Is Rock & Roll Really Here To Stay?

This weekend my wife and I attended a “Doo Wop” concert in Sarasota, Florida. Popular groups, mostly from the 60’s, comprised the Rock & Roll headliners for the raucous evening. It might be a stretch to consider 1500 sixty and seventy-somethings as raucous. Maybe loud, enthusiastic and seated would be more accurate. The groups, the Crests, Del Satins, Brooklyn Bridge, the Capris and Manhattan Harmony, danced…or shuffled…and performed over 30 songs over an enjoyable two and a half hours.

By the mid 1960s I had graduated from U.T., was married and had twin sons. Consequently, my interest in the myriad participants on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and its successor, Soul Train had waned significantly…to the level of non-existence. Therefore, I barely recognized the groups on stage that evening. Further, I was unfamiliar with all but six or so of the tunes they sang. At the time they were “hits”…I use the term reservedly…I was changing diapers and trying to sort out this new world of making a living for a growing family.

But, the night did cause my mind to drift back to the period that established my musical interests. From the early- fifties with Bill Haley and The Comets’ “Rock Around The Clock” to the mid-fifties with The Teenagers and their lead singer, thirteen year old Frankie Lymon’s “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” on to the late fifties and “The Great Pretender” by the Platters, Rock and Roll was, well…on a roll.

Then in the early 60s a new musical genre came on the scene…Folk Music. It blended tight harmony with music from the Civil War, to Americana to the early protest period. In the mid 60s My wife and I saw a very young John Denver as a replacement in the musical group, The Chad Mitchell Trio, perform as an opening act for Andy Williams at the open air theater in Gatlinburg. What a great show they both put on!

Folk music hit its stride but in the mid 60s the British invasion stopped it dead in its tracks…except for a few diehards like me. My favorite group is still The Journeymen with their “500 Miles.” To me they epitomized the folk genre, even though they cut only three albums.

The Four Freshmen and the Lettermen are two groups whose melodious style paralleled the folk period and have a strong, cult-like following even today.

I’m sure that each of you has a favorite genre, song, group and musical time period. I would love to hear yours…and I bet that others would too. Share them with us so we can all take that four to five decade walk back to our youth.

Scroll down and click to play the music videos.













Remembering Chilhowee Park

My memory bank is chock full of vivid memories of times and events at Chilhowee Park.  My guess is that virtually everyone reading this has at least one unforgettable remembrance of this iconic Knoxville landmark.

On KNOXVILLE HERITAGE we have included a number of vintage photos of the park and the Exposition Center building that anchors the site.


Click the photo to view the Chilhowee Photo Gallery

Ironically, I never knew the building as the Exposition Center. It seems to me that it was known as the Administration Building in the fifties…but, it has been called by many names as can be seen in the photos.

Well, this week Charlie Ellenburg sent me some interesting photos of Chilhowee Park, dating back to its construction in 1910.  They caused me to reflect back on my personal connection to this historic location.  I hope they do the same for you and that you will share both stories and photos from your times at the park.   It’ll be a treat for all of us to enjoy.

We will await the posting of your stories on the comment section… or just email them to me and I will post them for you.  But until you do, here are mine.

In 1956 my Dad taught me to drive on the road encircling the lake at the park.  He later taught my brother, David, and sister, Sally, on the same loop course.  All of us learned in a 1948 Plymouth coupe…straight shift! I never drive by on Magnolia that I don’t smile and think of those days.  My kids have heard the story a few too many…times they tell me.

In the early fifties I fished in the lake…from the shore.  A cane pole, string, a hook and worms or dough balls made up my tackle box…or tackle grocery sack to be more accurate.  What I infrequently caught would be considered bait rejects today, but I thought I was Captain Ahab.

I played Little League baseball on the field where in the fall the midway was located, on the South side of Magnolia.  The rocks left by the departing carnival each year made a groundball take some funny hops the next summer.  But we didn’t seem to mind.  It seemed as smooth as Fenway Park to us.  The field was later moved to what is now the Zoo site.  I think they also moved the rocks to the new site…or so it seemed.  I also played Babe Ruth baseball on the all skin diamond in the Northeast corner of the park, just below where the Tennessee walking horses were kept and trained.

Richie Hooper, Bobby Smallman, Tommy Lawson, Ralph “Bobo” Bean, David Lovell, Jimmy Pettiford, Doug Wise, Dick Long, David Lawson, Wayne Hunter, the Finley brothers, Kenny Bomar, David Anderton, Greg O’Conner, Joe Higdon and David Gurley also played on teams with or against me in the early fifties.   And numerous others also played in the 50s. Rich Hooper and I later worked for the City Recreation Department maintaining both fields during baseball season.

My first real job was ushering at the horse shows held in the small oval rink lined with box seats, where the zoo now stands.  Three bucks!  Man alive…I was rich!

