Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Drs. Casey and Kildare Diaries + Knee Progress

I’ve laid in bed two days now nursing my just-operated-on knee back to health.  As someone who literally never sits still, I’ve been a fairly model citizen since the surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Tuesday. Portable electronics certainly help and my love of bad television has been an excellent babysitter. But, most of all, I have excellent friends who have come to visit me and partaken in some spectacular photo ops:

(L-R) Nurses Prudence Fenton and Charles Phoenix and patient Willis.

Nurse Maxine Lapiduss also came by and dropped off some excellent homemade Moraccan stew, unfortunately not featured in this photo but very much featured in my stomach last night:


Don’t ask me what’s going on under my blanket to give it such peculiar formation. Perhaps one of the cats was snoozing under there at the moment this was snapped. I certainly don’t want anyone to think I’ve expanded to the following from munching on Saltines, Ritz crackers and applesauce these last couple of days:

But, back to matters at hand – my beautiful 1960′s Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare daily diarys. Both this blog and the aforementioned portable electronics have dispensed with the need to keep track of my progress in an old school diary, as well as those innermost thoughts that come when one loses all the privileges of physical freedom. When I was 12 years old and had my first surgical procedure, the removal of an ingrown toenail by Dr. Smellsy (would you choose to be a foot doctor if that was your last name?!),  I wrote all about it in my Ben Casey diary.

Were this my actual diary from my youth I would show you what I wrote inside, probably wishing that the boy I had a crush on because he was one of the only people taller than me in school would come visit me in my toenailless state.  This diary, however, was purchased a couple years ago on eBay where I also found its perfect mate, a Dr. Kildare diary.

Dr. Kildare was on TV the same years as Ben Casey, 1961-66. There was a clear-cut division between Casey lovers and Kildare lovers, the former doctor being brooding, dark and handsome and the latter clean-cut, blonde and smooth. Although at the time I definitely preferred the Type A personality, brunette Dr. Casey – he looked more Jewish –  I’ve definitely rescinded my vote in recent years and hopped over to the Kildare side.

Let me tell you, Dr. Kildare, a.k.a. Richard Chaimberlain, is still rockin the smooth. So much so that I would’ve loved to take him into the operating room with me. It would’ve given me so much to write in my diary about!

But for now, I’m just excited that Dr. Stetson, my excellent knee surgeon, did such a good job. He may not have had his own television series and things like diaries, walletspencils and cufflinks made in his likeness, but ultimately I’d rather have a functioning knee than a functioning Thumpy any day!

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Categories: Celebrity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Medical, Memorabilia, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – A Real Brady In The Bunch

As a collector of kitsch for decades now with a particular love for popular television shows, there’s nothing better than having the real thing who made the real thing in your presence. Such was the case when Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady, the youngest, cutest, blondest Brady in the Bunch, walked into Willis Wonderland last Friday afternoon. And she came bearing one of her signature Christmas cakes, which is how we came to know each other in the first place as she posted her kulinary kitsch koncoction in The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch over Christmas.

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Categories: Book, Celebrity, Dance, Drink, Food, Hollywood, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Happy Hanukah Menorah Hat


I used to hate these theme hats as they always look so dorky. But now that I have a blog and a museum that spotlight kitsch this sort of haberdashery seems to fit right in, especially when it’s on my head. And especially when it’s this awkward menorah hat on this first day of Hanukah. The candles don’t stand up straight and nine candles is kind of too wide for a hat anyway.


