Select Page
Hearts of Age

Hearts of Age

Institutes of Learning

Orson and We

When William Vance brought a camera to school, he and his buddy Orson decided to take it for a test drive with some friends. 

Explainer:  This post was inspired by my dear friend and mentor, Vicki Vance, whose father received a movie camera as a gift in the 1930s. Technology is a glittering lure.

AN 8 Minute, 16mm short

Hearts of Age

Seven years before the word “Rosebud” was even uttered, Orson Welles and his close friend William Vance created “The Hearts of Age,” a student project which is considered to be Welles’ first, and worst, film.

William and Orson made the movie during a Summer Festival of Drama in Woodstock, Illinois. Its silent imagery is a humorous jumble of deliberately heavy-handed symbolism, arty montage and youthful actors in ridiculous theatrical makeup.

1934 student film

Hearts of Age


Old Woman


Indian in Blanket


Show Runner


Bell Ringer

Co-director’s cut

It’s nothing at all. Absolutely nothing. It was a joke. I wanted to make a parody of Jean Cocteau’s first film. That’s all. We shot it in two hours, for fun, one Sunday afternoon. It has no sort of meaning.

Orson Welles, Co-Director

KukLa, Fran and OMG

William Vance

Producer, Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  NBC Chicago.


James Thurber once wrote that Kukla, Fran and Ollie was “helping to save the sanity of the nation and to improve, if not even to invent, the quality of television.”

Vicki Vance, the daughter of KFO producer William Vance, was not as impressed. When she and her brother Denny were invited to be part of the studio audience, Vicki loudly expressed her opinion on live TV. 

Fearless Girl

Vicki Vance

Vicki may have been frightened by Ollie, but she was probably the only person who could look Steve Jobs in the eye and give him a better idea.

As a high-level sales executive for Sony, Vicki was the person who convinced Steve to incorporate the Sony 3 1/2 inch disk into the 128K Macintosh.

They played nicely together.



Vicki Vance, shleping a Sony AVC-3400 connected to a Sony AV-3400 black & white, reel-to-reel deck. 

Hoax with a Smile

Hoax with a Smile

Hoax With a Smile

Alan Abel was a professional jazz drummer, comic, writer, campus lecturer, filmmaker, satirist and prankster who made a point in his work of challenging the obvious and uttering the outrageous.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Early Start

Joke’s on Us



Alan’s first major hoax, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, or SINA, took place in 1959 and enlisted the help of Buck Henry.


It Gets Betta

Yetta Bronstein, a New York grandmother, ran for president on a platform of flouridation, sex education, a national bingo tournament, and replacing congressmen’s salaries with commissions.


Topless String Quartet

Abel formed the first Topless String Quartet. Frank Sinatra offered the lively ensemble a recording contract on his label.


Taxpayers Anonymous

Taxpayer’s Anonymous demands to examine the IRS’s books and records and ordered the government to bring all of its cancelled checks to Abel’s house in Westport.


International Sex Bowl

Members of the press were invited to attend an Olympic-style competition which was billed as the most “shocking sporting event ever to be staged.”

Howard Hughes

A large group of reporters were in attendance at the NYC press conference where “Howard Hughes” announced he would be cryogenically frozen and reanimated when the stock market peaked.


Missing 18 1/2 Minutes

Alan Abel posed as a former White House employee who had the infamous 18-and-a-half minute gap missing from the Watergate tapes.  He was shocked to find that his tape had also been erased when playing it for reporters and cameramen.

1975 - 1988

Omar’s School for Beggars

Alan created a character named Omar, the founder of a School for Beggars that taught people how to panhandle professionally.


Deep Throat

An actor posed as Deep Throat and met with reporters at the Hilton Hotel in New York City to explain his involvement in feeding Woodward and Bernstein information.


A WASP Wedding

Abel orchestrated an elaborate green card wedding between former Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, and a young White Anglo Saxon Protestant woman.


NYT Obituary

Alan Abel successfully faked his own death by getting his obituary published in The New York Times, where he was called “a satirist.” For his second death, the Times called him an “Ace Hoaxer.”

