News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Francis Greene "Come on Down"

You're the next contestant on

What? Is that a bird whistle I hear? Well set your VCR for 12/12/08 at 10AM CST, because Francis Gisimo Greene will be hard gauging the soft markets on the Price is Right with Drew Carey and Barker's Beauties on the Friday show.

Francis' agent reports other shows interested in the Hog City native, including Dancing with Stars, A co-host position on a new version of Card Sharks (replacing the late Bert Convy) and a reprisal of his previous role as Joan Collins first husband on Dynasty.

Here's regular contributor Sempleman telling the tale of Francis' performance in a Pantagraph lead item:

In California to visit his mother, Francis Greene and his wife, Trudy, got tickets in hopes of catching a taping of the classic game show, “The Price Is Right.” “I just wanted to get on TV,” said Greene.

After an early arrival for an Oct. 13 taping at CBS Television City in Los Angeles and a little bit of luck, Greene got his wish and a lot more as he was asked by show announcer Rich Fields to “Come on down!” and be a contestant on the show, now in its 37th season.

“When they announced my name, Trudy pointed at me and said, ‘That’s you!’” Greene said. “I think I tripped on the way to Contestant’s Row.”

Holding tickets to a taping does not guarantee that you’ll be part of the studio audience because more tickets are issued than there is capacity in the studio, so people in line are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Greene said that while he wanted to get there early, his sister woke him up at 2:30 a.m. because her watch was still on Illinois time. The Greenes decided to go ahead to the studio, where they found several people already in line.

Eventually, studio personnel began taking groups of 15 and asking each person their name, where they were from and what they did for a living.

“They choose the contestants on the basis of that 10- or 15-second interview,” explained Greene.

Greene said he began to get nervous after a lady in line behind him said she saw someone writing his name down.

“She said ‘Francis, you’re going down!’” Greene said. “I didn’t want to be disappointed, but I started to think what I would do if I was chosen as a contestant.”

Greene’s $925 bid on a treadmill was “closest to the actual retail price without going over,” earning him an on-stage appearance with host Drew Carey and a chance to play “Switcheroo,” in which two items are shown with prices and the contestant has to decide whether to keep them as they are or switch them.

Viewers can catch the rest of Greene’s appearance when the episode airs Dec. 12. WMBD 31 in Peoria broadcasts “The Price Is Right” at 10 a.m.

Greene said Carey was a gracious host.

“He is really funny,” said Greene. “When you get into the studio and they start playing the music, you can really feel the excitement.”

Insert signature bird whistle here

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Helmets, No Pads, It's the Turkey Bowl In Wapella

A faithful reader has forwarded a message to, inviting all Wapella Athletes to compete in a Turkey Bowl Football Derby in Mary Powers front yard around 9AM Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) morning.

Reader BBD promises celebrities including the Wickenhauser Brothers, Ralph "Crash" Cooper, and legendary Lefty Earl Nelson will appear.

Come on Finger's, Mollett's, Priest's, Springman, Deeters, Toohill's, Thomas', Schanafelt's, Ryan's and all other Wildcats, if you are up to the challenge. Win big prizes, annoy your friends, amuse your enemies, all the right stuff to make this Thanksgiving start with a short trip to the emergency room.

Update: Wapella Wins in a shootout, 49-42. MVP Jay "Jaybird" Wickenhauser WHS '89

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 Mourns the Passing of Jim Bryan

Former Wapella High School Basketball Coach has passed away at the age of 67.

Coach Bryan's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with J. Kent Hickerson and the Rev. Andrew Maxwell officiating. Burial will be at Oak Park Cemetery, Clinton. Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Memorial gifts may be made to Waynesville United Methodist Church, Clinton Country Club or Clinton Elks Lodge.

He was born Oct. 3, 1941, in Vera, a son of Harold Max Bryan and Elsie I. Williams. He married Ulanda Ruger in August 1962 in Flora. He later married Janet Buck on Dec. 30, 2003, in Memphis, Tenn.