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Categories: Hats, Holidays, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Medical, Memorabilia, Religion, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Dr. Ben Casey Pencils

I loved me some Ben Casey when I was a kid. I had Ben Casey diaries, wallets, cufflinks, bobble head dolls, anything and everything that had that kind-of-smile-but-not-really brooding look that Vincent Edwards, who played the handsome doctor, knew how to give with amazing regularity. Here he is as a cufflink with the same intent look:

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Categories: Celebrity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Medical, Memorabilia, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Seriously Kitschy Birthday Gifts

I wasn’t going to do anything for my birthday this year. Too overworked and no extra coinage to throw around. But word leaked out and spread and all of a sudden these people, most of whom I’ve spent every birthday and momentous occasion with for umpteen years, showed up at my house:

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Categories: Art, bad art, Book, Brands, Bubbles the artist, Celebrity, Creativity, Food, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Party, People

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Maestro The Musical Bingo” Game and Working with Pomplamoose

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This game felt especially fitting because it’s supposed to teach you how to play by ear. Not only did I never learn to play by ear but I never learned to play period. Which makes the fact that my songs have sold over 50 million records a very kitschy thing indeed! I don’t suppose this game will help me, though, as there are no instructions included. I was never good at following instructions with anything anyway which is why just about everything I do is so spontaneous and free form. Which is what I loved about Pomplamoose when everyone started sending me links to their version of my song,“September”.   I sent them a message and asked them if they wanted to write something together, something I never do, but I thought they were so fresh and casual and inventive that it would be a good match. From the looks of their videos it looked like they already knew what this game had to teach.

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Categories: Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, Pomplamoose, September, Songwriting, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Largest Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia Exhibition Ever!

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The title of this post is somewhat misleading as although I really did go to the largest exhibition of Marilyn Monroe’s personal artifacts ever I assumed it wasn’t cool to take photos inside the Hollywood Museum where it took place so I only took my camera out to snap a few personal photos of my own.  As I was driving home I was kicking myself that I didn’t break the rules and at least sneak a shot of Marilyn’s gigantic 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine with her gloves and purse still lying on the back seat and the cap owned by the chauffeur, who owns the car to this day, still on the dash.  There were checks written by Marilyn, personal notes, clothes, scripts, magazine covers including huge original photos of her Playboy spread – she graced the cover of the first Playboy ever – and anything else you could have ever hoped to see of Marilyn’s. The star, of course, was not here to celebrate with us having left the planet over 40 years ago but look who was wearing a gown that Marilyn wore to entertain the troops in Korea in 1951:

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Categories: Architecture, Celebrity, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, Memorabilia

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Art Linkletter “People Are Funny” Party Game

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Yesterday, iconic TV host Art Linkletter passed away. Even as a little kid Art seemed a little square to me but there’s no doubt that he pioneered many of the formulas of today’s TV shows with segments like celebrity guests, cooking, talking to kids and audience quizzes. His big two hits which between them ran from 1952 to 1970, House Party and People Are Funny, were massively popular. This ‘party game with cards’ spun out of the latter and continued in people’s living rooms what was so popular on Art’s shows -  getting everyday people to do dorky stunts like trying to cash a check written on a watermelon and make fools of themselves, oftentimes ending up with a pie in the face for failing. It’s obvious that Linkletter’s tactics are still very much alive on TV today.

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Brands, Celebrity, Creativity, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, People, R.I.P., TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Record Coasters

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These little hard plastic record coasters were all the rage in the 1950′s and 60′s when 45′s and 33-1/3′s were blasting from hifi’s all over the world and Tom Collins, Manhattans and Hi Balls were resting on them as everyone did The Jitterbug and Stroll, topping it off with The Twist.   Some of the coasters were just cheesy versions of records featuring hit drinks:

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Drink, Furniture and Housewares, LPs, Memorabilia, Music, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Academy Award Screen Stars Stamp Album

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This is an amazing movie find, especially for a stamp collecting movie nut (which I’m not but I can appreciate the passion).  Sixty pages of  blank squares, each ascribed with the name of a 1920′s – 50′s star, from Academy Award winners to TV stars, “The Young Set”, International stars, World-Famous Women, Animal stars, Shootin’ stars (Western), Symphony stars, Singing stars, Comedians  and every other category that Hollywood could possibly subdivide itself into.

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Categories: Awards, Celebrity, Crafts, Dance, Film, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, TV/Radio

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