In 1953 the Harlem Globetrotters played on center court…”B” Court.  It was the original Trotters with Reece “Goose” Tatum and Marquis Haynes.  They played the perennial losing team the Washington Generals led by Red Klotz.  I was picked from the stands to be the butt of the joke Tatum pulled when he shot a free throw with a ball connected to his hand by a string. There must have been all of 500 people in attendance.

The most vivid memory for a broad cross section of Knoxville youth during the 50s and 60s centers on the “Fair,” as the Tennessee Valley Agricultural & Industrial Fair was commonly known.

It seemed like the Fair marked the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  Not Tennessee football…the Fair!

Jobs at the Open Air Theater were prime opportunities. Some worked at the various games on the midway and some helped clean up and set up.  Some, like Charlie Cox, parked cars on their lawn.

I remember the mechanical robot grab machine where it looked so easy to extract a “valuable piece of junk” from the pile and drop it in the chute.  I’m confident no one was ever able to make it work.  Knocking over the 3 milk bottles, made of lead I think, was a popular game.  The basketball shooting game where the basketball was slightly larger than the hoop you had to shoot it in to win…or so it seemed… frustrated many who thought it looked so easy.  Yep, it suckered me in too.

And the rides….the centrifugal swings…they looked so benign hanging down but so scary when in motion.  And the tilt-a-whirl that spun its riders into nausea.  I always liked the bumper cars…we called them the dodgems…”let’s see if I can broadside that clod in #6.” I remember the ferris wheel in the main park getting stuck one night and people had to be rescued from a swinging car at the top.

Let’s not forget the food.  Dip dogs, snow cones and “disappearing”…or so it seemed…cotton candy.  Funnel cakes hadn’t yet come on the scene.  The cacophony of sounds from the barkers, game hawkers, rides and screaming girls (sorry…but it was true…no boy would be caught dead screaming in fear on even the scariest of rides…not cool) filled the air.  The mixture of smells was also evident.  Coupled with the shaking of the rides there was the occasional… puke…sorry, but that is what it was called.

The alligator lady.   The tattooed lady… she couldn’t get a job on the midway today, ‘cause most of the girls in the audience would be more covered with ink than her.  I really liked the death-defying motorcyclist on the circular roller drome.   The sword swallower and flame eater gave me the willies.

You name it, the Gooding Midway seemed to have it.  A lot of memories were wrapped up in those spectacles.

Well, those are some of my memories, what are yours?  Send some memories and photos if you have them… it’ll be fun to see what remembrances you have.

Share Your CHRISTmas Memories: Knoxville or Other!

Victorian Christmas

Before I share some of my CHRISTmas memories from decades past, I ask if you would please also share your favorite memory…or two…of earlier years in Knoxville. It’s easy and painless and readers will also be able to enjoy your meaningful experiences. Just add your thoughts at the bottom of this article. THANKS!

1907

In today’s “politically correct” environment, nativity scenes are frowned upon or forbidden. Such was not the case in the 50’s in Knoxville. One of my fondest memories of Christmastime is the LIVE nativity scene put on by Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in the 2500 block of Fifth Avenue. Everything was live…except a doll that was used for the baby Jesus. Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were real. And the wise men were live, but they did not carry gold…even though it was only a few dollars an ounce at that time. Angels were on a platform extending from a third floor window. Donkeys and sheep were real, but there were no camels. Well that’s not true….in those days smoking was not “verboten” so Camel cigarettes were often visible among the onlookers.

There were two crews each night that alternated 30 minute shifts. Between shifts there was hot chocolate and cookies in the fellowship hall. It was fun, effective, memorable and …..welcomed by people of all faiths. Few if any were offended.

The lighting of the Miller’s tree…and later the Richs’ tree after they bought the red brick building on Henley across from the YMCA was always a treat. The music was piped out over the “loud speaker system” and voila….the tree lit up and everyone clapped. In those days you had to physically be there to sing, witness the event and participate in the excitement. Now we can sit in a recliner and watch the tree lighting in D.C., N.Y, Paris and Miami with merely a flick of the thumb. Have we progressed as the years have passed? I think not!

1907

One year our family was stopped at the railroad crossing on Prosser Road, on our way from my wife’s home to my parent’s home behind Bell Avenue Church. Our sons were about four and beyond excited. While awaiting the passing of the 100+ car freight train we heard a knock on our car window. The kids gasped and said “it’s him…it’s Santa.” We turned to see the most realistic Santa I have ever seen. He had gotten out of his car which was stopped behind us and walked to our car to thrill our wide-eyed young boys. For a minute I thought, “can this be true?” Our sons remember this night vividly some 4 decades later. Yep….I do too

1909

I have many others, most of which center on the warmth and camaraderie of family…Mom’s apple sauce cake with caramel icing, chocolate fudge candy, hot chocolate with marshmallows and her signature Swiss Steak. YUM!!! I also can feel the relaxation that came with the end of final exams and the first quarter of college each year.

