Teppline of Peace, Freedom, and Anti-War Songs

January 1st, 1955

The following songs are presented as a response to the continuing efforts of the War Machine to promote and promulgate their wears.  War is a choice, not a necessity.  There are no “good wars”.  All wars steal from the body of humanity in order to feed the decadence and monetary profit of the few.

This Teppline is only a modest beginning.  It is inspired in part by spirit of the Billy Joel on-line videos “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, a multi-media blending of music and photographs.  In time this Teppline too may feature both.

There is a new revolution going on.  It is based on the internet.  Corporate ownership is being seriously challenged, the old histories are passing away, the people are reclaiming the ownership of the icons of the past and of their lives that they naturally assumed that they owned.  If you bought a Time – Life Magazine you owned the pictures, they were part of you, they became what made you.  The same is true of the Movie-tone newsreel imagery, the CBS evening news images, the whole kit and kaboddle of everything that you saw that “they” wanted you to see and a whole lot more.

We the people OWN the music, no more royalties to pay.  We also OWN the images.  WE TAKE OWNERSHIP as they say.  There are not enough “lawyers, guns, and money” to stop us all.  A corporation IS NOT a real person, it can not have real rights; such a belief is a fundamental miscarriage of the law.  If corporate ownership is claimed the product of human labor was wrongly stolen as evidenced by the claim of ownership; one has almost an obligation to set it free.  Fair Use is covered by parody.  The real claim to ownership of what in fact has become the unwritten language of image expression is the parody itself.  One cannot own words, each public corporate image is just “a thousand words in one”, a means to convey a thought, not the thought itself.

A series of images is like a conversation, an essay, even a book.  Rearrange the images and one is left with a different argument, a different outcome, a totally different meaning perhaps.  The images are like the Chinese picto-grams; they are ideographs and nothing more.  This is what the “We Didn’t Start the Fire” photo and map sequences contained within the “video” song are all about; a new language beyond mere words.  All humans have a right to these new “words” and the right to use them to communicate as best they can.

Note:  In the lower right-hand corner of You Tube videos there is a “full screen icon“.  Click it to get the greatest benefit from each music video.  Use your “esc” (escape) key to return to the regular screen.

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John Newton – Amazing Grace

Notes:

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Charles Pickard Ware (transcription) – Michael Row Your Boat Ashore

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Jose Fernandez Dias – Guantanamera

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Pete Seeger – We Shall Overcome

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Pete Seeger – If I Had a Hammer

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Ed McCurdy – Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

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Merle Travis – Sixteen Tons

Notes:

This song taught a whole new generation about company stores, factory towns, and the perils of being a “wage slave” under the smiling cover of finger snapping, straight-tied Tennessee Ernie Ford.

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Sheb Wooley – Flying Purple People Eater

Notes:

This song is not normally considered a “freedom song” unless one considers the basic theme; a purple person who looks different (one horn) and wants to be in a rock and roll band (still scandalous at the time).  The irony is that the creature who “eats” purple people is purple himself.

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Pete Seeger – Where Have All the Flowers Gone

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Bob Dylan – Blowin in the Wind

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Bob Dylan – With God on our Side

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Paul Simon – Sounds of Silence

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Buffy Sainte Marie – Universal Soldier

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Kingston Trio – Patriot Game

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Country Joe McDonald – Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die

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Smothers Brothers – The box

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John Lennon – Give Peace a Chance

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Melanie Safka – Peace Will Come (According to Plan)

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Cat Stevens – Peace Train

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John Lennon – Happy Xmas – War is Over

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Blondie – 99 Red Balloons

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Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire

1955 cadillac limousine

January 1st, 1955

ehicle was referred to officially as the SS-678-X Presidential Parade Car.

as a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 hard-top built by GM and then modified and customized (at GM expense) by Hess and Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Eisenhower’s 1955 Cadillac limousine featured a retractable roof panel over the rear passenger compartment and was built without a standard C-pillar using a Series 62 coupe rear window.

