Daily Dirt: Just gimme a Milano, Ralph Malph

happy days

Happy Days (ABC)

Daily Dirt for Sept. 13, 2021

Vol. 66 of our daily visit touches on three subjects close to my heart — cookies, TV theme songs and Errol Flynn’s portrayal of Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Here are three thoughts:

1. For my money, here are the best store-bought cookies on the market:

A. Pepperidge Farm Milano: Just about any kind ranks a “10.” My personal favorite, I think, would probably have to be the raspberry/chocolate offerings, ranking right ahead of the mint/chocolate and orange/chocolate entries. Aw heck, they’re all fabulous.

B. Keebler E.L. Fudge: One of the few brands that, upon first bite, can make you smile. They’re that good.

C. Famous Amos: I have a three-way tie here with a trio of Famous Amos products: chocolate chip, peanut butter and the chocolate chip/peanut butter combo. I’ll take whichever kind you don’t want.

2. Remember some of those TV show theme songs that became permanently engrained in your memory bank, especially the ones that were actually better than the programs themselves? Here’s my list of three theme songs that were far better than the shows they represented. 

A. “Welcome Back, Kotter” (1975-79, ABC): This program was so bad, it was almost unwatchable, but for some reason we did. My theory has always been because the theme song — performed by John Sebastian after he left the Lovin’ Spoonful — was so good that we simply didn’t want to get off the couch and change the channel. Remember, this was the pre-remote era.

B. “Gilligan’s Island” (1964-67, CBS): The same theory as “Welcome Back, Kotter.” A great, catchy theme song followed by one of the stupidest programs ever conceived. Ever.

C. “Happy Days” (1974-84), ABC: I could still listen to this theme song all day, all night. Even at the height of the show’s popularity, I never thought it measured up to the intro music. Think I’m exaggerating? Remember, one of the lead characters was named Ralph Malph. Enough said.

3. Arguably my favorite action film of all-time is “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941), a black-and-white epic starring Errol Flynn (my all-time favorite non-James Bond actor) as Gen. George Armstrong Custer. We all know how that story ends, but I have probably watched this movie more than any other and am always rather sad at the end when the Indians overrun Custer and his men at the Little Big Horn. My favorite words from the film come when Custer is addressing his troops at Fort Lincoln: “I needn’t tell most of you that a regiment is more than just 600 disciplined fighting men. Men die. But a regiment lives on; because a regiment has an immortal soul of its own.” So does this movie.

Steve Fact O’ The Day
I have worked for a variety of news organizations on a part- or full-time basis since 1970, and to this day, one of the absolute nicest people I have ever interviewed was the late Frank Robinson. I was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one with Robinson in February 1975, shortly after he had been named manager of the Cleveland Indians (and the first Black manager in MLB history). Our interview came just a few days before he was to leave for spring training and he could not have been more kind or cordial, and I applauded the day in 1982 when he was voted into the Hall of Fame.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He works hard so you don’t have to.

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