All posts tagged 1950s

Thanks Boonton Library!

Published December 2, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_9276Maryanne Mistretta and Stephanie Gabelmann

Thanks so much to Stephanie Gabelmann and The Boonton Holmes Library (http://www.boontonholmeslibrary.org) for hosting my presentation “Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember.”

Synopsis for “Going Going Gone”

Since the year 2000, we’ve gained iPhones, GPSs, Twitter, Facebook and many other services and devices.

However, we’ve also lost some things that we’ve grown up with. In “Going Going Gone” Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will take a walk down memory lane and talk about products that are either on their way out the door, or absolutely obsolete.

Some may actually surprise you!

Items included are: VHS video tapes, phone booths (and making phone calls in general!), travel agents, bookstores, newspapers and classified ads, wristwatches, maps, dial-up internet, encyclopedias, CDs, landline phones, film cameras, yellow pages and address books, and hand written letters.

Which of these items do you miss?

Christiano-Mistretta will also jolt your memory remembering some cool products of yesteryear such as the typewriter, the record player and Polaroid cameras.

Come share your views in this interactive lecture! Audience participation is greatly encouraged.

This presentation is available to libraries, senior groups, non-profit organizations, Jewish Community Centers, and rotary clubs. Please contact Maryanne for pricing and availability at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Going, Going, Gone! What the Next Generation Won’t Remember

Published August 5, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5528Does any of this stuff look familiar?

Here you have it! My grandmother’s suitcase from the 1960s, that I still use! (Hey, it’s easy to spot on the airline conveyor belt. Do you want to hang out in an airport all night? I don’t!); cassettes, view master, Howard Johnsons bond, speaker from Drive-in, KISS bubble gum cards, my first cell phone from 2001, and 45 rpm with spindle

My “Going, Going, Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember” was a hit last night! Thanks so much to Sayreville Library for having me! I had people in the audience as young as 8 and as old as 72!

For more information on lectures available to present at libraries, women’s groups, assisted living facilities, JCCs and more, visit www.peartreeenterprises.com

Rates are reasonable. All lectures are fun, upbeat and audience inter-active!

Elvis Birthday Bash 2014! Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey

Published January 18, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3420Scot Bruce as Elvis

Last night I treated my husband Dennis to The Elvis Birthday Bash at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

We saw this show twice before in the past, with the double bill of Scot Bruce and Mike Albert — and I must stay, this one was the best of all!

Scot Bruce, who does the “Sun Years” or “early” Elvis was phenomenal. I loved that this time around he did some of the Elvis songs you don’t hear as much and he did a Bruce Springsteen song, as Elvis which was really cool. My favorite part of his act was hearing “Don’t Be Cruel.” The audience went nuts for him, as if he was really Elvis.

Mike Albert, the “Las Vegas Elvis” was on fire! Lots of love and audience participation — he totally wowed them. He also brought his mother on stage to sing “The Wonder of You” to her. Then a song you rarely hear an Elvis impersonator do — “Let’s Pretend” sent chills up my spine! He wore an extraordinary costume that had a peacock stitched on it.

SAM_3452Mike Albert, the Las Vegas Elvis

SAM_3453“An American Trilogy” was the grand finale.

After Mike Albert performed “An American Trilogy” Scot Bruce came onstage to perform “Hound Dog” with him.

As always, there was a meet and greet in the lobby and the two Elvises took pictures with fans. It was fun meeting them again!

SAM_3454From left: Scot Bruce, Dennis, Maryanne, Mike Albert

Richard Nader’s Doo Wop Celebration XXIV, IZOD

Published June 2, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1002Me in front of the IZOD

SAM_1006My husband Dennis and I enjoying the show

SAM_1030Jay Siegel’s Tokens

SAM_1037Me with Deborah Nader

SAM_1048Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler

I am so grateful to Deborah Nader (http://www.richardnader.com/) giving my husband and I comp tickets to last night’s show!

It was a fabulous night to watch all the stars come out: Jay Black, Gene Chandler, John Kuse & The Excellents, Lenny Coco & The Chimes, The Duprees, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, Tommy Mara & The Crests, Twin Gold and the Whip-Tones (from Whippany, NJ).

I was thrilled to meet Jay Siegel during intermission. The Tokens have a special place in my heart because the year I was born, 1963, their song “The Lion Sleeps Tonite” was a hit, and my favorite hit of that year!

Other highlights of the show were when Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs sang “Little Darling” and an Elvis impersonator, Craig Newell, came out. And when Jay Black, at age 75, hit the high notes of “Cara Mia.” Every single act was excellent!

The show was 3.5 hours long, with a brief intermission.

I’m still on such a high from the show — so many great songs and acts, one right after another!

