Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey y'all~

In my humble opinion, I've found four excellent articles that address three fascinating ways to make money in this mean old hateful sinful world:

the movie business, the football business & the War Between The States business.

First we have a front page article published in the January 26, 1961 issue of Tuscaloosa's GRAPHIC:


A man who has seen the movies grow from the flickering jerks of the Keystone cops to the wide-screen fluid motion of Bridget Bardot put himself officially "out of the picture" when he sold the Druid Theatre last month.

C.B. Grimes, a veteran of 41 years as a local theatre owner, sold out his last movie house, The Druid, December 30 to Otto Miller, a longtime associate. He was responsible for the beginning of every movie house in town except the drive-ins.

A native of Columbus, Ga., and graduate of Georgia Tech, Mr. Grimes came to Tuscaloosa in 1919 to run the old Belvedere Theatre (now the location of the Ritz) for S.A. Lynch Enterprises of Atlanta. During the 41 years since, he has owned The Bama, The Druid, The Ritz and The Diamond and several others now out of operation. Since 1950 he has operated only The Druid.

When he arrived in Tuscaloosa, fresh from World War I army service and six months of movie training in Spartanburg, S.C., he took over the Belvedere which was showing to a packed house, the Mack Sennett girls, Keystone Cops and other little film gems. The projector was hand cranked with short intermission to rewind the films and Mrs. Sewell Leach played accompanying piano music. In another small movie house he operated, a tab show enticed customers along with the movie. This usually was a traveling show which stayed here a week and consisted of a comedian and a chorus line.

Within two months of his coming here, the Belvedere and the adjoining Dugins Shoe Store with only a cardboard partition between them caught fire and burned to the ground. Fortunately the theatre was empty and since it was the habit of Dugins to close for lunch, no one was in that store either. In the meantime, however, Mr. Grimes and his company purchased the Grand Theatre which was located where Pizitz is now and was owned by C.B. Verner, Sam and Hugo Friedman.

By 1921 Mr. Grimes company was The South Alabama Enterprises and with this group he built the original Bama (now the Druid), the Ritz and , in 1945, The Diamond. The present Bama was established in 1938.

It was at the Ritz in 1927 that the first sound movie was shown, one which featured Conrad Nagle. According to Mr. Grimes, sound is the one improvement which meant most to the moving picture industry. While Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" was not the first talkie, it was the one which was so popular that theatre owners were forced to put in sound equipment.

CLARA BOW image courtesy of

From that time on movies- and stars- improved. Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin and that all-time squealer, Rudolph Valentino gave way to Norma Shearer, Jean Harlow, Laurel & Hardy and Clark Gable.

Mr. Grimes can probably claim the record for the number of movies he has seen. For years he sat through the first showing of a movie to be sure the film and the sound were just right.

The era of the best movies, and consequently the biggest box office, was during World War II, he says. Since then outside activities have cut down somewhat on crowds, but as he says, "There will always be movies."

One of the greatest harms to films according to the veteran movie operator, was the 1946 Supreme Court decision that barred producing firms to own any theatre houses. Therefore, producers make fewer pictures and sell them at a higher rate, since they do now get a percentage of box office returns.

Popcorn has been one of the greatest boons to the movie house owner.

Mr. Grimes lists among all time great movies "The Shiek"(which was brought back many times and always played to a crowd), "The Jazz Singer", "Gone With The Wind" (which incidentally will premiere again this Spring at the same theatre in Atlanta at which it opened 20 years ago). Among the biggest money-makers in Tuscaloosa have been "Jesse James" and "Old Yeller".

Through the years, Mr. Grimes has been a good citizen, cooperating with community projects, and helping students get through the University by giving them jobs as ushers and projection operators.

Once about eight years ago the buses were stuck in Tuscaloosa overnight because of ice and snow. He kept the theatre open and warm for passengers to spend the night.

The First Methodist Church had services in his theatre when the furnace in the building broke down. And along with Miss Susie B. Anders, Girl Scout director, he began the traditional Toy Matinee for the benefit of the annual Christmas Store.

Mr. Grimes has long been a supporter of the Crimson Tide, having gone in 1926 to the first Rose Bowl game in which Alabama played. Although officially retired with plans to be a home gardener, he's too active to sit back. We predict he'll have his finger in many community pies.

Our next set of little journalistic gems are two posthumous articles about Bama Coach Frank Thomas which were published in the June '54 issue of COACH & ATHLETE:

FRANK THOMAS image courtesy of


Leaves a great coaching record and a host of friends

by Ole Timer

On a stifling Sunday in July, 1930, I was a fairly innocent bystander at a conference office of Borden Burr in Birmingham. The principals were Dr. George Denny, aging president of the University of Alabama, and a chubby, raven-haired, 30-year-old named Frank Thomas, backfield coach at the University of Georgia.

The business being concluded, Dr. Denny waggled his famous ill-smelling pipe by way of emphasizing world which I could never forget.

"Now, Mr. Thomas," he said, "now that you have accepted our proposition, I will give you the benefit of my views, based of many years of observation.

"It is my conviction that success in football derives from two factors. These are, one, material; two, coaching ability.

"It is my conviction that material is 90 per cent, coaching ability, 10 per cent.

"I desire further to say that you will be provided with the 90 per cent, and that you will be held to strict accountability for delivering the remaining 10 per cent."

It was under such chilling auspice that Frank Thomas accepted the job of succeeding Wallace Wade, who had resigned as head coach after putting Alabama in the very top flight of American football and who would go to Duke at the end of the ensuing season.

As he and I meandered down the hallway and stairs in the almost intolerable heat of the closed office building, "Tommy", as he was known to his friends, shivered.

"Those were the hardest and coldest words I ever heard," he said. "Do you reckon his figures are right?"

