2 Books About the Late 20th Century and the Baby Boomer Generation
By Fred Del Bianco Jr.

Fred Del Bianco Jr. Presents ...

Late Boomer

A Baby Boomer’s Take on Late-Twentieth-Century Life

So, what does ravioli have to do with the Bowery Boys? . . . Elton John with tennis? . . .  soap operas with Watergate? . . . Michael Jackson with Halloween? . . . Steely Dan with beer cans? . . . pizza with Pac-man?

Late Boomer is a personal account of the early years of television; the wonderful and diverse music of the 1960s and 1970s; the revolutionary motion pictures; first moon landing; Vietnam War; technological changes, etc., as the author intertwines his own life to offer a unique perspective of the general Americana and pop culture of the late 1900s.

Plus . . .

50 Favs of the ’60s ’70s ’80s

The author, a late-stage baby boomer, presents a look back at fifty of the essential subjects from each of the exciting and uncanny decades of change: the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s . . .  150 total topics! Fifty Favs offers a detailed, while straightforward, summary of the leading personalities, music, sports, movies, and events of this fabulous thirty-year span that many remember with fondness.

Both now available in paperback (e-book coming soon) through Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing.

To Order - Please visit the author’s webpage: www.lateboomer2020.com


Excerpt from Late Boomer:

Toward the end of my years in Trumbull, while I was a teenager, I found in the house a fuel bill from the late sixties—the amount was 18 cents a gallon for a total of $27! Along these lines, I recall 36¢ per gallon gasoline (for “high-test”, later to be called “premium”); a $1.50 six-pack of beer; a large bag of cheese curls for 39¢; and a can of soda (including Wink, a defunct grapefruit-flavored beverage from Canada Dry) for ten cents.

     I was aware at the time that the average new automobile cost around $3,000. Of course, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that most workers earned less than $10,000 a year. A dollar was sincerely a dollar in those days! Still, eighteen cents for heating oil? … Jeez!

     The 1968 movie Yours, Mine and Ours exemplifies these kinds of prices: groceries for an astonishing eighteen children and two adults, played by Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, are rung up in the supermarket on the mechanical cash register—the tally was a mere $126.63 (the same digits that constitute my birth date!) Additionally, there is a scene from the 1967’s Divorce, American Style, which showed Dick Van Dyke ordering a double cheeseburger, small fries, and a Coke at a McDonald’s ... “That’ll be sixty-seven cents, please”, utters a clean-cut counter man dressed in white … cheap, cheap, cheap!

     As Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson for the presidency, he set about to steadily reduce the number of American ground troops fighting in Southeast Asia. Nixon’s first year in office, 1969, was the last of what had become a truly exceptional decade. Early on, President Kennedy committed full backing of the NASA space program; in fact, he was so enthusiastic and ambitious in this regard that he believed that by the end of the 1960s, the Americans ought to be able to land one of their own on the moon’s surface and return him home safely.

     We also had to beat the Russians to it. We did both. Conforming to that original goal, on July 20, 1969, three US astronauts and NASA achieved this feat before a captivated, worldwide television audience.

     From one seminal moment in outer space to another at the down-and-dirty earthiness of the Woodstock Music Festival a month later. This extravaganza showcased future classic acts such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.

     On the sports front, two teams, both from New York City, upset two opponents, both from Baltimore, Maryland. The NY Jets of professional football made it to the third AFL-NFL Championship Game (Super Bowl III, the initial such meeting to be officially dubbed “Super Bowl”) to take on the Baltimore Colts, who were considered invincible that season. Led by stylish “Broadway” Joe Namath, the colorful Jets defeated the crew-cut Colts 16-7 in Miami, on January 12, 1969.

     Toward the conclusion of ’69, the New York Mets of pro baseball wrapped up one heck of a miracle by compiling exactly 100 victories (coinciding with Major League Baseball’s one hundredth anniversary!) during the inaugural year of divisional play and defeating the Baltimore Orioles, a team as dominant as the Colts were, in the World Series.