Oil on the Court

A man named Prince Emir Assad mysteriously appeared in full garb at the Red Cross Pro/Celebrity tennis tournament. He proceeded to play tennis with Penny Marshall, Sonny Bono, and pro players Bill Scanlan and Vijay Amritraj.


Super Bowl XVII

An unofficial official called four plays at Super Bowl XVII before being chased down the sideline by a cop. The cop was an actor too. 


Females for Felons

As a commentary on recidivism within our nation’s prison system, Females for Felons, a group of former members of the Junior League who provided sex to men behind bars for rehabilitation, was formed.

Phil Donahue Faint-In

Seeking to poke fun at the sensationalism creeping into the talk show genre, Abel had several plants in the audience of a live national show. Each one would collapse as Phil approached them with the mic. The studio was evacuated in fear of a gas leak.

Iran Contra Affair

Mehdi Bahremani, an Iranian arms merchant who made six million dollars in commission on the sale of U.S. arms to Iran summoned the media to announce that he wanted to give the money back. All major media attended the press conference. The story was never questioned and it wound up on the national news.


Lottery Winner

When the news got out that an attractive single woman had won the state lottery and was “making it rain” at a Manhattan hotel, reporters were all over the story.

KKK Symphony Orchestra

When former Klansman David Duke was running for governor of Louisiana, Alan formed the KKK Symphony Orchestra to promote a “kinder, gentler” image of the Klan. Duke actually accepted an invitation to their concert.

Kidney or Lung

As a favor for a college student looking for work, Alan placed an ad in the Village Voice offering the student’s kidney or lung for $25,000. They were inundated with calls.


Euthanasia Cruises

Alan formed a fictitious cruise line called Euthanasia Cruise for people who wanted to expire in luxury. Tickets were one-way only.


Jenny Jones

Alan appeared on the Jenny Jones show with his “wife” who glued his penis to his butt after she found him in bed with another woman.


Jenny McCarthy

A man named Stoidi Puekaw marketed “Jenny’s Pint O’ Pee” after a controversial ad starring Jenny McCarthy. He claimed that there was a warehouse filled with 500,000 cases of her urine stored in Mexico, packaged and ready for shipping.

Private Dicks

Alan answered a casting call for documentary about men’s genitalia. He claimed to have the smallest penis in the Guinness Book of World Records. The producers fell for his story and made him a featured subject in the film.
2000 - 2005

Citizens Against Breastfeeding

Abel founded a conservative group that sought to abolish this act of immoral perversion.


$365 Million Powerball

When the national Powerball Lottery reached $365 million, the biggest jackpot in American history, Alan took the opportunity to dust off one of his most successful hoaxes.

National Fat Tax

Every family should weigh in at the post office, on or before April 15th, and pay $5 a pound for each member, including pets. This aggregate amount will give Uncle Sam as much, if not more, than taxing income.

Bird Porn

Alan created a faux campaign to label bird watchers as voyeurs. The team protested during the 2008 Democratic campaign and drew more reporters than President-Elect Obama.


Homeland Security Color Levels

Alan staged an informal picketing of the White House to protest Homeland Security’s use of a color code. It left color-blind citizens unprotected.


NYT Obituary

We have it on good authority that he really died. 


Buck henry 

Alan Abel’s friend and co-conspirator, Buck Henry, was versatile writer, director and character actor who co-wrote and appeared in “The Graduate, and “Heaven Can Wait.” He also created the classic 1960s spy sitcom “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks. Short and deceptively mild, wearing black-rimmed glasses, Henry was an established film and television writer who became widely recognizable during the early years of “Saturday Night Live.” He hosted numerous times and played such memorable characters as the creepy babysitter Uncle Roy and the father of “Nerd” Bill Murray. His gift for satire and knowledge of current events fit perfectly with the brash outlook of the young cast and writers. “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels would praise Henry for teaching him “a whole other level of things.”

All Profits Go to Charity




A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure that’s done to treat kidney failure. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and remove it from the body through your urine. They also help maintain your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance. If your kidneys stop working, waste builds up in your body and can make you very sick.