Custom built by Hess & Eisenhardt for the Eisenhower White House, the special order limousine, chassis 557555865,

Commissioned in 1955 for the First Lady, Mrs. Eisenhower’s use, as well as to serve as a formal and parade vehicle when needed, this important parade car was delivered straight from the factory in March 1955 to Hess & Eisenhardt, where it underwent a number of special modifications. These included the replacement of the rearmost part of the roof with a section and rear window from a Series 62 Coupe de Ville, resulting in a pillarless “hardtop” limo to allow an excellent viewpoint for press photographers, along with the addition of a sliding sunroof to allow the President and Mrs. Eisenhower to stand in full view of the public when desired. A grab rail was added inside the leading edge of the sunroof to ease the strain of standing in the moving car.

After completion, the car remained in the White House garage for the remainder of Eisenhower’s term before being reportedly sold to an American General. It was acquired by Olivier Delafon, a French collector of presidential automobiles and cars of state in 1988 before being purchased by its current owner in 2006.

The second   This car was the primary presidential limousine in use until the delivery of the 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible “bubble top” vehicle delivered during the second year of the Kennedy presidency.
The two 1938 V-16 presidential Cadillac limousines were known as the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth (each car named after one of the two of the largest ocean liners of the day).  As a result, the 1955 and 1956 presidential limousines were dubbed  Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II.

History:

Queen Elizabeth (II)’s visit to Washington D.C. beginning with her arrival on October 17, 1957 in a USAF Constellation “Columbine“.  She arrived in the United States on October 16, first visiting Williamsburg and Jamestown Virginia.  On October 17 – 19 she was in Washington D.C. before going on October 20 through October 21, 1957 to New York City, from whence she left the country.

on  at 9:23 bubble top at 10:15

There is a fair amount of confusion on the web, in articles, regarding the 1955 and 1956 Cadillac limousines.  The Warren Commission confuses the 1955 hardtop with the 1956 convertible that was used as “the presidential follow-up car” in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and then again in the “Kennedy assassination re-enactments” a year later (in 1964) stating:

Warren Commission Report – Page 45 – paragraph 4:
Presidential follow-up car.–This vehicle, a 1955 Cadillac eight-passenger convertible especially outfitted for the Secret Service, followed closely behind the President’s automobile. 

There is also the representation that each car was made in duplicate, i.e. that there were (are) two identical 1955 Cadillacs and two identical 1956 Cadillacs (the Queen Mary II and the Queen Elizabeth II), leaving of course the 1955 (Warren Commission hardtop) without a name.  If the two extra cars exist they are NOT in the Henry Ford Museum, assuming that GM found private owners.  One report regarding the Queen Mary (probably Queen Mary II) states that the car was retired in late 1961, used only once in 1965 (on loan from Ford) by President Johnson while visiting New York City, and the ended up in the Henry Ford Museum in 1967.

This (of course) makes tracking down the 1956 Presidential limousine convertible (and an accurate history) almost as difficult as tracking down the truth about the events in Dallas.  If I were buying an historic car I would want a paper trail of lawful automobile titles (with the VIN, or engine numbers, of course) and I would not be afraid to publish the title documents on the web.

  in use by the Secret Service during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies. It was directly behind the president’s 1961 Lincoln that fateful day in Dallas.

This Cadillac convertible (with optional bubble top) limousine was used by the Presidential Protection Division. It was the car the was directly behind President Kennedy’s limo at the assassination in Dallas on November 22,1963. The car had been specially built for the Secret Service. The car was equipped with siren, red light, built in gun rack, running boards, and other features. It was in service during the terms of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.  It was the vehicle used in the Kennedy assassination re-enactment.

U.S. History. Movie history. The ultimate Cadillac parade car. You won’t find a more majestic, attention-grabbing, and glamorous way to motor.
When Oliver Stone filmed the movie “JFK” in 1991 starring Kevin Costner, he needed to recreate the White House presidential parade car, “The Queen Mary.”

The Queen Mary was a 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 convertible, the SS-678-X Presidential Parade Car.   in use by the Secret Service during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies. It was directly behind the president’s 1961 Lincoln that fateful day in Dallas.

The Queen Mary was one of two White House limos built by Hess and Eisenhardt of Cincinnati, Ohio. They were based on a Cadillac commercial chassis with a wheelbase of 158 inches. At 21 feet long, they weighed 7,000 pounds and came with pistol holders, an extra-large siren, and oscillating light and run flat tires. They reportedly could reach speeds up to 115 miles an hour, powered by Cadillac’s famous 365 inch, 305 horsepower V-8 engine. Both Queens were retired from public service in 1968.

