The worst St. Louis can get is still better than any place else. Right? Twenty-eight F/A-18 Super Hornets made in our town bought by Kuwait. . .SIUE Computer Science is offering high schoolers an opportunity to experience programming and the university is offering the same tuition to Missourians as it does for Illinoisans. . .Chad Rose, assistant prof of MU special education, says that children with disabilities are not developing adequate social skills to combat bullying as they mature. . . Local GOPers got a shock learning that Donald Elect’s inaugural tix are tagged at $100k each for the cheapest seats. (BTW, the Donald is meeting tomorrow with former rival Mitt Romney). . .Newsome twosome: Jack Brandt and Ladue News former model, Joan Quicksilver, have checked into One McKnight Place. . .Dentist to the stars Dr. W. Dean West hoisted the bubbly at Pepe’s Apartment 2 in honor of his wife, Mary, on her natal day. . .Peggy and Jerry Ritter doing the rounds at Dierbergs for holiday feedbags. . .”Judge” Joe Murphy has moved into his mom’s house while recuperating. . .Wehrenberg Theaters’ swan song offering a Dec. 16 opening at first-run theaters with long-awaited “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. . .Future odds to win Super Bowl L Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, CA. have the Rams at $5,000 (50-1). . .In her new book, “Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins,” she takes a shot at our town’s “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm. She assesses him, “I’m suggesting he’s one of those hot guys who’s mildly funny but actually thinks he’s comedian-level funny.”
Hotel tycoon Dan Drury wants officials to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals offered through online listings. . .Almost $61 million was spent on television ads for Missouri races, reports Kantar Media. . .Historic Nov. 27: 1985, Cardinals Vince Coleman won NL Rookie of the Year; 1974, Cardinals outfielder Bake McBride won NL Rookie of the Year; 1870, New York Times dubbed baseball “the national game.”
The stock market soars (Karl Marx would never have believed a “dove” market), the Cardinals will make their way home to win a pennant, the daffodils will be thick again along US-64 and an icy wind is blowing to greet Black Friday shoppers. Reporters are poised to cover the frenzy and point out that J.C. Penney opened at 11 a.m. yesterday. Gone are the animated holiday windows at Famous-Barr, Stix, Baer & Fuller and Scruggs (where the late Ernest Trova dressed them up so well). The First Black Family is packing for an eviction, energy-saving LED lights that help marijuana plants flourish are sold at a rapid pace, ESPN has lost two million subscribers, the major kerfuffle of the Electoral College is garnering headlines since the election shock, sodden news that 60 police officers in the U.S. have perished from firearms thus far in 2016 – up 36 since 2015 at this point, George Mahe tells us that King Louie former owner, Matt McGuire, is moving into Jimmy’s on the Park space and on Nov. 26, 1942, almost everyone’s favorite movie classic, “Casablanca,” premiered in NYC (let’s play it again and watch the tic in Humphrey Bogart’s upper lip).
THIS & THATTA: Pfizer will build a 4-story, 460k facility for research and development at the northwest corner of Olive Boulevard at Chesterfield Parkway. . .Meanwhile, BJC has blueprinted a rebuilding of its west county hospital. If the walls could only talk. Originally, the hospital built by the Signorelli family was named Faith Hospital, and was the destination for local mobsters. . .Some Washington University students are calling for a policy to make WU a sanctuary campus for students, staff and family members who face deportation. . .Illinois Sec’y State is going after illegal parking in disabled spots at malls. . .SIUE alum Spencer Patton still getting kudos for his role in the Chicago Cubs bullpen. . .Starbucks has begun selling the Ember coffee mugs at $150 each. . .The MGM musical, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” had its premiere Nov. 22, 1944 at the Loew’s State Theater. . .Quest Diagnostics, a leading provider of diagnostic information services, has launched QuestDirect, a new patient-initiated testing service which will empower consumers who live in Missouri to manage their health by ordering certain lab tests directly without a physician’s order.
OF HUMAN INTEREST: Yesteryear restaurants we loved were: Trader Vic’s; Stradivarius; Holloway House; Musial & Biggie’s; Ruggeri’s; Victorian Club; Town Hall; Candlelight; Ed’s White Front; Tastee Barbecue; The Edge; Anthony’s; David Slay’s La Veranda; Fio’s La Fourchette; Eisele’s Bavarian Inn; Cafe Zoe; Cafe De France; Empanadas; Redel’s; The City Cousin; Al Baker’s; Branding Iron; Gian Peppe’s; Sorrento; Angelo’s; Eleven Mile House; L’Auberge Bretonne; Greek Gourmet; Port St. Louis; Giuseppi’s; Duff’s; La Sala; Top of the Sevens; El Serape; Richard Perry’s Jefferson Avenue Boarding House; Miss Hullings; Catfish & Crystal; Blue Top; Nantucket Cove; Fedora Cafe; Little Italy and S&P Oyster House.
1989, Law banning smoking on domestic flights signed by President Bush; 1980, “Dallas,” who shot J.R.? garnered 84 million viewers; 1977, First Concorde flight London to New York; 1963, President John Kennedy flew to Texas; 1947, Bill Longson beat Lou Thesz in St. Louis to win world wrestling championship.