Most Loving Mom in the Movies

Published May 11, 2013 by Maryanne

Juanita MooreJuanita Moore as Annie Johnson in “Imitation of Life” (1959)

The other day I did a blog post about the meanest moms in the movies. Now, in honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, I present to you the most loving mom in the movies: Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson in “Imitation of Life.”

Moore played a supporting role to Lana Tana who played Lora Meredith the lead character who was a widow with dreams of becoming a famous actress. Lora’s daughter was Susie, played by Sandra Dee. Moore was a divorced woman, with child, Sarah Jane played by Susan Kohner. When Susie and Sarah Jane were little, they became friends on the beach. Their mothers also became friends and Lora let Annie and Sarah Jane come live with them to keep her and little Susie company and Annie agreed to watch the kids while Lora pursued her acting career.

As years went on, Annie served as nanny, housekeeper and best friend/confident to Lora. Lora’s career started to climb.

While Lora and her daughter Susie have their issues, Sarah Jane has her own troubles, becomes extremely rebellious and puts her mother through a living hell — all while pretending her mother isn’t really her mother because Sarah Jane wants to be white, not black.

Here’s a scene from the movie where Sarah Jane is very cruel to her mother:

Annie does everything she can to try to keep her daughter on the straight and narrow, but selfish Sarah Jane wants nothing to do with her. Annie loves her child with all her heart and soul and goes through desperate measures to try to win Sarah Jane’s love. Eventually Annie’s health deteriorates due to a broken heart because of her daughter disowning her … I’m not telling the ending, but if you want to know Google “Imitation of Life.”

The story is a beautiful tear-jerker and Moore’s character was the only one who was giving amongst all selfish people. I highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a great movie to watch on Mother’s Day. It will definitely make you appreciate your mom more than ever. I watched this beautiful movie a few times with my late Grandmother who was just as unconditionally loving as Moore’s character.

In 1959 Juanita Moore was the fifth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is still alive today — age 90!

Jay Black, Tokens, Tommy Mara, and Much More at Izod, Saturday, June 1

Published May 1, 2013 by Maryanne

Jay Black & the AmericansJay Black

Once again, Richard Nader Entertainment, Inc. is presenting a dynamic show of oldies icons on Saturday, June 1, 2013, 7 p.m. at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

This will be a special celebration for Jay Black, as it’s the 50th anniversary of their hit “Only in America.” The iconic song was heard throughout New York during America’s bicentennial celebration in 1976.

Other amazing songs by Jay and the Americans include: “Cara Mia,” “This Magic Moment,” and “Come a Little Bit Closer.” Jay Black’s voice is as powerful today as it was back in the day.

Joining the star-filled extravaganza are Jay Siegel and The Tokens, best known for their 1963 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonite”; Brooklyn doo wop group, Lenny Cocco and the Chimes doing their hit “Once in Awhile”;  John Kuse and the Excellents, known for “Coney Island Baby”; The Duprees performing their goose-bump inducing hit, “You Belong to Me”; Gene Shandler doing “Duke of Earl”; Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs performing their chart buster hit, “Stay”; Tommy Mara and The Crests, doing “Sixteen Candles”; and Twin Gold.

Come see the artists who have made famous the songs that were known as “music to make love to.” Re-live the golden memories of songs that have forever staying power — for young and old fans alike!

For those who like to get the party started early, as the fun begins when the gates open at 3 p.m. for the classic car display, a tailgate party, and autograph session with the stars!

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or any Ticketmaster outlet.

For information go to richardnader.com or email info@richardnader.com.

Here are some of the songs by the artists:

Jay and the Americans – Only in America

The Tokens – The Lion Sleeps Tonite

Lenny Cocco and the Chimes “Once in Awhile”

 The Excellents – Coney Island Baby

The Duprees – “You Belong to Me”

Gene Chandler “Duke of Earl”

Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – “Stay”

Tommy Mara and The Crests – “16 Candles”

Pinball Party!

Published April 7, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0497Retro pinball machines

Last night my husband Dennis and I attended a private party at the Silver Ball Museum in Asbury Park, New Jersey (http://silverballmuseum.com/).

We got to play pinball machines from the 1950s to modern times. Truly amazing, the artwork that went into all of them.

SAM_0498From 1968

SAM_0501The King and I

SAM_0517I’m a Pinball Wizard

SAM_0518The ballerina spins around during the game!


Interview with Tommy Mara “The Pavarotti of Doo Wop”

Published February 13, 2013 by Maryanne

Tommy MaraTommy Mara

Tommy Mara “The Pavarotti of Doo Wop”

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Some people are just born to sing and it sure didn’t take Tommy Mara long to find his voice.