I said I thought the proportion was considerably off, but there was no doubt the good doctor meant what he said.

That fall, while Thomas was still functioning as backfield coach for Harry Mehre at Athens, Mr. Wade fielded his greatest Alabama team. It swept everything before it, including Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Thereupon the dour Scot turned the job over to his youthful successor and went to Durham to write another lustrous chapter of Southern football.

NO YOUNG COACH ever faced a harder task than did Thomas. In his eight years the great Wade had won four sectional championships, and two victories and a tie in the Rose Bowl. To live up to such precedent would at best be difficult, if not impossible. Even Wade himself had had poor success with seemingly outstanding material in 1927, 1928 and 1929. Then there was another thing. Ten of the eleven first-string men of the superb 1930 team had concluded their college careers. Only John Cain, the sophomore fullback, was left, around whom to build for 1931, and soon became a semi-cripple.

but the ambitious Thomas was not dismayed. He found a goodly squad of upcoming sophomores and proceeded immediately to install the Rockne scheme of attack- the shift out of the T into the Notre Dame box. Fifteen years later, when ill health ended his active coaching, he was sticking close to the old formations and basic philosophy than any other Notre Dame graduate in football.

IN HIS FIRST SEASON he lost only to Tennessee. In '32, only to Tennessee and Georgia Tech. In '33 Alabama was Conference champion. In '34 came a national championship and the greatest victory ever won in the Rose Bowl. In that 29-13 defeat of Stanford occurred an incident which tied in amusingly with the remarks of Dr. Denny four years before.

Stanford had driven for an early touchdown. At the start of the second period, "Dixie" Howell swung into action, passing to Don Hutson and Paul Bryant for fine gains and himself corkscrewing through the massive Stanford line for a touchdown. In ten plays after the ensuing kickoff, Howell's passes had propelled the ball to the 6. On fourth down, with goal to go, Riley Smith kicked a placement to put Alabama ahead, 9-7.

Disdainfully, Stanford again kicked off. Howell ran it from the 5 to the 26 and Jimmy Angelich added 7 on a reverse to the weak side. Then came a perfect play-the thing every coach dreams of, but few live to see. A blackboard diagram was transmuted into the synchronized action of eleven men, each doing precisely, fully and, at the very split second, his assigned duty. The lithe Howell ran 67 yards to goal, with no Stanford man ever having opportunity to lay hand on him. In the end zone, Howell became violently nauseated and was withdrawn. The inexperienced Joe Riley took his place.

Stanford received but lost the ball by a pass interception at Alabama's 46. Thomas had expected no such quick repossession and , with Howell out and a lead of 16 to 7, figured it was time for conservative play. So he sent Tilden Campbell in to substitute for the daring Riley Smith. "Don't throw the ball around," Thomas told Campbell. But as he started from the field, Smith said to the huddle, "I've called the play. Run it and make it good."

They did. It was a 64-yard pass play, from Riley to Hudson, for a touchdown.

Thomas could hardly wait until we met again, he later told me. He said,"You remember what Doc Denny said about coaching being only 10 per cent? Well, he was right." Then he narrated the background of the extraordinary play which destroyed Stanford.

HE WAS, of course, joshing. His sense of humor was one of his priceless assets and he thought the incident a good joke on himself. Also, he was a modest man and gave credit sincerely at all times to his co-workers and his players.

He was given good material, certainly. Them as has, gits. But to say that Alabama material averaged better that at certain other Southern schools is probably not true. He gave a genius to the coaching, without which Alabama could not have equaled the remarkable record made during his tenure.

Furthermore, the mere possession of a large squad of able athletes is no assurance of championships. It takes a keen and experienced eye, a deep knowledge of boy psychology and an unflagging zeal of leadership to pick from 100 or more scholarship athletes the 18 or 24 to be fitted, welded and bolted into a team which operates like a piece of precision machinery.

In possessing those qualities, plus sound knowledge of positional and team tactics and a personality that was pleasant but firm, lay the secret of Frank Thomas' success.

It was notably illustrated in the case of Millard Howell and Don Hutson. Both were physically frail and unimpressive in high school football. Howell was a crack infielder, Hutson a sprinter. Thomas saw their latent potentiality. He kindled their ambition, and made them into the greatest passing combination collegiate football has seen.

Of his 15 teams at Alabama, 13 players made one or more generally accepted All-America selections. From the chubby, soft-voiced, rosy-cheeked little man they had got the inspiration and tutelage that carried them to football greatness.

SEC-tional Notes
by TOM SILER, Knoxville News-Sentinel

ONE OF THE SOUTH'S TRULY GREAT COACHES passed on since the last issue of COACH & ATHLETE went to press. We refer, of course, to Frank Thomas, the brilliant Alabama leader from 1931 through 1946.

Frank finally succumbed last month, losing a battle against a multiplicity of ailments after eight years of pain and torture. It was one of the few losing battles of his life.

He was such an instantaneous success at Alabama that we sometimes forget what a big assignment he inherited in 1931. The story goes that Dr. George Denny, the president famed for his love of football, told Coach Thomas:
"We think football is 90 per cent material and 10 per cent coaching. We'll furnish the material, you provide the coaching."

Frank Thomas supplied the coaching
... the leadership, the inspiration
the know-how, and exacted the discipline necessary
to build a football squad into a harmonious and efficient unit.

We last visited Coach Thomas last September, sitting on the back porch, listening to the doughty little leader reminisce on great teams of the past,
great games, bowl headaches and surprises.

Coach Thomas tagged the 1934 team- Dixie Howell, Don Hutson, Bear Bryant, et al - as his greatest.
This was the team that routed Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 29-13.

