Sunday, September 26, 2010


From the 40s, 50s and 60s...Hair dryers, mint condition.

On August 4th, my mother died. It's part of the jarring realities of life. Like Whoppi Goldberg, who lost her mother on August 29, I celebrate the life and legacy of who my mother was. Goldberg revealed the loss of her mother and made a most profound statement: ""I think I'm just sad sometimes that I think, 'Who will love me the way that she did?" And quite honestly, I think that sums it up.

I wrote a blog about losing my mother: Love's Greatest Heartbreak. We know it's coming, but somehow we back burner the reality of  life's promise: passing on...

This is why it is up to us to continue to create our legacies as we incorporate the energies of our parents and what they gave us: The opportunity of living  life to its fullest. 

There has never been a generation like the baby boomers and quite honestly, there will never be again.

As I was going through my mother's belongings, I was able to get a grasp of who she was. It was a fascinating glimpse into the 40s (when she was in her 20s) and the fifties, the decade in which I was born. I passed on these treasures to my daughters.

As I move forward with my life, I am more energized than ever by the many projects that I  am working on and the continuous celebration of all of the wonderful people I have been graced to know.

UNSUNG: A Real Journey into the Real School

The Show Unsung is one of my favorite real school visual memorabilia filled with history, legacy and trivia. The show premiered its newest season on September 13 and airs Monday nights at 10pm eastern time. Missed the episodes, or not carried by your provider? Episodes are available online. Below is the episode on Tammi Terrell.


Evelyn Venable
I’m always curious about the strangest things, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’ve always wondered, who is that lady in the Columbia Pictures logo? It couldn’t have been just an intangible beauty with no history. So, of course I went on to find out more. And though most of us have seen her countless times at the start of a Columbia Film, we probably weren’t aware of her history in Hollywood.

Her name was Evelyn Venable. She began her career playing leads in two prominent films in the 30s, Cradle Song and Death Takes a Holiday. The actress, who bore a striking resemblance to Ida Lupino ,was also Shirley Temple’s mom in The Littlest Colonel. Venable may have been the Columbia Lady that many of us grew up with and remember.

Jennifer Joseph
It’s been said that there have been several models and while looking through my research, there is evidence that Veneble was not the first model for the Columbia Logo but may have been the third (1939 to 1976)

Now it’s been said that Amelia Bachelor was the model in 1936.

When Sony pictures bought Columbia  in 1989, artist Michael Deas was hired to update the Columbia logo.  31 year old Jennifer Joseph, a designer with The Times-Picayune newspaper became the new model. Artist Deas utilized computer generated images to construct the composite for her face. Personally, I don't see the necessity for an upgrade.

Columbia Pictures was founded in 1920. Here is a picture of the original Columbia Lady in 1924. It appears to be a drawing. But then there seem to be conflicting stories as to the identity of the  mysterious Liberty Lady  giving credit to Amelia Bachelor  as the 2nd model who posed for the logo in 1936 to 1939 according to  Imdb also credits Venable as being the original model for the logo. It seems I’ve done more than try to satisfy my curiosity but opened up a can of worms! So if anyone can demystify this piece of Hollywood history, let me know! Also check out the Columbia Logo Page that will confuse you even more!

Why oh why didn’t I do the MGM Lion?


We grew up with a lot of icons. Especially with some of the products from back in the day.


Betty  Crocker was “born” in 1921 as an iconic symbol  for General Mills  continuing tradition of service to its consumers when Gold Medal Flour began a promo for its customers to complete a jigsaw puzzle. The Washburn Company,(General Mills' forerunner) got a multitude of responses and questions about baking. Betty Crocker was created to personalize the responses.

The surname Crocker was from the then recently retired director, William G. Crocker and Betty was chosen because it sounded friendly. The company’s female employees submitted sample Betty Crocker signatures and the one chosen is still used today.

I don’t know about you, but I felt betrayed when I found out there was no real Betty Crocker.
So--- Betty Crocker-not real.

Chef Boyardee
Hector Boiardi, who we certainly knew from the phonetic spelling of his name: Chef Boyardee

Born in Italy in 1898, Boiardi moved to NY in 1914 and eventually relocated to Cleveland in 1924 where he was a Chef at the Winton Hotel. He would later open his own restaurant where demands for samples of his sauce were so great he bottled it in milk bottles in his apartment for his customers.

He began to work with canning pasta. While his business continued to thrive throughout the depression, Boiardi moved his headquarters and factory to Milton, PA, growing mushrooms from the basement. His business never seemed to falter. It was his company that made canned pasta for the US military in WW II. Bioardi’s company was sold to American Home Foods where Hector Boiardi remained active until his death in 1985.

Chef-Boy Ar Dee: Very real.


Uncle Ben
It was British food chemist Eric Huzenlaub who expounded on the process to give white rice nutritional value back in the 1930s but it wasn’t until 1942 that Houston food broker Gordon Harwell showed interest in rice conversion and partnered with Huzenlaub in a company called Converted Rice, Inc. By 1944, the company was producing 200 tons of rice per day.

After being acquired by Forrest Mars, (son of candy maker Frank Mars) Forrest Mars company, Food Manufacturers, Ltd. created the brand ID based on tale of a black farmer, renowned for his award winning rice:  a rice so good it was used as a standard of excellence. The gentlemen you see on the Uncle Ben’s box was not the black farmer Uncle Ben who had been dead for many years.  George Harwell asked a Chicago matre 'd named Frank Brown to pose as Uncle Ben and it’s his face that became the company logo.

So, Uncle Ben, Real of Not Real? Maybe both.

Aunt Jemima:
She's over 120 years old and was created by Charles Rutt and Charles Underwood of the Pearl Mining Company. However, her controversial  iconic role transformed her into a celebrity, praised as the Pancake Queen.

The trademark was purchased by RT Davis in 1890. He hired Nancy Green, a 300 lb former slave from Kentucky as the model. She signed a lifetime contract with the company.

Aunt Jemima's image was so popular in 1914, that the company was renamed The Aunt Jemima Mills Company. By 1926, the Quaker Oats company purchased Aunt Jemima Mills and registered the trademark in 1937.

In 1933 Anna Robinson was hired to portray the pancake icon. She appeared at the Chicago world’s Fair flipping pancakes and telling tales of slavery and promoted the products as Aunt Jemima until her death in 1951.

From the mid 50s  till the late 60s Aylene Lewis reprised the role at the Aunt Jemima Restaurant at the then new Disneyland.

The many faces of Aunt Jemima

Show personality Edith Wilson modeled Aunt Jemima as the modern iconic portrayal with a stylish hairdo and pear earrings that is used today.

Aunt Jemima: Portrayed as real.


Thanks for sharing the journey! 
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  1. I swear you look exactly the same since you were in the that little red snow suit! I'd know that smile anywhere Sista.

  2. Sorry to hear about the lost of your mom Teira, I also lost my mom this year. Just know that she will always be in your heart. Remember all those good times you had with her? makes you smile don't it:)

  3. Hey Teira. Keep up the good work and remember that Real School community is here for you. Thanks for all your prayers, advise and friendship. -Alfred

  4. one of the better issues of rsp. sorry about your mom, but glad u are able to take the joy she left you with and make it a positive journey.

  5. RSP...always an interesting & informative read

  6. love it love it