. When his comrade was mortally wounded, Sgt. Baker, spotting 4 Viet Cong snipers, killed all of them, evacuated the fallen soldier and returned to lead repeated assaults against the enemy positions, killing several more Viet Cong. Moving to attack 2 additional enemy bunkers, he and another soldier drew intense enemy fire and Sgt. Baker was blown from his feet by an enemy grenade. He quickly recovered and single-handedly destroyed 1 bunker before the other soldier was wounded. Seizing his fallen comrade's machine gun, Sgt. Baker charged through the deadly fusillade to silence the other bunker. He evacuated his comrade, replenished his ammunition and returned to the forefront to brave the enemy fire and continue the fight. When the forward element was ordered to withdraw, he carried 1 wounded man to the rear. As he returned to evacuate another soldier, he was taken under fire by snipers, but raced beyond the friendly troops to attack and kill the snipers. After evacuating the wounded man, he returned to cover the deployment of the unit. His ammunition now exhausted, he dragged 2 more of his fallen comrades to the rear. Sgt. Baker's selfless heroism, indomitable fighting spirit, and extraordinary gallantry were directly responsible for saving the lives of several of his comrades, and inflicting serious damage on the enemy. His acts were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

John Baker attended Moline High School from 1962 to 1966, but dropped out before graduating and joined the army. At only 5’ 1” he was a gymnast before joining the army. His wife thought that gave him the strength and stamina to carry his buddies to safety. He became a “tunnel rat” in Vietnam, a soldier who entered Viet Cong tunnels searching out the enemy and destroying their caches of war material. Baker made the military his career, retiring in 1989. He then began working as a computer analyst at a Veterans Hospital in South Carolina. In addition to serving as the Vice-President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, he serves as a member on the Nation’s Monuments and Cemeteries Committee.

In 2008, the I-280 Bridge, connecting Davenport, Iowa with Rock Island, Illinois, was renamed the Sergeant John F. Baker, Jr., Bridge in honor of Baker.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spock Told Berry To Head to Hollywood

"Go West, young man."
Photoshop by GJ.

When his hitch was up in 1955, Ken was looking for the logical next move. "My sergeant in Atlanta was Leonard Nimoy, from ‘Star Trek,’" Ken recalls. "Leonard said, ‘You really ought to contact some people on the coast since you’re going back out there.’ He set it up and I got a screen test. I didn’t get the job but it got me to California." (The film was Francis in the Haunted House and at the last minute Mickey Rooney got the job of essentially succeeding Donald O’Connor in what turned out to be the last of the "Francis the Talking Mule" films.)
Ken Berry Official Website

Famous Moline High Alumni

Famous alumni

"The Fly" and "Blood Simple"
Wikipedia is so reliable. What about John Getz? Martha was in our class.

Roy Rogers on TV

This link has a great story about a Roy Rogers movie and a local girl.

We watched Roy Rogers on TV every chance we got. I think his movie career was no longer as significant in the 1950s.

My wife Chris and I took a good friend to the Roy Rogers Museum (now closed) in Branson, Missouri. We heard Roy's son and grandson sing. When the grandson sang, it was eerily like a young Roy Rogers.

Chris has always been a Roy Rogers fan. She had a pet parakeet named Roy Rogers, who could almost say the Lord's Prayer, or at least start it.

To impress her at Augustana College, I sang "Happy Trails to You" when I left her at the Andreen dorm.

Jungle Jay and Dr. Igor - WQAD

WQAD's Jungle Jay

This website has a wealth of information about the Quad-Cities and broadcasting. I found their photo of Jungle Jay, who also hosted Chiller Theatre as Dr. Igor.

We loved those monster movies and laughed at Jungle Jay's antics. One night the entire station went out during the monster movie and stayed out. The next night we were tuned in when Dr. Igor referred to it: "Last night, the movie went BLOOIE!" We repeated that until our parents told us to stop.

Dave Coopman's Book


In his book, “WQUA, Moline's Hometown Station,” author Dave Coopman writes that the radio station flourished at 1230 on the AM dial under the ownership of G. LaVerne Flambo, above, a successful promoter of big-name entertainment shows and teen dances during the 1950s. The station launched or aided the careers of numerous on-air personalities, including some still familiar to Quad-City audiences such as William “Spike” O'Dell, Paula Sands and Jim Albracht.