"Stanford had the best personnel any team of mine ever faced," Thomas said.
"We expected them to give us a real good going over on the ground. Instead, they'd crack us for three or four or five yards on the ground, then pass. I think they could have pounded us to pieces. Instead, they threw a lot and we could handle that sort of offense.

"Our own offense wasn't bad and Howell and Hutson had a great day together. That, plus Stanford's throwing, gave us a pretty good margin."

Looking back, Frank said he thought getting ready for a bowl game was the coach's toughest job. He smiled as he recalled the SEC winter meeting in Knoxville in December of 1941.

"My team was going to play Boston College in the Orange Bowl. That was the team that George Halas (Chicago Bears) said could beat any of the pros. I picked up a half dozen defenses from among the coaches at the meeting to us against that new T-formation, man-to-man motion and all that.

"Well, to make a long story short, none of these defenses worked. BC had us 14-0 before we could turn around. Gosh, they looked powerful. Finally, our boys got together and we sprang a runner or two loose and got back in the game. The score was 21-19 and less than a half minute to play.

"My quarterback called for a pass was down in BC's territory. The pass was no good, but the BC defender fell on his arm as he came down and broke the arm. That stopped the clock. So, with just eight seconds left, we sent in a kicker and kicked a field goal. So, after a wild first half we led, 22-21, and that seemed to take the starch out of the Boston boys." Alabama won, 39-31, on of the Tide's four-out-of-six bowl victories under Thomas.

Did Coach Thomas have a "must" in charting plans for bowl games?

"Yes, just one. The players must be allowed to make up their own minds on the trip. I'd always call the squad together, tell them of the invitation, of the practice plans, the training plans, the work involved, the discipline and all that. Once they understood everything, I'd ask for a vote.

"Then, if they voted to go, they had no reason to complain of anything. I wouldn't want to risk taking a team anywhere without letting the players express themselves."

Bob Neyland, whose Tennessee teams dueled Thomas and Alabama 10 times, agreed with his old rival that the 1934 Tide team was the standout.

"But I think Frank did his greatest job against us in 1933,"Neyland recalled. "We had a pretty good team that year and we got a 6-0 lead and fought them off for a half. I remember that I thought we had things in pretty good shape.

"But Frank came back in the second half and took the game away from us. They pulled a trap play on us and one of the backs, Walker, I think it was, ran up the middle 40 yards or so for a touchdown. Later in the game Alabama got down near our goal line and then pulled a 'T' play on us. They took off on a quick count and swept over for a touchdown. It was smart coaching on his part."

Frank not only won.
He always displayed the highest in sportsmanship.

He never popped off.
He never groused in defeat.
He contributed much to football in the South and certainly his Alabama teams were a major factor in keeping DIXIE football in the nation's headlines.

& last but not least

image courtesy of

...Business Booms Like The Gettysburg Cannon

The grapes of wrath are long since trampled-but another, sweeter vintage is still to be squeezed.
In this week's SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS, General Editor Sandford Brown examines businessmen's strategy and the chance for business profits in the four-year, nationwide commemoration of the Civil War centennial.

All over the South last week, the populace was stirring.
There was shouting in the streets and the sound of cannon fire.
In Montgomery, Ala., 20,000 people (including Yankee tourists) had already flocked to see Jefferson Davis "inaugurated." In Jackson, Miss., 3000 "infantrymen," 74 "calverymen," and flurries of drum majorettes passed in review before Gov. Ross Barnett as the state solemnly "seceded" from the Union. In Charleston, S.C., the Ravenal Tourist Agency was selling framed copies of the South Carolina Ordnance of Secession for $25 apiece. Fort Sumter hotel waitresses, dressed in gray frocks with red trim, were serving "Confederate Highballs" and "Rebel on the Rocks" (both bourbon concoctions). Householders everywhere were rummaging in attics for old uniforms, and there was a bustling market in Minie balls. The Dixie Life Insurance Co. announced that its new policies would be delivered by men wearing gray Confederate uniforms.

In short, with malice toward none and souvenirs for all, the nation's Civil War centennial was moving inexorably into the shooting stage.

The first official shots will be commemorated in Charleston on April 12 with a fifteen-minute holocaust of fireworks over and around Ft. Sumter. ("Only fireworks can authentically re-create the explosive drama, compelling excitement, awesome battle scenes," says the Ohio Fireworks Manufacturing Display Co. brochure.) From that day on, commemoration will run unchecked until mid 1965. Citizens will be dragooned to don uniforms, shoulder muskets, and run through re-enactments of major battles, and there will be some ceremony to mark almost every skirmish, political speech, or calling-up of the local militia.

REMATCH: Most of the excitement, of course, will be south of the Mason-Dixon line.
"The South may have lost the war, but it's sure going to win the centennial," says executive director Karl Betts of the National Civil War Centennial Commission, set up by Congress to oversee the whole show. Yet no fewer than 44 states have appropriated money to organize centennial commissions, and even Alaska and Hawaii have centennial committees.

After the flags and troops will come the commercial camp followers, in numbers undreamed a century ago. The centennial will be a bonanza for such specialized industries as diorama makers and "civic celebration management" firms. The fireworks industry looks for a one-third increase in annual sales. Publishers are already issuing Civil War books by the shelf. Advertisers will find Civil War "tie-ins" for everything from frozen foods to jet planes. Record firms will sell enough Civil War music to shatter the stillness at Appomattox. What with the games and gimcracks, plastic cannon balls and model gunboats, Americans will probably spend more money on or because of the centennial than the $9 billion the North and South spent to fight the war itself.

"It will be a shot in the arm for the whole American economy,"
says the National Commission's Betts.

