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Of the many popular detectives on during the golden age of radio Boston Blackie was one of the most memorable names of radio and early tv. He was the radio’s answer to the B-movie, Columbia’s Meet Boston Blackie in 1941.
In 1944 Chester Morris (the screen Blackie) came to NBC with a Boston Blackie airshow, sponsored by Rinso and announced by Harlow Wilcox as a summer replacement for Amos ‘n’ Andy. The series had a spotty radio history, running for a stort time under Morris, and revived by 1945 as a syndicated show with Richard Kollmar as Blackie. Boston Blackie, in any case, was a private detective with a flair for the smart comment. Billed as “enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friends,” Blackie liked nothing better than making the cops look stupid. With Inspector Faraday heading the local police effort, that was a snap. Richard Lane played Faraday in the NBC Morris verison; the role was played under Kollmar by Maurice Tarplin, who was also the “misterous traveler.” Lesley Woods (Margo Lane from The Shadow and Lois Lane from Superman) played Blackie’s girlfirend Mary.
You will note that if you have heard Boston Blackie on am 1370 KDTH’s Big Broadcast on Sunday nights from 6 to midnight, there are no opening or closings on the syndicated version because that is the time for the local station to air their own sponsor messages. Blackie, a reformed jewel thief, could solve any crime, even though he was consided the suspect in many cases.
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One of the rare major positive side effects of the corona virus, COVID-19, is that it has shown us what’s important and what’s not important. Best selling author, Philip Yancey, puts it this way, “In airports, janitors who clean the banisters and wipe the seats of airplanes are now as crucial to safety as the pilots who fly the jets. Each night, people in major cities honk horns, howl, or shout their appreciation for the health care workers who keep us alive. We’ve learned we can get along without the sports industry that pays top athletes $10 million per year to chase a ball; meanwhile, harried parents of young children have new appreciation for the teachers who earn less than 1 percent of that amount.”
Before the pandemic many of us were so busy that we neglected giving each other a hug or put off visiting that elderly person important to us living in assisted living or a nursing home. But as the social isolation demanded by the pandemic dragged on many yearned for a hug (some people not experiencing a human touch for weeks) and had to be content with pressing a hand against one side of the window while the elderly loved one’s hand pressed against the other side of the glass, so close, yet so far.
Before the pandemic we complained about rushing here and there to do our banking, shop for groceries, get a haircut, go to meetings, etc. But during the weeks of sheltering in place we developed a renewed appreciation for the ordinary dailiness of life that we used to experience and a yearning for its return.
The pandemic turned what seemed important upside down to show us it wasn’t all that important and has turned right side up what seemed unimportant as being important. The pandemic revealed to us the topsy-turvy truth!
Jesus taught this topsy-turvy truth, and lived it! When life returns to something closer to what we remember as being normal, we’d be wise if we remember what we learned when our world was turned upside down. The tendency, however, is to go back to our old ways of looking at things and doing things. It seems to me that the best way to keep our newly found equilibrium on truth is to have a renewed commitment to stay close to the One who’s always known what’s up and what’s down, what’s important and what’s not, who can help us hold on to the topsy-turvy truth!
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5
When I was a young woman and confused about life in general, I had a friend who gave me some good advice that has stayed with me forever. He asked me what I wanted in a husband. Naturally, I mentioned all the cliches. I wanted to be loved and taken care of by a kind and personable husband. My friend then probed further into my desires.
Honey dripped from my lips as I described my Knight in shining armor. He was to be my everything. After some time my friend gave me some good advice. He said, “No person will ever take better care of you, then you.” This bit of wisdom has echoed in my head ever since he said it. And it has been worthy and valuable advice to live by.
Actually, life has a way of bouncing you around and putting road blocks of problems in your path as you wander thru a lifetime. Sometimes the road blocks are so high that you feel you just can’t get around them. We often look to others to help us out and sometimes they do. But, when you are backed up against a hill with no way out you might want to give up and bury your head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich.
Well, this is where my friends’ advice comes in handy. You have to take care of yourself. You have to dig in your heels and stand firm. No one will take better care of you, then you. As we age, this becomes more of a challenge because we often need more than we can give, but if we stay in the battle we can win our war. We can take care of ourselves to our satisfaction.
I often wonder what happened to my friend from my youth. Perhaps, he was just a phantom passing by my side. Did he really exist? Yes, he was a person. I remember how friendly and nice looking he was, but he was not husband material for me. He was not my Knight in shining armor. Yet, like a saint, he gave me valuable advice that has carried me through many of life’s road blocks.
Don’t you sometimes wish life held the secret to perfect happiness and shared it with you early in life? Ahem! No such luck. We have to create our happiness by believing in ourselves. If we can take care of ourselves then we can take care of others. That is one way to share perfect happiness with others.