New Book Explores Pioneering Quad-City Radio Station

Dave Coopman has tuned in his broadcasting background and love of local history to write another nostalgia-packed book about Quad-City radio.

His latest work explores WQUA, which was on the air from 1946 until 1983. Billed as “Moline’s Hometown Radio Station,” the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll music outlet, 1230 on the AM dial, was a proving ground for William “Spike” O’Dell, Paula Sands, Jim Albracht and many others who went on to broadcasting success.

“WQUA, Moline’s Hometown Station” is Coopman’s second book exploring the golden age of Quad-City radio. In 1998, he published “Someplace Special … KSTT: A History of the Station and its People,” a richly detailed look at the popular top-40 station of the 1960s and ‘70s.

Like “Someplace Special,” his book on WQUA brims with photos, promotional and advertising images, programming schedules, station logos and other graphics. The thorough and fact-laden account examines ownership and format changes, the comings and goings of announcers, and the station’s glory days under owner G. LaVerne Flambo, the impresario who brought big-name entertainers to the Quad-Cities and introduced the popular “Crocodile Club” teen dances of the 1950s,

A former Rock Island County Historical Society president who managed his college radio station and later worked as a broadcasting engineer, Coopman was encouraged to write “WQUA” by several former employees who also worked at KSTT. Published under the banner of Heritage Documentaries Inc., a local nonprofit organization with a goal of producing educational and historical projects, the indexed, 95-page, soft-cover book is available for $15 at the Rock Island County Historical Society in Moline.

KSTT and WQUA flourished in an era when Quad-City radio stations were operated by independent owners who had their offices on the premises, not by distant corporate chains as is the case today, Coopman said. “KSTT probably is better-known today, but WQUA was a good all-around station. And it also played rock ‘n’ roll before KSTT did,” he said.

Coopman, 60, graduated in 1970 from what was then St. Ambrose College in Davenport, where he managed the student radio station, KALA. He has worked as an engineer at several Quad-City radio and television stations, taught English at Moline High School and worked more than 20 years in sales management.

In piecing together the history of WQUA, he combed Broadcasting magazine yearbooks, Federal Communications Commission records, newspapers and other sources. He also interviewed many former employees and others associated with local radio.

WQUA signed on Sept. 23, 1946, from studios at 1319 5th Ave., Moline, and built a state-of-the-art studio at the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and 18th Street some 22 years later. The station was owned by the Moline Broadcasting Co., whose principals were broadcasting veteran Bruff Olin, Davenport industrialist G. Decker French and Davenport lawyer Howard Eckerman.

The station blossomed under “Vern” Flambo, who became general manager in 1950 and was owner from 1955 until 1960. Coopman writes that Flambo was “the man who put the Quad-Cities on the entertainment map with his big-name shows and promotions, and who took great pleasure in developing the talent of many young people in the broadcasting field.”

Announcers who honed their skills at WQUA over the years include Spike O’Dell, now a star and host of the morning-drive time slot at radio station WGN-AM in Chicago; Paula Sands, news anchor and host of “Paula Sands Live” on KWQC-TV; and Jim Albracht, who was sports director at WQAD-TV and later hosted a talk show on radio station WOC-AM for more than a decade while becoming the play-by-play announcer for the Quad-City Steamwheelers.

In addition to nurturing young broadcasters, WQUA attracted proven talent such as Jack Carey, whose “Coffee with Carey” was a hit show in the 1970s. Other veteran announcers recruited at WQUA included Adam Jones, host of the “All Night Fist Fight” during the 1960s and ‘70s, and Jim McShane, who became immensely popular with listeners and advertisers alike during the ‘70s.

After going through various format changes, WQUA dropped its identity in 1983 to become WMRZ , which featured hits from the 1950s and ‘60s. That format lasted until 1990, when the station became WLLR-AM. Today, it broadcasts sports talk and events as WFXN.

In an age of corporate ownership of radio stations and programming ruled by consultants, Coopman says WQUA is worth remembering. “Young people today ought to know what radio was like 30 years ago,” he adds.

Contact the city desk at (563) 383-2245 or Comment on this story at

Buy the book

“WQUA, Moline’s Hometown Station” can be purchased for $15 at the Rock Island County Historical Society library, 822 11th Ave., Moline. Telephone: (309) 764-8590.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.


Linn County - Larry Easter - Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame

Larry Easter is in the upper left corner.

