Max Headroom Hijack Airwaves in Chicago

Someone in 1987 hijacked the airwaves in Chicago and to this day no one has been identified.

On Sunday, Nov. 22, 1987, Chicago sportscaster Dan Roan was covering the sports highlights of the day like normal. This night would be different. At 9:14, Dan Roan disappeared from the screen. In fact, everything disappeared from the screen as it flickered into darkness. Then, 15 seconds later, a new figure appeared.

Someone with a rubber Max Headroom mask with just static…started bobbing his or her head on the screen. It only lasted around 20 seconds and Dan laughed and blamed it on the computer. The employees of the station thought it was an inside job but it wasn’t…they searched everywhere in the building but it did not come from inside the station. It was creepy but harmless…but whoever did it wasn’t finished yet.

Later on, viewers watching “Doctor Who” on WTTW-TV in Chicago got a big surprise.  A 90-second hijacking of the airwaves, featuring the same person dressed as Max Headroom. This time it was a little more action. Headroom bobbed his head again and said a few things. The audio was hard to make out on one viewing. He held up a can of Pepsi while reciting the Coca-Cola slogan “catch the wave.” Max Headroom was, at the time, being used as a spokesperson for Coke. Near the end, he turned around and was spanked by a woman…There was more to it and both videos are below in the post.

Most of Chicago found this hilarious but…The FCC did NOT see the humor at all. They used all of their resources to see who hijacked the airwaves. They offered a reward for anyone knowing the people responsible. They released this message:

“I would like to inform anybody involved in this kinda thing, that there’s a maximum penalty of $100,000, one year in jail, or both,” Phil Bradford, an FCC spokesman, told a reporter the following day.

“All in all, there are some who may view this as comical,” WTTW spokesman Anders Yocom said. “But it is a very serious matter because illegal interference of a broadcast signal is a violation of federal law. ”

The hijacker was never found and to this day people still wonder who it was and why they did it. The FCC worked out how it could have been accomplished without expensive equipment…by placing his or her own dish antenna between the transmitter tower, the hacker could have effectively interrupted the original signal by good timing and positioning.

1st incident.


2nd incident




Culture Impact of The Exorcist…

When I think of horror movies..this one tops the list. I don’t get scared easy and slasher films make me laugh more than anything. This film is different to me than other horror movies. It’s been copied with sometimes awful results.

I got to see this in a theater in 2000 on Halloween at the re-release of the directors cut. It was an experience I’ll never forget. The place was full of teenagers who were scared even though they had seen more modern horror movies but this one still worked.

When it was released in 1973 it was a huge success. Lines wrapped around street corners waiting to get in to see this. It broke records across the nation in most theaters it opened. The Exorcist went on to gross $232.91 million (Not adjusted to today’s money) domestically. The Exorcist film has grossed over $441 million at the worldwide box office.

I remember first hand on how this was handled by theaters. My cousin was pregnant at the time this movie premiered in 1973 and they would not let her in to see the movie because they did not want to be liable.

People were fainting or becoming ill at almost every show. This movie has its place firmly in 70’s pop culture.

Stephen King: [The Exorcist] is a film about explosive social change, a finely honed focusing point for that entire youth explosion that took place in the late sixties and early seventies. It was a movie for all those parents who felt, in a kind of agony and terror, that they were losing their children and could not understand why or how it was happening.



Yahtzee History

Saturday night we had some guests over and we all played Yahtzee. It was the first time I’d played it since the 1980s at least. I had a good time and looked up the history of the game.

In 1954 a wealthy anonymous Canadian couple, who called it The Yacht Game invented the game to play aboard their yacht. They would invite friends and teach them. In 1956 they went to toy maker Edwin S. Lowe to make some games for their friends as Christmas gifts. Edwin liked the game so much that he wanted to buy the rights to it. The couple sold the rights for the amount of making them a 1000 games.

When Edwin released it on the market it did not do well in it’s first year. The game could not be explained easily in an ad.  It had many nuances and interesting things about it and they can only be understood if the game was actually played.

Finally, Edwin tried a different approach. He started to have Yahtzee parties hoping to spread the news about the game by word of mouth. That started to work and Yahtzee got extremely popular. During Lowe’s ownership alone, over forty million copies of the game were sold in the United States of America as well as around the globe

In 1973  Milton Bradley Company bought the E.S. Lowe Company and in 1984 Hasbro, Inc. acquires the Milton Bradley Company and the game.

The origins of the game came from the  Puerto Rican game Generala and the English games of Poker Dice and Cheerio. Another game, Yap, shows close similarities to Yahtzee.