$25000 1992 Dollars



Lung transplantation, or pulmonary transplantation, is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced by lungs which come from a donor. Donor lungs can be retrieved from a living donor or a deceased donor. 

$25000 1992 Dollars

Look for the SINA Label


Clothes can hide your dog’s body language and you are likely to miss signals he displays when meeting another dog at the park or during a walk. But decency today means morality tomorrow.

There is a long tradition of very specific functional clothing for animals. Ancient Greek armies would put leather boots on the feet of their horses to protect them against snow. Police animals can be dressed in fluorescent covers.

But pants will stop the panting.

Starboard Style: One Million Dollars
Stern Style: One Million Dollars

The Key to Earning Hundreds of Dollars a Week

Panhandler’s Handbook

Omar Rockford, founder of Omar’s School for Beggars, teaches out-of-work men and women how to creatively panhandle for a living. Successful, high-income begging on the streets requires imaginative deception. Omar demonstrates hundreds of foolproof methods in this handbook. You’ve got to have a glib tongue, a sense of urgency and a believable story – also proper dress and courtesy are a must. The first few weeks can be rough, since one isn’t easily adjusted to the embarrassment of being turned down. It takes about a month to become a real pro and practice does make perfect. With this practical guide, you’ll never need to work a real job again.

Handbook: One Million Dollars
Semester: One Million Dollars
Degree: One Million Dollars

Wish You’d Stop Being So Good to Me, Captain.

Wish You’d Stop Being So Good to Me, Captain.

Explainer:  This post was inspired by a recently uncovered compilation of an old neighborhood newsletter. The bound volume is an amazing time machine. The pages go backwards, forwards, and take us to a place where we ache to go again.

Boldly Go

The West Islip Kindness Project began in a small village on Long Island during the summer of ’52. The baby boom had been detonated and several friends gathered in the home of Bob Keeshan to discuss the fallout. They didn’t realize it at the time, but this great generation was forming the nucleus of our country’s soul in a post-war world.

The Concord Village



Launch Pad

Clarabell the Clown says “goodbye, kids” and launches The Concordian with Lawrence Elliott (Editor, Coronet Magazine) and Pat Cleary (mother of Peg and Kathie.)


Bob Keeshan jumps at the chance to become “Captain Kangaroo.”  Pat Cleary sewed his prototype jacket (Simplicity Pattern 4107)

Puffin' Billy

by The Melodi Light Orchestra | Theme Song to Captain Kangaroo

Without Bob Keeshan:


Someone said it must be a lot like learning to swim: all the other times, the instructor was right there holding your head above water. Then you make your first strokes unaided and he’s gone. You’re on your own.

Bob Keeshan was more than the Concordian staff’s instructor: he was the glue that held it together, the gasoline that set it into motion, and the wings on which it flew into being.  Now, because there are only 24 hours in every day, because he has a family, a tremendous job with WABC-TV and other civic responsibilities, Bob has resigned.

It would be innocuous to say we’re sorry to see him go. We’re a little awed at the prospect of a CONCORDIAN future without him and tremendously aware that we now face a challenge almost as intense as the one Bob himself must have faced when he first conceived the notion of this community newspaper.

To a man, the CONCORDIAN staff wish Bob Keeshan and his family the very best of everything. But we will not say farewell, or anything nearly so final. We still expect to hear from Bob, frequently, and we want him to know that we’ll always be listening.

[Trish’s note: …to a man??]



Lift Off

Lawrence Elliott pens “A Little Girl’s Gift” and joins the editorial staff of Reader’s Digest.


Studio 54 & Beyond

The Captain has left the building, and the famed TV studio became Studio 54. 

Concord Village West Islip


Village Person

Jeff olson 

Jeff Olson, the Cowboy in the Village People, lived next door to the Cleary family on Alwick Avenue in Concord Village. Peg Cleary and Jeff were buddies from day one.  They even strung two tin cans between their bedroom windows so they could always stay in touch. Jeff is credited with saving Peg’s life one day after she fell asleep in a pipe at a construction site. Peg, in turn, didn’t tattle on Jeff when he removed the pegs from the lobster claws at the fish market. Jeff eventually got caught in his own net anyway, when mom found the pegs in his pockets on laundry day.