Larry Easter achieved some fame in Linn County. They received an award not too long ago. The story is posted below.

Here is a link to their music.


Album cover.


Iowa Rock N Roll

The Prophets/Linn County

Inducted Members: Stephen Miller, Dino Long, Fred Walk, Larry Easter, Al Hendricks, Ron DeWitte, Perry Welsh, Tommy(T-Bone)Giblin, Ed Adkins, Tom Krejci, John Cabalka, Bob Miskimen, Joe Eberline,Clark Pierson and Jerry(Snake) McAndrew
Home Town: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Linn County had its roots in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with Danceland and Armar Ballrooms providing a meeting place for musicians.

Linn County emerged out of groups such as the Bopcats with Floyd (Al) Hendricks, Kenny Thompson and Bob Schloss. Kenny formed the Prophets with Stephen Miller (keyboards) of Cedar Rapids, Ron Lustic (reeds) also of Cedar Rapids and Jerry (Snake) McAndrew (drums) from Chicago in the early mid-sixties. Eventually, Kenny became the manager, Ron left and Fred Walk (guitar), of Webster, Ia., who had also played in a group with Floyd Hendricks, and Bob Miskimen (Bass) were added. Soon, Larry Easter (reeds) of Davenport, Ia. joined the group.

The Prophets played primarily R&B and Rock in clubs around the Midwest, working out of the Twilight Room and the Cougar Lounge in Cedar Rapids, Jimmy’s Lounge in Waterloo, as well as many ballroom, College and University dates. During this time, Bob Miskimen left and was replaced by Dino Long of Spencer, Ia.

The group then moved to Chicago, changed its name to the Linn County Blues Band, since all of the members had played in Cedar Rapids at some time. They soon became the house band at the famous Mother Blues club on Wells Street, following the path of Spanky and Our Gang and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band while sharing the stage with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Howling Wolf, James Cotton, and many others.

John Cabalka, a friend and artist from Cedar Rapids, who was working in Chicago for Mercury Records, assumed the role of manager with Ed Adkins of Cedar Rapids as road manager. The band signed with Dunwich Records of Chicago and were working on an LP at Chess Studios when Mercury discovered them, bought their contract, and signed them. Mercury asked them to shorten the name to Linn County to avoid the stigma, at that time, of being type-casted as a blues band.

Mercury then moved the band from Chicago to San Francisco to live and record.

Jerry McAndrew left the group and Clark Pierson was added. Linn County was the only band with Iowa roots to play such venues as The Avalon Ballroom, Fillmore West, The Matrix, (San Francisco) The Bank (Los Angeles) Thee Experience (Hollywood) Fillmore East & The Scene, (New York City) The Grande Ballroom (Detroit) as well as clubs and concert venues in Montreal, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh etc. Linn County, to this date, also signed the highest paying recording contract of any group from Iowa: the group was paid approximately $50,000.00 to sign with Mercury Records – an enormous sum in the mid ‘60’s when most groups had to pay the record company in order to record!

After three albums recorded in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, a solo album by Stephen, and extensive touring in the early 70’s Stephen left the band to record and tour with Elvin Bishop. Clark recorded and toured with Janis Joplin and the remainder of the Linn County tried different combinations of personnel and played around the California area until the band briefly dissolved in the early 70’s.

Stephen Miller moved to the Lisbon, Ia. in 1974 and reformed Linn County with Ron Dewitte (guitar) Perry Welsh (mouth harp) Johnny (Ace) Acerno (bass) Joe Eberline (later replaced by Walter Salwitz) on drums. Tom Krejci, a Cedar Rapids entrepreneur, assumed manager duties. Later, Stephen left to tour and record with Grinderswitch on Capricorn Records and Tommy Giblin, another Cedar Rapidian (organ) was added. This group played extensively in the Cedar Rapids- Iowa City area as well as major cities in the Midwest with great success and popularity. Linn County finally disbanded in 1977.

Many of the members of Linn County have continued to play, write and record with other groups. All the members were part of a very unique band that had an impact on many musicians and fans from the middle sixties until the mid- seventies across the USA and Canada.

WQAD - TV Comes to Moline - August 1, 1963

Why watch a classic like the original King Kong when The Mighty Joe Young is available?

Growing up poor in Moline was difficult. When transients came to our door, we asked them for a handout.