I have many more, but we want to hear yours. Please share them with us!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Ross Greene Founder and Editor
Stephanie Urbas Multimedia Designer

PEARL HARBOR: THEN AND NOW!

USS Arizona Memorial

 

Seventy-one years ago, December 7, 1941 the US “was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” as FDR said.  It was truly a “day that will live in infamy,” and will never be forgotten…or will it? The events of that day truly changed forever the course…but maybe not the collective memory…of history.

USS Tennessee & sunken USS West Virginia after Pearl Harbor attack, 10 Dec. 1941

I was 9 months and 15 days old when the attack occurred. In my early years from 2 through 5 or 6 I remember the effects on the lives of stateside families who were physical and moral supporters of the war from our safe homes. We, the USA, lost 500,000 men and women in WW2, about the same as Great Britain and France, but no part of the battle was ever waged on our soil.  By comparison, of the more than 60 million total deaths in WW2 the Soviet Union lost over 23 million, China 15 million, Japan 3 million and Germany 7.5 million.

In the 4 years and 8 months that followed Pearl Harbor, the US went from peacetime (even though we were “passively” involved by helping the British in the Battle of the Atlantic) to a total focus on the war in Europe, Asia, Africa and ultimately Japan.  During that short time we, mobilized a committed nation, becoming the tip and engine of the spear that defeated the despotic Adolf Hitler and his followers…both the willing and the unwilling.

Today we are about to lose the message and the results produced during those 1700 days…JUST 1700 DAYS…that followed the attack in Hawaii.  Today our country can’t decide where to hang the toilet paper rack in a government bathroom in that space of time. We are a rudderless and paralyzed nation of takers…GOD HELP US!!!

 

The Football Coach Tennessee Should NOT Hire!

Consider me a loyal Tennessee follower, fan, supporter…et. al.  I have been one since I saw my first game 62 seasons ago.

I love Tennessee orange. There are many other colors of orange in college football…Syracuse, Clemson, Florida (YUCK!!), Auburn, Oklahoma State, Princeton (do they still play football there?) etc. …but none can match the orange in BIG ORANGE.

I have taken all my sons and grandsons to Tennessee football games so they can appreciate the heritage of “The Hill,” that means so much to me.

I know the words to “Down The Field,” I tap my foot when I hear “Fight Vols Fight,” I get misty eyed when singing the “Tennessee Alama Mater,” and I have 3 versions of “Rocky Top” on my iPod.

GET THE PICTURE? I LIKE TENNESSEE A LOT! But, there is a limit to my commitment!

Tennessee is searching for a head football coach…again…the fourth time in six years.  I lauded the administration when they hired Derek Dooley.  I thought that we had hired a class man who could restore some dignity and pride to the football program.  And he does have class.  But, at the end of the day, a coach has to win football games to coach at Neyland Stadium.  He couldn’t and he is gone…and should be.

Phil Fulmer had lost control of the team late in his coaching tenure. His successor, the self-serving super narcissist Lane Kiffin, had succeeded in further tarnishing the U.T. program while adding to his already sullied personal reputation.  Remember his tirade while coaching the Oakland Raiders and his railing about his boss, on national T.V.

Now Tennessee is shuffling the profiles of the available coaches while pigskin pundits continue to deal additional names into this high stakes poker game.  Who should they chose?  I haven’t a clue.  But I do know who they SHOULD NOT CHOOSE.  The name of Bobby Petrino has, for some absolutely unbelievable reason, been surfaced as a possible choice. I may not know a lot but I do know that HE AIN’T THE ONE WE NEED.

For those who don’t remember, Petrino is the phony who wrecked his Harley while taking his young female paramour for a ride…so to speak.  Only a few years earlier he reneged on a contractual head coaching agreement with the owner of the Atlanta Falcons. This dastardly act of deception occurred only hours after he assured his boss, Arthur Blank, and his football team, that he was with them “all the way.”  I remember watching him on T.V. “call the hogs,” an Arkansas’ act of support for their razorback team, the day after his departure from Atlanta.  I said to myself, “they will rue the day they hired this lying bum.”  And they soon did!

That brings us to now, and Tennessee’s consideration of Petrino to coach at Tennessee.  I can think of no one who has ever played, coached, seen, read about or heard a football game that would be a worse choice than Bobby Petrino to be the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.  Can you imagine how he would sell honesty, loyalty, integrity, teamwork and commitment to his players and coaches.  And what crafty yarn about “taking care of their little boy and making sure he becomes an upstanding citizen” would he spin to the parents of a recruit? And what message would Tennessee be sending to graduates, students and the world by hiring such a unrepentant reprobate? And how could this ever be explained to Coach Robert Neyland?

It’s hard for me, a longtime Volunteer to say this, but…If Tennessee were to hire Bobby Petrino, I would never watch on TV, listen to on the radio or attend a Tennessee event as long as he was there…and maybe ever.  Further, contributing to an alumni fund would be entirely out of the question. I bet a dollar to a donut that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

          

          

Asleep for 68 Years. What a Revolution!