     Fittingly, they clinched the division title and won the National League Playoffs and World Series all at Shea Stadium. For the unfortunate Shea grounds crew, this meant dealing with the aftermath of frenetic Mets fans—in a display of unprecedented exuberance, they (except the ones in business suits!) were let loose onto the field and, in the spirit of the riotous times, ripped up much of the natural grass playing surface on all three occasions!

     Only eight years earlier the Mets organization came into being (to reinstate National League baseball to New York City since the 1957 departures of both the Giants and the Dodgers to California) and the roster completed a disastrous introductory season with an outrageous 120 losses—still a modern-day record. So poor was this motley collection of players, in fact, that from 1962 to 1967, they dreadfully lost a hundred or more games five times, aptly finishing in last place in the NL each of those seasons.

     It is this contrast that makes the 1969 Mets particularly special!

     The New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (in existence at that point for only about twenty years) followed this, in May of 1970, with a championship, providing the city of the Big Apple with three major sports titles in less than a year and a half.

     Unfortunately, as I only later became a consummate New York sports fan, I missed all of this “cool” action circa ’69-’70, because I was a mere five- and six-year-old that wasn’t quite interested in athletics yet and I was not paying attention . . . Drats!

     What really puts me back to age five and 1969 are the hits “This Magic Moment” by Jay and the Americans, “My Cherie Amour” from Stevie Wonder, “Sugar, Sugar” from the Archies, and “Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension. Among the earlier mentioned, they possess the easy association that connects certain emotions with particular places and moments in time. Another tune with that quality is late-1968’s “Those Were the Days” (it figures!), a number two hit from eighteen-year-old Mary Hopkin.


Excerpt from Fifty Favs:

The Monkees

For a short, two-year period from 1966 to 1968, this pop quartet fabricated for a television program turned out to be arguably the most popular amongst the more established acts of the day.

     In 1965, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider came up with an idea for a TV show about a rock and roll band and their assorted “monkey business”, using the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night movie as inspiration. Three of the four members chosen from an audition of more than 400 hopefuls were Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, and Mickey Dolenz. British Davy Jones had already been performing for Columbia Pictures, whose Screen Gems subsidiary was tapped to produce the show, and rounded out the foursome.

     Music would not only be an integral part of the program, but also it was decided their songs would be commercially available; thus, producer Don Kirshner was hired to find material for the Monkees’ singles and albums to be distributed by Colgems, a new record label formed by Screen Gems.

     The series itself was a self-titled, zany, slapstick comedy (likened to a modern-day version of the Marx Brothers) that premiered on September 12, 1966 on NBC-TV. Ahead of this, a single “Last Train to Clarksville”, penned by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, had been issued. The track, featured in several of the early episodes, continued to ascend the Hot 100 until it reached number one in November of ’66. Following right behind the “Last Train” was the Monkees debut LP, The Monkees, which settled into first place for a thirteen-week stay on its respective survey … the public went ape over their sound!

     While the 45-rpm disc, long-player, and TV show were having its successes, the follow-up, “I’m a Believer”, composed by Neil Diamond, was released. On the final day of the year, their signature track began a seven-week run at the top. Toward the end of that stretch, the group’s second LP had been completed and delivered. More of the Monkees immediately succeeded The Monkees at #1 and it would tack on an additional eighteen consecutive weeks to the Monkees’ winning streak. The third 45, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, also by Diamond, fell just one notch shy of the summit during the spring of 1967, but another million-seller, nonetheless.

     With the next long player, Headquarters, the band gained the creative control and studio participation they had been seeking (heretofore, their material had been written and performed predominately by outside talent). This mostly autonomous project likewise grabbed the uppermost spot on the chart … but this time for only a week, as it was prevented from a multitude of them by the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which stubbornly held the Monkees’ third LP at the runner-up position for eleven weeks straight thereafter.

     In 1968, the Monkees concluded their remarkable ride with one more top ten single and album, plus a far-out feature film Head. Soon after filming was completed, their popularity came crashing down—the movie bombed, the TV show ended, and the hits stopped coming. The unit itself, reduced to a mere two Monkees by 1970, fell into oblivion … until 1986, when they (minus Nesmith) enjoyed a considerable revival that continued for several years.


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