Charlie Chaplin – The Kid

This 1921 movie by Charlie Chaplin teamed him up with young Jackie Coogan. You may remember the adult Coogan as Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. It’s a great film with some classic scenes between Chaplin and Coogan. This was Chaplin’s first feature film. He was finishing up his First National contract as he co-founded United Artists with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

Image result for jackie coogan kid and adult

The Jackie Coogan and Chaplin…Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester

The story starts off with a woman (Edna Purviance) that abandons her baby in the back of an expensive car hoping that the owners will give her baby a life that she can not. The car is then stolen and the baby is left on the street. The Tramp (Chaplin) finds the baby and takes it home and raises him. Five years pass and he loves the kid and together they have a great scheme going on.

The kid goes around throwing rocks through windows and out of nowhere later on comes The Tramp who would just so happen to have glass and materials with him to fix the window for a price.

The authorities soon find out that the Tramp is not the kid’s father. While this is going on the mother who is doing really well now is looking for her child. The Tramp and Kid are pursued and in this film, Chaplin had some serious and tender moments combining comedy with pathos which at the time was a turning point. The movie was considered a masterpiece when it was released.

One scene that jumps out is the scene where social services are physically taking the child away and Chaplin fights…not comically but really fights to keep the Kid.

The film was written, directed, produced and starred… Charlie Chaplin. Edna Purviance makes her last appearance acting with Chaplin. She would be directed by him one more time in a drama as a leading lady. This movie kicked off Coogan’s very successful child acting career.

Jackie Coogan would become a star in the twenties. He earned 3-4 million dollars acting and when he turned 21 in 1935 he thought he was set for life only to find out the money was gone. His mother and step-father spent all of his money on furs, jewelry, and cars. His mom said that Jackie enjoyed himself acting and no promises were ever made to give him any of the money. Jackie sued his mom in 1938 and only received 125,000 dollars of his money.

Coogan had financial problems for a long while and even went to Chaplin for help which Chaplin gladly gave him money.

One good thing came out of it. The “Coogan Act” which made parents set aside at least 15 percent of their child’s earnings to a trust fund.

If you get a chance this is a great short entertaining movie.



This is Spinal Tap

I remember seeing this movie with some buddies in the 1980s and we all loved it. A great mockumentary of the fictional rock group Spinal Tap and their dying drummers. There are many quotable lines in this movie and they have stayed with me since I saw it the first time. I’ve met some people who didn’t get this movie at all and some who loved it.

The movie starred Michael McKeon as singer/guitarist David Saint Hubbins, Christopher Guest as guitarist Nigel Tufnel (reminded me of Jeff Beck), Harry Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls, Tony Hendra as manager Ian Faith, David Kaff as keyboard player Vic Savage and R.J. Parnell as drummer Mick Shrimpton…also Rob Reiner as the Marty DiBergi the filmmaker.

Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest actually wrote, played, and sang the music.

The movie was released in 1984 and started slow but built a cult following. At first, some people thought it was about a real band and they would ask Reiner why he would do a documentary on a band no one had heard of.

Christopher Guest said he was inspired at an LA hotel in 1974 when a British band came in and the manager of the band asked the bass player if he left his bass at the airport. The bass player replied I don’t know if I left it…did I leave it? Do you get my bass at the airport? Guest said this went on for 20 minutes back and forth and it stuck with him.

They did have a basic story but the movie was ad-libbed with no script. They had over 100 hours of film and had to edit it down. They have regrouped many times and played live concerts as Spinal Tap.

This Is Spinal Tap was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry because it is a film that is considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

My favorite bits? Stonehenge, Nigel’s “Mach” piece, these go to 11, Nigel’s bread, you can’t dust vomit… there are too many to name them all. check the videos out at the bottom.


Some of it hits home according to some rock stars.

Quotes about the movie

The Edge – “It’s so hard to keep things fresh, and not to become a parody of yourself,”. “And if you’ve ever seen that movie Spinal Tap, you will know how easy it is to parody what we all do. The first time I ever saw it, I didn’t laugh. I wept. I wept because I recognized so much and so many of those scenes.”

Ozzy Osbourne reportedly thought it was a real documentary. ” “They seemed quite tame compared to what we got up to”

Joe Perry from Aerosmith –  “It was great, every bit as brilliant as it was supposed to be, so good. Even then, we had been through it all six times. I told Steven the next day, ‘You’ve got to see this movie! It’s so good. It’s hilarious.’”

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – “That movie bummed me out, because I thought, ‘How dare they? That’s all real, and they’re mocking it’

Pete Townsend –  “Keith Moon “was ‘Spinal Tap incarnate.”



