Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Whiskey High" Website and DVDs

Jeff Mattox spent his senior year at Madison Central High School and graduated in 1965, but he says he left his heart at Wisconsin High School.

Founded in 1912 as the University of Wisconsin's experimental "laboratory school," Wisconsin High School closed its doors in 1964, merging with Madison Central High School, which was thereafter called Central-University High School.

In 2000, Chris Cain, a member of the Class of 1964, the last class to graduate from Wisconsin High School, found a cache of films in the Wisconsin Historical Society archives that should be of great interest to those who attended Wisconsin High in 1960, as well as their friends. For two months in 1960, some 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classes at Wisconsin High School were televised and recorded onto film. Among the faces on those films are Cain and Mattox, as well as some other names familiar to the Madison Central Class of 1965, including Doug Edmunds and Pat Mulhall, who's still listed among the "missing" classmates for the Class of 1965. Students weren't the only people to transfer from Wisconsin High to Central, so did some teachers. One of the films is of Mr. Everard teaching an art class about "Working in Clay."

Jeff and Chris have managed to view some of these films and convert them to DVD. You can read all about these films, as well as explore some of the history of Wisconsin High School at the Wisconsin High School website. I've also added a permanent link to the Wisconsin High School website to the list of links on the right side of this blog.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mirror, Miror on the Wall, Who's the Least Changed of All?

My October 16, 2005 post asked those of you who didn't attend the 40th reunion to guess which one of three people had been voted "least changed" by those who did attend. There were not a lot of responses to this challenge, perhaps because, unless you hauled out your Tychoberahn, there was little basis for comparison between then and now. So here we go again... This time the photo from the 40th reunion is accompanied by the yearbook photos of the three finalists. Enter your guesses in the comments section. I'll post the answer after the New Year.

From left to right: Nancy, Tom, Janet

Another Gift Idea Featuring a Central Alumnus

Today is the official release date for the DVD edition of "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," a widely praised documentary movie about "a Bohemian St. Francis and his remarkable relationship with a flock of wild red-and-green parrots," featuring a score by Madison Central High School alumnus Chris Michie (Class of 1966)

Chris Michie was the art editor of the 1965 Tychoberahn, but it was his outside activities that shaped his career path. He loved the sound of the guitar and learned to play it, practicing at home for hours. On February 27, 1965, his band, The Grapes of Wrath, made its debut at The Loft. Other band members were Greg Loeb (Class of 1966), Tracy Wolters, and Joe Wilson.

Chris eventually left Madison, moved to California, and became a sessions guitarist in 1972. He subsequently recorded or toured with Van Morrison, Link Wray, Stevie Wonder, Boz Scaggs, Jerry Garcia, The Pointer Sisters, Jesse Colin Young, and Maria Muldaur, and shared the stage with Neil Young, B.B. King, Albert King, Big Mama Thornton, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Paul Butterfield, and Elvin Bishop.

The score for "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" was Chris's last project. He died of melanoma on March 27, 2003. The movie is dedicated to him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rosettes, Lefse, and Trollin' for Feeney

Mount Horeb is one of the few places around Madison where you can buy fresh rosettes and lefse all year round, not just at Christmas. Mount Horeb is also proud to call itself the troll capital of the world.

Last Thursday, The Capital Times published an article with the headline "A Trollin' We Will Go," written by the aptly named Susan Troller. But despite the headline, this was shopping story, not a troll story, as we learn in the first sentence, which reads, "There's more to shopping in Mount Horeb than just mustard, trolls and antiques."

So if you're looking for more information about Mount Horeb's trolls, you'll have to search elsewhere. And if you're wondering what connection all this has to Madison Central High School, here's the scoop.

The man who carves the trolls is not a Norwegian, but a guy with a really Irish name: Mike Feeney (Class of 1963). That's him on the left (and yes, it does look a bit like brother John, who would have been a member of the Class of 1965 if he hadn't transferred to West his sophomore year). To read more about what Mike's been up to since high school graduation (and to see a more recent photo of him), click HERE to go to his website and read his artist bio.

Unless you can hop in your car and drive to Mount Horeb in the next few days, it's probably too late to give someone a Chicken Thief Troll (like the one pictured above). But you can order one for yourself, or to give to someone next Christmas, by clicking HERE. Or perhaps you'd rather have some of Mike Feeney's Maritime Mutant Minnows or a set of Troll Collection Notecards.

Why Are These Guys Laughing?

From left to right: Steve Holmgren, Michael Fullwood, Larry Lewis, and someone
who looks a bit like a young Tom Cruise. Can anyone provide his true identity?

Among the many features that made the 1963 Tychoberahn one of the best ever, was its extensive use of candid photographs. Most of them, however, had no captions. So more than 40 years later, we're left wondering just why these guys were laughing. Any guesses?