He is survived by his wife, Janet Bryan, Clinton; his mother, Elsie Covey, Effingham; two daughters, Kelly (Mike) Ginger and Stephanie (Jeff) Barger, both of Clinton; four grandchildren, Corey and Haley Ginger and Braxton and Breanna Barger; two stepchildren, Randy Craig, Atlanta; and Kristy (Bill) Reynolds, Mount Pulaski; three stepgrandchildren, May, Katy, and Bethany Reynolds; a brother, Bill Bryan, Humble, Texas; and two sisters, Jill (Bill) McDonald, Evansville, Ind.; and Jan Bryan, Springfield.

He was preceded in death by his father.

He was a Country Companies agent for 40 years and was a graduate of Illinois State University.

He was a member of Clinton Country Club, Clinton Elks Lodge, Eagles Lodge, DeWitt County Farm Bureau, and the ISU Alumni Association.

By a unanimous vote of the Board of Wapella Historians, Coach Jim Bryan was voted an honorary Wapella Wildcat. The Wapella Flag flies at Half-Mast today for Jim Bryan.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mars Needed Guitars; Delivers

More big name guitarists are showing up on than any other Central Illinois website, and for no apparent reason, except for the love of Rock and Roll. You can have your Hendrix, your Clapton and your Jeff Beck, but for my money the greatest guitarist of all time is Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys. Here he has at it with "Barbara Ann", and yes that is Brian Wilson standing up playing the Bass, his instrument on the early recordings.

As an added bonus, here's The Who with Pete Townshend a close second on world's greatest guitarist (and dancer) with their warm-up version of "Barbara Ann", with Keith Moon (looking every one of his 31 years) singing lead.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

RIP Mitch Mitchell with PS/ What to do When Your Neck is on Fire

No, not the guy from the sing-along albums (That is Mitch Miller and he is very much alive at age 97), but Mitch Mitchell the English drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience has died at age 61. Mitchell rocked with the Pretty Things and Georgie Fame before connecting with Jimi Hendrix in 1966 in "a sleazy little club" playing Chuck Berry.

Mitchell performed with Hendrix and Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, the U.S. debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He also was member of a later version of the band that performed the closing set of the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.

Mitchell was the last surviving member of Hendrix' trio, with bassist Noel Redding passing away in 2003. Here's the Jimi Hendrix Experience with their rocking version of Sgt. Pepper's (with George Harrison and Paul McCartney watching out for their ears in the audience)


Does anyone notice anything a bit out of place in this video of Eric Clapton demonstrating guitar functionality? It was probably not out of place when the video was recorded, but looks like a relic now. Clapton also mysteriously grows a mustache during the interview.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Wapella to the Louvre: Tony Dow Wows the Art World

Wapella Favorite actor Tony Dow now has a sculpture at the world famous Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Way to Go Tony! Can you get some Wapella art in their?

From the LA Times

It was a chance meeting last fall on the set of the KTLA Morning News that has led to one of the day's oddest art news items -- namely that Tony Dow, best known as the actor who portrayed the Beaver's big brother, Wally, on the 1950s family TV series "Leave It to Beaver," will soon have one of his abstract sculptures on display at the Louvre.

Yes, that Louvre, the one in "The Da Vinci Code." But the sculpture isn't going to be permanently installed next to the Mona Lisa or anything: It will be part of the annual Societe National des Beaux-Arts exhibition, held at the Carrousel du Louvre, an exhibition hall within the Louvre.

Still, this is not like renting the place out for a wedding: Two groups of French artists joined forces to inaugurate the exhibition back in 1862, with an eye toward helping new artists gain recognition; writer Theophile Gautier served as its first chairman and painter Aime Millet was deputy chairman. The committee included painters Eugene Delacroix, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and Puvis de Chavannes; among the exhibitors were Charles-Francois Daubigny and Edouard Manet.