The biggest returns of all will come from tourism and the assorted fringe benefits. Mississippi centennial director Sidney Roebuck predictors that pageants and guided tours his state's 700 battlefields will boost the annual tourist take from $360 million in 1960 to " as high as $750 million $1 billion" by 1963. And Montgomery, Ala., has already proved that commemorating can do more than simply fan the fire of sectional pride.
For its Jeff Davis inaugural, Montgomery's centennial committee shelled out $100,000 for five nights of parades and pageantry, even hired a vintage train so the the ersatz Davis could arrive in town just as the real one had. Despite cold, wet weather, the committee cleared a $20,000 profit from admissions and sale on such items as 2,560 string ties and 1,600 to hats. On top of that, the city's retail business jumped a solid 25 to 30 per cent for the week of the centennial.

For others who may be inspired by this to unlimber the cannon on the village green, Montgomery centennial chairman James Pruett has two pieces of advice on staging pageants:
"First, grow beards.
That gets the man in the street interested in what's going on.
And second, hire a professional."

One professional in the field is the John B. Rogers Producing Co. of Fostoria, Ohio, which wrote the 90-minute script for the Davis inaugural pageant ("The Man and the Hour"), produced it with a cast of 1000 Montgomeryites, and advised on all details from souvenirs to fireworks- all for a flat fee of $24,000. The Rogers Co., which regularly handles some 150 civic celebrations a year and has a stock of 150,000 costumes that can outfit anything from a gold rush to the Pilgrims' landing, is masterminding the firing on Ft. Sumter, working on the Natchez centennial and the battle of Antietam, and looking for new clients.
"We are still dickering for Gettysburg," says a Rogers official hopefully.

The biggest re-enactment, at least until Gettysburg: First Manassas or Bull Run. Wile the war's first major battle was pretty much an accidental collision on July 21-23, 1861, the centennial battle has been on the drawing boards for years. Among other things, the non-profit First Manassas Corp. has bought 165 horses and conditioned them to sound of gunfire, bought 24 authentic artillery pieces to mount on specially-made gun carriages, and "drafted" costumed "infantry" units from all 23 states whose soldiers fought in the original battle. Total estimated cost: $200,000.

Not everyone shares the enthusiasm for this sort of hoopla. "Must we constantly re-enact all our past conflicts?" asked the abolitionist New York Post sourly last week. "How will they handle Hiroshima? And what will the kids do when grownups steal all their games?"

Answer: Play with their own Civil war games and toys, just now beginning to pour into the market. Parker Bros. (Monopoly, Careers) reported 25,000 orders for its "1863" board game since its introduction last week (North and South players move infantry, cavalry, and gunboat pieces over a map of the Eastern U. S., trying to capture cities and decimate each others'
forces). There are even games for single battles (e.g., Gettysburg, Chancellorsville).
Georgian L.D. Sheridan Jr. set up the Southern Games Co. last year to market his Battle of Atlanta War Centennial Game, a kind of chess-with -terrain which duplicates the military situation of 1864 and gives the Confederate army chance to reverse its defeat by Sherman.

MOCK WAR: Revell, Inc., claims it worked for a year digging up details for its 3-foot scale model of the Confederate raider ALABAMA whose plans "mysteriously disappeared" after the war. Toy-soldier makers are switching from GI's and armoried knights to Rebel cavalrymen and red-trousered Zouaves. The National Cap and Cloth Hat Institute looked for its Civil War cap (in blur, gray and neutral models) to have a "tremendous impact on the 6-to-12 set."

It is hard to say, in fact, where the Civil War won't have some kind of commercial impact.
Along with the flags, hats, uniforms and replica muskets (Not surprisingly, the market for genuine Civil War weapons has soared. Rifles that sold to collectors for $10 a decade ago bring $150 or more now and are hard to find. Cartridge boxes have gone up from $5 to $35, and there is even a market for bits of used ammunition picked up on battlefields.)

Industry is grinding out tableware, ashtrays, figurines, playing cards, tie pins , cuff links, place mats, match covers, and hundred other items with Civil War motifs. New York's Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. is offering a canine "turncoat," blue on one side and gray on the other, and cut for smart poodles. Southern suvenir shops plan to market a schizophrenic necktie, emblazoned with clasped Confederate and U.S. flags at the top and an unreconstructed Rebel soldier snarling "Forget, Hell!" at the bottom. Even the Japanese are int act, with a flag-decorated music-box lighter that plays "Dixie."

Civil War publishing, an industry in itself with an average of about 100 new books a year, should double in volume this year. Doubleday reports that its massive "American Heritage Picture History of the Cjivil War," a book that costs $20 and must be place on a table to be read in comfort, has sold 350,000 copies since publication last November- a record in its prices class.

BATTLE HYMN: Record companies hive picked up the beat with at least a dozen of Civil War songs issued so far this year (e.g., "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Maryand, My Maryland," "Just Before The Battle, Mother") Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has grossed $59 million thus far on the run of "Gone With The Wind," expects to squeeze another $7.5 million out of the till on the current go-round. National Broadcasting Co. replace it "Riverboat" series with a weekly Civil War drama called ""The Americans" and saw its ratings zoom. For $20, Living History, Inc., of Shenandoah, La., will send subscribers reproductions of Frand Leslies's Illustrated for two years, and , for $14, a year of Harper's Weekly, timed to arrive in the mail on the same dates that the originals reached news-hungry subscribers in the 1860s.
Going this one better, Atlanta radio station WEAD is broadcasting daily five-minute newscasts of the "latest" Civil War developments.

For other businessmen, the only way to get on the Blue and Gray bandwagon is through advertising tie-ins. Sinclair Oil has plunked $225,000 into an ad campaign to stimulate auto trips to historic sites. National Distillers discovered to its delight that the whiskey consumed in quantity by General grant-the one whose brand Lincoldwanted to know- was none other that National's Old Crow (or so its researchers claim).