UPDATE 12/24/2005: Doug Strand and Janet Stevens have both emailed me and identified the guy on the right as Rich Kearns.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Some Very Central Christmas Gifts

Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your honey, your kids, your boss, or your great aunt Violet? Consider giving a gift featuring a Central alumnus. The following CDs, books, and DVDs are all available for under $25 and may be purchased online if you can't find them in your local retail outlet.

Whether you've followed her career for the past four decades, or haven't seen her since she graced the stage of the Central High School auditorium playing Cornelia Otis Skinner in "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay," you may want to listen to the latest CD from Tracy Nelson (Class of 1963). "Ebony and Irony" is Tracy's twentieth record and it's available through her website for a mere $15 -- and if you request, she'll personally autograph it for you.

Patrick McGilligan (president of the Class of 1969, the last class to graduate from Central), has more than a score of books in print. He's written biographies of film stars Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood, but his latest book "Alfred Hitchcok: A Life in Darkness and Light," is available at many retail book stores, as well as at where they're charging on $13.57 for the paperback edition.

Our very own Mickey Crocker (a.k.a. Mickey Gartland) will be appearing in Madison Repertory Theatre's production of "Our Town" from February 15 - March 12, 2006, but you can add one of her performances to your home DVD library if you buy a copy of "The Right Stuff," the 1983 film about the original U.S. Mercury 7 astronauts, based on Tom Wolfe's book. Mickey plays Marge Slayton, wife of Deke Slayton, the astronaut born in Sparta, Wisconsin.

And don't forget Gerri DiMaggio's recently released CD, featured in my September 24th post. Gerri is also mentioned in an article about women in jazz in Madison published yesterday in The Capital Times.

Links: They're Not Just About Golf and Sausages

Just a reminder about links for those of you who may not be familiar with all the ways links are used on a blog. You know that you can click on a link on the right hand side of the blog to be connected to an obituary or a website featuring one of your classmates, as well as other resources such as the local Madison newspapers and the Madison Public Library. But did you know that all those highlighted and underlined words and phrases in the text of each post are also links? Click on them and they'll take you to websites with additional information about a subject (or occasionally to another post within this blog). I often spend a lot of time on research to provide you with links. I hope you'll click on them and find them interesting or useful.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nineteenth Century Principals

Our school principal, Earl Brown, who retired in 1963, always seemed old to me, especially when compared to many of the younger teachers at Madison Central High School. Now I know why. I've just finished posting Mr. Brown's obituary on this blog, and when you "do the math," as many of us do when we read obituaries, you'll see that he was born in the 19th century, as was Vida V. Smith, who was principal of Madison Central Junior High School when I entered in 1959.

Interestingly, both Mr. Brown and Miss Smith were graduates of Madison Central High School (still called Madison High School when they graduated). So was Miss Mackin, although since she was born in the 20th century (1901) she was bit younger than the two principals. Coach Harris was also an alumnus, but by the time he graduated, the school was called Madison Central High School.

The information about Mr. Brown's status as a Central alumnus comes from a "Your Madisonian" feature in the Wisconsin State Journal, published on March 3, 1959. Back then, being chosen to appear in the weekly "Your Madisonian" feature was very prestigious, its subjects the most important and influential people in Madison. When you read the article (reprinted below), you'll discover that it was probably used as the basis for much of the information in Mr. Brown's obituary.

Note: If the "Your Madisonian" article is difficult to read, try double clicking on the image to enlarge it in your browser.

Selmer Gilch Tells All: The Madison Mirror Gossip - November 1, 1963

I'd forgotten The Madison Mirror had a gossip columnist who lurked behind a pseudonym. The November 1, 1963 column shown below has several items that should be of interest to members of the Class of 1965. Accompanying it is a photo (obviously not from The Madison Mirror, since it's in color) which offers some visual evidence that Selmer Gilch was right about boys from Madison Central dating girls from Madison West.

Since the content of the column isn't searchable (because treats it as if it were a photograph), I'm going to list the members of the Class of 1965 mentioned in the gossip column, so anyone searching this blog (or, perhaps, the blogosphere in general) should get a link to this post. Here goes: Mike Davy, Jim Kinder, Steve Fix, Steve Arnett, Doug ("Skip") Edmunds, Nils Olsen, Larry Lewis, Mike Fullwood, JoAnn Benell, Russ Loniello, Curt Larson, Bill Buffo, and Ed Nelson.

Note: If the gossip column is difficult to read, try double clicking on it to enlarge the image in your browser.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Way We Were: Madison Central High School Tennis Team 1965

This photo was one of a series published in The Madison Mirror on April 9, 1965 under the headline "Spring Sports Teams Begin Action This Week."

Lots of Men Checking Out the Food at the 35th Reunion at the Argus

At the 40th reunion at CJ's, dinner was served family style. Is that why most of these guys didn't put in an appearance?