Although this is a reproduction of the original Queen Mary II, (whose twin sold a few years ago in excess of $750,000), it is an extremely close approximation of the White House car. The Cadillac is equipped with running boards and chromed grab handles for the Secret Service, a working over-large siren, flashing red emergency light, and flag standards. The chrome flag staffs are incredibly stout and can withstand speeds in excess of 40 mph while carrying a flag. The flags themselves are perfect. Unlike most historical vehicles which carry two American flags, this car comes with the authentic Presidential Standard, which is impossible for civilians to buy today.

This movie car, being as such, does not have a working convertible top or side windows. Otherwise, it is a fully-functioning automobile. Purists will note a few additional slight differences with the White House car: slightly oversized grab handles, whitewall tires, rear fender skirts, different running board treatment, etc. Yet to the vast majority of collectors and the public, the car is nearly identical to the original (and vastly less expensive). Moreover, the quality the conversion is very good. You’ll find no jagged metal or simple hatchet work. As befitting a major motion picture, all the modifications are neat, workmanlike, and professional. The car, originally a Series 75 closed limousine, was professionally braced to become a convertible. It has the sturdiness and assuring solidity of a proper convertible.

Performance-wise, this Cadillac is a dream to drive. She starts easily and has loads of power for her girth. The power steering is effortless. The massive brakes, all recently refurbished (including a newly restored Tredlevac system) stop the car quickly and without drama. The clock and radio do not function, but all other electrics work as prescribed. The siren lets out a massive wail, and the red light flashes pleasingly. This Cadillac will be the star of any parade or motorcade.

New chrome bumpers, trim, and goddess hood ornament are likewise graced with new gold emblems front and rear. The paint is good driver quality–not perfect. It does have many small blemishes, blisters (and two dings) which are hard to capture on film. The car is rust free and the undercarriage is very, very nice. The entire interior has been redone in the past 50 miles with new upholstery and carpet. The jump seats have also been reupholstered.

The Queen Mary: movie car, White House history, and ultimate parade car. It’s ready to haul dignitaries, newlyweds, or simply to take the whole family (with seating for eight) down to the ice cream shop.

1961 Lincoln Continental “bubbletop” convertible:

Later in 1961 Hess & Eisenhardt had a hand in both designing and customizing JFK’s massive Lincoln X-100 presidential limousine, which was built for the Secret Service by the Ford Motor Co and Hess & Eisenhardt. The legendary coach was built by cutting a standard convertible in half and stretching it by 33″ between the front and rear axles. The unitized vehicle’s rocker panels, cowl and cross-members were reinforced with 1/4″ and 1/2″ sheet steel and two new cross-members were added to make the vehicle as rigid as possible.

Hess & Eisenhardt divided the passenger compartment in two with a disappearing glass divider behind the chauffeur’s blue leather bench seat. A removable stainless-steel roll-bar was placed above the divider that allowed the president to steady himself if he wished to stand during a parade or public appearance. A pair of jump seats were installed in the rear compartment as was a hydraulic rear bench seat that could be raised by 10 1/2″ allowing better visibility of the president, even while seated. A blue leather interior with matching Mouton carpeting and gold-embroidered lap robes incorporating the Presidential Seal were fitted as well.

Retractable handles and steps were placed at strategic points around the vehicle and a number of removable tops and inserts were built so that the car could be used as a a totally closed car, a town car, a landaulet, or a convertible. Among the special tops were the famous three-piece “bubble top” Plexiglas roof, a seldom-seen 3-piece convertible top with an oval-shaped rear window and a two-piece Victoria-style hardtop that featured a brushed stainless steel panel over the driver’s compartment.

Hess told Bernie DeWinter that his friends at Ford and Fisher Body told him that there was no way he’d ever be able to afford to incorporate the stainless-steel panel, simply because of the outrageous cost of making the dies to form it. Hess’ answer was to make the dies out of concrete! They only had to work one time, and they did; then they were reportedly left outside the back of the plant.