In doing research on a WW2 project over the last 4 years I have repeatedly thought of what it would be like to have pulled a Rip Van Winkle and gone to sleep in 1944 and awakened in 2012.  I wonder if someone in that position would initially be more awed or more terrified. Regardless of the initial reaction, one would have to feel that the intervening 68 years have been revolutionary in many ways…some changes have been good and some bad.

In 1944 a Western Union telegram was a fashionable and fast way to convey important messages and residential telephone lines were replete with busy body neighbors on “party lines.” “…..Dial 4 ring three…hello….I’m on the line Miss Smith…I’ll be off in a minute…Click.”  Now a phone call from Omaha Beach in Normandy, France back to Atlanta, Georgia is easy…with a clear line, no interference, at a cost of 3 cents a minute, from a phone the size of a memo pad.  I know…I did just that two weeks ago.

Oh yes, from the same phone/device you can “do a Google search for the URL of an internet web site, click on the revealed icon, highlight a phrase, cut and paste it along with a jpeg, or pdf of an embedded image into a message which can be tweeted to a friend…or another user.  YIKES!  Can you actually say these things in mixed company?

And I thought “tweet-tweet” was a line in the song “Rockin Robin.” In some ways it’s kinda scary to me and I have been alive and awake during this whole revolution…or evolution.  OK…maybe just alive.

In 1944 T.V. broadcasts began on N.B.C.  At that time there were about as many television sets in the major cities in the nation as there are in the average household today. I saw my first T.V. broadcast in about 1954, a sports broadcast hosted by Art Metzler on a Knoxville station.  We spent 20 minutes “oohing and aahing” over the test pattern before the broadcast.  Do you remember the Indian on that pattern?

In 1963, during the annual grudge football match between Army and Navy, the first instant replay in a televised football game was shown.  And a Tennessee grad, Lindsey Nelson, was the play-by-play announcer.  After the replay he assured the audience that, “Army did not score again, it was an instant replay of the touchdown.” Today almost everything we see on TV is replayed…many times.  And the cameras zoom in to where we can see the length of a players eyebrows.

And think about more mundane but equally as revolutionary changes in our beloved Knoxville.  George’s, Miller’s, Knox Dry Goods, the Athletic House, Tennessee Sporting Goods, the Blue Circle, the Park Theater and the S&W gave way to; K-Mart, Walmart, The Sports Authority, shopping malls, multiplex theaters and Wendy’s.  After a few years, internet companies such as Amazon, eBay, Netflix and….well you get the picture. Who knows what is next.  If we hadn’t experienced this evolution in real and extended time, but instead, awoke from a deep sleep and saw all the changes the years had wrought, do you think we could have assimilated them without grabbing a Linus blanket, sought out a dark corner closed our eyes and began sucking our thumbs.

Interesting to ponder. I’m sure you agree.

BUFORD A. BIBLE: Traditional Yet Idiosyncratic Mentor!

We called him Mr. Bible.  Not Coach Bible…contrary to popular lore…although he was.  Not Professor Bible, even though he was that too.  And certainly not Buford…at least not to his face.  Rest assured that, on occasion, players and students alike referred to him as Buford or B.A., but it was always done in private and even then, at a whisper and with a furtive glance over the offending speaker’s shoulder for fear of being caught and reprimanded. 

Buford Alexander Bible, the third child and second son of Andrew Shields and Amanda Thomas Bible, was born on January 15, 1905. Three more sons followed, one of which, Marshall Cameron Bible, would one day become a worthy coaching adversary of his older brother.  Buford married Reba Norman on June 1, 1928.

I was shocked the first time I saw Mr. Bible in other than a suit and tie.  He had on a short-sleeved shirt, and was standing in front of the Gulf station on Asheville Highway. In his later years he “took up daily residence there.”  Both his attire and his location were foreign to me. I vividly remembered his earlier disdain for; “hot-rods,” cigarettes, liquor, lack of concentration on studies…in short, anything non-traditional.  And here he was out of his “traditional uniform” and at a service station to boot.  My world was shaken, not irreversibly but shaken none-the-less.  I had assumed he was born in a pressed suit and wearing a white shirt with a Windsor knotted tie.  His casual appearance disabused me of that long held notion.

His basketball coaching notoriety was well-earned. He was ahead of his time in the strategy of the game…not unlike Adolph Rupp the perennial winner at Kentucky. Did he learn it as a college player at Carson Newman where he played and graduated in 1927? We’ll never know the source…, but it probably resulted partially from his college experience coupled with a tactical approach flowing from his mathematical mind.  But his fanatical concentration on well-executed but simple tactics stressed in every practice and game really gave his players a palpable confidence that was the catalyst to repeated success.