More "Nail's Tales" from Camp Randall

In my previous post about "Nail's Tales," the recently installed 48-foot sculpture outside Camp Randall, I noted that artist Donald Lipski had compared his controversial creation to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Winter 2005 issue of On Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Alumni Association magazine, offers a some more commentary by Lipski, who calls "Nail's Tales" a contemporary take on the obelisks that stood outside ancient temples. But then he adds. "Hopefully people will make their own metaphors. Maybe they'll see a striving to get to the top."

Of course, not everyone agrees with Lipski. Is this $200,000 sculpture a fatuous football folly, a marvelous modern metaphor, or an excuse for awesomely annoying alliteration? Please opine.

Just one more thought: If the scupture is named after Lipski's old roommate, Eric "Nails" Nathan, isn't the apostrophe in "Nail's Tales" in the wrong place? Dodgeville's Lands' End admits its misplaced apostrophed is an error that was too expensive to correct. Is the misplaced apostrophe in "Nail's Tales" an erorr, too? Can it be blamed on some youngster who never learned to diagram sentences or use proper punctuation? Comments from grammar mavens and other pernickety people welcome. Persnickety, by the way, is an alternate spelling of pernickety, so let's not debate this issue. Class dismissed.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Pioneer of the Modern Skyscraper

If you're planning to visit New York City before New Year's Eve, you may want to pay a visit to The New-York Historical Society, located at 170 Central Park West. Among its current exhibits is one that should be of special interest to alumni of Madison Central High School: "Thou wondrous dizzy pile!" Selections from the Cass Gilbert Collection.

Here's how the the society describes the exhibit, which runs through December 30, 2005:

Cass Gilbert is perhaps best remembered as the architect of the Woolworth Building, for years the tallest building in the world. Yet, his work also included such monumental public buildings as the U.S. Custom House in Lower Manhattan and many state capitols. He created ornate Classical buildings but was also a pioneer of the modern skyscraper. This small exhibition in the library showcases material from the Cass Gilbert Collection from the Society's library collection. It features early twentieth century photographs, drawings, letters, brochures, and ephemera from Gilbert's extensive collection of personal and professional papers.

So, to ask again the questions posed in my November 19 post, what's the connection between the architect of the Woolworth Building and a high school in Madison, Wisconsin that closed its doors in 1969? Very simple: Cass Gilbert was the architect who designed the building on Wisconsin Avenue that housed Madison Central High School -- a building demolished in 1986 to create space for an MATC parking lot.

Cass Gilbert also was the architect for the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. He's the Central connection I was looking for in my November 28 post (as well as the model for the figure on the other side of Order).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Another Photo From the 35th Reunion at the Argus

From left to right: D. Fiscus, T. Oscar, and R. Guerin

The Saga of the Shorewood Students - Part One

Some of us spent six years at Madison Central High, but many members of the Class of 1965 didn't enter until they were ready for the ninth grade. In Fall 1961, students entered from Franklin, Madison Lutheran, St. Patrick's, St. Raphael's, and Badger School (send an email or leave a comment if I missed the school you attended before you were a freshman). Some also arrived from Shorewood.

The Shorewood students had to attend Madison Central High School for their freshman year, even though West was closer. The following year, they had a choice to transfer to West or stay at Central. If they stayed, they're probably on our mailing list (or we're working hard to locate them if they're missing). If they transferred back to West, they've often become subjects of gossip and speculation. We know what happened to Rip Van Roo, but what about the other Shorewood students who left Central?

Clarke Caywood, Susan Derse, Susan Flynn, Steve Holmgren, Marilyn Marling, Russ Nelson, Ethel Shideman, Virginia Steeper, Kathy Tallard, and Nancy Washburn -- where are they now? Stay tuned or help us update their whereabouts -- and if this list isn't complete, send an email or leave a comment indicating who I've omitted).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Linda and Jim!

Some Centralites have super memories. They send me emails to remind me what happened nine months before they were born -- and no, this has nothing to do with what mom and dad were up to in the weeks before Christmas. The reminder has to do with who's older than most of the rest of us (including, of course, my informant). It's Jim Kinder, born on this day in 1946. Next year he'll be 60! Among the younger members of the Madison Central Class of 1965 is Linda London (that's her in the middle of the photograph taken when she starred in "Cheaper By the Dozen"), who just turned 58 yesterday.

The Way We Were: Madison Central High School 1965 Track Squad Members

This photo was one of a series published in The Madison Mirror on April 9, 1965 under the headline "Spring Sports Teams Begin Action This Week."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Way We Were: Madison Central High School 1965 Golf Team Members

This photo was one of a series published in The Madison Mirror on April 9, 1965 under the headline "Spring Sports Teams Begin Action This Week." The golfers include one of our "missing" classmates. Please contact me if you have current information about the whereabouts of Curtis Larson.