While few firms have such neat connections, none is likely to be discouraged,
Chrysler Corp. last week began advertising a specially built Valiant called the Dixie Special, to be sold only in four Southern states and featuring a finish of "High gloss...Confederate Gray." Foremost Dairies is printing battle scenes on milk cartons (although it has abandoned plans for a series of 'Civil War flavored ice creams"). For advertisers who are still groping, the National Centennial Commission has set up an advertising subcommittee to help out. Sample advice on how to tie in:
Tobacco advertisers can point to the clandestine barter in smoking and chewing tobacco that brought enemy soldiers together."... Even an air travel advertiser has a unique story to tell. "Military aviation (the observation balloon) was born in the Civil War."

Some officials, in fact are frankly worried that too much commercialism may profane the solemn import of the centennial commemoration an appalling national tragedy. The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, for one, is scrambling to buy up battlefield land now occupied by 78 hot dog stand and souvenir shops in time for the 1963 battle centennial. The National Commission is doing whatever it can to discourage tourist traps and blatant hucksterism.

Yet most business men have good commercial reasons for avoiding bad taste, distortions of history, or anything that would aggravate feelings which still run deep in parts of the U.S.
The best general rule, as Fort Sumter Hotel manager B.H. "Pie" Guy puts it in describing his plans for the Fort Sumter commemoration:"We don't plan to go into any sort of carnival. We will keep everything on a high plane and still try to give the people some atmosphere.
They expect it."

Friday, June 13, 2008


Register, Pierce
Co. E, 1st Alabama
16 May 1862
[Pierce is buried along with 140 other Confederate soldiers,most of whom were from Alabama, in the northernmost Confederate cemetery in this country: Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin]

W.D. (William Duncan) Register (MY G-GREAT UNCLE) , Geneva, Alabama, Co. D. 1st Ala, Tenn & Miss is buried in the largest Confederate cemetery in the North, Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. His name in on the bronze tablet on the link below:

Company D, 4th Confederate Infantry, 1st Regiment, made up of men from Ala., Tenn., and Miss.(Became Co. E. 54th Ala. Inf. Regt.). Served at Island #10 in Tennessee and surrendered there in April, 1862. Men taken prisoners, but exchanged In Sept. 1862. Alphabetical list of soldiers, age at time of-enlistment, and a little other information if known. Copied this today from a Muster Roll record in AL Archives & History.

"Gulf Rangers" of 1861--Company "D", 4th Confederate Infantry--lst Regiment Alabama, Tennessee & Mississippi Infantry--Captain Henry Wesley Laird's "Gulf Rangers"

The following text is by Mrs. Marla Drake Dooley, 8505 Cherry Valley Lane, Alexandria, VA 22309:

Dedicated to my Great, Great Grandfather-Henry Laird

A family story is that the "Gulf Rangers" was formed of friends, neighbors and blood kin. My ancestor, Private Henry Laird, was one of the original members of the "Rangers". The Roster of members of the "Gulf Rangers" was taken from the "Service Records of Confederate Soldiers", Microcopy #258, Rolls 64, 65, & 65, at the National Archives, Washington D.C., by my husband William James Dooley and myself, Marla Drake Dooley.

The "Gulf Rangers" were formed on 14 September, 1861, in Geneva, Coffee County (later Geneva County), Alabama, by Captain Henry Wesley Laird. After mustering in Montgomery, Alabama, they became part of the First Alabama Regiment, and were sent to Island #10 in Tennessee. Island #10 was situated in the Mississippi River near the corner of Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky. It contained about forty acres of land, and stood ten feet above the water line. The battle was fought purely as a holding action; 7000 Confederate troops were to hold General Pope and 40,000 Union soldiers in check long enough for- General Albert Sydney Johnson to attack Grant at Shiloh. After a month, on 8 April, 1862, the outnumbered Confederates formally surrendered Island #10. The Prisoners of War were taken to Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin, Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois, Johnson Island, Sandusky, Ohio, and Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois. Many were sick from fighting in the rain, mud, cold and rigorous climate, and then a terrible epidemic of measles, mumps and pneumonia came. Without suitable food, and practically without medicine with which to combat the epidemic, many died fighting and in prison. In September, 1862, the prisoners were exchanged and sent home to the South. Many of the "Gulf Rangers" were still sick, so they were given a medical discharge. Just as soon as they were well again, however, nearly everyone re-enlisted in another company.

Captain Henry Wesley Laird's "Gulf Rangers"

William Duncan Register(d.o.b. August 18, 1842) Corporal, born in Georgia, died in prison on 13 July 1862; claim filed August 3, 1863 by John Register (This is William's father (my g-great grandfather John Young Register)

My g-great uncle, John Forsyth Register, enlisted in Company "K" in the 6th Alabama Calvary in April of 1863 at Geneva, Alabama. He was honorably discharged from the Confederate Army on May 5, 1865 and took the oath of allegiance at Montgomery on May 30, 1865. John was elected the second sheriff of Geneva County on November 7, 1871. The community of Leonia in northern Holmes County, Florida, is named after his first wife. He was a Missionary Baptist preacher for 43 years and according to my family's papers, he recorded more members into the Baptist Church than any other Baptist minister who lived in the Geneva area.

6th Alabama Cavalry Regiment
The 6th Alabama Cavalry was organized near Pine Level, early in 1863, as part of Brig. Gen'l James H. Clanton's brigade. Recruits were gathered from Barbour, Coffee, Coosa, Henry, Macon, Montgomery, Pike, and Tallapoosa counties. It was first engaged near Pollard with a column of the enemy that moved out from Pensacola. Ordered then to North Alabama, the 6th was concerned in several skirmishes near Decatur, with small loss. During the Atlanta-Dalton campaign, the regiment served for several weeks as part of Brig. Gen'l Samuel W. Ferguson's and Brig. Gen'l Frank C. Armstrong's brigades, losing quite a number. A portion of the regiment resisted Maj. Gen'l Lovel H. Rousseau at Ten Islands, losing a number killed and captured. Transferred to West Florida, the 6th fought Maj. Gen'l Frederick Steele's column at Bluff Springs, under orders from Col Armstead, and its loss was severe, especially in prisoners. The remnant fought Maj. Gen'l James H. Wilson's column, and laid down their arms at Gainesville, fewer than 200 men.