We had to borrow garbage from our neighbors, so we would have something to set out in the alley on pick-up day.

I am sure my classmates shared our glee when Moline finally got its own TV station. Before that, we had two channels only - Channel 4 and 6. With WQAD we had Channel 8 as well.

Best of all, we got the goofiness of small-town TV. The same man who hosted the monster movies also ran the children's show. The monster movies were horrible and fun. The children's shows were bought from some thrift shop for new TV stations. They were old, cheap, and fun to laugh at.

Nevertheless, there were hardships with this upgrade in media. We had to walk across the room to change channels. I tell my grandchildren how wrenching it was to shake off the stupor and move. My parents did not change channels. They made us change channels for them. If I had known the phone number for Child Protection Services....

Garfield Brownies

Front row from left: Diane Manley, Linda Hicks, Sue Lennox,
Candy Clark, Kathleen Wilcox;
Middle row: Unknown girl, Debbie Olson, Kathy Pobanz, Jean Ackley,
unknown girl, unknown girl;
Back row: Linda Wiley, Sally Swanson, Bonna Anderburg , unknown girl,
Joann Minch, Diane Ohrendorf.

This looks like the Garfield basement gym, in the old building. The new addition is now about 50 years old, but that included a new gym with ceilings higher than 8 feet.

PTA meetings were often in the old gym. I remember the food being there. I liked those meetings, because I had about 20 different good desserts to pick from. When asked, "Apple or cherry pie?" I said, "Both."

Cub scouts also met at Garfield. I reached Wolf, with one gold and one silver arrow. Stressed out, I dropped to pursue a more fulfilling hobby, reading comic books.

The Black Angel - Riverside Cemetery

"A popular ghost story is about the black angel.The black angel was a statue at the Deere tomb in Riverside Cemetery in Moline. According to legend, the stone statue turned black as it stood its quiet vigil over the cemetery. Local young people used the statue as a test of bravery. The idea was to run through the cemetery at the stroke of midnight and touch the angel.

Many stories were told of the luckless people who did not escape the angel" a young man who touched the angel and died of a heart attack, and a young woman who spent the night in the cemetery, and then was found unconscious and with her hair turned white. The statue eventually had to be removed to prevent vandalism at the cemetery." QC Online
The story I heard was that a Black kid was chained to the white angel statue, to scare him. Lightning struck and the angel turned black, to show everyone how cruel that was.

The Plantation - Velie Mansion

Velie Mansion - The Plantation Restaurant

The one place to eat in the Quad-Cities was The Plantation, site of the old Velie Mansion.

The waitresses were arrogant, as if the diners were not qualified to order their food.

Going there was exciting and dramatic. The food was excellent, and the prices were fair. Since then, how many have eaten at overblown restaurants where the decor was garish, the food mediocre, and the prices outrageous?

Going to The Plantation meant this was a big date. I took my future wife there the night we were engaged. We ate there every so often after that. We still wonder, over 40 years later, if anyone made shrimp cocktails any better.


"Some say the ghost of slain restaurateur Nick Chirekos walks the old Velie mansion in Moline, from its days as the popular Plantation restaurant and night club. Mr. Chirekos, 59, was shot to death in 1979 on the second floor of the sprawling Velie villa nearly. He unknowingly walked in as a man was robbing his office safe. One tale has several kitchen employees hearing Nick's voice. A former bartender said he entered The Plantation's locked Tahitian Room a couple months after the murder and ``heard a man clear his throat.'' Family and friends say it's all nonsense." QC Online

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sledding in Moline, 1952

Click on this photo for a better view.

Tom Hansen is pulling the sled. From the front sled back are: Allen Jackson, Liza Walzem, Darlene Gabriel, Gregory Jackson, Steve Dickey.

Gladys Parker Jackson is recording a movie on our advanced 8 mm movie camera - no sound. It needed a huge bar of lights to work indoors. Every Sunday we had to watch home movies while Dad made popcorn. We had to eat apples with the popcorn to justify eating junk food.


Kathleen Wilcox's grandparents lived across 23rd Avenue. She recently posted this photo from an old album.

I am using maiden names on this blog because people can search on Facebook for the complete name and more information.

Photos are welcome. Let me know via comments. You can send a message that way. If you write "Do not publish" on the comment, I can read the message and not post it. Giving away an email address is a problem now. I even get spam comments on other blogs.