Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wharton Field House - 90th Birthday

My father, Homer Jackson, is the shadow at the bottom. He was a laborer in building Wharton - and very proud of it. Wharton looms in the background, so our family had an ideal location for Wharton and Browning events, basketball games, football games, track meets, fireworks, pro wrestling, car shows, and the Harlem Globetrotters. I am on the way in the photo, much to the dismay of my siblings, but still invisible and insensible of this photographic moment.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Rest in Peace, Ken Berry, 85 Years Old

 The information below is from Variety.

Ken Berry, a popular TV actor in the 1960s and ’70s who starred in “F-Troop,” “Mama’s Family” and “Mayberry R.F.D.,” died Saturday.
His former wife, actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence posted the news on Facebook. “F-Troop” co-star Larry Storch wrote on Facebook, “We hope you know how much you were loved. Goodnight Captain.”

“Mayberry R.F.D.” ran from 1968 to 1971, when the folksy smalltown sitcom was cancelled as more contemporary shows such as “All in the Family” came on the air.

He also appeared in comedy films “Herbie Rides Again” and “The Cat From Outer Space” and made frequent guest appearances on shows including “The Golden Girls,” “Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island” and “CHiPs.”

Born in Moline, Ill., Berry started out as a singer and dancer. He served in the U.S. Army special services under Sergeant Leonard Nimoy, entertaining the troops and winning a slot on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Many have heard about the Spock-Berry connection, but only one blog has Photoshopped the story.

Nimoy helped introduce him to studios after he left the Army, and soon Berry was under contract to Universal to appear in movie musicals. Berry worked in several musical revues, including with Abbot and Costello, and with Lucille Ball. Carol Burnett also worked with Berry, who later became a frequent guest on her show.

After brief stints on “Dr. Kildare” and George Burns-Connie Stevens sitcome “Wendy and Me,” he landed his first regular starring role on “F-Troop.”

 Ken Berry posts on Moline Memories

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Moline Memories - 300,000 Views Total - Established 2010

A 2010 post -

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

 Ken Berry, Moliner, recently celebrated his 85th birthday.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Christmas Past and Present

 Jorja Hepner, MHS 66

 Kris Streed, MHS 66

 Moline's homegrown Santa - Mike Collins, MHS 68

 Kathleen Wilcox, MHS 66

 Bethany Jackson's Christmas dress, MHS 66, once removed

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! - Happy 49th Anniversary to John and Diana Robeson.

John and Diana Robeson were married on November 22, 1969, and so were the Jacksons.

All of us are Cubs fans,  two more so, which means our parents
never saw a Cubs World Series win, place, or show.

 I invented a cloaking device in chem-physics, but no one noticed.

John and I went to Plymouth Congregational Church, pre-school, and ended up as lab partners in chem-physics class.
I am in that photo - my uncredited cameo.
John and I earned PhDs and became university professors. There was another eventual PhD
in that class, but that was just in rocket science.

 Christina and I had our anniversary photos 
taken at Penney's.
John and Diana's children and grandchildren have hair
the color of bright, red pennies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Happy Birthday - Ken Berry, Moliner - 85 Years Old

 Happy 85th Birthday, Ken Berry!

Carol Burnett had the best variety show on TV,
and Ken Berry was a welcome guest.


  1. Christopher Korman says:
    I know Ken from his many years of his guest starring turns on Carol Burnett and Mama’s Family which my father Harvey Korman appeared on. Ken is a perfect example of an Artists getting type cast. Most people don’t know that Ken Started off as a dancer with the Billy Barnes revue along with Michelle Lee and Bert Convy. The fact is Ken Berry is one of the greatest song and dance men around and if he had been given the chance to prove that he would be mentioned with Astaire and Kelly Today.The only thing that supersedes his talents is his humility,grace,and integrity.Its been a privilege and honor to say I got to know the icon Ken Berry.

Video interviews with Ken Berry about the Carol Burnett Show, Mayberry RFD

In the Army, Spock got Berry to try Hollywood.

When I read about Ken Berry on his website, many details about Moline echoed what others have said and I have thought:

"Ken Berry was already five-eighths of the way to Mayberry when he was born in Moline, Ill., on November 3, 1933. Kenneth Ronald Berry was the second child (joining sister Dona Rae) of Bernice and Eugene Darrell Berry, who at the time of Ken’s birth was an accountant for John Deere Company."

Early career:
"When I got the job and it took me away from home, that must have been very hard for my parents," Ken says. "But they were very supportive and it was really a thrilling experience for me. After the Horace Heidt show, I came back and finished high school in Moline. I used to drive up to Chicago once a week and take a voice lesson and a tap lesson in the same studio. But that didn’t last very long. After graduation, I went back out to California to look for work. And I didn’t get much at all."