Field officers: Col. Charles H. Colvin, Lt. Col. Washington T. Lary (captured at Ten Islands); Major Eliphalet Ariel McWhorter (captured at Ten Islands, Bluff Springs); and Adjutant Joseph A. Robertson

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hey y'all~

My son, Christopher recently went to see Santana @ Verizon in Pelham & old folks pelted him with sticks & stuff when he stood up to dance. He pleaded his case to the security guard and the guard moved him to his own EMPTY six seat box down in front of the stage so he could be out of throwing range of the old coots for the rest of night.

Last month @ Orange Beach, the same thing happened to Christopher with the old jokers harassing my boy for dancing at the Z.Z. Top gig at the Wharf.

I guess I need to make sure Christopher is more considerate of the disabled but I don't wanna lecture him about that 'cause I think most of 'em are mainly disabled between the ears & I don't respect that too much & don't expect him to respect it too much either.

Hell, we live in Tuscaloosa. If we worried about the mentally afflicted, we'd never get a damn thing done.

He's at Bonnaroo right now so I don't think he'll have to worry 'bout stuff like that.



images courtesy of

THE UGLY LIGHT...Haha! How sad & unforgiving that light can be.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dean Healy & Dean Blackburn Playing THE BEATLES!

Hey y'all~

The old DHS Class of '68 website's showing symptoms of GOING VIRAL!!!!
Kudos to Web Kitty, Gail & Jennifer plus all the members of the BC SQUAD who checked in wid

You know I ain't got much in this old sinful world
But one of the things I USED to have
Was my Mexican frog.

It was a flower planter shaped as a frog & made out of clay.
The old woman who gave it to me told me,

So the old woman gave me the Mexican frog.

My Mexican frog SPROUTED F*CKIN' LEGS &
walked off of my deck today.

If you think that's something,
I had a 1954 FIRST ANNIVERSARY EDITION PLAYBOY MAGAZINE (primo~time capsule condition)




Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You sound rejected, dear Roberto.
Don't blame it on the device.
Put the blame where it belongs;
and your opinion is......................

You are too funny.

When you picked up your date & discovered she was wearing one of these EVIL contraptions,
you knew,
that no matter how much money you spent on her that night,
that barring a miracle,
you weren't EVEN going to get NEAR first base that evening!

An advertisement for a girdle that appeared in the Monday, October 24, 1966 issue of the CRIMSON-WHITE

Monday, June 09, 2008

My latest message to the Dothan Tiger Senior Class of '68:
Hey y'all~

Do I remember graduation!

I barely made it & I was so stoned I almost missed my seat a couple of times as we stood & sat on various occasions.

I'm pretty sure Porky Pollan wuz naked underneath his robe because he was so sunburned from the beach that he HAD BLISTERS!

Me & my crowd had spent the break between the end of classes & graduation at The Spray in PCB.

Incredible adventures(a guy from Vandy who pissed on me from the second story of THE SPRAY argued that I couldn't hit him because he had a glass eye. He took it out to show me how afflicted he was so I hit him in his good eye)


We closed the CHICKEN SHACK over where they built Petticoat Junction every night.

Never forget seeing a tough guy there so drunk his motorsickle fell over on top of him while he was trying the crank it.

We were good boys because we did our Christian mission work and picked it up off of him.

Look forward to seeing evahbody!



Thanks for the time warp as usual.

I bet Nancy Derrington is still absolutely Beautiful.
I hope she's happy on the planet somewhere.


from the blog

Sunday 4/13/08: Norman Andrews Memorial Benefit
This was a very enjoyable day,
although my band and I were fairly tired as we didn't get in from playing Sat night until around 4:30a.m. The announcements and presentations were handled well by an exceptional MC. Pam was vibrant and looked so pretty. Several bands performed with mixed members of other bands. Robert Bullock started out. Good Ol' Dennis Maccabee (one of the few original members of the Concrete Bubble) performed with a band he plays with. Mitch Goodson, Jimmy Watford, Billy Gant sang, and then Wilbur Walton Jr came out and did a few tunes. Laura Adkins sang, Franks Wilkerson's wife sang a few, as well as the Bopcats on some tunes. I enjoyed listening, and seeing some of the old guys up there. Buddy Buie, Jim Lancaster and a few others joined in.
With this to have been in Norman's memory and of Pam's benefit, I really hope Norman was tuned in, and I feel he would have been pleased with the event. I thought of him often throughout the afternoon and evening. While mixing with some of the folks that had come, I saw a great many faces I hadn't seen in many years. This was very heartwarming and rewarding.
One thing that I was particularly proud of, was to see the number of former members of the Concrete Bubble in the shadowed wings of the event. I counted 11 of us.There were a couple of the "Oasis phase", The complete rhythm section for the "1890 phase", (less the Horns) were there, a couple from the "Alleycat & FancyNancy's" phase, several from the "Blue Springs/ Smuggler's Cove" phase, as well as several from the last phase of the group before Norman took a break. . This was quite emotional for some, since it was kinda like thinkin of our "Dad" and upon reflections of the brotherhood. All of the members extended condolensces and paid due respect to Pam.
"Vic George & Doublecross" (which is the band I play with) played a few tunes at the end of the event, although the event time had been pretty well used up and there were only a few people left to hear us, I hope "Dad" did.....
Thank you Russell Burgess for staying long enough to let me play through the bass amp you had furnished for the benefit, and you didn't get a chance to play, even though your wife was waiting on you.... I'll remember that my friend.
We had good day....
I was there with Pam-
Thanks to all that came and paid tribute to the great "Norm"- we loved him so- and will never forget all that everyone did for Pam last Sunday- Pam and Norman have given everything their whole life to others- I was so grateful to all of you who came and gave to them on Sunday- I know that Norman was looking down and smiling with big tears of joy running down his face.