As a boy, he sang classic hits such as “More” while his grandmother played piano. He’d sing whatever his grandmother wanted him to sing, and even wore a fedora.

But Mara didn’t limit himself to his grandmother’s favorite Frank Sinatra songs, as he quickly moved on to rock, playing drums and singing in a high school rock band. Music flowed naturally for Mara, as it went from being a hobby to a serious career. The Italian singer from Brooklyn easily made the transition from Battle of the Bands to wedding bands, and then being in all kinds of rock groups, including southern rock. But it was doo wop that “rang like a bell” for Mara and because of his dynamic vocals, he became known as “The Pavarotti of Doo Wop.”

Mara left Brooklyn to move to Florida and in the 1990s, he joined the Saints and changed the name to “Tommy and the Saints.”

And in 2000, Mara joined The Crests, which was formerly led by the late Johnny Maestro, who later sang lead for The Brooklyn Bridge. Mara called the act, “The Crests, featuring the Voice of Tommy Mara” because he didn’t want anyone to think he was portraying Johnny Maestro.

“No one can sing like Johnny Maestro,” he said.

Maestro and Mara met officially in 1995 and became inseparable. “If we weren’t working, we were together,” Mara said. The duo performed together in the “Dream Team,” which Mara considered a career highlight. The pair even had a recording studio together.

While Maestro was the original front man for The Crests, Mara has been fronting them for over 13 years, longer than Maestro. Performing with The Crests took Mara all over the world. “I’m the most well-known, unknown person,” he said. “I’m the famous un-famous guy. I’m the only guy without a legitimate record.” But a “legitimate record” may be a reality soon enough for Mara, as a new Crest album is in the works, and it will feature both Mara and the late Maestro on the songs.

However, this was not originally in Mara’s plans.

“As a friend, I didn’t want to reap off his [Maestro] passing. I didn’t want to make money off my goombah,” Mara said.

It’s obvious from Mara’s live performances that he isn’t doing it for money. “I do it for the love,” he said, “to make people feel like they’re twenty-one again. To watch their faces brings joy to me. It’s beautiful.”

Tommy Mara and The Crests will be the special guest of David Brenner on Saturday, March 16, 2013, 8 p.m. at Paper Mill Playhouse, in Millburn, New Jersey.

Tommy Mara and The Crests will also be performing “Richard Nader’s Doo Wop Celebration XXIV” Saturday, June 1, 2013, at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

An “Intimate” Evening with Smokey Robinson

Published November 17, 2012 by Maryanne

Smokey Robinson (photo swiped from Google, saw no credit)

Last night my husband’s brother Anthony (and his girl Lisa) treated my husband Dennis and I and his other brother Joe (and his friend Eileen) to a most wonderful early Christmas present — going to see Smokey Robinson at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

The show was billed as “An Intimate Evening With Smokey Robinson.” Sexy, right? But Smokey took the intimacy of a live performance to a whole new level. He actually conversed with his fans throughout the entire show!

Smokey hit the stage, sang a song, then throughout the rest of the evening, he picked out names from a basket (from fans who wrote their names earlier in the evening). Whoever was called got to ask Smokey a question and then tell him what song to play!

I was so glad my favorites were picked: “Just to See Her,” “Ooh Baby Baby” and “Crusin’.”

Hearing “Ooh Baby Baby” followed by “Just to See Her” gave my goosebumps goosebumps! I mean, each and every part of my body was moved! And as an added bonus, I had my handsome husband, who I love so much, sitting next to me being very romantic with me as we held hands, touched each others faces and kissed. Yes, it was that kind of evening!

Dennis said, “Smokey is getting the ladies all sexed up!”

I said, “No one is going to have a headache tonite!”

The sound was smooth, a real class act. It was interesting hearing the questions that the fans asked, which provoked many fascinating stories about how Smokey got his name, his work with the Temptations, hanging out with Stevie Wonder (who Smokey felt should be named, “Stevie WONDERFUL.”) etc. Very interesting to someone like myself who didn’t know much about him. But I will now. And I will start buying his work. I need some Smokey in my CD collection.

I was surprised no one chosen asked for his autograph or even to shake his hand. It was an older, more laid back crowd I guess. But what impressed me most was when one fan, before she asked her question, said to Smokey, “It is an honor to meet you.”

And he said, “It is an honor to meet you too” with all sincerity.

My jaw dropped open. You rarely get such unselfishness in this day and age. What an amazing man this entertainer is! I felt so happy for the fan. That was just way too cool.

He also did a little tribute to Michael Jackson by singing a Jackson 5 song, “The Love You Save.”

No encores. It was over way too soon. But how cool is it that I can just You Tube his songs all day!

We love you Smokey!