As a vet of our town’s “film row,” I can remember that Wehrenberg Theaters, founded in 1906, was a mighty force at the booking office of MGM on Olive Street where I toiled. Clarence Kaimann was part of the overall principals of the company and Les Kropp was the circuit’s booker. The late Ron Krueger was a neophyte in the company’s structure and years later he ingratiated himself with the film companies and inherited the company in 1963. Alas, the hometown theater circuit has been sold to Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters.
CHANGE IN THEATER OWNERSHIP went with the territory. There were giants in our town’s movie industry. Chiefly, Spyros Skouras, who built luxury palaces like the Ambassador, St. Louis, Missouri and other showplaces. He subsequently became head of 20th Century-Fox Films. His theaters here eventually fell into the hands of the Arthur theaters, whose leaders fell short of visioning the need for decentralization and parking. Some of those theaters eventually became owned by the Jablonow family. They had inherited the seed money from their in-laws, the Komm family. Lou and Jules Jablonow formerly owned Jabby’s Ice Cream. They eventually bought the Esquire Theater from Sam Shucart and Sam Levin, who created a first-run house of the Clayton Road movie emporium with the premiere of “Around the World in 80 Days” (publicized by yours truly).
IN THOSE DAYS WE HAD DEVOTED FILM CRITICS (NOT COMMENTARY BYLINERS) There were Myles Standish at the Post-Dispatch (succeeded by Joe Pollack) and Herb Monk at the Globe Democrat (succeeded by Frank Hunter). Feature stories were churned out by Beulah Schacht, Joan Foster Dames, Jack Rice, Dickson Terry, Florence Shinkle, Virginia Irwin, Olivia Skinner, Sally Bixby Defty, Bob Duffy, Dorothy Gardner, Patricia Rice and Susan Sherman.
WEHRENBERG THEATERS like other chains succeeded through challenging years. Those challenges were met with CinemaScope, Stereo Sound, Todd AO, Cinerama and on the horizon – Smellovision. There was the demise of drive-ins although Wehrenberg never dropped its Ronnie’s. Marquees came down on those neighborhood houses from which the smell of popcorn created a great lure. Many of them adopted names from native American tribes: Cherokee; Osage; Powhatan. There were the independently-owned theaters: Apollo; Armo; Plymouth; Shady Oak; Comet; Uptown; West End; Varsity; Norside and Ritz.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS WEREN’T ALL THAT BAD. Throw another dollar in the slot – oh, hell!
Six in 10 Americans – 137.4 million – plan to or are currently shopping
during next weekend, according to Proper Insights. That includes
in-store and and online shopping. On cyber Monday, 36 percent plan to
shop online – 34 percent up from 2015.
Award-winning investigative reporter, author and filmmaker David France (best known for “Our Fathers,” about the Catholic abuse and cover up crisis), is coming to town. He’ll discuss his new book “How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of how Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS” at the St. Louis County Library on Dec. 2.
METER MAIDS MAY BECOME EXTINCT AS CHRIS CHRISTIE ON TRUMP’S WISH LIST with the Brigade, a conceptual driverless motorcycle that can deliver speeding and parking fines.
HISTORIC NOV. 20: 1995, Princess Di admitted she cheated on Prince Charles in a television interview; 1966, “Cabaret” opened on Broadway, 1969, Pele scored 1,000th soccer goal; 1947, “Meet the Press” debuted on NBC; 1945, 24 Nazi leaders were put on trial in Nuremberg.
Missouri’s senior senator Claire McCaskill is set to accede to the ranking member post on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs panel, as Sen. Tom Carper relinquishes that position to take the top spot on Environment and Public Works Committee. . .Republicans are targeting a number of senators from conservative states such as Missouri. The GOP could amass a filibuster-proof majority by running the table in those states and other backgrounds. . .Trending: “Missouri has basically decided to tax many goods and necessities, while exempting services. And poorer people are more likely to buy the necessities”. . .While Donald Trump carried Missouri by 19 points, look at the GOP’ers seen as challengers to Dem. Sen. McCaskill: Vicky Hartzler; Ann Wagner or Billy Long.
HISTORIC NOV. 19: 1863, President Lincoln delivered his historic speech in Gettysburg (“Four score and seven years”); 1928, The first issue of Time magazine published with Japan emperor Hirohito on the cover; 1965, Kellogg’s Pop Tarts created; 1976, George Harrison released “This Song” and in 1985, President Ronald Reagan met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time.
MUNY’S 2017 SEASON: Interesting lineup, but “Newsies,” which played for only five months on Broadway, and “All Shook Up,” another dud that clocked just 213 performances? Where are the treasures as “Most Happy Fella,” “Carousel,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Camelot,” “Anything Goes,” “Kismet,” “Hello, Dolly!” and, dare I say? “Roberta.”
St. Louis Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly: “Attacking others is not my style. I’m just not interested in being part of a process that could tear our city apart and divide the Democratic Party. That’s why I won’t be running for mayor of St. Louis.”