Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bill Hayes Remembering… James Arness… and this day in music history! ay in music history!

"Dare to be naive"
R. Buckminster Fuller, American inventor and philosopher (1895-1983)

Happy Sunday! Today is the 86th birthday of Bill Hayes. I knew Bill growing up as a soap opera star along with his gorgeous wife, Susan, on Days of Our Lives. What most people of my generation don't know and/or remember is that Bill is also a great song and dance man!
William "Bill" Foster Hayes III, born on June 5, 1925 in Harvey, Illinois) is a long-time American actor and Billboard Hot 100 #1 artist.
Following a 20 year-long career as a musician, he achieved fame once again when he began playing Doug Williams on NBC's long-running Days of Our Lives in 1970.

Hayes originated the character of Doug and is the only actor to ever play that role.
At this time, 41 years after his first appearance, he is still appearing in the same role on Days Of Our Lives.

He had a number-one hit in 1955 with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," outselling a version by Fess Parker, star of the Disney movie. Coonskin hats were big that year.

"My freshman year at DePauw was all flux and transition," Bill Hayes, longtime star of daytime television's Days of Our Lives and 1947 DePauw University graduate, writes in Like Sands Through the Hourglass. A memoir, the book was co-authored by Hayes' wife and Lives co-star, Susan Seaforth Hayes. Bill Hayes came to DePauw as a freshman in the Fall of 1941. "As time wore on all the men either enlisted or got drafted into the service," he writes. "The music of the serenades changed drastically as families and couples were being torn apart by war.
A double major in music and English and a Rector Scholar at the University, Hayes himself enlisted in the Navy and served three years, returning to DePauw after the war to complete his studies. He writes of his many DePauw friends and memories, noting, "My Lambda Chi Alpha pledge class was outstanding.
Out of a dozen, three became doctors, one an attorney, two became nationally syndicated cartoonists, and one a very successful political writer in Washington. They were high-quality people who taught me courtesy, generosity, how to study, how to be responsible, and the meaning of true brotherhood."
After graduating from DePauw, Bill Hayes was an original regular on Your Show of Shows, the pioneering TV variety show.
His resume includes numerous Broadway productions and his version of The Ballad of Davy Crockett was America's #1 record in March and April of 1955, selling more than three million copies. He has played the role of Doug Williams on Days of Our Lives since 1970 appearing in more than 1,900 episodes.
Happy Birthday, Bill Hayes!

We lost another TV Icon this past week with the passing of James Arness. Although he had not been in the spotlight for sometime, I was saddened by his passing. When “Gunsmoke” premiered in 1955, it was considered a new breed of “adult western,” with well-drawn characters and complex plots that, despite its name, took the show beyond outlaws and gunfights.
Losing James Arness is almost like losing a family friend. I grew up in a TV household and there were certain shows that we shared as a family. My dad loved westerns as did my paternal grandparents.
Many Monday nights were spent at my grandparents watching Gunsmoke and if my dad was generous, we could stay another 30 minutes and watch HERE'S LUCY and eventually MAUDE.
Anness died of natural causes at the age of 88 in his Brentwood home in Los Angeles, California. Arness was best known for portraying 6-foot-7 Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years on one of the longest running weekly episodic television dramas in history, which aired from 1955-1975 for a record-breaking 635 episodes.

After his appearance on the hit CBS drama came to an end, he then appeared in made-for-television Gunsmoke movies in the late 80s and early 90s.“Gunsmoke” benefited from some of the best writing in the history of television and from years on radio before that. By the time Dillon and company made it to the small screen, the characters were already well established and beloved. Yet they continued to develop over the 20-year TV run from 1955 to 1975, and James Arness was Matt Dillon for all that time.

In 1970's he said "I'm 6-6 and weigh 225 pounds", although he also said in 2005, "I was 6 feet 7 when I started and I've shrunk up a little bit. I'm probably 6-5 or so now. But up here at 82 I feel pretty good"
Whereas Dillon appeared to have no interests besides keeping the streets of Dodge City quiet, chasing down bad guys and having an occasional beer with Doc Adams and Miss Kitty at the Long Branch Saloon, Arness was a fun-loving rogue.