He plied his coaching trade well at a number of schools including; Coal Creek, the traditional name by which he always called Lake City, Jefferson City High School, Knox High School where he coached 16 years from 1936 thru 1951, and East High School where he was head coach from 1951 through 1966. In his thirty years of coaching success he won State Championships at Knox High in 1941 and 1951 and his teams were frequent challengers for state titles in other years.

While traditional in strategy and tactics, Mr. Bible was quite an unusual combination of predictability and quirkiness in his ancillary actions.  He was not a fan of movies…referring to them as “shadows on the wall.” But Thursday basketball practice was unusually short each week.  It was later learned that he always wanted to be home in time to see the Lone Ranger on T.V. …the “idiot box” as he referred to it.

He was consistent in repeating “bibleisms” that every former player remembers. At half time of almost every game he would stand in front of us, look down at the floor, kick his heels back on the wall and say, “if I knew what you are trying to do I’d try to help you.”  He had a way of always keeping you slightly off guard, wondering how he was going to respond, always wanting his approval.

He also held the view that any pass that wasn’t caught was a bad pass.  “But I hit him between the 2 and the three…..” …it made no difference…bad pass.  Certain players who had “wooden hands,” a perpetual inability to catch a pass, were derided by his saying, “when you think about throwing it to _______ (fill in the blank), just throw it up in the nickel seats and go back and play defense.”

He made players who wouldn’t stick their nose in a tough situation, wear a football helmet in practice.  Players who forgot equipment when packing for a game, were not allowed to borrow from the manager or another player.  No questions asked…he said it, you do it.

Mr. Bible was also the object of conflict himself…and from his own brother, Marshall.  The Buford Bible teams were known for their execution of the fast-break and “driving from behind.”  This tactic, probably named by him, was one where, after a score by the opposition, the ball was quickly thrown in bounds to a guard who was streaking to the sideline close to half court. Caught off guard, the defense was often unable to defend the action which resembled the fast-break. Knowing his brother’s penchant for this play, Marshall, the coach at rival South High, soaked the nets in water or put new and tight nets on the rims when South played East.  This made the ball slow coming through the net, thus slowing down the East offense.  With a wry grin, Marshall always denied the charge.  Could this act have been retribution for his older brother failing him when he was in his math class years earlier… a favorite story of Mr. Bible’s? Urban legend or truth…who knows!

He was also idiosyncratic about rules and admission tickets to the game.  The best story in this regard is the one about his not helping Buddy Cruze, who had forgotten his player pass, get in the arena for the semi-final game of the 1952 state tourney…even though Cruze had set the state tourney record of 47 points in the quarterfinal game the previous night. (See story here.). At the Clinton Invitational Tournament in December of 1957, I saw him make his wife, Reba, pay to get into the game. Unusual, and costly…but that was Mr. Bible.

There are numerous stories about Mr. Bible’s obsession with being on time.  In December of 1952, the “roundball” team was scheduled to play an away game at Kingsport Dobbins Bennett, at that time an arch rival and perennial tough opponent. Characteristically, the squad was told to report to the gym for a departure well in advance of the starting time of the game.  “Late” was unacceptable in Bible’s eyes, as was “on time.”  “Early” was the only recognized time in his schedule. Tom Burnette was in the lead car driven by Mr. Bible on that crisp winter afternoon and relates with relish and raucous laughter the following story told frequently over these 60 years.

All players were present at the appointed departure time except for sophomore guard Bob Small, “Mr. Perfect.” Small was a sometime starter and important cog in the tough ‘52-‘53 team. Not one to give in to lateness, regardless of the offender, the group was told they were pulling out.  The caravan, led by Mr. Bible’s 3 month-old 1953 Chevy (Mr. Bible always got the first car delivered to the Jefferson City Chevrolet dealer each year…you could book it) motored up to the exit of the east parking lot and began to cross McCalla on its way to Magnolia. At that time, the tardy Small, recognizing his plight, was racing toward the cars waving his hand to let them know he was there. Mr. Bible simply smiled, waved back at Small and the group proceeded on their way.  In words never to be forgotten by those in the car, Mr. Bible said, “if he can’t be on time, we don’t need him.”  Somehow Small got a ride to Kingsport and arrived before the game.  He didn’t start but did play, Burnette remembered.

Another frequently related and similar story is the one of Mr. Bible leaving starting center, Bill “Doc” Riggins, behind when the team was leaving for the state tournament in 1955.  The story alleges that Riggins was a few minutes late getting to the gym, where the team was to meet for the trip to Memphis.  They left without their starting center. Riggins subsequently arrived, realized his plight and raced along the probable route of travel trying to catch up. The caravan was subsequently caught heading west on Magnolia where Riggins joined the team.  This story is denied by Riggins but sworn to by Gay Valentine who says, “I know…I was there.” The story was also confirmed by Wesley Baird, Riggins’ backup center, who recalls the evening this way.  “I thought I would have to play all the way but Doc caught up with us.“  We’ll leave it to these three to “duke it out” over the difference in their memories.