Mayberry as Brigadoon
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."

Mayberry Like Moline
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. It was one of my favorite half hours ever on television and that was long before I met Andy."


GJ - My wife Chris and I talk about how much we enjoyed the 40th reunion of the MHS 66 class. She has always felt a part of my class, even though she met them after graduation, when we were at Augustana.

We have had a number of discussions with people on Facebook. The common theme is how pleasant people were to each other in Moline. It is no surprise that Ken Berry had the same experience earlier.

My father knew many people from work and from graduating from MHS. We had a lapboard where all his classmates inscribed their names with a woodburner. All his classmates seemed to be named Eric Johnson, John Ericson, Eric Ericson, John Johnson, Sven Svenson, Sven Ericson, Eric Svenson, John Svenson, etc.

Once we were discussing a local politician, and dad said, "I cannot believe he would be like that. His father was one of my teachers. His word was his bond."

With my mother in the Moline school system and my father in business, I was connected to everyone - one way or another. The kindly attitude was expressed in many different ways. When I went to Augustana College, a bike ride away, my mother's classmates were there.

The daughter of Dr. Andreen taught education at Augustana. "Are you going to be a teacher, too?" she asked. I said, "No, never."

Later I learned that Dr. Andreen left his position as a noted professor at Yale to become president of a threadbare college on the banks of the Mississippi. The little portable college, which barely survived, has become one of the best liberal arts colleges in America. Looking back, we can see how much people sacrificed to create a better life for future generations. I wonder if the same will be said about us Boomers.

I can imagine Ken Berry recognizing the fictional characters of Mayberry being so much like Moliners. I will have to write about them too.

Ken Berry had a hit show in Mayberry RFD in the late 1960s. He said Mayberry was just like the town he grew up in - Moline.
In Hollywood he is still known as the nicest guy in show business.

Andy Griffith launched the pilot of Mayberry RFD with Ken Berry.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Honoris Causa A Couple To Add To Our Golden Wedding Anniversary List - William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett - 67 Years!

 William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett got married June 30, 1951. Here is a wonderful description of their personal and professional lives.

 Read about the Bartlett Performing Arts Center here.

Moline Actress Bonnie Bartlett Saved by Heroic Husband

 William Daniels saved his wife Bonnie Bartlett from a burglar - by switching on the lights.

William Daniels, the actor who portrayed the beloved Mr. Feeny on "Boy Meets World," poked fun at his part in foiling an attempted burglary over the weekend at his California home.
“I struggled with an intruder. Took him to the ground. I beat him up. And he ran away with bruises all over him,” Daniels, 91, said with a chuckle during an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday. “Would you like to print that? You better not, it’s a total lie.”
An unidentified individual attempted to break into Daniels’ San Fernando Valley home Saturday night while he was there with his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, a representative for the actor confirmed to Fox News.

Everyone seems to be reading this older post:

Downtown Moline, 1950s: The Barlett Insurance Agency was owned by Bonnie's father,
who helped found the Music Guild.

William Daniels and his wife Bonnie Bartlett both won Emmy awards, 1987.

 Bartlett Performing Arts Center

Here is the program where they starred together in Macbeth at Northwestern University. I hope they have a dog named Spot: "Out, out, damned Spot!"

Bonnie Bartlett, was born elsewhere (get it?) but grew up in Moline. She met her husband at Northwestern University. I remember him for providing the voice of a car named KITT. I found Knight Rider impossible to watch, but St. Elsewhere was a good show overall.

More about Bonnie Bartlett.

About Bartlett Insurance Agency.

Bonnie's father helped found the Quad-City Music Guild:

Quad-City Music Guild is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality musical entertainment in the Quad Cities. For the Guild, the 2005 schedule will mark the 57th season of presenting productions in Prospect Park Auditorium, Moline.

Formed in 1949, the Guild was the brainchild of area residents with the idea of creating a forum in which local talent could perform.

Founders of the organization, all now deceased, were Dr. Frederick J. Swanson, music director; E.E. Bartlett, dramatics coach; Dr. John C. Johnson, production coordinator; Earl H. Beling, first Guild president; and H.L. (Roy) Holst of the Moline High Twelve Club, the Guild’s sponsor during the early years.

It all began on the evening of June 22, 1949, when a small group of faithful supporters sat on park benches in the old Chautauqua building to see the first Guild show, Victor Herbert’s "Sweethearts." Tickets cost $1.50.