The 5,000 feet of wiring included an elaborate network of of communications devices and warning lights that allowed the president to communicate with his chauffeur and the secret service agents riding in their escort vehicle. A pair of reverse-flow electric fans were even installed behind the radiator in the event that debris from a ticker-tape parade caused the massive car to overheat. Propelled by a standard 300hp Lincoln V8 and quipped with with a heavy-duty fuel pump, heavy-duty electrical system, heavy-duty power brakes and power steering, the Secret Service claimed the the 21-foot-long vehicle remained maneuverable in spite of its 7,800 lb mass.

Hess was justifiably proud of the finished product and commissioned a local jeweler to make a pair of nameplates for it that read: “Custom Built for the President of the United States by Hess & Eisenhardt Company, Rossmoyne, Cincinnati, Ohio.” When he asked Lincoln executives if he could mount his nameplates on the car, they told him that he could mount them anywhere on the car except on the exterior. That frustrated him, until he got to looking and realized there was a better place for those plates. He mounted them on the rear door jambs just above the locks, so that whenever anyone got into the car, they’d see those fancy nameplates. He further stated that the executives at Lincoln had a fit when they heard what he did, and ordered him to remove them, but he reminded them of what they’d told him previously, so the plates supposedly were left in their original location.

Hess was even called to Washington to consult with the Warren Commission on an investigation into the death. The X-100’s original windscreen, cracked by a bullet from Oswald’s rifle, sits on display in the American National archives to this day. Existing pictures show the limousine with its removable formal roof and molded glass ”bubble top”, neither of which was used on the day of the assassination as Kennedy preferred an open-air car. The bubble top was sitting in Rossmoyne when he was assassinated. For years after, Hess speculated that if the president had been using the bubble top he might not have been killed.

Three days after the assassination, the X-100 was returned to the Blue Ash Rd. plant for an extensive $500,000 rebuilding by Hess & Eisenhardt, which included extensive bulletproofing that added a ton to its weight. Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford all used the car, which was given updated 1964 Continental sheet-metal while at Hess & Eisenhardt, until it was finally taken out of service and returned to its owner, Ford, in 1977.

as was the custom with presidential limousines, it was rented to the White House for $500 a year. You can see it in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan along with 3 other presidential limousines that were built by Hess & Eisenhardt.

Right up until his death in 2000, Willard C. Hess was periodically interviewed by both journalists and conspiracy theorists about the X-100, and he was always happy to set aside time to talk about it, but there were a lot of details that he wouldn’t reveal to anyone, even after all those years, for security reasons. Hess was also the guest speaker at the Professional Car Society’s Awards Banquet in 1983, and the X-100 was a major topic of discussion. “It was probably the most fabulous automobile built in this decade,” Mr. Hess told the Cincinnati Rotary Club in 1964.

2012.03.11 – 02:13

First Fad

January 1st, 1955

~ The Fess Parker story; selling caps, Texas and Tennessee

It’s old news by now, the story that Fess Parker died.  He died on March 18, 20-10.  The date of his birth was not recorded in the obituary, or news story; just said he died at 85, but Jeff Wilson ties in his death to the date of his wife’s birthday (Parker’s wife, not Wilson’s wife).  We don’t know if Jeff Wilson is even married.

At 85 Fess might have been born in ‘25 (1925) which would have made Fess Parker just about 30 in 1955 when he played the part of “wild frontier” good guy for Disney, dressed in buckskin and coonskin (clothes).  It was Fess Parker that got all duded up, Walt wore much more basic clothes, wool suits and stuff, not just animal skins from head to toe – six foot six inches of skinned leather adorned the Disney-Fess Parker image; except that the Coonskin Cap was not skinned, the fur was still on board, the tail too as it hung down over Parker‘s ears like a pony tail fit for boys.

This was the Boomer’s Generation first fad; but, most Boomers did not know it yet as most Boomers were not yet born if you believe the flap and facts that fits Boomers into the 18 year generation that begins in 1950 and ends in 1968.  Jeff Wilson (journalist) does not worry about such trivia.  He writes, “Actor Fess Parker, who became every baby boomer’s idol in the 1950s and launched a craze…died”.  The word is clearly there, “every”.  One born in 1950 would have been all of five (5 years old), screaming for a Coonskin cap, younger brothers and sisters too – two year olds wanting to bake in buckskin, pointing, wailing about the “Disneyland” show (really entitled “Walt Disney Presents”) and blabbering about Tennessee and “Mountain Top” and maybe that’s where Dr. Martin Luther King got the line, “I’ve been to the Mountain Top”, just a Disney-Parker image from a TV show shown on Sundays, competed with church services but was still compelling.