Now, here is the seemingly unbelievable and little known antithesis to those stories.  One night in January of 1958 James Vittetoe was similarly late arriving at the gym for the drive to an away game.  Uncharacteristically, Mr. Bible questioned whether anyone knew anything about Jim’s tardiness.  After 15 minutes we pulled out of the parking lot next to the gym and turned West on McCalla. I was in Mr. Bible’s ‘58 Chevy as was, I believe, Ed Cooper. Mr. Bible turned left on Hembree St. and drove to Jim’s home in the first block. I went to the front door and rousted him from his living room.  As far as I know, that was the only time Mr. Bible ever stepped outside his punctuality persona and gave in to the lateness of a player.

Mr. Bible was also the consummate teacher.  Those who experienced his geometry or trig classes are well aware of his ability to make math both understandable and fun….well maybe not fun.  As a small test of your five-decade memory please give Mr. Bible’s answer to this question.  “What is the shortest distance between two points?”  ….drum roll and Password Game Show music please…… If you answered “a straight line” you flunked the quiz. If you said, “the arc of a great circle,” you are correct. I bet you just said…”Oh yeah…now I remember.”

Parallel to his coaching and math-tutoring career, he taught a men’s Sunday School class at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church for over three decades.  I have on good report that he often “preached” against the effects of “demon rum and recreational drugs” to his class whose average age was 75+.”  Yep…you read this correctly!

After turning over the coaching reins to a former E.H.S. player, Frank Hall, Mr. Bible became the Principal at East, replacing his predecessors, W.E. Evans and Gale Gardner.  The story is told of a perpetually late student knocking on the locked front door, about 30 minutes after the school day was scheduled to start. In his terse and inimitable fashion Mr. Bible inquired as to what the young boy wanted.  He replied that he was there for school.  Mr. Bible informed him that classes started at 8:30 and he should go home and get a good start on the following day and, “be on time.”

Traditional, idiosyncratic, disciplined, skilled, memorable and unique…Buford Alexander Bible left his mark on thousands of students, players and friends. I’m certainly glad that I came under his influence…as are many who read this.

We would love to hear your favorite story about him.  PLEASE POST COMMENTS FOR ALL TO READ AND ENJOY!

East High Mountaineers Started Fast and Finished Strong

East High School football results are a distant memory for some and non existent for others.  If you do have an inclination to resurrect a memory or two about the ebb and flow of Mountaineer football over its 157 games in 16 seasons,  a recent article in WWW.KNOXFOCUS.COM will bring a smile to you.  Steve Williams provides a hop and a skip through the 16 seasons of Mountaineer football in his article “East High Mountaineers Started Fast and Finished Strong.” It can be accessed here.

One slight insight might prevent some consternation as you read the article.  Mr. Williams refers to the teams by the year in which the season was played, not the school or class year. For example; when he refers to the 1958 team he is talking about the team for the 1959 class, because all football games were played in the calendar year 1958. With this caveat, you will surely enjoy reliving some Mountie pigskin highlights.

Pictures of the Past

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong as its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Time truly flies by so fast. It seems like it was only yesterday when you were a child dreaming to make your own mark on the world. You were a child wishing to have the world in your hands. You were a child who aspired to make a difference. And suddenly, you wake up and realize you’re no longer a child anymore.

You face the mirror, and you see the gray strands of your hair. You look right into your eyes, and you see the eyes of a someone who has seen the realities of life. You are now older, with your past long forgotten and your future unknown.

Time may have slipped away, but it now leaves a memory for you to cherish and keep forever. A memory that can never take away from you. It’s the memories of your past, the storied hidden within a piles of old forgotten pictures you’ve tucked away for so long.

These old, forgotten pictures tell the story of your past. They reflect the person you used to be and the life you once lived. These pictures may now be marred with time, but the memories remain. It will forever keep the story of your past alive, cherishing and remembering it until eternity.

We often wish we could return to revisit the story our past. To flip back the pages of our life and experience once more the story of our youth. Thanks to the Knoxville Heritage community, many people have shared a window into the past through their treasured photos, albums, and personal memorabilia.

Take a journey to your past as you take a look at these pictures―the pictures of your youth, the pictures of your life. Time may sweep away the years, but it can never sweep away the memories of what you left behind. We hope you enjoy your trip down memory lane.

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Historic Timeline of Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville

“History is a mighty drama, enacted upon the theatre of time, suns for lamps, and eternity for a background.”

-Thomas Carlyle

 

History is the soul of our existence. It is the story of the past, the heart of the present and the inspiration for the future. It is, therefore, important to appreciate and treasure our history. To keep the history living for the next generations to come, we must do our best to protect and preserve it.

History is not just a series of events that occurred in the past, or the names of people who made a remarkable difference. History also holds the meaning to life; may it be the past, the present, or the future. In order to understand what happened, what is happening now and what could happen, we must seek the answers from history.