In 1864, after the death of Delacroix, the society ceased to hold exhibitions until its revitalization in 1890.

But back to KTLA: Dow, 63, was a guest on the morning news program with Jerry Mathers, who played the Beav from 1957 to 1963. So was art gallerist Robert Berger, co-owner with Karen Lynne Asher of Karen Lynne Galleries, Inc., with locations in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Boca Raton, Fla. Berger was on hand to talk about the gallery''s participation in the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition at the famed Paris museum.

"The U.S. had never been represented in this show, and the Louvre invited us," says gallery director Jane Gahng of the international show, which will include artists representing Brazil, Canada, China, France, Korea, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

As Gahng tells it, Dow and Berger got to talking, and Berger discovered that, along with his Hollywood Tony_dow_sculpture_3career, Dow was an artist and had been sculpting and painting since his teen years. The gallery began representing Dow's work, and this year submitted it, along with that of about 30 other artists representated by Karen Lynne Galleries, as candidates for the same juried exhibition in 2008. The Louvre chose the work of 12 of those artists, including Dow.

Other Karen Lynne Gallery artists represented in the show -- with no known sitcom affiliations -- include sculptor Brian Berman, painter Steven Glucksburg and painter Jorge Lujan.

"Of course I'm really proud of 'Leave it to Beaver' and my directing career in television," Dow told AP news service. "Those are great accomplishments. I'm really proud of them, but this is interesting because I don't think they know anything about that."

The sculpture, "Unarmed Warrior,"is a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield. It will be on display at the Louvre Dec. 11-14.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11 Salute tips it's helmet today for all Veterans. 11/11 is World War 1 Armistice Day, now celebrated as Veterans Day.

As always we remember those who served.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday 7th Son

Frequent contributor 7th Son celebrates a pair today, a pair of 4's that is, turning 44. Give him a full armed wave if you see him walking his burro, practicing his lefty hook, or cooking up some goldenrod around town.

Here's #44, Chuck Foreman, an old rival of 7th son, getting it done in 1975.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When The Grungers Bought a Buddy Holly Album

Legend has it in 1989 Boston's atonal Pixies weren't getting much of anywhere with the Alternative Rock scene, so they chucked it for a song or two after buying a copy of Buddy Holly's Greatest Hits, and letting loose with the jangly "Here Comes Your Man" (now a part of the video game "Rock Band). Song made it to #3, and the Pixies had a surprise hit.

True to their anti-commercial roots, they generally did not play this in concert (ask Tim Mollet or Bill Williams who went to see them at Foellinger Auditorium in Champaign in 1990 to be sure), preferring the depressing dirges of Grunge Rock to the lure of a melody, but this one stands alone.

For two points, guitar fans, where did the Pixies pull the familiar (if a bit clipped off) opening chord? From another band mightily influenced by Buddy Holly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Honorable David Taylor

Yes, we know it, tries to stay far and wide from the odorous sewer of politics, but when one of our regulars, and a great contributor to our Village Bugle wins a hotly contested race, it is time to Sound the Trumpets (or just the Second Cornet section of the WHS Marching band, if they are available).

Congratulations to David Taylor, one the most civic minded, pro-Wapella members of the Village. David promises to continue his championship of Wapella and its water supply as a new member of the DeWitt County Board.

Please wave your Wapella Flag proudly today for David Taylor.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Was Doug Collins at Risk?

From the AP

A rooster played chicken in the wrong town. That's the word from the downstate community of Benton, where police took a rooster into custody after it allegedly confronted a woman and her child. Police Chief Mike O'Neill said the rooster has been bothering people lately, trying to keep them from getting where they want to go.

O'Neill said officers had enough on Monday and took the rooster into custody after what he described as a brief scuffle.

Nobody was injured and the rooster was thrown in an enclosed area near the police department. There, it lived on chicken feed and water until police located the owner.
Chickens aren't allowed to live in Benton and the rooster was turned over to the owner only after he promised to find it a new home in the country.

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