Thanks again

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hey y'all,

Do yourself a favor & go see Zohan.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Just seeing Mariah Carey's play pretties is worth the price of admission plus you will laugh your ass off!
Now they may not be worth the price of a Coca-Cola and popcorn but Mariah & the laughs are definitely worth the price of a ticket.(Can you believe that NOW it costs over 15 bucks just to go to a movie and eat popcorn?!!!!!)

D.U.D. Parade

December 31st

In Livingston, Alabama the New Year’s Eve celebration, or parade, known locally as DUD is a highlight of the year. This celebration for the changing of the year has become a tradition in Livingston and in Sumter County. The local residents have apparently given very little attention to the origin of the custom, but they consider it an important part of their civic and social life. From one year to the next, people quietly plan their acts and costumes for the DUD parade on the evening of December 31st.

According to History of the Town of Livingston, Alabama, prepared in 1928 by Dr Robert D.Spratt, the DUD Parade originated in 1857 by Colonel T.B. Wetmore, Ben B. Little, and Mr. John McDaniel. By the time this was recorded in 1928 no one really knew how the DUD got started. It is believed to have been a custom carried over from England and Scotland.

In the older days, the maskers called themselves the "Indomitables." There was a march of the maskers at night and a parade on horseback in daytime. The custom almost passed out during the Civil War, but was revived some years afterward and has continued to the present day. The older name "Indomitables" passed out of use in the late 1800's when "some stupendous wit began to call the maskers ‘Damned Ugly Devils’ and so we have the D.U.D."

above text courtesy of

Group Picture from Capn Dean's Wedding:
is third from left,followed by his wife,Nancy Derrington,Fluker, THE NOTORIOUS Crockett Roberts and Eve Owen

[photo courtesy of Dean White]

Left to Right:
[image courtesy of Captain Dean White]

from the December 29, 1971 issue of Livingston, Alabama's HOME RECORD:


George F. Fluker Jr. , of Livingston, a senior at the University of Alabama, expects to see the Crimson Tide play Nebraska in the Orange Bowl New Year's night.
But he has to be in Livingston some 24 hours earlier.

Plane seats for Miami being as scarce as they are for this greatest-ever game, George may or may not make it to the Orange Bowl by game time. Be that as it may, he intends to be in Livingston Friday night, New Year's Eve. He will be here because he has a job to do, a tradition to uphold, a trust to fulfill.

That job and that trust is to lead the annual D.U.D. parade, the ancient and colorful event which takes place in Livingston and nowhere else in the world. George will march at the head of the line of costumed and disguised men and boys, beating a drum and leading them through the streets to the neighborhood of the Courthouse Square, where judging and general frolicking takes place.

It is no overstatement to say that this job of leading the line is a tradition for the 21-year-old Fluker. He participated in his first D.U.D. parade at the age of five months, and he has been in every one since. His grandfather, C.R. Moon, transported the baby, in his first parade, in a little red wagon. The little fellow's father, George Sr., was with them, performing his customary job of beating the drum and leading the line.

For, you see, it was George Jr.'s father who got him started on this D.U.D. tradition, a tradition that the father himself had been a part of since he was five years old. It was way back in 1913 when W. S. Nichols, who then was the regular leader of the D.U.D. parade, invited the little Fluker boy to march with him in the big shindig. The boy was delighted and continued to take part, shouldering the main responsibility after Mr. Nichols could no longer perform.

Through the years, George Sr. missed only one D.U.D. parade, as well as anyone can remember. That one came during World War II when he just couldn't make it home from his Army duty.

George Sr. won't make it to the parade this year----not in the flesh.
He died August 11 of this year following a severe heart attack.

But he will be very much present in spirit and in the hearts of his wife, Mrs. Martha M. Fluker, his daughter, Mrs. Susan Howze, his mother-in-law, Mrs. C. R. Moon and many, many others.

And int he heart of his son, George Jr., who will carry on without his dad for the first time. The young man's heart will be full and it will be heavy. But he will march and he will beat his drum and he will lead the line. Ty Cobb, his friend who now is employed in Birmingham, expects to be here to march with him.

"I've got to have some moral support," George said.

"I didn't mention it to Boy," Mrs. Fluker said. ("Boy" being the name often used by the young man's parents as he has grown to manhood). "I wanted him to do what he was able to do. One night he came in and said, 'Well, Mama, I'm going to march in Daddy's place.' "

And so he will be out there Friday night, with his friend and his costume and his drum. No one will know just how he feels as he leads the way along the route which he so often covered in the company of his beloved father.

But few will doubt that as the shadowy figures come out of the darkness and frolic their way toward the Square, with Boy leading the way, Boy's father will know and be glad.

----John Neel


It all started way back in 1857...
114 years ago...
and has been going on every year since that time.
This year, as in years past, on New Year's Eve, the DUD's will march again.

Livingston Mayor Drayton Pruitt, following the tradition set at a time no one remembers,
has issued the proclamation which sets aside December 31 as DUD night and has ordered
"each and every able bodied male resident of said town to set aside all duties and cares of his
ordinary life and dress himself in costume and disguise and proceed to Sleepy Hollow where he shall be joined by all other male residents of said town."

