Categotry Archives: Misc.

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Emmett Forrest

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Categories: Misc.

Emmett ForrestWilliam Emmett Forrest had always been a collector. As a child, he collected the little things that appeal to young boys: rocks, leaves, matchbook covers.

But as an adult, Forrest developed a passion for collecting memorabilia and artifacts about his dear friend, Andy Griffith. Most Americans know Griffith as the actor who played the kind and thoughtful Sheriff Andy Taylor on the 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” Others remember him as the cantankerous defense attorney Ben Matlock from the long-running mystery series “Matlock.” To Forrest, Griffith was a childhood pal who grew up to become a pop culture icon and Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, and he wanted to honor the achievements of a hometown boy who did good.

After spending years collecting memorabilia from his friend’s life and career, Forrest founded The Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, N.C., in 2009. Since its opening, the museum has welcomed nearly 200,000 visitors from all over the world. Hundreds of items from Griffith’s career in TV, movies and music, including props from “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock,” are collected and displayed inside the 1,500-square-foot building. Many of the items were donated by Griffith himself, including the signs from the Mayberry Courthouse doors and a suit worn by Andy as Matlock.

“Andy wanted me to have this collection because he knew I would never sell it. He knew that it would be available for the public to see,” Forrest said in an interview with the Mount Airy News.

Griffith died on July 3, 2012.

The town of Mount Airy, where Forrest and Griffith grew up, is considered by many to be the inspiration for the fictional Mayberry from “The Andy Griffith Show.” The two sleepy hamlets even shared similar landmarks, such as the Snappy Lunch Counter, Floyd’s City Barber Shop and Wally’s Service Station. Mount Airy is also home to the Andy Griffith Playhouse and the Andy Griffith and Opie statue, which stands in front of The Andy Griffith Museum.

Life in Mount Airy was idyllic for Forrest and Griffith. Their summer days were often spent playing with friends in the streets and creeks around town. Forrest, who was described by those who knew him as a quiet, humble, friendly and hard-working, left the area during World War II to serve in the U.S. Navy. He returned after the war to raise a family. After his retirement from Pike Electric, Forrest was active in the Surry Arts Council, which sponsors the annual Mayberry Days festival each fall. It was this work, along with the launch of the museum, that helped reinvent the town as a tourist destination.

“Emmett was a true gentleman and an honest man. He was a person I could trust –- a rare thing for Andy and me. He was a loving husband, father, and a very special friend,” Cindi Griffith, Andy Griffith’s widow, stated.

Forrest died on Jan. 12 of cancer. He was 85.

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A Look Back

Categories: Misc.

hourglass.jpgSome people view obituaries as morbid stories, but in truth only one line of an obit deals with death. The rest of the story focuses on the amazing lives people lead. In 2010, these 10 obituaries were the stories that most resonated with me:

* Robert B. Parker, the bestselling mystery writer who created Spenser, a tough Boston private detective who was the hero of nearly 40 novels

* Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person who was ever officially recognized as a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings at the end of World War II

* Eugene Allen, a former White House butler who worked for eight presidents

* Isaac Bonewits, an author, educator and archdruid emeritus of Ar nDraiocht Fein: A Druid Fellowship

* Jack Horkheimer, the award-winning astronomer who entertained millions as the host of the PBS show “Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer”

* Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Senator John Edwards who publicly struggled with incurable cancer and her husband’s infidelity

* Daniel Schorr, a journalist who was barred from the U.S.S.R. for repeatedly defying Soviet censors and ended up on President Richard Nixon’s Enemies List

* Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), who served 51 years in the United States Senate, longer than anyone else in history

* Bob Guccione, the founder and former chief executive of Penthouse magazine

* Howard Zinn, historian, civil rights activist and author of “A People’s History of the United States”

To all of you who’ve lost someone dear, may they rest in peace.

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A Look Back

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Categories: Misc.