John Wayne was initially offered the part of Marshal Dillon, but he turned it down and recommended Arness.And history was made! Rest in peace, Mr. Arness. Thanks for the memories!Well, Arness was under contract to Duke's company for two years before "Gunsmoke" came along. He had been in about four pictures for his company with him. When the "Gunsmoke" offer came in, Wayne said, "I wouldn't be able to do it, but I have a young man here under contract who I think would maybe fit the bill." So he very graciously offered to introduce the first episode. And it was great. It was a wonderful thing. He was a one-of-a-kind guy. There just was never anybody else like him. He just did his piece in the studio. He did the introduction, and then the show went on.
Arness is survived by his second wife Janet Surtees, whom he was married to since 1978, and his son Rolf, age 59. His son Craig, a photographer for National Geographic, died in 2004, and his late daughter Jenny died back in 1975 at the age of 25 as a result of suicide. Arness’ death comes just after a year after his brother Peter Graves of Mission Impossible fame died in March of 2010. Both were born and raised in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.
He was a great electrified carrot in "The Thing" too. Bette Davis, who I wrote about yesterday, even appeared in a very classic episode of Gunsmoke and also on Perry Mason." set."
No gentle giant, he pursued adventure with zeal. He spent his youth hunting, camping, sailing and hopping rides on freight trains, skipping school as often as he could get away with.
Matt Dillon was all about following the rules and making sure everyone else did, too. Jim Arness was all about pushing the envelope.
Can you imagine Matt Dillon, the fictional, hard-fisted marshal of Dodge City, Kan., in the 1880s, on snow skis? On a surfboard? Piloting a plane? Singing in a Methodist choir?
When Matt Dillon walked into the Long Branch and demanded to know what a stranger was doing in town, you knew that stranger would soon be either on the floor, behind bars or in a grave. Challenged by some trail tough, he didn’t waste any words; he just ground a fist into the punk’s face. Any man fool enough to go for his gun was as good as dead. Matt Dillon was a one-man justice-delivery system.

Yet, there was much of Jim Arness in Matt Dillon, and much of Matt Dillon in Jim Arness. Dillon’s punching, shooting and riding were authentic Arness. So were his devotion to fairness, his concern for protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, and his humor.
With so many fists and bullets flying in “Gunsmoke,” the occasional punch line was welcome comic relief. Arness got to deliver them about as often as other members of the ensemble cast, and when you saw his eyes twinkle, you know one of his friends was about to get zapped. Doc, Chester, Festus, or even Miss Kitty, he treated them with equal respect. Any one of them might be the target of Matt’s one-upsmanship, but they were just as likely to aim a zinger at him.For most of us who watched “Gunsmoke,” he remained Matt Dillon until the day he died, and will forever be Matt Dillon.
“What made us different from other westerns,” Mr. Arness told the Associated Press in 2002, “was the fact that ‘Gunsmoke’ wasn’t just action and a lot of shooting; they were character-study shows.
By the time Dillon and company made it to the small screen, the characters were already well established and beloved. They continued to develop over the 20-year TV run from 1955 to 1975.

The actor was in relatively good health but had “just been fading” in recent years, Fazer told Reuters. “No disease, nothing untoward, he just got tired, I guess,” she said.He enjoyed his life, he treasured his fans and he loved his country.
On a train home to recuperate from a leg wound he received at Anzio in World War II, he wrote in his autobiography, “We traveled through the heartland of America, the Southern states and the mountains of Appalachia, and beautiful countryside everywhere. I felt such joy — I just got this marvelous feeling, thinking about America and all it meant to me. I was proud to have fought in a war to save my country.”

On this date in 1997, "Oasis" songwriter Noel Gallagher married girlfriend Meg Matthews in a private ceremony in Las Vegas.
The couple had previously called off wedding plans in London after being besieged by the media. They divorced in 2001.

On this date in 1956, Elvis Presley made his second appearance on "The Milton Berle Show."
His hip-twitching gyrations during his performance of "Hound Dog" provoked howls of outrage. When Presley later appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," he was shown only from the waist up.

In 1960, Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" entered the pop charts, eventually making it to Number One.
The flip side, "That's All You Gotta Do," was also a sizeable hit.

In 1964, David Bowie, under his real surname Jones, released his first record, "Liza Jane."
It was not a hit.

On this date in 1993, country superstar Conway Twitty died in a Springfield, Mo., hospital at 59. Twitty was returning home to Tennessee from a concert in Branson, Mo., when he collapsed on his tour bus. He died of complications after surgery for a ruptured blood vessel in his stomach. Twitty, whose real name was Harold Lloyd Jenkins, began in the late '50's as a pop songwriter and performer, scoring a Number One hit in 1958 with "It's Only Make Believe."
After a dozen or so pop hits, including "Danny Boy" and "Lonely Blue Boy," Twitty ignored the advice of practically everyone in the business by switching to country music. That shrewd decision led to more than 30, Number One country hits over the next two decades, including "Hello Darlin'," "Tight-Fittin' Jeans" and "Linda On My Mind."

In 1993, singer Mariah Carey married her boss, Sony Music president Tommy Mottola, at a Manhattan church. Celebrities in attendance included Robert DeNiro, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel and his then-wife Christie Brinkley. Carey and Mottola ended their marriage after only four years.

On this date in 1993, a protest in New York City against explicit rap lyrics sort of ran out of steam. Reverend Calvin Butts rented a small steamroller to drive over some offensive CD's and tapes in front of his Harlem church. But he abandoned his plan after crushing only a few cassettes when some counter-demonstrators stood in front of the pile of rap music.

SOURCES: Today in Music History - June 5

Farewell to Marshal Dillon

James Arness

James Arness, tall, quiet Marshal Dillon of TV’s ‘Gunsmoke,’ dies at 88

‘Gunsmoke’ star James Arness dead at age 88

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