These go to 11


Nigel’s Bread


Can’t dust vomit






Artist Neysa McMein

I discovered Neysa McMein through Harpo Marx’s autobiography “Harpo Speaks” and I looked up her artwork. I’ve seen her art plenty of times by reading and collecting 20’s and 30’s magazines but never knew the artist. She was also a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table.

She sold millions of magazines with her covers for McCall’s, Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, McClure’s, Woman’s Home Companion, Photoplay, Liberty, Associated Sunday Magazine, Ladies World. Ad work: memorably for Palmolive; also Cadillac, Lucky Strike, Adam’s Gum, Coke, Hummingbird Hosiery, Gainsborough Hair Nets, Colgate.

She painted portraits of two sitting presidents, Warren G. Harding, and Herbert Hoover.

She also created the first Betty Crocker and updated her through the years.


Image result for neysa mcmein suffragette

Neysa marching in 1917 in a Suffrage Parade.

Harpo Marx said this about Neysa: The biggest love affair in New York City was between me—along with two dozen other guys—and Neysa McMein. Like me, Neysa was an unliterary, semi-illiterate gate-crasher at the Algonquin. But unlike me, she was beautiful and bursting with talk and talent. A lot of us agreed she was the sexiest gal in town. Everybody agreed she was the best portrait and cover artist of the times.

She taught Harpo Marx how to paint and according to Harpo she only had one failing as a teacher: Neysa had one failing as an art instructor. It was, as far as I knew, her only failing, period. That was her passion for fires. If a siren or bell should sound during one of our late-night seminars, that was the end of the seminar. Neysa was such a fire buff that she once dashed to Penn Station and jumped on a train when she heard there was a four-alarm fire burning in Philadelphia.

The Harpo quotes are from his autobiography “Harpo Speaks.”

Neysa died in 1949 and was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1984.

To see more of her artwork check out this from Pinterest. 






20 Songs Classic Radio Has Worn Out

Everyone’s list will be different but classic rock radio has just overplayed these songs. It does not mean I don’t/didn’t like the song to begin with…some I didn’t…some I did… There are more than this but I kept it at 20. No need for me to post youtube links…just turn on a classic rock station and they will come to you.

I’ve tried to keep it one per band or artist. The order of these is not really important…you could pull them out of a hat and be just as well. Sometimes the artists have other hits that you don’t hardly hear but no… they stick to the old reliables.

Radio has ruined these for me. Yes, I’m older and have heard them more than some other people but my 18-year-old son suggested a few of them.

  1. Taking Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive – I liked this song at one time…Now I would pull a hamstring getting up to turn it off.
  2. Hotel California – Eagles  – I still like the solos at the end with Joe Walsh and Don Felder but the rest I can do without.
  3. More Than A Feeling – Boston  – At one time it was refreshing and different. Radio has worked this song like the town pump.
  4. In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins (just one of many) His songs saturated the market so much in the 80s that is was enough for 3 lifetimes
  5. Jukebox Hero – Foreigner – I know huge Foreigner fans but I’m not one of them. This one I know more than I should.
  6. Feel Like Making Love – Bad Company – Not a well-written song to begin with…it doesn’t get better with more spins. They have good songs…Painted Face, Crazy Circles but they don’t get played as much.
  7. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey – Yes it’s catchy and an eighties theme…it fit at the end of the Sopranos…but I can do without it.
  8. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones – Oh how I loved this song when it was released. I liked it a decade later…until Microsoft used it and since then you would think it was the Stones only song.
  9. Tom Sawyer – Rush – See number 5
  10. The Joker – Steve Miller – Hanspostcard says it all.
  11. Money – Pink Floyd – Great band and they have so many others they could play.
  12. Roundabout Yes – When I hear the octave on the guitar I spin the dial like a top to another station.
  13. Sweet Home AlabamaLynyrd Skynyrd – In the south where I live this song is required listening…. over and over and over…They have better songs…
  14. Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top – I loved the video, the car, and the girls in the video but the song no more. How about the older ZZ Top?
  15. Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood & the Destroyers – In high school alone I heard it enough.
  16. Old Time Rock and Roll – Bob Seger – The first 5 times I heard it…I liked it…but after the 1, 855th time…no more.
  17. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin – It’s been played backward, forward and sideways…and the hidden message is the same…a worn out masterpiece.
  18. Barracuda Heart – This and Magic Man are like the bookends of worn out songs.
  19. Black Water – Dobbie Brothers – I’ve never bought a record by them and they had great musicians in that band…but this is nauseatingly overplayed
  20. You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi – Not for me the first time or the many times after…in cars, shopping centers, and grocery stores.

To be fair…there are songs that are worn out but yet I still listen to… Who Are You, Baba O’Riley, Hey Jude, Lola, Paint It Black, Brown Eyed Girl…