One of the greatest stories of our local history is the Tennessee Theatre which holds a long and colorful past. A series of remarkable and memorable events have taken place in this theatre, which is greatly remembered to this day. These events will always be treasured and will never be forgotten by the people of Knoxville.

It was in November 1927 that Chicago-based contractor George M. Fuller broke ground between Gay and State streets, beginning the construction of the Tennessee Theatre. The next year, on October 1, 1928, The Tennessee Theatre, owned and operated by Publix, opened its doors. The first movie shown in the theatre was “The Fleet’s In” which starred the beautiful actress Clara Bow. On 1932 however, Publix went bankrupt and Wilby-Kincey assumed ownership on Tennessee Theatre.

In 1936, a memorable occasion was celebrated when a double wedding took place at the Tennessee Theatre. It was the wedding of Easterday brothers, Claude and Ben. The siblings were the winners of a contest sponsored by the Knoxville Journal newspaper that awarded them an all-expense paid wedding and a host of gifts provided by local merchants. The ceremony was a public event graced by more than 2,000 people.

Wilby-Kincey transferred the ownership of the Tennessee Theatre to Paramount Theatres after selling it to the latter in 1949. On October 1953, new projectors, sound equipment, and a curved Cinemascope screen was installed for enhanced film viewing and the first Cinemascope movie “The Robe” was shown.

It was in March 2005 when the Tennessee outranked the Ryman Auditorium on Pollstar’s list of the World’s Top 50 Theaters based on first quarter 2005 attendance for the first time ever in history. The theatre was honored to be at #47.  Finally, in 2008, the Tennessee Theatre completed its most successful quarter in history, experiencing record-breaking ticket sales and an unprecedented number of sold-out performances. At the end of the month, the Theatre’s annual Stars on Stage gala, featuring B.B. King, raised approximately $200,000 toward general operating expenses.

These are a few of the most unforgettable historic events of the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville. To view the full timeline, visit http://www.tennesseetheatre.com/about-us/historical-timeline/. History is truly full of drama as the colorful historic timeline of the Tennessee Theatre has proven. Let’s keep the drama alive by cherishing these memorable events.

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TENNESSEE TRADITION: YA’ GOTTA LOVE IT!

I haven’t lived in Tennessee for almost a half a century…moved away in the dark of night on New Year’s Eve in 1964. My Dad, when asked years ago if he would like to fly in an airplane, said he would…if he could drag one foot.  I guess that’s like me about Tennessee and Knoxville.  I may not live there, but I still have one foot in Tennessee.  Always will!

That said, you might also say that I’m a traditionalist…and you’d be right in so opining. “Rocky Top” is a catchy tune and I can sing it with the best of ‘em.  But it’s not the traditional Tennessee fight song…”Down The Field” is.  Rocky Top wasn’t even written until after; “The Run,” in the Cotton Bowl of 1951, “The Win” against Tech at Grant Field in ’56 or “The Stop” on that crisp November day in ’59 at Shields Watkins.  Further, it wasn’t even introduced at a Tennessee game until 1972.  So, consistent with Volunteer tradition, give me “Down The Field,” thank you very much.

But, Tennessee tradition may have it’s finest day on this Saturday afternoon when, in defiance of the mantra of those demanding tolerance while exhibiting none themselves, Tennessee will again have a prayer delivered before the football game.  It seems, as reported in U.S.A. Today this week, that an executive of the atheist Freedom From Religion organization sent U.T Chancellor, Jimmy Cheek, a letter requesting that the school eliminate prayer, and by inference all vestiges of religion, from university functions and sporting events.  Well, Jimmy “turn the other” Cheek stood firm and refused to succumb to the implied threat.  Instead he stood for tradition and truth.   The game, and the prayer will go on.

This website, KNOXVILLE HERITAGE was birthed to be a magnetic locus for remembering, reminiscing and reconnecting.  I have withstood the temptation to get into a political scuffle focusing instead on rocking chair recollections of the good ole days…a.k.a. …TRADITION.  Well, to me the Judeo-Christian ethic on which this country, and by connection the state of Tennessee, was founded is tradition…one we as a nation are sliding away from at an alarming rate and seemingly without regard to it’s inevitable consequences.  I’m scared, and angry.

So, for this reason I stand and salute Chancellor Cheek for his decision.  And I ask that you, consistent with tradition, please join me in a collective show of support in a manner familiar to us all.  “Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar…all for Jimmy, stand up and holler.” Now don’t you feel a little better? By the way, where is that great cheer hiding?

I would be remiss if I didn’t relate how one preacher prayed before a Tennessee game more than 4 decades ago. In an impassioned and clear way he prayed for safety for the participants, enjoyment on the part of the fans and a blessing on both teams.  The crowd was hushed and moved. It was the next phrase that changed the mood. He added, “but would you bless Tennessee just a little bit more?” The partisan crowd broke into spontaneous laughter and didn’t say it aloud but in our hearts we said “Amen.”