Puppy love filled the air coming off the Great South Bay. When the Olson’s Boxer mix gave birth, the Cleary’s got the pick of the litter. In turn, Tige, the puppy, had his pick of retainers. He started with Kathie’s.

We’re not sure what happened to Tige, but we all know what became of the boy next door. We have him on retainer.

The Man

Richard Kiley

With six kids in the family, the Kileys always had a full house. The best seats, however, were in the painted station wagons circling the block. Open windows, summer nights and a view of Richard getting ready for his next roll was the stuff of impossible dreams. The ladies behind the wheels loved to hear Richard Kiley narrate their stories. They spared no expense. 


A Digested Gift


With three girls in each family at the time, the Elliotts and the Cleary’s formed a formidable flock of females. Barbara and Ellen quickly paired up and were inseparable for the first nine years of their lives.

Larry Elliott, already the recipient of the Freedoms Foundation award, went on to author several biographies of inspiring people. As an editor at Reader’s Digest, he wrote A Little Girl’s Gift, a touching, true story of a child whose courage changed thousands of lives.

All Profits Go to Charity


Buy More and SAVE!


Since 1961, nearly one million corneal transplants have restored sight to men, women, and children.

$13,965 surgeon-cut 

$12,659 precut



Adopt a Joey


Kangaroo tastes like a cross between venison and buffalo. The texture of the meat is not quite as dry as deer but it’s leaner than bison.

Warning: Consuming overcooked kangaroo meat may result in feelings of guilt.


 A tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond 


Ho, there, foul monster! Cease the knocking at thy craven knees and prepare to do battle! 

Thirty Windmills: One Million Dollars

Forty Windmills: One Million Dollars



A Flatfoot’s Progress

A Flatfoot’s Progress


A Flatfoot's Progress

From a bicycle cop whose job it was to ticket reckless buggy drivers and overparked carriages, Henry Flattery grew to be one of the most respected members of the New York Police Department, a captain who participated in over 200 investigations and who was retired in 1952 with the distinction of being one of the few top officers admitted to the Police Honor League. 



Praesent et bibendum ante, quis vulputate odio. Sed quis urna elit. Cras orci libero, faucibus a libero consectetur.



Aliquam vitae nulla et tortor pretium interdum. Suspendisse sit amet molestie urna. Donec quis justo sed.


Notre Dame

Faucibus a libero consectetur. Cras sapien dui, maximus eleifend nisi nec, sollicitudin bibendum

This is why you took Latin

Duly Noted

Your Penance

In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!

Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce

Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce

The Patented Punch

May 25, 1965 was a day for breaking barriers.  

We went to a hockey game and a title fight broke out.

The most memorable moment in boxing history took place in a no-frills arena built for high school hockey games. In all the controversy that surrounded the rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, one thing was clear: a punch was thrown, and, invisible or not, something powerful happened that night in Lewiston, Maine.  

The Phantom Punch


In the world of Mad Men, the day that Sonny Liston fought Muhammad Ali was a day for putting ideas on the canvas and taking punches. Peggy Olson proved she was a hard case as she sparred with her boss over a Samsonite campaign.

Don Draper put $100 on Liston and passed on Joe Namath that day. He redeemed himself, however, by placing a better bet on his copywriter. It stung like a bee, but it was a good move. After all, it was Peggy’s birthday.

The most powerful punch of the day, however, came from a different Don and the United States Patent Office. On May 25, 1965, the recorder power supply invented by Donald F. Cleary was issued patent number US3185912A. 


Recorder Power Supply 

Inventors: John W Smith, Donald F Cleary
Current Assignee: Hogan Faximile Corp

Conversion of ac power input into dc power output without possibility of reversal by static converters using discharge tubes with control electrode or semiconductor devices with control electrode using devices of a thyratron or thyristor type requiring extinguishing means using semiconductor devices only in a bridge configuration with control circuit with automatic control of the output voltage or current.


New england’s first
coed collegE

“The world’s most expensive form of contraception.”
– Meadow Soprano


“Worth it.”
– Pat Cleary