The idea flourished and the enthusiastic response to the new organization’s first show prompted presentation of three shows in 1950, a pattern that has since been followed. Audiences continued to respond, and in 1996, QCMG welcomed its 500,000th patron to Prospect Park in Moline. Since then, 50,000 more patrons have visited our theater.

Prospect Park provides a historical setting for all QCMG productions. Nestled among trees, the park overlooks the Rock River valley. The Tri-City Railway Company built the “Prospect Park Pavilion,” as it was then known, in 1903 on property that later became a Moline city park.

In earlier days visitors could arrive via trolley provided by the railway company. Often referred to as a little “Coney Island,” the park housed a switchback railway ride similar to a roller coaster as well as pony rides and a zoo. Although the theater originally served as an auditorium for the popular Chautauqua programs, it fell into disarray after the advent of motion pictures and automobiles decreased the demand for such entertainment.

During 1949 the Quad-City Music Guild chose the theater for the site of its first production, ultimately saving the pavilion from demolition. Over the years many improvements have been made to the building. A cement floor was laid, dressing rooms furnished, curtains purchased, and orchestra pit developed and a workroom constructed beneath the stage.

Today audiences can enjoy the view from the theater perched atop a picturesque lagoon. Hand-dipped ice cream cones, hot dogs, and popcorn available to patrons before the performances and during intermission are a throwback to a bygone era where park-goers often picknicked and swam in the lake.

Quad-City Music Guild has provided the excitement of live theater exclusively using Quad City area performers. The QCMG founders’ decision to use only local, non-professional residents in all production aspects became a governing principle of the organization. Through the years thousands of area residents have been involved in the productions, some for a single show, others for a season or several years, real veterans for decades.

One of QCMG’s original goals included awarding monetary scholarships to these participants for further study in a musical or dramatic field. Although organized as a non-profit entity, QCMG has provided over $30,000 to the Quad City community since first awarding training grants in 1953. QCMG allows area audiences to further reap the rewards of its scholarship program by also providing a creative outlet for application of these skills learned by past grant recipients in their studies.

Quad-City Music Guild relies heavily on the volunteer spirit for all aspects of their performances, including the directing, acting, choreography, orchestration, lighting, sound, set construction, and concessions. Guild workers range from senior citizens to grade school youngsters, contributing countless hours of community involvement to the Guild.

To date, QCMG producers and directors have utilized the skills of over 15,000 participants. To paraphrase a page from “The Vagabond King” program (1950), "The actors, the actresses, the members of the ensemble on the stage,... the men and women backstage, in the orchestra, and those who have worked for many months on the multitude of details... these are your neighbors and friends."

In June 2000, QCMG completed a $1.4 million renovation of the theater. The project included: a new 4800 square foot lobby; new restrooms; handicapped accessible parking; a new roof; new maintenance free exterior; a new ticket office; a new concessions area; air conditioning and heating; and reupholstered/restored seating.

The complete project was met with great enthusiasm from our patrons. All of our 2000 productions were complete sellouts.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Navigation - Golden Wedding Anniversaries Will Be Linked Here and Posted in the Left Column

Sometimes one spouse does not live to the 50th wedding anniversary, but the date is still the golden anniversary, even in this grief-denying society of ours. I am listing all golden anniversary posts here and also putting this post in the left column with the rings graphic.

In the unlikely event of an oversight, please let the overworked and underpaid blogger know. I am adding the label Golden Wedding Anniversary to the ones previously posted. Click on the label list and see if you were included, or look on your post and see if the label is there.

Golden Wedding Anniversary labeled posts - linked here.

Significant anniversaries are also posted if one spouse belongs to The Class the Stars Fell On - MHS 66. That can be 10, 20, 24, 36, or any other year.

Honoris Causa - William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett

Barbara Dodd and Daniel Hawotte

Jim and Jorja Hepner Beert

Barbara Stevens and Dan Lear

Jeff and Patty Puck Hall

Steve and Susan Ogle Quick

Rex and LaWanda Mae Bullock

Jeannine Lawson and Jay McFadyen

John and Diana Robeson

Gregory and Christina Ellenberger Jackson

Jorja Hepher - MHS 66 - and James Beert: September 21, 1968

James and Jorja, September 21, 1968.

Jim passed on to eternal life in 2014.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Golden Wedding Anniversary - Barbara Stevens and Dan Lear - Congratulations and God's Blessings

Barbara Stevens and Dan Lear celebrate  their 50th wedding anniversary on October 18th.

Fifty years ago.


GJ - I am posting 50th wedding anniversaries and other anniversaries being celebrated. Let me know on Facebook if you want yours listed. I will mark the 50th with the golden wedding anniversary label so we can see them as a group.

Thank you for sending me other notices, more somber. It helps to have them in one place.

Friday, September 14, 2018