hourglass.jpgSome people view obituaries as morbid stories, but in truth only one line of an obit deals with death. The rest of the story focuses on the amazing lives people lead. In 2009, these 20 obituaries were the stories that most resonated with me:
* Bea Arthur, a veteran actress and comedian who starred in the TV shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls”
* Norman Borlaug, an agronomist who won the Nobel Peace Prize for making advances in plant breeding that helped feed millions of people in Latin America and Asia
* Walter Cronkite, a veteran journalist and former CBS anchor who covered such historic events as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the assassination of JFK and the first man on the moon
* Dom Deluise, an actor, comedian and cookbook author who co-starred in the films “Blazing Saddles” and “Cannonball Run”
* Dominick Dunne, a bestselling author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair who covered the trials of O. J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith and Phil Spector
* Farrah Fawcett, an award-winning actress and pinup beauty who starred in the TV show “Charlie’s Angels”
* Don Hewitt, a veteran journalist and producer who created the “60 Minutes” news program
* John Hughes, a producer, writer and director whose 1980s films (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink”) defined a generation
* Michael Jackson, a singer and dancer — known as the ‘King of Pop’ — who sold more than half a billion albums
* Edward M. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat who served as senator of Massachusetts for 46 years
* Billy Mays, a late-night TV pitchman who promoted Orange Glo and OxiClean and starred in his own reality TV show
* Ed McMahon, a legendary TV personality best known for his work on the “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” and “Star Search”
* Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican-born actor who starred in the TV show “Fantasy Island” and in the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”
* Les Paul, a musician and songwriter who pioneered the development of the solid-body electric guitar
* Natasha Richardson, a Tony Award-winning actress and wife to actor Liam Neeson
* Soupy Sales, a veteran comedian who perfected the pie-throwing routine
* Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and sister of President John F. Kennedy and Sens. Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy
* Patrick Swayze, an actor and classically trained dancer who was best known for his work in the films “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost”
* George Tiller, one of only a few doctors in America who performed late-term abortions
* Andrew Wyeth, an artist whose paintings provided some of the most popular images of 20th century America
I also lost two unique people this year: my grandmother Terri Carlton and my high school sweetheart Chris Pine. May they rest in peace.

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Chanel

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Categories: Misc.

chanel.jpgChanel, a dachshund mix who held the official record as the world’s oldest dog, died on Aug. 28. Cause of death was not released. She was 21, or about 147 in dog years.
Born May 6, 1988, Chanel was only 6 weeks old when Denice Shaughnessy adopted her from a shelter in Newport News, Va. Although the puppy was meant to be a companion for her daughter LaToya, Chanel immediately took to Denice. Over the next two decades, the pair were nearly constant companions.
Life wasn’t always easy for the family. Their house once burned down, though everyone survived. Financial difficulties required Denice and LaToya to sell their only form of transportation and live on macaroni and cheese — which they shared with Chanel. Long-distance moves from Germany to upstate New York to California would have taxed any animal, but Chanel never left their side. And when Denice married Karl Shaughnessy, the entire family settled on Long Island.
In her youth, Chanel was a bit of a rascal. She’d steal sticks of butter right off the kitchen counter and hide them inside the living room sofa. She also enjoyed eating chocolate, which is usually considered toxic to dogs, and once devoured an entire bag of peanut butter cups. But she kept her girlish figure by exercising daily, often walking several miles with Denice.
In her later years, Chanel’s blond hair whitened. She developed cataracts, and wore tinted goggles (called doggles) to protect her eyes. She also chilled easily, and donned T-shirts in the summer and woolly sweaters in the winter to stay warm.
On her last birthday, officials from Guinness World Records certified Chanel as the world’s oldest dog during a private birthday bash at the New York Dog Spa and Hotel in Manhattan. To celebrate her longevity, Chanel ate a peanut butter cake specially prepared for dogs, and made an appearance on the “Today” show.

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Gus

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Categories: Misc.

gus.jpgGus had three legs, one eye, few teeth, little hair and a face only a mother could love. But he caused a worldwide sensation when he won the 20th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest last summer.
The pink and black Chinese crested was neglected as a pup; his previous owner kept him crate-bound inside a dark garage. When the Teed family of Gulfport, Fla., learned of his living conditions, they adopted him as one of their own.
Chinese crested dogs do not originate from China. The breed actually hails from the Crest Haven Kennel in America. These canines come in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff, but hairlessness is the dominant trait.
Gus, however, was no powderpuff. A skin tumor cost him his left hind leg, and a fight with a feline took his left eye. Despite these infirmities, his favorite activities included lounging on the couch, growling at the cat that scratched his eye out and eating pizza and french fries.
Twelve dogs vied for the title of the World’s Ugliest Dog last June, but Gus took the top prize in the contest, a hugely popular event at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. He won two trophies and $1,600 in prize money, which Jeanenne Teed used to pay for his skin cancer treatment.
“I have never really thought of him as ugly, and even now, looking at the videos, I feel like he must have bamboozled the judges,” Teed said.
Winning the contest put Gus squarely in the public eye. He made numerous media appearances, including “The Early Show” on CBS, “The Today Show” on NBC and “The Howard Stern Show.” Animal Planet plans to air footage of Gus next October.
When the cancer wrapped around Gus’ spine and began pressing against his abdomen, his family knew the end was near. Gus was euthanized on Nov. 10 at the age of 9. The Teeds buried him in their backyard and covered his grave with a Butterfly bush with golden flowers.

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