And thus is has been, that each year on December 31, all the men of the town, rich and poor, friends and enemies, forget their cares and join together "to march, deport and exhibit themselves in a foolish and frivolous manner upon and throughout the streets of Livingston."
This year will be no different from the other 113.
On Friday night at 7 p.m. the men will gather in Sleepy Hollow and the parade will begin.

The parade will end at the Bored Well pavilion and the awarding of prizes will culminate much hard work...
mostly by wives and mothers who came up with the ingenious costumes and disguises.
The "Dressed Up Dudes" or , if you prefer,
"Damn Ugly Devils"
prance and cavort around the pavilion to the amusement to all except maybe a few small
frightened children, while awaiting the decision of the judges.

The DUD parade has been held each year including one December 31 several years ago when a heavy snow covered the town. Granted, there were few marchers and fewer spectators but the parade was held and tradition kept alive.
Tradition will continue Friday night.

Who will be the winners?
No one knows.
You will just have to come out and see for yourself, but one thing is certain...
there will be a parade and there will be a winner.

Following the parade of "Dudes" and "Devils"
another tradition will take place when the Masquers Club holds its annual New Year's Eve Masquers Ball.

Although not as old as the DUD's (this will be the 20th ball)
the Masquers have set quite a tradition of their own and each year come up with elaborate costumes and decorations.

Jerome Hopkins was an incredible character & a superb piano player.
Check out the myspace music site for Bama Coach Dude Hennessey's wife,

Tuscaloosa matchbooks

There's an omen on this image.
Thursday I was contacted by Dr. Bill Morton of Atlanta about my Ellicott work & I find a cocktail napkin Saturday at Archie's Whorehouse with an image of the tavern on top of Ellicott's Hill in Natchez, the place where the American flag was first unfurled down here in 1797.

As most of you old heads know Tommy Bradford, the cat who painted the SISTENE CHUKKER, also designed this graphic for Solomon's paper bag

image courtesy of

Believe it or not, I have two of these posters pitching THE ROCKIN' GIBRALTARS, DAVID KELLER & THE PREACHERS PLUS THE OUTER MONGOLIAN HERD!!!! (Hey, Jeff, you know anything about "The Miami Beach" group?")

used Jim Hodges story @!!!!

It's better to be coming down than to have never been high at all.
-- Mal Function
Wanta yak with the Capn? Click on:

Give them what they want. Give them their money's worth.
-- skypilotclub motto

I've blasted all the way through to the end of my Vietnam novel and am circling around to the beginning and going through the whole thing again, smoothing out the rough spots, grooving out the hiccups, tweaking the delectables. Here's a sneak peak at the manuscript, all 26 chapters:

The big news last week was the death of two greats. First, Alton Kelley, the artist who along with Mouse, created the vast valume of 60s rock posters. The other was Bo Diddley, the guitar singer great. I received a whole bunch of emails about both.

Alton was one of my idols.
His work, along with Stanley's, inspired me to do what I do.
I still strive...and continue to look with awe and admiration at his work.
In my heart- I thank him for helping to spark the vision and creativity in me.
- Darrin

Legendary poster artist Alton Kelley passed away on Sunday. He along
with Stanley Mouse created many legendary images for several bands,
the GD's "Skull & Roses" image you may be most familar with shown at this link:

from the San Francisco chronicle...


Another great one is gone. Bo Diddley. RIP.

I lived in the French Quarter in '87-'88. One Saturday
night Bo Diddley appeared for two shows at Storyville.
I decided to see the early show since the late shows
have a more rowdy crowd.

So I got in line behind 4 young Japanese couples,
maybe in their mid 20's) on tour of N'Awlins. None of
them spoke English, but one of the guys had been to a
collectors' record store and bought a Bo Diddley album
from the 50's enclosed in a plastic protective sleeve.
I think he paid $100 for it even back then. He was
grinning from ear to ear, held up the album to show
me, pointed to the "Man" on the cover, and proudly
exclaimed "Bo Diddley!!!"

We got inside and the 8 Japanese grabbed a table for
10 and invited me to sit with them. As the band
started their warm-up set, Bo Diddley came from
backstage, and asked if he could sit at the 10th chair
at our table. The kid with the album, stood up, showed
him the album, and still grinning from ear to ear,
said "Bo Diddley!" Bo took the album from the kid, and
told me "This was my first album." He took the album
from the sleeve and autographed it for the kid. The
kid never stopped grinning. Of course each of the
Japanese had a camera, and a couple hundred pictures
were shot. I wish I had one of them. I'm sure that kid
with the album has had a flash of fond memories when
he heard the news that Bo Diddley died. I'll bet he
still has that album.

Bo Diddley sat with us for an hour warm-up set by his
band, drank a couple of Coca-Colas, and then joined
the band onstage for an hour and a half set. Damn! He
could still play - talk about rhythm! - what an
entertainer. After his set, he came back to the table
to shake hands with all of us and thanked us for being
there. What a gracious person. RIP.

Take care,

I sat down with a bucket of Harold's Fried Chicken with Bo one evening long time ago. used to go see him in little clubs before his career resurgence with the Nike ads in the late 80s. you might have a dozen or so people in the audience. a great guitarist and musician and even played the drums
-- Sgt O'Reilly

Yes, the Nike ad was great, you don't know diddley till you know bo, and some money for the man, too, for he said no one thought shit of you unless you had money, dint matter who good your were singing, playing writing. Like the black preacher in the poor neighborhood, he drives a new black caddillac, someone say how can he do that and he say they won't give money to a preacher drives a cheap car.
-- KapnKen

I said to Bo, man, you don't get the credit you deserve for inventing rock 'n roll, and he said, I don't want the credit, just the cash.
-- Sgt O'Reilly

I wish I saw him, a giant. he picked up the bo diddley beat in africa and now it is everywhere.