Let’s not forget that our Nation’s founding fathers called upon Almighty God to guide them as they began this experiment we know as the United States.  The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial each contain Biblical references to faith in God.  In the rotunda of the Capitol building beneath the gold dome, are displayed 4 gigantic murals, each depicting a different act of worshiping God. And the motto prominently displayed in the House Chambers says, “In God We Trust.”  So, contrary to the protestations of our current president, we are a nation created with the full knowledge and collective agreement that our rights and our very life are gifts from a loving, just Almighty God.

I am an un-apologetic Christian. Quite possibly the prayer before Saturday’s Tennessee-Akron game will make little difference in the lives of those hungry for a pigskin victory.  But, then again, it might just remind everyone there of the source of freedom, liberty and life. And a few there may recognize that God doesn’t care about the point spread or whether Tennessee covers that spread or not.  But he does care about everyone connected with the game, and desires a personal relationship with each one.

Thanks Chancellor Cheek.  Don’t back down.

View the U.S.A. Today article here.

Thank You!

THANKS and HELP….PLEASE!

KNOXVILLE HERITAGE has been significantly better received and used than we ever imagined.  Many of you have shared with us how you have used the site to connect with important; times, people, events and places that shaped your life.  We are very pleased to have helped in this way and grateful for your sharing your feelings with us.  At the end of this blog, we have listed the many of you who have helped us make www.KNOXVILLEHERITAGE.com a reality…and a success.

I would like to ask each of you to help us expand our site in the areas where we have gaps.  Many of you have photos, papers, yearbooks and other memorabilia that we might borrow for the short time that it takes to scan it.  By doing this we can make it digitally available over the internet to others just like us who love to relive some happy days from the past.  Please help us collect the following:

Yearbooks…We have been able to collect all of the Knoxville High and East High Yearbooks and they are available on the website.  We need some additional ones from Central, Fulton and Holston. You can see which ones we need by clicking here. http://knoxvilleheritage.com/high-school/yearbooks/

School Newspapers…We have many from East High.  We don’t have and therefore need those from years 1951 thru 1955 and from 1964 thru 1968.  We also are in need of many Blue and White newspapers from Knoxville High School. By clicking here you can see which ones we have and which we need http://knoxvilleheritage.com/high-school/class-newspapers/knoxville-high-school-newspapers/. PLEASE help us make these available by lending us what you or those you know might have.

Photos and Photo Albums…We have many photos from various venues including; youth sports, high school, historic Knoxville etc.  If you have some that might be of wide interest, please contact us. We also have two Photo Albums or Scrapbooks posted.  We have another in the works that is both historic and will be of great interest to people all over Knoxville and beyond. If you have one that you think others would enjoy please contact us.

You may read this and feel initially that “I can’t help…I have none of these items.” Well, they are out there…somewhere.  And many would like to see them.  Think about what you might have and what others might have and give us an e-mail shout at RossGreene@KnoxvilleHeritage.com. We’ll be grateful…and many others will be also.

Now…with fear and trepidation that I will leave someone off the list of those who graciously helped all of us “heritage nuts” by contributing materials…here is the list as best my limited and old brain can remember.  Please let me know if there are omissions and I will correct them.  Also, please chalk such errors up to innocent stupidity and not malicious intent.

THANK YOU!

Priscilla “Prissy” Albright David Leonard  Greene Becky Mankel McBride
Earl Baker Lynne Hoover Greene Alan McCay
Paul Baker Kathy Hancock Lucinda Logan McCay
John Blazier Ron Hartsell Allen McGill
Paul Bunch Phil & Freida Haun Fred Mynatt
Tom Burnett Jamie Powers Haworth Steve Nelson
Bob Cannon Bill Higdon Greg O’Connor
Carol Bishop Clift Barbara Zwick Hirsch Ed Ousley
Ray Clift Richard “Richie” Hooper Donald Pinkston
Ed Cooper Michael Kinnane Susan Puckett
Kyle “Buddy” Cruze Rosemary Mankel Kite Beverly Cash Randolph
Rosalind Perrin Davis Cindy Lacy Bradley Reeves
Prent Dixon David Lawson Henry Russell
Don Manley Elizabeth “Patti” Hancock LeMay Helen Keough Sears
Ed Carter Bud Lobetti Betty Jane May Shelton
Charlie Ellenburg Gina Lobetti Collette Edward Shipe
Tom Evans Ludwin Speir Bob Simerly
Mary Lou Guinn Finley Wanda Cochran Majors Michael Smith
Dick Foster Thomas Holbert Jr. Jennifer Stooksbury
Dorothy Franks Casteel Leon Kirby Bill Weesner
Elizabeth “Beth” Harrison Gouch Ann Rose Wheeler
Diana Mankel Green Jack Williams
Tom Greene Doug Wise