Jeff Wilson seems to be an X’er, a generation X type guy who either does not like the Boomers or just really does not understand them (or by his dates does not even know who they are).  Boomers were not raised in a world with “Baby Gap” type stores and by parents (GI generation) anxious to cater to the every whim of two and five year olds.  I don’t think that the Coonskin Caps (almost all made of plastic and fake fur (not even the cat fur so popular in the ‘50’s in the clothing industry) came in “baby“ sizes which included the heads the size of five year olds and maybe a little older.

I was about seven at the time (summer of 1955).  I had seen some of the programs on the TV in the house across the street.  My family did not own a TV, my father just designed the TV towers, no practical application implied by owning one; maybe he knew too much about the radiation and that television was more about making money than spreading good information and basic history and the better stories from Nevada; one doesn’t have to go to Tennessee or Texas for a yarn (or leather).

The point is that it was hard to find a cap in even my size; most caps were made for children older, bigger heads, making money for Disneyland by pleading and pulling parents to the ticket gates of the Magic Kingdom and the new Frontierland and Bear Island where one could kill one if they were only three (3 like in the Disney song, “killed him a bar” (which was not a drink, but a wild animal with fur, for clothes, or just for the sport of killing and now you know why every kid my age wanted their own BB gun or 22 caliber rifle and the name of the former was ‘Daisy’ to remind one of the ‘bar’ (bear) pushing up daisies or the possibility of you pushing up daisies if you did not kill the bear which is why Fess Parker was always pictured as being armed and why he died in Texas (at the Alamo) being armed because the real Bears, troops from Mexico, fought back with rifles too and it turns out that Mr. Crockett (Fess Parker) was not really such a great shot after all.  He died – the Alamo was lost.

So now we have the theme for this days post.  History and facts too often get all mixed up with actors and lore and the spin of propagandists and those that are not even propagandists, but people who just do not know any better, Jeff Wilson comes to mind, the quest for copy from the editors seldom leaves time for real thought; which is why they call them “editors” now isn’t it?

Yes, I did own a plastic coonskin cap, small tail down the back.  I didn’t look like Fess Parker one little bit, not like the real Davy Crockett either, could have cared less about the Alamo until I saw the movie and it was so boring because I went just to see Davy Crockett die and it took too long; a full length movie, could have been done as a ten minute short, but I’m not from Texas am I.

A few months later (in 1955) and I was back in school and the coonskin cap looked lame next to the Davy Crockett lunch boxes, metal with Davy Crockett thermos’s made of plastic, plastic caps that were also cups – so practical.  My lunch box was about Flash Gordon or outer space or something like that which was all that Sprouse-Ritz had that day, my mother had to get to work, there was little time for lunch boxes that would last a couple of years at best, but still Flash Gordon had been around for just one year when Davy Crockett and Disney came to town.  No dice; I don’t care what “all” the other kids might be doing; “it’s just a fad (and as with all fads, it won’t last long)”.

An after thought to this post:
The more I write the more I appreciate the magnitude of the gap between real people and real stories and the sound-bite type history that we have been fed for so long.  Reality is complicated, multi-dimensional, often at any given time inconsistent.  In real life there are currents and cross-currents and things that might seem boring often spring to life later and the exciting, conforming type things, pass away as quickly as the flash in the pan images that at first blush made them.

The “star system” of power, fortune and fame distorts reality.  It offers a stripped down version of peoples lives that is both unreal and unattainable by oneself or others.  The “show life” is always an illusion, scripted and poorly written; poorly acted by actors too poor to turn the money down.  I am not alone in saying that I never really liked Fess Parker, not his name, not his image once the “land of the free, Day Vee” poetry wore off.  It was too trite and my idea of freedom was more than having a choice of lunch boxes or owning a Daisy Air Rifle or killing raccoons just because you could.

If one could sort OUT all the fads and mindless followings in their own life; put them in a box; throw the box away, then one might find who they really are, the person within, the essence of the soul not just the product created by advertising – the American consumer programmed since birth.

Davy Crockett cap in Carson City 1955

[Originally written:  2010.03.20 / Saturday – First Fad]