In the 1950s, many of us faithfully went to see western movies at the Liberty Theatre located at 221 E. Main Street. The building on the west (Fountain Square) side at 219 E. Main was the Darling Shop, a ladies clothing store. If we were to turn the clock back to Christmas 1914, we would have encountered another business operating from that site - the London-Kirkpatrick Hardware Company.
The Comet newspaper offered a Christmas message for its readers in December 1909. Here is a paraphrase of it:
A comparison of letters written to Santa Claus today with those penned in 1909 shows noted similarities and differences. Let's sample a few. You just might recognize a relative or friend listed:
Without question, my mother's oft-listened to radio program in the late 1950s was the "Joe and Mo Show," broadcast each weekday morning over WETB-AM 790 on the dial. Her favorite personalities were Joe Goodpasture (Joe) and Merrill Moore (Mo). The smallish cinder-block station was located just outside of Johnson City on the Erwin Highway. Mum was the word at our house when the creative zany pair were "doing their thing" over the airways. In recent years, Joe and Mo became good friends of mine. Mom would be proud.
Today's column is a nostalgic TV Guide excursion back to a simpler Christmas in 1961:
"Westinghouse Presents" - Carol Lawrence and Robert Goulet star in "The Enchanted Nutcracker," about a little girl who receives a wooden soldier for Christmas. After she places it under her pillow overnight, it comes to life in the morning and takes her on a guided tour of the magic Kingdom of Sweets. This show received top billing that year.
Between 1945 and 1956, Thanksgiving morning was reserved for going with my dad to the annual Burley Bowl Parade in downtown Johnson City. Our normal viewing spot was in front of the Tennessee Theatre on E. Main. Since it was usually freezing cold, we took thermos bottles of hot chocolate with us and kept in mind the fact that Mom would have a hot Thanksgiving dinner waiting on us when we returned home.
During Christmas 1928, Johnson City was merrily clad in holiday yuletide adornment as the holiday spirit prevailed throughout this area where hundreds of enthusiastic people had arrived to shop. The much-awaited day fell on Tuesday that year.
Each Christmas, I get in the holiday mood by playing old Christmas radio shows from my collection. Unlike television, radio lets its listeners formulate images of their favorite radio stars without displaying them on a small usually black and white screen. My four favorite programs from the 1930s and 40s are listed below. For you youngsters, they can be heard on the Internet.
Between 1945 and 1956, the traditional annual Thanksgiving Day dinner was sandwiched tightly between two separate Burley Bowl celebrations. This much anticipated event consisted of a parade held in downtown Johnson City in mid-morning, followed by a football game at Memorial Stadium in the afternoon.
I noted in my last column that I acquired an American Flyer train during Christmas of 1947. On Christmas Day in 1952, I received my second one, a Lionel “O” gauge assembly that was the dream of every young boy. I had wanted a Red Rider BB gun that year, but you can readily surmise why I didn’t get one. My parents were afraid I might shoot my eye out.