Artist Profile: Alan Bean (1932 — 2018)

On November 24th, 1969, 37 year-old Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the surface of the moon.  As a part of the crew of Apollo 12, Bean piloted the Lunar Module and, along with Pete Conrad, he spent a day and 7 hours on the lunar surface.  Four years later, Bean would return to space as a part of the Skylab 3 mission.

When Bean retired from NASA in 1981, he devoted himself to painting.  As Bean explained it, being an astronaut gave him a chance to see things that no one else had ever gotten a chance to see and he hoped that, through his paintings, he could allow others the chance to experience what he experienced.  For his paintings of the moon, Bean would often add small patches of actual lunar dust.

Bean passed away on May 26th but he left behind two proud legacies, one of exploration and one of art.  Below are just a few of Bean’s lunar paintings.  More can be seen at his website.

Special Memorial Day Edition: THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE (United Artists 1968)

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In the wake of 1967’s THE DRITY DOZEN came a plethora of all-star, similarly themed films. THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE is one of those, though just a bit different: it’s based on the true-life exploits of the First Special Service Force, a collection of American misfits straight from the stockades and the crack, highly disciplined Canadian military, forging them into one cohesive fighting unit.

William Holden  heads the cast as Lt. Col. Robert Frederick, tasked with putting the units together. His seconds-in-command are the cigar chomping American Major Brecker (Vince Edwards) and proud Canadian Major Crown (Cliff Robertson). The Americans, as rowdy a bunch of reprobates as there ever was, include Claude Akins , Luke Askew, Richard Jaeckel, and Tom Troupe, while the Canadians are represented by the likes of Richard Dawson, Jeremy Slate, and Jack Watson , war movie vets all.  Andrew Prine is also aboard as an AWOL…

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One Hit Wonders #14: “The Ballad of The Green Berets” by SSgt. Barry Sadler (RCA Victor Records 1966)

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The year was 1966. The month was May. The Vietnam War was dividing the country as the U.S. made their way into Cambodia, civil rights marchers were  protesting across the nation, and China set off their third nuclear bomb. Rock and roll ruled the pop charts, as The Rolling Stones were having their 19th nervous breakdown, Nancy Sinatra’s boots were made for walkin’, Bobby Fuller fought the law (and the law won), but it was Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, an Army medic who served in Vietnam, who began a five-week run at #1 on the Billboard charts with “The Ballad of The Green Berets”:

The music charts weren’t as polarized then as they are now. Besides all the latest rock hits, you could find traditional pop (“My Love”, Petula Clark), R&B (“Uptight”, Stevie Wonder), country (“Cryin’ Time”, Ray Charles), instrumentals (“Theme from Zorba the Greek”, Tijuana Brass), even blues (“Scratch…

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Music Video Of The Day: Arlington by Trace Adkins (2009, dir by ????)

I’m not really a country music fan but it does seem to be the best genre to go to if you’re looking for a good Memorial Day song.   Add to that, I may not be a country music fan but I do like Trace Adkins because he’s like the perfect Texan, even if he is from Louisiana.

To quote from the video’s description on YouTube: “Arlington” is sung from the viewpoint of a soldier, killed in battle and buried at Arlington National Cemetery. It was inspired by United States Marine Corps Corporal Patrick Nixon, who died in battle in 2003.

Someone needs to make a TV show where Trace Adkins and Sam Elliott ride across America on motorcycles and solve crimes.